Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson's Death Linked to Diprivan?

As toxicology results which may reveal what exactly killed Michael Jackson are awaited, the Associated Press has received information from a former nutritionist who was working with Jackson in preparation for his comeback tour, Cherilyn Lee. The information centers around a powerful sedative, Diprivan.

According to Cherilyn Lee, she repeatedly rejected Michael Jackson's requests for Diprivan, which is given intravenously. He reportedly sought the drug to aid in treating his persistent insomnia.

Since Michael Jackson's death on June 25th, persistent rumors have circulated about his use of prescription drugs, including a possible injection of Demerol just prior to his cardiac arrest. Cherilyn Lee, however, says that Jackson was opposed to recreational drug use, but desperate help in sleeping (thus the Diprivan).

Cherilyn Lee told the AP:
"He wasn't looking to get high or feel good and sedated from drugs. This was a person who was not on drugs. This was a person who was seeking help, desperately, to get some sleep, to get some rest."
Originally developed as propofol, Diprivan was re-launched in 1986 by AstraZeneca as an emulsion that only has 1% propofol. An overdose of Diprivan can cause an erratic heartbeat leading to cardiac arrest.

Whether or not Jackson obtained his Diprivan, Cherilyn Lee speaks of a strange phone call she received when in Florida on June 21st from a member of Michael Jackson's staff.
"He called and was very frantic and said, `Michael needs to see you right away.' I said, 'What's wrong?' And I could hear Michael in the background ..., 'One side of my body is hot, it's hot, and one side of my body is cold. It's very cold.'

"I said, `Tell him he needs to go the hospital. I don't know what's going on, but he needs to go to the hospital ... right away."

"At that point, I knew that somebody had given him something that hit the central nervous system. He was in trouble Sunday and he was crying out."
Once again, for the real truth, it seems we will have to wait weeks for toxicology results. Meanwhile, the world grieves and prepares for might be the biggest funeral, ever.
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Sanford Details "Other Crossings of the Line" and His Affair

More details about South Carolina governor Mark Sanford and possible other dalliances have emerged, just as additional pictures of his Argentinian love, Maria Belen Chapur have as well.

The Maria Belen Chapur pics above are actually captured from a video report she did when she was a news reporter for the C5n network in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Meanwhile, Mark Sanford gave AP a two day interview, in which he confessed to crossing the line with other women, but not "the ultimate line."

Sanford admitted however, that he still loved Maria Belen Chapur, 43 (pictured again to the left),

Sanford told AP that he would die "knowing that I had met my soul mate." He added:
"There were a handful of instances wherein I crossed the lines I shouldn't have crossed as a married man, but never crossed the ultimate line."
Well, Sanford means he never crossed the ultimate line (sex) except with Maria Belen Chapur, of course.

At the same time, Sanford insisted that his relationship with Chapur was about more than just sex, saying:
"This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story. A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day."
To be honest, I believe him. After reading his sappy emails to Maria Belen Chapur, there is no doubt in my mind his was (is?) in love with her.

Mark and Jenny Sanford are parents of four sons, and say they are trying to reconcile their marriage. However, they have not been living in the same house for several weeks. Jenny Sanford found out about the relationship in January when she unocovered a letter the Mark Sanford had written to his Maria Belen Chapur.
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Franken Wins Court Fight, Coleman Concedes

Democrat Al Franken won a unanimous ruling from the Minnesota state Supreme Court on Tuesday. The court ruled that Franken should be certified the winner of Minnesota's hotly contested Senate race. Given that, Republican Norm Coleman conceded, ending a nearly eight-month recount and court fight.

Al Franken's seat in the Senate would give the Democrats control of 60 seats. This would be a filibuster-proof majority, if all Democrats vote along party lines.

Norm Coleman gave the following statement upon hearing the ruling:
"The Supreme Court has made its decision and I will abide by the results. Sure I wanted to win. I thought we had a better case. But the court has spoken."
In its 5-0 ruling, the Minnesota Supreme Court wrote:
"We affirm the decision of the trial court that Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled under (Minnesota law) to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota."
President Barack Obama said in a statement:
"I look forward to working with Senator-Elect Franken to build a new foundation for growth and prosperity by lowering health care costs and investing in the kind of clean energy jobs and industries that will help America lead in the 21st century."
Watch a video report:

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Duct Tape Prom Attire Contest Enters Ninth Year

Despite what the DHS may want you to believe, duct tape has many other uses besides taping off your windows and doors in the event of a biological attack. In this case, it's Duck brand duct tape's 9th annual Duct Tape Prom Attire (both dress and suit) contest.

At this point, we are down to the top 10 entries. You can vote here at http://www.stuckatprom.com/contests/prom/. However, if you want to vote, vote quickly: the Duct Tape Prom Dress contest voting ends on July 2nd.

Why would anyone want to get into a sticky situation with a Duct Tape Prom Dress and Suit? Well, $3000 scholarships for the winners is a mighty good incentive.

The contestants can be the same gender, don't have to go to the same high school, and don't have to use Duck brand duct tape for their prom dress and suit (but naturally the company recommends their own tape. What no discount?).

The top 10 Duct Tape Prom Dress and Suit finalists are on this page. One of them is pictured above. Vote now!
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Can We Stop It? Rick Astley is Not Dead

In the wake of the recent celebrity deaths (Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays) have come a spike in fake death news. Jeff Goldblum, Britney Spears, George Clooney, and Tuesday, Rick Astley. No, none of them are dead.

The latest sick "so-and-so is dead" news was that 80's pop star Rick Astley was dead. It started with a purported AP release going around the Internet. While reportedly quite well "simulated," it didn't actually appear on the Associated Press wire itself.

The story stated that singer-songwriter Rick Astley, most famous for his mega-hit song "Never Gonna Give You Up" in 1987, had been found dead in a Berlin Hotel Room. Much like the "Fake Steve Jobs Heart Attack" story from last year, this also appeared on CNN's iReport, based on that same fake AP release. iReport stories, as you know, is not vetted before posting.

Additionally, a link on the Digg social networking site took visitors to a YouTube video of Astley singing "Never Gonna Give You Up" adding, "You've beeen Rickrolled."

Rickrolling is when you get an end user to click on a link that takes them to Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" video. When a person clicks on the link and is led to the web page, he or she is said to have been "Rickrolled."

Although the culprits reponsible for this "Rick Astley is dead" campaign probably thought it was funny, it was sick and repulsive during a week when several prominent celebrities died. Can we stop this sickness now?
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Second Officer Dropped N-bomb on Oscar Grant Prior to Fatal Shooting

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that in the midst of the court hearing that ended in former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle being ordered tried for murder in the slaying of Oscar Grant was testimony about another officer's expletive uttered just 30 seconds before Grant was shot.

According to the Chronicle, the officer, Tony Pirone, can be heard on one of the videos made by BART riders at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland early New Year's Day as standing over the prone Grant and yelling, "Bitch-ass n*****." Pirone and his attorney say he was repeating what Grant first yelled at him, but the sound-enhanced tape does not reveal Grant's voice.

On the tape, Pirone can be seen delivering a "shoulder chop" to Grant, bringing him to the ground. Pirone can be heard saying twice, "Bitch-ass n*****, right?"

The East Bay Express, writing about the new information, pointed out that “Pirone has a history of not telling the truth.”

As the Chronicle noted, prosecutors showed the tape in court on the last day of Mehserle's preliminary hearing, but it was overshadowed by the judge's decision to send Mehserle to trial for murder.

Oscar Grant was killed early New Year's Day by a white San Francisco BART police officer. The officer has claimed that he meant to pull his Taser, not his gun.
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LA Coroner Disputes Leaked Michael Jackson Autopsy Results

British tabloid The Sun has supposedly received a leaked copy of Michael Jackson’s autopsy results. If in fact these are his results, they are shocking. However, the Los Angeles coroner's office has denied the details reported by The Sun.

Two separate autopsies have been performed on Jackson, one by the LA coroner and one by a private pathologist. According to The Sun reportedly leaked autopsy results, Jackson weighed 112 pounds at the time of his autopsy and was emaciated. This for a 5'10" man. More disturbing details (reminder: the coroner disputes all this):
  • His hips, thighs and shoulders were covered in needle wounds

  • His stomach was empty aside from partially-dissolved pills he took before the painkiller injection which allegedly stopped his heart

  • Most of his hair was missing. He was wearing a wig.

  • A scar above his left ear was bald, perhaps the result of the 1984 "Pepsi hair fire"

  • Several broken ribs due to CPR attempts

  • Plastic surgery scars on his face, with the bridge of his nose having vanished and its right side of his nose partially collapsed
Assistant chief coroner Ed Winter said on Monday that The Sun's report was inaccurate, and any such leaked Michael Jackson autopsy details did not come from either of the two autopsies.
"I don't know where that information came from, or who that information came from. It is not accurate. Some of it is totally false."
TMZ has also reported The Sun's report to be fake.
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Michael Jackson Funeral Arrangements Still Unclear

As the world continues to reel over the death of the so-called "King of Pop," Michael Jackson, last Thursday, and questions continue to circulate about the cause of death, funeral arrangements also remain unclear. The only thing for sure: it will be a blockbuster, perhaps the biggest celebrity funeral ever.

The Telegraph indicates that the Jackson family may opt for two funerals, one a private service, and another a public ceremony for fans. According to the Telegraph, Jackson's brother Tito disclosed the option to them. Services are expected to take place later this week.

Meanwhile, the Mirror thinks it will be one ceremony, but with the burial portion private.

The Mirror states:

"Like Princess Diana the family may opt for private burial. There are some who are strongly opposed to the idea of hordes of fans trampling over Michael's grave.

"Like Diana he may be buried somewhere private where only family and close friends can pay their respects. But this would only follow a public funeral which would allow hundreds of thousands of fans to be part of a huge outpouring of grief."
Either way, the family must work closely with the LAPD, to arrange crowd control. There is a potential of an outpouring of the public so great that it would eclipse by far either the funerals of Elvis Presley or Princess Diana. The funeral will likely draw tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of mourners and hundreds of millions of television viewers.
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Twitter Roils with Fake "Britney Spears Dead" Tweet

It's been a terrible week for celebrity deaths, with Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Billy Mays all dying. What's this? A tweet about Britney Spears on her feed? She's dead? Say it's not so!

It's not so. Although the original "Britney Spears dead" tweet (since deleted) was retweeted numerous times, spreading virally, it was nothing more than a fake. Still, sites such as TweetMeme still have the tweet archived, showing the evidence.

In fact, some said it smelled like a hack, and it was, though it's unclear exactly how the account was hacked. This Britney Spears story is, unfortunately, reminiscent of the stories that Jeff Goldblum was dead, which circulated on Thursday, the day that Michael Jackson died.

Eerily, when Britney Spears was in her "serious meltdown" phase in 2007 and 2008, stories emerged such as AP already having penned her obituary. It's not unusual for a celebrity, but certainly unusual for one as young as Spears.

A sick website even emerged during that period, one which promised a PS3 to the person who successfully predicted the day that Britney Spears died.
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Walter Cronkite Near Death: Report

Some say deaths come in threes, but it seems we are going way overboard in terms of losing celebrities. First Ed McMahon, then Farrah Fawcett, then Michael Jackson, and today Billy Mays. Reports are now emerging that retired CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite is near death and is not expected to recover.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Walter Cronkite was often cited in viewer opinion polls as "the most trusted man in America." On Saturday his family released the following statement:
"In order to dispel false rumors, Walter Cronkite's family want it known that, sadly, he is very ill and is not expected to recuperate; he is resting at home surrounded by family, friends and a wonderful medical team. We thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes."
Walter Cronkite's last day as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" was on March 6, 1981; he was succeeded the following Monday by Dan Rather. Here is the text of his final statement in that chair:
“This is my last broadcast as the anchorman of The CBS Evening News; for me, it’s a moment for which I long have planned, but which, nevertheless, comes with some sadness. For almost two decades, after all, we’ve been meeting like this in the evenings, and I’ll miss that. But those who have made anything of this departure, I’m afraid have made too much. This is but a transition, a passing of the baton. A great broadcaster and gentleman, Doug Edwards, preceded me in this job, and another, Dan Rather, will follow. And anyway, the person who sits here is but the most conspicuous member of a superb team of journalists; writers, reporters, editors, producers, and none of that will change. Furthermore, I’m not even going away! I’ll be back from time to time with special news reports and documentaries, and, beginning in June, every week, with our science program, Universe. Old anchormen, you see, don’t fade away; they just keep coming back for more. And that’s the way it is: Friday, March 6, 1981. I’ll be away on assignment, and Dan Rather will be sitting in here for the next few years. Good night.”
On his last show, you can see, he modified slightly his goodnight to America, which went this way:
“And that’s the way it is. [the date]. This is Walter Cronkite, CBS News; good night.”
Watch one of America's most dignified, and trustworthy journalists, as he reports on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, in the video.

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Filipino Inmates Pay Tribute to Michael Jackson with Viral Video Recreation

The Filipino inmates whose YouTube video of their "Thriller" dance went viral, recreated the event on Saturday in a tribute to their idol, Michael Jackson. The original idea was developed by Byron Garcia, the Cebu provincial security consultant who came up with the idea of adding dancing to poorly attended exercise sessions.

The original video was uploaded in July of 2007, and has been viewed nearly 26 million times, many of them, you can bet, since Thursday.

Upon hearing of his death, the 1,500 inmates at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center decided right then and there to recreate the original event. They practiced for nine hours Friday night and Saturday morning for the show.



Not only has video of the recreation once again been uploaded to YouTube, many fans came to view the hour-long performance, live. The show included more than just Thriller, the video above shows performance to the song, "Ben" and "I'll Be There," both of which Jackson performed when he was still a child.

Watch a CNN report on the new performance, and the original video at the bottom.



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Infomercial King Billy Mays Dies

Infomercial king Billy Mays was found dead in his Tampa, FL home this morning, and as details leak, the question arises: was his death similar to Natasha Richardson's, meaning related to trauma to his head? There is much speculation around this, as Billy Mays definitely took a blow to the head, based on his own statements.

While he's definitely not the same stature as Michael Jackson, so his death is not going to be covered by multiple infomercial channels showing marathons of his products, he is still a face (and voice) that many probably will recognize. Billy Mays, who some call the king of the infomercials, has passed away, ironically at the same age as Michael Jackson, 50.

Billy Mays was found at 7:45 AM inside his Tampa, FL home on Sunday by his wife. Police said that foul play is not suspected in his death. Authorities anticipatge that an autopsy should be complete by Monday afternoon.

Billy Mays' wife, Deborah, said in a statement on Sunday:
"Although Billy lived a public life, we don't anticipate making any public statements over the next couple of days. Our family asks that you respect our privacy during these difficult times."
You have probably seen Billy Mays in commercials for such products as Oxi-Clean, Mighty Putty and Orange Glo. He was also featured on the reality TV show "Pitchmen" on the Discovery Channel, which followed Mays and Anthony Sullivan in their jobs. Mays and Sullivan appeared with Conan O'Brien on Tuesday night, in fact.

What has come to light is that on Saturday night, less than 24 hours before his death, Billy Mays was on a US Airways flight that blew out its front tires as it landed at a Tampa airport on Saturday. Billy Mays' actual quote to Fox13:
"All of a sudden as we hit you know it was just the hardest hit, all the things from the ceiling started dropping. It hit me on the head, but I got a hard head."
As said above, the autopsy will not be completed until Monday, so the question of how Billy Mays died will stay open until then. Interestingly, TMZ received the following quote from the FAA, since retracted:
"The passenger needs to wear a seat belt during landing and he didn't."
Watch an Oxi-Clean commercial below:

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fans Crawl the Web for Michael Jackson Death Photos

It's the same sort of morbid interest in a celebrity death that occurred when David Carradine died earlier this year. People are frantically searching for photos that show Michael Jackson dead, according to Google Trends. Perhaps it's simply because people don't believe it, as some still don't believe Elvis is dead.

Only one such "Michael Jackson Death Photo" has emerged, and Entertainment Tonight managed to snap it. It's a picture of Jackson on a stretcher with a respirator attached to his face. It's a sad, sad, tableau.

Fortunately, no Michael Jackson death photos from the autopsy itself have emerged. The autopsy, as you have probably heard, was inconclusive, with the coroner saying full results would have to wait for the results of toxicology and other tests.

At the same time, on Saturday Jesse Jackson announced that Michael Jackson's family wants an independent autopsy in at attempt to determine the cause of his death. This would, in fact, be similar to (once again) David Carradine, whose family enlisted forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, a former chief medical examiner for New York City who appears on the HBO cable TV show "Autopsy," to perform his own investigation into Carradine's death.

Jesse Jackson told the AP in an interview that Michael Jackson's family told him of its wishes while he spent time with them during the past two days. According to reports, Michael Jackson's body has been released to the family, so we may in fact see such an additional autopsy occur.

Questions have arisen about Jackson's use of painkillers. Theories on his death have centered around the daily injection of Demerol that Jackson received; it has been reported that he went into cardiac arrest once he received the injection on Thursday.
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Man Arrested for Attempting Pot, Cocaine Bank Deposit

Banks may need a bailout, but probably not this kind of one. Cameron B. Jefferson, 38, was arrested on charges of possession of cocaine and possession of cannabis (less than 20 grams) after mistakenly depositing not just $200 in cash at the drive-thru teller, but a bag containing a small amount of marijuana and cocaine.

Police say an employee at the Wachovia Bank called police Wednesday after the attempted deposit. Officer Jamie Martinez stopped the only white SUV in the teller line, as the employees had stalled the driver.

Besides the strange deposit, Martinez searched Jefferson's vehicle and found the remnants of three marijuana cigarettes, according to the police report.
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Michael Jackson's Autopsy Results Inconclusive

Michael Jackson's autopsy results are in, and as expected, they are inconclusive. The Los Angeles coroner, through spokesperson Craig Harvey, said that full results will require further tests that will take four to six weeks.

At the same time, however, the coroner did note that Michael Jackson's autopsy results show no signs of foul play. That said, it has been said that Jackson's cardiac arrest resulted as a result of his daily Demerol injection, given to him by Dr. Conrad Murray, 51 (pictured), who is being sought by police for questioning in the superstar's death.

Michael Jackson's autopsy results come just a few hours after the 911 tapes and transcript were released. If you listen to the tape, the singer as unconscious and not breathing at the time of the 911 call.

While Michael Jackson's autopsy results appear to not be helpful, it was possible that in fact the autopsy could have found an underlying heart condition. As the focus now shifts to toxicology and other tests, it will take weeks for a full result.

At the same time, condolences and reminiscences continue to flood in. Sir Paul McCartney earlier today said:
"I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones.

"I send my deepest sympathy to his mother and the whole family and to his countless fans all around the world."
Diana Ross, who helped launch his career, said:
“I can’t stop crying. This is too sudden and shocking. I am unable to imagine this. My heart is hurting.”
Finally, Lisa Marie Presley, who was married to Michael Jackson for a short time, tied together the analogous apparently drug-related deaths of both her father and Jackson on her MySpace page:
At some point he paused, he stared at me very intensely and he stated with an almost calm certainty, "I am afraid that I am going to end up like him, the way he did."

I promptly tried to deter him from the idea, at which point he just shrugged his shoulders and nodded almost matter of fact as if to let me know, he knew what he knew and that was kind of that.
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Tape, Transcript of Michael Jackson 911 Call Released

At the same time that the LA coroner has begun the autopsy on Michael Jackson, details about his doctor, who is being sought by police, have emerged.

Dr. Conrad Murray, 51, is Michael Jackson's doctor and a Las Vegas cardiologist. The LA Times reports that Murray was administering CPR to Jackson when paramedics arrived.

The Michael Jackson 911 tapes have been also released (below), as well as a transcript, and it offers details, such as the fact that Michael Jackson was not breathing at the time of the 911 call.

Here is the call in full:

Operator: What is the nature of your emergency?

Caller: Yes sir, I need an ambulance as soon as possible, sir.

Operator:
OK sir, what's your address?

Caller: Los Angeles, California 90077

Operator: Is it Carolwood?

Caller: Carolwood Drive, yes.

Operator: OK, sir, what's the phone number you're calling from?

Caller: Sir, we have a gentleman here that needs help and he's not breathing. He's not breathing and we're trying to pump him, but he's not ...

Operator: OK, OK. How old is he?

Caller: He's 50 years old, sir.

Operator: 50? Ok. He's unconscious? He's not breathing?

Caller: Yes he's not breathing sir.

Operator: Ok and he's not conscious either.

Caller:
No, he's not conscious sir.

Operator: Alright, is he on the floor, where's he at right now?

Caller: He's on the bed, sir, he's on the bed.

Operator: OK let's get him on the floor.

Caller:
OK.

Operator: OK let's get him down to the floor. I'm going to help you with CPR right now. We're on our way there, we're on our way but I'm going to do as much as I can to help you over the phone. We're already on our way. Did anybody see him?

Caller: Yes, we have a personal doctor here with him sir.

Operator: Oh you have a doctor there?

Caller: Yes but he's not responding to anything. He's not responding to CPR or anything.

Operator: Ok, well we're on our way there. If your guy's doing CPR as instructed by a doctor, he has a higher authority than me. Did anybody witness what happened?

Caller: No, just the doctor, sir, the doctor's been the only one here.

Operator: OK so the doctor's seen what happened?

Caller: (aside) Doctor, did you see what happened, sir? (To operator) If you can please ...

Operator: We're on our way, I've dispatched these questions on to our paramedics and they're on their way there sir.

Caller: Thank you sir. He's pumping his chest but he's not responding to anything sir, please.

Operator: Ok, we're on our way, we're less than a mile away. We'll be there shortly.

Caller: Thank you sir, thank you.

Operator: OK, sir, call us back if you need any help.

Caller: Yes sir.

Watch a video including the 911 call:

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Michael Jackson's Doctor Sought as Possible Demerol Link Emerges

Michael Jackson. Heath Ledger. Anna Nicole Smith. Three distinctly different personalities, whose lives may be linked in their deaths, according to reports. According to British tabloid The Sun, Jackson's death may be linked to an overdose of Demerol.

Heath Ledger died in January of 2008 from an accidental prescription medication overdose. Anna Nicole Smith died in 2007; her death was ruled an accidental drug overdose of the sedative chloral hydrate that became lethal when combined with other prescription drugs in her system.

Here's what The Sun said about Michael Jackson death, and a possible link to Demerol:
Jackson aides told medics he had collapsed after an injection of potent Demerol — similar to morphine.

A Jacko source said: “Shortly after taking the Demerol he started to experience slow shallow breathing.

“His breathing gradually got slower and slower until it stopped.

“His staff started mouth-to-mouth and an ambulance was called which got there in eight minutes “But found he was in full respiratory arrest, no breathing and no pulse. They started full CPR and rushed him to hospital.

“When he arrived they started resuscitation, giving him heart shocks and inserted a breathing tube and other supportive measures to try and save his life.

“He never regained consciousness.The family was told that he had passed.”
At the same time, police are now searching for a doctor who was reportedly at Jackson's side when he collapsed. Coroner’s investigators were seeking to interview the doctor but Los Angeles police spokeswoman Karen Rayner said said she did not know the doctor’s identity.

At this point, the doctor was not under criminal investigation. Rayner said:
“His car was impounded because it may contain medications or other evidence that may assist the coroner in determining the cause of death.”
Uh, huh. If he injected Michael Jackson prior to his death, he's probably going to be under investigation soon. It should be noted that reports indicate this was a daily injection. Here's what Brian Oxman, a former Jackson attorney and a family friend, said Friday on The "Today Show."
“I said one day, we’re going to have this experience. And when Anna Nicole Smith passed away, I said we cannot have this kind of thing with Michael Jackson. The result was, I warned everyone, and lo and behold, here we are. I don’t know what caused his death. But I feared this day, and here we are.”
Oxman made similar statements on MSNBC Thursday night.

Meanwhile, the LA coroner is going to begin an autopsy soon, if not already, but it will likely be weeks before full details, including toxicology reports, are known.
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Alleged Pictures of Gov. Sanford's Mistress Emerge

On Wednesday, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, 49, admitted his affair with an Argentine woman, noting not only that he traveled to Argentina rather than the Appalachian Trail hiking, as his aides thought. Since then, the woman's name has been revealed, Maria Belen Shapur, 43, and now alleged pictures of her have leaked to the web.

The Maria Belen Chapur pictures were first leaked by Bitten & Bound, and reportedly show the 43-year-old object of Mark Sanford's affection (more pics at the link above).

Maria Belen Chapur reportedly lives in an upper middle class area of Buenos Aires. She is divorced and lives with her two sons. Pictures of her apartment complex have also leaked.

While Maria Belen Chapur pictures leaked, Jenny Sanford, the governor's estranged wife, stated the following to reporters as she departed the Sanford's vacation home in Sullivan's Island, South Carolina:

"His career is not a concern of mine. He's going to have to worry about that. I'm worried about my family and the character of my children.

"I have great faith and great friends and great family. We have a good Lord in this world and I know that I'm going to be fine and not only will I survive, I'll thrive.

"I don't know if he'll be with me, but I'm going to do my best to work on my marriage because I believe in marriage. I believe in raising good kids is the most important thing in the world."
It is good to see a long-suffering wife who, rather than steadfastly standing at her politician husband's side while he details an affair, tells it like it is. What Jenny Sanford was partially addressing above was Mark's career; people on both sides of the aisle are calling for him to resign.
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett Dies, After Long Cancer Battle

After a long battle with cancer, dramatically captured in her own documentary on her struggle, Farrah Fawcett passed away today at the age of 62.

It was only a little more than a month ago, on Friday, May 15th, that NBC News aired Farrah's Story, a two-hour special chronicling actress Farrah Fawcett's battle against anal cancer. It was billed as "an extremely personal look at her battle with cancer," narrated by Fawcett herself.

She arrived on the scene in 1976 as one-third of the crime-fighting trio in TV’s “Charlie’s Angels.” The other two Angels were Kate Jackson and Jacklyn Smith.

She left after a contract dispute in the second season. However, she was always associated with the show and after the dispute was resolved, made a few guest appearances.

In 1973, she married actor Lee Majors. She was billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors until 1979. She and Majors divorced in 1982.

In 1976, came "the poster."

Pro Arts Inc., pitched the idea of a poster of Fawcett to her agent, and a photo shoot was arranged. The resulting poster, of Farrah in a one-piece red bathing suit, was a best-seller; sales estimates ranged from over 5 million to 8 million to as high as 12 million copies.
In September 2006, underwent two weeks of tests and was told the bad news: she had anal cancer. She eventually went to Germany, as detailed in her documentary, for extensive alternative medical procedures. She was accompanied by Ryan O’Neal, with whom she has had a long on-and-off relationship, and a son.

Her cancer was said to be in remission in early 2007, but recurred in May of 2007.

Farrah Fawcett is survived by her father, James, and her son, Redmond James Fawcett O’Neal, from her relationship with Ryan O'Neal.

Fawcett once said of her celebrity, and of the show "Charlie's Angels", “When the show got to be No. 3, I figured it was our acting. When it got to be No. 1, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra.”

Watch a video report:



Steamy E-mails between Gov. Sanford and "Maria" Reveal Depth of Affair

Yesterday South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, 49, held a press conference in which he admitted to, not just being in Argentina instead of the Appalachian Trail hiking, but that he was in Argentina ending an affair. The newspaper that first uncovered the evidence, The State, later released a series of emails between the two that showed how the deep the emotions ran.

While romantic and steamy, the emails were not overly erotic. The paper redacted the woman's full name and address, but her first name was noted as Maria. Meanwhile, other sites have posted her name: Maria Belen Shapur, who works for Bunge y Born, a multinational agribusiness and grain trading corporation. She is reportedly fluent in English, Portuguese and Chinese.

Additionally, Maria Belen Chapur is 43, lives in an upper middle class area of Buenos Aires (the apartment complex is reportedly pictured above). She is divorced and lives with her sons, local news said.

Here's a portion of one of the steamy love emails, this one from Sanford to Maria:

I have been specializing in staying focused on decisions and actions of the head for a long time now — and you have my heart. You have oh so many attributes that pulls it in this direction. Do you really comprehend how beautiful your smile is? Have you been told lately how warm your eyes are and how they softly glow with the special nature of your soul. I remember Jenny, or someone close to me, once commenting that while my mom was pleasant and warm it was sad she had never accomplished anything of significance. I replied that they were wrong because she had the ultimate of all gifts — and that was the ability to love unconditionally. The rarest of all commodities in this world is love. It is that thing that we all yearn for at some level — to be simply loved unconditionally for nothing more than who we are — not what we can get, give or become. There are but 50 governors in my country and outside of the top spot, this is as high as you can go in the area I have invested the last 15 years of my life — my getting here came as no small measure because I had that foundation of love and support so critical to getting up in the morning and feeling you could give and risk because you already had a full tank of love in the emotional bank account. Since our first meeting there in a wind swept somewhat open air dance spot in Punta del Este, I felt that you had that same rare attribute. Above all else I love that inner beauty about you. That gift of yours is going to make a tremendous difference in (The State deleted sons’ names) life — and in anyone’s life who is blest to be touched by yours — you need to rest very comfortably in that fact. As I mentioned in our last visit, while I did not need love fifteen years ago — as the battle scars of life and aging and politics have worn on this has become a real need of mine. You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that is so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificently gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curves of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of night’s light — but hey, that would be going into the sexual details we spoke of at the steakhouse at dinner — and unlike you I would never do that!
Yesterday, Sanford indicated that his wife, Jenny, has known of the affair for five months, and that two weeks ago she asked him to leave. Mark Sanford said he wants to reconcile, and a statement by his wife said her husband may have earned that chance.
“This trial separation was agreed to with the goal of ultimately strengthening our marriage.”
Some have asked for Sanford to resign; that is still an open question.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Church Criticized Over Gay Exorcism Video

A YouTube video posted by a Connecticut church showing what appeared to be a so-called "gay" exorcism has drawn much criticism. The 20-minute video, though not labeled as such, and since taken down, referred to casting "homosexual demons" from the 16-year-old boy's body.

In the video, you can hear a woman yell:
"Rip it from his throat! Come on, you homosexual demon! You homosexual spirit, we call you out right now! Loose your grip, Lucifer!"
Others shouted the following, as the teenager is showed apparently vomiting into a bag:
"Come out of his belly. It's in the belly — push."

"Get another bag. Make sure you have your gloves."
Later, the teenager is back on the floor, breathing heavily. Then he's coughing and apparently vomiting into a bag.

The church in the video is Manifested Glory Ministries, and the elders have refused to comment on the video itself, with Rev. Patricia McKinney only telling AP:
"We believe a man should be with a woman and a woman should be with a man. We have nothing against homosexuals. I just don't agree with their lifestyle."
Robin McHaelen, executive director of True Colors, an advocacy group for gay youths, said the video appeared abusive and she planned to report the incident to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. She told AP:
"I think it's horrifying. What saddens me is the people that are doing this think they are doing something in the kid's best interests, when in fact they're murdering his spirit.

"They have this kid in a full nelson. That just seems abusive to me."
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GOP Gov. Mark Sanford Admits to Infidelity, Mystery Trip to Argentina

Governor Mark Sanford, 49, of South Carolina, who had reportedly been hiking along the Appalachian Trail, was in fact making a mystery trip to Argentina, as revealed when Sanford told a reporter for The State newspaper he was actually in that country. Why? He was apparently terminating an affair.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Sanford admitted that he'd secretly flown to Argentina to visit a woman with whom he'd been having an affair. He apologized to his wife and four sons; additionally he said he will resign as head of the Republican Governors Association.

The woman lives in Argentina and has been a "dear, dear friend" for about eight years according to Sanford. He added, however, that the relationship didn't become romantic until a little over a year ago. He's seen her three times since then; his wife found out about it five months ago.

Strangely, he began his press conference rambling on about his love of hiking and the Appalachian Trial. Then, a few minutes into the press conference, he spoke of the affair, because the story about hiking was true as he said, but not the whole story. He said:

"I've let down a lot of people, that's the bottom line."
He went on to state that God's law was there to protect you from yourself, and he broke God's law.

Sanford was asked, as he left the lectern, if he would resign as SC governor, but he did not answer.

Watch a video report:

Coach Shot Fatally at Iowa High School

Ed Thomas, a long-time Aplington-Parkersburg High School athletic director and football coach, was shot in the school's weight room this morning. He later died at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo, IA. The school is in Parkersburg, about 80 miles northeast of Des Moines.

Ed Thomas was shot by an adult male, who was quickly taken into custody. He was airlifted to the hospital. The motive for the shooting is not currently known.

The shooting occured at about 8:00 AM; about 50 students were present at the school when the shooting happened. No students were injured. According to Sue Muller, the Aplington-Parkersburg High School district's board secretary, the suspect is not believed to be a student.

There were some students actually in the weight room at the time of the incident. Superintendent Jon Thompson told KOEL radio:
"No kids were hurt, we're thankful for that. They did witness this and so we
have counselors at the site to talk with the kids."

Ed Thomas compiled a career record of 292-84 in 37 seasons as a head coach, with 34 of them at Aplington-Parkersburg. He was honored as the NFL High School Coach of the Year in 2005, and four of his former players are in the NFL: Green Bay's Aaron Kampman, Jacksonville's Brad Meester, Detroit's Jared DeVries and Denver's Casey Wiegmann.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jon and Kate to Take a Break, From Each Other, and the Show

TLC certainly hyped Jon and Kate's big announcement enough. And on Monday night's show came the announcement we were expecting: a divorce for the couple.

In an interesting move, the eight children in their brood will stay in the house, the couple said, and Jon and Kate Gosselin will alternatve living there. It's hardly a surprise, however, as both parents have been accused of infidelity.

The show, apparently, must go on. TLC The Gosselins had committed to a full season of 40 episodes and indicated they would continue allowing camera crews access to film the family's life, just not with with both there together.

It will be interesting to see if some of the family life includes the people they have been accused of dallying with.

The two had differing views, naturally. Jon said:

"Kate and I have decided to separate. I was too passive. I just ... went along with everything. Now I finally stood up on my own two feet and I'm proud of myself."
Kate said:

"It's very uncomfortable at this point because Jon has a lot of anger towards me and I would love to discuss it with him but he won't talk to me."


The show scored boffo ratings, though. EW.com reported that Monday night's episode attracted 10.6 million viewers, the largest audience ever for the TLC show.

Next week, a retrospective of the Gosselins' 10 years of marriage will air, followed by a hiatus until Aug. 3. For the show, divorce has been the best thing to happen to the show. Infidelity, addressed (sort of) in the season opener, has been the second best, in terms of ratings.

We'll see what happens as the season drags on.

The Sidekick's Sidekick, Ed McMahon, Dead at Age 86

My back has been out the last few days, explaining the lack of posts here, but I crawled out of bed for this one. Ed McMahon, the most famous sidekick in television history, has died. He was 86.

Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson worked together on the game show "Who Do You Trust?" When Carson was named host of "The Tonight Show" in 1962, McMahon went along for the ride. Little did he know how successful the two would be.

For three decades McMahon introduced Carson nightly with a booming rally "Heeeeere's Johnnnny."

The two remained on the show until Johnny Carson retired in 1992. Ed McMahon has also hosted other shows, such as the talent show "Star Search" and "TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes" with Dick Clark. He is also fairly well known for his commercials for American Family Publishers sweepstakes.

Ed McMahon's "Heeeere's Johnny" intro, used every night before Carson came onstage, became iconic and one of the most imitated in America. I'm sure Stephen King fan's remember Jack Nicholson's character in the 1980 horror film "The Shining" using the catchphrase.

Life of late has not been kind to Ed McMahon, however. He suffered from both health and financial issues. He had a broken neck in 2007, and narrowed escaped foreclosure. He told Larry King on CNN a year ago:
"Well, if you spend more money than you make, you know what happens. And it can happen. You know, a couple of divorces thrown in, a few things like that. And, you know, things happen. You want everything to be perfect, but that combination of the economy, I have a little injury, I have a situation. And it all came together."
One can imagine Carson meeting McMahon in heaven and introducing him with "Heeeere's Ed." May he R.I.P.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Swine-Flu Sickened Couple Says "I Do" in Surgical Masks

Nothing was going to stop this wedding. Not a messed-up wedding cake, missing wedding rings, the bride running off with the best man, nothing. Of course, none of those happened. Swine flu, however, did.

In an unlikely set of events, both the bride and the groom in this Chicago wedding had swine flu. Realistically, it probably wasn't all that unlikely, since they were going to be married, and likely shared some intimate time. Ilana Jackson and Jeremy Feirstein, both 26, received the news just 48 hours before their nuptials, from their doctor:
"It's not going to be the wedding you wanted. You tested positive for swine flu. Give me a call if you have any questions."
The couple had joked about it, when they both exhibited vomiting, achy limbs and fever. Jackson said:
"We joked about it. Like, 'Wouldn't it be funny if we had swine flu?'"
Question one to the doctor was if they would put their guests at serious risk, and given the answer was no, the couple decided to move forward with their plans, albeit, with some changes.
  • The professional hairstylist and makeup artist Jackson had hired refused to touch her. At the last minute she recruited a friend to help.
  • The bride and groom stayed 10 feet away from all guests at all times, per doctors instructions.
  • Jackson and Fierstien walked around the guests instead of walking down the aisle
  • They couldn't dance.
  • Throughout the ceremony they wore surgical masks and latex gloves.
Despite this, the wedding took place on June 14th, without a hitch. Well, aside from the swine flu.
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Survey: One in Four South African Men Admit to Rape

In what has to be a shocking result, the government-funded Medical Research Council has released the results of a South African survey which shows that one in four male South Africans surveyed admitted to committing rape.

Chief researcher Rachel Jewkes said Friday that the findings were "shocking" but "not unexpected." Not unexpected? I suppose that comes from police statistics, which state that approximately 36,000 women were raped in 2007, nearly 100 per day. Much as in other parts of the world, though, it's likely that not all rapes are reported.

Results of the survey include the following:

Nearly 28 percent of men interviewed said they raped a woman or girl
14 percent said they had raped a former or current girlfriend
12 percent said they had raped someone who was not their partner
10 percent said they had raped both a stranger and a partner
17 percent of the men surveyed admitted to attempted rape
9 percent said they had taken part in gang rapes
42 percent of men surveyed said they had been physically violent to an intimate partner, including 14 percent in the past year

Worse, nearly 20 percent of those who admitted sexual abuse had tge AIDS virus. Of course, in South Africa that's only slightly higher than the 18 percent infection rate among men not involved in rape.

Jewkes told AP:
"Rape is a crime of a sense of entitlement. It comes from a notion of power. I don't think there is a quick fix. If people were concerted about trying to fix it, it would take a generation.

"Our study suggests that the pathway which leads to these ideas and the practices of rape and other forms of violence toward women starts in childhood.

"You can't change behavior practiced by one quarter of the population if the main strategy is through the use of police and courts. The police and courts are important but they are only part of the solution."
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