Friday, July 31, 2009

Geffen Records Signs New Artist: Pope Benedict XVI

He'll be home for Christmas. Pope Benedict XVI will, according to reports, release an album in time for the Christmas season.

Pope Benedict XVI will sing a Marian prayer as well as speaking Lauretan Litanies in Italian, Portuguese, French and German, accompanied by eight original pieces of modern classical music.

The album will be named Alma Mater. It will be released in 30 November 30th, during the post-Thanksgiving Christmas rush. According to reports, some of the proceeds from the album sales will be used to provide musical education for underprivileged children worldwide.

The album will be on the Geffen Records label. Hhe new compositions, by three as yet unnamed composers, will be announced by the Vatican in September. All that is really kow so far is that the pieces have been recorded this week by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road studios in London.

Geffen president Colin Barlow noted that the album may surprise people.
"When you are sitting in the basilica listening to it, you suddenly think that you are hearing something that could be incredibly special.

"The Pope has got almost a lullaby tone to the way he sings."
That could be bad, if it puts people to sleep. No word as yet if the album will be available on iTunes.
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Tancredo: "Sonia Mayor" Appointment Could Mean Obama is Racist

Last night former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) defended Glenn Beck's rant that Obama is racist. While some, like Stephen Colbert, point out the illogic to that statement, Tom Tancredo said that the evidence is there, in the "Sonia Mayor" nomination.
I do not know if he has a hatred for white people. I can say that his [Obama] statements and his appointment of someone I do believe to be a racist, “Sonia Mayer,” for her racial views by the way — that is an indication, that could be used as an indication by some, that he is indeed a racist. Because it’s depending on what you use as a definition.
First of all, if you're going to criticize someone, can you at least get the name right? In reality, I'm sure it's not a mistake, but rather an overt usage of the wrong name.

At any rate, Tancredo has stated previously that the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. of which Sonia Sotomayor is a member, is the "Latino KKK."

Watch a video:

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beck Has a Deep-Seated Hatred of Logic: Colbert

A few days ago, Glenn Beck made a visit to Fox & Friends. On it, he made this statement, which makes absolutely no sense if you think about Barack Obama's family at all:
This president has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don't know what it is.
Hmmm. Considering that Barack Obama has expressed his great love for his mother, and that he was raised for a great deal of his life by his white grandparents, that really is surprising!
“This president has exposed himself, I think, as a guy — over and over and over again — who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. [...]

“I’m not saying he [Obama] doesn’t like white people, I’m saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.”
Not only does that not make sense since Barack Obama's mother was white, and his grandparents, who pretty much raised him, were white, it also makes no sense. He's a racist, but Beck isn't saying he hates white people?

Last night, on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert noted that Glenn Beck has a problem as well.
“Right, that’s not saying [Obama] dislikes white people. He’s saying that he has a deep-seated hatred for them.

“Like how Beck likes arguing but has a deep-seated hatred for logic.”
Watch the video:

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Cash for Clunkers Proves Too Popular; Will Be Suspended at Midnight

According to congressional sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Cash for Clunkers program has been suspended, proving too popular for its own good.

The program will be suspended as of midnight Thursday. Why? It's quite possible the entire Cash for Clunkers allotment of $1 billion has been spent already.

Official figures show that through late Wednesday, 22,782 vehicles had been purchased through the Cash for Clunkers program, amounting to $96 million being spent.

However, the National Automobile Dealers Association surveyed 2,000 dealers and found that about by the found about 25,000 deals had not yet approved by the NHTSA, which oversees the program. If you extrapolate that number across the 23,000 dealers taking part in the Cash for Clunkers program, you would come up with over 280,000 rebates that have not yet been finalized.

That would already exceed the 250,000 estimated rebates that the Cash for Clunkers program would cover. The program gives rebates of $3,500 or $4,500 for a new car lease or purchase, depending on the specifications of the trade-in and the new vehicle.

Even if the total exceeds the allotted amount, any deals done through midnight Thursday would be honored, the sources said.

While seen as a "green" program, it's also been seen as a stimulus. Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) wants more money allocated. Yes, a Republican wants more money spent. She said:
"There can be no doubt that the Cash for Clunkers program is a complete success given the fact that the entire $1 billion allocated to the program was expended in less than a week. This is simply the most stimulative $1 billion the federal government has spent during the entire economic downturn. The federal government must come up with more money, immediately, to keep this program going.

"Whether we look at returned TARP funds or reprogram stimulus funds to a truly stimulative purpose, the administration must take action."
Whether or not more funds are allocated will probably be a contentious discussion. The administration originally sought $4 billion for the Cash for Clunkers program, but by the time it had been approved the amount had been reduced to $1 billion.
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Seven-Year-Old Steals Car to Avoid Church

A 7-year-old led police on a merry chase. Yes, you read that right, not only did a 7-year-old steal a car, he managed to stay ahead of police for quite a while.

The reason for the car theft? The 7-year-old didn't want to go to church. That's obviously reflected in the fact that he broke the "thou shalt not steal" commandment.

The Plain City, UT boy managed to not just stay ahead of police after he stole the car, he managed to make it all the way home. In the process, he ran a stop sign, and even got the car up to 40 MPH. He also nearly hit another car.

Despite all that, the 7-year-old boy managed to get the car all the way home. The only relatively redeeming fact in the car chase is that the stolen vehicle was his father's Dodge Intrepid.

At least the 7-year-old kept it all in the family. When he got home, his father asked him why he would steal a car (obviously having his curiousity piqued by the police cars surrounding the house). He gave his father the church avoidance story.

Tape of Erin Andrews 911 Call Released

You might have thought the bruhaha over the Erin Andrews peephole video had died down, as its been a few days since she topped the Google Trends. As I said previously, though, any new news will create another Internet firestorm of activity.

In this case, TMZ managed to get the audio tapes of an Erin Andrews call to 911 she made last week. Based on the transcript of the tape, Erin Andrews most certainly isn't basking in the increased attention via the peephole video.

Surprisingly, based on the amount of Erin Andrews peephole video publicity, the dispatcher did not know her name. I am, however, surprised that Andrews even brought it up. You can read the 911 call transcript below.
Dispatcher: DeKalb 911. What's the address of your emergency?

Andrews: Um, I was in the news recently about being in a hotel naked, and I have paparazzi outside my window, and I was told by law enforcement that if I did to call 911.

Dispatcher: Do you want to meet with an officer? Do you want to meet with an officer, ma'am, when they come out?

Andrews: Yeah, these guys are sitting in a car outside my house right now. I would like to tell the officer to have them leave because the cops have told me to call 911 if they're outside my house.

Dispatcher: And what's your name?

Andrews: My name is Erin. My last name is Andrews. I'm all over the news right now.

Dispatcher: I'm not familiar.

Andrews: I'm the girl that was videotaped without her knowing, without her clothes on in the hotel.

Dispatcher: Really?

Andrews: And I've got two *ssholes sitting outside my house.

Dispatcher: I'm so sorry.

Andrews: I am, too. Thank you.

Dispatcher: We'll send someone out. What kind of vehicle are they in?

Andrews: They're in a RAV, a white RAV4. I'm in a gated community, and I don't know how they got in. Mom, can you see their license plates? It's a handicap license plate that they have. What's the license plate number?

Dispatcher: What's the tag number?

Andrews: We're trying to see. Do you see it, Mom? OK, I'm gonna try and go to another room and see if I can read it. I can't believe these jerks are knocking on my door. F**king *ssholes. Mom, you're totally being obvious.

Dispatcher: Are they black, white or Hispanic?

Andrews: What?

Dispatcher: Are they black, white or Hispanic?

Andrews: They're both white males. I think it's — they know I'm here, 'cause I have a car out front. So they know I'm inside. I have private security that I'm working with, but they're not with me currently, and they said call 911. OK, here's the license plate. It's a handicap license plate for Georgia. They're looking at me through my window.

Dispatcher: Are you OK?

Yeah, I'm just — I did nothing wrong, and I'm being treated like f**king Britney Spears, and it sucks. I'm sorry.

Dispatcher: OK, the first available unit will see you as soon as possible.

Andrews: Thanks. Do you know how far they're out?

Dispatcher: No. They should be in — they'll be here as soon as possible.

Andrews: OK.

Dispatcher: OK, thank you.

Andrews: Thanks.
Listen to the call here. The site seems a little slow, so it might skip on you. I'd recommend downloading it to your computer and listening from a local copy.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Boston Cop Calls Gates "a Banana-Eating Jungle Monkey" in Email

As if to confirm Henry Louis Gates' accusations of racism and racial profiling against the Boston PD, Boston police officer Justin Barrett sent an email containing racist comments to The Boston Globe, members of his National Guard unit and a select few Boston police officers. He has since been suspended, pending a termination hearing.

In the email, Barrett said the following:
"(Gates') first priority should be to get off the phone and comply with police, for if I was the officer he verbally assaulted like a banana-eating jungle monkey, I would have sprayed him in the face with OC deserving of his belligerent non-compliance."
Although it seems many seem to need reminding, the term monkey, in reference to a black person, is well-known to be a very low racist remark.

According to the Boston Herald, when confronted by a supervisor, Barrett admitted to writing the email, so there's no question about authenticity.

For those under a rock for the last two weeks, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a Harvard scholar, was arrested on the front porch of his own home on a disorder conduct charge July 16. Gates came home and found the door stuck, and was reported via 911 as a possible burglar when he tried to unstick the door.

Gates said he was a victim of racial profiling. Charges against him were quickly dropped.

However, when asked about the event, President Barack Obama stepped into a major mess when he said the police had acted "stupidly." This created a major firestorm, and this new incident will just re-ignite the flames.

However, the site Crooks & Liars had the best take on the matter:
Policemen should not be allowed to arrest someone for being an *sshole in their own home. [...] That's really over the line of what cops should be allowed to do, regardless of the motivations, racial or otherwise.
Let's not forget that the statute for disoderly conduct requires a"public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof." Hard to do that in your own home.

Me? I agree with C&L. Rather than arresting Gates, a well-trained officer would have defused the situation, and walked away. Instead, a show of force, and some would say, power.

Watch a video report below.
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GOP Uses "Soylent Green" Scenario to Frighten Older People About Health Care Reform

The right has used a number of misstatements (OK, lies) to discourage interest (OK, scare people away from) health care reform. The latest, however, is a doozy: Betsy McCaughey, chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and former lieutenant governor of New York, said the bill pushes senior citizens toward assisted suicide.

On the former Sen. Fred Thompson's radio show on July 16th, McCaughey said:
"Congress would make it mandatory — absolutely require — that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner."
In reality, what page 425 says is clarified by AARP (which has some sort of vested interest in retired persons):
In no way would these sessions be designed to encourage patients to end their lives, said Jim Dau, national spokeman for AARP, a group that represents people over 50 that has lobbied in support of the advanced planning provision.

McCaughey's comments are "not just wrong, they are cruel," said Dau. "We want to make sure people are making the right decision. If some one wants to take every life-saving measure, that's their call. Others will decide it's not worth going through this trauma just for themselves and their families, and that's their decision, too."

Both Keyserling and Dau were particularly troubled that McCaughey insisted — three times, to be exact — that the sessions would be mandatory, which they are not.

For his part, Keyserling said he and outside counsel read the language carefully to make sure that was not the case.

"Neither of us can come to the conclusion that it's mandatory." he said. "This new consultation is just like all in Medicare: it's voluntary."

"The only thing mandatory is that Medicare will have to pay for the counseling," said Dau.
As Rachel Maddow states, it's not just the fringe and the crazies sending around emails with this nonsense, it's the GOP as well. Yes, for example, as shown below, Rep. Virginia Foxx of NC says that the GOP plan is better because it "will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government."

Some other lies: that a Canadian health care system would limit your choice. Canadians can see any doctor they want. Here's what's really limiting your choice: insurance companies. They decide who gets what treatment and from whom (e.g., your network), all based on not what's best, but the bottom line.

Watch the lunacy:

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Accused Financier Allen Stanford Unhappy With Jail Conditions

Texas financier Allen Stanford is unhappy with his jail conditions. Yes, yes, it's jail. I suppose the only factor that might be taken into account is that he has not yet been convicted.

Stanford's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said in a court filing on Sunday:
"For at least a week, during the hottest part of the summer, with outside temperatures of 100 degrees (38 Celsius) or more, the place where Allen Stanford is being held as a pretrial detainee has had no air conditioning and for part of that time was without power altogether."
Allen Stanford is being held without bail while awaiting trial on charges that he swindled investors out of $7 billion. Originally he had been granted bail, but the judge revoked it, after determining him to be a serious flight risk.

Also, according to the filing, Allen Stanford's "accommodations" require him to share a cell with 8 - 10 other people. Readers, what is your opinion on this? It's not supposed to be a resort, but no A/C, and that many people seems a little extreme.
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Tanning Beds Cause Skin Cancer: WHO

This likely falls under the category of "common sense." The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced on Tuesday that it has moved UV tanning beds to its highest cancer risk category: "carcinogenic to humans."

This moves sun lamps and tanning beds out of the prior category (which was bad enough) "probably carcinogenic to humans." The IARC stated that the evidence linking tanning beds and skin cancer is “sufficient and compelling.”

To be honest, the evidence linking tanning beds and skin cancer should have been clear for all to see. The evidence was there in the tan itself.

A tan is a reaction by the skin, produced by increased melanin to protect the skin against the UV radiation from the sun (or tanning beds). Skin cancer aside, just look at someone who's "suffered" a lot of exposure to the sun as they age; their skin looks decidedly older because of the damage.

However, a tan has always been considered attractive, particularly among women. According to the IARC, combined analysis of over 20 epidemiological studies showed that the risk of skin cancer, or melanoma, increases by 75% when the use of tanning beds begins before the age of 30.

The IARC noted that a dramatic increase in the incidence of melanoma, especially among young women, has occurred in recent years. The research was published online in the medical journal Lancet Oncology on Wednesday.

Vincent Cogliano, one of the cancer researchers said:
"People need to be reminded of the risks of sunbeds. We hope the prevailing culture will change so teens don't think they need to use sunbeds to get a tan."
Naturally, sunbed manufacturers disputed the information, stating that tanning beds and skin cancer are not linked if use is "responsible." This however, ignores the fact that doctors have been saying for years that any sun exposure at all damages the skin.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bill Kristol Admits to Jon Stewart: The Government Already Runs First-Class Health Care

When will these guys learn not to appear on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. Jon Stewart managed to draw out Bill Kristol tonight on The Daily Show, and even got him to admit the government can run a health care system that's better than private insurance.

First, Kristol earned the wrath of the audience by saying that the general public did not deserve a public option.
Stewart: “So no public option, even though that’s good enough for the military — not good enough for the people of America?”

Kristol: “They do not deserve the same quality of health care the soldiers fighting deserve, and they [the soldiers] need all kinds of things we don’t need."

Stewart: “Are you saying that the American public shouldn’t have access to the same quality of health care that we give to our better citizens?”

Kristol: “To our soldiers? Yes, absolutely.”

Stewart: “Really?”
Foolishly, Kristol then stated that “one of the ways we make it up” to soldiers that they receive relatively low pay is by “giving them first class health care. The rest of us can go out and buy insurance.”

Oops! That gave Stewart ammunition.
Stewart: “Bill Kristol just said … that the government can run a first-class health care system and a government-run health care system is better than the private health care system.”

Kristol: “You trapped me somehow."

Beck: Obama Has "a Deep-seated Hatred for White People"

Glenn Beck made a visit to Fox & Friends today. On it, he made this statement, which makes absolutely no sense if you think about Barack Obama's family at all:
This president has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don't know what it is.
Hmmm. Considering that Barack Obama has expressed his great love for his mother, and that he was raised for a great deal of his life by his white grandparents, that really is surprising!

Watch the insanity!


Jillian and Ed Still Together: Do We Really Care?

Has reality TV run its course? I wish. When you look at the soap opera-ish moments on many shows, you have to wonder just how much is reality. With last night's finale to The Bachelorette, the question is, do we really care that Jillian and Ed are still together?

The answer to that question, based on ratings, is probably yes.

Jillian Harris chose Ed Swiderski in the finale, and accepted his proposal. IT seems somewhat scripted, however, when one recalls that Ed is the same one who left mid-season because his job was more important than Jillian. He then returned (surprise!) to win her hand.

It sounds so movie-ish, does it not? Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl in the end. Jillian and Ed, still together.

Newsweek even goes so far as to ask that loaded question: Is The Bachelorette rigged? One need only look at this spring's Bachelor finale to see similar soap opera-ish antics: the show's star dumped the winning girl for the runner-up.

Speculation like this is to be expected when real-life seems so much like drama. Perhaps that goes to show that people who watch soap operas aren't missing as much real-life as we think. Nah, I don't know anyplace where everyone has been married or involved with everyone else at one time, as in a soap.

Here's how the Jillian Harris and Ed Swiderski moment unfolded: first, Jillian had to reject Kiptyn. Then Jillian had to reject Reid, in a surprise return. Then Ed came on for the ultimate question.

“I want to be with you forever. I want a family with you. I want you to give me a hard time when we’re 80-years-old. Jillian, will you marry me?”

The biggest question is whether, Bachelorette finale aside, Jillian and Ed will still be together say 10 years from now?

The Bachelorette: After the Rose Ceremony airs Tuesday night on ABC.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Otty Sanchez KIlls Infant Son, Then Eats His Brain

Infanticide is horrific, but this has to be the most disgusting occurrence of infanticide that could ever happen. Otty Sanchez, 33, of San Antonio, TX, did not just allegedly murder her 3 1/2 week-old-son, police reported on Monday that she used a knife and two swords to dismember him and eat portions of his brain.

Not that it makes a difference, but after all that, Otty Sanchez stabbed herself in the torso and slit her own throat, though she did not die. She is currently recovering from her wounds at a hospital, and is being charged with capital murder. Her bail has been set at $1 million, though why any bail is allowed is beyond me.

Why did she do it? According to Otty Sanchez, she did it because "the devil" told her to kill her son, Scott Wesley Buchholtz-Sanchez. The incident occurred approximately one week after the boy's father left (small wonder that he left, honestly).

Otty Sanchez's sister and her sister's two children, ages 5 and 7, were in the house during the incident. However, none were harmed.

Gloria Sanchez, Otty's aunt, said Monday that her niece had been "in and out of a psychiatric ward." It seems evident that there was a psychological problem there; hearing voices is a symptom of schizophrenia.
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Man Shoots Toddler at Wedding Reception

An uninvited "guest" opened fire at a wedding reception on Saturday night, which resulted in an 18-month-old Indiana girl being shot in the head. She is in critical condition.

Francisco Ponce, 21, and his brothers Isaias, 28, and Jose, 23 (left to right in the photo), are in custody for Yuridia Sosa's shooting, as well as for the shootings of the girl's mother and another woman, both shot in the legs.

The shootings took place at Lawrence Community Center in Indianapolis, IN. The three brothers were gate-crashers, and after a scuffle began between guests and themselves, Francisco Ponce pulled a 9mm and began firing.

When officers arrive, they saw Francisco Ponce run across a parking lot and toss a gun under a car. He was arrested on a preliminary charge of attempted murder, while Isaias faces a charge of public intoxication and Jose is charged with battery, disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

Francisco Ponce was being held without bond Sunday at Marion County jail, according to court records.
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Parole Denied for the Killer of Kelsey Grammer's Sister

There will be no parole in the case of Freddie Glenn, 52, who is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder of Karen Grammer, the sister of actor Kelsey Grammer.

Karen Grammer, 18, was raped and murdered in 1975. According to published reports, Freddie Glenn and several other men attempted to rob a Red Lobster, but left with no money, but with Karen Grammer, who they felt could ID them.

After robbing a convenience store, the men took Karen Grammer back to Freddie Glenn's apartment, where she was repeatedly raped. put While it seemed they were about to let her go in a mobile home park, before they let her go, Glenn, stabbed her in the throat, back and hand. She bled to death from her wounds.

Freddie Glenn was also convicted in separate trials of the killing on June 19, 1975, of motel cook Daniel Van Lone, 28, in a robbery that netted $0.50, and the June 27, 1975, murder of Army soldier Winfred Proffitt, 19, during a drug deal.

Kelsey Grammer had meant to be at Freddie Glenn's parole hearing, but inclement weather prevented him from catching a flight to Colorado. Instead, he sent a letter. Excerpts appear below:
"I am saddened that I missed this opportunity to be at the hearing. You know the circumstances: rain delays at Kennedy that made it impossible for me to be in Colorado Springs in time to attend…Please tell the members of the parole board that it is my sincere hope they do not release my sister's killer. [...]

"She was so smart and good and decent. She wrote poetry and loved being alive; we could laugh for hours together, she had the greatest smile. She was my best friends and the best person I knew. She had so much to live for. I loved my sister, Karen. I miss her. I miss her in my bones. I was her big brother. I was supposed to protect her -- I could not. I have never gotten over it. I was supposed to save her. I could not. It very nearly destroyed me. [...]

"Please consider, when you wrestle with the fate of this man that killed my sister, the degree of suffering he has inflicted on his victims but also on the families of his victims. It has been many years since the murders and he has spent many years in jail. We, whose lives were so altered by his selfishness and brutality, have spent those years in a prison of our own. Yes, time has helped. But we will never be free. Why should his fate be any different? More importantly, however, how can you believe this man can be safely returned to society? Consider the extreme nature of his crimes - the disregard for simple humanity. This is a butcher. This is a monster. Is it really possible for him to live on the outside again without returning to his old ways? Can you be certain that he will not slaughter another innocent life and destroy another family?"
Freddie Glenn was denied parole, but will be eligible for another hearing in 2014. Still, it appears Kelsey Grammer's letter about his sister Karen had an impact: 5 years was the maximum the parole board could give as a delay to the next hearing.
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Michael Vick Receives "Conditional" NFL Reinstatement

In a move that should surprise few, but will likely upset many, former NFL QB Michael Vick, who had earlier been convicted and served 23 months on dogfighting charges, has been conditionally reinstated by the NFL.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had suspended Michael Vick indefinitely in 2007. Earlier this year, his team, the Atlanta Falcons, released him.

The conditions of his conditional reinstatement include limitations: Michael Vick can participate in preseason practices, workouts and meetings and can play in the final two preseason games. He will not be eligible to compete in regular-season games until week 6 (Oct 18 - 19), if then.

Another obvious hurdle for Michael Vick is finding a team to play on. While you can bet there will be at least one team who will jump at the chance, many have already stated they will not sign him. You can also bet than any team that does sign him will face the wrath of pet lovers and PETA.

Goodell noted in a letter to Michael Vick that playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right, and that he has very little margin for error. He did add that if Michael Vick was sincere and worked hard, "the NFL will support you."

In a statement released through his agent Joel Segal, Michael Vick said:
"I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to commissioner Goodell for allowing me to be readmitted to the National Football League. I fully understand that playing football in the NFL is a privilege, not a right, and I am truly thankful for the opportunity I have been given.

"As you can imagine, the last two years have given me time to re-evaluate my life, mature as an individual and fully understand the terrible mistakes I have made in the past and what type of life I must lead moving forward.

"Again, I want to thank the commissioner for the chance to return to the game I love and the opportunity to become an example of positive change."
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Princeton Review's Latest Party School Ranking Released

The Princeton Review has released its "The Best 371 Colleges" annual guide, which polls 122,000 students nationwide on differing topics. However, the "topic" that always catches the most attention, both positive and negative, is the party school ranking.

Penn State takes the top spot in the Princeton Review's top party school category. Of course, the school was close in 2008, finishing third.

Penn State also ranked at the top for two other Princeton Review categories: most packed stadium (popular intercollegiate sports) and beer consumption (high reported usage), which probably contributed some to the party aspect, as well.

Here is the list of the top party schools, as surveyed by the Princeton Review.

1. Penn State University, State College, Pa.
2. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
3. University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss.
4. University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
5. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
6. West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va.
7. University of Texas, Austin, Texas
8. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.
9. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.
10. University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.
11. University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.
12. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
13. Union College, Schenectady, N.Y.
14. Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.
15. DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.
16. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn.
17. Sewanee: The University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.
18. University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D.
19. Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
20. Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.
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"Bikini Bandit" Suspect Charged

Morgan Haley, 24, has been arrested in Desoto County, Mississippi for carjacking, and immediately following the carjacking, then going to an RV dealership in an attempt to rob it. All the while she was wearing, you guessed it, a bikini.

Southaven Police Chief Tom Long described the events as follows:
"The suspect (Morgan Haley), wearing only a bikini, approached a woman and threatened her to get out of her car. The woman did not see a weapon, but fearing for her children, she got out of the car with her kids, and then the suspect left the scene in the car."
Morgan Haley then drove to the aforementioned RV dealership, where events unfolded as follows, according to Long:
"Once inside the RV center, she approached employees with something under a towel resembling a weapon and told them it was a robbery."
For some reason, perhaps because with only a bikini (even with a towel) Morgan Haley had very little way to hide anything (like a gun), employees at the RV dealership restrained her and held her for police. The police say that Haley appears to have been under the influence (no!) during the crime.

Unfortunately, the police do not seem to have a mug shot of her in the bikini for us, just the mugshot above.
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Man Arrested in Alexis Cohen's Hit-and-Run Death

A man has been arrested in the hit-and-run death of two-time former American Idol contestant Alexis Cohen. Daniel Bark, 23, was arrested at 6 PM Sunday in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, and is being held in the Ocean County Jail in Toms River.

If convicted of Alexis Cohen's death, Bark could serve 10 to 15 years. Bail has been set at $35,000.

Alexis Cohen was found early Saturday morning in Seaside Heights. While originally it was reported that Alexis Cohen's body was found at 4AM on Saturday, police now say they were called at 5:05 AM by a driver and passenger who saw the body while passing the intersection of Bay Boulevard and Dupont Avenue in Seaside Heights. Cohen was pronounced dead at 6:30 AM.

While never a making it to the Hollywood round on American Idol, Cohen auditioned twice, and it were her acidic remarks pointed at judge Simon Cowell that earned her notoriety.

In 2007, besides an expletive-laden reaction to her failure, Alexis Cohen also capped things off by flipping off the camera, after asking several times "why do I feel like flipping off the camera."

You can watch her season 7 audition below:

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sarah Palin's Farewell Speech Gives Few Clues for the Future

Sarah Palin resigned as governor of Alaska on Sunday, turning over the reins to Lt. Governor Sean Parnell. While she lambasted the media for making things up, she also tried to emphasize why she was leaving office:
It is because I love Alaska this much, sir, that I feel it is my duty to avoid the unproductive, typical, politics-as-usual, lame-duck session in one's last year in office.
Wait, if that's the case, then every politician who has a term-limit should quit in their last year. But that would make the prior year a lame duck year! Heck, the first year in your final term could be a lame duck year!

Please, Palin, that makes little sense, why even bother running then, for a final term? Ah, yes, maybe it makes sense to someone who thinks Africa is a country.

There is something up, but it ain't what she said above. Watch her farewell speech:
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Rickey Henderson Enters the Hall of Fame, Humbly

Rickey Henderson, arguably the all-time greatest leadoff hitter in major league baseball history, entered the major league baseball Hall of Fame today. Rickey Henderson has, in his own mind, has long been the greatest leadoff hitter. Based on that, and his well-known ego, people were looking for perhaps a less-than-humble speech from Henderson. That did not happen, however.

Here is Rickey Henderson's entire acceptance speech, transcript via the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame:

Hey, hey. I hope everyone is having a great time. First, I would like to thank God, the Baseball Writer's Association of America, and the Commissioner of Baseball for this true honor. I also want to thank the members of the Hall of Fame for being here today. Thank you.

I love the game of baseball. That's why it was so hard for me to walk away from the game. I thought if Satchel Paige can still play in major league baseball at the age of 45, then with my dedication, hard work and desire, I can play the game until my body said it was time to hang it up.

I wouldn't be standing here today if it wasn't for my wife, Pamela, who took care of the home while I was away, and brought up our wonderful daughter and supported me in my career. Thank you, and I love you.

To all my beautiful and intelligent daughters, I wouldn't be a complete man without
your love and support. I love you, girls.

A special thanks to my mother, Bobbie. Back in high school, I played football, a little hoops and baseball. My dream was to play football for the Oakland Raiders. But my mom thought I would get hurt playing football, so she chosed baseball for me. I guess mom do knows best. Thanks mom.

I would like to say thanks to my father, my brothers and my sister for their support. To my father and mother-in-law for always being there when I need them. I would like to say thank you.

Several of my high school friends are here today to help me celebrate this wonderful and important event. I want to say thank you.

Now let me tell you a story about how I got into playing baseball. When I was a kid in Oakland, Mr. Hank Thomas tricked me into playing Babe Ruth baseball by coming to pick me up with a glazed donut and a cup of hot chocolate. That was the way he would get me up and out of bed and onto the ballpark.

My first year in high school, my favorite sport was football. I did not like baseball. My counselor, Mrs. Wilkinson, bribed me into playing baseball. She would pay me a quarter every time I would get a hit, a run scored or stole a base.

After my first ten games, I had 30 hits, 25 runs scored and 33 steals. Not bad money for a kid in high school.

As a kid growing up in Oakland, my heroes were Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson. What about that Reggie Jackson? I stand out on the ballpark in the parking lot waiting for Reggie Jackson to give me an autograph. Reggie used to come out all the time and I'd say, "Reggie, can I have an autograph?" He would pass me a pen with his name on it. He never gave me an autograph.

To all my coaches out there that taught me along the way, I want to say thank you for believing in me.

I would like to give a very, very special thanks to James Guinn, the scout that signed me out of high school. He believed in my talent as a baseball player when teams was afraid to draft players that throw left handed and bat right handed.

In 1976, my first year in the minor league, my coach, Tom Treblehorn, helped me develop my skill in base running and taught me to play the game hard. I had not perfected how to take a lead or how to slide. Tom asked me to come to practice early every day and work on my sliding and base running skill. I guess, Tom, that hard
work paid off for me, and I am very grateful.

In June of 1979, I received a call from Charlie O. Finley. He wanted me to play in the big league for the Oakland A's. That was the most thrilling time of my life, playing the game that I loved in my home town in front of my family and friends was a dream come true. Charlie, wherever you at, and that donkey, I want to say thank you
for the opportunity.

In 1980, the A's hired a new manager that I would look up to for the rest of my life, one of the best teachers and managers anyone could ever play for, Mr. Billy Martin. Billy always got the most out of me. He taught me to compete at the highest level and respect the game of baseball. Billy, I miss you very much, and I wish you were here with me today.

To the Haas family, Mr. Wolf of the Oakland A's, the City of Oakland, John Morris of the San Diego Padres, George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees and the other general managers and owners of major League baseball teams, I would not be here or the player that I became. Thank you for giving me the chance to play the game that
I love so much.

I played with the some of the greatest players in the game, Jim Rice, Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield, Tony Guinn, I called him "Dear Mr. Ek", Cal Ripken, Jr., Dave Henderson and my best friend and long friend Dave Stewart, and so many other players that I will never forget.

It's an honor to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and have my name next to players like Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig, Roberto Clemente, and the list goes on and on.

I would like to congratulate Jim Rice and Joe Gordon. It is a pleasure to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with you gentlemen.

In my career, I had the good fortune to play for nine teams. It was wonderful because this allowed me to meet fans all over the country. It's the fans that makes the game fun. To all the fans, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your wonderful support over all these years.

I would like to thank everyone here and all over the country for sharing this special moment with me and my family. To all the kids out there: Follow your dream. Believe in your dream. Because dreams do come true.

When you think of me, I would like you to remember that kid from the inner city that played the game with all of his heart and never took the game for granted. Thanks to everyone here for making my dream come true today.

In closing, I would like to say my favorite hero was Mohammad Ali. He said at one time, "I am the greatest." That is something I always wanted to be. And now that the Association has voted me into the Baseball Hall of Fame, my journey as a player is complete. I am now in the class of the greatest players of all time. And at this moment, I am very, very humble. Thank you.
Watch the video of Rickey Henderson's acceptance speech (in three parts):

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Farewell to the Woman Who Thought Africa Was a Country

In a move reminiscent of Richard Nixon's "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore" speech, Sarah Palin is to leave office as Alaska's governor today. While the reasons are still unclear, one thing is certain: we won't have the woman who didn't know Africa is a continent, not a country, to kick around anymore.

Many feel that Sarah Palin hurt the GOP during her VP run last year, particularly her interview with Katie Couric, which seem to present her as a ... well, idiot. Not being able to name anything she read regularly, thinking she had foreign policy experience because Russia is (relatively) close to Alaska, and out-and-out lying about not supporting the Bridge to Nowhere (which she did, at first) didn't help her.

Sarah Palin announced her resignation on July 3rd with 18 months of her term still left. While her future remains cloudy, a run at the 2012 GOP presidential ticket is an obvious possible goal.

While Sarah Palin said she was leaving office for the good of Alaska, because the the ethics complaints (which continue to surface) against her had become a distraction, others, including Levi Johnston, the father of daughter Bristol Palin's son, have pointed to a possible and lucrative post-gubernatorial career, including speaking, books, and more.

In terms of the ethics complaints, Sarah Palin has said it has cost Alaska more than $2 million to investigate the claims.

Lt. Governor Sean Parnell will take office after a Sunday afternoon picnic ceremony. Sarah Palin's first stop will be the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA. She is scheduled to speak at the library on Aug. 8. After that, who knows?
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Man to Sue After Sodomy with Police Taser

A man who was tased, and threatened with tasering between his genital and anal regions plans to sue the Boise Police Department for excessive use of force.

It all started on Feb. 14 of this year. Two Boise, ID police officers were called to a possible domestic disturbance between a man — the complainant — who had in fact just been released from jail, and a woman. A 3-year-old boy was also present.

The man was tasered, and subdued, but the complaint he filed involved being tasered between his buttocks and genitals. An ombudsman's report (.PDF) of the incident was completed by Boise Community Ombudsman Pierce Murphy. The report did not mention either the names of the suspect or the officers involved, but it did highlight this exchange:
  • Officer #3: Do you feel this?
  • Complainant: Yes, sir.
  • Officer #3: Do you feel that? That’s my -
  • Complainant: Okay
  • Officer #3: -Taser up your *ss.
  • Complainant: Okay
  • Officer #3: So don’t move.
  • Complainant: I’m trying not to. I can’t breathe.
You can listen to an MP3 of the incident here.

While the report addresses the entire incident, it also clearly states that the suspect certainly was tased between the buttocks.
The evidence clearly proves that the Complainant was tased on the inside of his right, lower buttock. The Complainant had visible injuries there ten days after the incident. The same marks were photographed during a forensic medical examination conducted thirteen days after the incident. [...]

Based on the preponderance of evidence, Officer #3’s second use of the Taser on the Complainant while he was handcuffed was neither reasonable nor necessary. For this reason, I have issued a finding of Sustained to this allegation of excessive force.
While the ombudsman did find that excessive force was used, he did not find that a criminal act took place on the part of the officer.

While the report indicates the officer has been disciplined, the complainant's attorney, Ron Coulter, noted that the officer is still on the job.
“I don’t think he should be back on the street, but then I’m not the chief of police. When you do things like he did I’m not sure that person’s even fit to wear a uniform.”
Coulter added that he plans to file a lawsuit, and that his client's name will be revealed then.
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Nicolas Sarkozy Rushed to Hospital

On Sunday, Nicolas Sarkozy, 54, was rushed to a military hospital. The French president reportedly collapsed suddenly while jogging on the grounds of the Chateau of Versailles. His office said he will stay at the hospital under observation overnight.

In a statement, Nicolas Sarkozy's office added:
"When he was jogging in the park of the Chateau of Versailles, the president was taken ill. This episode, which happened after 45 minutes of intensive physical exercise, was not accompanied by a loss of consciousness."
It was only three weeks ago when the results of Sarkozy's latest annual health check-up were released, describing the results of recent blood and heart tests as "normal."

While the obvious suspicion would center on some sort of cardiovascular problem, television and radio quoted a source "close to Sarkozy" as saying that he had suffered from an "vagal problem." The vagus nerve can lower the blood pressure and heart rate.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Former American Idol Contestant, Alexis Cohen, Found Dead

Alexis Cohen, who auditioned unsuccessfully for "American Idol" in 2008 and 2009 has been found dead. She was 25.

Alexis Cohen he was found unconscious around 4 AM in Seaside Heights, NJ. A resident of Allentown, PA, she was pronounced dead at 6:35 AM.

Autopsy reports show Alexis Cohen's death was caused by injuries to the head, abdomen and chest, he said. Her death has been listed as vehicular homicide.

She didn't succeed in her auditions, but she surely gained notoriety in her American Idol Season 7 audition. After being rejected, she promised she was going to be an actor (not actress) and the she would be victorious.

Alexis Cohen also slammed Simon Cowell, who is known for his acerbic "reviews" of those who audition for "American Idol," and who compared her to Willem Dafoe after she left the stage.

Alexis Cohen also capped things off by flipping off the camera, after asking several times "why do I feel like flipping off the camera." I guess that answered that question.

Watch the season 7 audition video:

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Bill Maher: Not Everything in America Has to Make a Profit

On Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher, Bill noted that "not everything in America has to make a profit." That's true, after all we don't care if police or fire stations make a profit, do we? Read the transcript (emphasis mine), and watch the video.
And finally, New Rule, not everything in America has to make a profit. You know, if conservatives get to call universal health care "socialized medicine," I get to call private for-profit health care "soulless vampire bastards making money off human pain."

Now I know what you're thinking. "But Bill, the profit motive is what sustains capitalism." Yes. And our sex drive is what sustains the human species, but we don't try to f**k everything. It's OK for some things to remain nonprofit just when like when it comes to sexual relations, some people are off-limits, like your cousin, or your sister, or if you're a leading Republican, your wife.

Now it wasn't that long ago that when a kid broke his leg, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun stuck a thermometer up his a**, the doctor stuck some plaster on his ankle and you were done. The bill was $1.50, plus you got to keep the thermometer.

But like everything else that's good and noble in life, some bean-counter decided that hospitals could also be big business, so now they're not hospitals anymore; they're Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. The more people that get sick and stay sick, the higher their profit markets. Which is why they're always pushing the Jell-O.

Did you know that the United States is ranked fiftieth in the world in life expectancy. And the forty-nine loser countries where they live longer than us, oh, it's hardly worth it. They may live longer, but they live shackled to the tyranny of nonprofit health care. Here in America, you're not coughing up blood, little Bobby. You're coughing up freedom.

The problem with President Obama's health care plan isn't socialism, it's capitalism. When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country. Ask what's in it for Blue Cross-Blue Shield.

And it's not just medicine. Prisons used to be a non-profit thing. And for good reason --­ who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition you're going to have trouble with the tenants. It is not a coincidence that we outsourced running prisons to private corporations and then the number of prisoners in America skyrocketed. There used to be some things we just didn't do for money.

Did you know, for example, that there was a time when being called a "war profiteer" was a bad thing? FDR said there he didn't want WWII to create one millionaire. But I'm guessing Iraq has made more than a few executives at Halliburton into millionaires. Halliburton sold soldiers soda for $7.50 a can. They were honoring 9/11 by charging like 7/11. Which is wrong; we're America. We do not fight wars for money. We fight them for oil.

And my final example of the profit motive screwing something up when it used to be non-profit: TV news. You know, I heard all the news anchors this week talk about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite's day, and I thought, "Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it."

But maybe they aren't. Because this isn't Cronkite's day, when delivering the news was considered a loss leader and a civic duty. Making money was the job of The Beverly Hillbillies. And now that we have reporters moving to Alaska to hang out with the Palin family, the news is The Beverly Hillbillies.
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