Monday, July 20, 2009

Police: Jeffrey Donovan arrested, suspected of DUI

MIAMI BEACH — Miami Beach police say they arrested "Burn Notice" star Jeffrey Donovan on suspicion of drunken driving.

The arrest report says an officer pulled Donovan over on July 12 after noticing that he swerved his car to avoid hitting the police car from behind. When the officer approached Donovan, he reported that the actor's eyes appeared bloodshot and watery.

The actor of the popular USA Network series was arrested after failing a field sobriety test. The arrest report says Donovan refused to take a breathalyzer test.

The 41-year-old actor, who worked alongside actress Angelina Jolie in the 2008 film, "Changeling," was released several hours later on $1,000 bail.

Phone messages left for his publicist and for a spokeswoman for USA Network were not immediately returned.

Genome Sciences Inc. gives new hope to those with lupus

An experimental drug made by Genome Sciences Inc. for treatment of lupus has done very well in late-stage trial, a drug that many had for the most part written off because of the extreme difficulty in healing the disease.

There are four types of lupus: systemic lupus erythematosus, discoid lupus erythematosus, drug-induced lupus erythematosus and neonatal lupus. Of these, systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common and dangerous form.

The findings were big news and investors’ responses were even larger. Human Genome shares more than tripled in early afternoon trading, up $7.68, or 231%, to $11.

Patients who used the injectable drug Benlysta plus a standard treatment for one year had reduced symptoms — including pain, rashes as well as infections — compared with patients taking standard treatment plus placebo. The study called for more than 860 patients in Asia, South America and Eastern Europe.

Benlysta works by suppressing BLyS, a naturally occurring protein in the body that keeps B-cells functioning normally. B-cells produce antibodies that prevent infection, however in patients with lupus, B-cells are stimulated too much and produce too many antibodies that assault the body.

The remaining question for Human Genome is whether the success in the first phase III study of Benlysta predicts a win in the second phase III study, results of which will be announced in November.

Families, Va Tech survivors oppose US gun measure

RICHMOND, Va. — Some survivors and families of Virginia Tech shooting victims are asking their U.S. senators to reject a proposed national standard for carrying concealed weapons.

In a full-page ad in Monday's Richmond Times-Dispatch, about 30 families and individuals urged Democrats Mark Warner and Jim Webb to vote against the so-called Thune amendment. That amendment would allow people licensed to carry concealed weapons in their home state to legally carry their weapons in other states. It is sponsored by South Dakota Sen. John Thune.

The ad contends the proposal would let residents from states with weak concealed weapons laws bring their handguns into Virginia.

A student killed 32 people at Virginia Tech and committed suicide in April 2007.

White House Delays Release of Disastrous Economic Data Until After Obamacare Passes

The White House will not release the disastrous Obama economic data until after the Congressional vote to nationalize health care takes place.
My Way reported:

The White House is being forced to acknowledge the wide gap between its once-upbeat predictions about the economy and today's bleak landscape.

The administration's annual midsummer budget update is sure to show higher deficits and unemployment and slower growth than projected in President Barack Obama's budget in February and update in May, and that could complicate his efforts to get his signature health care and global-warming proposals through Congress.

The release of the update - usually scheduled for mid-July - has been put off until the middle of next month, giving rise to speculation the White House is delaying the bad news at least until Congress leaves town on its August 7 summer recess.
President Disaster already sent the economy off a cliff but still wants to spend trillions more on Obamacare:

New Sade Album Coming Soon?

I vote YES.

Sade Adu, the reclusive "quiet storm" soul signer who takes notoriously long breaks between releases, has regrouped with the band that bears her name and is recording her first album of new material since 2000's "Lovers Rock," sources confirm. The group is in the studio through June and Sony hopes to put the record out by the end of 2009 though, despite rumors, there is no set release date on the calendar.

"She is in the studio and the album will come when it is ready," a source at Sony tells Billboard. "You don't wait for years for one and then rush it."

Sade's longtime bandmate Stuart Matthewman, a.k.a. Cottonbelly, also confirms that new material is in progress, though he says the project is still in its "early days" and won't be close to finished until "later in the year."

Last week, rumors of a new Sade album surfaced when the official-looking website went live with a message claiming a release date of November 24, 2009 for a new album. However, the source at Sade's label denies any connection to that site. "We do not know where that fan site could have got that release date from, but it is 100% not true." Billboard contacted the site's owner and web developer, who insisted that the release date was "official;" since his response, however, the site's posting has been updated with a correction: "The date above has been changed, a representative from Sony confirmed the new date to be unknown. Please check back for the update on Sade's album release."

Though no details about Sade's new music have yet been revealed, one artist may have already heard snippets: Maxwell, a fellow Sony recording artist and longtime friend and collaborator with Matthewman, who will soon release a new record of his own ("BLACKsummer'snight," July 7) after a multi-year hiatus. The R&B singer sent a message to fans in March via his private Facebook page in which he indicated that he'd heard some of his labelmate's new recordings. "Trust me, it's so monolithic it'll shake you in your shoes!" he wrote.

Sade's 2000 release, "Lovers Rock," sold 3,881,000 copies in the U.S. and the prior album, 1992's "Love Deluxe," sold 3,407,000. Since 1985's "Diamond Life" debut, Sade has sold nearly 17 million units in the U.S. alone according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Shaquille O'Neal Gets His Own Reality Show...

via USA Today:
NBA star Shaquille O'Neal is getting ready to multitask. The four-time hoops champion, who joins the Cleveland Cavaliers next season, will star in Shaq Vs., an ABC reality series that pits him against top athletes in their own sports.

Filming begins Wednesday in Pittsburgh, where Shaq takes on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in football. Future hour-long episodes will pit him against Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, tennis pro Serena Williams and beach volleyball Olympians Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.

O'Neal, 37, says he also hopes to book pal Lance Armstrong for a cycling competition once the Tour de France ends.

The series is set to premiere Aug. 18 and will air Tuesdays at 9 ET/PT.

O'Neal says he came up with the idea as a fun way to help train for the NBA season and figured sports fans "would really want to see an athlete play another sport." He knew most of the athletes and recruited some of them on Twitter.

ABC was immediately interested. "He's very playful, almost everyone can relate to him. He has a fun sort of childish persona, and at the same time he's a superstar," says John Saade, co-chief of ABC's reality programming, says of the 7-foot-1 O'Neal. "Our real hope is you come for the absurdity but you stay for the sport."

New Push in H1N1 Flu Fight Set for Start of School

U.S. health officials are preparing intensively to combat an anticipated wave of outbreaks of the new H1N1 flu when children return to school and the pace of cases picks up.

Identified by scientists just three months ago, the new swine-flu virus has reached nearly every country, spreading tenaciously with what the World Health Organization this week called "unprecedented speed." Rather than die down in the summer as some experts initially expected, it is continuing to proliferate even in countries like the U.S. and U.K. that are in the full bloom of summer, when the march of influenza normally slows down. It is also spreading rapidly in the Southern Hemisphere.

Anne Schuchat, chief of immunization and respiratory diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday that the agency expects an increase in cases before the normal start of the flu season in mid-autumn, because children are likely to spread it to one another once they go back to school. Infectious diseases normally spread readily among children, and this virus has hit children and young adults harder than the elderly, who normally suffer the heaviest toll from flu.

Mayoral Control Freakout

The impasse over school governance took a turn for the hyperbolic last Friday when Mike Bloomberg-that acknowledged master of Yiddishkeit-let loose on some state senators who won't join with his well paid laundry list of loyal retainers in support of total mayoral control over the city's schools: "Using some of his strongest language to date, Mayor Bloomberg gave the Senate Democrats a tongue-lashing this morning - even calling some of them out by name - for failing yet again to pass a bill reauthorizing his control over the public school system. During his weekly WOR radio show, Bloomberg told host John Gambling Gov. David Paterson should force the Senate to return to Albany "every single day" for the rest of the summer until they pass a mayoral control bill, even employing the State Police to "drag them back" if necessary. "This is what he should do," Bloomberg said of Paterson, noting that he has been "defending" the governor throughout the Senate stalemate. "Giving them the summer off is as we say in Gallic, ‘Meshugenah'".

Bloomberg, unsatisfied with this simple brief outburst, then went even further in his castigation. As the NY Post reported on Saturday: "Bloomberg went after five senators by name for voting in favor of an alternate bill that would have gutted mayoral control -- a measure that failed but was widely seen as a public rebuke of the mayor -- and called it "bull." Bloomberg said he wouldn't appease them the way Neville Chamberlain caved in to Hitler."

So, we guess, Mike Bloomberg is right up there in the pantheon of heroic anti-Nazi freedom fighters-placing the issue of mayoral control on the same level with ridding the world of a genocidal maniac. Talk about megalomania!

But yesterday the senators themselves took the fight right to city hall. As the NY Times reports: "In the increasingly acrimonious battle over mayoral control of New York City’s public schools, 10 senators, all of them Democrats, held an hourlong news conference, ostensibly to demand that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg make some concessions before they consider extending his control. All of the senators spoke, and they proclaimed the issue too important to be sidetracked by political rhetoric. Then some proceeded to vilify the mayor, calling him everything from a dictator to a yenta to a plantation owner."

What we now have, it seems, is a staged battle between two sides-both of whom feel that the escalating rhetoric serves their political purpose. Lost in this rhetorical miasma, however, is the fact that the schools haven't been rescued from damnation since Bloomberg ascended to the role of Philosopher King; and that the out of control spending increases-both the public's and his own-along with watered down tests and media collusion, have allowed Mike to paint a misleading picture of the current public school reality.

In fact, listening to Mike Bloomberg on schools is like listening to the Reverend Ike talk about salvation and the Kingdom of the Lord. So what we need now, is for the political critics of the mayor to chill out a bit-and come back with an incisive critique of the current educational situation. Nothing will deconstruct the mayor's mythos more than a sober evaluation of Bloomberg's blatant misrepresentation of school accomplishments under his lavish stewardship.

Drop in Violent Crime in D.C. Area and Some Other Major Cities Puzzles Experts -

We all know that since Obama has been in office people have been buying guns in record amounts. To even get ammunition takes forever and prices have skyrocketed. So what has been the end result? Plummeting crime rates! So much for gun control legislation!

Violent crime has plummeted in the Washington area and in major cities across the country, a trend criminologists describe as baffling and unexpected.

The District, New York and Los Angeles are on track for fewer killings this year than in any other year in at least four decades. Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis and other cities are also seeing notable reductions in homicides.

"Experts did not see this coming at all," said Andrew Karmen, a criminologist and professor of sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

In the District and Prince George's County, homicides are down about 17 percent this year.

Criminologists have different theories about why crime is down so much, although many agree that the common belief that crime is connected to the economy is false.

Whatever the cause, police across the region are taking credit for the drop.

"Everybody wants to beat us up when it goes up, so we'll take credit for it when it goes down," D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said.

She said police are able to target specific locations or types of crime and policing is so high-tech that investigators are analyzing crime minute-by-minute and have greater ability to attack crime before it happens.

In Prince George's, for example, the department's top commanders get mobile phone updates on crimes and 911 calls every 15 minutes.

In New York, when someone is killed, police send a mobile data center to a neighborhood, allowing police on the scene to listen to 911 calls and immediately search databases that list the names of everyone in a certain building who is on parole.

In the District, the department creates a weekly "Go-Go report," which details where and when home-grown bands are playing, because go-go concerts often bring together rival gangs, causing violence, Lanier said. There is also a weekly gang report that tells officers which gangs or crews are feuding that week.

Armed with that information, police can better predict where crimes might happen and take measures to prevent them.

The District is on track to have fewer killings than in any year since 1964, when the population was about 760,000 and Vietnam War protests were just beginning.

In the years since, the city has struggled at times with civil unrest, the arrival of crack cocaine and the rise of street gangs. In 1991, the District was known as the murder capital of the United States, recording 479 that year. This year, there have been 79.

Last summer, the city was struggling with so much violence in the Trinidad neighborhood that police set up military-style neighborhood roadblocks and stopped people from entering unless they had a "legitimate reason." The checkpoints were so restrictive that they were ultimately ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

This year, there have been several high-profile shootings in the District, including last week's late-afternoon killing of armed suspect Kellen Anthony White by the Capitol Police about a block from the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Also, a security officer, Stephen T. Johns, was killed last month during the lunch hour at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. An alleged white supremacist has been charged.

But Lanier said there has been a turnaround in violence this year. She pointed to a better relationship between the department and the community as a factor, saying it has helped get more violent repeat offenders off the streets. She said tips from the community have been flowing faster than ever, due in part to patrol officers knowing their beats and developing connections in the community.

Last year, the department paid about $500,000 in reward money for tips that led to arrests and convictions, double the amount in 2007. This year, detectives have closed about 70 percent of homicide cases.

"The community is giving us more information than ever," Lanier said. "They're used to seeing the same cop in the neighborhood every day. They feel comfortable. They have a connection to that officer. They know that officer isn't going to burn them."

Burning them, she said, would be to take information and not act on it, leaving sources to believe police are corrupt or lazy.

She also said she has torn down walls in the department so that homicide detectives talk more often with beat officers, sharing vital information.

Violent crime is also down in some of Washington's other large suburbs, including Montgomery and Fairfax counties.

Montgomery has recorded six homicides this year, putting it on track to have its lowest total since 1986.

In Prince George's, violence had been steadily rising since the 1990s, when the county started absorbing spillover crime from the District. But this year, crime is at a 20-year low, and homicides are down almost 17 percent.

Police Chief Roberto L. Hylton said that since he took over the department in September, there has been a more defined mission about how to attack crime.

He identified car thefts as one of the county's major problems and a "gateway" crime, meaning if criminals get away with stealing a car, they sometimes become emboldened and begin committing more daring acts. In 2004, about 18,500 cars were stolen in the county, more than in all of Virginia.

Since then, the department has focused on arresting car thieves and educating the public about protecting their cars, and the number of car thefts has shrunk by half.

"We have a very detailed and comprehensive strategy. We are triaging our community," Hylton said.

He said the homicide closure rate is about 70 percent, which has helped get many criminals off the streets.

"If you come into Prince George's County and you commit a murder, we're going to track you down and arrest you and lock you up," Hylton said.

Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Washington-based Police Executive Research Forum, said the drop in homicides this year is notable, especially considering the weather.

"This does come at an important time," he said. "We're midway through summer, and summer is when you see the most significant increase in street violence. Departments have had to be more strategic in terms of gangs and hot spots."

Wexler said that crime isn't down everywhere. Baltimore and Dallas are among some cities experiencing a higher number of killings compared with last year.

Gary LaFree, a criminology professor at the University of Maryland, said it has taken police decades to figure out how to effectively target crime.

"In the '60s, crime was like an act of God, like a tornado or earthquake," LaFree said. "Where policing has changed is that we've gotten the idea this is a problem we created and there are human solutions to it. Obviously, crime is not randomly distributed. It is connected to hot spots in cities and other areas."

LaFree and others agree that crime doesn't automatically go up when the economy is poor. Property crime is also trending down in many jurisdictions, including the District, Prince George's and Montgomery. The FBI reported last week that bank robberies across the country fell in the first quarter of the year, with 1,498 reported, compared with 1,604 in the first quarter of 2008.

Criminologists point to the Great Depression in the 1930s as a time of relatively low crime compared with the Roaring Twenties, when the country experienced more violence.

Lanier said that despite the good news, there's not much celebrating going on among police chiefs across the country.

"We're afraid to relax in any way and say crime is down," she said. "We tend to not talk about it much because we know how quick things can turn. What's successful today, tomorrow can turn on a dime."

Cancer delays Beastie Boys album

The Beastie Boys' album and summer tour have been postponed after band member Adam Yauch disclosed that he is suffering from cancer.

In a posting on the band's website, Yauch reveals a cancerous tumour in his left salivary gland will need surgery. He is expected to fully recover.

"I just need a little time to get this in check and then we'll release the record and play some shows," he wrote.

Hot Sauce Committee Part I was due to be released on 15 September.

The band had been due to play a number of headlining slots at festivals across the US, including the Lollapalooza event.

One of the act's last live performances was at Tennessee's Bonnaroo music festival last month.

CIT Group Gets Stay of Execution

After the federal government denied Manhattan-based small-business lender CIT Group extra TARP funds and JPMorgan shied away from a deal offering it a $2 billion credit line last week, the lenders' bondholders have stepped up and agreed to extend the company a $3 billion credit line in order to keep it from having to file bankruptcy, The Wall Street Journal reported today. The deal they've worked out strikes us as akin to a subprime-mortgage loan. Not only are bondholders charging extremely high interest rates, but the credit line comes attached with a ticking clock: On top of this new debt they're creating, CIT has $1 billion in debt that comes due in August. Which means CEO Jeffrey Peek, who will stay on under the deal, has less than two months to restructure the company, sell off assets, and generally do all of the things he's supposed to have been doing for the past year or so.

Meanwhile, unemployment continues to grow and retail sales continue to suffer and businesses continue to default on their loans left and right. But don't worry, we're sure Peek has something up his sleeve; he's a real ideas man. Regarding CIT's recent pleas with the government for a bailout, a senior Obama administration official told the Journal Saturday that "Their Plan A was: Seek assistance from the government. And their Plan B was: Ask again."

Ugh. If this company were a person, we feel doctors would diagnose it as being in a persistent vegetative state.

CIT Group Inc.'s reported deal in which it will secure $3 billion in financing and ensure temporary survival will be a boon to the struggling small-

But in the long run, what appears to be the efficient working of the free markets, is really a gentle euthanasia for a company that stood as an alternative to the big banks and GE Capital, a unit of General Electric Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!ge/quotes/nls/ge (GE 11.67, +0.02, +0.17%) . See full story.

For it is unlikely the CIT Group will be able to survive at its current size and pay down double-digit interest on its debt without selling assets. The highest valued loans on its $80 billion balance sheet are likely going to competitors that benefited from the government assistance CIT was never allowed to tap.

GE Capital, CIT's /quotes/comstock/13*!cit/quotes/nls/cit (CIT 1.34, +0.64, +91.43%) chief rival in the marketplace, alone tapped Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. guarantees on more than $40 billion of its debt. GE was second only to Bank of America Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!bac/quotes/nls/bac (BAC 12.43, -0.46, -3.55%) which not only used FDIC guarantees, it received $52 billion in taxpayer funds.

Jeffrey Peek, CIT's chief executive, and his management team and the board of directors may have been naive to think that the government would come to the lender's assistance. CIT's business model also was deeply flawed because it was far too dependent on the securitization markets that have stalled.

But CIT's mistakes are hardly greater than those of Citigroup Inc. or American International Group Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!aig/quotes/nls/aig (AIG 13.48, -0.04, -0.30%) , financial firms deemed too important and too interconnected to fail. CIT ultimately fell to market forces, not its poor investments or acceptance of too much risk.

The lesson of the CIT fiasco may be that by failing big, CIT's competitors not only secured their own survival, but a future without prudent competition.

South Africa launches AIDS vaccine clinical trials

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — South Africa announced the launch of clinical trials of the first AIDS vaccines created by a developing country with assistance from the U.S. on Monday.

It represented a feat by scientists who overcame skepticism from colleagues and from some political leaders who shocked the world with unscientific pronouncements about the disease.

"It has been a very, very hard journey," lead scientist Professor Anna-Lise Williamson of the University of Cape Town said at Monday's ceremony, attended by American health officials who gave technical help and manufactured the vaccine at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Williamson said she sees no choice for South Africa, at the heart of the epidemic, "where we have got the biggest ARV (anti-retroviral) rollout in the world and still hundreds of people are dying every day and getting infected everyday."

Trials to test the safety in humans of the vaccines begin this month on 36 healthy volunteers, Anthony Mbewu, president of South Africa's government-supported Medical Research Council, said in an interview Sunday. Mbewu's respected organization shepherded the project.

A trial of 12 volunteers in Boston began earlier this year.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and a leading AIDS researcher, said the South African scientists received more money from his institute's research fund than any others in the world except the U.S.

He called it "the most important AIDS research partnership in the world."

But he warned "There are extraordinary challenges ahead," referring to the years of testing needed now that South Africa has reached the clinical trial stage.

Fauci said scientists do not understand why the search for an AIDS vaccine is so difficult, except that they are trying to do better than nature: "We have to develop a vaccine that does better even than natural protection."

South Africa was the site of the biggest setback to AIDS vaccine research, when the most promising vaccine ever, produced by Merck & Co. and tested here in 2007, found that people who got the vaccine were more likely to contract HIV than those who did not.

During nearly 10 years of denial and neglect, South Africa developed a staggering AIDS crisis. Around 5.2 million South Africans were living with HIV last year — the highest number of any country in the world. Young women are hardest hit, with one-third of those aged 20 to 34 infected with the virus.

In 1999, the ministries of health and of science and technology founded the vaccine initiative and poured 250 million rand ($31.2 million today) into it over eight years.

Some 250 scientists and technicians worked on the project, along the way gaining scores of doctorates and producing work for professional publications as well as a model for continued biotechnology development in South Africa.

The government decided it was important to develop a vaccine specifically for the HIV subtype C strain that is prevalent in southern Africa "and to ensure that once developed, it would be available at an affordable price," Mbewu said.

He spoke on the sidelines of an international AIDS conference where Vice President Kgalema Motlanthe emphasized Sunday night the clinical trials are being held "under strict ethical rules."

The first trial may have been started in the U.S. to allay any criticism that the U.S. was collaborating in an AIDS vaccine that would use Africans as guinea pigs.

The field of AIDS vaccine research is so filled with disappointments some activists are questioning the wisdom of continuing such expensive investments, saying the money might be better spent on prevention and education.

Mbewu said the crisis in South Africa, where "we have the biggest problem" in the world, more than justifies the expenditure.

AIDS strikes men and women alike in Africa, where the epidemic is fueled by the many people who have sex with several people at the same time, as opposed to the serial monogamy usually practiced in the West.

In the 1990s, South Africa's then-President Thabo Mbeki denied the link between HIV and AIDS, and his health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, mistrusted conventional anti-AIDS drugs and made the country a laughing stock trying to promote beets and lemon as AIDS remedies.

Williamson, a virologist, said the scientists had to fight continual controversy, including international organizations trying to stop the state utility Eskom from funding the project. Eskom gave "huge amounts," regardless.

"International organizations told Eskom that this was a terrible waste of money, that putting money into South African scientists was like backing the cart horse when they need to be backing the race horse."

Even her research director told her she was wasting her time.

"Most of them just made us more determined to prove them wrong," Williamson said.

New York, NY - Schools Told Parents They Can No Longer Hire Teaching Aides

New York, NY - The city will no longer allow parents to hire teaching assistants to work in public schools.

The practice has gone on for years. Many parents feel the aides are needed to cope with overcrowding in well-regarded schools.

Following a union complaint, principals have been told that any aides must be Department of Education employees.

The New York Times says fundraising by parent groups has long raised questions of fairness. It has helped keep middle-class families in urban public schools. But it also can make it more difficult for schools in poor neighborhoods to compete.

Education officials and union leaders also say the practice of privately hiring aides raised security concerns.

ESPY Winners 2009: Michael Phelps Biggest Winner

Last night saw the ESPY Awards ceremony aired, which took place at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles last Wednesday 15th July, with veteran Hollywood actor Samuel L. Jackson as the evening’s host. And there were definitely some deserving winners.

According to Daily Contributor, there appeared to be one individual that was the biggest winner of the night. And that individual was multiple Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, who walked away with not one or two, but four awards of the night.

Not only did he take home the award for Best Male Athlete, which golfer Tiger Woods has won for five years in a row, but he also took home awards for Best Male Olympian, Best Championship Performance and one for Best Record-Breaking Performance.

Where and When Will Michael Vick Play?

Yes another Michael Vick piece on TSF. We’ll keep churning them out until what’s done is done. Hypocrisy aside regarding America’s hatred of dog fighting, let’s have a discussion on potential Vick destinations? Oh another thing, Michael Vick shouldn’t have to coon for anybody just to get reinstated.

Free from home confinement today, the mercurial one is now available to sign with any team that wants him. He’s paid his due to society folks. Isn’t that what America is all about? There should be none of this he needs to be contrite and humble himself before the world. He lost the richest contract in NFL history…at the time he signed it…his reputation is smeared and he’s unemployed. It’s time for America to move on. He knows he was in the wrong and paid for it dearly.

His sentence is done.

He wants to play in the NFL…not the CFL or the UFL. Unfortunately, Mike might have to play in some sort of gimmick Wildcat offense to “prove” to everyone he’s still an NFL athlete.

Here’s the think, you can’t tell me there’s 60 quarterbacks in the league better than him. There’s just no way.

There’s definitely not one in San Francisco. Not a one. I personally feel this is the best spot for Mike. He needs a iron fist coach who will make sure the media attention will not tear him or the team he signs with apart.

Coach Mike ain’t gonna take any stuff either way. There are rumblings Mike could land with the Patriots and run the Wildcat there. While this might be an amazing idea (because of the prospect of throwing to Moss obviously), Michael Vick is a quarterback.

Give him his shot.

This is all contingent on a meeting with Roger Goodell. Some say he’s not meeting with Mike until August…well into training camp…and even then might not decide to lift the indefinite suspension.

The NFL will be under all kinds of PETA scrutiny and there surely will be picketing outside of each and every stadium Mike plays in. There will be boos and chants and posters not cool for TV consumption and jokes and whatever else unattractive to the league that will go down. How will Mike deal with it and how will the league support one of its own? Mike will put fans in the seats because fans surely will just come out for the spectacle of it all. He’s on probation for three years and under a three years state suspended sentence for dog fighting. Is Goodell waiting to see how the public responds before reinstatement? Should he be the judge and jury in all of this? Is this all about employee privilege?

Seattle? The Rams? Dolphins even with Pat White now there? Why is Oakland being mentioned? They have a young quarterback, but you never know with Al Davis. I’d take him in Philly to back up Donovan.

Where will he land?

Tito Jackson Claims Dr. Conrad Murray's "Panicking" Contributed To Michael Jackson's Death

Tito Jackson claims Dr. Conrad Murray's "panicking" helped cause his brother's death.

Tito - who was left devastated when brother Michael of a suspected cardiac arrest last month - accused the pop legend's physician of wasting vital minutes by not getting help quickly enough after he collapsed and stopped breathing.

He said: "My opinion is that he panicked when my brother didn't wake up. I think the doctor probably figured he was in trouble and he tried to revive Michael. He did have a pulse but he couldn't bring him back. I don't know what the time lapse was between the doctor finding him and when he called paramedics. "But I believe if he had immediately called for help we might still have my brother here today, he would definitely still be alive."

Tito also accused Murray of failing to carry out CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) correctly. In the aftermath of Michael's passing it was revealed the physician CPR on the dying star while he lay on a soft bed instead of the accepted practice of a hard surface.

Tito, 55, added in an interview on Spanish TV: "The CPR attempt is one of the things I noticed that was very strange. CPR is one of the first things you learn to do as a doctor, and you don't do it on a soft bed."

When asked whether he thought Michael had been murdered, Tito replied: "Anything is possible. "It's a very strong word, the police are investigating what happened. Until there is some kind of revelation, I don't want to comment. Everything is on the table."

Meanwhile, Michael's mother has asked for a judge's ruling on whether she can challenge the authority of the two men named in his will as the executors of his estate.

Although the filing does not challenge the appointment of lawyer John Branca and music executive John McClain, a favourable ruling for Katherine Jackson could help her gain control of her son's estate, which is valued at more than $500 million.

Do we need comprehensive health-care reform?

I know President Obama wants this to be his signature achievement. But he hasn’t yet persuaded me that America needs to radically overhaul its health-care system.

I’m willing to bet reform won’t happen. Maybe it shouldn’t happen.

The people pushing hardest for it are leftists who embrace the ideology of government control of markets (not to mention “soaking the rich”). Leftists such as the folks at and the Huffington Post class warrior Jason Linkins.

But Barack Obama knows he can’t sell reform to the American people as a matter of wealth redistribution.

That’s why he hardly mentions the uninsured any more. He’s trying to talk the talk of middle-class populism, saying we must control the “skyrocketing costs” of health care.

Question one: Why is it the government’s business to “control” the cost of health care, as opposed to the cost of food, clothing, gasoline or movie tickets?

Question two: How will a trillion dollars in new public spending “control” the skyrocketing cost of health care?

This morning on “Meet the Press,” NBC’s David Gregory did a good, tough interview with Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s health secretary. (It’s embedded below.) She did not state a clear, compelling case for health-care reform.

If any readers have given thought to this issue and would like to explain it to me, please let’s carry this discussion to the comments section.

Obama's healthcare handling slides: Poll

by Mark Silva

As President Barack Obama's campaign-styled push for healthcare reform continues, a new poll today shows that, for the first time, public support for his handling of the issue has slipped below 50 percent.

The president's overall job-approval remains well above 50 percent in the Washington Post/ABC News survey. However, that measure as well -- 59 percent -- has slipped below 60 percent for the first time in Post/ABC polling.

Other polls, notably the Gallup Poll, also have found the president's approval slipping into the high 50s.

But, at this juncture in the push for healthcare reform on Capitol Hill, it is the president's handling of healthcare that is making headlines this morning in Washington:

Just 49 percent surveyed by the Post and ABC said they approve of the way Obama is handling healthcare. That is down from 53 percent in June and 57 percent in April.

The share of people voicing disapproval for the president's handling of the issue has risen from 29 percent in April to 44 percent in the newest, July survey.

The slide in support for the president's handling of healthcare mirrors a loss of support on other domestic issues as well, "such as the economy and the federal budget deficit,'' the Post noes, "as rising concern about spending and continuing worries about the economy combine to challenge his administration.''

Just more than half approve of the way the president is handling unemployment, which has climbed to 9.5 percent nationall and exceeded 10 percent in 15 states.

Obama, who stepped up his call for Congress to act on healthcare reform last week, will meet with healthcare providers at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington today and deliver a statement on the issue at about 1 pm EDT.

The poll was conducted last week, from July 15-18. The survey of 1,001 adults carries a possible margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.