Saturday, May 9, 2009

Alan Keyes among 22 arrested at Notre Dame

Former Illinois U.S. Senate candidate Alan Keyes and 21 other protesters were arrested this morning when they refused to leave the Notre Dame campus during a protest of President Obama's upcoming commencement address there, authorities said.

Keyes and the others were arrested on trespassing charges when they refused to leave campus, a university spokesman said. All 22 were being held in the St. Joseph County Jail on misdemeanor criminal trespass charges, in lieu of $250 bond each, said St. Joseph County Sheriff's Sgt. Bill Redman.

Keyes was among a group of 26 protesters, some of them pushing baby carriages with dolls covered in fake blood, who entered the campus and were greeted by Notre Dame police, said university spokesman Dennis Brown.

The protesters had "publicized their intentions in advance," and were handed notices advising them that university policy bans protests unless they are organized by student groups and approved in advance, Brown said.

University policy is to arrest anyone who refuses to leave campus after being notified of the policy, and Keyes and other protesters who stayed were arrested about 12:15 p.m. Eastern Time, he said.

"We've got a long established policy that only members of the university community can organize or lead a protest, and they have to be approved by our office of student affairs," Brown said.

The first protester was booked on a trespassing charge at the St. Joseph County Jail at 1:14 p.m., Redman said. The protesters were a mix of local residents and others from out of state, he said.

Those arrested would appear in St. Joseph County Court next Monday if they fail to make bond, he said.

Notre Dame announced earlier this spring that Obama would be the commencement speaker at its May 17 graduation ceremony. Since then, Notre Dame, a Catholic university, has become the target of protests by groups who say Obama's stance on abortion should disqualify him from speaking at a Catholic institution.

Activists including Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion rights group Operation Rescue, who was arrested at the campus last Friday, have begun targeting the school for protests in recent weeks. A student group, Notre Dame Response, has organized its own protests regarding Obama's visit.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters this afternoon that Obama had no plans to decline an honorary degree that will be given to him as part of his appearance at Notre Dame. Such an honor has been especially troubling to some opponents of his appearance at the school.

"We are honored to have received the invitation," Gibbs said. "Notre Dame has a good history of robust, civic debate and the president looks forward to speaking to the graduating class."

Gibbs said Obama planned to "accept the degree, and come back to the White House."

Miss USA -- Not All Topless Photos Are Equal

There's another reigning beauty queen who took some very topless photos before she won her pageant -- but unlike Carrie Prejean, Miss Rhode Island USA's crown was never ever in jeopardy.

According to Alysha Castonguay, she dropped her top for a Maxim magazine shoot and a few swimsuit calenders way before her competition -- but there was no controversy over the pics because they were all seen and approved by the Miss USA pageant officials.

But Alysha tells TMZ she feels for Miss Cali saying, "I personally believe this situation is stemming from the controversy over her opinion and not a photo."

The final decision on dethroning Carrie Prejean is still being deliberated by the Miss USA and Miss California officials.

The Reviewer Guy Beams Up for Star Trek

The eagerly anticipated reboot of the the Star Trek series finally has arrived with (technically the 11th film in the series) the self titled Star Trek by the popular new action/drama wunderkind JJ Abrams at the helm. In full disclosure I need to point out that I have been a huge Star Trek fan (mainly Next Generation) for a long time. When I heard they wanted to give a much needed jump start to the franchise by making a prequel, I was skeptical. I mean, c'mon, do we really need to see a movie of Kirk and Spock Go to Starfleet. But, for all intent and purpose, JJ Abrams has done a pretty good job of making a younger, slicker and action packed Star Trek that introduces us to these beloved characters that have been satirized and joked about for decades.

The film straddles the two worlds of hardcore Trekkies and non Trekkies alike by exploring the origins of the two main characters...James Tiberius Kirk and a half human/half Vulcan named Spock. Unbeknown to them, they share a common bond of family tragedy in their lives. We meet them both as precocious children in their own right. The rebellious Kirk and the ever logical Spock. But, what I liked is they give Spock more freedom of expression than what we would see in the original series and the subsequent first 6 films. Mercifully, we are quickly taken through their days of Star Fleet and how they came to join the Academy. Their paths of getting there were similar in its guise and it is here that we also are introduced to Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy who quickly befriends Kirk. All this while, the evil Captain Nero of the enemy Romulans is wrecking havoc on the galaxy and it is up to our young and inexperienced heroes traveling in the newly christened Enterprise to save the day, which you know they's Star Trek.

Before I get into what is good about the film let me say what I didn't like about it. Aside from the usual predictability and necessary suspension of disbelief. I was not at all interested in the evil Romulan threat, it wasn't interesting enough. And of course, in Star Trek world, when in doubt throw in a time travel plot line. I also felt JJ rushed through the introductions of the characters and giving some of them like McCoy cute dialogue that is representative of how we have come to know these characters in the past. The climax was also quick and clean, without any real suspense. It also seemed that you can go higher in rank pretty easy in Starfleet. I'll get into the acting soon enough. What I liked about the film was the special effects were fantastic, seeing Leonard Nimoy again as Spock. He certainly still remembers the characterization very well. Trekkies will love bringing in Captain Pike but he seemed to be an afterthought once we are settled on to the Enterprise. Finally, I really enjoyed the push/pull relationship between Kirk and Spock. The all important element of chemistry is evident and like all great duo's, without the solid chemistry between them, the film would just fall flat. That was JJ's best handiwork.

As for the acting. First of all, before I get slammed with angry messages, let me just say that Star Trek is not a story that demands stellar acting. However, as an actor, good work is demanded of you at all times to make the story truthful. Chris Pine who portrays the iconic James T Kirk grows on you. He embody's the characteristics we know about Kirk, a horny, rebel who plays by his own rules. But, except for one occasion he made Kirk his own with no trace of William Shatner and I applaud him for that. Zachary Quinto (Sylar from Heroes) brought emotional depth underneath all that logic and I thought he was the best of them all. The great Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead himself) was pretty funny as Scotty and I welcomed his comic relief. As for Karl Urban as McCoy. He was highly irritating. He essentially mimicked DeForest Kelley's work as McCoy and although you hear imitation is the finest form of flattery, it's not in this case. Create your own character. Same goes for Anton Yelchin as Chekov, he just mimicked. Walter Koenig. Some found it cute. I didn't. John Cho did a decent job as Sulu, we certainly see a new side of him. Zoe Saldana as Uhura also decided to create her own character and even though she is essentially filler, she made the most of her scenes. There is an interesting twist to her love life from the original series that's for sure. Finally, Eric Bana as Captain Nero was boring and completely devoid of interest for me. He was indicating badly to the point of annoyance. Great Star Trek villains like Ricardo Montelban as Khan, Christopher Plummer as General Chang and Alice Krige as the Borg Queen all made me feel something about who they are and the reasons why they did what they did. I hope JJ takes note of that in the next one.

Overall, Star Trek is entertaining with all it's faults (there are gaps in the writing). I would rate it the 4th best in the film series. It's not a great film but it exceeded my expectations. As far as prequels go, this was one of the better ones I've seen. Yes, it's is even better than Star Wars Episode 1. However, I would recommend in the sequel that JJ take his time and not rush through sequences and make the villains have more depth. I give Star Trek 3 stars and is out now in a theater near you.

Jeff Gordon Southern 500 Odds

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is in Darlington, South Carolina this weekend for the Southern 500. The 11th race of the Cup season will consist of 367 laps on the 1.366 mile raceway. FOX Sports will broadcast the event tonight at 7:00pm ET. Kyle Busch is listed as the favorite to win the Southern 500 at +450 money line odds. Jeff Gordon Southern 500 Odds

Jeff Gordon Southern 500 Odds at have the four time Cup champion listed at +700 on the money line to win his eighth race at Darlington Raceway.

Jeff Gordon ran his way back to the top of the NASCAR leaderboard last week after finishing eighth at the Russ Freidman 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Gordon trailed Kurt Busch going into the event, but now leads the Miller Lite driver by 10 points with a total of 1441.

While Gordon would have no doubt been more pleased with a top five finish, especially after leading 96 laps of the race, he probably will not complain about the top 10 conclusion. The California native had finished out of the top 20 in the previous two races, and lost his points lead for the first time in several weeks.

Gordon, who last won a championship in 2001, has rebounded well from a frustrating 2008 season. He won the Samsung 500 at Texas on April 5th and he has five top five finishes in 10 2009 races.

Gordon, who drives the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet for Rick Hendrick, has had great success at Darlington in the past. He came in third there last year after starting eighth, and led 24 laps of the event. He has participated in 28 Cup races at the historic speedway and produced an average finish of 11.5. He has seven wins, 16 top five and 19 top 10 finishes at the track.

Jeff Gordon's Career Ratios:
Wins - 14.7 percent (82/555)
Top Fives - 45.4 percent (252/555)
Top Tens - 61.8 percent (343/555) Jeff Gordon Southern 500 Odds:
To Win +700 (Moneyline)

Will he or won't he? Favre questions continue

Is Brett Favre healthy and hungry enough to end his retirement again? And how badly do the Minnesota Vikings want him?

The questions and confusion continued Friday.

ESPN, again citing unnamed sources, reported X-rays of Favre's injured right shoulder have been sent to the Vikings for evaluation. The network said Favre will play for Minnesota if it's determined he doesn't need major surgery. If he does, according to the source, he'll stay retired.

But Favre's agent, Bus Cook, told a different ESPN reporter he was unaware of any X-rays being sent to the team. Cook reiterated that the famously fickle quarterback has not told him he wants to come back for a 19th NFL season.

"Brett would have to be mentally ready to go play, physically ready to go play, and want to go play," Cook told the network, "and I'm not sure all three of those things are there right now."

Cook is the only central figure in the story who has actually spoken on the record this week. He did not return phone calls Friday from The Associated Press.

Vikings officials were unavailable for comment and have yet to address the drama since Childress acknowledged last week it was likely the team would assess its interest in signing the man who owns most of the league's major passing records. Favre became a free agent last month when, upon his request, he was formally released from the reserve-retired list by the Jets.

Favre declared his playing days over in February after one season with New York, where he went after forcing a trade from Green Bay when the Packers told him last July it was too late to come back for another year. He'd first retired earlier in 2008.

His health appears to be at the crux of this latest drama — if, indeed, Favre has any interest in returning to the NFL. Considering all the conflicting and inaccurate reports of the last few days, no one can be certain of that.

Favre's torn biceps tendon has caused pain in his shoulder, part of the reason he struggled down the stretch last season while the Jets missed the playoffs. He threw nine interceptions over the last five games and needed a cortisone injection after one of them. New York went from 8-3 to 9-7.

Kobe lets play do talking as Lakers take Game 3

After jawing with Shane Battier and Ron Artest for much of Game 2, Kobe Bryant let his shooting send the message that the Lakers are back in control of the series.

Bryant scored 33 points and Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead in its Western Conference semifinal with a 108-94 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

He sank a 33-footer just before the end of the third quarter to put the Lakers up by 12, then struck a frozen pose at midcourt to silence the capacity crowd. The Rockets got no closer than six the rest of the way.

"I'm just doing what I do best," Bryant said, "just challenging other teams to try to do something with me. We, as a team, play off of that. It's on me to be aggressive."

Lamar Odom had 16 points and 13 rebounds and reserve point guard Jordan Farmar had 12 points and seven assists in place of the suspended Derek Fisher, who was ejected from Game 2 for a hard hit on Luis Scola when he set a pick.

Artest scored 25 points before he was ejected for a flagrant foul on Pau Gasol in the final minute, the only sign of carryover from the rough play that turned testy in Game 2. Artest was ejected from Game 2 for a verbal altercation with Bryant following Bryant's elbow to Artest's upper chest.

"I don't think that was a flagrant, maybe a flagrant-1," Bryant said of Artest's latest ejection. "That rule is so all over the place, it's hard to judge. I'm an '80s baby, so that's just two shots and let's go."

Yao Ming added 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets but he was bothered by a sore left foot in the final minutes and was limping as he left the court.

Yao said he would test the injury with running on Saturday and vowed he'll play in Game 4 on Sunday.

"I really want to play," he said. "When tomorrow's test shows everything's all right, I'm going to play."

Yao's health is only one of Houston's worries after the Lakers snapped the Rockets' nine-game home winning streak. The Rockets gave away 17 turnovers that generated 20 Lakers points and went 6-for-25 from the field in the third quarter, when Los Angeles built a 74-62 lead.

"We didn't play a playoff-quality basketball game, and they did," said Houston forward Shane Battier, who's guarded Bryant for most of the series. "We couldn't find anything that was really working for us."

In the first quarter, Bryant passed Larry Bird and moved into sixth place on the all-time postseason scoring list. He now has 3,928 career points in the postseason, just behind former Laker Jerry West, who had 4,457.

Magic 117, Celtics 96

At Orlando, Dwight Howard had 17 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks to lift the Magic over the Celtics for a 2-1 series lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal.

Rashard Lewis had 28 points, and Hedo Turkoglu scored 24 for Orlando, which played without starting point guard Rafer Alston. He was suspended by the NBA for slapping Eddie House in the back of the head in Game 2.

Paul Pierce broke out of his series slump to score 27 points, and Rajon Rondo added 15 for the defending champion Celtics, who trimmed a 20-point deficit to seven before the Magic regained control. Game 4 is Sunday in Orlando.

White House aide resigns over NYC flyover

The White House official who authorized a $328,835 photo-op of an Air Force jet used by the president soaring above New York City resigned under fire Friday as the administration tried to move past the embarrassing incident that sent panicked workers rushing into the streets amid flashbacks of Sept. 11.

As former Army Secretary Louis Caldera took the fall for the flyover, the White House released the findings of an internal investigation that portrayed him as out of the loop in a cycle of missed messages and questionable judgments as plans for the photo shoot proceeded.

Caldera said he didn't know the plane, known as Air Force One when the president is on board, would fly at 1,000 feet during the April 27 photo promotion, according to the investigation findings. He also failed to read an e-mail message describing the operation and seemed unaware of the potential for public fear, the findings said.

Local officials had been notified in advance. But it was a shock to New Yorkers who looked up to see the Boeing 747 and its fighter jet escort flying near the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan's financial district, a terrifying reminder of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in which jets brought down the two towers of the World Trade Center.

The Federal Aviation Administration told local officials in advance of the flight, but asked them not to disclose it to the public, the White House report said. There was a prepared statement for the FAA's New York regional office and for the Air Force in Washington to release if anyone called to ask about the flight.

In his resignation letter, released by the White House, Caldera said the controversy had "made it impossible for me to effectively lead the White House Military Office," which is responsible for presidential aircraft. "Moreover, it has become a distraction in the important work you are doing as president," he wrote in the letter addressed to President Barack Obama.

Last month, Obama called the flight a mistake and vowed it would not be repeated. Obama had no statement Friday; White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president had accepted Caldera's resignation.

Caldera's office approved the photo-op, which cost $35,000 in fuel alone for the plane and two jet fighter escorts. The Air Force estimated the photo shoot cost taxpayers $328,835.

White House officials said the purpose of the flight was to update the official photo of the plane. In releasing its report and the resignation letter, the White House also released a photo of the blue-and-white plane high above the Statue of Liberty, with New Jersey in the background.

The White House report, which did not address officials' conduct outside the White House, portrayed Caldera as deaf to concerns. After the flight, Caldera met with top administration officials and was asked if the White House had been notified. "The director responded yes, someone had mentioned it to him," according to the report.

Later in the meeting, a White House official presented Caldera a letter accepting responsibility. He made some edits and took responsibility because he thought it was the "standup thing to do."

The White House report also indicated the operation was packed with potential opportunities for administration officials to call it off.

Deputy military director George Mulligan said he first told Caldera about the proposed photo shoot on April 20 — a week before it was scheduled to take place. The same aide also said Caldera should notify deputy chief of staff Jim Messina because it was an unusual move.

Caldera told officials he didn't recall the conversation. Ultimately, Caldera didn't tell Messina or Gibbs. "When asked why he failed to do so, he did not offer a coherent explanation," according to the report.

Caldera also told officials that he didn't read an e-mail detailing the flyover plans until it was over. Mulligan, Caldera's second-in-command, sent him an e-mail message on April 24 advising him again to tell Messina and Gibbs about the photo shoot.

Caldera said he hadn't seen the e-mail because he has two official accounts. He also said he was suffering from severe muscle aches and had been prescribed pain medication.

The report said Mulligan believed "the breakdown was the lack of public notification." Col. Scott Turner, head of the White House military office's presidential airlift group, said "the FAA had taken the lead on public affairs and coordination," according to the report.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown declined to comment.

Friday's release is hardly the end of the matter for the White House. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a review at the Pentagon; the Air Force is conducting its own review as well.

In a May 5 letter to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Gates apologized for the incident, saying "we deeply regret the anxiety and alarm that resulted from this mission."

McCain posted the letter on his Web site Friday.

"I am concerned that this highly public and visible mission did not include an appropriate review and approval by senior Air Force and (Department of Defense) officials," Gates wrote.

Gibbs said Obama has ordered a review of how the White House Military Office is set up, and how it reports to the White House and the Air Force.

That review, to be conducted by Messina and Gates, will also offer recommendations to Obama designed to ensure that such an incident will not happen again, Gibbs said.

When Obama appointed Caldera, who was Army secretary in the Clinton administration, he said: "I know he'll bring to the White House the same dedication and integrity that have earned him the highest praise in every post."

Caldera's resignation takes effect May 22, but he is done at the White House Military Office. He said he will use the two weeks of his employment to complete the necessary steps to leave the White House.

Obama: Send me credit card legislation this month

Send me a bill that stops credit card companies from taking advantage of consumers, and do it by month's end, President Barack Obama is demanding of Congress.

But there's no guarantee lawmakers will deliver by Memorial Day, and the banking industry is fighting back.

"Americans know that they have a responsibility to live within their means and pay what they owe," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. "But they also have a right to not get ripped off by the sudden rate hikes, unfair penalties and hidden fees that have become all too common."

Legislation known as the Credit Card Holders' Bill of Rights has passed the House and awaits action in the Senate, possibly in the coming week.

"You shouldnt have to fear that any new credit card is going to come with strings attached, nor should you need a magnifying glass and a reference book to read a credit card application. And the abuses in our credit card industry have only multiplied in the midst of this recession, when Americans can least afford to bear an extra burden," the president said.

The House measure would prohibit double-cycle billing and retroactive rate increases, and prevent companies from giving credit cards to anyone under 18.

Obama wants to sign the legislation by Memorial Day. "There is no time for delay. We need a durable and successful flow of credit in our economy, but we can't tolerate profits that depend upon misleading working families. Those days are over," he said.

Railing against what he said was "abuse that goes unpunished," the president stressed the need "to strengthen monitoring, enforcement and penalties for credit card companies that take advantage of ordinary Americans."

Credit-card executives say the new restrictions could backfire on consumers, making it harder for banks to offer credit or put credit out of reach for many borrowers. They also contend that the new rules ordered by the Federal Reserve beginning next year address many of the consumer-protection concerns expressed by the president and members of Congress.

The bill's boosters are tapping into public anger over corporate excesses and the conduct of companies receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer money.

Obama spoke to the public's frustration with credit cards."

"Instead of fine print that hides the truth, we need credit card forms and statements that have plain language in plain sight, and we need to give people the tools they need to find a credit card that meets their needs," he said.

Obama aims to refocus unemployment system

President Barack Obama wants unemployment insurance to become a stepping stone for future work by making it easier to enroll in school or job training. Whether he succeeds will depend on the willingness of states and colleges to change the rules.

People who have been laid off and want to go back to school often have to give up their monthly unemployment checks. And if they decide to return to school, they often don't qualify for federal aid because eligibility is based upon the previous year's income.

Under rule changes Obama outlined Friday, the Labor Department will ask states to make exceptions during economic downturns so that the unemployed can keep their benefits if they go to community college or pursue other education or training.

State governments, not Washington, decide who is eligible for unemployment, and they generally require anyone collecting assistance to be actively looking for work. That can complicate plans to attend school.

The Education Department, meanwhile, will encourage colleges to factor in the financial situation of an unemployed person applying for Pell Grants or other education and job training aid. Starting in July, the maximum Pell Grant, which helps low-income students afford college, will receive a $500 boost to $5,350.

Community colleges applauded the president's plan. George Boggs, president of the American Association of Community Colleges, said Obama would remove obstacles that keep the unemployed from heading back to school. The association represents about 1,200 such colleges.

"Sometimes we don't give our government credit for doing things that make sense," Boggs said. "It's great to see government stepping in and removing these disincentives."

However, one state-level critic accused Obama of avoiding the question of cost.

"Like so many of the president's initiatives, the answer for who pays the bill is state taxpayers and future generations," said South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican and one of Obama's sharpest critics on spending issues.

"No matter how well-intentioned this proposal is, we can't keep stacking debt on top of debt to deal with problems that were, in many cases, created by too much borrowing," Sanford said.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former Republican Party chairman, said his state already allows the unemployed to enroll in job training and encourages them to do so.

The federal government sets eligibility for Pell Grants, but colleges interpret the rules based on guidance from the Education Department. With proper instruction, Boggs said colleges would be willing to help the unemployed become eligible grant money.

Obama said it was time to change "senseless rules" that discourage displaced workers from getting needed education and training so they can find and perform the jobs of the future.

"The idea here is to fundamentally change our approach to unemployment in this country, so that it's no longer just a time to look for a new job, but is also a time to prepare yourself for a better job," Obama said.

"That's what our unemployment system should be — not just a safety net, but a stepping stone to a new future. It should offer folks educational opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have," the president said.

Obama commented shortly after the government reported that 539,000 more jobs were lost in April, pushing unemployment to 8.9 percent, the highest level since late 1983. Still, it was the smallest job loss in six months, as the pace of layoffs dropped from more than 600,000 in March.

Obama said it was "somewhat encouraging" that the monthly job-loss figure had fallen, but that "it's still a sobering toll." In order to exit the recession in a better position than before, "we have to make sure we have a work force that's trained better than before."

The president said he has asked his education and labor secretaries to encourage states and colleges to make the changes he called for, and to inform anyone collecting unemployment of the training programs and financial support available to them.

Both departments also have launched a new Web site,, to help get the message out.

NBA, Olympic coach Chuck Daly dies at 78

Chuck Daly, who coached the original Dream Team to the Olympic gold medal in 1992 after winning back-to-back NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons, has died. He was 78.

He died Saturday morning in Jupiter, Fla., with his family by his side, the team said.The Pistons announced in March that the Hall of Fame coach had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was undergoing treatment.

He was renowned for his ability to create harmony out of diverse personalities at all levels of the game, whether they were Ivy Leaguers at Pennsylvania, Dream Teamers Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, or Pistons as dissimilar as Dennis Rodman and Joe Dumars.

"It's a players' league. They allow you to coach them or they don't," Daly once said. "Once they stop allowing you to coach, you're on your way out."

Daly was voted one of the 10 greatest coaches of the NBA's first half-century in 1996, two years after being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was the first coach to win both an NBA title and Olympic gold.

"I think Chuck understood people as well as basketball," former Pistons guard Joe Dumars told The Associated Press in 1995. "It's a people business."

Doug Collins, a former Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls coach, learned the intricacies of the game from Daly.

"He was a man of incredible class and dignity. He was a mentor and a friend," Collins said. "He taught me so much and was always so supportive of me and my family. I loved him and will miss him."

Daly had a golden touch at the Barcelona Games with NBA superstars Magic Johnson, Jordan, Larry Bird and Barkley, using a different lineup in every game.

"I played against Chuck's teams throughout the NBA for a lot of years. He always had his team prepared, he's a fine coach," Bird said shortly after Daly's diagnosis became public.

"Chuck did a good job of keeping us together," Bird said. "It wasn't about who scored the most points, it was about one thing: winning the gold medal."

Daly humbled the NBA superstars by coaching a group of college players to victory in a controlled scrimmage weeks before the Olympics.

"I was the happiest man in the gym," Daly said afterward.

Daly also made the right moves for the Pistons, who were notorious for their physical play with Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn leading the fight, Dennis Rodman making headlines and Hall of Fame guards Isiah Thomas and Dumars lifting the team to titles in 1989 and 1990.

Former Piston John Salley gave Daly the nickname Daddy Rich for his impeccably tailored suits.

Daly had a career regular-season record of 638-437 in 13 NBA seasons. In 12 playoff appearances, his teams went 75-51. He left Detroit as the Pistons' leader in regular-season and playoff victories.

"The Daly family and the entire Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports and Entertainment family is mourning the loss of Chuck Daly," family and team spokesman Matt Dobek said. "Chuck left a lasting impression with everyone he met both personally and professionally and his spirit will live with all of us forever."

Despite his success, Daly wasn't part of a Coach of the Year presentation until he handed the trophy to then-Detroit coach Rick Carlisle in 2002.

"This is as close as I've ever been to that thing," Daly said, looking at the Red Auerbach Trophy.

Born July 20, 1930, in St. Marys, Pa., Charles Jerome Daly played college ball at St. Bonaventure and Bloomsburg. After two years in the military, he coached for eight seasons at Punxsutawney (Pa.) High School and then spent six years as an assistant at Duke.

Succeeding Bob Cousy as coach at Boston College, Daly coached the Eagles to a 26-24 record over two seasons and then spent seven seasons at Pennsylvania, leading the Quakers to the Ivy League championship in 1972-75.

Daly joined the NBA coaching ranks in 1978 as an assistant under Billy Cunningham in Philadelphia. His first head coaching job was with Cleveland, but he was fired after the Cavaliers went 9-32 over the first half of the 1981-82 season.

In 1983, Daly took over a Detroit team that had never had two straight winning seasons and led the Pistons to nine straight. He persuaded the likes of Rodman, Thomas, Dumars, Mahorn and Laimbeer and to play as a unit and they responded with back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990.

Far from being intimidated by the Pistons' Bad Boys image, Daly saw the upside of it.

"I've also had players who did not care," he said a decade later. "I'd rather have a challenging team."

After leaving Detroit, Daly took over the New Jersey Nets for two seasons and led them to the playoffs both times.

He left broadcasting to return to the bench 1997 with the Orlando Magic and won 74 games over two seasons, then retired at the age of 68 because he said he was weary of the travel.

Daly joined the Vancouver Grizzlies as a senior adviser in 2000.

In retirement, he split time between residences in Jupiter, Fla., and suburban Detroit.

The Pistons retired No. 2 to honor their former coach's two NBA titles in January 1997.

"Without you, there wouldn't be us," Mahorn said to Daly during the ceremony.

Daly is survived by his wife, Terry, as well as daughter Cydney and grandchildren Sebrina and Connor.

Zito gets first win, beats Dodgers 3-1

Barry Zito outpitched Chad Billingsley to record his first win of the season on his sixth attempt, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 on Friday night.

The Dodgers have lost both games they've played since slugging left fielder Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball for using a banned drug. At the time of the suspension, they were a major league-best 21-8.

Zito (1-2) allowed a run and eight hits over six innings. He struck out five, walked two and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth. The 2002 AL Cy Young winner was removed for a pinch-hitter in the seventh when his teammates broke a 1-all tie with Edgar Renteria's sacrifice fly and a run-scoring infield hit by Pablo Sandoval.

Brian Wilson, who hadn't pitched since last Sunday, worked 1 1-3 innings for his seventh save in eight chances after Merkin Valdez walked two batters with two out.

Wilson's last three saves have required four outs each. The right-hander ended the eighth inning by slipping a called third strike against Casey Blake, who fouled off six two-strike pitches during his 13-pitch at-bat.

Billingsley (5-1) gave up three runs and eight hits over seven innings, struck out five and walked four. The right-hander, who came in 4-0 with a 3.21 ERA against San Francisco, matched zeros with Zito through five innings before the Giants broke through with a run in the sixth.

Aaron Rowand lifted a flyball down the right-field line with runners at the corners and one out. Andre Ethier raced in and made a backhanded catch in foul territory and bounced off the short wall in front of the box seats as Renteria tagged up and scored.

The Dodgers tied it in the bottom half when Matt Kemp led off with a single and scored on a two-out double by Casey Blake, whose drive to the alley glanced off the glove of left-fielder Fred Lewis as he made a valiant diving attempt.

Billingsley overcame a temporary touch of wildness in the fourth, striking out Juan Uribe on a 3-2 pitch after walking two batters and hitting Travis Ishikawa on the leg. One of the walks was to Rowand, who was 0 for 2 and has one hit in 26 at-bats.

The victory was the second in a row for the Giants, who had alternated wins and losses over their previous 11 games following a five-game winning streak. They're 13-0 when they score first.

Notes:@ The way Ramirez's contract is structured, he will lose $2,732,240 this season and $1,366,120 in each of the next three years — a saving of 6,830,600 for the Dodgers. "I haven't taken into consideration the financial aspects of this," GM Ned Colletti said. "My main concern is the same today as it was Wednesday, and that's our pitching — starting and relieving. I feel right now we need to upgrade it, whether it's internally or externally." ... Giants C Bengie Molina got the night off. Sandoval, his backup, threw out Juan Pierre at third base on the front and of an attempted double steal to end the third with Ethier — the Dodgers' RBI leader — at the plate. ... James Loney, 1 for 20 with six strikeouts against Zito, wasn't in the starting lineup. He singled as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. ... The Giants are 7-0 when Randy Winn bats third. He contributed to both scoring rallies with a single and a walk.

Rihanna Fights Alleged Nude Pics

Rihanna's camp is firing off the first response to nude pictures, allegedly of Rihanna, that hit the internet today.

RihannaTMZ has learned the legal department at Island Def Jam Music Group, RiRi's label, sent a letter to at least one website that published the photos. The letter refers to "unauthorized photos purported to be...Rihanna," demands that the photos be removed from the site, and calls the photos a violation of "the Artist's rights."

It's not clear whether Rihanna really is the woman in the buff because you can't see her face in the nude shots. She is clearly pictured in two fully clothed pics.

Interestingly, the letter from Island Def Jam does not deny (or confirm) if it's really Rihanna.

Morning fog brings relief for Calif. fire crews

A cool sea breeze and thick morning fog provided some relief Saturday for crews battling the wildfire that has destroyed scores of homes along the California coast and forced thousands to evacuate.

There was still a threat that dry inland wind could return to stoke the flames again.

The fog rolled in from the ocean early Saturday and blanketed the lower elevation areas of the fire.

"It wasn't expected," said Sarah Gibson, Santa Barbara county public information officer. "It was a nice, thick, wet flow."

However, the fog was expected to burn off by midmorning, and the National Weather Service issued a wind advisory warning that wind could gust to 20 to 25 mph in the Santa Ynez mountain range.

Humidity is expected to remain low in the higher slopes although not as low as in previous days.

"It's better than before but it's still of concern," Gibson said.

More than 30,000 people have left the area and authorities urged 23,000 others to be ready to leave at a moment's notice.

The blaze was only 10 percent contained as of Friday night, after charring more than 13 square miles and destroying about 80 homes as it menaced this celebrity enclave and other coastal towns.

The blaze has been fanned by the area's "Sundowners," fierce local wind that sweeps down the mountain slopes from north to south and out to sea.

"When the air is coming off of the ocean the humidity is fairly high and it pushes the fire back away from the community," Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Tom Franklin said. "But the (sundowner) prediction is still there. The winds could surface, change back around and blow the fire back downhill."

The weather service said the sharp north-to-south pressure gradient creating the wind was expected to weaken but remain strong enough to produce gusts through Saturday, and possibly until Sunday morning.

The fire was raging along a five-mile-long front above normally serene coastal communities.

"There will be a point in the incident when I will have cautious optimism but I'm not there yet," Joe Waterman, the overall fire commander from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said Friday.

About 80 homes have been destroyed in neighborhoods on ridges and in canyons that rise up the foothills above the north edge of Santa Barbara.

The city and adjacent communities are pinched between the coast on the south and the rugged mountains on the north, putting them in the path of the sundowner wind.

The Santa Barbara area has long been a favorite of celebrities. Oprah Winfrey has an estate in Montecito, where Charlie Chaplin's old seaside escape, the Montecito Inn, has stood since 1928. A ranch in the mountains that Ronald and Nancy Reagan bought became his Western retreat during his presidency.

Some 3,500 firefighters were on the scene along with 428 engines, 14 air tankers and 15 helicopters. A DC-10 jumbo jet tanker capable of dumping huge loads of retardant began making runs on the fire Friday afternoon.

Officials said 11 firefighters had been injured to date, including three who were burned in a firestorm Wednesday. They were reported in good condition at a Los Angeles burn center.

The cause of the blaze, which broke out Tuesday, remained under investigation.