Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Eagles add Vick to 53-man roster; Baskett released

PHILADELPHIA — Michael Vick can throw passes to his teammates instead of ball boys.

The Philadelphia Eagles elevated Vick to the team's 53-man roster Tuesday, a move that allows the quarterback to practice with the team.

Wide receiver Hank Baskett was released to make room for Vick, who is eligible to play Sept. 27 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Vick will begin practicing with the team Wednesday, though he cannot play in Sunday's home opener against the New Orleans Saints. Vick was suspended for the first two regular-season games as the final league penalty for his role in running a dogfighting ring.

Kevin Kolb is expected to take the snaps with the starters Wednesday because Donovan McNabb has a cracked rib. Jeff Garcia was signed to back up Kolb in case McNabb can't play.

Vick was brought in to give the Eagles another dimension on offense. He ran Philadelphia's version of the wildcat offense and took some snaps as a traditional QB under center in two preseason games.

The Eagles were heavily criticized by animal rights activists for signing Vick less than a month after he finished serving 18 months in federal prison. Dozens of protesters voiced their outrage outside the team's practice facility the day after Vick was signed, and many fans threatened to give up their tickets.

A month later, Vick's jersey is the fourth-highest seller in the NFL behind Brett Favre, Jay Cutler and Troy Polamalu. The league rankings are based on the sales period from April 1 to Aug. 28, so Vick — and Favre, for that matter — had plenty of catching up to do since both joined their teams last month.

Vick hasn't played in a regular-season game since Dec. 31, 2006, when he was with the Atlanta Falcons. It's highly unlikely he would have started even if he were eligible to play this week. Eagles coach Andy Reid has maintained all along that Kolb is McNabb's backup.

Baskett was one of seven receivers the Eagles carried on their 53-man roster through Week 1. He became expendable after Philadelphia selected Jeremy Maclin in the first round of April's draft and added Brandon Gibson in the sixth round.

Baskett had 72 catches for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns in 48 games with the Eagles.

Israel: Biased Goldstone report gives support to terror

Israel called the Goldstone Commission Report "nauseating" on Tuesday, saying it created an unjust "equivalence of a democratic state with a terror organization" and lacked the context of a decade of terrorist attacks by Hamas.

The commission, established by the UN Human Rights Council and led by former South African constitutional court judge Richard Goldstone, concluded that "Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity," during Operation Cast Lead from late December to mid-January.

The report "concludes there is also evidence that Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes, as well as possibly crimes against humanity," by firing rockets at cities in southern Israel, the UN said.

The four-member investigative panel recommended that the UN Security Council require Israel to launch its own investigations, "that are independent and in conformity with international standards," into the Gaza operation and to appoint a committee of experts to oversee the "progress, effectiveness and genuineness" of these investigations. If it failed to do so within three months, the report said, the Security Council should refer Israel's alleged war crimes to the International Criminal Court.

It was not clear in the immediate aftermath of the report what the legal and political ramifications would be. Governments worldwide were mum Tuesday as they studied the document.

The Full Story

Lawmaker's 'You lie' outburst draws House rebuke

WASHINGTON — Bitterly divided along party lines, the House formally rebuked Republican Rep. Joe Wilson Tuesday for shouting "You lie" at President Barack Obama during last week's nationally televised speech to Congress.

The rare resolution of disapproval was pushed through by Democrats insisting that Wilson, a South Carolina lawmaker, had violated basic rules of decorum and civility in his outburst. Republicans dismissed the vote as a political "witch hunt" and a waste of precious time and taxpayers' money.

Wilson had called the White House to apologize shortly after the incident, and he said at the time that the president "graciously accepted my apology and the issue is over." Republicans agreed, but several Democrats pressed the issue.

The final tally late Tuesday was 240-179, generally but not entirely along party lines. It was 233 Democrats and seven Republicans voting to chastise Wilson, 167 Republicans and 12 Democrats opposing the measure and five Democrats merely voting "present."

"The resolution is not about the substance of an issue but about the conduct we expect of one another in the course of doing our business," declared House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who sponsored the measure with Democratic Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C.

Republicans tended to strongly disagree.

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Caster Semenya Is a Woman, Tests or No Tests

"She may be a hermaphrodite, but so what? She is still a girl." Those were the words of South African Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile, who last week demanded that the International Association of Athletics Federations apologize for violating runner Caster Semenya's privacy in the face of widespread, but unconfirmed, reports that the results of her gender test had been leaked to the media.

In August, Semenya won the women's 800-meter gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin. But upon her victory, the 18-year-old South African runner came under scrutiny by competitors, who questioned whether Semenya was female or intersex, with some male and some female sexual characteristics. Soon the IAAF became involved, demanding testing to confirm Semenya's sex.

At a Friday press conference, Stofile hinted at possible legal action against the IAAF.

Seeing South African officials stand up for Semenya and her right to define her own gender is extraordinary because -- when this happened just three years ago -- the results were much different.

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Ukraine To Elton John: You're Too Old And Too Gay To Adopt

The Ukraine government says that Elton John is too old and too unopposite-married to adopt one of their HIV+ babies.

Adoption and gay rights advocates expressed regret about the determination by Family, Youth and Sports Minister Yuriy Pavlenko, while a children's charity had reservations about John's weekend announcement that he and his male partner, David Furnish, wanted to adopt the boy. John announced his desire after meeting the boy, named Lev, while touring an orphanage Saturday as part of an anti-AIDS charity project. "I don't know how we do that, but he has stolen my heart. And he has stolen David's heart and it would be wonderful if we can have a home," John said. But Pavlenko told The Associated Press that the adoption will not happen because adoptive parents must be married and because the pop star is too old. The singer is 62 and Ukrainian law requires a parent to be no more than 45 years older than an adopted child.

Whitney Houston Talks About Drug Use And Bobby Brown Abuse With Oprah

Whitney Houston “forgot” she was a singer during the depths of her drug addiction. The music star admitted the extent of her substance abuse and the lowest points of her 14-year marriage to singer Bobby Brown during an emotional interview with Oprah Winfrey which aired in the US yesterday.

Referring to her crack cocaine and marijuana use, Whitney, 46, said:

“I didn't think about the singing part anymore. I'd totally forgotten about that life. I had so much money by that time.”

She went on to detail how she and Bobby, 40, would ‘freebase’ crack in marijuana joints, adding:

“We were lacing our marijuana with base. We would buy a kilo. We were not pipe smoking.

“You roll it up and you smoke it in your weed. It's almost like heroin cocaine speedballs but you level it off with marijuana."

Whitney – who separated from Bobby in 2006 and divorced him a year later – claimed her ex-spouse became jealous of her career after she appeared in the worldwide hit 1992 film ‘The Bodyguard’ – after which their drug abuse spiraled out of control.

"I think somewhere inside, something happens to a man when a woman has that much control or has that much fame.

"Emotionally he was abusive. Physically, no way. I was raised with two brothers and I would fight you back with anything I could find.”

She recalled how Bobby’s abuse spilled over one night after she had thrown a birthday party for him. Whitney – who has a 16-year-old daughter Bobbi Kristina with Bobby - recalled:

"When we got back to the house he spit on me. He actually spit on me. And my daughter was coming down the stairs and she saw it. I was angry. I was very hurt. I knew something was going to blow. That was pretty intense.

“I didn't grow up with that and I didn't understand why that occurred – why he had such a hate for me because I loved him so much."

Wow - Whitney really talked about some dirty stuff - drug usage, mental abuse from Bobby. We all knew these things were going on, but to now have the confirmation! Can we expect Bobby to come out with a People exclusive in the next few days?

Pennsylvania's Congress Sux

It has been brought to my attention, by fellow book blogger Corey Wilde over at The Drowning Machine, that every single one of the public libraries in Philadelphia are being shut down as of October 2. Apparently, there is a legistative issue with the state budget - as in, they don't have one and can't agree on one - which will result in the closing down of all public libraries in the city due to lack of funds. If this isn't indicative of everything that's wrong in this country, I don't know what is. How does this happen here, right now? It's inconceivable, really, yet a firm reality. Baghdad is burning, Alexandria's library is lost, Philadelphia can't read.

Of course, this goes far beyond mere books. According to the Free Library of Philadelphia blog, the libraries are "the largest provider of internet access in a city where 41% of homes lack web connection" and over 700 jobs will be lost with the closings. How can a legislator in Pennsylvania get up in the morning knowing these facts, knowing that their complete inaction is leading to the closing of these vital institutes of learning, bastions of knowledge, and safe havens for Philadelphia's youth? I honestly don't care what the issues in the legislature are that are keeping them from passing a budget - it's irrelevant in the face of such disraceful, deplorable action. To make this pill even more bitter is the $34 million in federal economic recovery funds that the city has already spent - Philly is eligible for a grand total of $1.042 billion in recovery. Yet here we are, considering a Philadelphia - the birthplace of American freedom - with NO LIBRARIES?!

Just in time for Banned Books Week September 26-October 3.

I don't know what else to say about this - it makes me sick to my stomach & I can't even think straight. I will admit that to equate this story to atrocities like the burning of the Baghdad National Library in 2003 or the destruction of the library of Alexandria is naive and foolish, but I will do it anyway. Any loss of potential knowledge and free access to literature is cause for tremendous alarm. I can't imagine my own childhood without the freedom to escape into the stacks of my local library. Can you?

I know that sometimes its a drag to read an article and have someone just direct you to someone else's article, but you really need to read this impassioned post by author Cory Doctorow - it is far more eloquent and passionate than anything I am capable of composing.

Why does America still fear Charles Darwin?

Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin's "struggle between faith and reason" as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie.

The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia.

However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

Here we are supposedly the most evolved and progressive nation on earth (at least technologically), and yet we are too superstitious and ignorant to allow a film about Charles Darwin, perhaps one of the most important scientists in history, to be distributed to our theaters. Why?

Sure it is a financial risk. But any film that does not feature Meghan Fox's naked heaving breasts, or giant explosions and car crashes is ALWAYS a financial risk.

There is no doubt that many members of fundamentalist churches would save their popcorn money for a the next Kirk Cameron film instead (except don't those usually go straight to DVD?). Though it is conceivable that they may chose to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon carrying signs claiming that "Charles Darwin is the Anti-Christ". But most of those people do not attend that many films anyhow. (They think that Hollywood is the home of the devil and that he is trying to take over their minds. Well SOMEBODY should, since they are not using them.)

But there MUST be enough inquisitive intelligent movies goers to help it bring in some profit. I mean the movie is already made, so getting it the widest distribution possible would be the goal at this point. Even a relatively small American release would bring in some serious money.

So why wouldn't a distributor take the risk?

Because they know that the small yet very vocal minority of anti-intellectual fundamentalists would make their lives hell that is why.

They would threaten boycotts and protests, and throw an enormous hissy fit that would probably receive quite a lot of publicity.

FREE publicity.

And it would obviously garner a lot of criticism by people who had never seen the film.

Which of course would pique the interest of people who would then want to watch the movie.

Are you with me so far? What I am saying is that I want to watch the movie. The subject of Darwin's struggle with his faith sounds absolutely fascinating to me. Why can't I get a chance to see the movie?

The close minded acolytes of the Christian fascists will do most of the promotion for the film for no money whatsoever, so just imagine how much could be saved in promotional costs?

And how is that the least open minded and intelligent of us get to determine what kind of information is made available to the public at large? If somebody wants to stop me from watching a movie, can somebody please lock me in my house the next time that Vin Diesel makes a film? (I know they will be bad, but I simply can't resist!)

Come on American movie distributors, take a risk! Show some backbone. After all you spent billions of years evolving that backbone, may as well use it.

WSJ: Obama Pushing Israel Toward War

The following article by Bret Stephen appears in today’s Wall Street Journal:

Events are fast pushing Israel toward a pre-emptive military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, probably by next spring. That strike could well fail. Or it could succeed at the price of oil at $300 a barrel, a Middle East war, and American servicemen caught in between. So why is the Obama administration doing everything it can to speed the war process along?

At July’s G-8 summit in Italy, Iran was given a September deadline to start negotiations over its nuclear programs. Last week, Iran gave its answer: No.

Instead, what Tehran offered was a five-page document that was the diplomatic equivalent of a giant kiss-off. It begins by lamenting the “ungodly ways of thinking prevailing in global relations” and proceeds to offer comprehensive talks on a variety of subjects: democracy, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, “respect for the rights of nations,” and other areas where Iran is a paragon. Conspicuously absent from the document is any mention of Iran’s nuclear program, now at the so-called breakout point, which both Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his boss Ali Khamenei insist is not up for discussion.

What’s an American president to do in the face of this nonstarter of a document? What else, but pretend it isn’t a nonstarter. Talks begin Oct. 1.

The Full Story

U.S. forces kill al-Qaida leader in Somalia By Evan Kohlmann

American special operations forces killed an al-Qaida terrorist during a helicopter commando assault in Somalia on Monday, NBC News has reported. U.S. officials told NBC that Saleh Ali Nabhan, suspected in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, was killed when at least one U.S. special operations helicopter opened fire on a suspected al-Qaida convoy south of Mogadishu. Ali Nabhan is also suspected of operating al-Qaida training camps inside Somalia.

Last year, Shabaab al-Mujahideen released a video recording of Nabhan, including footage of Nabhan at one of those terrorist training camps. A transcript and still images from the video can be viewed on the NEFA Foundation website.

Boy fakes kidnapping to shed bad report card

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- An 11-year-old boy faked his kidnapping Friday to avoid bringing home his bad report card, Huntsville police said. The Ed White Middle School student claimed a man in a red, beat-up car grabbed him after school at the intersection of Trail Ridge and Grizzard roads and forced him into the vehicle.

"I'm going to take you somewhere and kill you," the boy claimed the man said. The boy also said the man had a pistol.

The boy then claimed to have jumped from the vehicle - without his bookbag, which contained the report card - and ran to his grandparents' house.

That's when the boy confessed to making the whole thing up to cover for his bad grades. His grandfather called police to apologize and report the boy's story.

Sgt. Mark Roberts said police were suspicious of the boy when he was able to "escape" with his band instrument, but not his bookbag.

Police were notified of a possible kidnapping about 4:20 p.m., but it is unclear who reported it.

Roberts said the boy faces no charges at this time.

The whereabouts of the bookbag and report card are unknown.

New York Homes Raided in Islamic Terror Plot: "This had the potential to be bad"

New York jihad cell raided. This had the senior official involved saying ............."this had the potential to be bad".

New York residences raided in terrorism probe
WASHINGTON – Law enforcement agents raided residences in New York City on Monday as part of a terrorism investigation, and began briefing Congress about the probe.

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne confirmed that searches were conducted in the borough of Queens by agents of a joint terrorism task force. He would not discuss the matter further.

Separately, federal authorities started briefing a series of senior lawmakers in Congress about the case.

Two U.S. intelligence officials, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly, said the target of any purported attack — or who would carry it out — remained unclear.

Authorities have not found any weapons ready for use — such as a bomb — that would indicate an attack was imminent, they said. Nevertheless, one of the officials called the threat very real and emphasized the urgency of the threat.

Another person briefed on the matter, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, said the raids were the result of previous law enforcement surveillance of individuals.

The investigation is continuing.

Barack Obama Calls Kanye West a Jackass; Rapper Apologizes Yet Again on Jay Leno

President Barack Obama may be having trouble unifying the country behind his health care plan, but can't be accused of being out of touch here.

Thinking what the rest of the country is thinking, and actually saying it off the record, the Prez called Kanye West "a jackass" to CNBC yesterday.

He really did - off the record. But his remark became public when it was tweeted by ABC's Terry Moran on Twitter, Politico.com reported Monday.

Way to go, guys. Not that we disagree with the Prez in the least.

An ABC statement explains, without denying that the remark was made, that: "ABC News employees prematurely Tweeted a portion of those remarks that turned out to be from an off-the-record portion of the interview."

Meanwhile, Kanye West himself admitted to Jay Leno what Americans, including our Commander-in-Chief, had already figured out: He blew it.

"It was rude, period," he said.

Sunday at the MTV VMAs, the rapper jumped on stage, crashing Taylor Swift's speech and declaring that her award should have gone to Beyonce.

After fielding widespread criticism and apologizing, West told Leno last night, "I'm just ashamed that my hurt caused someone else's hurt."

West, who has had similar outbursts at previous awards shows, though never this bad, said, "I need to, after this, take some time off and just analyze how I'm going to make it through the rest of this life, how I'm going to improve.

"If there's anything I could do to help Taylor in the future or help anyone, I'd like [to]," Kanye said, adding that he knew he really screwed up bad "as soon as I gave the mike back to her and she didn't keep going."

Press Release: Brooks and Green For Assembly 15th Dist. and The Black Tea Party

News Release

For Immediate Release – September 15, 2009




Trenton, NJ – Darryl Mikell Brooks and Charles Green Independent Libertarian Candidates for Assembly in New Jerseys’ 15th District announced today Tea Party Rally at the State House, Friday, October 16th 2009, between the hours of 11am-3pm. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Wherever there are free men they will make themselves heard.” Today that statement has evolved and it is time for the people of Trenton to be heard.

“New Jersey is broken. Record deficits are crippling our future. Sweetheart deals are costing our families millions of wasted tax dollars and corruption is rampart. Our government is held hostage by special interests, and continued promises for making a better place to live and passing it on to our children and grandchildren have not been kept by Governor Corzine, Assembly woman Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora” added Brooks.

“We will not take money from special interests PACs or registered New Jersey lobbyists - not for this campaign, and not after we get elected. The best way to stay true to what we promise you, and to what we believe, is to stay outside the system that has corrupted so many before us, and that's why we will never take money from PACs or registered New Jersey lobbyists” added Green.

Brooks concluded, “Coleman and Gusciora have offered no leadership on immigration, education, taxes, jobs, health care or corruption. Democrats have been in control of Trenton politics long enough and are fully complicit in this culture of corruption, as our inner city crumbles and our children suffer. The time for change in now. Yes we believe.”

For more information on Brooks and Green for Assembly and the Black Tea Party contact us at:  http://www.brooksgreen09.blogspot.com/