Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Marion Barry's Late-Night Press Conference Was All Fun & Games Til the Crazy Stalker Ex-GF Showed Up

Former DC Mayor, former crackhead and current DC council member Marion "B*tch Set Me Up" Barry held a press conference last night to answer allegations that he had done nothing wrong by putting his ex-girlfriend on the city payroll. It was your normal 11pm "Hopefully this will only show up on page 6" news conference until the ex-girlfriend in question showed up in full crazy mode. The woman in question, Donna Watts-Brighthaupt was recently accused of stalking Barry and Barry's spokeswoman called Watts-Brighthaupt "unstable", in lieu of more appropriate terminology, "crazy as a effing coconut".

DC, why do you keep electing this man to office? Maybe it's the same reason that people keep the crazy person on reality shows-- because the drama is exciting. Yesterday we suggested that Sarah Palin would make a great Jerry Springer-style talk show host, but perhaps the real person for that job is Marion Barry.

Homeland insecurity: GAO investigator smuggles live bomb materials into building in 27 seconds

Ah, our federal bureaucracy -- some things never change.

A Government Accountability Office investigator smuggled live bomb components into a federal building in just 27 seconds, then assembled a bomb in a restroom and ventured throughout the building without being detected, a leaked tape revealed Wednesday.
In addition, congressional investigators were able to penetrate every single federal building they probed without any difficulty - 10 in all. A shocked Senate Homeland Security Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT) went off on the news in an article Wednesday by ABC News.

"Just think about it. In this case, in this GAO test, ten different federal buildings in different cities in the country were all compromised," Lieberman is quoted as saying in the report. "If a terrorist group just did that in two or three federal buildings, it would not only really hurt some people; it would create a real crisis of confidence here in the United States about our homeland security."

Homeland Security released a tepid statement to the network's reporters, saying the department "is committed to providing government facilities and employees with a first class security force. The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is charged with that critical mission and DHS takes the concerns raised in the forthcoming GAO report very seriously."

Jackson's doctor denies giving dangerous drugs

Michael Jackson's dermatologist said he had sedated the pop star in the past for painful medical procedures but had never given him dangerous sedatives like Propofol to use.

"I was not one of the doctors who participated in giving him overdoses of drugs or too much of anything," Dr. Arnold Klein said in an interview that aired Wednesday on ABC's "Good Morning America." "In fact, I was the one who limited everything, who stopped everything."

Investigators looking into the cause of Jackson's death have homed in on drugs that were administered to the insomniac musician. The powerful sedative Diprivan, also known as Propofol and usually administered by anesthesiologists in hospitals, was found in Jackson's home, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to comment about the matter.

Any drugs he used with Jackson were on very mild levels, Klein said. "How am I going to prescribe Diprivan when I don't know how to use it?" he said.

Klein said he saw Jackson three days before he died on June 25. In response to rumors that the musician was dangerously thin at the time of his death, Klein said he saw nothing to make him worry.

"He danced in my office," he said. "He danced for my patients."

Klein also said that Jackson was "at the hands of plastic surgeons who didn't know when to stop" and that the singer viewed his face as a piece of art.

Still, Klein said he was always concerned about Jackson because he knew that whatever he wanted, he could always find someone to give it to him.

The saga surrounding Jackson's death will continue past Tuesday's memorial service in Los Angeles, watched by millions around the world.

Despite the presence of stars like Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey and Kobe Bryant, the emotional speech by Jackson's 11-year-old daughter, Paris-Michael, was the memorial's most heart-tugging moment. NBC's "Today" show replayed portions of it three times in its first eight minutes Wednesday.

"Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father I could imagine," Paris-Michael said, dissolving into tears and turning into the arms of her aunt Janet Jackson. "I just want to say I love him so much."

Custody of Jackson's three children is one of the biggest legal issues still unresolved. In his 2002 will, Jackson made his wishes clear — his three children should remain under the care of his mother, Katherine.

Debbie Rowe, the biological mother of Paris-Michael and her 12-year-old brother, Prince Michael, has indicated she may seek custody. The surrogate mother of Jackson's youngest child, 7-year-old Prince Michael II, is unknown. A custody hearing was scheduled for Monday.

As the world paused to remember Jackson, authorities released his death certificate, which did not list a cause of death. The official determination will likely wait until toxicology results are completed, which could be weeks away.

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said Jackson's brain, or at least part of it, was still being held by investigators and would be returned to the family for interment once neuropathology tests were completed.

Jackson's final resting place was another unknown. Permission is needed to bury him at his former home, Neverland Ranch. A private memorial was held at a cemetery in the Hollywood Hills that is the resting place of many stars, but it does not appear Jackson will be buried among them.

Then there's Jackson's money. He died deeply in debt, but left an estate potentially worth $500 million and his enduring star power with its tremendous earning potential.

Jackson's financial adviser, Tohme Tohme, said on "Today" that he had fired Jackson staff members in an effort to get the star's finances untangled.

"I saw that there was a lot of money being wasted and a lot of people taking advantage of the situation," Tohme said.

He said Jackson didn't appear to care about money. "He said, `It's your department, not mine.'"

Former Sony Music chairman and CEO Tommy Mottola has said Jackson left dozens of songs that included newer material and leftover works from some of his biggest albums. Mottola predicted the potential playlist was bigger than the one left behind by Elvis Presley.

The singer also left behind an elaborate production dubbed "The Dome Project," which could be Jackson's last complete video piece. Little is publicly known about the production, but its existence has been confirmed by two knowledgeable sources who spoke to The Associated Press on condition they not be identified because they signed confidentiality agreements.

There also is more than 100 hours of footage of preparations for his London concerts, which were canceled because of his death. Randy Phillips, president and CEO of concert promoter AEG Live, said last week the company also has enough material for two live albums.

About 20,000 people gathered inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday for a somber, spiritual ceremony, watched by millions more around the world.

Crowds gathered outside Harlem's Apollo Theater in New York to soak it in. In Santiago, Chile, national police band played "We Are the World" during the traditional guard change at the presidential palace. About 50 fans lit candles and laid flowers in the main square in Stockholm, as "Billie Jean" and "Earth Song" poured out of a small stereo.

In London, dozens of fans stood under umbrellas in the rain as they watched the event on a big screen outside the 02 Arena, where Jackson was to have performed 50 comeback shows starting next week. Many more stayed dry at home after the BBC announced it would cancel scheduled programming and show the ceremony live.

Calculating just how many people in total watched the ceremony — around the world and across all platforms — will take several days and even then will likely be an approximation, given the huge variety of outlets.

At the ceremony, a star-studded lineup of performers closely linked to Jackson's life and music remembered the King of Pop as an unparalleled singer, dancer and humanitarian whose music united people of all backgrounds.

Outside, more than 3,000 police officers massed downtown to keep the ticketless at bay. Helicopters followed the golden casket as it was driven over blocked-off freeways from Forest Lawn cemetery to the Staples Center. Movie theaters played the service live.

Inside, however, the atmosphere was churchlike, assisted by an enormous video image of a stained-glass window with red-gold clouds blowing past that was projected behind the stage.

The Rev. Lucious W. Smith of the Friendship Baptist Church in Pasadena gave the greeting, standing on the same stage where Jackson had been rehearsing for a comeback concert before his death at age 50.

The ceremony ended with Jackson's family on stage, amid a choir singing "Heal the World."

Deficit-ridden Los Angeles asked Jackson fans to help pay the bill for police and other public servants needed for the entertainer's memorial service.

A Web site was posted Tuesday seeking donations to cover the costs, estimated at between $1.5 million and $4 million, according to Matt Szabo, a spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

But Jack Kyser, founding economist of the Kyser Center for Economic Research of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, estimates the city could rake in $4 million from the event, thanks to the throng of media and other visitors who stayed at hotels, ate at restaurants and shopped in Los Angeles.

Kyser believes the city also got a major image boost because the memorial service went off without any major problems. "This thing went off very smoothly," Kyser said. "I think you had some good exposure for downtown and for the entire city."

O’Reilly: MJ Was White. Why Do Black Americans Care About Him?


Bill O’Reilly expressed shock today at a Pew study showing that African-Americans are far more interested in coverage of Michael Jackson’s death than white Americans.

O’REILLY: Black Americans are much more engaged in watching this stuff than white Americans, even though Michael Jackson has white children — and he chose to have white children — and the face deal, don’t even want to get into… So what’s that racial thing all about?

Judith Hill: “Heal The World” Singer From Jackson Memorial Revealed

When the all-star Michael Jackson memorial ceremony in Los Angeles came to an end today, millions of fans watching the event became curious about the woman who sang lead on Jackson’s “Heal the World.” The mystery singer was Judith Hill, a Pasadena, California-based vocalist who was recruited to be one of the backup singers for Jackson’s This Is It! concerts at London’s O2 Arena. Hill wowed the crowd and the millions watching around the world with her rendition of the Dangerous song, but her identity had most viewers baffled — the “We Are the World” and “Heal the World” performers weren’t identified in the handouts at the Staples Center or on any other documents distributed to the press.

(Check out photos from Michael Jackson’s all-star memorial.)

According to the bio on Hill’s official Website, “Judith was born in Los Angeles and raised in a family of musicians. Her mother is an immigrant from Japan who met her father in a funk band in the 1970s.” Hill is described as discovering her love of music at an early age while growing up in a deeply religious household, which led her to attend the Christian university Biola University in Southern California. Hill’s bio says the singer next headed to France after graduation to perform with French singer Michel Polnareff.

“France is where I collected my stories,” Hill writes. “It was everything from finding true love, to sitting on the curb with gypsies, to running away from thugs (don’t ask), to just taking in the beauty of such an amazing country. I came back rich.” From there, Hill returned to the States, begin work on her own album (three songs are currently streaming on Hill’s MySpace page) and ultimately became a crew member on what’s described as the biggest production in concert history, Michael Jackson’s This Is It! concerts.

On June 8th, Hill announced on her official Website that she would be joining the cast of Jackson’s run at London’s O2 Arena. “Judith will be touring with Michael Jackson in a few weeks. You can catch her on stage in London at the 02 Arena,” reads a post. Sadly, the This Is It! run was canceled, but Hill and her fellow crew members played an important role in today’s memorial service, and Hill will likely feature in the tribute concert AEG Live is reportedly planning using the This Is It! production. Rolling Stone has reached out to Hill for comment, but she has not yet responded to our request for an interview.

Wondering who the youngster who sang “Who’s Lovin’ You” at the Jackson memorial was? See Who Is Michael Jackson Memorial Performer Shaheen Jafargholi?

Plus, here’s footage of Hill performing “One Love Forever” at Santa Monica’s the Temple Bar from 2008:

Activists stage protests on climate change across Italy as G 8 summit starts (G8-Summit-Protests)

ROME _ Dozens of activists from 18 countries occupied four coal-fired power plants across Italy Wednesday, climbing smokestacks to hang banners calling on the Group of Eight summit 8 to take the lead in fighting climate change, Greenpeace said.

Italian energy giant Enel, which owns three of the plants, had no immediate comment.

In Rome, activists from charity group Oxfam International put on masks of world leaders and dressed up as chefs, stirring a mock Earth in a pot representing the planet´s rising temperature.

The stunts came a day after anti-globalization groups in the capital blocked roads, rail tracks, and clashed with police in violent protests against the G-8. Nearly 40 Italian and foreign activists were detained.

Several demonstrations have been scheduled in Rome and L´Aquila, the quake-shattered central Italian town that is hosting the three-day summit opening Wednesday. Critics of the G-8 have also vowed to stage surprise protests across the country.

In one such protest, a group of L´Aquila residents climbed a hill in front of the police school that is serving as the summit venue and set up giant plastic letters reading "Yes we camp!" ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama´s arrival.

The play on words on Obama´s "Yes we can" campaign slogan sought to remind leaders of the thousands of earthquake survivors living in makeshift tent camps since the devastating April 6 temblor, organizers said.

The Italian government chose L´Aquila as host to highlight the population´s plight, but some locals fear the decision is diverting time and resources from the rebuilding of their shattered homes.

Obama in Moscow: A Cool Reception, and a Dose of Putin

President Barack Obama employed his signature moves -- the candid town hall address; the glamorous wife and daughters -- and to be sure Russian President Dmitry Medvedev seemed to lap it up. But in the end Russia is not Cairo, nor Berlin. This is not 1994, when then-President Bill Clinton led some Moscow women to swoon. In place of the intrigued, still-fascinated eyes of the 1990s, Obama was met largely with disinterest from the Russian public, and the wagging finger of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in private. In short, he fell flat.

That's a dose of reality. In the best of times, on most topics, the best that can be expected in a U.S.-Russia relationship is probably respectful disagreement.

“We don’t really understand why Obama is such a star,” 25-year-old Kirill Zagorodnov, a student at Moscow's New Economic School, told Clifford Levy and Ellen Barry of The New York Times. “It’s a question of trust, how he behaves, how he positions himself, that typical charisma, which in Russia is often parodied. Russians really are not accustomed to it. It is like he is trying to manipulate the public.”

Stefan Wagstyl of the Financial Times heard the same story from the students he collared after Obama's speech at the school yesterday. But Nikolai Petrov of Moscow's Carnegie Center also cautioned Wagstyl not to go too far with his analysis: "These students are not typical. They are mostly mathematics specialists," Petrov said.

While this slap of reality was telling, probably the most important meeting of Obama's Moscow trip was his two-hour breakfast with Putin. By Wagstyl's description, it appears that Putin put on one of his bravura performances. Putin has been wowing Westerners for years with his three-hour, no-notes discourses on Russian affairs at the annual Valdai Discussion Club. Now Obama got a taste of Putin's presence of mind.

Obama's takeaway? Putin is "tough, smart, shrewd, very unsentimental, very pragmatic." And also in charge.

US, S. Korean Government Web Sites Targeted in Cyber Attack

South Korea has issued security warnings after the disruption of major Internet sites by an apparent cyber attack. Several U.S. Web sites have also been affected. Reports are emerging in South Korean media that intelligence officials suspect North Korea may have had a hand in the disruption.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted parliamentary intelligence committee lawmakers as saying North Korea may be behind the apparent cyber attack.

Wednesday marks the 15th anniversary of the death of the North's revered first leader, Kim Il Sung. In past years, North Korea has used the occasion to show defiance or superiority toward the South.

South Korean authorities began to notice the Internet disruption Tuesday evening. By Wednesday, Korea Communication Commission official Lee Myung-su said the attack program had spread far and wide.

He says 18,000 personal computers have been infected by a malicious code.

At least 11 South Korean government sites have been either greatly slowed or made unavailable, including the sites for the presidential Blue House, the Defense Ministry, and the lawmaking National Assembly. Several major South Korean banks and the leading Internet portal, Naver, were also affected.

U.S. sites have also been affected, including the Treasury Department, Secret Service, and Federal Trade Commission. The Web site of Voice of America news has been unavailable in South Korea for two days.

Computer experts describe this kind of attack as a "distributed denial of service." A computer virus spreads from one personal computer to another, directing data traffic from those computers to the targeted Web sites.

Shin Hwa-su, of the Korea Information Security Agency in Seoul, says the increased traffic overloads the target sites.

He says it is like 16-lanes worth of vehicles onto a four-lane highway. The road gets completely jammed and there is no movement.

Shin explains that any ordinary computer can turn into what programmers call a "zombie PC," if it does not have the proper software to protect it from viral attacks.

Kim Jae-gyu, chief of South Korea's Police Cyber Terror Center says a special task force has been formed to investigate the attack.

He says police have seized one computer that was sending out the malicious software, and have confirmed the program has targeted a total of 25 Web sites.

So far, South Korean authorities say the attack has been more of an inconvenience than a genuine security threat. They say no sensitive data appears to have been extracted from the targeted sites.

South Korea is one of the most wired nations in the world. Major governmental agencies like the Ministry of Defense find themselves under attack by hackers thousands of times on any given day. Parliamentary hearings on this particular round of attacks are scheduled for Thursday.