Monday, April 20, 2009

King Family Takes $800K Bounty From Monument

Now I'm not against anybody making a living. I will tell you that how you make money is important. And sometimes easy money is not good money.

Sometimes you have to sit quietly, talk it out with your higher power and walk away from dinero that's sure to leave a bad taste in your mouth. So it is from that frame that I am calling out the heirs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for taking more than $800,000 from the memorial fund.



WASHINGTON - The family of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has charged the foundation building a monument to the civil rights leader on the National Mall about $800,000 for the use of his words and image - an arrangement one leading scholar says King would have found offensive.

The memorial - including a 28-foot sculpture depicting King emerging from a chunk of granite - is being paid for almost entirely with private money in a fundraising campaign led by the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation. It will be turned over to the National Park Service once it is complete.

The foundation has been paying the King family for the use of his words and image in its fundraising materials. The family has not charged for the use of King's likeness in the monument itself.

I think this is shameful. Read on:

"I don't think the Jefferson family, the Lincoln family ... I don't think any other group of family ancestors has been paid a licensing fee for a memorial in Washington," said Cambridge University historian David Garrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of King. "One would think any family would be so thrilled to have their forefather celebrated and memorialized in D.C. that it would never dawn on them to ask for a penny."

King would have been "absolutely scandalized by the profiteering behavior of his children," Garrow said.

King's family defends taking the "fees":

In a statement to the AP, Intellectual Properties Management said proceeds from the licensing agreement go to the King Center in Atlanta, where King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, are entombed. The statement said the arrangement was made out of concern that fundraising for the monument would undercut donations to the King Center.

"Many individuals believe all `King' fundraising initiatives are interrelated and don't donate to the King Center, thinking they have already supported it by donating to the memorial," the statement said.

Source - MSNBC.com, King family draws fees from memorial project Scholar: Civil rights leader would have been 'scandalized' by payments
Well then that means that the King family needs to clean up it's marketing literature to be more precise, not to grab money from the memorial to their patriarch!

What do you think?

Incarcerated Author of Think Outside the Cell Starts Blog

New York, NY (BlackNews.com) - Although Joe Robinson is incarcerated, his mind and spirit are free.

The author of the highly praised book, Think Outside the Cell: An Entrepreneur's Guide for the Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated (Resilience Multimedia), Joe has started a blog at www.thinkoutsidethecell.com. Visitors will find there his incisive commentary on a range of topics--from incarceration, prison life and prisoner reentry to politics, entrepreneurship and current events.

"By engaging in thought-provoking and meaningful dialogue, I hope to connect with the outside world--and stay in touch with my humanity," said Joe, whose first blog recounted his journey of self-discovery. "I look forward to feedback. I want to know what's on people's minds."


Through his blog and other activities, Joe is helping to present a fairer, more balanced image of the incarcerated. Although generally viewed as faceless, nameless statistics or frightening stereotypes, the incarcerated are a diverse population. Among them are many men and women like Joe who have transformed their lives while behind bars, are determined to use their skills to better society and who deserve to be released.

Even though he has been behind bars for nearly 18 years, Joe is already making important contributions to society. He has received many letters from incarcerated men and women saying that they were inspired and motivated by his book, Think Outside the Cell, which encourages this population to use what for many are innate entrepreneurial gifts to build successful lives and break the cycle of recidivism. The book presents a largely unexplored option that can help give men and women leaving prison a realistic second chance.

And Joe has also created Think Outside the Cell Week, part of what he envisions as a global movement to inspire people to overcome self-defeating attitudes and behavior and achieve their full potential. Joe conceived of the week with this nation's millions of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people in mind. But he soon realized that the universal themes upon which the week rests can--and should--be adopted by anyone who wants to succeed in life. Because spring signifies new beginnings, Think Outside the Cell Week is the third week of April each year.

In other news, Joe's publisher, Resilience Multimedia, is collecting real-life stories by the incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and their loved ones for its Think Outside the Cell Series, which was inspired by Joe and is being funded by the Ford Foundation. The series will feature stories and essays of up to 3,000 words each on reentering society after incarceration, prison marriages and relationships and waiting for loved ones to come home from prison.

To read the blog, learn more about Think Outside the Cell Week and the Think Outside the Cell Series, please visit www.thinkoutsidethecell.com, or contact:

Resilience Multimedia
511 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 525, New York, NY 10011
(877) 267-2303
resiliencemultimedia@verizon.net

Rappers Tone Down Sparkle But Not Swagger

ATLANTA (AP) -- The hip-hop world is a less bling-bling place these days.

Rappers who have continued to flaunt their riches have received criticism. Fans bristled earlier this year after West unveiled a line of $400-plus sneakers he crafted with Louis Vuitton.


The music genre has been defined as much by diamond-encrusted watches and platinum chains as its gritty urban lyrics. But in the last couple of years, it has scaled down its flash, a trend insiders say has become more pronounced during the recent recession.

Make no mistake: The industry that made an urban household name out of New York's Jacob "Jacob the Jeweler" Arabov me isn't entirely reversing course. (Case in point - Lil Wayne's "A Milli," one of last year's biggest songs, which had the rapper bragging wildly about being a "young millionaire.")


But "the day of conspicuous consumption is gone," says Tamara Connor, an Atlanta-based stylist who has created looks for chart-topping rappers, including Lil Wayne.

"We're still going to see some bling, but it's just not going to be as much," Connor says. "Instead of four diamond necklaces, it might just be a diamond bracelet - and it's a piece the celebrity wears all the time. They're not changing their jewelry out everyday."

Photo shoots, for example, are being done with fewer of the specialized medallions considered a calling card for the likes of Rick Ross, whose chain with a likeness of his head - complete with black diamond beard - has an estimated value of $30,000.

Instead you might see a rapper in an off-the-shelf diamond cross or wearing lower-quality stones. "You can save $3,000 a carat if you do non-ring quality diamonds for studs (earrings)," Connor notes.

Ben Baller, head of Los Angeles-based jeweler I.F. & Co., says the shift is most pronounced among up-and-coming rappers, for whom a steady income is seeming like less of a sure thing. Rap sales have declined along with the rest of the music industry.

Before, a new artist might spend $25,000 of a $30,000 advance on a chain, according to Baller, who counts Fat Joe as a client.

"Now they would rather try to spend $5,000 and $6,000," he says, adding, "they're willing to talk about options by using sapphires, using very, very low quality gold.

"Some people (are) even wanting to mix diamonds with cubics (cubic zirconia) so it would not be completely ungenuine."

Cost cutting is major for the industry in which the carat-weight of one's ring could carry more cache than record sales. Ostentatious fashion has been in hip-hop's DNA since Slick Rick donned layers of opulent gold chains in the '80s.

The flash reflected the music style born of the streets of New York, its stars often hard-knock kids who christened their new success with thick rope chains and designer sweatsuits.

While over-the-top bling didn't represent all of rap fashion - gritty gang looks, Afrocentric garb and even preppy styles have all been adopted and embraced as part of rap style at some point - in the late 1990s and the early part of this decade, bling seemed to have reached its apex, complete with gold and diamond pimp cups and diamond grills for the teeth. (In fact, its around that time the term bling was born.)

"It was about creating a signature," according to Memsor Kamarake, fashion director of Vibe magazine.

But in recent years, rap kings like Jay-Z and Diddy have displayed their swagger with looks that were more boardroom than bling, with button-down shirts and designer suits.

Though Young Jeezy may still sport a huge chain at times, flashy jewelry is not integral to his image.

"He'll wear a scarf and no jewelry, maybe a bracelet, with a baseball hat, a T-shirt and a pair of jeans - that's not a lot of bling," says Connor, who has also styled the Georgia artist.

Rappers aren't giving up glamour altogether, they're just not wearing it 24-7. In the past, several chains were de rigueur for a grocery-store run, now they're reserved for a show or nightclub, says Baller, who also is seeing more artists trading in old chains instead of buying new ones.

And rapper T.I. has the A.K.O.O. clothing line, which features military-inspired woven shirts, polos and denim, with most items ranging from $44 to about $200. Ralph Reynolds, who is A.K.O.O.'s creative director, said the clothing label reflects a more price-conscious customer in hip-hop.

"Some of those same people who would reach and stretch and do everything they could to get that Louis (Vuitton) will now say, 'I already have these two bags, let me pay the rent,'" Reynolds says.

Even Kimora Lee Simmons, the Baby Phat designer known for her extravagant lifestyle, toned down the glitter in her most recent collection.

"Fabulosity is not - the girls are seeing - that $5,000 pair of shoes," she says.

Amy Winehouse Wants To Adopt A Child

Amy Winehouse wants to adopt a child. The "Rehab" singer is said to be desperate to give a child from St. Lucia a home, and has vowed to settle on the Caribbean island if it will improve her chances of success.



A source said: "Amy is seriously thinking about adopting. But she is aware it's going to be incredibly difficult with her background. She has always wanted to be a mother. She loves St. Lucia and would move there for good in order to adopt."

The 25-year-old singer reportedly looks up to Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie - who raises three adopted children as well as three biological kids with her partner Brad Pitt - and wants to help underprivileged boys and girls on the island.

Amy's spokesman revealed: "Amy was talking about adopting in the context of looking after children on the island, perhaps through some kind of music and education-based project."

The 25-year-old singer first traveled to St. Lucia in a bid to overcome her drug addiction. She spent three months on the island earlier this year, before returning to the U.K. to begin work on her third album.

However, she decided to fly back to St. Lucia after finding the lure of London parties too great and is now said to be considering making the idyllic island her permanent base.

Amy is said to have become even more determined to give a child a home after discovering her estranged husband Blake Fielder Civil - who has filed for divorce, claiming Amy had been unfaithful - is reportedly expecting a child with a woman he met in rehab.

Forget Oprah, try the Chavez/Obama Book Club

At the Summit for the Americas this weekend, Hugo Chavez gave a book to Barack Obama. As of today, the book, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent by Eduardo Galeano, is #2 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

Chavez announces next choice for Hugo’s Book Club via MobyLives

It was a shocking moment, if only because it was the sort of thing that no one would have thought to do with our previous president: When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met President Barack Obama on Saturday, he gave him a book. Chance for frank Americas dialogue via Al Jazeera

North Carolina's Kristen Dalton Crowned Miss USA 2009 – in Blue, Not White (Video)

Kristen Dalton’s dream came true last night, when the Wilmington, NC, resident was crowned Miss USA 2009 at the 58th annual Miss USA pageant at Planet Hollywood resort in Las Vegas.

Miss California Carrie Prejean was named first runner-up, while Miss Arizona Alicia-Monique Blanco was second runner-up. Miss Wyoming Cynthia Pate won the Miss Congeniality title, while Miss West Virginia Jessi Pierson was named Miss Photogenic. The top 15 contestants wore bikinis from singer Jessica Simpson’s swimsuit line.

Dalton, 22, made news for winning her new title in a turquoise-blue gown, instead of the traditional white. She will go on to represent the United States in the 2009 Miss Universe Pageant on August 23. Apparently beauty and pageantry runs in her family: Her mom was Miss North Carolina USA 1982 and her sister was Miss North Carolina Teen USA 2008.

Judges included "Deal or No Deal" model and star of "The Celebrity Apprentice," Claudia Jordan; "Dancing With the Stars" season-one winner Kelly Monaco; "Saturday Night Live" cast member Kenan Thompson; and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. Hilton threw Prejean, Miss California, a curveball question about gay marriage, which got some in the crowd up in arms.

Watch that video below:

Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox and More Giant Robots!

Michael Bay is back behind the lens this summer for 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,' but says it's more than a standard sequel to the 2007 smash.

ShowBiz Minute: Madonna, Miss USA, '17 Again'

Malawi court to hear Madonna adoption appeal on May 4 ; Miss North Carolina crowned Miss USA 2009; Zac Efron's '17 Again' tops U.S. box office. (April 20)

U.S. Boycotts International Racism Conference

U.S. Boycotts International Racism Conference

The Obama administration broke the suspense over whether the United States would participate in the U.N. Conference on Racism next week, saying that “with regret” it would decline the invitation. The U.S. State Department cited “objectionable language” in the meeting’s final document, which singles out Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Obama officials had expressed a desire to attend, but warned that it would boycott the April 20-25 conference in Geneva, Switzerland, unless the language was modified. “Unfortunately, it now seems certain these remaining concerns will not be addressed in the document to be adopted by the conference next week,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said in a statement. “Therefore, with regret, the United States will not join the review conference.” The decision mirrors that of the Bush administration in 2001. For many African Americans, the decision by the nation’s first Black president is a major disappointment. Many members of the Congressional Black Caucus were outspoken critics of the decision to stay home from the Durban, South Africa-based conference eight years ago, and some observers contend that America’s absence precipitated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

MMA Top 10 Light Heavyweights: Shogun Moves Up, Liddell Moves Out


My new list of the Top 10 light heavyweights in mixed martial arts reflects the changing landscape after UFC 97, with Shogun Rua moving up and Chuck Liddell moving out.

I'm sorry to see Liddell go, but at this point I don't think there's any point in ranking him because I think it's probably safe to say he's no longer an active mixed martial artist. Even if I were counting him as an active fighter, I don't think he'd be in my Top 10 anymore. Shogun is now in my Top 5, and I'm very excited to see what he does next. Top 10 below.

Top 10 Light heavyweights in MMA
1. Lyoto Machida
2. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
3. Rashad Evans
4. Forrest Griffin
5. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
6. Dan Henderson
7. Keith Jardine
8. Wanderlei Silva
9. Luiz Cane
10. Renato Sobral

Note: I'm counting Dan Henderson and Wanderlei Silva as light heavyweights because their last fights were at 205 pounds, even though Henderson's next fight is at 185 and Silva's next is at 195. I'm also counting Rich Franklin as a light heavyweight because that's where his last fight was, although he's not in my Top 10. If I were counting Franklin as a middleweight he would have been on the Top 10 middleweights list.

Lakers/Jazz Game 1 Recap

by Nima Zarrabi

Orange County—Pulling off the 110 freeway headed toward Staples Center was an easy task back in the day, even for a visitor from another city. You could see that purple monster from nearly any vantage point off one of the main Staples exits. But downtown has changed. There are fresh new buildings crowding Staples these days, highlighted by the Nokia Theatre right across the street, the new home of the Espys. I should be enjoying some of the new downtown sights but unfortunately, I am stuck in Orange County thanks to unforeseen circumstances, unable to take advantage of the media credential in my name, granted by Lakers PR. Sadly, rather than enjoy this contest live from Staples, I am stuck with Van Gundy, Jackson and Breen on HD.



1st quarter—The Lakers vulnerability at point guard in this series seems to come into focus from the jump as Jazz PG Deron Williams starts the game by running Lakers PG Derek Fisher all over the court, drawing two quick fouls on him. Surprisingly, Phil Jackson opts for Shannon Brown over Jordan Farmar to replace Fisher. Trevor Ariza gets the triangle moving by nailing his first couple threes. Brown’s energy is apparent right away and the Lakers are off and running. I figured Kobe Bean Bryant would come out gunning after hearing everyone gush about Derek Rose and King James’ performances the previous day. Surely he was posting up in his Newport Coast villa watching and plotting, right? Wrong. Bryant doesn’t attempt a shot until the four-minute mark of the 1st. He plays the distributor role early on and his teammates aren’t letting him down. The Jazz sorely miss Mehmet Okur, who is sitting out the game with a sore hamstring. The Lake show leads 30-19 at the end of the 1st after shooting 70 percent from the floor.



2nd quarter—Do we really need Lisa Salters to interview Jerry Sloan between quarters? The coaches clearly don’t want to do this crap and the standard Q + A that comes forward is hardly insightful. During the quarter, the broadcast team brings up an interesting scenario for the Jazz next season regarding Carlos Boozer and Paul Milsap. Boozer is likely to opt out of a contract scheduled to pay him just under $13 million next season. Milsap will be a restricted free agent and expecting a hefty raise after clearing just under $800k this season. It is unlikely that Utah will be able to retain both. Who would you keep? Utah plays better in the 2nd, cutting the Lakers lead to 10 at one point but Bryant eventually takes over, coasting to 9 straight points near the end of the half. The MVP chants start soon after, and the Lakers cruise to a 62-40 halftime lead.



Bryant, rocking a Patrick Ewing-esque sweat from his recent scoring stanza, is stopped for a few meaningless questions from Salters. Nearly out of breath, he answers them and then the camera follows him to the tunnel where Vanessa Bryant is waiting. Kobe gives his wife a quick kiss before heading into the locker room.



3rd quarter—The Lakers come out a bit slow in the 3rd and the Jazz finally start hitting shots and put together their best quarter behind Boozer and Jarron Collins. The Jazz outscore the Lakers 33-24 for the quarter and have their moments. They cut the Lakers lead to 11 with just under three minutes remaining but a lazy pass by Boozer ends with a spectacular up and under dunk by Ariza on the other end, exciting the crowd.



4rth quarter—An emotionless Ariza continues to hit amazing shots for the Lakers and is headed for a career night. Williams can’t find his shooting touch for Utah, but drops dimes on the regular and the Jazz get to within 9 after Andrei Kirilenko knocks down a triple with 5:43 left. Soon after, Kirilenko picks Kobe clean on the defensive end and heads for what appears to be a contested lay-up before throwing the ball away, ending any Jazz comeback. With less than two minutes left, Bryant cuts through the lane and puts down a nice dunk on Milsap, whose half-hearted effort results in a foul. With seconds left, it appears that the Lakers have a chance to hold the Jazz under 100 points, leading to chants of free tacos from the fans. When the Lakers keep opponents under 100 points at home, fans leave Staples with coupons for two free tacos at Jack in the Box. Van Gundy makes a comment about the chants diminishing the game. He doesn’t know how good those tacos are. Soon after, a Williams lay-up kills the taco chants and the game ends in a 113-100 Lakers win. Despite keeping Bryant under 30 points, the Jazz never had a shot at this one. They will have to play much better defense and limit points from key Lakers role players if they are to have any shot in game 2.



Salters continues her Pulitzer prize winning interviews immediately after the buzzer, this time with Bryant and Ariza. After a few clich├ęs from Bryant, she begins talking to Ariza and the camera cuts to Bryant walking toward the tunnel again, where he drops another kiss on Vanessa before the picture cuts away.



Post Game—The interviews after the game consist of the standard fare. Jerry Sloan basically calls his team soft and Phil complains about a sluggish third quarter by the Lakers. Bryant was expressionless and gave short answers during his post game presser, but he did look sharp in a sparkling white suit, accessorized nicely with a glacier-sized yellow canary diamond in his ear.

Magic blow double-digit lead, fall to Sixers in Game 1



After boldly talking about winning an NBA title before the playoffs ... the Orlando Magic were reduced Sunday to mumbling to themselves about the most miserable nine minutes of an otherwise memorable season.

Add one more bit of disheartening drama to the Dwight Howard Era of postseason basketball: The Stunning Collapse.

The Magic coughed up a 14-point lead with nine minutes, 16 seconds left and were upset 100-98 by the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs at Amway Arena.

It was not only the first time this season that the Magic had lost to the Sixers, it was the largest lead they had blown that led to a defeat.

CIA documents show that Khalid Sheik Mohammed was waterboarded six times a day for over a month

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – CIA interrogators used the waterboarding technique on Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the admitted planner of the September 11 attacks, 183 times and 83 times on another al Qaeda suspect, The New York Times said on Sunday.


The Times said a 2005 Justice Department memorandum showed that Abu Zubaydah, the first prisoner questioned in the CIA's overseas detention program in August 2002, was waterboarded 83 times, although a former CIA officer had told news media he had been subjected to only 35 seconds underwater before talking.



President Barack Obama has banned the use of waterboarding, overturning a Bush administration policy that it did not constitute torture.

Father Of Girl In Slumdog Millionaire Tries To Sell Her To Highest Bidder



PLEASE TELL ME THIS ISN'T TRUE!! How absolutely appalling and disgusting!

The father of Rubina Ali , the 9 year old girl who starred in "Slumdog Millionaire", allegedly tried to sell his daughter for money.

A team over at News of the World pretended to be interested buyers and fixed the whole situation to see what Rafiq would do.

As he offered the shocking deal to the News of the World's undercover fake sheik this week, Rafiq declared: "I have to consider what's best for me, my family and Rubina's future."

Rafiq tried to blame Hollywood bosses for forcing him to put his daughter up for SALE. As he tried to fix the illegal adoption deal, real-life slum dweller Rafiq declared: "We've got nothing out of this film." Then, almost embarrassed to speak it out loud, he whispered to an accomplice the price tag he has put on his innocent young daughter: "It's £200,000!"

Unreal...

Game Addict Kids in Sexual Danger!?

"For the computer or video game addicted person, a fantasy world on-line or in a game has replaced his or her real world. The virtual reality of the computer or game is more inviting than the every day world of family, school or work. With the increased access to pornography on the Internet and in games, this fantasy world may be highly sexual."

So says - and has said for some time - the USA's 'National Institute on Media and the Family' in its 'Fact Sheet'. It's an institute, so it must be taken seriously.

Well, it's now come up with some research that even The Washington Post appears to take seriously, that says that 8.5% of (North) Americans aged between 8-to-18 'show signs of behavioural addiction' - that's three million kids.

Actually, we're being a little off the mark: the study was carried out by Douglas Gentile of Iowa State University. You can find out more about Dr Gentile here. In the event that you can't be bothered, that link refers to the doctor's biography... at the National Institute on Media and the Family.

According to The Post, "To get at gaming addiction, Gentile adapted diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling into a series of questions about video game use. The questions became part of a 2007 Harris Poll survey of 1,178 children and teens. Gamers were deemed 'pathological' if they reported at least six of the 11 symptoms."

Mmm. We went and looked this up... and discovered that Dr Gentile's report was actually published in September 2008 (you can find it here).

The report actually says this, "Based on television usage trends, we would expect usage to increase across elementary school, peak about middle school, and drop off across high school (Huston et al., 1992). This pattern appears to be similar for video games when examining frequency of play and perhaps amount of play. The frequency of video game play appears to hold relatively steady from ages 8 to 13, then decrease thereafter."

Our bolding because we've got some quibbles about the idea of 'addiction' being an age-specific event.

Fortunately, Mark Griffiths, director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University has this to say, "In all honesty, if there really were 8.5 percent of children who were genuinely addicted, there would be treatment clinics all over America."

Maybe they've not been caught yet though, Mark... maybe they are all lurking in this "highly sexual" fantasy world!!

Either way, research into video games using the same questions as used in a study of gambling would appear to us to be either lazy or aimed at getting certain results. But we're not an institute.

They're off! at the Boston Marathon


The wheelchair racers are off at the Boston Marathon, leaving Hopkinton for the 26.2-mile trip to Copley Square.

Ernst Van Dyk is trying to win the men's wheelchair race a record eight times and match Jean Driscoll's women's record. Clarence De Mar won the main race seven times in the 1920s.

A field of 25,000 was scheduled to leave the start at 10 a.m. Defending champions Robert Cheruiyot (CHEH-ree-yot) of Kenya and Dire Tune (DEER-ay TOO-nay) of Ethiopia are trying to repeat as champions. Americans Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher could give the United States its first victory in the race in decades.

Marine Arrested For Bomb in Luggage

A U.S. Marine was arrested Sunday when federal airport screeners detected a gun, ammunition and bomb-making materials on a flight from Las Vegas inside his checked bag. The "Boston Globe" reports it happened at Logan International Airport in Boston. Twenty-two-year-old Corporal Justine Reed, of Jacksonville, North Carolina was booked on U.S. Airways Flight 877 headed to Charlotte, North Carolina. TSA screeners found a locked handgun box with a semi-automatic handgun inside, a fully loaded gun magazine, switches, electronics, several boxes of 9-milimeter and seven-point-62 milimeter ammunition, a hand grenade fuse assembly including detonator, three model rocket engines containing an explosive mixture and kit boxes containing various items. Reed is being held on 50-thousand dollars bond and is charged with possession of an infernal machine and possession of a concealed weapon in a secure area of an airport. The items were not discovered during his baggage check in Las Vegas.

Iran's top judge orders probe into American's case

Iran's judiciary chief on Monday ordered a full investigation into the case of a U.S. journalist convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years in prison, the state news agency reported.

Roxana Saberi's conviction has complicated the Obama administration's efforts to break a 30-year diplomatic deadlock between the two countries, and some analysts believe hard-liners opposed to improved U.S.-Iran relations are driving the dispute.

The planned investigation and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's insistence Saberi be allowed to make a full defense during her appeal indicate an attempt by some senior officials to prevent the case from derailing a move toward dialogue with the U.S.

President Barack Obama said Sunday he was "gravely concerned" about the safety and well-being of Saberi and was confident she wasn't involved in espionage, a day after Iran announced her conviction.

His words prompted criticism from Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Monday, who said Obama should not comment on Saberi's case before learning the details.

"I advise those who studied law not to comment on a case without seeing its context," Hasan Qashqavi told reporters during his weekly press briefing Monday.

Obama studied law at Harvard University and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago before becoming president.

Iran has released very few facts about Saberi's case and initially said she was arrested in January for working without press credentials. The government later charged the 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen with spying for the United States and convicted her in a one-day trial behind closed doors.

Qashqavi said Monday that Saberi's charges included "gathering information and news in an illegal way." He said Saberi was treated like any other Iranian citizen during her trial. Iran's legal system does not recognize dual nationality.

The journalist's Iranian-born father, Reza Saberi, has said his daughter was not provided a proper defense during her trial. He called the proceedings "a mock trial" during an interview with CNN on Sunday from Iran, where he traveled with his wife to seek his daughter's release.

The U.S. has called the charges against Saberi baseless and said Iran would gain U.S. goodwill if it "responded in a positive way" to the case.

Ahmadinejad sent a letter to Tehran's chief prosecutor Sunday urging him to ensure Saberi be allowed to offer a full defense during her appeal.

Iran's judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi on Monday ordered a full investigation into Saberi's case during the appeals process. He said the probe should be "precise, quick and fair," according to the official news agency IRNA.

Shahroudi's decision to order an investigation is unusual, signaling a possible struggle between officials who want to defuse tension over Saberi's case and those looking to spark it.

The hard-line Iranian newspaper Jomhuri criticized Ahmadinejad's letter to the Tehran prosecutor in an editorial Monday, saying government intervention in the judiciary was banned by the constitution. It also said the letter implied the judiciary had not upheld Saberi's rights.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Monday he wants to travel to Iran with a delegation to personally appeal for Saberi's release.

"We need all those that have a voice to help us appeal to Iran to please let her go," Jackson said at a university forum during a visit to Malaysia.

Saberi was born in the U.S. and grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, where she was crowned Miss North Dakota in 1997. She had been living in Iran for six years and worked as a freelance reporter for news organizations including National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corp.

Her father said she had been working on a book about Iranian culture and hoped to finish it and return to the U.S. this year.

"Leaders of wisdom must not allow this young woman to be a pawn in a bigger debate and lose focus on so many possibilities," said Jackson.

The United States severed diplomatic relations with Iran after its 1979 Islamic revolution and takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Relations deteriorated further under former President George W. Bush, who labeled Iran as part of the so-called "Axis of Evil." Obama has indicated a desire to reverse that trend.

Is waterboarding effective? CIA did it 266 times on two prisoners



The number, much higher than previously reported, comes out as President Obama visits CIA headquarters today.

A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

The ongoing debate over the ethics and usefulness of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding received new fuel on Sunday night, with a New York Times report that two Al Qaeda suspects were subject to the method, which simulates drowning, a combined 266 times.

That number is higher than previously reported, and will no doubt cast a long shadow over President Obama's first scheduled visit to CIA headquarters today, where he will publicly address employees.

The New York Times reports that, according to a recently released May 2005 interrogation memo, Al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding 83 times in August 2002.

Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, who has confessed to planning the September 11, 2001, attacks as well as personally beheading Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, was subjected to waterboarding 183 times in March 2003.

That version of events is starkly different than the one reported by ABC News in December 2007, when former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who was involved in the interrogation of Mr. Zubaydah, claimed he had only been waterboarded once for 35 seconds.

"The next day, he told his interrogators that Allah had visited him in his cell during the night and told him to cooperate," said Kiriakou in an interview...

"From that day on, he answered every question," Kiriakou said. "The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks."

The sheer frequency with which waterboarding was apparently used on these two suspects may cast doubt on past Bush administration assertions that they were strictly obeying guidelines on the use of the practice, says the Times. It also notes that "a footnote to another 2005 Justice Department memo released Thursday said waterboarding was used both more frequently and with a greater volume of water than the CIA rules permitted."

The new information came out over the weekend thanks to the investigative work of bloggers like Marcy Wheeler, who found it in the footnotes of Bush administration interrogation memos released last week and posted it to her blog emptywheel.

Information on the frequency of the practice, and the amount of water used each time, was redacted from some copies of the memos but not from others. The numbers were not included in initial reporting on the release of the memos.

Writing on her blog, Ms. Wheeler points out that it is unclear how the CIA could use the method on these suspects so many times and still mange to abide by its own guidelines.

The same ... memo passage explains how the CIA might manage to waterboard these men so many times in one month each (though even with these chilling numbers, the CIA's math doesn't add up).

"...where authorized, it may be used for two "sessions" per day of up to two hours. During a session, water may be applied up to six times for ten seconds or longer (but never more than 40 seconds). In a 24-hour period, a detainee may be subjected to up to twelve minutes of water application. See id. at 42. Additionally, the waterboard may be used on as many as five days during a 30-day approval period."

So: two two-hour sessions a day, with six applications of the waterboard each = 12 applications in a day. Though to get up to the permitted 12 minutes of waterboarding in a day (with each use of the waterboard limited to 40 seconds), you'd need 18 applications in a day. Assuming you use the larger 18 applications in one 24-hour period, and do 18 applications on five days within a month, you've waterboarded 90 times–still just half of what they did to [Khalid Sheikh Mohamed].

The new information is certain to invigorate critics of the practice who say it is an ineffective way of obtaining information from detainees.

Last week, The New York Times made a similar claim in an article on the interrogation of Zubaydah, who was mistakenly believed to be a high ranking "lieutenant" in Al Qaeda before interrogators realized he was just "a helpful training camp personnel clerk," the Times reported.

Interrogators, who spoke to the Times on condition of anonymity, said they believed Zubaydah told them everything he knew before waterboarding began. They communicated this to agency higher-ups in Washington, who nonetheless insisted on the use of the practice, and asked to watch it take place.

"You get a ton of information, but headquarters says, 'There must be more,' " recalled one intelligence officer who was involved in the case. As described in the footnote to the memo, the use of repeated waterboarding against Abu Zubaydah was ordered "at the direction of C.I.A. headquarters," and officials were dispatched from headquarters "to watch the last waterboard session."

10 years on, Columbine principal still on the job

Columbine High School principal Frank DeAngelis speaks easily, almost matter-of-factly, about the personal price he paid after the massacre at his school: His marriage of 17 years collapsed, he suffered anxiety attacks and he still carries survivor's guilt.

But 10 years after students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and wounded 23 others, DeAngelis is still at his desk. He says he won't retire until after the students who were in kindergarten the year of the bloodshed have graduated in 2011.

"People ask, 'Why are you still here?'" he said.

"I can't imagine being anywhere else, especially after the tragedy."

Now 54, DeAngelis is a diminutive, energetic man who speaks quietly but emphatically. He's known around the school as "Mr. D," a name he embraces.

DeAngelis was in his office the morning of April 20, 1999, when his secretary told him someone was shooting. He ran to the hallway and gunshots whizzed by, shattering glass behind him.

He shepherded a group of about 20 students to safety that day, and he survived with no physical injuries. But he recites a list of other, invisible wounds: Anxiety attacks so severe they felt like heart attacks; guilt that he survived but that his good friend, teacher Dave Sanders, died; the end of his marriage.

DeAngelis blames his divorce on the difficulty he had communicating with his wife after the shootings. He was working long hours and didn't feel like talking when he got home.

"I needed those few hours just to rejuvenate so I could come back and start all over again, and so we grew apart," he said.

His health suffered, too. He stopped working out and gained 40 pounds, and his cholesterol and blood pressure soared.

He credits his recovery to counseling, his doctor and his Catholic faith.

Two days after the shooting, his parish priest asked him to come to church. Hundreds of students and community members were there to greet him.

"They just extended their hand out. What came over me, I can't explain it, but it was from that point forward I said, 'I'm gonna make it,'" DeAngelis says.

During his divorce, he was sifting through thousands of cards and letters he got after the shootings and came across one from his high school sweetheart, Diane Meyer. They talked on the phone, then started dating and became engaged on Christmas Eve of 2003.

They still don't have a wedding date. "Not yet. But it's getting close," he says.

DeAngelis got counseling and goes back for what he calls maintenance. He followed his doctor's advice and changed his lifestyle.

After the shootings, DeAngelis pledged to that year's freshman class that he would stay.

"I felt that if I was going to ask them to come back into this building and continue to be students at Columbine High School and graduate from Columbine High School, I could not allow them to do it alone," he said. "I made them that promise. 'I will be here with you.'"

DeAngelis says he also considered leaving after this year's anniversary. "But then I started thinking, there's still kids that were in elementary school (at the time of the shootings) that have not graduated. So that would be a good time to think about leaving."

Retirement appears to be a moving target. As long as he enjoys his work and feels like he's making a difference, he'll stay.

The shootings no longer hang as heavily over Columbine High School as they once did, he says. The turning point for him was on the 2004 anniversary, when Dawn Anna, whose daughter Lauren Townsend was killed, spoke about celebrating the victims' lives.

Until then, when DeAngelis thought of the victims, he pictured their deaths.

"Now when I walk into that building, instead of being very guarded, I think about them in the hallway.

"I imagine seeing Danny Mauser and Kelly Fleming at church. I see Rachel Scott on the stage. I see Matt Kechter playing football. I see Danny Rohrbough outside, Isaiah Shoels giving me a high five."