Truesee's Daily Wonder

Truesee presents the weird, wild, wacky and world news of the day.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Tiger Woods loses No. 1 overall ranking

Tiger Woods loses No. 1 overall ranking for first time in 623 weeks; Lee Westwood takes top spot


Dave Goldiner

Sunday, October 31st 2010, 3:09 PM


Tiger Woods is no longer top cat.


The disgraced golfer lost his No. 1 spot in the weekly World Golf Rankings Sunday, capping a dismal fall from grace on and off the golf course.

The once undisputed king of the links spent 281 straight weeks, or more than five years, in the coveted top spot and has been in first place for 623 weeks during his storied career. He is now ranked No. 2.

Lee Westwood, 37, of England, took over the top spot, becoming the first European golfer to be No. 1 since Nick Faldo in 1994.

Despite failing to win a major in his career, Westwood has been the most consistent golfer in the world with one tour win and runner-up finishes in the Masters and at the British Open.

Woods' days in the No. 1 slot were numbered once he suffered a knee injury last year that kept him out of major tournaments.

The Thanksgiving weekend domestic meltdown that led to the breakup of Woods' marriage and his exposure as a serial cheater kept him off the tour for months more.

He has struggled ever since to regain his top form.

The ranking is based on points accumulated during a two-year period, meaning it has taken awhile for Woods' slide to knock him from his perch.

German Martin Kaymer looks set to stay at No. 3 after finishing way back in the pack at a Spanish tournament this weekend.

Feel-good Master's winner Phil Mickelson sits at No. 4.

All four top golfers are bunched close together at the top of the rankings and Woods could regain the No. 1 ranking if he can regain his dominance.

Woods and the other three top golfers are all scheduled to play in this week's WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai.

Read more:

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Boy, 4, expelled from school for long hair

Now what would Jesus 'do?

Heartless school's 'tress' code


Last Updated: 7:25 AM, October 31, 2010

Posted: 1:13 AM, October 31, 2010


He's a hair-etic.

That's the harsh ruling of a strict New Jersey Catholic school that booted a 4-year-old be cause his hair was too long -- even though his angelic locks were to be donated to kids with cancer.

Little Jack Szablewski, who has never had a hair cut, needed to grow his straight blond tresses at least 12 inches before he could donate them to the Childhood Leuke mia Foundation in memory of his grand dad and a child of a family friend who died of the cancer.

But now his saddened mom, Renee, 47, says she's lost faith in St. Dominic's, of Brick, NJ, and the school principal who barred her son from attending his part-time prekindergarten class for failing to meet the dress code.

Angel Chevrestt

UNKINDEST CUT OF ALL: Four-year-old Jack Szablewski has been expelled from St. Dominic's Catholic school in Brick, NJ, for growing his hair to donate to cancer-stricken kids.

Szablewski said the paro chial school admitted Jack in 2009 knowing he was growing his hair for a cause but then revised its dress code in September to re quire that all students have short hair -- no exceptions.

"They gave us two weeks to get his hair cut or he was going to be suspended. I immediately put his hair in a ponytail and measured it; it was exactly 12 inches with no room to spare, which is the minimum required to donate," she said.

Frantic, Szablewski set up a Sept. 30 appointment at Ferrazz Salon in Hoboken and invited the press as a way to highlight the family's causes, including getting involved in bone-marrow drives.

But a severe storm was battering the East Coast, and the family was forced to cancel over safety concerns. When Szablewski took Jack back to school on Oct. 1, she was turned away in the rain and told not to come back until he was shorn.

"I feel we are being punished for teaching our son it is better to give than to receive," Szablewski said.

Not only that but the Diocese of Trenton has agreed with school Principal Carol Bathmann that there's no more sanctuary for little Jack -- even when he cuts his hair now.

"The Szablewski child is completely innocent in this matter and was never the subject of any disciplinary action, such as suspension. It is Mrs. Szablewski's failure to uphold her agreement to have the child's hair cut after being given 13 months to do so," according to a statement from the Diocese.

Szablewski insists she didn't find out about the new hair rule until after the school accepted her $2,500 tuition fee.

"I felt like a criminal when I was told he could not come back to school," she said. "I was very angry. She really knocked me off my pins. I really wasn't expecting that. They are trying to bully us out of a parish we belonged to since 1990."

In addition, although Jack attended only seven days of school, the Szablewskis were returned only $1,000. They haven't cashed the check.

"Here we are, trying to do a good thing. According to the school handbook, you are suspended or expelled for defacing property or possessing weapons, but this was an act of charity," she said.

"I found it quite appalling that an assistant principal said to me, 'You are the one who chose to make your son different.' I thought that was very un-Christlike. I was so disgusted my spirit was broken.

"One thing I want to stress is I love my church and I do love my faith. It's not about the church; it's about the people who have the power and abuse authority."

Jack still has a date in the barber's chair.

"I will be happy when somebody is going to have my hair," the spunky 36-pounder said in the family's Ocean County backyard.

In fact, right before school started, Jack raised $1,711 selling candy for a St. Dominic Church fund-raiser.


Sunday, October 31, 2010


Deli owner sees legs and feet dangling over stove from vent

Man freed from Virginia Beach eatery's exhaust vent

News Virginia Beach

Firefighters work to rescue a man trapped in the duct work at Harold's Restaurant in Virginia Beach on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. the man, identified as a former employee, was trapped in the duct for about eight hours. (Martin Grube | Special to The Virginian-Pilot)


David Putney
The Virginian-Pilot
October 31, 2010



When the owner of Harold's restaurant entered his eatery Saturday, he knew almost immediately that something was amiss.

The fire suppression system in the kitchen had gone off and Harold Owens heard a noise that he thought was coming from above. Then he saw legs and feet dangling from the hood over the stove.

Owens called the police, and crews responded at about 9 a.m. to cut away the metal duct to free the man, Fire Department Battalion Chief Ken Pravetz said. The man had climbed into the duct at about 3 a.m. in what Pravetz said was likely an attempt to enter the restaurant on Virginia Beach Boulevard near Town Center.

Owens said the trapped man, whom police did not identify, was a former employee who apologized for trying to climb through the duct. The man spent about eight hours in the 18-inch-by-18-inch exhaust vent before rescuers dislodged him at about 10:45 a.m.

The trapped man was alert and suffered only minor injuries, Pravetz said. He was taken to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.

A police spokeswoman said a detective was on the scene but provided no reason why the man was in the duct.

Owens said he found the situation anything but amusing. Rather, he said, he was disgusted by it, especially if burglary was the motive.

Extensive damage to the ventilation system was done during the rescue, though no dollar amount was available.

"We're a small business struggling in this economy," Owens said. "We're going to do the best we can to get going again."

He expected to reopen, he said, as soon as he got clearance from the fire and health departments.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Michael Steele White House made a mess in 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Teenager picked wrong transvestite prostitute to rob

Prosecutor: Teenager picked wrong transvestite prostitute to rob


Kimball Perry


October 26, 2010


Sixteen-year-old Rufus Bowman was looking for an easy victim, but he picked the wrong one during a July 13 incident.

Bowman was in the 200 block of West McMicken Avenue in Over-the-Rhine when, Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Ryan Nelson said, he approached Joshua Bumpus.

"Mr. Bumpus is a transvestite prostitute," Nelson said. "He goes 6-(foot)-3, 280 (pounds) and was wearing a pink halter top and pumps."

Actually, jail records list Bumpus as 6-foot-1, 290 pounds.

"(Bowman) approached Mr. Bumpus and, according to Mr. Bumpus, was trying to retain his services," Nelson said.

The two men went into a nearby alley to transact business, Nelson said, when Bowman pulled a gun.

The two men fought. The 5-foot-7, 230-pound Bowman fired his gun. The bullet hit Bumpus in the arm, went through and lodged near his ribs.

Even though he was shot, Bumpus continued fighting - and won.

"He got the gun away from (Bowman), he grabbed (Bowman) by the hair and beat him down. He beat the (daylights) out of him," Nelson said.

That's about when several of Bumpus' friends, also dressed as women, flagged down Cincinnati Police Officer Dave Kennedy. Other Bumpus friends helped Bumpus beat Bowman.

"The cops showed up during the beat down," Nelson said. "The cops said it was one of their more memorable arrests of their lives."

Bowman's case was deemed serious enough to be heard in adult court. He initially was charged with felonious assault and having a gun while under a criminal disability because he was convicted in February 2009 for possession of drugs, a crime that legally barred him from carrying a gun.

In a Tuesday plea deal, Bowman pleaded guilty to felonious assault. Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman sent Bowman to prison for three years.

"(Bowman) picked the wrong prostitute to rob," Nelson said.




Rufus Bowman



Zoom Photo   
Joshua Bumpus

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Scenes from the Stewart and Colbert rally in DC





Saturday, October 30, 2010


Palin pounces on State Department over Ahmadinejad birthday tweet


Palin pounces on State Department over Ahmadinejad birthday tweet

Elise Viebeck - 10/29/10 01:09 PM ET

When State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley tweeted a sardonic birthday wish to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday, he likely assumed it would be interpreted for the substance of its intent: a wish that for his birthday, Ahmadinejad would release imprisoned American hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer.

According to her most recent tweets, however, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) didn't catch the drift. 

On Friday, she took to Twitter to blast the Obama administration for "kowtowing" and "coddling" enemies.

"Happy B'day Ahmadinejad wish sent by US Govt. Mind boggling foreign policy ... Obama Doctrine is nonsense," she tweeted, adding that the birthday greeting after Ahmadinejad's "call 4 Israel's destruction" speaks "volumes." 

Crowley's original tweets had read:

Happy birthday President #Ahmadinejad. Celebrate by sending Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer home. What a gift that would be.

Your 54th year was full of lost opportunities. Hope in your 55th year you will open #Iran to a different relationship with the world.

So far, there's been no response from him on Twitter.


Saturday, October 30, 2010


Pot growers filled house with $1 million in plants

Pot growers filled house with $1 million in plants


Jane Prendergast and Elaine Trumpey


October 28, 2010


LIBERTY TOWNSHIP - The two-story brick and siding house in a typical quiet subdivision was not like all the other nearby houses – at least inside.

Jennifer Rollins, who lives nearby with her husband and children, had no idea there was a marijuana grow operation and pot plants valued at more than $1 million inside.

“We were shocked when we heard what it was all about,” Rollins said Thursday. She lives on Paradise Cove near its intersection with Sunrise View Circle where Butler County Sheriff’s deputies busted two men Wednesday night after responding to a call about a chemical odor coming from the Sunrise house.

It’s a friendly neighborhood where neighbors pitched in and cooked dinners for her family when she had a baby recently, Rollins said.

She had never seen anyone at the house where the pot-growing operation was found, although her husband had occasionally noticed someone in and out at the house, she said.

The two men were arrested after deputies found about 1,050 marijuana plants and a sophisticated indoor grow operation inside the Liberty Township house. Each of the plants could have been sold on the street for about $1,000, the sheriff’s department said.

Deputies went to the house at about 8:40 p.m. Wednesday.

Firefighters found an open window at the back of the house, but when they tried to look inside, someone shoved a piece of drywall against the window to block the view, said Sgt. Todd Langmeyer, of the sheriff’s department’s criminal investigations unit.

Firefighters were still able to see what they thought was pot. And when a deputy approached the front door, he could smell what he thought was marijuana, Langmeyer said.

Once inside, deputies and officials from the sheriff’s department’s drug task force found the entire house being used as a pot-growing operation.

Officers found the plants in various stages of growth, some already harvested and hanging in separate rooms to dry. Ventilation ran from each room, including the basement and attic, Langmeyer said. Planting beds in almost every room measured 4 feet by 8 feet, with each containing hydroponically grown marijuana.

The two men, A. Bay Luong, 46, of Monroe, and Phuc Ky Luong, 50, whose listed address is Oakland, Calif., were found hiding in the attic. They were charged with cultivation of marijuana, a third-degree felony.

But those charges likely will be upgraded, Langmeyer said, once authorities weigh all the pot.

A relative of the suspects appears to own the $247,000 four-bedroom Colonial-style house that was built in 2007 and is valued at $247,000, according to the Butler County auditor.

“It’s a fulltime challenge to combat the war on drugs within the United States, including Butler County,” said Sheriff Richard K. Jones, whose office has twice recently intercepted shipments of pot hidden inside wooden bar units.



Saturday, October 30, 2010


Pelosi and Top Dems May Retire if They Lose the House

Pelosi, Among Others, Could Exit if Dems Lose House

Jay Newton-Small / Washington

Friday, Oct. 29, 2010

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives for a press conference on Capitol Hill to discuss Democratic accomplishments during the past congressional sessionJim Lo Scalzo / EPA

As Nancy Pelosi goes, so might a generation of her colleagues.

If Democrats lose control of the House of Representatives next week, as most political observers expect, there is a good chance that the House Speaker will opt to spend time with her eight grandchildren rather than toil in the relative obscurity of the minority. Even if she wanted to stay on, it's not at all clear that she would win the position of minority leader: seven Democratic incumbents and several candidates oppose her leadership — on Wednesday, North Carolina Representative Heath Shuler suggested he might challenge Pelosi for the spot — and another 20 have refused to say one way or another. Pelosi is more likely to leave gracefully, trading the red-eye slog for the pleasant commute between her San Francisco and Napa homes, and leaving the caucus in the hands of majority leader Steny Hoyer, who has been chafing in her shadow for decades.

A quick retirement is not an uncommon choice for the boss of the losing party; Newt Gingrich stepped down three days after losing five seats in 1998, saving his party a potentially divisive leadership election he could well have lost. And the only reason Denny Hastert (who succeeded Gingrich) lingered for more than a year after shedding his Speaker's mantle in 2007 was to keep his Illinois seat warm for his son, who never made it past the primary.

Other Democrats are sure to follow Pelosi out of the Capitol. After the GOP lost the House in 2006, 27 Republicans called it quits. But in the case of Pelosi's Democratic cloakroom, the exodus could be deeper: five of the 20 current committee chairmen are her allies from California. Without their champion, some veterans such as Education and Labor Committee chairman George Miller, who has been in Congress since 1975, may be inclined to leave. Even if they don't head for the exits, they might choose to abandon their gavels: Standards Committee chair Zoe Lofgren, also of California, is serving at Pelosi's request and has made no secret of her distaste at being her colleagues' ethical watchdog.

 Others are older — Rules Committee chair Louise Slaughter and Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers, both 81, know that life in the minority holds less appeal for octogenarians. And, in any case, it might be time for some fresh blood. The average age of Democratic House chairs is nearly 70, while top Republicans are, on average, a decade younger — thanks, in part, to the 2006 spate of retirements. Democratic chairs have spent an average of 13.5 terms, or 27 years, in office, compared to Republicans who average 9.5 terms, or 19 years, in office.

Two chairmen have already retired: Appropriations Committee chief David Obey of Wisconsin and Tennessee's Bart Gordon, the top Dem on the Science and Technology Committee. Both seats look likely to fall into GOP hands next week.

Another five chairmen are endangered. Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank of Massachusetts last week loaned his campaign $200,000 as his race unexpectedly tightened. A recent poll showed Budget Committee chairman John Spratt trailing by 10 points in his South Carolina district. And Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton, Transportation Committee chairman Jim Oberstar and Natural Resources Committee chairman Nick Rahall are all in the toughest races of their careers.

All told, half or more of the top Democrats on the House's 20 committees might lose, quit or retire.

Serving in the minority in the House is vastly different from governing. The minority party is almost totally cut out of the legislative process, and their only path to attention is often to do their best to block whatever the majority is doing. For many of the old bulls who survived a dozen years in the minority to get their chance to govern, a return to second-class citizenship is unappealing. A spate of rank-and-file retirements is likely, giving Republicans an extra advantage Dems enjoyed in 2008: dozens of open seats in districts that haven't been vacant for decades. This could set the GOP up for more gains in 2012, though President Obama will be on the ticket next time around.

Read more:,8599,2028212,00.html#ixzz13qQau2Fj

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Baby Finds Pills In Couch

Friday, October 29, 2010


Mom gave pot to kids ages 1, 4, 7

Cops: Mom gave pot to kids ages 1, 4, 7


Eileen Kelley


October 28, 2010


MADISONVILLE - The girl was nonchalant about it: she smokes pot.
She is just 7.

The child told investigators that over the course of months she and her siblings routinely smoked pot. They are just 4 and 1.


Child welfare investigators learned of the allegation in late September when the 7-year-old told an adult about the drug use. On Wednesday, their mother, Valerie Cecil, 25, of Stewart Road in Madisonville, was arrested on three counts of corrupting with drugs. The charges are felonies and she faces 4 ½ years in prison if the charges go forward and she is convicted.

Additional charges for Cecil as well as additional arrests of other adults could be forthcoming, said Megan Shanahan, a prosecutor on the case.

Prosecutors and police say Cecil would blow the marijuana smoke into the faces of the children and have them open their mouths so that she could directly blow the smoke into their mouths and systems.

Shanahan said the pot smoking was a routine occurrence and had been going on for months. Two of the children got to the point where they could smoke a marijuana cigarette on their own.

“I cannot believe that this woman can call herself a mother,” Shanahan said. “… to forcibly have her children use marijuana is repulsive.”

This is the first arrest for Cecil, who appeared before Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Dwane Mallory on Thursday. Mallory allowed her to remain free without having to post bond. Brian Gregg, a spokesman with the Department of Job and Family Services said the three children have been taken out of the mother’s home and are with other family members.

The case is similar to another local case late this summer, when a 2-year-old child was captured on her mother’s cellphone video putting a marijuana cigarette to her lips, inhaling, fanning the smoke away and inhaling again. In the video, a woman, believed to be the child’s mother is heard saying, “Don’t blow on it,” as the toddler holds the joint.

Police say Jessica Gamble, 21, then shared the cellphone video with someone else and it eventually landed in the hands of police and prosecutors. She faces 11½ years in prison on felony charges of corrupting with drugs, child endangering and tampering with evidence.

Zoom Photo

Friday, October 29, 2010


Obama's 3-day trip has 40 aircraft to be biggest ever

Obama's trip to be biggest ever


Saurabh Shukla
New Delhi, October 27, 2010
Updated 15:18 IST


Barack Obama

File photo of US President Barack Obama.

US President Barack Obama's trip to India next month is set to be the biggest ever by any US president in terms of the protocol and logistics.

Headlines Today has accessed the details of elaborate arrangements that will be in place to guard Obama during his three-day trip beginning on November 6. He will be accompanied by US First Lady Micehlle Obama.

Obama's visit is historic in terms of logistics which is the largest ever for a visiting US president. The presidential entourage will have 40 aircraft, including the Air Force One that will ferry the president. There will be six armoured cars, including the Barack Mobile, a Cadillac.

The Cadillac limousine is equipped with a mini communication centre to enable Obama to be in touch with the White House, US vice president and the US strategic command. It also has the US nuke launch codes and the nuclear switch for the president. It can also withstand a chemical or germ warfare or even a bomb attack.

The secret service will set up two command posts in Delhi and Mumbai which will act as the communication nerve centres. These centres will keep an eye on each movement by the president with real time satellite monitoring.

Three Marine One choppers will be reassembled in India to ferry Obama and his family. These helicopters will also assist in evacuation in case of an emergency.

Moreover, 30 sniffer dogs will be put on service to boost the security arrangements during Obama's visit.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Hating Sarah Palin may be genetic trait scientists say

Being a liberal and hating Sarah Palin may be genetic trait, scientists say

Corky Siemaszko
Friday, October 29th 2010, 4:00 AM

Hate Sarah Palin's guts? Well, researchers say it's a genetic thing.

Krupa/APHate Sarah Palin's guts? Well, researchers say it's a genetic thing.

Scientists say there's a biological reason why some people favor big government, oppose the death penalty and think Sarah Palin is the devil - it's called the liberal gene.

It's a variant of a gene associated with novelty seeking, researchers at the University of California and Harvard University say.

"We hypothesize that individuals with a genetic predisposition toward seeking out new experiences will tend to be more liberal," scientist James Fowler writes in the latest issue of the Journal of Politics.

People with the DRD4 gene would be more exposed to a wider variety of lifestyles and beliefs - making them more liberal, Fowler and his team suggest.

But simply being born with the liberal gene doesn't make one a liberal.

The eggheads found that the more friends a person with the gene had in high school, the more likely they were to lean left.

"It is the crucial interaction of two factors - the genetic predisposition and the environmental condition of having many friends in adolescence - that is associated with being more liberal," the researchers report.

Read more:

Friday, October 29, 2010


Man calls police to check out nasty marijuana

Uniontown police called to check out 'nasty' marijuana


Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Uniontown man is facing possible charges after he asked city police to investigate when he believed he'd been sold bad marijuana.

Police did not identify the 21-year-old man, who called a Fayette County 911 dispatcher Wednesday and said he had bought some questionable marijuana.

He asked police to check it out for him, according to a police report.

After responding to the Millview Street residence, police noticed a leafy green substance on a couch. The man told police he had purchased the substance that day, and when he smoked it, "It was nasty."

Detective Donald Gmitter said a field test determined the substance was not marijuana, but the test did not reveal anything else. Preliminary results showed it was not a controlled substance.

Sgt. Wayne Brown said the incident remains under investigation, but that the man would face charges of possession of a counterfeit substance.

Gmitter said police have received calls in the past that have left them astounded.

"We have had calls before of people giving money to prostitutes for services. When the prostitute ran off, they wanted to report a robbery or theft. They thought was legitimate," Gmitter said.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


State workers are telling parents to drop off disabled children at homeless shelters

Thursday, October 28, 2010


McDonald's ordered to pay employee for 65 pounds he gained on the job

McDonald's ordered to pay ex-employee $17,500 for 65 pounds he gained on the job in Brazil

Meena Hartenstein
Thursday, October 28th 2010, 10:24 PM

McDonald's will have to pay an ex-employee $17,500 to make up for the weight he gained there.

Bleier/GettyMcDonald's will have to pay an ex-employee $17,500 to make up for the weight he gained there.

A McDonald's employee who gained 65 pounds on the job will get a hefty settlement from the fast food giant, thanks to a judge's ruling this week.

The Brazilian ex-franchise manager will get $17,500 from McDonald's for his massive weight gain, according to The Associated Press, which occured over his 12-year employment at the restaurant chain.

The man, whose identity has not been released, sued the company for the pounds he packed on, arguing that he felt pressured to eat the food every day as part of his job description.

He said McDonald's regularly sent "mystery clients" to conduct spot checks on the restaurant and report back on the food, so he had to make sure it was up to par.

McDonald's also gave the employees free lunches, he said, which increased his daily caloric intake.

Judge Joao Ghisleni Filho said McDonald's could appeal the ruling, and the company's Brazilian headquarters told the AP it was "weighing its legal options."

Famous for its calorie-laden Big Macs and fries, McDonald's has been the target of weight-related suits many times.

On Wednesday, a Manhattan judge ruled against a group of plaintiffs who wanted to file a joint lawsuit, which alleged that McDonald's food was a cause of childhood obesity.

The judge ruled that the suit, which has been kicking around the courts since it was filed in 2002, must be dealt with individually rather than as a group action.

"We are extremely pleased with the court’s decision," McDonald's spokeswoman Heidi Barker said in a statement released to Bloomberg News. "As we have maintained throughout these proceedings, it is unfair to blame McDonald’s for this complex societal problem."

With News Wire Services

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Thursday, October 28, 2010


Chris Matthews rips tea party 'thugs'

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Woman fakes cancer gets thousands from friends sentenced,0,2407826.story

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Woman entitled to $1.4 million after being spanked by boss

Clovis woman in spanking case wins -- again


11:54 PM on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010

Pablo Lopez / The Fresno Bee

A Clovis woman is entitled to the $1.4 million that her former employer and its insurance carriers agreed to pay her to settle her sexual-harassment lawsuit, a Fresno County Superior Court jury ruled Tuesday.

The verdict gives Janet Orlando more ammunition in her fight to get some of the damages that another jury awarded her in 2006 for enduring spankings at Alarm One Inc., where she worked as a salesperson.

Alarm One and its insurance carriers have declined to pay, saying that the settlement contract depended on finding a bank willing to finance the deal. That didn't happen, they say.

But Orlando's fight may not be over. An attorney for one of Alarm One's insurance carriers said he was disappointed with the verdict and the company might appeal.

"I don't know if this is a conclusion," said Jonathan Cole, who represented Carolina Casualty Insurance.

Orlando and her attorneys -- Nicholas "Butch Wagner and Larry Artenian -- said that's fine with them. The $1.4 million has already drawn $600,000 in interest, Wagner said. If the case is prolonged, Orlando's damages will grow by at least $200,000 per year, he said

"I have the best attorneys in town," Orlando said. "We're never going to give up."

Orlando was a saleswoman for Alarm One, a home-security company, for five months in late 2002 and early 2003. She said she quit after she was humiliated by company practices that included spanking employees with a competitor's yard sign -- all in the name of helping build camaraderie among the company's sales force.

In April 2006, a jury awarded her $1.7 million in damages for her claims of sexual harassment, assault, battery and infliction of emotional distress.

In July 2006, all the parties signed a contract agreeing to settle the case for $1.4 million.

Orlando never received a penny from the settlement, however. Alarm One and its insurance carriers -- Carolina Casualty Insurance and Monitor Liability Managers Inc. -- challenged the settlement contract. Their lawyers argued that since no bank would finance the deal, it was not completed, and therefore the companies were not bound by it.

Jurors, however, deliberated less than an hour before finding that Alarm One and its insurance carriers had breached the contract.

Alarm One and Carolina Casualty are both liable for the $1.4 million settlement agreement, jurors ruled. Monitor Liability Managers is liable for $200,000 of it, they said.

Orlando cried as the verdict was announced in Judge Donald Black's courtroom. Outside the courtroom, she described the case as being like an sexual assault.

"You feel like they just keep raping you and raping you," she said. "It's almost like they are doing it on purpose."

Because Alarm One has gone bankrupt, Carolina Casualty might be left paying most of the bill, Wagner said.

That's fine with Orlando.

"I need a vacation," she said.


Janet Orlando, says she was spanked three times while working for Alarm One.

(ABC News)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Prison guard arrested for smuggling drugs and cell phones to inmates

Soledad prison guard charged in smuggling case


Henry K. Lee

Chronicle Staff Writer

San Francisco Chronicle

October 27, 2010 01:56 PM


A state prison guard has been arrested in a sting in which he allegedly agreed to smuggle drugs and cell phones to inmates in exchange for cash, Santa Clara County sheriff's officials said Wednesday.

Sergio Javier Noguera, 38, a guard at Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad (Monterey County), was taken into custody about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday after he showed up for a meeting in Gilroy with undercover detectives pretending to be a source of contraband for inmates, said sheriff's Sgt. Rick Sung.

Noguera believed he would be paid $2,500 to smuggle in an ounce of methamphetamine, an ounce of heroin, 3 1/2 ounces of marijuana and four cell phones, authorities said.

The investigation began in April, when an informant told detectives that Noguera had been providing drugs and cell phones to inmates at the prison, which employs 946 guards and houses about 3,700 minimum- and maximum-security inmates.

Noguera is being held in lieu of $130,000 bail on drug-related counts, Sung said.

Noguera has been a guard at the prison for eight years. If he is released on bail, he will be reassigned to another position outside the prison while the investigation continues, said Sgt. Kim Traynham, a prison spokesman.


Undercover detectives from the Santa Clara County arreste... Santa Clara Sheriff's Office

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Obama: My name's not on the ballot but my agenda is

Obama: My name's not on the ballot this fall, but my agenda is

Michael O'Brien - 10/26/10 03:46 PM ET

The president suggested the outcome of key elections next Tuesday could determine the fate of his legislative priorities.

The president stopped short of saying next week's election is a referendum on his policies, but suggested the outcome of key elections next Tuesday could determine the fate of his agenda. 

"My name may not be on the ballot, but our agenda for moving forward is on the ballot, and I need everybody to turn out," Obama said Tuesday afternoon during an appearance on the Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show.

Obama made the remarks to appeal to African-American voters to show up for Democrats at the polls. The president has made appeals to young voters and Latino voters in recent days in order to try to drive high voter turnout and replicate the coalition that propelled him and congressional Democrats to victory in 2008.

To that end, the president will also participate this evening in a conference call with black leaders.

Obama has tried to be as stark as possible about the election's repercussions for his legislative priorities while keeping the heat on Republicans. Many Democratic candidates who have enjoyed success in their campaigns have often done so by making the race about their GOP opponent, rather than Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) or any of the signature bills the Democratic Congress has passed in the last two years. 

"They can't talk about their record," House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Monday in a radio appearance. "You know, this election is going to be a referendum on their job-killing policies."

"I also think anybody who is concerned about the direction of the country has to understand that this election is just as important as 2008," Obama explained to Sharpton. 

He added that the 2008 elections only won Democrats the ability to start effecting change in Washington — a variation on the president's frequent admonition on the campaign trail that the "change" he promised in his campaign is difficult. 

"Essentially, in 2008, we won the ability to start making change, and that's what we've done over the last two years," Obama said.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Democrats' game plan divide and conquer

Democrats' game plan to hold the House: Divide and conquer
Pennsylvania’s open 7th District Democratic nominee Bryan Lentz is pictured. | AP Photo
Democrat Bryan Lentz admits his campaign helped a tea party candidate get on the ballot. | AP


KASIE HUNT | 10/27/10 4:56 AM EDT Updated: 10/27/10 9:17 AM EDT


With just six days left until Election Day, a key component of the Democratic strategy to hold the House is becoming clear: In more than a dozen close races, Democrats are encouraging and advancing little-known, conservative third-party candidates in an attempt to fracture the Republican vote enough to eke out narrow victories.

Behind-the-scenes collaboration between local Democratic officials and tea party activists in a handful of isolated races has already been reported—just last week, in suburban Pennsylvania’s open 7th District, Democratic nominee Bryan Lentz finally admitted his campaign’s role in helping a tea party candidate get on the November ballot after months of avoiding the question. 

But the divide-and-conquer strategy has become more widespread—and coordinated—through television ads, robo-calls and mailers in recent weeks as races have tightened and it’s become more apparent that just a few percentage points could end up swinging the outcome in many races.

“It wouldn’t be the first time that Democrats or Republicans have tried to manipulate votes on the other side. Clearly the goal there is to get Republicans to vote for the tea party person to move numbers off Republicans,” said John Anzalone, an Alabama-based Democratic pollster. “I think that it’s going to work in some places. It’s a case by case.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and two state Democratic parties have paid for mailers sent to GOP households in at least five contested House districts in Colorado, Florida, Michigan and Texas —mail pieces that highlight the staunchly conservative positions of long-shot candidates who barely register in public and private polls.

The messaging in the mailers is designed to muddy the waters. In a DCCC piece sent into the San Antonio-area 23rd District, head shots of Democratic Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, Republican challenger Francisco Canseco and little-known independent candidate Craig Stephens are positioned side-by-side for comparative purposes.

Rodriguez is said to support “tax relief for the middle class.” Stephens “favors dramatically reducing taxes.” Canseco, on the other hand, “favors raising your taxes.”

Stephens’s other positions, as detailed by the mailer, are also designed for maximum appeal to the tea party constituency.

“Craig Stephens will fight to make drastic cuts to government spending, get tough on border security, and stop illegal immigration,” his profile reads. “In Washington Stephens will make deep cuts to taxes and work to reduce the size of the IRS.”

The DCCC doesn’t admit there is a strategic design to the mailers and instead insists the party is simply engaged in identifying candidates who are outside of the mainstream.

“Voters need to know just how extreme these tea party candidates are,” said Ryan Rudominer, a DCCC spokesman.

While it’s true that some mailers dropped into congressional districts are ostensibly critical of the third-party candidates, the mere mention of the unknown candidates serves to elevate their name recognition. 

In Colorado’s Western Slope-based 3rd District, where Democratic Rep. John Salazar, one of Anzalone’s clients, is in a close race with GOP nominee Scott Tipton, a DCCC mailer features Libertarian Gregory Gilman on an American flag background and warns that Gilman’s “first act would be to drastically reduce the size of government.”

Like Stephens in Texas, according to the Federal Election Commission, Gilman has reported no financial activity this campaign.

Anzalone calls Gilman and another third-party candidate, Jake Segrest, “very helpful” to Salazar.

“A number of these tea party candidates and other independent candidates have filled a void that some Republicans have been looking for and felt have been lacking in their candidates,” said Achim Bergmann, a Democratic strategist who has worked for the DCCC.

“There are some places where a Democrat may be capped at what percentage they can achieve at 47, 48 percent – and when it comes to that, the independent candidates end up having a huge impact, whether it could be two or three points, that makes a big difference,” Bergmann said.

Direct mail isn’t the only avenue Democrats have used to publicize the presence of third-party candidates. In Southern California’s 45th District, Democrat Steve Pougnet’s campaign recently paid for an automated call promoting American Independent candidate Bill Lussenheide as “the true conservative tea party candidate.”

In the Southside Virginia-based seat he won narrowly in 2008, Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello has run at least two television ads featuring images of conservative Jeff Clark despite the fact that Clark barely registers in polling matchups with Republican nominee Robert Hurt and Perriello.

After Perriello also sent out a mailer that included quotes from unsuccessful 5th District GOP candidates praising Clark as “the true conservative,” one of those quoted responded by accusing the congressman of sabotage.

“I am quite frankly appalled at Tom Perriello’s recent desperate attempts to split the Republican Party, and his vain attempt to get conservatives in the 5th District not to vote for Robert Hurt,” said conservative Jim McKelvey in a statement. “Unlike what Tom Perriello would like us to believe in both his goofy mailers and ridiculous television ads, Jeff Clark is not the alternative, and Congressman Perriello is no conservative.”

Democratic strategist David Plouffe, the architect of President Obama’s 2008 campaign, acknowledged the importance of third-party candidates in a briefing with reporters earlier this month—and said it means many Democrats could win with as little as 47 percent of the vote, “which in this year, is something we are happy about,” he said.

Republicans insist the strategy of propping up minor candidates is a classic political dirty trick aimed at tipping close races for Democrats.

“Democratic incumbents realize they won’t win reelection by their own merits alone…[so] they’ve stooped so low and resorted to unscrupulous and desperate tactics like these to deceive, mislead and lie,” said Joanna Burgos, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Read more:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Man robs bank sits down eats breakfast and calls cab

Missoula police nab suspect in bank robbery


JAMIE KELLY and GWEN FLORIO of the Missoulian

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 10:30 pm

 buy this photo
Missoula police officers collect a $20 bill as evidence from a Yellow Cab driven by James Anderson, right, outside the DoubleTree Edgewater Hotel on Tuesday morning. Anderson’s passenger is a suspect in the robbery of Sterling Savings Bank in downtown Missoula. Photo by LINDA THOMPSON/Missoulian

A midmorning bank robbery in downtown Missoula on Tuesday involved a leisurely suspect who - after allegedly taking cash from a Sterling Savings Bank teller - sat down and ate breakfast at Liquid Planet, called a cab, stopped for smokes and then tipped the driver $5 for the $7.50 ride that delivered him to the DoubleTree Edgewater Hotel.

And, as it turned out, straight into the arms of the law.

Deborah Stroud was playing catch with her border collie, Becky, at about 10:30 a.m. in front of the DoubleTree when a cab pulled up, followed moments later by a police car. The patrol car blipped its sirens twice and the morning erupted as police with guns drawn piled out of both the car and the lobby of the hotel - which was hosting a law enforcement training session.

"It was like watching ‘Cops' live," said Stroud, 56, a retired Ravalli County reserve sheriff's deputy. "They did a felony take-down."

Vincent John Sullivan, 64, was arrested in connection with the case, Missoula police confirmed. A Justice Court hearing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Wednesday for Sullivan, who is not from Montana.

The alleged robbery itself took mere moments, and Sullivan's arrest was likewise efficient.

The half-hour or so in between, though, was a different story.


The incident began at about 10 a.m., when an overweight man estimated to be in his 60s walked into the bank, told a female teller he had a weapon, and demanded money, Missoula Police Detective Sgt. Bob Bouchee said.

The man, who was about 6 feet tall with a birthmark on the right side of his face, wore black pants and a gray sweatshirt, according to reports from four bank employees and a lone customer, Bouchee said. After taking an unspecified amount of cash, the man headed south on Higgins Avenue, he said.

A few minutes later, a hungry man in a green New York Jets jersey came into Liquid Planet - a few stores north, and on the other side of the street, from Sterling Savings.

Liquid Planet employee Nathan Talley noted two things about the man.

"He was sweaty," Talley said. And "he wanted eggs really bad."


The man got a breakfast bowl with bacon and eggs, along with a mug of coffee - for a total of $7.95 - and took it to one of the cafe's back tables.

Meanwhile, police had started canvassing the neighborhood.

Kent Watson of Kent Watson & Associates landscape architects, who has a second-floor office on Higgins just up the street from the bank, decided he needed a cup of coffee from nearby Butterfly Herbs at about that time. He walked out onto the street to see a bunch of police cars with lights flashing - and, at his feet in the doorway of the Rocky Mountain School of Photography - a bunched-up gray sweatshirt with "Seattle" on it.

Police were summoned.

"Yes," said Missoula Police Detective Jamie Merifield, holding back onlookers as police took photos of the sweatshirt. "It's evidence."


Down the street, the man had finished his breakfast bowl at Liquid Planet. Now he wanted a cab. He asked employee Carly Tuman for a phone number for a cab company, and told her he wanted to go to the Red Lion and to the University of Montana campus.

Tuman was confused. Liquid Planet is about midway between the Red Lion Hotel on Broadway and the UM campus. (Years ago, however, the DoubleTree, just north of campus, was known as the Red Lion.)

Enter cab driver James Anderson. His fare was waiting in the back of Liquid Planet, and acting strange, he said.

"From the first look, I just sensed something about him," said Anderson. The man offered him a cup of coffee, but Anderson declined.

The man left without busing his table, Talley said.

Minutes later, police came in with photos of the bank robbery suspect.


In the cab, the man first asked to be taken to the UM campus, but was unable to give Anderson a specific location. Then he asked to ride to the DoubleTree - but not before asking Anderson to stop at a convenience store so he could buy two packs of cigarettes.

"He mentioned that there would be a good tip in it for me," said Anderson.

The cab fare was $7.50; the suspect handed him a $20 bill then tipped Anderson $5.

That's when the police cars pulled up.

"They all had their guns drawn," said Stroud, the onlooker who watched police surround the cab. "And they pulled this old-timer out."

Bouchee credited the quick apprehension to a combination of fast police work and helpful information from several witnesses. The arrest of the suspect involved nearly everyone on the police department's patrol shift, along with a half-dozen detectives, plus assistance from the Missoula County Sheriff's Office and the Montana Highway Patrol - as well as officers attending the law enforcement training session at the DoubleTree, he said.

"It was a good effort by all," he said.

Liquid Planet's Talley had an additional theory. The suspect may have tipped the cab driver, but he left no money at the coffee shop. Bad karma, Talley said.

"That's why he got caught."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Sarah Palin is outstanding says John McCain but not ready to endorse her for prez

Sarah Palin is 'outstanding,' says John McCain, but Arizona Sen. not ready to endorse her for prez

Sean Alfano
Tuesday, October 26th 2010, 10:50 AM

Sen. John McCain and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin unsuccessfully ran on the GOP ticket for President in 2008.

York/APSen. John McCain and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin unsuccessfully ran on the GOP ticket for President in 2008.


John McCain isn't quite ready to give the mama grizzly's potential run for President a bear hug.

Sarah Palin is "outstanding," but McCain sounded gun shy in an interview where he was asked if he would endorse her for the 2012 GOP bid.

The Arizona senator who ran for President with Palin as his running mate in 2008 reiterated his "high regard" for the ex-Alaska governor, but said it was too soon to back her for a White House run.

"I don't think Sarah would want me to, before she's even able to make a decision," McCain told CBS News.

Palin, who has hinted at a possible run, saying she could "give it a shot" if no other Republicans step forward, has been busy campaigning for several Tea Party candidates running in November's midterm elections.

"I'm very grateful for all the things she's done to invigorate our party," McCain said.

Her political fate may rest on how well the GOP fares in the midterms.

"If we don't win the Senate I have one thing to say: 'Thank you, Sarah Palin,'" a bigtime player in Republican circles told the Daily News last week.

Despite polls that show voters are ready to kick out the Democrats in Congress, McCain remained cautious about his party's chances on Election Day.

"If I had to predict and I'm very hesitant to do so, I think we will be up late, or even after election night, waiting to see what happens," McCain said.

"We're in for an interesting election."

Read more:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


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Monday, October 25, 2010


Three jailers and a sheriff's deputy were locked in cell

Jailers, deputy locked in cell

Sheriff: Inexperience, inadequate staff, antiquated jail to blame

Janie Ginocchio

paragould daily press

Published: Friday, October 22, 2010 12:53 PM CDT
Three jailers and a sheriff’s deputy were temporarily locked in a jail cell Oct. 10 while attempting to search the cell for contraband, according to a jail incident report.

At about 11:10 p.m., Cpl. C.J. Looney and Officer Shawn Jones were collecting razors from inmates when an inmate in cell D-5 rushed out and said he had to pass a note to someone in cell D-4. The inmate, Roy Maynard, tried to pass the note and pick up a small envelope used to dispense medication at the jail, according to the report. Inside the envelope was allegedly cigarette, which illegal to possess at the jail.

The envelope bore the name of inmate K. Pullen Sr., who was confined to the day room pending an investigation. Pullen denied knowledge of the cigarette.

At 11:15, Sgt. Ray Brandon asked Deputy Mike Ryles to assist him and the two other jailers in searching cell D-4 for more contraband. Ryles stood guard at the door while Looney and Jones searched the north side of the cell and Brandon searched the other side.

“Due to the lack of available light, Deputy Ryles joined Sgt. Brandon in the sleeping quarters on the south side, leaving the door unprotected,” Looney wrote in his report. Inmate Jacob Rodden ran out of the cell, closed the door and inserted the security pin in the hasp, according to the report. Rodden then locked himself in visitation booth 4, Looney wrote.

According to a letter sent to The Daily Press by an inmate who witnessed the incident from a nearby cell, the four county employees were with 14 inmates in a cell built for eight.

“These four employees were locked in cell D-4 for around 15 minutes,” the inmate wrote in the letter, which was signed by four other inmates.

Jones notified a matron who had been brought over from the women’s side and “assumed control of the pod” during the search, and she told the trustees in the next cell to remove the pin and open the door, according to the incident report.

Rodden was placed temporarily in the detox cell and put on indefinite lockdown for his actions, and Maynard was placed on a one-week lockdown for possession of the cigarette, Looney wrote. The identity of the inmate who placed the envelope outside of cell D-4 was not determined.

Sheriff’s response

Sheriff Dan Langston said he was not aware of the incident when first contacted by a Daily Press reporter.

“I usually get an overnight report [on jail incidents], but the sergeant failed to mention this,” he said in an interview Wednesday, adding there would be no disciplinary action against the jailers or the deputy.

He said jail administrator Ron Harvey is on vacation this week and he wants to wait to address the matter with staff when Harvey gets back “so we can get everybody on the same page.”

He cited the staff’s inexperience as one reason for the incident.

“We’ve got some new personnel — it’s a training facility,” he said, echoing earlier statements about the jail’s high employee turnover rate because of low salaries.

Langston also placed partial blame for the incident on the jail’s inadequate staffing levels and the “antiquated” jail design.

Current staffing for the jail is two jailers and a pod operator for the men’s side of the jail on a shift, but if a jailer calls in sick or takes vacation, the department has to scramble to fill in the gaps, he said.

“We try to get someone in for comp time or overtime, but that’s limited,” he said.

The jail’s staffing levels have been cited as a concern at least five times since 2005 by the 2nd Judicial District Criminal Detention Facilities Review Committee, most recently in a letter to County Judge Jesse Dollars dated Sept. 17.

“The jail has insufficient staff to properly perform the jail’s administrative and operational functions and to provide adequate security for the jail staff and inmates,” according to the letter.

“... [S]ecurity here is next to nothing,” the inmate wrote in his letter to The Daily Press.

The committee placed the jail on a six-month notice and was ordered to fix its deficiencies, which include overcrowding.

Langston said the jail has been understaffed since it opened, and the quorum court at the time promised to make “adjustments” that never materialized.

“Manpower is our foremost problem,” he said.

Inadequate facilities

Langston said the jail was poorly designed, and there in insufficient lighting in the cells. Other physical plant problems include the HVAC, sewer and electrical systems.

The inmate who wrote The Daily Press regarding the Oct. 10 incident also complained that the hot water heater in his cell has not worked for a week, forcing inmates to take “ice cold” showers.

Langston said he wasn’t aware of the problem, but wasn’t surprised due to the age and condition of the jail facilities.

“It’s a normal occurrence,” he said. “Normally these things are reported to Ron [Harvey], and he acts immediately to get things fixed.”

Langston said there was a recent incident in which the pod control panel “went blank” and jailers had to manually open cell doors with keys.

“If someone does a crime, we need to have a place to incarcerate them,” he said. “Some type of credible punishment. Our 84-bed facility is not it.”

Monday, October 25, 2010


Democratic nominee for governor tells Obama to 'shove it'

Democratic nominee for R.I. governor tells Obama to 'shove it'


Jordan Fabian - 10/25/10 11:18 AM ET


Upon hearing he would not receive President Obama's endorsement, the Democratic nominee for governor of Rhode Island told the president to "shove it."

Frank Caprio took the swipe at the president just before he was scheduled to arrive in the Ocean State for a factory visit and fundraiser. 

"He can take his endorsement and really shove it as far as I'm concerned," Caprio told WPRO Radio, the Providence Journal reported. 

Caprio's comment is one of the strongest examples of anti-Obama rhetoric from a Democrat this cycle, in which political observers are predicting a GOP wave.

The Democrat is in a three-way race with independent Lincoln Chafee, a former centrist Republican senator, and GOP nominee John Robitaille.

Caprio holds a single-digit lead over Chafee in a recent poll. The ex-senator lost his seat to Sheldon Whitehouse in 2006, a Democratic wave year, and he was one of a number of national Republicans to endorse Obama for president in 2008. 

A spokesman for the former senator, Mike Trainor, told the Journal Obama's decision "is a victory for Linc Chafee."

Caprio hit Obama for not visiting Rhode Island during a span of severe flooding in the spring. He said that people in his state "are hurting" under high unemployment and "now he's coming into Rhode Island treating us like an ATM machine."

Earlier this year, Caprio reportedly considered switching parties from Democrat to Republican.


Monday, October 25, 2010


President Obama's closing argument: Don't go GOP

President Obama's closing argument: Don't go GOP

Barack Obama is pictured. | AP Photo
President Obama ends his campaign swing in Minnesota on Saturday. | AP
10/23/10 5:49 PM EDT


MINNEAPOLIS — President Barack Obama finished the longest campaign trip of his presidency Saturday much in the way he started: criticizing Republicans for wanting to take the country backward and trying to rally disheartened Democrats to the polls.

For Democratic supporters from 2008 who are thinking about switching sides this election, Obama paraphrased Albert Einstein. “The true sign of madness is if you do the same thing over and over again and expect the same result,” he said during a rally at the University of Minnesota.


“All of you have to vote,” Obama told thousands of supporters. “There is no excuse.”

The president, who was in Minnesota to stump for gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton, continued to attack Republicans by framing the election as a choice — between tax cuts for the middle class or tax cuts for the wealthy, he said, and a reformed health care, credit card and financial system or the same policies that were in place before he took office.

“We’ve got a different idea about what the future should hold for America,” Obama said. Republicans, he said, are offering “same old stuff that they have been peddling for the last decade,” whether it’s on Social Security, the environment or foreign policy.

“We believe in making sure people don’t get ripped off when they sign up for a mortgage,” Obama said, suggesting Republicans don’t. “That’s the choice in this election.”

Obama, whose party is facing strong headwinds this November, tried to inspire 2008 enthusiasm in the crowd, as he has at events in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and Las Vegas over the past four days.

He cast support for his candidacy as “a movement” they began two years ago and urged voters to stick with him through this tough political climate.

“We’re just in the first quarter,” Obama said inside a university gymnasium. “We’ve got a lot more quarters to play.”

The crowd cheered, turning into a flood of Dayton campaign signs and several leftovers from 2008, including “Teamsters for Obama.”

Minnesota’s gubernatorial election is one of the few places in the country where Democrats are poised to make gains. Dayton, who introduced Obama at the rally, is ahead in the polls. And the White House would very much like to take some credit for it if he wins. Obama’s visit Saturday follows one earlier this month by Vice President Joe Biden.

For his part, Dayton has adopted the Obama campaign lingo.

“Are you fired up and ready to work hard for 10 more days?” he asked the crowd.


Read more:

Sunday, October 24, 2010


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Saturday, October 23, 2010


Two cafeteria workers charged with stealing students lunch money

Two Shelby County School Cafeteria Workers Charged With Theft

George Brown 4:30 PM CDT, October 22, 2010


Two Shelby County School Cafeteria Workers Charged With Theft
( Memphis 10/22/2010) Former cashiers at two Shelby County schools have been indicted for theft and official misconduct.

Courtney Dixon was a cashier at Bon Lin Elementary and is charged with stealing more than $15,000 from cafeteria funds at the school from August 2008 until May 2009.

An audit found Dixon would, "...record cash received from students in their cafeteria accounts as "adjustments" rather than collections in order to get around including those cash collections on her daily cash reports. Under this scheme, records of the students' accounts showed the money they turned over to Dixon, but the cash she collected was never deposited into the school's bank account."

There is also an allegation that at least 12 times, cash was removed from collections, recorded as being given back to the student and then, "... an equivalent amount was returned to the student's account by an adjustment."

Dixon allegedly credited money to the accounts of two of her daughters.

The audit also found some credits were put into an account of the son of the former lead cashier at Rivercrest Elementary School, Tammy Radford.

Radford apparently worked with Dixon in the past and was trained by Dixon.

The audit says, "After auditors began to investigate the suspicious credits at Rivercrest Elementary, they discovered that Radford was taking cash from that cafeteria and using back office records adjustments to conceal the theft just as Dixon was doing at Bon Lin Elementary."

Money coming into the the cafeteria accounts at Bon Lin Elementary School have reportedly increased by more than $30,000 in the school year since Dixon left.

Mike Tebbe with Shelby County Schools told us, "Due to our suspicion of wrongdoing, we turned this over the state comptrollers office to investigate."

Saturday, October 23, 2010


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Friday, October 22, 2010


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Friday, October 22, 2010


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Friday, October 22, 2010


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Thursday, October 21, 2010


Woman forged judge's signature to get...

Police: Woman forged judge's signature to get car back


  Eileen Kelley  Cincinatti  Enquirer October 21, 2010

In the game of Monopoly, there are "Get out of Jail Free" cards.


In the game that 34-year-old Nikki Hill is accused by police of playing, the cards would read something more like this: "Under a Judge's Order Please Give Ms. Hill Her Car Back as She Has Sorted Out the Whole Mess with Her Drunken Driving and Suspension Charges."

She hasn't, but police say that didn't deter the Green Township woman on several occasions from presenting bogus documents - altered and/or with fake signatures, including one from a former magistrate - to get her car back.

The bogus document scheme worked twice when Hill marched into the Green Township Police Department and presented documents that released her car back to her after it had been towed on the allegations that she had been driving without a valid license after losing it to a drunken-driving charge.

The law and 10 months of circumventing the system due to jail overcrowding caught up with Hill on Wednesday when she stood before Judge Bernie Bouchard to face multiple misdemeanor driving charges. Little did Hill know that as she stood there, Lt. Vince Cerchio of the Green Township Police Department had just presented felony forgery cases to a Hamilton County grand jury, which resulted in an indictment against Hill.

Cerchio then raced down to Bouchard's courtroom and snapped the cuffs on Hill.

On Thursday, Hill stood before another judge after spending the night in jail. Judge Fanon A. Rucker set bond at $7,500 on the forgery charges as well as tampering with records.

But even if Hill manages to come up with the bond money, she'll be staying put in jail to serve out the 148 days she was ordered to serve by Judge Brad Greenberg back in January on unrelated misdemeanor charges that involved a theft conviction.

Because of overcrowding, Hill, who first reported to jail in January on that charge, has been sent home nine times.

"She's going to stay here," said Steve Barnett, a spokesman for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

In fact she could be staying a lot longer.

Hill made headlines a year ago when she attempted to cheat the Dent School House Haunted House out of $7,450 in ticket sales when she set up shop outside a nearby Kroger to sell stolen tickets that she maintains she purchased on Craigslist. While trying to sell the tickets outside the grocery store, a banner hung above her stating half the proceeds were going to breast cancer research. In that case, Hill was charged with both a felony receiving stolen property charge as well as the two misdemeanors, the later two that were dealt with in Greenberg's court.

In the felony charge, a judge last December spared Hill a jail sentence and instead ordered her to four years of probation, saying she was suffering from some sort of mental breakdown.

If the recent forgery charges - which are felonies - stand, that probation could be revoked and she could find herself in jail for at least five years.

That would suit Greenberg just fine. Police say the documents Hill used to get her car back from Green Township police have Greenberg's name on them.

"The signature was clearly baloney," said Greenberg. "She has a nose for trouble."




Provided Police say Nikki Hill, 34, presented false documents several times to officials, including once to get her car out of

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Juan Williams fired NPR analyst signs multi-year contract with Fox News

Juan Williams, fired NPR analyst, signs multi-year contract with Fox News for expanded role

Meena Hartenstein
Thursday, October 21st 2010, 9:53 PM

Fired NPR host Juan Williams will take on an expanded role at Fox, the network announced.

Drew/APFired NPR host Juan Williams will take on an expanded role at Fox, the network announced.

Freshly fired NPR host Juan Williams learned an old adage is true on Thursday: when one door closes, another opens.

Williams, canned this week for his comments on "The O'Reilly Factor" about his fear of flying with Muslims, is finding there's a silver lining to his situation: a promotion at Fox News.

The network announced on Thursday that they have resigned Williams "to an expanded role" and have signed him to a multi-year contract.

Chairman and CEO of Fox News Roger Ailes used the announcement as an opportunity to weigh in on the controversy, saying, "Juan has been a staunch defender of liberal viewpoints since his tenure began at Fox News in 1997. He’s an honest man whose freedom of speech is protected by Fox News on a daily basis."

Williams, who has appeared on Fox News many times as an analyst in the past, was fired for comments he made to Bill O'Reilly during his show on Monday.

"Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot," Williams said. "But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they're identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

Williams also referenced statements by failed Times Square terrorist Faisal Shahzad.

"He said the war with Muslims, America's war is just beginning, first drop of blood," Williams told O'Reilly. "I don't think there's any way to get away from these facts."

NPR responded to Williams' comments by terminating him, issuing a statement that read, "His remarks on 'The O'Reilly Factor' this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR."

On Thursday, Williams appeared on the O'Reilly show again to defend himself, calling NPR "self righteous."

"They take something totally out of context," he said.

A noted civil rights author, Williams stressed he had used the example of his own prejudice to point out that Americans must confront their fears.

"I said we have an obligation as Americans to be careful to protect the constitutional rights of everyone in our country and to make sure that we don't have any outbreak of bigotry," he said.

"But that there's a reality. You can not ignore what happened on 9/11 and you cannot ignore the connection to Islamic radicalism, and you can't ignore the fact of what has even recently been said in court with regard to this is the first drop of blood in a Muslim war in America."

Read more:

Thursday, October 21, 2010


In wake of Williams firing, Republicans want NPR funding examined

In wake of Williams firing, Republicans want NPR funding examined

Jordan Fabian
The Hill
10/21/10 01:39 PM ET

Three potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates chimed in Thursday on the firing of NPR news analyst Juan Williams, with two of them calling on Congress to scrutinize NPR's federal funding. 

Williams was ousted Wednesday night for comments he made on Fox News about Muslims. But former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) all called NPR's move an act of censorship and political correctness.

"While I have often enjoyed appearing on NPR programs and have been treated fairly and objectively, I will no longer accept interview requests from NPR as long as they are going to practice a form of censorship, and since NPR is funded with public funds, it IS a form of censorship," Huckabee said in a statement. "It is time for the taxpayers to start making cuts to federal spending, and I encourage the new Congress to start with NPR."

House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio), who could be House speaker next year, said that "it's reasonable" to examine federal subsidies for NPR, which he called a "left-wing radio network."

“We need to face facts – our government is broke," Boehner told the conservative National Review. "Washington is borrowing 37 cents of every dollar it spends from our kids and grandkids. Given that, I think it’s reasonable to ask why Congress is spending taxpayers’ money to support a left-wing radio network – and in the wake of Juan Williams’ firing, it’s clearer than ever that’s what NPR is."

Conservatives saw the Williams firing as a chance to drive a wedge issue by criticizing media outlets, such as NPR, which they say are too sympathetic to left-wing points of view. 

The long-time commentator told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, "Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

NPR explained Williams's firing in a statement saying his comments were "inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR."

NPR operates using both private and public money, though most of their revenue comes from non-public sources. 

Gingrich, who was the top House lawmaker from 1994-1998, said that Congress should investigate NPR and consider cutting its funding.

"The U.S. Congress should investigate NPR and consider cutting off its money," he said on Fox News, calling the incident "a total act of censorship."

Palin put her response on her widely read Twitter account, saying "NPR defends 1st Amendment Right, but will fire u if u exercise it. Juan Williams: u got taste of Left's hypocrisy,they screwed up firing you."

-- This post was updated at 4:22 p.m.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


America's Poor: Where Poverty Is Rising In America

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Juan Williams FIRED: Over Fox News Muslim Comments

Juan Williams FIRED: NPR Sacks Analyst Over Fox News Muslim Comments

Huffington Post   |  Jack Mirkinson

First Posted: 10-21-10 12:31 AM   |   Updated: 10-21-10 12:52 AM

Juan Williams 

NPR announced late on Wednesday night that it has terminated the contract of longtime analyst Juan Williams over his comments on Fox News that, when he is on a plane with Muslims, "I get nervous."

NPR's media reporter David Folkenflik broke the news on Twitter.

Williams' comments came during a discussion with Bill O'Reilly on Monday's "O'Reilly Factor." O'Reilly asked Williams if he had been in the wrong during his now-infamous appearance on "The View" last week. (There, O'Reilly's statement that "Muslims killed us on 9/11" caused Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg to walk off the set in anger.)

Williams replied that he thought O'Reilly had, in fact, been right. He continued:

"I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."


In a statement, NPR said that it had informed Williams of its decision on Wednesday night, and that his remarks were "inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR."

Williams had been a contributor and analyst at NPR for decades, but his dual role on Fox News -- where he has also been a longtime and frequent contributor -- drew so many complaints from NPR's listeners that it asked Fox News to stop identifying Williams as an "NPR News Political Analyst" in 2009.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Woman Lost Thousands At Illicit Gambling Spot

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


NAACP says Tea Party gives platform for racists

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


George W. Bush says he 'misses' perks of being president

George W. Bush tells Texas crowd that he 'misses' perks of being president
Philip Caulfield
Wednesday, October 20th 2010, 6:16 PM

Former President George W. Bush has kept a low profile since leaving the White House. His forthcoming book, "Decision Points", is due out in November.

Ceneta/APFormer President George W. Bush has kept a low profile since leaving the White House. His forthcoming book, "Decision Points", is due out in November.

Is Bush bored?

In a speech at the University of Texas at Tyler, former President George W. Bush told a packed house that he misses the creature comforts of the White House.

"I miss being pampered; I miss Air Force One; I miss being commander in chief of an awesome group of (people)," Bush told the audience Tuesday night, reports the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

The loudly pro-Bush crowd lavished the former President with cheers, fist-pumps, three standing ovations and shouts of "Bring Back Bush" during his talk, which was part of the school's distinguished lecture series.

Bush has kept a low profile since leaving office in January of 2009. Aides told The Associated Press the former President won't stick his nose in the dirt being flung back and forth in the run-up to November's midterm elections.

That's probably for the best, as far as his party is concerned.

An AP-GfK poll released just last month found that 55% of Americans are still sour on Bush, and 51% say he was responsible for the economic crisis.

But these days, instead of cleaning up the country's messes, he’s cleaning up after former First Dog Barney.

"Ten days out of the presidency, there I was with a plastic bag in my hand, picking up that which I had been dodging for eight years," he told the crowd.

Read more:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Woman takes $10,000 bill to the bank

Lowell bank wasn't buying this $10G bill

Andrea Gregory
Lowell Sun
10/19/2010 06:35:31 AM EDT



LOWELL -- When a woman came to Enterprise Bank on Gorham Street with a $10,000 bill yesterday morning, bank staff had to question its authenticity.

Michael Gallagher, the bank's risk-management director, said it was an easy call spotting the counterfeit bill, given there are believed to be only about 300 that are still around.

"It is really unlikely we would see one in Lowell," he said. "It raised red flags very quickly. It was an easy catch."

The $10,000 bill has not been printed since 1934 and they really haven't been in circulation since the 1930s, said Gallagher. He also said any of the bills that still do exist are probably in the hands of collectors.

"We haven't seen one ever," he said.

Following protocol, the bank will ship the fake bill to the Federal Reserve.

Gallagher said he could not give details as to the type of transaction the woman was attempting to make with the counterfeit money.

According to police, the woman with the counterfeit bill told bank staff she got the bill from an unnamed boyfriend.

Capt. Randall Humphrey said police are investigating and the U.S. Secret Service has been notified. He also said there are some mental-health concerns with the woman who had the bill.

Police said the woman has not been charged, but the investigation is ongoing.

Read more:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Man arrested after attacking girlfriend with corn dog

Fort Pierce man charged with attacking girlfriend with corn dog


October 19th, 2010




Will Greenlee




FORT PIERCE - A man accused of throwing a mustard-covered corn dog that hit his live-in girlfriend during a weekend fracas faces misdemeanor charges, according to a recently released arrest affidavit.

Fort Pierce police arrested Tommie Lee Mckeliver, 48, on Saturday after his beau told investigators he “got mad at her and threw a paper plate that contained a mustard covered State Fair corn dog on it.” The corn dog crashed into her chest area, leaving her “coated” in mustard.

“(The girlfriend) stunned by the situation then found herself being pushed out of the room, and (the) door locked behind her,” the affidavit states.

The alleged corn dog attack happened shortly before 2 p.m. at an apparent hotel in the 500 block of North Second Street.

Generally speaking, corn dogs are hot dogs coated in cornmeal batter and deep fried. They are served on a wooden stick with some corn dog connoisseurs preferring to dip their dogs in ketchup, mustard or other condiments. The affidavit didn’t specify what type of mustard coated the corn dog Mckeliver is accused of throwing.

Police knocked on the door of the room but got no response. The girlfriend said she could get a spare key from the hotel manager and opened the room. Mckeliver was seated and listening to headphones.

Police asked the accused corn dog chucker for his name.

Mckeliver never supplied police with his name, but an intake deputy at the St. Lucie County jail recognized him.

Mckeliver, of the 500 block of North Second Street, was arrested on misdemeanor charges including domestic battery and resisting without violence.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Drill-bit piece accidentally left in patient's head

Hospital: Drill-bit piece accidentally left in patient's head


Logan Burruss

CNN October 14, 2010

10:31 p.m. EDT

The mistake was made at Rhode Island Hospital on August 4. The piece was removed from the patient two days later.

The mistake was made at Rhode Island Hospital on August 4. The piece was removed from the patient two days later.


(CNN) -- A prominent Rhode Island hospital says a piece of a medical drill bit was accidentally left in a patient's head during surgery and later had to be removed.

"On August 4, a small piece of a drill bit used during a procedure broke off and was not accounted for at the end of the procedure, as is required by one of our policies," Rhode Island Hospital in Providence said this week in a statement released by hospital spokeswoman Ellen Slingsby.

The drill bit "was subsequently identified through diagnostic imaging," removed on August 6 and the patient was released, the statement said.

The doctor and the operating-room team involved have been suspended, the hospital said. Peter Hanney of the Rhode Island Department of Health told CNN that, "the suspension of the doctors is on behalf of Rhode Island Hospital," as his department's investigation "is still not complete."

The hospital statement added, "As with any unanticipated outcome, we have apologized to the patient and have conducted a full investigation."

Citing doctor-patient confidentiality, the hospital did not identify the doctor or the patient, or release other further details.

An investigation by the Providence Journal newspaper has cited other incidents involving the hospital; in particular, six "wrong-side" surgeries since 2001, according to the newspaper.

Neither officials of the hospital or the Department of Health would comment on that newspaper's reports but Hanney said the incident "is not a wrong-side surgery, this is a medical device left inside a patient."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Don't Follow the Money

The New York Times



October 18, 2010

Don’t Follow the Money



Over the past few months, there’s been a torrent of commentary about political donations and campaign spending. This lavish coverage is based on the premise that campaign spending has an important influence on elections.

I can see why media consultants would believe money is vitally important: the more money there is the more they make. I can see why partisans would want to believe money is important: they tend to blame their party’s defeats on the nefarious spending of the other side. But I can’t see why the rest of us should believe this. The evidence to support it is so slight.

Let’s start with the current data. The vast majority of campaign spending is done by candidates and political parties. Over the past year, the Democrats, most of whom are incumbents, have been raising and spending far more than the Republicans.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Democrats in the most competitive House races have raised an average of 47 percent more than Republicans. They have spent 66 percent more, and have about 53 percent more in their war chests. According to the Wesleyan Media Project, between Sept. 1 and Oct. 7, Democrats running for the House and the Senate spent $1.50 on advertising for every $1 spent by Republicans.

Despite this financial advantage, Democrats have been sinking in the polls. I suppose they could argue that the conditions could be even worse if they didn’t have the money edge, but this is a weak case. It’s more plausible to argue that the ad buys just didn’t make that much difference.

After all, money wasn’t that important when Phil Gramm and John Connally ran for president. In those and many other cases, huge fund-raising prowess yielded nothing. Money wasn’t that important in 2006 when Republican incumbents outraised Democrats by $100 million and still lost. Money wasn’t that important in the 2010 Alaska primary when Joe Miller beat Lisa Murkowski despite being outspent 10 to 1. It wasn’t that important in the 2010 Delaware primary when Mike Castle, who raised $1.5 million, was beaten by Christine O’Donnell, who had raised $230,000.

The most alarmed coverage concerns the skyrocketing spending of independent groups. It is true that Republicans have an edge when it comes to outside expenditures. This year, for example, the United States Chamber of Commerce is spending $22 million for Republicans, while the Service Employees International Union is spending about $14 million for Democrats.

But independent spending is about only a tenth of spending by candidates and parties. Democrats have a healthy fear of Karl Rove, born out of experience, but there is no way the $13 million he influences through the group American Crossroads is going to reshape an election in which the two parties are spending something like $1.4 billion collectively.

Moreover, there’s no real evidence that independent expenditure is any more effective than candidate expenditure. Year after year, independent money follows passion but doesn’t ignite it. In 2008, Democrats had a huge independent advantage; now the Republicans do.

The main effect of this money is to make the rubble bounce. Let’s say you live in Colorado. Conservative-leaning groups have spent $6.6 million attacking Michael Bennet, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, according to, a nonprofit site that monitors spending in politics. Liberal-leaning groups have spent $6.9 million attacking his Republican opponent, Ken Buck. Over all, there have been 5,358 pro-Democratic ads and 4,928 pro-Republican ones in their race, according to the Wesleyan Media Project.

This isn’t persuasive; it’s mind-numbing. No wonder voters tune it all out. Amid this onslaught, there is no way a slightly richer ad campaign is going to make much difference.

Political scientists have tried to measure the effectiveness of campaign spending using a variety of methodologies. There is no consensus in the field. One large group of studies finds that spending by incumbents makes no difference whatsoever, but spending by challengers helps them get established. Another group finds that neither incumbent nor challenger spending makes a difference. Another group finds that both kinds of spending have some impact.

But there’s no evidence to suggest that campaign spending has the outsize role that the candidates, the consultants and the political press often imagine.

So why is there so much money in politics? Well, every consultant has an incentive to tell every client to raise more money. The donors give money because it makes them feel as if they are doing good and because they get to hang out at exclusive parties. The candidates are horribly insecure and grasp at any straw that gives them a sense of advantage.

In the end, however, money is a talisman. It makes people feel good because they think it has magical properties. It probably helps in local legislative races where name recognition is low. It probably helps challengers get established. But these days, federal races are oversaturated. Every federal candidate in a close race has plenty of money and the marginal utility of each new dollar is zero.

In this day and age, money is almost never the difference between victory and defeat. It’s just the primitive mythology of the political class.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Justice Thomas' wife seeks apology from Anita Hill

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Man with cocaine asks police for ride home

Danville man asks police for ride home, forgets about cocaine in pocket

Robert Salonga
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 10/19/2010 03:17:51 PM PDT
Updated: 10/19/2010 03:56:28 PM PDT


A 19-year-old Danville man was arrested in Redwood City after he asked a policeman for a transbay ride home but forgot about the cocaine he had, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office reported.

Authorities say Ongley Raymond Ocon III had left a party in San Carlos early Sunday when he walked up to a Redwood City patrol car and pressed his face against the driver's side window, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe. The officer rolled his window down and asked what Ocon wanted. He said he needed a ride home to Danville.

Wagstaffe said the officer then asked Ocon if he was carrying anything illegal.

"He said yes, but then paused and said no," Wagstaffe said.

The conflicting answers prompted the officer to ask Ocon if he could search him, and Ocon consented, Wagstaffe said. That resulted in the discovery of a bindle of cocaine -- which usually contains less than a gram -- in one of his pockets.

Ocon was charged with felony possession of cocaine and was scheduled for arraignment today.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Man steals new jeans and leaves wallet behind in old jeans

Police: Couple Left Evidence Behind Linking Them To Thefts


Oct 19, 2010 12:02 AM EDT

GALLATIN, Tenn. - Police said they arrested two people in a string of thefts after one of the suspect's literally left his identification behind.

20-year-old Dustin Matthew Marshall and 19-year-old Lindsey Samantha Scholl were arrested and charged with charged with burglary, three counts of theft from a motor vehicle, two counts of theft under $500 and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police said they were able to identify the pair as suspects in a string of thefts since October 14 after Marshall allegedly stole a pair of jeans and left his old jeans, containing his wallet with his driver's license inside, behind in the dressing room at Walmart.

On Saturday night, police said the suspects fled the Longhorn Steakhouse in Gallatin without paying for their meal and left behind evidence behind that linked them to one of the auto burglaries.

Officers later located the pair outside their home on East Prince Street and subsequently obtained a search warrant which produced evidence connected the suspects to the remaining auto burglaries and a burglary at the Christian Towers Apartments.

Both Marshall and Scholl were arrested and booked into the Sumner County Jail.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Woman dies after being erroneously presumed dead

Severna Park woman dies after being erroneously presumed dead on Oct. 1


Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 19, 2010; 1:57 AM



An 89-year-old Maryland woman died over the weekend after a bizarre and grisly series of events in which she was presumed to have died in her house -- until someone sent to collect her body realized she was alive.

According to accounts from a neighbor and authorities, police had found the woman, identified as Ruth Johnson, on a floor in her home in the Severna Park area of Anne Arundel County on Oct. 1, after neighbors became concerned for her welfare.

Based on the accounts, Johnson lived alone on Ledbury Road, and it seemed clear to the officers who were initially sent to the house that she had died. County police said Monday that they were troubled by the matter and would investigate.

Johnson had provided for her body to be donated to science, and a representative of the state board that accepts such donations was sent to the house.

A neighbor who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter recalled standing outside in the evening when the man came out.

"Where are you taking her?" the neighbor said she asked.

"We're not taking her anyplace," the neighbor said she was told. "She's alive."

According to the neighbor, the man who had come for the body said he had seen Johnson's arm move.

He also told her that Johnson had appeared to exhale. That, the neighbor was told, was not unusual for a deceased person. But then, the neighbor said, the man said she inhaled, and that was described as a sign of life.

The woman was taken to a hospital, where the neighbor visited her. "She was on oxygen, breathing very roughly," seemingly asleep, the neighbor said. "She was not conscious."

Johnson was transferred to a hospice, where she died Saturday, said Ronn Wade, director of the state anatomy board, which administers the donation program.

The neighbor said Johnson was a private person whose husband had died in the past year. Neighbors tried to look out for her without being intrusive, the neighbor said. They decided to call authorities when newspapers began accumulating in a box at her house.

A police officer "went in and came out and said yes, in fact, she had passed," the neighbor said.

In a statement sent to the Eye on Annapolis Web site, county police officials said personnel are "expected to render aid to ill, injured or unconscious persons" until medical personnel can take over.

Calling the initial facts of the incident "deeply disturbing," Col. James Teare Sr., the county police chief, said he was taking the matter seriously.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Nancy Pelosi dubbed the 'Wicked Witch'

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, unpopular: slammed by GOP and Democrats before midterm elections

Aliyah Shahid

Tuesday, October 19th 2010, 12:39 PM



Trick or treat? Pelosi hit by both parties as critical midterms loom


Nancy Pelosi isn't the most popular person in her party these days. But that's not keeping her off the campaign trail.

The House Speaker, who Republicans have dubbed the "wicked witch" of Washington, told a union crowd in Pittsburgh on Monday that it's crucial the Democrats win in the midterm elections.

She made no mention about current anti-incumbent, anti-Obama, and anti-Pelosi sentiment. But soon after her speech, -- where protestors rallied outside --  the Republican Party of Pennsylvania noted that endangered Democratic Reps. Jason Altmire, Kathy Dahlkemper and Mark Critz were "no shows" at the event.

While she fares much better in her own state, other embattled House Democrats, like Georgia's Jim Marshall and Mississippi's Gene Taylor, have tried to distance themselves from the once-popular politician, vowing to not support her for Speaker.

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that Pelosi has a mere 22% approval rating and a 50% disapproval rating, which makes her less popular than President Obama, former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Minority Leader John Boehner.

Meanwhile, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele brought his "Fire Pelosi Bus Tour," part of a 100-city-circuit to Louisville, Kentucky to energize the GOP, the Courier-Journal reported.

Republicans need to win 39 seats take control of the House and 10 seats to capture control of the Senate.

Cook Political Report predicted a GOP net gain of at least 40 seats in the House and seven to nine seats in the Senate. 

But Pelosi doesn't seem to be worried about the mounting criticism. And although she's been the GOP punching bag, most political insiders believe Pelosi will easily be re-elected to her seat.

She recently told an audience during a dinner for Fortune magazine's Most Powerful Women Summit her job requires a "suit of armor," adding if "no one's talking about you, you have to wonder what you were doing. I view that as a highest compliment that they want to take us down."

Monday, October 18, 2010


Fox news a threat to American Democracy

Patrick Patterson

Modesto Progressive Examiner


Fox news a threat to American Democracy


October 18th, 2010 6:20 pm PT


The Fox “News” channel is a clear and present danger to democracy in America. They masquerade as a news media outlet, but instead offer nothing more than right wing propaganda and a safe haven for the Republican candidates for office.

In addition to being a right wing echo chamber, the parent company of the Faux Propaganda channel has given over $1.2 million dollars to the Republican Governors Association and an additional million dollars to the treasonous chamber of commerce that is funding hit ads on Democratic candidates across the country.

The effect of the Faux Propaganda Channel safe haven is that candidates like Sharon Angle and Christine O'Donnell can avoid traditional media outlets that would hold them accountable for their words and instead get what amounts to free advertizing time. Faux throws softball questions and allows their favored candidates to use their air time to raise money.

The 19th congressional district race in Modesto isn't getting national headlines so local Republican tea party candidate Mike Berryhill candidate isn't getting invited onto Sean Hannity or Fox and friends to raise funds. If Berryhill, whom the right leaning Modesto Bee described as “not well-informed on some critical issues,” he would be raising money from national ideologues who would want to pick off Dennis Cardoza in a moderate district in California.

This has created a situation where candidates that are supported by Newscorp will get all the airtime and fund-raising they could want. There will be more Sarah Palins and Christine O'Donnells and others who will support the puppet masters until democracy is dead.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Magic Johnson sells his ownership stake in the Lakers

Magic Johnson sells his ownership stake in the Lakers


Biotech investor Patrick Soon-Shiong, the nation's 46th-richest individual according to Forbes magazine, buys Johnson's 4.5% share of the franchise. The Lakers great, rumored to have interest in buying another NBA team, will retain his vice president's title with Lakers.

Josh Powell, James Worthy, Magic Johnson Magic Johnson congratulates forward Josh Powell last year when the Lakers were awarded their 2009 NBA championship rings at Staples Center. (Gus Ruelas / Associated Press / October 27, 2009)


No. 46 just bought out the Lakers' No. 32.

Magic Johnson will forever be connected with the Lakers, but he can't be called part-owner of the team any longer.

Johnson sold his 4.5% ownership stake in the franchise to billionaire season-ticket holder Patrick Soon-Shiong, the team said Monday.

Johnson, 51, has become wealthy from his business ventures since retiring from basketball, including commercial real estate, health clubs and restaurants.

But Johnson, who wore No. 32 on the way to becoming a Hall of Fame guard for the Lakers, is a relative pauper compared with Soon-Shiong, a surgeon and biotech investor ranked No. 46 among the nation's wealthiest people by Forbes magazine this year. His estimated worth is $5.6 billion.

Soon-Shiong, 58, said in a statement that it was "an honor to be part of the Lakers family and the nation's foremost basketball franchise."

Based on various valuations the Lakers are worth about $600 million, and Johnson's stake had an estimated value of $27 million, though exact terms of his sale were not disclosed.

"It was a very smart business decision on Earvin's part [to sell]," said Lon Rosen, Johnson's longtime agent.

The sale amount was "a lot more" than $27 million, said a team source who was not authorized to speak publicly. "[Magic] was made an offer that he couldn't refuse."

Various sources close to Johnson also quickly quelled any connection between selling his share of the Lakers and aggressively pursuing ownership of another NBA team. In the last year, Johnson has been rumored to be interested in buying the Golden State Warriors and Detroit Pistons. The Warriors were subsequently sold this year for $450 million.

In the Phil Jackson era, Johnson's role has been relatively minor in terms of the day-to-day workings of the Lakers franchise. But Johnson will keep his title of vice president and continue to consult with General Manager Mitch Kupchak as needed.

"I don't think anything's going to change," Kupchak said. "He's been very valuable to me."

A leading player on five Lakers championship teams in the 1980s, Johnson purchased his share of the franchise for a reported $10 million in June 1994.

Johnson said the choice to sell was made after "heavy deliberation" and with a "weighing heart."

"This was a bittersweet business decision made on behalf of my family and myself, and I want to assure all the wonderful and loyal Lakers fans that my decision will in no way affect my dedication and support for the Los Angeles Lakers" Johnson said in a statement. "I am and will always be a Laker for life."

Monday, October 18, 2010


Crystal Cathedral files for bankruptcy  


Crystal Cathedral files for bankruptcy amid mounting debts

October 18, 2010 |  2:06 pm


Faced with mounting debts and decreasing donations, the Crystal Cathedral announced today it was filing for bankruptcy protection.

The move came as the Garden Grove church was struggling to pay its bills. “Budgets could not be cut fast enough to keep up with the unprecedented rapid decline in revenue due to the recession,” Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman said in a statement released by the church.

The church plans a press conference at 3 p.m., according to church spokesman John Charles.

The famed mega-church has suffered from financial troubles in the last year.

In January, the Crystal Cathedral announced it was laying off 50 workers and selling surplus property because of a precipitous drop in contributions.

The 7,000-member church also has canceled its "Glory of Easter" pageant, a popular reenactment of the life and death of Jesus Christ, which sold tens of thousands of tickets each year.

The church, founded by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller more than 50 years ago, lost members in the wake of a family feud after he retired. His son, the Rev. Robert A. Schuller, succeeded his father, but stepped down in 2008 after disagreements. His sister, is now the church's leader.

As of January, officials said church's revenue sank 27% from roughly $30 million in 2008 to $22 million in 2009.

[Updated at 2 p.m.: In her statement, Sheila Schuller Coleman said services and programs at the church will continue, including various ministries and the "Hour of Power" television program.

"Challenging situations are nothing new to our 55-year Ministry," Coleman said in the statement. "Many people said we’d fail when we started our church in a drive-in theater. But look how successful that was! Many said we'd fail in 1970 when we made the commitment to televise our first worship service in Los Angeles and then New York … but look how far we've come! In 1977, countless persons predicted that our plans to build a 2,800-seat all-glass church in earthquake-prone Southern California would never get off the ground, but we have made history. We've always believed in a big God … a God Who is greater than any problem or challenge we could ever face."

She said the bankruptcy declaration "is just one more chapter in the book that He is continuing to write -- and we know that God's plans are good -- we have no doubt His chapter will be good!"]

--Shelby Grad

Photo: The Crystal Cathedral complex. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Monday, October 18, 2010


High court rules men can beat wives and children if there are no visible marks

UAE high court rules men can beat wives, young children if there are no visible marks

Ethan Sacks
Monday, October 18th 2010, 8:59 AM

The UAE's highest judicial body says a man can beat his wife and young children as long as the beating leaves no physical marks.


GettyThe UAE's highest judicial body says a man can beat his wife and young children as long as the beating leaves no physical marks.

It's perfectly legal for a man to beat his wife and young children in the United Arab Emirates, as long as the assault leaves no physical marks, the country's highest court ruled.

Citing Islamic law, the Federal Supreme Court made the decision earlier this month in its ruling on a case of a man who slapped and kicked his daughter and slapped his wife, Abu Dhabi's The National reported Monday.

The wife sustained injuries to her lower lip and teeth and the 23-year-old daughter suffered bruises on her hand and knee from the beating. The court ruled against the defendant, saying he crossed the line suggested by Sharia Law, because his daughter was no longer a minor and his wife had visible injuries.

But in the process, Chief Justice Falah al Hajeri stated that there are conditions when domestic violence is acceptable.

"Although the [law] permits the husband to use his right [to discipline], he has to abide by the limits of this right," al Hajji wrote in a ruling released in a court document Sunday.

"If the husband abuses this right to discipline, he cannot be exempted from punishment."

Dr Ahmed al Kubaisi, the head of Sharia Studies at UAE University and Baghdad University, told the National that beating one's wife is at times necessary to preserve family bonds.

"If a wife committed something wrong, a husband can report her to police," Dr al Kubaisi told the newspaper. "But sometimes she does not do a serious thing or he does not want to let others know; when it is not good for the family. In this case, hitting is a better option."

Read more:

Monday, October 18, 2010


Modified mortgages leave some homeowners worse off

Modified mortgages leave some homeowners worse off


Thomas Olson

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Joanne Kirby, a nurse for more than 20 years, was financially fine until late 2008, when she missed a $1,020 mortgage payment on her house in Monongahela.

Fearing a foreclosure down the road, she got National City Bank to modify her loan down to $600 a month, which she paid for six months. But after the bank sold the $85,000 mortgage, Kirby got a letter from the buyer in St. Paul demanding thousands in back payments and late fees.

"They didn't have the paperwork on the loan, the agreement on the modification or anything," she said.

Kirby's tale is typical of homeowners struggling to modify troubled mortgages these days. It's especially tough because the loans are frequently flipped to unreachable, out-of-state companies that may not even have all the paperwork.

"I probably average four to five e-mails a day from homeowners saying they had to wait forever to get hold of someone at the bank," said Dan Sullivan, a foreclosure prevention specialist at Action Housing, a nonprofit agency Downtown.

"Then, after they send in a stack of paper, it gets old, and the homeowner has to send in the same things over and over again," Sullivan said.

Kirby, 51, was left to redo her mortgage modification — this time with Green Tree Servicing LLC, based in St. Paul. But she had to resubmit reams of financial paperwork three times earlier this year because her file got "stale" after the company repeatedly failed to process the information.

Finally, at the end of August, Kirby was able to modify her mortgage again. But with back payments, private-mortgage insurance and several fees tacked on, her new loan ballooned to $109,000, and monthly payments jumped to $970.

Green Tree could not be reached for comment.

"Green Tree has a 30-year commitment to helping families maintain their dreams," states the company's website. "Using a unique and personalized service model, we focus on building strong relationships with borrowers and a deeper understanding of their financial situation."

Said Kirby: "Where is the help from the mortgage modification? This is insane. I'm right back to paying $1,000 all over again."

Her plight comes amidst revelations that mounting foreclosures across the country include many conducted with improper documentation. Several major mortgage companies in the last couple of weeks — including Bank of America, GMAC Mortgage and PNC Mortgage — suspended foreclosures to ensure they are done legally.

In the quarter ended Sept. 30, there were 879 foreclosures in the five-county Pittsburgh region, according to data from RealStats, a research firm on the South Side. That is up from 848 in the quarter ended June 30 and from 807 in the quarter ended September 30, 2009.

The Obama administration opposes calls for the government to impose a national foreclosure moratorium, out of concern it could disrupt the housing market. But 50 states' attorneys general — including Pennsylvania's — are investigating allegations foreclosures were legally flawed.

A Washington County sheriff showed up at Kirby's door in late July with a foreclosure notice. Kirby, a single mother of four, said Green Tree told her to just ignore such notices because it was processing a new mortgage.

About a half-million homeowners have modified their mortgages through the Treasury Department's Making Home Affordable Program. The $75 billion program, launched early last year to stem foreclosures, pays mortgage servicers $1,000 up front for every troubled loan it modifies.

About 100 financial institutions participate in the program, including Green Tree. As Kirby did not qualify for the program, Green Tree modified her mortgage through its own program, which is not uncommon in the industry.

Other mortgage servicers participating in Making Home Affordable are PNC Mortgage, part of PNC Financial Services Group of Pittsburgh, and Home Loan Services, a subsidiary of Bank of America based on the North Side.

PNC declined to discuss mortgage modifications. But according to a Treasury report, PNC Mortgage had modified 3,768 home mortgages through the government program as of Aug. 31. PNC services about $137 billion worth of home mortgages from its two sites, in Miamisburg, Ohio, and Jacksonville, Fla., securities documents show.

Home Loan Services officials declined to be interviewed.

Loan servicers collect mortgage payments and apply them to the loan and to tax authorities, as well as keep the records. That includes payments to investors holding securities backed by such mortgages.

Servicers' contracts with investment banks that marketed those securities dictate whether and how a mortgage may be modified. Such contracts typically limit how many mortgages a servicer may modify and contain formulas to determine if it's more profitable to foreclose or modify a mortgage.

"Banks don't want to talk about this," said Sullivan, a former banker at National City, which was acquired by PNC. "Even the good banks are fairly tight-lipped because they don't want the community hearing that their first priority has to be toward the investment banks, rather than the borrowers."

Loan servicers are often not the bank or mortgage company that originally wrote the mortgage because loans and servicing rights often change hands.

Of the home mortgages written in Western Pennsylvania in the last five years — such as Kirby's — less than 15 percent are being serviced in this region, said Richard Reithmiller, immediate past president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Reithmiller, a mortgage broker at Keystone Financial Services, Ross, estimates that at least 80 percent of the loans originated in this market get sold to and serviced by an out-of-state company.

Not so with many community banks, such as Charleroi Federal Savings Bank. The nine-branch institution, about five miles from Kirby's house, has about $213 million in mortgages on its books and services them all.

"We know our customers and try to work with every troubled loan we have," said President Neil Bassi. "Communication is the key."



Monday, October 18, 2010


Osama Bin Laden is living in northwest Pakistan and not in a cave says...

Sunday, October 17, 2010


In Mexico Scenes From Life in a Drug War

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Man chokes police officer

Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010

Police say suspect choked Macon officer


Telegraph staff reports

A Macon man is facing multiple charges after he choked a police officer about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, according to a news release.

Quentin Mills was being transported to The Medical Center of Central Georgia for treatment of a head injury received during an incident on Hartley Street in south Macon, according to the release.

 During transport, Mills removed one of his handcuffs.

As the officer was helping Mills from the vehicle at the hospital, Mills assaulted the officer. A Medical Center police officer witnessed the incident and assisted the officer, according to the release.

Initially, Mills was charged with aggravated battery and animal cruelty for the incident at Hartley Street, according to the release. After the assault on the officer, several other charges were added, including aggravated assault on a police officer, felony obstruction and simple battery on EMT personnel.

The officer was treated for a possible neck injury.

Read more:

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Obama says GOP accepts special-interest money while...,0,6942321.story

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Biden: GOP on deficits is like an arsonist becoming fire marshal

Biden: GOP on deficits is like an arsonist becoming fire marshal

Bridget Johnson - 10/16/10 11:18 AM ET

Vice President Joe Biden said at a fundraiser Friday night that Republicans have "zero, zero, zero" credibility on reducing the deficit, and such talk from the GOP was "like making an arsonist the fire marshal.

Biden headlined the Milwaukee event for incumbent Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wisc.), who's in a tight re-election race with Republican Reid Ribble, and state Sen. Julie Lassa, who's running for the seat being left open by David Obey's retirement.

According to the White House pool report, Biden, as well as the two candidates, joined the chorus of Democrats accusing the right of using outside groups and anonymous donors to propel campaigns.

“Why do you think the Chamber of Commerce will not tell us who is contributing to them? … Follow the money! Follow the money!” Biden said.

Biden said the administration has been tasked with digging the country out of a "godawful" hole created by Republicans, and lambasted the right for criticizing government spending.

“These guys are not for real … They have zero, zero, zero credibility on deficits," he said. "The last guy to balance a budget was William Jefferson Clinton … These guys talking about deficits is like making an arsonist the fire marshal.”

Biden warned that Democrats needed to not let voter anger carry away the election.

"If we let this remain a referendum on their anger, we will lose … When you’re angry you don’t want to focus on the alternative," he said. "You only want to focus on your pain and your anger. And shame on us, shame on us if we let them do it and not remind them of what the alternative is and the progress we’ve made."

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Barbara Billingsley, Beaver Cleaver's TV mom, dies

Barbara Billingsley, Beaver Cleaver's TV mom, dies


The Associated Press • October 16, 2010

LOS ANGELES — Barbara Billingsley, who gained supermom status for her gentle portrayal of June Cleaver, the warm, supportive mother of a pair of precocious boys in "Leave it to Beaver," died Saturday. She was 94. 

Billingsley, who had suffered from a rheumatoid disease, died at her home in Santa Monica, said family spokeswoman Judy Twersky. 

When the show debuted in 1957, Jerry Mathers, who played Beaver, was 9, and Tony Dow, who portrayed Wally, was 12. Billingsley's character, the perfect stay-at-home 1950s mom, was always there to gently but firmly nurture both through the ups and downs of childhood. 

Beaver, meanwhile, was a typical American boy whose adventures landed him in one comical crisis after another. 

Billingsley's own two sons said she was pretty much the image of June Cleaver in real life, although the actress disagreed. 

"She was every bit as nurturing, classy, and lovely as 'June Cleaver' and we were so proud to share her with the world," her son Glenn Billingsley said Saturday. 

She did acknowledge that she may have become more like June as the series progressed. 

"I think what happens is that the writers start writing about you as well as the character they created," she once said. "So you become sort of all mixed up, I think." 

A wholesome beauty with a lithe figure, Billingsley began acting in her elementary school's plays and soon discovered she wanted to do nothing else. 

Although her beauty and figure won her numerous roles in movies from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s, she failed to obtain star status until "Leave it to Beaver," a show that she almost passed on. 

"I was going to do another series with Buddy Ebsen for the same producers, but somehow it didn't materialize," she told The Associated Press in 1994. "A couple of months later I got a call to go to the studio to do this pilot show. And it was `Beaver.'" 

Decades later, she expressed surprise at the lasting affection people had for the show. 

"We knew we were making a good show, because it was so well written," she said. "But we had no idea what was ahead. People still talk about it and write letters, telling how much they watch it today with their children and grandchildren."

After "Leave it to Beaver" left the air in 1963 Billingsley largely disappeared from public view for several years. 

She resurfaced in 1980 in a hilarious cameo in "Airplane!" playing a demur elderly passenger not unlike June Cleaver.

When flight attendants were unable to communicate with a pair of jive-talking hipsters, Billingsley's character volunteered to translate, saying "I speak jive." The three then engage in a raucous street-slang conversation. 

"No chance they would have cast me for that if I hadn't been June Cleaver," she once said. 

She returned as June Cleaver in a 1983 TV movie, "Still the Beaver," that costarred Mathers and Dow and portrayed a much darker side of Beaver's life. 

In his mid-30s, Beaver was unemployed, unable to communicate with his own sons and going through a divorce. Wally, a successful lawyer, was handling the divorce, and June was at a loss to help her son through the transition. 

"Ward, what would you do?" she asked at the site of her husband's grave. (Beaumont had died in 1982.) 

The movie revived interest in the Cleaver family, and the Disney Channel launched "The New Leave It to Beaver" in 1985. 

The series took a more hopeful view of the Cleavers, with Beaver winning custody of his two sons and all three moving in with June. 

In 1997 Universal made a "Leave it to Beaver" theatrical film with a new generation of actors. Billingsley returned for a cameo, however, as Aunt Martha. 

"America's favorite mother is now gone," Dow said in a statement Saturday. "I feel very fortunate to have been her "son" for 11 years. We were wonderful friends and I will miss her very much." 

In later years she appeared from time to time in such TV series as "Murphy Brown," "Empty Nest" and "Baby Boom" and had a memorable comic turn opposite fellow TV moms June Lockhart of "Lassie" and Isabel Sanford of "The Jeffersons" on the "Roseanne" show. 

"Now some people, they just associate you with that one role (June Cleaver), and it makes it hard to do other things," she once said. "But as far as I'm concerned, it's been an honor." 

In real life, fate was not as gentle to Billingsley as it had been to June and her family.

Born Barbara Lillian Combes in Los Angeles on Dec. 22, 1915, she was raised by her mother after her parents divorced. She and her first husband, Glenn Billingsley, divorced when her sons were just 2 and 4. 

Her second husband, director Roy Kellino, died of a heart attack after three years of marriage and just months before she landed the "Leave it to Beaver" role. 

She married physician Bill Mortenson in 1959 and they remained wed until his death in 1981.

 Survivors include her sons, stepchildren and numerous grandchildren.

In this Sept. 27, 2007 file photo, Barbara Billingsley, of "Leave It To Beaver," smiles as the cast members reunite in Santa Monica, Calif. Billingsley, who gained the title supermom for her gentle portrayal of June Cleaver, the warm, supportive mother of a pair of precocious boys in "Leave it to Beaver," has died Saturday. She was 94.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Are the Democrats the True Extremists?

October 15, 2010, 10:10 pm

Are the Democrats the True Extremists?



NY Times


It’s the duty (and, O.K., the bliss) of an opinion journalist to demonstrate that the Beltway’s conventional wisdom has far fewer garments than it supposes. But on one count — that the progressives are at the moment far more marginalized by their Democratic president and Congressional leadership than are the Tea Party enthusiasts by the Republican powers-that-be — it’s been hard to show contention. After all, the president who insisted that the day of his inauguration would be “the moment when we ended a war,” who confidently said that “we are going to close Guantanamo”, who promised to repeal the military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy has shown, through deed if not word, that he’s not exactly a hostage to the far left. Nor has the Democratic leadership: Senate majority leader Harry Reid is an apostate on a woman’s alleged right to choose — “abortions should be legal only when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape, or when the life of the woman is endangered” – and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi isn’t exactly beloved.

A poll on which party is more dominated by its fringe found that the far left is viewed as more influential than the Tea Parties.


So how to explain this, from The Hill’s Alexander Bolton?

Likely voters in battleground districts see extremists as having a more dominant influence over the Democratic Party than they do over the GOP. This result comes from The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll, which found that 44 percent of likely voters say the Democratic Party is more dominated by its extreme elements, whereas 37 percent say it’s the Republican Party that is more dominated by extremists.

Award for the pithiest response goes to Gawker’s Jim Newell: “44% of likely voters say the Democratic Party is ‘more dominated by its extreme elements,’ versus 37% for the GOP. This is probably because Democrats have very few ‘likely voters.’ “ 

Now, it’s true that the survey was focused on just a handful of Congressional districts in which the races are considered toss-ups, but can the Democrats’ election gurus really ignore it? “That’s real trouble for Democrats,” Jim Kessler, co-founder of the Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank, told The Hill. “All the press coverage has been about how these Tea Party candidates are fringe ideologues, and there have been high-profile examples of them proving the point. Yet, still at this moment, you have independents saying, ‘I think the Democrats are a little more extreme than the Republicans.’ ”

Some on the left think it’s less a matter of how Democrats are behaving than of poor framing on the concept of extremism. “The Democratic Party is ‘more dominated than the GOP by extreme views’?” asks Misty at Shakesville. “What? Did they forget to finish that statement with ‘…. more dominated than the GOP by extreme views because they’re so like the GOP and not like Democrats at all’? Who are these ‘extremists’?” As for the villains in her mind, you can probably guess:

Media like Fox and their hateful talking heads certainly make a lot of noise–and many people listen to that noise. This country seems to have drifted “right”ward, given how many people actually take it seriously–see it as a reasonable accusation–when Obama is called a socialist. He’s a centrist, milquetoast Democrat. He’s not a freaking socialist! However, a lot of people really seem to believe that some centrist positions are socialist (and un-American, to boot).

This is in line with the comments the liberal activist Markos Moulitsas gave the Hill:

“Democrats haven’t nominated anyone like Sharron Angle or Rand Paul or Christine O’Donnell or Rob Johnson or Joe Miller for Senate seats, much less the myriad of wackos in House races across the country,” said Markos Moulitsas, founder and publisher of Daily Kos, one of the nation’s largest liberal blogs. “We don’t have media figures like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh calling the shots for our party.

“But they have built their alternate world courtesy of Fox News, thus making them impervious to reality. Is that a problem? Sure. Even more so when Democrats think they can reason with this crowd,” said Moulitsas, a contributing columnist for The Hill.

“This is the direct result of systematic, intentional right wing media deregulation,” is the echo from Michael Tedesco at Comments From Left Field. “If reasonable people wish to ever see their political process return to some semblance of sanity then the focus of grass roots efforts on reform needs to directed on reversing the decades of destruction wrought on the journalism.”

Hmmm, if conservative commentary is the product of “deregulation,” I’m curious to know how Tedesco would have the press regulated. Why do I doubt that such a media utopia would have little room for people like JammieWearingFool, who had this to say about the Hill poll:

Despite 18 months of the media calling tea partiers frothing rabble and angry extremists, a new poll shows precisely the opposite. More people perceive the Democratic Party to be dominated by the fringe. Of course anyone with functioning synapses has recognized this for the past few decades …

In other words, clear-thinking people have tuned out the lamestream media and their mantra about how crazy tea partiers are. The think they can constantly harp on Angle and O’Donnell yet they overlook the surge nationwide from independents toward the GOP. The media won’t change, they’ll just lose more viewers and readers.

“Recall how the unhappy Barney Frank, after leaving on a (bailout recipient’s) jet plane to the Virgin Islands, insisted that Republicans “need to do more to ‘differentiate themselves’ from the hateful speech spewed in the healthcare debate’s final hours’?” asks B. Daniel Blatt at GayPatriot. “Seems this mean-spirited Massachusetts Democrat wants to tie his partisan adversaries to the fringe elements of the Tea Party (while they, in Barney’s fervid imagination, want to tie him to the train tracks). Well, Barney, like most things you try, this, well, this strategy isn’t working.”

Susan Duclos at Wake Up America notes that the poll result “even crossed party lines with one-in-five Democrats, 22 percent, saying their own party was dominated by extremists, which is double the amount of Republicans that said the same thing about the GOP (11 percent).” She thinks the reasons for this are obvious:

Obama, Pelosi and Reid have represented the extreme portion of their party base at the exclusion of Independents, centrists, moderates and conservatives and the midterm election results with reflect whether the country approves of that representation or not … Perhaps this is one reason we are seeing Blue Dog Democrats come out so hard against Pelosi, swearing to their constituents they will not vote for her as Speaker of the House if the Democrats should manage to retain control of the House of Representatives, going so far as to say they want a centrist as Speaker, calling her “divisive” and too “extreme”.

William Teach of Pirate’s Cove, however, thinks the poll result has more to do with longstanding, shared American values:

The United States is a center-right nation. The People like their taxes low, their military strong, their government out of their lives. The want law and order, they want their government to listen and be responsive. They also like their social programs. Bush, for all his faults, was really about the perfect American president. Strong on international affairs, kept taxes low, but was big on the social programs.

The story points out that despite the constant drum beat about the TEA Party and other conservatives, painting them as extremists, it is the Democrats who are more dominated by their fringe elements, their folks who want to massively increase government, increase their hold on our private lives, and want to raise taxes, among others. The principles of the Republican Party are more like the principles of the American People. They just have to remember to not forget those principles, as they did under Bush.

The liberal blogger BooMan is one of the few to think outside the partisan box here, and comes up with a dandy of a conspiracy theory:

It’s embarrassing that The Hill commissioned a poll from Mark Penn and Doug Schoen … In case anyone’s interested, Schoen and Penn make their living off of corporate clients, and they do everything they can to make the Democratic Party sympathetic to those client’s interests. All this poll represents is an effort to blame the midterm losses on the Democrats going too far to the left. No one in their right mind is going to believe these poll results.

Perhaps, but as for those predicted midterm losses and the next Congress, how big a role will “extremists” play? Well, if you think the Tea Partiers are extreme and believe the analysis of The Times’s Kate Zernike, the answer is: the central one. Here’s Zernike’s explanation:

Enough Tea Party-supported candidates are running strongly in competitive and Republican-leaning Congressional races that the movement stands a good chance of establishing a sizable caucus to push its agenda in the House and the Senate, according to a New York Times analysis. With a little more than two weeks till Election Day, 33 Tea Party-backed candidates are in tossup races or running in House districts that are solidly or leaning Republican, and 8 stand a good or better chance of winning Senate seats.

While the numbers are relatively small, they could exert outsize influence, putting pressure on Republican leaders to carry out promises to significantly cut spending and taxes, to repeal health care legislation and financial regulations passed this year, and to phase out Social Security and Medicare in favor of personal savings accounts.

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary offers backhanded compliments to The Times for according “grudging respect to those it once decried as racists and extremists.” Here’s her take on the mainstream media:

And the Tea Party candidates have performed “better than expected” — umm, better than the Gray Lady expected — the report tells us. Yes, there is Christine O’Donnell, but the Times has figured out that there are many more viable Tea Party–backed candidates (e.g., Ron Johnson and Ken Buck). And it must have slipped the reporter’s mind, but that Marco Rubio looks pretty good, too.

This is yet another instance — the surge in Iraq was one of the more egregious examples — in which the media ignored or derided a conservative effort and then discovered that, by gosh (who could have expected it?), it’s pretty darn successful! If the media weren’t so busy telling liberals what they wanted to hear and ignoring conservative politics, they’d be surprised less.

“Scared yet, America?” asks Zandar. “You should be. The Tea Party will effectively take control of the Republican Party if the Republican Party takes control of Congress. Obama will actually develop some sort of elbow condition from overuse of his veto pen. But that’s what we’re facing here.

“The Tea Party isn’t anything new, folks. it’s just the same old fringe lunacy on the right repackaged, astroturfed, and mass produced for consumption. In fact, just about the only thing people are consuming these days in our economy is Tea Party ideas. It’s the same old litany of hate, the same old ‘I’m the candidate who stands for something, I stand for being against blah blah blah’ and if you value any sort of two party sanity in DC or in the American system as a whole, you’ll want to see these guys go down in flames roughly the same height and temperature as the sun’s corona. These guys actually make me miss the Republicans of the 80’s.”

Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen has more to say about that “blah, blah, blah”: “For the right, government-by-platitudes is surprisingly easy. Spending is bad, earmarks are bad, taxes are bad. They tend to run into a little trouble when this worldview runs into practical applications.”

The liberal blogger Prairie Weather jumps on this passage in the Zernike piece — “in the House, Tea Party candidates are allowing Democrats to poll well in a few districts where demographics and voting history suggest that Republicans should win” — to come to the conclusion that “Republicans are getting their noses rubbed in it.” Hmmm, really? “That’s not to say Democrats aren’t getting hurt, too,” the post acknowledges. After all, there’s the pending Wisconsin tragedy.” Somehow I suspect that Russ Feingold is hardly the only liberal ruing the day the Tea Party took off.

In any case, we’ll know where we stand electorally in a couple of weeks; the more pertinent issue stemming from the Zernike piece is what happens afterward. New York Magazine’s Daily Intel has a pretty intelligent analysis:

Counting how many tea partiers are elected to office won’t give you an accurate measure. Essentially, we have to think of each congressman and senator as falling somewhere along the tea-party spectrum. We’ll have no trouble figuring out where to place prospective senators Sharron Angle or Rand Paul, or in the House, Ohio candidate Steve Stivers, who wants to axe the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Interior, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, “and others.” But almost every Republican, and even some Democrats, will embody the tea-party movement to varying degrees. This is especially true for any Republican whose re-nomination in 2012 is anything less than a sure thing. In that respect, the influence of the tea party in Congress goes far beyond the number of “tea-party candidates” — whatever that means — elected this year.

“Whatever that means” is exactly the riddle of the Tea Parties, and that odd poll from The Hill makes it harder than ever to decipher.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


America's Top 5 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants

America's Top 5 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants
Wed Oct 6, 2010
10:53am PDT

Tracy Minkin and Brittani Renaud

Who hasn’t unwrapped a sandwich while driving down the highway or pulled a hard U-turn into a fast-food joint on the way home from a late meeting or soccer game? We practically live in our cars, so we need quick food, and please, we’d like it to be healthy.

Well, guess what: We surveyed the nation’s 100 largest fast-food chains, as defined by the number of locations, and found many are creating menus that look more and more like what we’d cook ourselves (if we had the time)—from nutritious soups and healthy salads to fresh whole grains and sensible desserts. Even better: They’re offering good-news Mexican, Asian, and Mediterranean fare.

Using criteria that was created with the help of our expert panel, we scored the chains on such factors as the use of healthy fats and preparations, healthy sodium counts in entrees, availability of nutritional information, and the use of organic produce to determine the 10 highest-ranking restaurants.

One big surprise: A traditional fast-food chain, McDonald’s, cracked our top 10. Sure, it’s the home of the Big Mac, but did you know it also serves a mean yogurt-and-granola parfait? Here, the standouts that are making grabbed food healthy food.

1. Panera Bread
Over 1,230 locations nationwide (and in Canada)

This bakery-cafe-based eatery wowed our judges with a comprehensive menu of healthy choices for every meal. “Variety makes it easy for everyone to choose healthy,” praises registered dietitian and panelist Marisa Moore. What does that mean for you? For starters, you can pick from two whole-grain breads for your sandwich and have an apple with it instead of chips (though the chips are fine, too—they can be baked!). Half-size soups, salads, and sandwiches make it a cinch to control portion size. Also, most of the chicken is antibiotic- and hormone-free, a rarity for large chains.

Panera also won top honors for kid fare, dishing out RD-approved crowd-pleasers like squeezable organic yogurt, PB&J (with all-natural peanut butter), and grilled organic cheese on white whole-grain bread.

We love: Delicious, nutrient-packed combos like a half–Turkey Artichoke on focaccia bread with a bowl of black bean or garden vegetable soup.
Danger zone: Sticky buns and cheese danishes are on display at the counter.

2. Jason’s Deli
206 locations in the West, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, South

How did this up-and-comer snag second place? Largely because of its devotion to organic food: About one-fifth of all its ingredients are organic, from blue-corn tortilla chips and whole-wheat wraps to field greens and spinach. Plus, its creative salads—like the Nutty Mixed-Up Salad with organic field greens, grapes, chicken breast, feta cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, pumpkinseeds, raisins, and organic apples—make you actually want to order the greens.

Our judges applauded the portion-control option: Reduced sizes of, say, a stuffed baked potato, are $1 less. Jason’s menu also highlights ultrahealthy sandwiches and provides the nutitional info.

We love: Being able to build any sandwich on an organic whole-wheat wrap.
Danger zone: High-sodium counts on some sandwiches; if sodium is a concern, stick to the ultrahealthy choices.

3. Au Bon Pain

280 locations nationwide

A pioneer in healthy fast food, Au Bon Pain serves up sandwiches, soups, salads, and hot entrees made with whole grains, veggies, and hormone-free chicken.

New this year: Portions, a 14-item menu of nutritious small plates—from appetizers like apples, blue cheese, and cranberries to salads like chickpea and tomato—all of which are less than 200 calories. Another impressive feature: Au Bon Pain provides on-site nutritional information via computer kiosks, so before you even order you know each option’s calories, fat, and sodium. “It’s a great way to empower customers,” praises judge Amy Jamieson-Petonic.

We love: Yummy low-cal soups, from Jamaican Black Bean to Fire Roasted Exotic Grains and Vegetables.
Danger zone: The sodium counts can get high if you don’t pay attention.

4. Noodles and Company
204 locations in West, Midwest, South

Noodles and Company isn’t your typical greasy Asian food-court joint. In fact, it goes beyond Asian fare and cuts out the grease (only healthy soybean oil is used in sauteing). Here, you choose from three food types: Asian, Mediterranean, or American, then within each style, pick from four noodle bowl options. Lean proteins—hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken, beef, shrimp, and organic tofu—can be added, too.

The result? Tasty combos like Japanese Pan Noodles with broccoli, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, Asian sprouts, and sauteed beef. Also key: “You don’t have to chow down on a giant bowl of noodles. You can opt for a small portion,” says judge Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, Health’s Senior Food and Nutrition Editor. The small Bangkok Curry bowl has just 250 calories.

We love: The whole-grain linguine—usually hard to find when eating out.
Danger zone: The desserts. The only options are two kinds of cookies and a Rice Krispy Treat bar that checks in at 530 calories and 19 grams of fat!

5. Corner Bakery Cafe

111 locations in West, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, South

What sets Corner Bakery apart? A fantastic breakfast menu, which is rare in the quick-serve world. We love the Farmer’s Scrambler: eggs scrambled with red and green bell peppers, red onion, mushrooms, potatoes, and Cheddar cheese. (It’s only 260 calories when ordered with egg whites.) There’s also Swiss oatmeal, a chilled European breakfast cereal made with rolled oats, green apples, bananas, currants, dried cranberries, low-fat yogurt, and skim milk.

But Corner Bakery also has healthy salads, sandwiches, and soups made with whole grains, fresh, lean meats, and vegetables, as well as great portion-controlled combinations that make limiting calories a no-brainer.

We love: Healthy oven-roasted chicken that comes on most pastas and salads.
Danger zone: You have to go to their Web site to get nutritional info.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Wealth Matters Studying the Elite

Wealth Matters

Scrutinizing the Elite, Whether They Like It or Not



October 15, 2010


THE rich are sitting firmly in the public cross hairs, especially as the economy continues to stumble. Reports that Wall Street bonuses will again be high, and the debate in Congress over tax increases for the wealthy, just add to the outrage.

So it was a serendipitous time for Columbia University to convene the first Elites Research Network conference last week. The conference drew in scholars focused on inequality across academic disciplines, like economics, political science, sociology and history.

In the academic world, this was remarkable. As several of the scholars acknowledged, there has traditionally been some unease in talking about the elite, let alone researching them.

“When we study the poor, it’s relatively easy,” said Sudhir Venkatesh, a professor of sociology at Columbia and the author of “Gang Leader for a Day” (Penguin Press, 2008). “The poor don’t have the power to say no. Elites don’t grant us interviews. They don’t let us hang out at their country clubs.”

But Dorian Warren, an assistant professor of political science at Columbia, said the increasing concentration of wealth, moving from the top 10 percent of Americans to the top 1 percent, has made this the right time to look more closely at the group. “We have to understand what’s going on at the top,” Mr. Warren said.

The discussion quickly went beyond examining how those with more had traditionally exercised control over those with less. Many of the younger scholars said their goal was to do more than just look at tax returns and see who sat on boards. Instead, they said, they want to start looking at the relationships between the elite and the non-elite.

“If you look at the poor as a problem, you’ll be angry at elites or you’ll expect them to come up with a solution,” said Mr. Venkatesh, who took the most pragmatic line. “You have to come in accepting that there will always be poor people in society and there will always be wealthy people in society, and neither of the two reached that status by their own efforts.”

That’s not the usual description of this issue. But otherwise, you risk viewing the rich as rapacious thieves or seeing the poor as lazy freeloaders.

That said, there were other academics who hewed to an older model of power dynamics. Jeffrey Winters, associate professor of political science at Northwestern University, talked of the wealthy in America in terms of oligarchy. And he advanced an argument against what he called the “income defense industry.”

The term referred to the accountants, lawyers and financial advisers employed by the wealthy — and the merely affluent — to manage their financial affairs. Mr. Winters argued that this group was hurting the non-elite by minimizing tax collection. He estimated that $70 billion was lost yearly just from offshore accounts.

There is no denying that members of the elite have a lot of money and would like to hang on to as much of it as they can. But that’s true of most people.

Olivier Godechot, a French academic on the sociology panel, presented research that quantified just how skewed the increase in wealth at the very top has become. Mr. Godechot, a researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research in France, said that two professions — finance and business services — accounted for almost all of the increase in income inequality.

D. Michael Lindsay, assistant professor of sociology at Rice University, said his research showed that many of the people now considered elite in America did not start out that way. He is conducting what he described as the largest study ever of top leaders in America, having talked to over 500 so far across business, nonprofits and academia.

He said he had found that a privileged upbringing did not matter as much as generally thought. Nor, he said, did many of the top leaders inherit large sums of money. While many went to top colleges and a large number attended Harvard Business School, the biggest determining factor of whether someone moved into the elite was an early career opportunity.

Being able to look beyond their specialty early — as opposed to being highly specialized their entire career and then thrust into a leadership role — distinguished great leaders more than any inherent advantage in their upbringing, he said.

“These people had a chance to be a generalist early on, as opposed to being specialists their whole career,” Mr. Lindsay said. “They had that experience in their early 30s or 40s.”

Some of the conference presenters took note that they themselves were almost entirely from Ivy League and other elite universities — only one was from a state university.

“When we send our kids to the Brookline schools, we’re not making a judgment about the Boston schools,” said Michèle Lamont, a sociology professor at Harvard University. “There are unintended consequences to our actions.”

Mr. Warren put it more bluntly: “I did not come up as a child of privilege, but I got into Yale for graduate school. I’m going to want to do the same for my kids. It’s not a malicious intent to exclude others; it’s a rational impulse to maintain the advantage.”

Those at the conference defined the elite as people with power over others, and the debate was framed largely in economic terms. But professors at an Ivy League university are part of an elite, even if their salaries do not reflect it.

Shamus Rahman Khan, a conference organizer and assistant professor of sociology at Columbia, seemed to be most at ease with the conflict. The son of a Pakistani father and Irish mother who both emigrated to the United States, he said he came from a wealthy but not elite family. His father, a successful surgeon, paid his son’s way to the St. Paul’s School, a top boarding school.

Yet when Mr. Khan arrived there in the mid-1990s, he said he lived in the “minority students dorm.” He used that experience and a later teaching stint at St. Paul’s to write a book on the nature of advantage, “Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School,” which will be published by Princeton University Press in January.

“Is it morally responsible for you to get your kids into very expensive schools if it will advantage them?” Mr. Khan said. “It’s hard not to do it. But by doing it, you’re not explicitly squirting some other kid in the eye with pepper spray. It’s more subtle.”

His concern is what the concentration of wealth means for American society in the future. He said he wondered whether the post-World War II era in America — as defined by prosperity and rising income levels — was a historical anomaly and was coming to an end.

He cited data showing that the United States now had the second-lowest level of intergenerational income mobility in the world, after England.

“If we lose this truly American thing — that you can become anything if you just work at it — then you’re really going to lose what makes America America,” he said. “It already appears that it will take a tremendous amount of time for people to bring their families out of poverty and for the wealthy to fall from the advantages they have.”

Friday, October 15, 2010


The 50 Fattiest Foods Across the Nation,0,960482.photogallery?index=sns-c-50-fattiest-foods-002

Friday, October 15, 2010


Man wins $650,000 after stripper's shoe strikes his eye

Injured man wins $650,000 judgment against strip club

Stripper's shoe strikes man in eye; he suffered broken bones, double vision

Susan Spencer-Wendel

The Palm Beach Post

9:20 p.m. EDT, October 14, 2010



A man who sued after being struck in the face by a strip dancer's shoe at the Cheetah nightclub, seriously injuring his eye, has won a $650,000 judgment.

Personal injury litigator Lake "Trey" Lytal III said Thursday that while the club's insurance company agreed to the amount, getting the money to Cheetah's patron Michael Ireland still is not a done deal and may require more litigation.

Ireland, a roofer, has experienced chronic double vision since stripper Sakeena Shageer's shoe made contact with his eye at the suburban West Palm Beach club in September 2008, Lytal said.

"When this case was first filed, many people criticized it simply because it occurred at a strip club," Lytal said. "But we feel the $650,000 settlement goes to show that this was a serious case with serious injuries."

Shageer said she was walking along the bar, with her feet near patrons' heads, when she spun around in reaction to someone touching her, Lytal said. Shageer struck Ireland accidentally, he said.

Shageer did not respond to a phone message seeking comment.

Lytal said he was not sure precisely what kind of shoe Shageer was wearing except that it was a platform with a metal heel.

The registered agent of the Cheetah's parent company, Joe Rodriguez, did not respond to a message seeking comment. A manager at the club Thursday said he could not comment whether dancers are still allowed to shimmy on the bar.

Lytal could not either. "No, no. I wouldn't know about that," he said.

He is expecting another round of litigation in the case, since he does not anticipate the nightclub's insurance carrier to just pay the $650,000 judgment. Lytal said they were forced to sue the Cheetah and Shageer after the insurance company wouldn't pay.

Ireland suffered broken bones around his eye and in his nose and now has permanent double vision and frequent dizziness, Lytal said.

Strip club lawsuits have centered on the hazard of sky-high platform shoes strippers frequently wear.

In New York, a man sued after a stripper giving him a lap dance swiveled and smacked him in the face with her shoe. A Broward man sued after a woman's stiletto flew off during a pole dance, shattering a mirror and cutting him.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Biden: Obama wants me on 2012 ticket

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar walk out on Bill O'Reilly

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Top 25 Most Creative Tea Party Signs,0,7469281.photogallery

Thursday, October 14, 2010


President Barack Obama's support among college students wanes

President Barack Obama's support among college students wanes before 2010 midterm elections: poll

Aliyah Shahid

Thursday, October 14th 2010, 6:41 AM

Young voters are losing faith in President Obama, according to a new poll.

Daily News Photo IllustrationYoung voters are losing faith in President Obama, according to a new poll.


Barack Obama is no longer the big man on campus.

College students' support for the President is waning -- a worrying sign for Democrats who are trying to reenergize young voters before the midterm elections, which are just three weeks away.

Just 44% approve of the job Obama is doing, while 27% said they unhappy with his job performance, according to a new Associated Press-mtvU poll.

That's a significant dip from the 60% who gave the president high marks in a May 2009 poll. Only 15% of college goers had a negative opinion of him back then.

And if 2008 is any indication, the Democrats need young voters. During that presidential race, nearly one in eight voters cast their ballots for the first time. Exit polls showed 55% of new voters were age 18-24, and those young first-timers strongly supported the Democrats.

In 2008, Obama benefited from a flurry of endorsements from celebrities that young adults look up to such as Jay-Z, Chris Rock and Jennifer Aniston.

The President is making an effort to renew that campus enthusiasm. Obama will appear at a town hall that will be aired live on several youth-friendly networks including MTV and BET.

He'll also lead a rally Sunday at Ohio State University -- where the campus' 55,000 students are an important voting bloc in the battleground state.

Political scientists, campaign workers, and students said many young people are disenchanted with Obama's handling of the economy, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and failures to end the ban against gays serving openly in the military. There's also frustration of his inability to have delivered campaign promises to change Washington.

"People expect things to happen quickly," said Elizabeth Wright, a senior at the University of Colorado. "I don't think people understand it takes time."

The survey asked 2,207 randomly chosen undergraduates at 40 randomly selected four-year schools with at least 1,000 students. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3%.

Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan group that encourages young voters, said it registered 225,000 voters for this year's election. While that's more than four times as many as last midterm's election in 2006, she said the political parities aren't dishing out as much cash to garner the youth vote.

"It's a cycle of neglect," she said.

Read more:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Unusual Photos of the Week|dnmiss|umbrella

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


New driver smashes vehicle into testing office

New driver's vehicle smashes into testing office


Michael Hasch
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Last updated: 10:09 pm

Nick Martin was taking a test Wednesday to obtain a driver's permit when he was surrounded by the sound of crashing glass and screaming people as a young man drove into the Drivers License Center in Collier.

"The boy was sitting in the car saying, 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I didn't mean it.' I was in shock," said Martin, 16, of Imperial, as he surveyed the damage at the facility in the Chartiers Valley Shopping Center on Washington Pike.

Two people were taken to the hospital with injuries, county emergency dispatchers said. Collier police Sgt. Brian Halbleib said the injuries were not serious.

"The boy had just passed the test and pulled into a parking space in front of the center to drop off the instructor," Halbleib said. "He thought the vehicle was in park."

When the vehicle started moving, the driver -- whose age and identity were not released -- panicked and apparently hit the accelerator instead of the brake, Halbleib said.

The car jumped the concrete parking stop and slammed through the front door and glass wall, coming to rest inside the building amid more than a dozen startled and scared customers and employees.

"I heard a loud bang. I actually thought something had dropped off the roof," said Michael A. Deeb, who works next door at the Dollar Bank Loan Center. "I heard people screaming and ran outside. There were people lying on the floor and glass everywhere."

The young driver was distraught, Deeb said.

"He kept saying, 'I hit those people. I hit those people. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Are they all right?' He was beside himself," Deeb said.

Martin said his 12-year-old sister, Alyson Martin, was taken to St. Clair Hospital in Mt. Lebanon with a small piece of glass in her back. He said a girl who was standing near the door also was hurt.

"She was on the ground in pain, holding her ankle and leg," Martin said.

Steve Weisbrod, a spokesman for the building owner, Kossman Development in Green Tree, said crews are still assessing the damage.

The center will be closed today, state Department of Transportation spokesman Craig Yetter said.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Final man freed from Chilean mine

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Barack Obama is related to Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh

Obama's related to Palin



Jocelyn Noveck

Ap National Writer Wed Oct 13, 12:56 am ET


NEW YORK – President Barack Obama has family ties to none other than Sarah Palin, according to the genealogists at, a discovery the family history site made when looking for connections between political foes.

And that's not all — Obama also is apparently related to conservative radio host and relentless critic Rush Limbaugh.

A genealogist at the Utah-based, Anastasia Tyler, said Obama and Palin are 10th cousins through a common ancestor named John Smith, a pastor and early settler in 17th-century Massachusetts. Obama is related to Smith through his mother, as is Palin, Tyler said.

"Smith was against the persecution of the Quakers," Tyler said in an interview. "He was a very socially conscious man."

As for Limbaugh, he's also a 10th cousin of the president — one time removed — through a common ancestor named Richmond Terrell, who Tyler said was a large landowner in Virginia, also in the 17th century. "His history is a little more nebulous," Tyler said.

How do the genealogists come up with this stuff? Tyler said they start by picking the people they're interested in, then examine their family trees, going back further and further into history, looking for common surnames and locations.

In the recent project, genealogists looked at the trees of Obama, Palin, and Limbaugh but also a few others, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Fox News pundits Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. They didn't find anything much with the latter three.

But former President George W. Bush? He's related to both Obama and Palin, the site found. Obama and Bush are 11th cousins through common ancestor Samuel Hinckley, and Bush and Palin are 10th cousins one time removed, also through Hinckley — who, and stay with us now, was John Smith's father-in-law. has revealed in the past that Obama is related to investor Warren Buffett and actor Brad Pitt. It has also found that Palin, the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate, is a distant cousin of both Franklin D. Roosevelt and Princess Diana.

The site isn't the only source of this sort of celebrity genealogy information — in 2007, Cheney's wife, Lynne, discovered ancestral ties between former Vice President Dick Cheney and Obama while researching her book. She said the relationship was eighth cousin, though the Chicago Sun-Times traced it as ninth cousins once removed.

And one other thing from It also found that Palin is distant cousins with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter, through John Lathrop, who was exiled to the United States from England for being a pastor of an illegal independent church

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Rage against Pelosi a drag on Democrats


Rage against Pelosi a drag on Dems

Jonathan Allen
October 13, 2010 04:31 AM EDT

In the home stretch of the 2010 campaign, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, more than even President Barack Obama, is emerging as the heaviest drag on Democratic hopes of holding on to the House.

In district after district, from Florida's Gold Coast to central Ohio, in the Ozark Mountains, on the Minnesota prairie and in retiree-laden Arizona, Pelosi's face, plastered on billboards, recorded in video clips and emblazoned on mailers, is casting a pall over her colleagues’ chances of winning reelection.

Conventional wisdom holds that midterm elections are referendums on the president— and Obama is certainly the central figure in the unfolding drama of the 2010 election. But if Democrats lose the House, it’s likely to be as much a rejection of the policies and politics of a woman who has managed to simultaneously become one of the most powerful speakers in congressional history and one of the most unpopular figures in American politics today.

In less than four years as Speaker, polls show her image has been transformed from a barrier-breaking politician into something less lofty, a Democratic Newt Gingrich whose hard ideological drive has so alienated middle America that nearly every competitive race on the board is infused to some degree by voter animus toward her.

The anti-Pelosi rage that permeates Republican events and registers in public surveys will almost certainly contribute to the ouster of a wide swath of Democrats. She is the symbol of a "wrong track" Congress that has energized Republicans and left Democrats at home with their apathy. The only question is how many of her troops will be cut down.

A handful of Democrats have already asserted they will not vote for her as Speaker in the 112th Congress. Among them is Rep. Bobby Bright (D-Ala.), who went so far as to air a television ad Tuesday promising constituents that he "won't vote for Pelosi."

The pressure to break with Pelosi is intense. Along I-95 in South Florida, massive billboards depict Rep. Ron Klein as a marionette with Pelosi as puppeteer.

“Ron Klein votes with Pelosi 98%,” the billboards declare. “Fire them both!”

The National Republican Congressional Committee has aired anti-Pelosi ads in dozens of districts, many of them noting the frequency with which the Democratic lawmaker voted with Pelosi.

"Is Nancy Pelosi right 91 percent of the time?" one National Republican Congressional Committee ad against Rep. Chris Carney (D-Pa.) asked.

"The Pelosi/Adler agenda. Wrong for New Jersey," blared one aimed at freshman Rep. John Adler.

Steve Stivers, the Republican nominee in Ohio's Columbus-based 15th District, said his strategy to defeat freshman Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy is simple.

"Her record mirrors Pelosi's," Stivers said. "Really, my focus is going to be on Pelosi and Kilroy."

In Kilroy's district, where Pelosi's name and image are well-known, internal campaign polling shows Obama's favorable rating is even -- at 49 percent on each side. That may help explain why Pelosi is a target and Obama really isn't.

A recent survey of 4,000 likely voters in 10 western districts by the GOP-aligned American Action Forum showed Obama's favorability in those districts slightly lower at 44 percent. But Pelosi even polled well below that—at 29 percent.

A strategy designed to demonize Pelosi didn't work for Republicans in 2006 and 2008 -- indeed, it was a miserable failure -- but it's gaining traction now, according to Ronald M. Peters Jr., a political scientist at the University of Oklahoma who wrote a recent book on Pelosi.

"The vitriol against Pelosi now is not greatly different than what Democrats expressed against Gingrich,” Peters said. “The difference was the economy was going gangbusters.”

Democrats argue that Republicans are pounding so hard because the Speaker has been so successful.

"Republicans and their special interest allies have attacked Speaker Pelosi with an unprecedented level of money for one reason - she's effective,” said Jennifer Crider, deputy executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Successfully passing President Obama and the Democrats’ agenda of middle class tax cuts, health insurance reform, Wall Street reform, and closing tax loopholes that send American jobs overseas may threaten Republican corporate special interests, but show Democrats' commitment to a strong middle class."

Some Democrats insist an anti-Pelosi message is not an effective argument -- to the extent it appears to be sticking, they say, that's because it's background noise that blends in with the roaring Republican tide.

"There is not a single race in the country where this is making an iota of difference. Not one. There are a lot of other factors, the environment, the candidates and the campaigns," Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis says. "There are larger dynamics here at play and those larger dynamics are what’s influencing elections."

Still, the finely tuned political antennae of Democratic lawmakers are picking up something, suggesting that the notion of Pelosi as a liability is shared by Republicans and Democrats alike. 

Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz says people often ask him about his links to Pelosi.

“The comeback is, every time they ask me that, people will ask me in a debate, ‘Are you just like Nancy Pelosi?’ And I’ll say, ‘I don’t know. Did she get the NRA endorsement last week? I’ll have to call and congratulate her because I didn’t see it happening.’”

The list of those threatening to withhold their votes for a return Pelosi engagement is growing by the hour: Reps. Heath Shuler of North Carolina, Bright of Alabama, Gene Taylor of Mississippi, Peter DeFazio of Oregon and Scott Murphy of New York. Two Democratic open-seat hopefuls in Tennessee have made clear they don't support Pelosi. Several others have either dodged the question entirely or are running ads that say they stood up to Pelosi on various issues.

It's enough to raise the question of whether Pelosi can hold the speakership in the event Democrats maintain control with a narrow margin -- an outcome that many Democrats wouldn't lay much money on right now anyway.

Pelosi has gone to ground: Her public appearances these days are mainly in her own backyard -- San Francisco -- where she dials for dollars and emerges for official activities. She skipped a Klein fundraiser in ritzy Coral Gables, Fla., this week.

Her aides have long denied that she's invisible on the campaign trail, pointing to private fundraisers as evidence that she's welcome around the country.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom defended Pelosi -- and the possibility that Democrats will hang tight to their majority -- in an interview Monday night.

"Never underestimate Nancy Pelosi," Newsom said. "She got more done in the last two years. When history is written don’t ever underestimate Nancy Pelosi. Everyone who’s done it has lost. I’m not saying she can pull a rabbit out of the hat. But I’m not one of the few who's convinced this thing is over."

Outside her congressional district, however, the answer is different.

Joyce Elliot, the Democratic nominee in Arkansas’ 2nd District, won’t say whether she would back Pelosi if she’s elected.

“I don’t know; it depends on who’s running and I keep hearing rumors that other folks may run,” Elliot said.

Her opponent, Tim Griffin, makes the case that the choice is between him and a Pelosi-backer.

“If you like what you’re getting from this administration as a general matter, and this Congress -- Speaker Pelosi in particular -- then don’t vote for me but for my opponent,” he said, “because you’ll get more of that.”

Richard E. Cohen contributed to this story from Levittown, Pa., Darren Samuelsohn from San Francisco, Jake Sherman from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Manu Raju from Little Rock, Ark., Kasie Hunt from Tempe, Ariz., and James Hohmann from Mankato, Minn.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Fast-Growing U.S. Areas Show Big Income Drop

Migration Bust: Fast-Growing U.S. Areas Show Big Income Drop, Census Reports

HOPE YEN | 10/12/10 04:47 PM | AP

Migration Bust

WASHINGTON — Call it the migration bust: Many of the fast-growing U.S. areas during the housing boom are now yielding some of the biggest income drops in the economic downturn.

That could have broad impact on the political map in the coming weeks. Voters discontent over the economy and related issues such as immigration head to the polls on Nov. 2 to decide whether to keep Democrats in Congress.

Whites and blacks have taken big hits since 2007 in once-torrid Sunbelt regions offering warm climates and open spaces, including Florida, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada, according to 2009 census data. Hispanics suffered paycheck losses in many "new immigrant" destinations in the interior U.S., which previously offered construction jobs and affordable housing, such as Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina.

The few bright spots: Washington, D.C., San Jose, Calif., San Francisco and Boston. Their household incomes remained among the highest in the nation last year partly due to steady demand for government and high-tech work.

"As a whole, the income changes represent a sharp U-turn from the mid-decade gains," said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who reviewed the household income data. "The last two years have left those who couldn't move stuck in place with lower incomes."

In December, the Census Bureau will release 2010 population counts, which trigger a politically contentious process of divvying up House seats. In all, Southern and Western states are expected to take seats away the Midwest and Northeast. But last-minute shifts could affect a handful of states hanging in the balance, including California, which is hoping to avoid losing its first seat ever, and Arizona, which may now gain just one seat rather than two based partly on slowing Hispanic population growth.

The census data show that Hispanics, the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority group, are helping drive growth in several Southern states.

Five states have seen their numbers double over the last decade – South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas in the South and South Dakota in the Upper Midwest. Other big gainers include Georgia and North Carolina.

Several of those states, South Carolina, Georgia and possibly North Carolina, stand to gain House seats based partly on that fast growth.At the same time, the Latino population remains a relatively smaller share of the population in those states, numbering about 8 percent or less. There, they also tend to be disproportionately low-income workers who lack a high-school education, speak mostly Spanish and don't vote in elections, which analysts say may be driving some of the tensions over immigration and jobs.

In recent months, the rhetoric has ranged from a call for English-only policies in states and localities that wish to minimize the use of Spanish and other languages, to a call to strip birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants.

"Hispanics' recent growth and sharp disparity with existing white populations may have something to do with the anti-immigrant backlash now being observed in large parts of the country," Frey said.

Hispanics had the highest income in metro areas such as Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Dayton, Ohio, and Virginia Beach, where they also were more likely to have a college degree. Lower-educated Hispanics also had strong earnings in San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., two areas with high costs of living where more-affordable immigrant labor tends to be in greater demand.

Nationally, the government reported last month that median household incomes dipped to $49,777, the lowest since 1997, with the sharpest drop-offs in the Midwest and Northeast. Broken down by race, blacks had the biggest income losses, dropping to $32,584. They were followed by non-Hispanic whites, whose income fell to $54,461. Asian incomes remained flat at $65,469.

Income among Hispanics edged higher but lagged whites significantly at $38,039.

The findings are part of a broad array of 2009 data released over the past month that have highlighted the impact of the recession – from soaring poverty and a widening gap between rich and poor to record levels of food stamp use.

On Tuesday, the Census Bureau posted additional 2009 findings.

Among them:

_Declining home values. Median values for owner-occupied homes dropped 5.8 percent last year to $185,200. They ranged from a high of $638,300 in San Jose, Calif., to a low of $76,100 in McAllen, Texas. In all, five of the 10 highest property values were located in California, with the rest in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Seattle and Baltimore.

_Increased welfare payments. About 2.6 percent of U.S. households, or 3 million, received government cash payments for the poor, up from 2.3 percent in 2008. States whose residents received the most aid were Alaska, Maine, Washington and Michigan.

_Growth of college sciences. About 36.4 percent, or 20.5 million, of college graduates in the U.S. had a degree in the science and engineering fields. Five states – California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia, Washington – as well as the District of Columbia had science and engineering degrees above 40 percent.

The 2009 figures come from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey, which gathers information from 3 million households. The surveys are separate from the 2010 census.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


First of 33 trapped Chilean miners rescued|topnews|text|

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Teacher's Tirade Caught on Video

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Lotto addict sent to prison for $2M embezzlement

Lotto addict sent to prison for $2M embezzlement



5:56 PM, October 12, 2010

A downtown property manager was hauled off to serve at least five years prison today for embezzling more than $2 million -- thefts that fed his compulsion to buy tens of thousands of dollars a month in lottery tickets.

Richard Bassik was buying between $20,000 and $25,000 in tickets a month from the tri-state area in the delusional hope of winning bit and paying back what he'd stolen, said his lawyer.

Bassik admittedly stole from 13 properties he managed through his company, Downtown Properties -- buildings ranging from high-end co-ops and condos to a building owned by a non-profit, Manhattan prosecutors said. DA Cyrus Vance had noted the thefts "bankrolled a lavish lifestyle."

In addition to lottery tickets, Bassik spent the money on fine jewelry, stays at the Ritz Carlton and Caribbean vacations for his girlfriend, and bailed out a step-daughter who needed to pay back $400,000 in restitution in an unrelated criminal case in Suffolk County, prosecutors said.

Bassik was managing properties despite getting convicted in the 1976 kidnapping of a 6-year-old boy, for whom he'd demanded a $100,000 ransom.

"He is extremely remorseful," said his lawyer, Michael Soshnick.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


President Obama losing support among his backers

President Obama losing support among his backers, poll finds, GOP has edge going into midterms



Sean Alfano
Tuesday, October 12th 2010, 10:26 AM

President Obama and Democratsare facing an uphill battle heading into the midterm elections.

Somodevilla/GettyPresident Obama and Democratsare facing an uphill battle heading into the midterm elections.


Has hope turned into hopelessness?

More than 40% of voters who once considered themselves as backers of President Obama now say they either support him less or don't support him at all, according to a Bloomberg National poll Tuesday.

With exactly three weeks until crucial midterm elections, voters seem to dislike both parties, but Republicans appear likely to make big gains in the House and Senate.

"They are the lesser of two evils," Carol Wortham, 62, of Texas said of Republicans.

Missy Coombs, 52, of Utah, however, said the country needs to be patient with the President.

"I think people are knee- jerking a little too much. To expect instant results is crazy," she said.

Though the Democrats hold a 47%-45% advantage in favorability over the GOP, independent voters prefer Republicans six points more than Democrats.

For the most motivated voters, Republicans have a strong 51%-37% lead.

President Obama swept into the White House on a wave of voters who embraced his message of change.

"The excitement they once felt is gone," said J. Ann Selzer, whose company conducted the Bloomberg poll, of voters. "They are left wondering if they were sold a bag of goods."

The GOP is riding tepid support for its "Pledge to America," the party's vague set of proposals that aims to cut taxes and slash roughly $100 billion from the federal budget in 2011.

According to the poll, 48% support the "Pledge," while 39% disapprove.

The dwindling support for the President mirrors a poll in September in which 44% said they will likely vote for someone other than Obama in 2012.

In order to win control of the House, Republicans must grab 39 seats on Election Day; the magic number is 10 to take over the Senate.

Read more:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Cheap deadly drug cheese mix aimed at kids

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Five Questions for Condoleezza Rice

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


KFC Double Down going on more students' butts

KFC pastes its Double Down ad on more students' butts
Updated 4h 31m ago 
 In Louisville, Spalding University students serve as billboards for KFC's Double Down.
In Louisville, Spalding University students serve as billboards for KFC's Double Down.












Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY

KFC is doubling down on its promo across college coeds' backsides. The world's largest chicken chain is putting yet more college women — at three more universities — into sweatpants with "Double Down" emblazoned across their rear ends.Double Down is KFC's new male-targeted sandwich that uses chicken patties as buns.KFC's newest Double Down "ambassadors," found through a competition on its Facebook page, will be paid $500 each to wear the pants and hand out $5 KFC coupons for a day at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo.; Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.; and James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.


The move follows stinging criticism last month after KFC first rolled out the provocative promo at Spalding University in Louisville. Even before it begins later this week, the expansion of the promo is drumming up additional criticism."It's hideous," says Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. "This is 12-year-old boy humor."Brand guru Steven Addis says the promo may be reprehensible, but it's not necessarily stupid. "Whether intended or not, KFC is becoming the Hooters of fast food."KFC received 600 applications for the new jobs on its Facebook page, spokeswoman Laurie Schalow says. The women were picked for their experience, not their looks, she says. Two of the women have done beer company promos.One is Sara Coleman, a 21-year-old senior at Colorado State, who majors in criminal justice. She says she already does promos for Anheuser-Busch and heard about the KFC promo from her mom.Coleman has no problems with the outfit. "There are worse things that sweatpants could say," says Coleman, who hopes to use the money to go to Las Vegas.She and two friends will pass out the coupons at CSU's homecoming football game Saturday. "There will be girls in a lot less clothing at the game. We're just wearing something we'd wear to bed."Her school's officials are OK with the promo. "We support the right of local and national businesses to distribute information about their products and services to our campus community," says Mike Ellis, assistant vice president for student affairs.Chris Muller, Boston University hospitality school dean, thinks the promo will be a hit, but doesn't like it. "In college life, women are supposed to be highly sexed and men are supposed to be very hungry. Someone said: 'Let's put them together.' "

Monday, October 11, 2010


Newt Gingrich: On the edge or over the line?

Monday, October 11, 2010


Flight attendant caught with cocaine

Police: Flight attendant caught with cocaine


Indy Star
9:23 AM, Oct 11, 2010 

John Tuohy


Police arrested a flight attendant they said tried to carry cocaine through a checkpoint at Indianapolis International Airport.

Floydrina Williams, 39, who works for U.S. Airways, was preliminarily charged with felony possession of cocaine and dealing in cocaine or narcotics Sunday night, according to an Indianapolis Airport Police report.

Police said Williams had nine baggies containing 22 grams of cocaine in her waistband. A security screener noticed something suspicious on the full body scanner and searched Williams, according to the report.

Williams, who lives in Georgia, said she was taking U.S. Airways Flight 3205 to Charlotte , N.C., at 7:52 p.m. She said the cocaine was for personal use and not distribution.

She was taken to the Arrestee Processing Center downtown. Police said they notified the airline about Williams arrest.

Monday, October 11, 2010


College dropouts cost taxpayers billions

Monday, October 11, 2010


A bit of tarnish on marijuana's benign reputation

A bit of tarnish on marijuana's benign reputation

As California considers legalizing pot, there has been little discussion about the potential fallout on people's health. But it can be addictive, attested by one woman's $5,000-a-year habit.


Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times

7:35 PM PDT, October 9, 2010


In 1969, Carol McDonald was 28, married and the mother of two young children, out for an evening of fun with a couple who smoked marijuana. By the end of the evening she was on her way to a 19-year addiction.

"Within a few months, I was smoking every day," said McDonald, a retired bookkeeper, now 69. "I had to smoke before going to work. If something was upsetting, I smoked over it. If there was a celebration, I smoked over it."

People like McDonald may be largely overlooked in the statewide debate over legalizing marijuana. The drug has a benign reputation: Many baby boomers smoked and emerged unscathed, and medical marijuana facilities with their friendly images of seven-fingered leaves have popped up all over Los Angeles.

That might be why Proposition 19, the Nov. 2 ballot measure that would legalize marijuana and regulate it similarly to alcohol, has generated scores of reports and debates regarding the potential effect on business revenue, tax dollars and law enforcement but scant discussion on the potential fallout on people's health.

In California, addiction counselors are split on the legalization issue largely because of their long-standing support of treatment over jail and legal penalties for marijuana addicts. Yet nationally, public health experts mostly are against legalization. They say it will increase the number of people who become addicted to the drug, contribute to more automobile accidents and erode school performance.

"It's bizarre to me when people say, 'Make marijuana legal, and we'll have no problems with it,' " said Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Stanford University who recently served as a White House senior advisor on the nation's drug control policy.

Because the science of marijuana's health effects is in many cases unclear, experts on each side of the legalization debate can point to scientific studies that support their own position.

They do agree that marijuana should be avoided during pregnancy and that it is harmful for people with mental illness or who are at risk for developing a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia.

And they agree, too, on some basic statistics: Marijuana is addictive for about 9% of adults who use it (compared with about 15% who use alcohol and 15% who use cocaine), according to federal data. Because it is the most widely used illegal substance in the country, marijuana dependence is more common than addiction to either cocaine or heroin despite its lower addiction potential.

"We generally think the problems with marijuana aren't as serious as the problems you tend to see with cocaine or heroin," said Alan J. Budney, a leading researcher on marijuana at the Center for Addiction Research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences who opposes legalization. "But they are still pretty substantial."

The science of marijuana becomes murky when one steps beyond addiction statistics to examine effects on health.

A series of studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published in 1998 found that the effects of marijuana alone on driving were small or moderate, but severe when combined with alcohol.

But other studies show little impairment from a moderate dose: A 2004 study in the journal Accident, Analysis and Prevention found no increased risk of motor vehicle accidents causing traumatic injury among drivers using marijuana.

"Even after smoking, there aren't any real deficits in driving ability that we can detect in the laboratory," said Mitch Earleywine, an associate professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany who serves as an advisory board member at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

The data on lung damage and smoking-related cancers are similarly mixed, in part because a large portion of heavy marijuana users also smoke tobacco, which muddies the picture of marijuana's effects. And though experts tend to agree that smoking marijuana causes short-term memory loss, they disagree widely on the overall cognitive effects of the drug.

Several studies have also dismissed the fear that marijuana is a "gateway" drug that will lead children and adolescents to experiment with harder illicit drugs — although numerous studies suggest that the earlier in life someone uses marijuana, the riskier it becomes. Among 14- and 15-year-olds who start to smoke, 17% will be dependent within two years, said Dr. Tim Cermak, an addiction psychiatrist and president of the California Society of Addiction Medicine.

The effect on school performance and learning could be significant if more minors use the drug, Cermak added. "Marijuana is not devastating in the same way alcohol is," he said. "But to an adolescent, it can impact their life permanently. When you take a vacation from development in school for five years, you just don't get to the same endpoint that was available to you earlier in life."

The fact is, however, that no one knows how many more people will try marijuana if it becomes legal. Some experts predict a 50% increase while others say that the numbers are unlikely to rise because California's relaxed medical marijuana laws have already made the drug easy to obtain.

"It's a vast exaggeration that more people will take this up," said Stephen Gutwillig, California director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a national group that advocates for changes in the nation's approach to illicit drugs. Gutwillig supports legalization.

"The bottom line is that marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes," Gutwillig added. "It's far less addictive than either of them. People tend to use marijuana in smaller amounts. It does not have alcohol's noxious association with violence and reckless behavior. And you can't overdose."

Members of the California Society of Addiction Medicine are divided on legalization. In a recent survey, more than two-thirds of the members believe there will be an increase in the amount of marijuana addiction if the drug were legalized. And close to 70% think there will be increased use by adolescents.

Though the association itself takes no position, its website lists controls that should be in place if the drug becomes legal.

Among them: creating restrictions to minimize minors' access to the drug; advertising and marketing rules; warning labels on marijuana products; use of fees and taxes from marijuana sales to fund marijuana addiction treatments; treatment instead of legal punishment for adolescent marijuana users; and periodic evaluation of the law for its effect on health and driving under the influence.

Cermak noted that Proposition 19 lacks many of these safeguards. Furthermore, he added, "If you read Proposition 19, the assertion is that it's not physically addictive and doesn't have long-term toxic effects on the body. We are asking people to memorialize the acceptance of those myths."

McDonald, who lives in Baldwin Hills, certainly didn't think marijuana was addictive. It had seemed so harmless. Inhaling from bamboo bongs made popular by returning Vietnam War vets, she began to feel some relief from the depression that had plagued her since youth.

But, with a $5,000-a-year habit and chronic bronchitis, she tried repeatedly to quit. About a dozen times over the years she checked in alone to a hotel in Desert Hot Springs to white-knuckle herself through nausea, sweats and tremors.

Short periods of abstinence were followed by relapses. She could barely get through her workdays, and her husband grew increasingly exasperated by her behavior.

At 42, after several months of abstinence, her depression without the drug was so great that she attempted to kill herself by taking "every pill in the house." She resumed smoking. Five years after the suicide attempt, she checked into a hospital rehab program.

"I finally decided I had to have help to quit," she said. "I smoked my last joint in the car on the way to St. John's Hospital with my head under the dashboard."

Even after what she went through, McDonald said she would like to see marijuana legalized so that people who have problems with the drug will be steered into treatment.

Even "as someone who has been far down the rabbit hole, I still don't think it's as dangerous as alcohol," she said. "But if I'd had any inkling of what it would do, I would have been more careful."

Monday, October 11, 2010


Attention seeking author hurls his book at Obama

Monday, October 11, 2010


Why Obama Is Losing the Political War,8599,2024718,00.html

Monday, October 11, 2010


FLOTUS Michelle Obama has pricey new doll

  Michelle   Obama,   all   dolled up

Michelle Obama is pictured. | AP Photo

A Michelle Obama doll is being sold for $195 by Franklin Mint. | Photo by AP

KARIN TANABE | 10/11/10 9:56 AM EDT


If you happen to be a Michelle Obama fan with $195 burning a hole in your pocket, the Franklin Mint has something for you. The seller of gold coins, Princess Diana dolls and Elvis heirlooms has released the “Michelle Obama Official White House Portrait Doll” for, you guessed it, $195. 

The company has produced a “limited edition” run of 9,900 dolls, each standing at 16 ½” high and adorned in a tiny replica of the black Michael Kors dress Obama wore for the portrait. The smiling vinyl doll also wears a replica steel watch, a double-strand faux pearl necklace and shockingly pink lipstick. 

If throwing down nearly $200 for a doll doesn’t fit your budget, the company is offering “3 easy monthly payments of $65.00” and a really long explanation of why the doll is a must-have. 

“In the same way that clothes are a language without words, Michelle Obama speaks volumes. With the intelligent optimism and youthful energy she brings to the Capitol, Michelle is making headlines, shaping retail trends and inspiring women the world over, as she has perhaps grown to become one of the most celebrated modern women of our time,” the website declares.

But that’s their take on Michelle Obama the woman. What about the merits of FLOTUS the doll?

“Our Michelle Obama Official White House Portrait Doll, one of the first of its kind in the world, captures all the style and substance of our iconic First Lady. A dazzling tribute to the passion and positivity of Michelle Obama and her Declaration of Fashion Independence,” the site proclaims.

Are you sold? Alas, even if you’re ready for the FLOTUS doll, she is not quite ready for you. Perhaps, like her inspiration, she is too busy on the campaign trail? The Michelle Obama portrait doll will ship in late November.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Chile miner rescue

Monday, October 11, 2010


SNL spoofs I am not a witch ad from Christine O'Donnell

Monday, October 11, 2010


White House exodus stirs political buzz

White House exodus stirs political buzz

Is spate of pre-election departures normal turnover or 'slow-motion housecleaning'?

Kara Rowland-The Washington Times7:23 p.m., Sunday, October 10, 2010Mugshot

United Press International photographs A week apart, Rahm Emanuel (left) stepped down as White House chief of staff to pursue a bid for mayor of Chicago, and James L. Jones Jr., a retired Marine general, resigned as national security adviser. Two top economic advisers have also left.


The White House has seen a stunning pre-election exodus of high-level staffers, culminating in the departure over the last two weeks of President Obama's chief of staff and national security adviser.

The string of departures, which includes two of Mr. Obama's top three economic advisers, has left longtime administration-watchers wondering whether the moves are part of an effort by the president to clean house or are merely part of the natural political cycle, as the White House contends.

Friday's resignation of National Security Adviser James L. Jones Jr., a retired Marine general, came one week after the president bid farewell to Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and Mr. Obama similarly made a statement to the press announcing the news.

"We've spared no effort to keep the American people safe, while also repairing old alliances, building new partnerships, and restoring America's leadership in the 21st century," Mr. Obama said, tapping Mr. Jones' deputy, Thomas E. Donilon, to replace the 40-year military veteran. "Through these challenges, Jim has always been a steady voice in Situation Room sessions, daily briefings, and with meetings with foreign leaders, while also representing our country abroad with allies and partners in every region of the world."

The recent departures followed those of budget chief Peter R. Orszag and chief economist Christina Romer this summer. Earlier this month, economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers announced he's stepping down at the end of the year.

Those moves came after earlier shake-ups, including the director of national intelligence, Mr. Obama's social secretary and the White House counsel.

The administration has played down reshuffling, saying that these are demanding jobs and that many of the staffers told Mr. Obama they were planning on serving for only about two years. But some political observers say the timing of the personnel switches - just weeks out from critical midterm elections in which Republicans are poised to gain seats in both chambers - is unusual, and could suggest a lack of enthusiasm among key staffers.

"It's a slow-motion housecleaning, which I assume is designed in part so nobody asks the fundamental question" of why the president's top aides are all leaving, Republican strategist Mike McKenna said. "It never happens ... you tend to roll out the month after the election, not the month before."

In 2006, President George W. Bush accepted the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld immediately after Republicans were roundly defeated at the polls, losing control of both chambers of Congress.

But whatever the reasons for leaving, Mr. McKenna said the exodus suggests there's an enthusiasm gap in the White House itself.

"That sends a message to everybody that, look, the guys at the top aren't even committed to this thing anymore. They're starting to think more about themselves and their next career gig than the victory of the squad," he argued. "It's such a fundamental rule, and it's being ignored so casually, and no one's saying anything about it."

While the departures have come from each of three main areas - Mr. Obama's political, economic and national security teams - the administration has explained each of them as being routine or the result of a special set of circumstances.

For example, Mr. Emanuel left to pursue a bid for mayor of Chicago after the city's longtime leader opted not to seek re-election, while Mr. Summers, aides said, was at risk of losing tenure at Harvard if he did not return.

"When you're in the White House and you're dealing with an issue as big as the economy is right now in the eyes of the American people, it's an all-consuming job. So it's understandable that after 15 or 18 or 20 months, people are going to want to go back to what they were doing before," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters last month.

Given the political landscape and the likelihood that Democrats will lose at least some seats in Congress, Mr. Obama faces a challenge in replacing his top aides. Activists on the left who took issue with Mr. Emanuel and Mr. Summer - the two men were maligned for being too pro-business - are calling for more progressive successors.

The president has tapped senior adviser Pete Rouse as an interim chief of staff and has not yet announced a replacement for Mr. Summers.

White House economist Austan Goolsbee replaced Ms. Romer, while Mr. Obama's nominee to replace Mr. Ortzag, Clinton administration veteran Jacob Lew, is still awaiting Senate confirmation.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Woman ask officer to check for warrants on her then is arrested

Cincinnati OH Crime

Updated: 9:19 pm | October 8, 2010


Cop hurt chasing suspect after odd encounter

Woman asks Lockland officer to check for warrants on her


Jennifer Baker


LOCKLAND – Note to criminals: If you don’t want the police to arrest you, don’t flag them down on the street and ask them to check if you have open warrants.

That was the case in Lockland when 44-year-old Selma Elmore stopped Officer Dan Lyons on South Wayne Avenue about 2:30 a.m. Friday, police said.

Elmore asked the officer: Is there a curfew for adults in Lockland?

No curfew, Lyons responded.

Second question: Is there a warrant for my arrest?

Yes, in fact there is a warrant, the officer told her after a quick check.

Lyons had discovered Elmore was wanted for allegedly failing to pay a fine as a result of a drug-related conviction, said Sgt. Patrick Sublet.

Elmore took off running, leading the officer on a brief chase that ended when she shoved him into a building, injuring his elbow, Sublet said. Lyons radioed for backup. Other officers apprehended her. She faces a new charge of resisting arrest.

Lyons went to Betheseda North Hospital as a precaution and was treated and released. He was told he may have suffered nerve damage and will need further medical treatment.

He is expected to be off work for a while, Sublet said.


Zoom Photo

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Couple's Radio Flyer turns heads on streets,0,1784245.story

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Man tries to cash fake check, leaves license behind

Fayette County News 6:59 p.m. Sunday, October 10, 2010


Report: Man tries to cash fake check, leaves license behind


Alexis Stevens
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Fayette County man made it easy for police officers to track him down when he tried to cash a fake check in South Carolina. He left behind his driver's license, police said. 

An arrest warrant has been issued for 42-year-old Anthony Rhodes, who attempted to cash a $1,790 check, reported.

Rhodes, of Fayetteville, entered the ACE Cash Express off North Kings Highway on Thursday evening attempting to cash the check, but an employee questioned it, according to the report. Rhodes said he completed work for the Ohio business listed on the check, but a spokesman for the business told the ACE employee the account had been closed.

As the ACE employee called police, Rhodes and his wife left the business with their small child, Myrtle Beach police told the news station. Rhodes left behind his driver's license and the check, and a warrant was issued for his arrest on forgery charges.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


October's best editorial cartoons

Sunday, October 10, 2010


So what exactly is Mitt Romney's job? Even Republicans are unsure

Political Circuit

So what exactly is Mitt Romney’s job? Even Republicans are unsure

While it is difficult to classify Mitt Romney’s occupation, he played the role of author in March, at a Phoenix book signing.


While it is difficult to classify Mitt Romney’s occupation, he played the role of author in March, at a Phoenix book signing.

(Laura Segall/The Boston Globe/File)

October 10, 2010

One could spend an entire Sunday morning talk show dissecting the question or even devise a parlor game around it: How, exactly, does one describe Mitt Romney’s occupation? 

It’s hard to lump him in with the 9.6 percent of Americans who are unemployed, given that he probably would neither need nor endorse collecting benefits. He has not been appointed ambassador to Mexico, like another former governor, or even Canada. He’s on television often, but does that count as a job? Everyone knows he wants to be president, but it’s a little early to declare that.

It seems the state Republican Party may be having the same trouble sorting out this whole job question. On a campaign finance report posted online last week, a $5,000 donation from Willard Romney (Willard is the former governor’s first name) had no occupation listed. Instead, it was marked “best attempt,’’ as if someone tried to figure it out, but gave up.

“Hmmm,’’ said GOP spokeswoman Tarah Breed, before letting out a chuckle and promising to look into the matter.

By the time Breed e-mailed an explanation Friday, the donation had disappeared from the Office of Campaign and Public Finance website. She blamed a “clerical error,’’ saying the donation should not have been included with the most recent batch because it was not made in late September with the others listed. She said the updated occupations for several GOP donors, also initially missing, were in fact filed, but had not yet made it onto the website.

Jason Tait of the state campaign finance office said campaigns control the posting of campaign information on its website. But they have a 45-day window to send a letter requesting a donor’s occupation, giving the GOP more than enough time to contemplate the matter.

Perhaps the Republican Party can settle on the job title used by Charles D. Baker’s campaign, when it accepted a $500 check from Romney last month: “Politician, Self Employed.’’

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Sarah Palin speaks to electability issue

Sarah Palin speaks to electability issue

Sarah Palin is pictured. | AP Photo
Sarah Palin notes that critics also said Ronald Reagan couldn’t win in 1980. | AP Photo


10/8/10 6:18 PM EDT

Updated: 10/9/10 6:45 PM EDT


Speaking to a group of well-connected Republicans at a private dinner in Florida this week, Sarah Palin implicitly addressed questions about her own electability by noting that critics also said Ronald Reagan couldn’t win in 1980, three attendees told POLITICO.

Palin, at an event organized by the conservative magazine Newsmax, told the right-wing crowd that those who don’t have the same convictions will always say a true conservative can’t win.


Pointing out that the knock on Reagan was that he was also too far to the right, the former Alaska governor repeatedly invoked the 40th president and conservative icon, at one point citing the quotation he was most fond of: that America is a “shining city on a hill.”

“I think she sees herself as heir to Reagan,” said one attendee.

Her invoking of the Gipper at a closed-door gathering illustrates that Palin is, at the very least, thinking through how she’d make her case if she pursued the presidency. And combined with the recent revelation of an e-mail her husband, Todd, sent to Alaska Senate hopeful Joe Miller excoriating him for not saying Palin was qualified to be president, her private comments make clear that the 2008 vice-presidential candidate wants other Republicans to take her seriously as a White House prospect.

Trying to divine her intentions — does she just want to stay in the presidential mix to build her brand, or is she actually running? — is difficult. But the mere act of meeting with the sort of Republican donors, strategists and activists who fund and advise presidential campaigns is telling.

Palin did not talk directly about a White House bid at the event, held Wednesday at the famed Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach.

Rather she used her remarks and a question-and-answer period with about 50 conservative insiders to discuss topics such as health care, the midterm elections and the state of the GOP.

Palin discussed the importance of keeping the tea party movement in the GOP but criticized establishment Republicans who she said weren’t listening to the party’s grass roots by supporting moderate candidates over conservatives. If the party recaptures Congress, she said, Republicans must govern differently than in the Bush years and show more fidelity to small-government principles on spending.

Each of the attendees who spoke with POLITICO said they were impressed by her performance, particularly when she took questions and spoke off the cuff.

“Palin was engaging, charming, and well-informed on the issues and the campaigns going on around the country,” said Ralph Reed, a longtime GOP strategist who is now running a social conservative group called the Faith & Freedom Coalition. “While circumspect about her future plans, she was clear she wants to see the party and the country go in a more conservative direction.”

Even though she didn’t openly discuss her intentions, the possibility of a Palin run was discussed by many in the room.

“I was surprised about how many people in room said ‘yes’ when I asked if they could see themselves supporting her,” said one attendee. “I was expecting to hear what you mostly hear — ‘I hope she doesn’t do it’ or, ‘She’s more effective doing what she’s doing.’”

The gathering, first reported by US News & World Report, was described as a “get-acquainted” session by an attendee and was held in conjunction with a video interview Palin did with Newsmax, set to air next week. The evening began with a reception and dinner and was followed by Palin speaking and taking questions.

Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, was the host of the event and invited such high-profile guests as Reed, Michael Reagan, Grover Norquist, Dick Morris, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and such donors as former GOPAC Chair Gay Gaines, businessman Lee Hanley and former Reagan Ambassador to Switzerland Faith Whittlesey.


Read more:

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Obama hits links for 52nd golf day

Obama hits links for 52nd golf day

Bridget Johnson
10/09/10 02:08 PM ET


President Obama hit the golf course Saturday for what, by CBS News' Mark Knoller's calculation, was his 52nd such outing since taking office.

According to the White House pool report, Obama went golfing Saturday with his usual partners: trip director Marvin Nicholson, press aide Ben Finkenbinder and the Department of Energy's David Katz.

CBS News Radio White House correspondent Knoller tweeted:

It's a beautiful 77° & sunny in DC and Pres Obama has gone to Andrews AFB for a round of golf. His 52nd since taking office.

Before heading to Andrews Air Force Base for golf, Obama watched his daughter Malia's soccer game in northwest Washington.

Obama heads to Philadelphia with Vice President Biden on Sunday for a DNC "Moving America Forward" campaign rally with Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.).

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Dems who can't risk Obama visit welcome Clinton to campaign

Dems who can't risk Obama visit welcome Clinton to campaign


Shane D'Aprile
The Hill
10/09/10 12:31 PM ET

Embattled Democrats are increasingly turning to former President Bill Clinton to prop up their campaigns in the final weeks before November's midterm elections.

The former president is far and away the biggest draw for the party less than a month out, hitting races in states where Democrats would rather President Obama stay away.

With Obama's campaign schedule featuring recent stops in solidly Democratic states like California, Delaware and Maryland, it's Clinton who is helping Democrats trying to win over centrists and independents in states like West Virginia, Kentucky and Arkansas.

The former president has planned stops in all three of those states next week, stumping for both House and Senate candidates. According to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Clinton is one of the most popular political figures in the country, winning approval from 55 percent of voters.

That number stands in stark contrast to President Obama, whose approval ratings in some battleground states continue to fall.

Perhaps nowhere is the popularity contrast between Clinton and Obama greater than in West Virginia, where Clinton on Monday will campaign for Gov. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Manchin finds himself in an unexpectedly tight Senate race thanks in large part to a litany of attack ads tying the Democratic governor to Obama. Republican businessman John Raese leads Manchin by 6 points in the latest Rasmussen poll, which had the president's approval rating in the state below the 40 percent mark.

Raese has spent millions of his own money to hammer Manchin with TV ads labeling the popular governor "a rubber stamp" for Obama, and it's working. Raese has steadily eroded what was once a double-digit Manchin lead.

Ahead of Clinton's visit, Manchin is doing just about all he can to separate himself from the current president. In an interview on Fox News Friday, Manchin called the president "dead wrong" when it comes to cap-and-trade and earlier in the week the state sued the EPA over new coal mining regulations.

"President Clinton understands West Virginians and this is a great opportunity for me to continue to share my vision for West Virginia and how I will continue to stand up and fight for what is best for our state and nation," Manchin said in a statement Friday.

Raese's campaign hit back at Clinton's planned visit by pointing to an interview Manchin gave to MSNBC in which the governor said he didn't anticipate a campaign visit from Obama because, "I've never had people come and campaign for me."

Democratic congressional candidate Mike Oliverio will also be at Monday's Manchin-Clinton rally. Oliverio faces Republican David McKinley this fall after defeating Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) in a primary earlier this year.

In a statement Friday, Oliverio praised Clinton as the president who "presided during the last time our federal budget was under control and our economy was thriving." Oliverio's campaign also noted that he was among the first West Virginia legislators to back Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential bid.

Later Monday, Clinton will campaign for Democratic Senate nominee Jack Conway in Kentucky -- a state where Republicans have tried to make President Obama a central issue, too.

Republican Rand Paul has worked to tie Conway to Obama. His latest campaign ad features an Obama impersonator who says, "I know I can count on Conway to vote for more spending and debt, bigger government and higher taxes."

For Conway, the former president might be the only national Democratic figure who could help given the current political dynamic there. Clinton won the state of Kentucky twice, a feat for a Democratic presidential candidate. Then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton also defeated Obama soundly in that state's Democratic primary in 2008.

The Paul campaign dismissed the visit from Clinton, labeling him "an out-of-state liberal" and offering to "pay for President Obama's plane ticket" to travel to Kentucky to rally for Conway.

Later in the week, Clinton will head to Arkansas for a joint rally with Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and congressional candidate Chad Causey. Lincoln trails big in her race against Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.), but Causey's race for the seat of retiring Rep. Marion Berry is considered a tossup.

"He's going to make a huge impact out here," said Arkansas Democratic Party spokesman Joel Coon, who noted that Clinton still has a tremendously strong base of popularity in states like Arkansas with a high concentration of conservative Democrats.

"I don't think that's a reflection on our current elected officials in Washington," he said. "It's just that he has his own fan base out here and it's strong."

Arkansas is one state where Clinton has already made a difference this election cycle, helping Lincoln best Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D) in a tough Democratic primary. Another is Pennsylvania, where a last-minute Clinton visit for Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.) helped him hold off Republican Tim Burns.

Clinton has already campaigned for Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) in Pennsylvania's Senate race, but embattled House Dems like Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) are eager for the former president to make another pre-election swing through the state.

Kanjorski's website features video clips from a campaign speech Clinton gave for Kanjorski just days before the 2008 election, which the incumbent won in a squeaker.

"We'd love to have fresh clips and a fresh appearance in 2010," admits Kanjorski consultant Ed Mitchell. "But we know the former president is very busy."

Clinton also has campaign appearances planned for former Gov. Jerry Brown in California and Rep. Kendrick Meek in Florida's Senate race.

Even though President Obama isn't likely to show up in some of the toughest 2010 battlegrounds during the campaign's final month, he is using his fundraising prowess across the country to help fill the coffers of the national party and Democratic candidates in contested races.

The president is also planning a campaign swing out West ahead of Election Day where he is expected to stump for Democrats in key Senate contests in California and Washington state.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Women carrying 77 cats stopped

Women toting 77 cats stopped, face charges

Posted: 10/08/2010 11:00:42 PM EDT



Cats are removed from one of two vehicles seized Friday during an investigation.

BENNINGTON -- Local police, after finding 77 cats in two separate vehicles, issued civil citations for animal cruelty to two Troy, N.Y., women Friday afternoon that could be upgraded to criminal charges following a review by the Bennington County State’s Attorney’s office.

Regina Millard, 54, and Bertha Ryan, 61, both of Troy, were issued civil citations that carry $300 fines. Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette said a criminal affidavit will be filed by police and reviewed Monday by prosecutors, who may choose to upgrade the charges to a criminal act.

A total of 77 cats were found inside the two vehicles, including one found dead in a trunk. Doucette said police originally thought 50 cats were in the cars -- 27 in one car and 23 in the other. The cats were of varying ages, he said. Each car had two passengers, Doucette said, and one contained a litter box. Both vehicles had a strong odor emanating from windows opened by police to provide the cats with air.

"The stench is nauseating," Doucette said.

Plates of food were in the vehicles. Some of the cats had fecal matter matted to their fur, according to Doucette. Police began investigating the cars after a complaint was made from the Aldi grocery store around 1 p.m. Bennington Police Sgt. Lloyd Dean said someone reported people sleeping in the vehicles with the cats.

Police had both vehicles towed to the town’s highway garage on Depot Street.

Officers used plastic suits and air packs to perform a cursory search of the vehicles while awaiting a search warrant. "They refused to voluntarilyrelinquish ownership of the cats," Dean said.

It took police until 9 p.m. to remove all of the animals, according to Dean.

Doucette said just two of the cats are owned by occupants in the vehicles. The rest, including stray and feral cats, were picked up in various places, he said. Millard and Ryan were apparently looking for homes for the animals, Doucette said. "They were driving from shelter to shelter trying to give some of the cats away for adoption," he said.

Doucette said the town’s animal control officer would seek shelters to house the cats while the case is pending.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Obama says GOP wants to 'cut education by 20 percent'

Obama says GOP wants to 'cut education by 20 percent'

Bridget Johnson
The Hill 
10/09/10 06:00 AM ET

President Obama pitched education initiatives and funding as key to preparing kids for the jobs of the future, and accused congressional Republicans of standing in the way of goals to graduate more students from college.

In his weekly address, Obama began by saying he was fighting to create jobs and rebuild the economy as American families are struggling. But he said that kids need to be better prepared for the jobs of the future in a global economy. "China and India aren’t playing for second," he said. "South Korea and Germany aren’t playing for second. They’re playing for first – and so should America." 

He touted the Skills for America's Future initiative introduced earlier in the week intended to connect students with employers, and the Race to the Top program that aims to graduate more students from college per capita than any other country by 2020. 

"And yet, if Republicans in Congress had their way, we’d have a harder time meeting that goal," Obama said. "We’d have a harder time offering our kids the best education possible. Because they’d have us cut education by 20 percent – cuts that would reduce financial aid for eight million students; cuts that would leave our great and undervalued community colleges without the resources they need to prepare our graduates for the jobs of the future."

The president said he was prepared to make "some tough choices" to get "our fiscal house in order."

"But what I’m not prepared to do is shortchange our children’s education," he said. "What I’m not prepared to do is undercut their economic future, your economic future, or the economic future of the United States of America."

Republicans fired back at Obama's assertion that Republicans want to cut education by 20 percent.

"What threatens our children’s future is not the Pledge to America, but rather the reckless spending spree being carried out on the backs of future generations by President Obama and his allies," Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), chairman of the recently unveiled Pledge to America, said. 

"Democrats in Washington have been asking our kids and grandkids to pick up the tab for their wasteful stimulus spending that has done nothing to create a more stable economic environment for their future," McCarthy said. "While the President is spending his time engaging in scare tactics, Republicans are offering America’s children a renewed opportunity for prosperity with a plan for economic growth and concrete steps to begin reining in Washington spending.”

Saturday, October 9, 2010


The real outrage behind the Whitman 'wh%%e' remark

Friday, October 8, 2010


Mother ties up her 2 young sons so she could sleep better


Mother pleads guilty to tying up her 2 young sons so she could sleep better

October 8, 2010 |  5:08 pm

An Orange County mother pleaded guilty Friday to beating, starving and tying up her two young sons so  she could sleep better at night.

According to the Orange County district attorney's office, Cheryl Ann Stuart, 26, of Santa Ana and her boyfriend, Mario Alberto Colin, 31, pleaded to two felony counts of child abuse and one felony count of corporal injury on a child.

Police alleged that Stuart had tied her sons, ages 2 and 5, to their crib and bed with ace bandages and shoelaces so "she could sleep well" and not worry about them running around.

Prosecutors said that Stuart and Colin were sentenced to 270 days in jail and three years of formal probation for the June incident.

-- Shelby Grad

Friday, October 8, 2010


Father of groom sues bride's dad after couple splits

Friday, 10.08.10

Father of groom sues bride's dad after couple splits


 Two fathers-in-law are in a bitter dispute in Broward small claims court over money one says the other owes for a wedding held two years ago. Wilma Pierre Louis, left, the defendant and father of the bride, Judge Martin Dishowitz, attorney for the plaintiff Michael Styles, Montel Nelson, the plaintiff and father of the groom, and the groom Jerster Nelson.
Two fathers-in-law are in a bitter dispute in Broward small claims court over money one says the other owes for a wedding held two years ago. Wilma Pierre Louis, left, the defendant and father of the bride, Judge Martin Dishowitz, attorney for the plaintiff Michael Styles, Montel Nelson, the plaintiff and father of the groom, and the groom Jerster Nelson. MIKE STOCKER/SUN SENTINEL

In this case, it's not the bride and groom battling it out in court over money matters — it's their parents.

Montel Nelson, father of the groom, claimed he loaned $4,000 to Wilma Pierre Louis, the bride's dad, in 2008 but was never repaid.

Pierre Louis, a stock broker from Miramar, said the money was never a loan; it was meant to help pay for the April 2008 wedding of their children, which cost $14,880. He said Nelson sued him for the $4,000 because the couple split so soon.

On Thursday, they had their day in court, in front of Broward County Court Judge Martin Dishowitz.

"They were supposed to pay 50 percent of the bill,'' said Pierre Louis, who came to court with wedding photos, reception hall bills, and a narrative of what he claimed took place, written on a yellow legal pad. "I have never been in a position where I needed to borrow $4,000."

The bride and groom, Farah and Jerster Nelson, who are both of Haitian descent, had a reception for about 175 guests at Floridian Ballrooms in Pembroke Pines. About a year later, they called it quits.

Pierre Louis claimed in court that both sides of the family planned to pitch in for the wedding, which he said was customary in Haiti.

"I did not borrow their money,'' said Pierre Louis, who tried to establish he was not friends with the fellow father-in law.

"Have we ever watched the Super Bowl together?'' he asked Nelson, a retired machine operator from North Miami Beach. "Have we ever been in a car together? We have no personal relationship.''

But Nelson said the connection was his son, who approached him before the wedding about making a loan to his future father-in-law. Nelson said Pierre Louis explained he needed the money to take a trip to Brazil and would repay it once a hold was taken off his bank account.

His wife backed up his testimony.

"I thought he was a man of character,'' Nelson said. "It's all lies.''

Nelson said he gave his son $2,000 towards the wedding expenses. But he said the $4,000 check made out to Pierre Louis was a loan.

When it was time to pay the money back, he said Pierre Louis kept dodging him.

"He finally told me he's not going to give me any money back. He said 'take me to court,' and he said that money was for the wedding reception,' Nelson said.

Jerster Nelson said he felt responsible for his family's ordeal.

"I'm the one who asked my dad to loan him the money,'' he said. "I thought he would be responsible and bring it back.''

Attorney Michael Styles, who represented Nelson, said in his 26 years of practicing law this was the first time he had a case involving two father-in-laws.

Andrea Syrtash, a relationship expert and editor of "How to Survive Your In-Laws,'' said while money often plays a big factor in in-law disputes, "it usually has more to do with their judgment of how their son or daughter-in-law is handing finances.''

She said this type of wedding dispute is unusual.

On Thursday, Judge Dishowitz ruled in favor of Nelson, saying the bride's father kept changing his story.

Pierre Louis is now on the hook for the $4,000 plus about $500 in interest and court costs.

"I'm going to appeal it,'' he said.

Nelson said he didn't want to have to bring the dispute to court to settle it.

"It's a few thousand dollars; it's nothing,'' he said. "As a family member, he could have talked to me.''

Read more:


The marriage lasted about a year but the bitterness continues.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Woman Mistakes Superglue for Eyedrops

Friday, October 8, 2010


Meth, blowtorch, gunpowder -- a bad mix

Meth, blowtorch, gunpowder -- a bad mix


October 05 2010 at 02:17 PM


John Blanchard

San Mateo County sheriff

John Blanchard

Some might say that smoking meth with a blowtorch near a container of gunpowder is ill-advised. Some will try anyway.

John Blanchard, 65, is among them, San Mateo County sheriff's deputies say.

Deputies called to a fire Friday afternoon in a storage yard in the unincorporated community of Princeton near the Half Moon Bay Airport found Blanchard standing outside a camper that he had parked there illegally, sheriff's Lt. Ray Lunny said.

Investigators determined that the fire on the 200 block of Yale Avenue had been started by a defective propane blowtorch that Blanchard had been using to smoke methamphetamine, Lunny said.

Blanchard left the blowtorch on a dryer, causing a nearby container of gunpowder to explode, said Steve Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney.

Besides the blowtorch, deputies found a loaded rifle, ammunition, a container of black powder and an unopened safe containing more than 300 feet of detonation cord, Lunny said.

Blanchard, who has a previous drug conviction, pleaded not guilty Monday to drugs and weapons violations. He is being held on $30,000 bail.

Read more:

Friday, October 8, 2010


Michelle Obama: I've Had Enough!


National Enquirer

Published on: 09/28/2010

"I've had ENOUGH!" After two years in the White House fishbowl, fed up first lady Michelle Obama sobbed those emotional words to her husband during a tense confrontation.

In a blockbuster ENQUIRER exclusive, well-placed Washington, D.C., insiders have revealed behind-the-scenes details of President Barack Obama's heated face-to- face with his 46-year-old wife - a spat that erupted over headline-making comments attributed to her in a revealing new book.

According to the book, Michelle told France's first lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy, 41, that she absolutely detests her role as America's first lady, blasting it as "hell," and admitting: "I can't stand it!"

During the Obama's quarrel, "Michelle collapsed in tears and even threatened to divorce Barack if he seeks a second term as president," a source in the nation's capital told The ENQUIRER.

"At one point, Michelle was heard yelling, 'I hate you for dragging me through all this…I've had enough!'"

Another D.C. insider confirmed details of the fight, telling The ENQUIRER that the screaming match occurred after the first family returned to Washington following their vacation in Martha's Vineyard with daughters Malia and Sasha.

The next day Barack was NOT wearing his wedding ring and despite official denials, there's "trouble ahead", insiders told The Enquirer.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Attorney jailed for not saying Pledge of Allegiance

Mississippi judge frees Oxford attorney jailed over not reciting Pledge of Allegiance


The Associated Press

October 7, 2010


A Mississippi judge jailed a lawyer for several hours for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, ordering the attorney to "purge himself" of contempt by standing and repeating the oath like the rest of the courtroom. 

After Oxford attorney Danny Lampley spent about five hours in the county jail Wednesday, Chancery Judge Talmadge Littlejohn let him go free. Lampley, 49, was released so that he could represent another client, the judge said in a later order. 

Lampley told The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal he respected the judge but wasn't going to back down. 

"I don't have to say it because I'm an American," Lampley told the newspaper. "I'm just not going to back off on this."

Lampley was representing a client in a divorce case at the time of the contempt order, according to the judge's calendar. 

"Lampley shall purge himself of said criminal contempt by complying with the order of this Court by standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in open court," according to the order, which was obtained by The Associated Press. 

Neither Littlejohn, who is in his mid-70s, nor Lampley responded to telephone calls from the AP. 

Bear Atwood, an ACLU attorney in Mississippi, said there was a long established precedent that a person can't be compelled to stand and say the pledge. 

"It's simply not permissible to force someone to do that," Atwood said. 

The Pledge of Allegiance has faced challenges since it was published in 1892. 

In 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that children in public schools could not be forced to salute the flag and say the pledge. In 1954, the words "under God" were added to the pledge, when members of Congress at the time said they wanted to set the United States apart from "godless communists." 

In March, an appellate court upheld references to God on U.S. currency and in the Pledge of Allegiance, rejecting arguments they violate the constitutional separation of church and state. 

Atwood said Lampley could file a complaint with Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance, but the best way to handle the situation was to "educate the judge on why he shouldn't do it again." 

Littlejohn is in his second term as a chancery judge and presides over divorces and child custody disputes. Judges in Mississippi are elected, though they run in nonpartisan races. 

Littlejohn is running unopposed for re-election in November. 

He is a former state lawmaker. He ran for a congressional seat as a Democrat in 1996, finishing second out of three candidates in the Democratic primary. He lost a runoff.






Thursday, October 7, 2010


Biden: 'You're the dullest audience I've ever spoken to'

Biden: 'You’re the dullest audience I’ve ever spoken to'

Jordan Fabian 
The Hill
10/07/10 02:48 PM ET

Vice President Joe Biden got a laugh from his audience at a Wisconsin fundraising event Thursday when he tried to rile the crowd about the economic collapse of 2008. 

“We want to reward people who manufacture things in the United States, in Wisconsin, not to take them overseas to China and to other countries!” he said to a silent room at the event for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Barrett, according to a White House pool report. 

He continued, saying, “You’re the dullest audience I’ve ever spoken to," at which point he got applause and laughs. "Do you realize how many jobs Wisconsin lost? It’s staggering!" 

Biden and President Obama have made frequent campaign stops in recent weeks in an attempt to jolt Democrats who are lagging Republicans in voter enthusiasm measures, in part due to the slowing pace of the economic recovery under the administration's watch. 

Biden's appearance Thursday was in the state capital of Madison, which hosted a crowd of 26,000 to see President Obama speak at rally targeted at young voters the week prior.

Obama, Biden to make first 2010 joint campaign appearance

The vice president has argued at previous events that Democrats have begun to reverse the momentum that had them sliding to large losses on Election Day. He has also taken several pointed shots at the GOP, jokingly saying this week that he would "strangle" Republicans who talk about the deficit. 

On Thursday, he took a jab at the House GOP's "Pledge to America," governing agenda.

“The pledge half baked … folks, we’ve been in that oven before," he said. "This pledge is a threat to America."

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Poverty rising in the suburbs straining Social Services

Thursday October 7, 2010


Strained Suburbs: The Social Service Challenges of Rising Suburban Poverty


Scott W. Allard, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program
Benjamin Roth, School of Social Science Administration, University of Chicago

Brookings Institution



Cities and suburbs occupy well-defined roles within the discussion of poverty, opportunity, and social welfare policy in metropolitan America. Research exploring issues of poverty typically has focused on central-city neighborhoods, where poverty and joblessness have been most concentrated. As a result, place-based U.S. antipoverty policies focus primarily on ameliorating concentrated poverty in inner-city (and, in some cases, rural) areas. Suburbs, by con­trast, are seen as destinations of opportunity for quality schools, safe neighborhoods, or good jobs.

Several recent trends have begun to upset this familiar urban-suburban narrative about poverty and opportunity in metropolitan America. In 1999, large U.S. cities and their suburbs had roughly equal numbers of poor residents, but by 2008 the number of suburban poor exceeded the poor in central cities by 1.5 million. Although poverty rates remain higher in central cities than in suburbs (18.2 per­cent versus 9.5 percent in 2008), poverty rates have increased at a quicker pace in suburban areas.

Watch video of co-author Scott Allard explaining the report's findings
(video courtesy of the University of Chicago)


Save to My PortfolioThis report examines data from the Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), along with in-depth interviews and a new survey of social services providers in suburban communities surrounding Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; and Washington, D.C. to assess the challenges that rising suburban poverty poses for local safety nets and community-based organizations. It finds that:


Suburban jurisdictions outside of Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. vary sig­nificantly in their levels of poverty, recent poverty trends, and racial/ethnic profiles, both among and within these metro areas.


Several suburban counties outside of Chicago experi­enced more than 40 percent increases of poor residents from 2000 to 2008, as did portions of counties in suburban Maryland and northern Virginia. Yet poverty rates declined for subur­ban counties in metropolitan Los Angeles. While several suburban Los Angeles municipalities are majority Hispanic and a handful of Chicago suburbs have sizeable Hispanic populations, many Washington, D.C. suburbs have substantial black and Asian populations as well.


Suburban safety nets rely on relatively few social services organizations, and tend to stretch operations across much larger service delivery areas than their urban counter­parts. Thirty-four percent of nonprofits surveyed reported operating in more than one subur­ban county, and 60 percent offered services in more than one suburban municipality. The size and capacity of the nonprofit social service sector varies widely across suburbs, with 357 poor residents per nonprofit provider in Montgomery County, MD, to 1,627 in Riverside County, CA. Place of residence may greatly affect one’s access to certain types of help.


In the wake of the Great Recession, demand is up significantly for the typical suburban provider, and almost three-quarters (73 percent) of suburban nonprofits are seeing more clients with no previous connection to safety net programs. Needs have changed as well, with nearly 80 percent of suburban nonprofits surveyed seeing families with food needs more often than one year prior, and nearly 60 percent reporting more frequent requests for help with mortgage or rent payments.


Almost half of suburban nonprofits surveyed (47 percent) reported a loss in a key rev­enue source last year, with more funding cuts anticipated in the year to come. Due in large part to this bleak fiscal situation, more than one in five suburban nonprofits has reduced services available since the start of the recession and one in seven has actively cut caseloads. Nearly 30 percent of nonprofits have laid off full-time and part-time staff as a result of lost program grants or to reduce operating costs.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Forbes' 2010 list of most powerful women

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Rachel Maddow Bill O'Reilly Is A 'Race-Baiting F%%K

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Passersby scoop up cash dropped by armored truck

Passersby scoop up cash dropped by armored truck



10:29 AM, Oct 6, 2010  Indy Star 


John Tuohy


911 call reporting bundles of cash in street

Rush hour took on a whole new meaning this morning when an armored car dropped about three bundles of cash at Downtown intersection and commuters swooped in to grab the swirling bills.

The bundles fell from a truck at Washington and Meridian Streets at 7:30 a.m., according to police and witnesses.

“I looked in the street and saw this box and wondered what it was doing there,” said Amanda Hart, 23, who works at T-Mobile, 2 W. Washington St. “Then a couple cars ran over the bundles and these bills came flying out.” 

That set off a frenzy, with people storming through traffic into the intersection to grab some of the bounty, said Brieanna Patterson, 22, Hart’s co-worker. 

“People were stopping their cars, picking up loads of cash and driving away,” she said. ‘People ran into the street and grabbed armloads, paying no attention to traffic. I saw two women walk by here real fast holding as much loose cash as they could in their arms against their chest. They looked like they were all $20s.” 

The women estimated about 10 people grabbed money before a conscientious citizen pulled up. 

“There’s always one person like that,” Hart said. “A guy pulled up in a van and put the boxes inside.” 

Shortly afterward five police cars arrived and stopped traffic. Fifteen minutes later the armored car returned and retrieved the remaining cash. 

The women noted that none of the people who snagged the bills were the homeless regulars stationed at the intersection. 

“This could have been the biggest thing that ever happened to them and they missed it,” Patterson joked. “I don’t know where they were.” 

As of mid-morning, there was no official estimate on how much cash was dropped and no explanation how the loss occurred. 

Timothy Wentworth, 53, said police told him $20,000 in cash blew away.
Wenworth called police when he got the intersection in his van with his wife, Viki. 

Police described the Wentworths as “two good citizens who helped secure” the money. 

“People were having a field day when I pulled up,” Wentworth said. ‘At first I didn’t know what it was but when I saw it was cash I figured I better call police.” 

He said the cash was in three large bundles, double-stacked and wrapped in plastic. “Kind of like cases of dog food,” he said. 

He said each bundle had 16 rolls of bills in it. One roll of 20s had been knocked out of one of the bundles, Wentworth said.

“I think the police said about $20,000 was in it,” he said. 

Wentworth said it never occurred to him to grab the cash. 

“It wasn’t my money,” he said. “I know we are in a recession but I wasn’t raised that way.”

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Woman, 31 pretended to be boy to have sex with girl, 16

Woman who pretended to be boy indicted

Grand jury declined to indict Patricia Dye on a felony charge.


Lawrence Budd

Staff Writer

Updated 9:32 AM Tuesday, August 3, 2010


LEBANON — The 31-year-old Franklin woman who authorities said pretended to be a 14-year-old boy to get close to a teenage girl has been indicted on misdemeanor charges of sexual imposition, attempted sexual imposition and contributing to the unruliness of a minor.

Patricia Dye, also known as Matt Abrams, was indicted on the charges by a Warren County grand jury, according to a list issued by court officials Monday, Aug. 2.

Dye was arrested in June after police found her alleged 16-year-old victim wandering the streets of Franklin malnourished and with sores on her feet. Three days earlier, on her 16th birthday, the girl had run away from her Springboro home while her mother was undergoing surgery.

The sexual imposition and attempted sexual imposition charges stem from alleged sex acts in May at the girl’s home, while she was still a 15-year-old, said Matt Nolan, a spokesman for the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office. The contributing charge alleges Dye assisted the girl in running away, Nolan said.

The grand jury declined to indict Dye on a felony charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, which requires the victim to have been younger than 16.

Police said they have interviewed other girls who say they had relationships with Dye, but no charges have been filed.

“We don’t have any other victims at this point that we’re prepared to come forward with,” Nolan said.

Dye, who is being held on $100,000 bond, will be arraigned Tuesday in Warren County Juvenile Court. All charges will be handled in the juvenile court because contributing to the delinquency, the most serious charge, is filed in the juvenile court, Nolan said.


Patricia Dye, 31, of Franklin, Ohio, sits Wednesday, Oct.... Samantha Grier / AP

Patricia Dye, 31, of Franklin, Ohio, sits Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010, in Warren County Juvenile Court, as she pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a child, sexual imposition and attempted sexual imposition of a 16-year-old Springboro girl, after Dye posed as a teenage boy. Dye will serve 90 days in jail. (AP Photo

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Crazy Crop Circles,0,2734280.photogallery

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Nations see dip of dollar as threat to economies

Nations see dip of dollar as threat to economies

U.S. pushes China on yuan


Patrice Hill

The Washington Times

8:44 p.m., Wednesday, October 6, 2010


While the United States has been fussing at China for gaining an advantage in trade by depressing the value of its currency, other nations — while agreeing about China — are increasingly focused on the falling dollar and concern that the U.S. may be doing the same thing.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner on Wednesday stepped up U.S. demands that China stop closely controlling the value of its currency and allow it to rise against the dollar, suggesting that the Asian giant may be violating its pledge last year to move toward freer exchange rates with other Group of 20 economic powers.

"We have moved aggressively to do our part to help bring the world out of crisis," said Mr. Geithner, noting Congress' enactment of strict new regulatory reforms on Wall Street this summer, and a big drop in the U.S. trade deficit since 2008 as a result of greater savings and less spending by U.S. consumers.

While not mentioning China specifically in his speech to the Brookings Institution, Mr. Geithner pointed to what he described as other "major economies" with chronic large trade surpluses and undervalued currencies, in an unmistakable reference to the Asian giant.

European nations echoed Mr. Geithner's criticism in a separate forum with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Brussels, and called on China to allow more rapid appreciation of its currency, the yuan or renminbi. That prompted a strong rebuke from the Chinese leader.

"Do not work to pressurize us on the renminbi rate," he said. "Yes, we are going to proceed with the reforms," but he suggested the bigger problem for the world economy was the recent large drop in the U.S. dollar, which is the world's main reserve currency.

Mr. Wen warned of dire consequences if China were to abandon its gradual currency reform and allow a rapid rise of the yuan.

"Many of our exporting companies would have to close down, migrant workers would have to return to their villages," he said. "If China saw social and economic turbulence, that would be a disaster for the world."

But the United States. received strong backing in its dispute with China from an important quarter — the International Monetary Fund. In a report Wednesday, the IMF urged China and other Asian nations with large trade surpluses to stop devaluing their currencies, rely less on exports for growth and encourage more consumer and business spending at home.

While the IMF expects the world economy to keep growing this year — led by double-digit growth in China and other developing countries — it warned that the resumption of distorted trade patterns that prevailed before the recession could undermine the economy once again.

The recovery is "neither strong nor balanced and runs the risk of not being sustained," said Olivier Blanchard, the IMF's chief economist. He added that the threat of a downward deflationary spiral in the United States, Japan and other developed nations remains viable.

Renewed economic weakness in the United States this summer — and the Federal Reserve's vow to fight a relapse into recession with even looser money policies — set off a rapid drop in the dollar against other free-floating currencies. Since August, the dollar has lost 8 percent of its value against the euro, and is down by 5 percent against major world currencies.

The dollar's rapid decline has provoked a chain reaction in other countries, ranging from a decision by Australia not to raise interest rates this week to a forceful intervention in currency markets to support the dollar by Japan and a dramatic move by the Bank of Japan to slash interest rates to zero this week.

Because the U.S. dollar is the world's dominant currency, it is taking center stage along with the spat with China at the run-up to an IMF meeting in Washington this weekend as well as a G-20 meeting planned in Seoul next month.

Brazil's finance minister created ripples in financial circles by suggesting last week that the decline of the dollar was setting off an "international currency war." Brazil itself has imposed taxes on hot money coming across its border in an attempt to stem the rapid rise of its own currency, the real.

With the U.S. and most other nations vowing to offset weakness in their own economies by trying to increase exports, some analysts fear that the kind of competitive devaluations that erupted during the Great Depression could be in the offing.

"Beggar thy neighbor is back," said Harm Bandholz, economist at Unicredit Markets. He said the U.S., Japan and United Kingdom are all deliberately weakening their currencies to try to gain an advantage in trade. The Obama administration has set the goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years.

But Raghav Subbarao, analyst at Barclays Capital, says he doesn't see a currency war on the horizon just yet, though he expects the G-20 meeting to be especially tense as nations sound off about their currency grievances..

"It would clearly be impossible for every country to follow a policy of competitive devaluations simultaneously," he said, but the temptation is there because the U.S. and other developed nations seem to have reached the limits of using fiscal and monetary policies to try to stimulate their economies.

With interest rate already at or near zero, "governments are increasingly turning to exchange rate policy as a means to maintain or improve their competitive positions," he said. That means the risks of a currency war, "although quite low, are increasing," he said.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Serena Williams has a new body

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Formidable ticket of President Obama Hillary Clinton is 'on the table' for 2012

Formidable ticket of President Obama, Hillary Clinton is 'on the table' for 2012, Bob Woodward says


Leo Standora
Wednesday, October 6th 2010, 4:00 AM

Some of Hillary Clinton's advisors see her as Obama's 2012 running mate, Bob Woodward says.

Vucci/APSome of Hillary Clinton's advisors see her as Obama's 2012 running mate, Bob Woodward says.


An Obama-Clinton ticket could be in the cards in 2012, Pulitzer Prize-winning political reporter Bob Woodward said Tuesday.

And in a surprise twist, Vice President Biden would take over Secretary of State Clinton's post, keeping the Obama administration's talent intact, Woodward told CNN.

"It's on the table," Woodward revealed. "Some of Hillary Clinton's advisers see it as a real possibility in 2012."

Political insiders have talked about the Clinton-Biden switch for months as a way to build excitement among the Democratic base. But it never has been clear before if the idea has been kicked around in the White House.

"President Obama needs some of the women, Latinos, retirees that she did so well with during the 2008 primaries," so the switch is "not out of the question," Woodward said.

Read more:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Patriots to trade Randy Moss to Vikings

Moss trade to Vikings close

Contract extension the key

Monique Walker and Shalise Manza Young

  Globe Staff / October 6, 2010

The drama surrounding Randy Moss is back. But this time he didn’t say a word.


A day after Moss didn’t have a catch in a game for the first time since the 2006 season, rumors swirled the receiver is on the trading block and may be headed to Minnesota.

The Patriots and Vikings have been in trade talks for a while, and as of last night were close to a deal if Moss and the Vikings can agree on a contract extension, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports said on WEEI’s “Planet Mikey Show’’ last night.

A Patriots official responded by saying simply, “There’s no trade.’’ Efforts to reach Moss’s agent, Joel Segal, were unsuccessful.

The Vikings and Moss have yet to talk about a contract extension, but late last night ESPN cited sources saying the trade will be completed today.

Segal asked the Patriots for a trade on Moss’s behalf after New England’s Week 1 win over Cincinnati, the Herald reported. After that game, Moss, 33, broke his summer-long silence with a passionate but bizarre news conference in which he stated his desire to remain with the team and his willingness to leave the organization if he didn’t get a new contract before the end of this season.

Moss addressed many issues at the news conference, including his contract.

“If you do a good job . . . you want to be appreciated. I don’t think me, personally, I’m appreciated,’’ he said that day. “I want to let you all know, I want to let the fans — the real fans — of the New England Patriots know that I’m not here to start any trouble. I’m going to play my last year out on my contract, and as I’ve said time and time again since I signed my first contract here, I want to be here in New England. It’s a great group of guys here, a well-coached group here, and I never said I want to leave New England.

“But I just think, from a business standpoint, this probably will be my last year here as a Patriot. And I’m not retiring, I’m still going to play some football.’’

Glazer said he didn’t think the trade was the result of the Patriots having any problems with Moss, but rather a chance for them to get something for the receiver, as he is in the last year of his contract.

Moss has not received permission from the Patriots to negotiate with another team, according to the NFL Network, but a deal could be done without that, however.

The Vikings (1-2) are in desperate need of a big-play threat with star receiver Sidney Rice out for at least the first half of the season because of offseason hip surgery.

Another Vikings game-breaker, receiver Percy Harvin, was plagued by migraines during training camp. He has 12 catches, 106 yards, and one touchdown in three games this season, but Harvin doesn’t extend the field like Moss, who has just nine receptions in four games, but has 139 receiving yards and three touchdowns, the type of home-run hitter quarterback Brett Favre has been pleading for.

The Vikings tried to acquire receiver Vincent Jackson from the Chargers two weeks ago but couldn’t reach an agreement with San Diego.

If a trade goes through, it would return Moss to the team that drafted him in the first round out of Marshall in 1998. It also would create a rather interesting matchup Oct. 31 when the Vikings come to Gillette Stadium.

On Monday night, Moss was frequently on the field, but quarterback Tom Brady looked his way just once, on a fake spike at the close of the first half. The pass went off Moss’s fingertips in the end zone.

Moss rejuvenated his career with the Patriots when he arrived via a trade from the Raiders in 2007. He signed a three-year, $27 million contract at the end of the ’07 season that ends after this season. In the offseason, Moss fired his longtime agent, Tim DiPiero, and signed with Segal.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Patriots to trade Randy Moss to Vikings

Moss trade to Vikings close

Contract extension the key

Monique Walker and Shalise Manza Young

  Globe Staff / October 6, 2010

The drama surrounding Randy Moss is back. But this time he didn’t say a word.


A day after Moss didn’t have a catch in a game for the first time since the 2006 season, rumors swirled the receiver is on the trading block and may be headed to Minnesota.

The Patriots and Vikings have been in trade talks for a while, and as of last night were close to a deal if Moss and the Vikings can agree on a contract extension, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports said on WEEI’s “Planet Mikey Show’’ last night.

A Patriots official responded by saying simply, “There’s no trade.’’ Efforts to reach Moss’s agent, Joel Segal, were unsuccessful.

The Vikings and Moss have yet to talk about a contract extension, but late last night ESPN cited sources saying the trade will be completed today.

Segal asked the Patriots for a trade on Moss’s behalf after New England’s Week 1 win over Cincinnati, the Herald reported. After that game, Moss, 33, broke his summer-long silence with a passionate but bizarre news conference in which he stated his desire to remain with the team and his willingness to leave the organization if he didn’t get a new contract before the end of this season.

Moss addressed many issues at the news conference, including his contract.

“If you do a good job . . . you want to be appreciated. I don’t think me, personally, I’m appreciated,’’ he said that day. “I want to let you all know, I want to let the fans — the real fans — of the New England Patriots know that I’m not here to start any trouble. I’m going to play my last year out on my contract, and as I’ve said time and time again since I signed my first contract here, I want to be here in New England. It’s a great group of guys here, a well-coached group here, and I never said I want to leave New England.

“But I just think, from a business standpoint, this probably will be my last year here as a Patriot. And I’m not retiring, I’m still going to play some football.’’

Glazer said he didn’t think the trade was the result of the Patriots having any problems with Moss, but rather a chance for them to get something for the receiver, as he is in the last year of his contract.

Moss has not received permission from the Patriots to negotiate with another team, according to the NFL Network, but a deal could be done without that, however.

The Vikings (1-2) are in desperate need of a big-play threat with star receiver Sidney Rice out for at least the first half of the season because of offseason hip surgery.

Another Vikings game-breaker, receiver Percy Harvin, was plagued by migraines during training camp. He has 12 catches, 106 yards, and one touchdown in three games this season, but Harvin doesn’t extend the field like Moss, who has just nine receptions in four games, but has 139 receiving yards and three touchdowns, the type of home-run hitter quarterback Brett Favre has been pleading for.

The Vikings tried to acquire receiver Vincent Jackson from the Chargers two weeks ago but couldn’t reach an agreement with San Diego.

If a trade goes through, it would return Moss to the team that drafted him in the first round out of Marshall in 1998. It also would create a rather interesting matchup Oct. 31 when the Vikings come to Gillette Stadium.

On Monday night, Moss was frequently on the field, but quarterback Tom Brady looked his way just once, on a fake spike at the close of the first half. The pass went off Moss’s fingertips in the end zone.

Moss rejuvenated his career with the Patriots when he arrived via a trade from the Raiders in 2007. He signed a three-year, $27 million contract at the end of the ’07 season that ends after this season. In the offseason, Moss fired his longtime agent, Tim DiPiero, and signed with Segal.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Firefighters let home burn owner didn't pay fee

Tempers flare in SF after house allowed to burn; fire chief hit

Chris Menees, Staff Reporter
Thursday, September 30, 2010 9:05 pm

Staff Reporter

South Fulton’s fire chief was assaulted Wednesday in the aftermath of a fire where firefighters were unable to respond because the property owner had not paid a rural fire subscription fee.

South Fulton Fire Chief David Wilds was treated at an area hospital after being assaulted about 5:45 p.m. at the city’s fire station, located in the South Fulton Municipal Building.

Timothy A. Cranick, 44, a resident of Buddy Jones Road near South Fulton, was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault, according to South Fulton Police Chief Andy Crocker.

Crocker said the assault stemmed from a fire that occurred earlier in the day and he identified Cranick as a family member of the person whose property burned.
He said Cranick allegedly came to the fire station looking for Wilds, according to witnesses. When the fire chief identified himself and asked if he could help him, Cranick allegedly struck Wilds.

“He just cold <snip>ed him,” Crocker said, based on witness statements.
Crocker said Wilds was knocked down, rendering him virtually defenseless. He said Cranick was pulled off the fire chief by other firefighters who restrained him until additional help arrived.

Cranick was taken to the Obion County Law Enforcement Complex and was later taken to the hospital in Union City for treatment of a hand injury sustained in the incident.

South Fulton city manager Jeff Vowell told The Messenger that Wilds is “doing OK” today and is actually back at the fire station — despite what he characterized as a very emotional and trying day on the job Wednesday, made even more stressful by a local television news crew’s presence and then the assault incident.
Wilds has referred any comment about Wednes-day’s situation to Vowell.

Fire call

The fire that sparked the controversy apparently broke out about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at Gene Cranick’s property on Buddy Jones Road, located outside the city limits of South Fulton.

Vowell explained that the property owner was not a paying member of the rural fire subscription service offered to county residents by the City of South Fulton. He said as per city policy, established by city ordinance, the call was declined and the city’s fire department could not respond.

“I have no problem with the way any of my people handled the situation. They did what they were supposed to do,” he said. “It’s a regrettable situation any time something like this happens.”

He said the South Fulton Fire Department did respond to a request to protect the property of the adjacent property owner, who is a member of the rural fire subscription service.

Vowell said county residents do not have guaranteed fire service since there is no countywide fire department to cover rural areas, but many municipalities offer rural fire coverage to residents in specified coverage areas for a nominal annual fee. South Fulton’s fee is $75.

However, Vowell said residents in those rural areas cannot be forced to pay the fee and it’s their decision whether to accept the coverage.

“We are a city fire department. We are responsible for the City of South Fulton and we offer a subscription (to rural residents). If they choose not to, we can’t make them,” he said.

He said Obion County government has been thoroughly studying rural fire protection and “has looked at it 100 different ways,” with details of a proposal still being worked out. Ironically, the matter began to be discussed seriously just over two years ago following a similar situation where South Fulton firefighters could not respond to a rural call.

Rural service offered

South Fulton Mayor David Crocker said city officials don’t want to see anyone’s house burn, but he emphasized that South Fulton has a city fire department which is supported by city taxes in order to serve its residents — with a rural fire subscription service made available outside the city limits to county residents in the city’s designated rural coverage area.

“We’re very sorry their house burned,” he said.
Mayor Crocker said if the fire department operated on a per-call basis outside the city, there would be no incentive for anyone to pay the rural fee. As an analogy, he said if an auto owner allowed their vehicle insurance to lapse, they would not expect an insurance company to pay for an unprotected vehicle after it was wrecked.

Vowell said people always think they will never be in a situation where they will need rural fire protection, but he said City of South Fulton personnel actually go above and beyond in trying to offer the service. He said the city mails out notices to customers in the specified rural coverage area, with coverage running from July 1 of one year to July 1 the next year.

At the end of the enrollment month of July, the city goes a step further and makes phone calls to rural residents who have not responded to the mail-out.

“These folks were called and notified,” Vowell said. “I want to make sure everybody has the opportunity to get it and be aware it’s available. It’s been there for 20 years, but it’s very important to follow up.”

Mayor Crocker added, “It’s my understanding with talking with the firefighters that these folks had received their bill and they had also contacted them by phone.”

“My worst nightmare is that, for whatever reason, you don’t respond to someone who isn’t (a rural fire service member). That’s why we’re so diligent and adamant,” Vowell said. “No one wants what happened yesterday. I don’t want it, the fire department doesn’t want it, the (city commission) doesn’t want it.”

Published in The Messenger 9.30.10


Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Man Shoots Teen In Butt Over Saggy Pants

45-Year-Old Man Arrested for Shooting Teen Over Saggy Pants

April Thompson 5:43 PM CDT, October 4, 2010

45-Year-Old Man Arrested for Shooting Teen Over Saggy Pants
  • Argument erupts over saggy pants
  • Police say 45 year old man shot at 17 and 16 year olds
  • 17-year-old hit in the buttocks

(Memphis 10/4/2010) - In the 4400 block of Whiteside a show down over pants down.

Police say on the South Memphis street corner, 45-year-old Kenneth Bonds pulled out a gun and fired at a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old, after an argument.

The topic was the teenagers' sagging pants.

According to the police report, the teens said they were walking when Bonds began yelling at them to pull their pants up.

The teens said they called Bonds fat and told him to shut up.

They say that's when Bonds appeared with a silver handgun.

They started running and Bonds started shooting, hitting the 17-year-old in the buttocks.

The teens were taken to the hospital by a family member who called police.

Kenneth Bonds was arrested for aggravated assault.

At the North Memphis home were Bonds grew up, his grandmother said its not like her grandson.

"He's a nice person. He is my oldest grandson. Comes by to see about me," says his grandmother.

Neighbors say Bonds was visiting friends when he had the confrontation with the teens.

Police say Bonds admitted to shooting the 17-year-old after an argument.

The teen hit by the gunfire is expected to be o.k.

Kenneth Bonds' previous arrest history mostly involved traffic offenses.

He is out of jail on $25,000 bond and will be back in court October 11th.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


George Shultz to Obama: 'You're out of your mind'

Shultz to Obama: 'You're out of your mind'

Former secretary of state blasts Afghan withdrawal date

Ben Birnbaum

The Washington Times

11:48 p.m., Monday, October 4, 2010


George P. Shultz


Reagan-era Secretary of State George Shultz blasted President Obama Monday night for his scheduled July 2011 date to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

Mr. Shultz, 89, made the unusually blunt remarks at a packed dinner for the International Republican Institute - the GOP-aligned counterpart to the National Democratic Institute - where he was receiving the organization's 2010 Freedom Award.
"You're out of your mind," he said at a question-and-answer forum, when asked his opinion of the president's drawdown date. "How can you say that 'if I haven't won by six or nine months from now, I'm leaving?'"
Mr. Shultz - who earlier served under President Nixon as Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Labor, and director of the Office of Management and Budget - also called for a prompt extension of the Bush tax cuts and expressed theoretical support for President Obama's goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Welfare benefits canceled on cruise ships and all casinos 


State officials cancel access to welfare benefits on cruise ships and at all casinos

October 4, 2010 | 5:20 pm

California officials are cutting off use of state-issued welfare debit cards at casinos across the country and on cruise ships, in the wake of Times reports that the aid cards have been used to spend or withdraw millions of dollars in benefits at popular vacation spots including the Las Vegas strip and on ships sailing from ports around the world.

More than $69 million meant to help the needy pay their rent and clothe their children was accessed in all 49 other states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, according to data obtained by The Times from the California Department of Social Services.

The department instructed the vendor that administers the debit card program to make the changes  Monday afternoon, in response to a report in The Times’ Monday edition.

Department of Social Services Director John Wagner said the move is part of the Schwarzenegger administration’s commitment to "rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in these programs" and "to ensure these resources are going to the people they are intended for."

In June, the state cut off access to benefits in California casinos and strip clubs after The Times reported that the Electronic Benefits Transfer cards worked in those businesses too.

-- Jack Dolan in Sacramento

Monday, October 4, 2010


The cliche president Change turns out to be the same old policies

EDITORIAL: The cliche president

Change turns out to be the same old policies

The Washington Times                                                                                   6:13 p.m., Friday, October 1, 2010



President Barack Obama waves to the crowd at a rally at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis., Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)


President Obama sat down last week with "Good Morning America" for a long and exclusive interview in which he announced that his administration was no longer working for "change" to solve America's problems. "My administration is going to specifically focus on training 10,000 new math and science teachers," he said. With a brutal midterm smackdown looming, Mr. Obama is desperate enough to break out the cliches.

Consider how the local-community-organizer-turned-national-schools-chancellor opined that "we can't spend our way out" of education problems. Without skipping a beat, he went on to provide a long list of ways he thinks we need to increase spending on schools. This is a well-worn tactic. President Carter raised federal schools spending and boosted the number of public school employees. President Reagan increased federal schools spending and added to the number of public school employees. President George H.W. Bush did the same thing. President Clinton raised spending along with his promise of 100,000 new teachers. The most recent former White House resident, George W. Bush, enthusiastically embraced the same effort.

When Mr. Carter was inaugurated, state, local and federal governments spent about $65,000 on a complete K-12 education. By the time Mr. Obama raised his right hand, that inflation-adjusted amount had grown to nearly $150,000, in part because nearly twice as many school employees were involved in each child's education. Yet national test scores didn't budge.

Each "education president" could proudly claim that the achievement of nothing was a vast improvement over having done nothing and achieved less. That's exactly what Mr. Obama argues about his stimulus - a plan cribbed in large measure from his presidential predecessors. From the beginning, Mr. Obama promoted green energy to the forefront of this spending scheme. And indeed, each of his five predecessors signed off on the same kind of regulatory favoritism, financial subsidy and tax breaks meant to move America toward biofuels, wind and solar power, and whatever other esoteric energy sources are currently popular, from algae-based jet fuel to zebra-dung barbecue briquets. Despite decades of spending, planning and more spending, it is unclear whether the 21st-century "green energy economy" will actually arrive anytime during the 21st century.

Mr. Obama's political advisers have been signaling the move to a cliche presidency for some time. Last month, Mr. Obama proposed a blueprint for increased infrastructure spending to boost the ailing U.S. economy. Each of Mr. Obama's five most recent predecessors either proposed or signed into law similar boosts in transportation spending whether the economy was growing or shrinking. Each time, plans did just enough of nothing to leave the next president in dire need of yet more transportation spending.

Until voters decide that achieving something is more important than doing something, cliches are all we are going to get

Monday, October 4, 2010


$75 million Basketball player trips at home and breaks his...

Mon Oct 04 07:50am PDT

How Carlos Boozer really broke his right hand

Kelly Dwyer

Carlos Boozer
Carlos Boozer joined the Bulls in a sign-and-trade deal this offseason.
Damen Jackson/Icon SMI

CHICAGO (AP) -- Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, one of Chicago's top offseason acquisitions, broke his right hand after tripping over a bag at his home and could miss two months.

Boozer fractured the fifth metacarpal bone in his hand Saturday and will have surgery Tuesday. He was evaluated by team physician Dr. Brian Cole and hand specialist Dr. Marc Cohen of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, one of the nation's top sports medicine centers.

"It was just dark. My doorbell had rang and I tripped over a bag, tried to brace myself and it popped. I jumped back up, opened the door and my hand was still a little bit numb,'' Boozer told reporters at a Bulls practice Sunday evening.

Boozer said it was a bag he'd had at training camp.

"I went back to my place, hadn't unpacked the bag yet, came around the corner, running to get the door and fell over it,'' he said. "I'm 265, 5 percent body fat. I'm heavy, man. I guess I had to brace myself and my weight just collapsed the bone right there.''

Boozer spent the previous six years with Utah and averaged 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds last season before joining the Bulls in a sign-and-trade deal.

A two-time All-Star, Boozer has a five-year deal worth about $75 million. The Bulls were counting on him to team with Joakim Noah for a solid inside game, while also giving star point guard Derrick Rose an option on the pick-and-roll.

Read more:

Monday, October 4, 2010


City lays off 9 plus police dog

Troubled W. Pa. city lays off 9, plus police dog

Wed Sep 29, 9:08 pm ET

JEANNETTE, Pa. –The financial situation is so bad in one western Pennsylvania city that even its police dog has been laid off. Jeannette City Council on Tuesday voted to lay off nine workers of the city's 47 workers effective Oct. 5. They include three of the city's 12 police, including Officer Justin Scalzo who handles the city's drug-sniffing dog, Wando.

Police Chief Brad Shepler said the layoffs come at a time when the city is seeing a boom in drug trafficking. Shepler's department is also losing its two meter maids and a secretary.

The other layoffs involved trash collectors and public works employees.

The city has a projected $440,000 budget shortfall. Some of the workers could be called back if finances improve.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Taxpayers shelling out $8.5 million to store furniture for homeless

Taxpayers are shelling out $8.5 million to store furniture for NYC's homeless

Kathleen Lucadamo
Monday, October 4th 2010, 4:00 AM

Homeless advocates defend storage program, which allows homeless families to store furniture and other personal items.

Platt/GettyHomeless advocates defend storage program, which allows homeless families to store furniture and other personal items.

Taxpayers shelled out $8.5 million last year to store furniture for the city's homeless - a program welfare officials admit could be done for less.

Now their goal is to do it cheaper, not to eliminate the perk, which is required by the state.

"We hope to reduce the cost," said city Human Resources Administration spokeswoman Connie Ress.

Officials collected bids this summer to hire one storage company for the job - replacing the current system that lets homeless clients find storage and bill the city. Last year's $8.5 million bill for 6,300 clients was $1 million more than 2008's, according to HRA, due mostly to the city's growing homeless population.

Ress estimates the agency will save $1 million by streamlining the process.

The storage service, which is paid for with federal, state and city funds, began in 1985. HRA and homeless advocates defend the program, which allows homeless families to store furniture and other personal items, saying it saves taxpayers money in the end.

"It's economical in the long run, so they don't have to buy [the items] all over again," said Patrick Marquee of the Coalition for the Homeless.

The city paid $15.7 million to 31,000 people last year to help them "establish a home" and spent about $1 million more in moving fees.

HRA said this assistance is necessary because families that have to spend money on furniture and moving costs are more likely to end up back in shelters.

"It's one of those emergency needs the state requires," Ress said.

Government waste groups were on the fence about supporting the storage program, saying they don't condone throwing out people's furniture but question why the city isn't using its own space to store items cheaply.

"The choice of whether you take someone's belongings and toss them because they are homeless is tough," said Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste.

"Once the decision is made, it's incumbent on the government to make sure it's done in the most cost-effective way."

Read more:

Monday, October 4, 2010


Is trying juveniles as adults counter productive?,0,914267,full.story

Monday, October 4, 2010


Panty Thief Arrested,0,6635305.story

Monday, October 4, 2010


Whose RIGHT? Son's funeral marred by demonstrators awaits a SCOTUS ruling|topnews|text|

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Suspects Fall Through Ceiling Running From Police,0,1483574.story

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Disconnect for Democrats in new poll

Disconnect for Dems in new poll

Jordan Fabian - 10/02/10 12:45 PM ET

A poll released Friday gave mixed results to Democrats with the mid-term elections, in which they are expected to lose a large amount of seats in Congress, just one month away.

Democrats beat Republicans on almost all policy issues in the latest Newsweek poll, but the public is virtually undecided on whether or not they should keep their majorities in Congress:

Democrats more than Republicans to handle pretty much every problem currently facing the country: Afghanistan (by 6 points), health care (by 12), immigration (by 2, though that figure is within the margin of error), Social Security (by 14), unemployment (by 12), financial reform (by 14), energy (by 19), and education (by 19). Voters even prefer Democrats to Republicans on federal spending (by 4 points), taxes (by 5), and the economy (by 10)—the GOP's core concerns. The only area where Republicans outpoll Democrats is the issue of terrorism, where they lead by a 6-point margin.


Still, voters are split on which party should control Congress after November—44 percent went for Republicans, 46 percent for Democrats.

The poll says mixed things about the Democrats strategy heading into the November mid-terms. Many political observers are predicting that Republicans could take control of the House and make large gains on the Democrats 59-seat Senate majority.

National Democrats have framed the election as a choice between themselves and the GOP, arguing that while the economic recovery has been slower than expected, the passage of key measures such as the stimulus, healthcare reform and financial regulation, have put the country on the right track.

They have painted Republicans as a group that wants to restore Bush-era policies that triggered the economic crisis and end popular entitlement programs like Social Security.

While the public appears to have gotten the message on the issues, it has not resonated as greatly as a case for allowing the Democrats to keep their control of Congress and thereby continue implementing those policies. 

Republicans have said that the Obama administration's policies have increased the federal deficit, deepened the nation's debt and failed to create jobs. The public appears to be partially receptive to that with unemployment still standing at 9.6 percent. 

Even though Republicans have attempted to make the election a referendum on the Obama administration, the president's approval rating remained at 48 percent, "roughly where it has remained since January of this year." 

Obama's approval rating is better than President George W. Bush's 33 percent approval rating in 2006 when the GOP lost control of the House. It is also higher than President Bill Clinton's 36 percent rating in 1994, just before the Republican revolution.

The Newsweek poll was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from Sept. 29-30 of 1,025 adults. The margin of error was 3.8 percentage points.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Trouble on the home front: an explosion of domestic violence

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Drug Smugglers Dig Tunnels In The Border

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Burly the Bankrobber was the Greyhound bus driver

Greyhound bus driver admits to 11 robberies


Jonathan Saltzman
Globe Staff
  October 2, 2010


A Greyhound bus driver nicknamed the “burly bandit’’ by the FBI pleaded guilty in a Maine court yesterday to robbing 11 banks and credit unions in New England and New York during a three-month spree, including several along his bus route.

Robert Ferguson, 47, of Lowell admitted in US District Court in Bangor that he stole about $107,000 from the banks and credit unions, including four in Massachusetts. The robberies began April 9 in Buffalo, N.Y., and ended hours after he held up a bank in Bangor on July 13.

Prosecutors said tips they received after surveillance photographs of the robber were distributed to news outlets helped solve the case. An employee of a Days Inn where Ferguson was staying after his last robbery contacted authorities to say a guest resembled the burly man in a photograph taken hours before at the Bangor Savings Bank in Orono.

Numerous other people identified Ferguson from the photographs taken at the Orono bank, including his fiancée, his brother, and a co-worker, prosecutors said.

The four Massachusetts robberies took place at Lowell Five Cent Savings Bank in Tewksbury April 29, Digital Federal Credit Union in Tyngsborough May 5, Rollstone Bank & Trust in Fitchburg May 17, and Rockland Federal Credit Union in North Attleborough May 27, prosecutors said.

He also robbed banks in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, authorities said.

US Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II of Maine said the robberies fit a pattern. The robber would show a gun or indicate he had one and threaten to harm bank employees if they did not follow orders. He wore disguises, including a beard, and walked a considerable distance before he got into a getaway vehicle.

After Ferguson’s arrest, authorities searched a Greyhound bus that he drove and found a blue nylon bag containing $10,925 behind an access panel in the luggage compartment, prosecutors said.

No sentencing date has been set.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


3,000 Millionaires Collected Unemployment In 2008

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Veteran's family denied White House tour because of shorts

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Biden vs. the tea party 'Not the same breed of cat, man'

Biden vs. the tea party

'Not the same breed of cat, man'


POLITICO STAFF | 10/01/10 11:46 PM

'Not the same breed of cat, man'

'Look up and down the Republican ticket. This is not your parents' Republican party,' Joe Biden said on Friday. AP Photo Close

Vice President Joe Biden late Friday took his road show to California to raise funds for Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Jerry McNerney.

The Boxer fundraiser at the Orange County home of Joe and Sarah Kiani was expected to raise $250,000 for the Democratic senator, who's locked in a tight race with former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina.

After predicting -- again -- that Democrats would keep control of Congress, Biden went after the tea party, linking Fiorina to the movement that has shook up the GOP this election cycle, and, he said, scared moderate Republicans away from cooperating with the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress. 

“Look up and down the Republican ticket. This is not your parents' Republican party.This is not the same breed of cat, man,” Biden said. “The choice throughout this county is between two philosophies that are really stark, and its one that is especially on display here in California."

Friday, October 1, 2010


Burglar poses for pictures

Friday, October 1, 2010


Titans clash: Bill Clinton vs. Sarah Palin

Titans clash: Bill Clinton vs. Sarah Palin in California

Bill Clinton (left) and Sarah Palin will be fundraising in the O.C. on consecutive days in October. . | AP Photos
Bill Clinton and Sarah Palin will be fundraising in the O.C. on consecutive days in October. | AP Photos Close

JONATHAN ALLEN | 10/1/10 4:38 AM EDT

The studio execs in nearby Hollywood couldn't have produced a better opening scene for Election 2010: Bill Clinton and Sarah Palin — two of the titans of their parties — will barnstorm through Orange County, Calif., on consecutive days in mid-October.

The former president is headlining an event for Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez on Oct. 15, POLITICO has learned. Sanchez, who supported Clinton's wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, is locked in a tough re-election battle against Republican Van Tran in the 47th District.


Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, will be in Anaheim the following day, raising money for the Republican National Committee, which has had difficulty stockpiling cash for GOP ground operations around the country.

The criss-crossing of two of the nation's biggest political celebrities appears to be a matter of pure coincidence, but it promises to provide compelling optics for both parties — and for cable television. 

Orange County is hallowed ground in political history, a longtime haven of conservative activism and a wellspring of cash for Republican candidates. Yet the county has been trending toward Democrats for decades because of an influx of Hispanics and Asians.

Republicans say Palin will be a big draw, especially for base voters whose importance is magnified in mid-term elections and particularly in an area of the country where conservative roots continue to run deep — even amid changing demographics. Her event is also in the 47th District.

The Palin event could also provide some added excitement for Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman, Senate GOP nominee Carly Fiorina and Tran, according to some strategists.

"From a rock star perspective, she'll inject some energy," Republican strategist John Feehery told POLITICO.

And the money she raises is intended to help GOP candidates in California and across the country.

"Obviously, Gov. Palin will provide a boost to our fundraising and we’re thrilled to have her help," said a Republican National Committee source. "Any money raised will go to our victory program, which would include the victory centers we have throughout California."

Democrats contend that it's the former president whose star power will dominate the political scene that week in southern California.

"President Clinton oversaw the creation of 22 million jobs during his administration, compared to Sarah Palin, who fired the local Wasilla librarian," said a source familiar with the planning for the Clinton event. "Is there any comparison?”


Details about Clinton's visit weren't available as of press time, but he was expected to be in Santa Ana, where more than three-quarters of the population is Hispanic. Almost two-thirds of the 47th District's residents are Latino, but traditionally low mid-term turnout among Hispanic voters there could play into Tran's hands.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, an expert on Asian American voting patterns at the University of California Riverside, said an association with Clinton also "would be an asset" to Sanchez in the Vietnamese community, particularly among younger voters, because of the strong economy during Clinton's presidency.

Sanchez can use all the help she can get with Vietnamese Americans -- a group that she has long courted as a candidate and lawmaker -- because of an appearance on Univision in which she told viewers in Spanish that the Vietnamese community was trying to take the seat away from the larger Latino population. She described Tran as "very anti-immigrant and very anti-Hispanic."

She apologized to others who took offense, but didn't back down from her allegations about Tran's record.

Ramakrishnan said Tran's reaction -- he called Sanchez's remarks a "racial rampage" in a Los Angeles Times interview -- could backfire and help Sanchez "if this plays out in a way that Latinos countermobilize because they feel that their candidate is being beaten up upon."

Though Sanchez has a significant campaign treasury, California's 47th District is an expensive place to campaign. Not only is the Los Angeles media market one of the nation's most costly, but the district's diversity forces candidates to communicate to voters in multiple languages. That drives up the costs of basic campaign tools, such as polling and direct-mail literature.

Sanchez had more than $1.26 million in the bank at the end of June -- the last date for which reports were available -- and Tran had a little less than $290,000.

But it's been three months since then, and new reports are due the day Clinton comes to Santa Ana for Sanchez.

Ramakrishnan said the Palin visit is a good opportunity for the GOP to collect cash from the area's conservative base.

"Palin's appearance will be important not just in terms of mobilizing voters but in terms of fundraising," Ramakrishnan said. "There was some question as to whether the area was trending Democrat because of the growing Latino population. This is a good moment while the area is still heavily republican to do fundraising."

The largest of the nearly four dozen ballrooms at the Marriott Anaheim, where Palin is due to appear, holds about 3,500 people. Tickets for the event range from $20.10 to $1,000 (if purchased at the door), with the highest-end contributors getting access to a reception and photo-op with Palin, a commemorative copy of her book, two tickets to the rally and a one-year membership in the RNC's "president's club."

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