Wednesday, October 7, 2009

B. of A. narrowing list of CEO prospects: Journal

By Robert Daniel BAC

-- Bank of America Corp. has narrowed its internal search for a chief executive to two candidates but is still likely to consider a number of external candidates as well, people familiar with the situation told The Wall Street Journal. The inside candidates, the paper reported, are Chief Risk Officer Gregory Curl, 61, and the chief of consumer and small-business banking, Brian Moynihan, 49. The search committee of the board of the Charlotte, N.C., banking giant /quotes/comstock/13*!bac/quotes/nls/bac (BAC 17.27, +0.27, +1.59%) is expected to meet for the first time this week and the full board should meet Friday, the Journal reported on Wednesday.

R. Kelly Talks About His Years of Illiteracy

Several years ago, R. Kelly revealed that he has struggled for years with illiteracy, and that he would dictate the song lyrics to a person he would pay to write them down.

At the recent Midwest Music Festival in Chicago, Kelly brought up his challenges again while discussing the ups and downs of his career.

"When I was trying to make it out here, I already knew, and I was stubborn about it," he said. "I don't even read really, and I'm not afraid to say that. My cousins and brothers used to tease me: 'You can't even read right.'

"How you think you're going to come up?' The only reason I graduated from grammar school is because I had a great jump shot. I went to high school, and [my teacher] told me, 'You will be one of the greatest writers of all time," Kelly recalled. "I believed. You [have to] believe it. You can't believe [anything] if you're hating. You can't achieve [anything] if you're hating."

Serena Williams regains No. 1 ranking

Serena Williams of the US returns a shot against Ekaterina Makarova of Russia during the second round match at the China Open at the National Tennis Center in Beijing on October 6, 2009.

Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Serena Williams was among Tuesday's second-round winners at the $4.5 million China Open and will become the new No. 1 player in the world when the women's rankings are released on Monday.

A second-seeded Williams blew past Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-2, as the American will supplant Dinara Safina atop the women's ledger. The French Open and Aussie Open runner-up Safina was an upset victim here on Monday, as she lost for a fifth time in her last eight matches. Safina held the No. 1 spot for 25 straight weeks.

The reigning Wimbledon and Aussie Open champion Williams will achieve No. 1 status for the fourth time in her brilliant career. She actually held the top spot earlier this year, from early February to mid-April.

"2009 has been a very good season for me during which I enjoyed some of the best wins of my career," Williams said. "Attaining the world No. 1 ranking makes me want to work even harder and is ultimately the icing on the cake."

The Full Story

Black GOP Candidates Mount Serious 2010 Bids Nationwide

Republican Party Could Change Image With an African American in Congress

Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams at the 2008 GOP Texas State Convention

“Let’s talk about race,” wrote Michael Williams.

It was September 22, six days after former President Jimmy Carter suggested that race was one reason for the special political animosity toward President Barack Obama. Williams, the four-term Texas railroad commissioner–a job, he tells everyone, that has everything to do with energy policy and nothing to do with railroads–had already dinged Carter for the remarks. But in a long blog post at his campaign website, Williams went further.

Image by: Matt Mahurin
“As an African-American son of the South,” wrote Williams, “I grew up in a time and place where you didn’t have to divine intent or deconstruct code words to find racism.” The crisis in America, he explained, was the proliferation of people calling one another “racists” for their position on Obama’s policies. “We have rid our institutions of government of the practice of discrimination; if only we could rid our political discourse of the ugliness that ensues when we ascribe discriminatory motive to statements with no obvious discriminatory aspect.”

There was a nuts-and-bolts political point to this. Williams is one of the nation’s very few African-American Republicans who hold statewide office. He’s running for the U.S. Senate seat expected to be vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), a candidate for governor that year. If elected, he would be the only African-American member of the Senate, as the appointed and scandal-plagued Democrat Roland Burris is retiring next year. That means Williams is threatening to jump out of obscurity and into the position of a credible, high-profile critic of Obama.

The Full Story

Tom DeLay and Debi Mazar both leave 'Dancing with the Stars'

By Christopher Rocchio,

Former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay withdrew from Dancing with the Stars ninth season and actress Debi Mazar was eliminated during last night's live results show broadcast of the ABC reality series.

While DeLay and his professional partner Cheryl Burke were revealed to be safe based on a combination of their judges scores from Monday night's performance episode and home viewer votes cast immediately following the broadcast, he subsequently announced his withdrawal from the competition due to stress fractures in both his feet.

"Now that you've been saved to go through, will you actually be able to continue to dance?" asked Dancing with the Stars co-host Samantha Harris.

The Full Story

Republicans in Albuquerque

Expect to hear a lot more about this. Republicans, who were utterly crushed in New Mexico’s 2008 elections, picked up the mayoralty and city council of Albuquerque last night, aided considerably by Democrat Richard Romero running as a spoiler to the left of Democratic Mayor Martin Chavez.

Republicans, who held one of the state’s Senate seats and two of its House seats, lost all of that last year. But expect to hear mayor-elect Richard Berry tipped as a candidate for the swing House seat anchored in Albuquerque in 2012, and expect to hear this mentioned as a piece with a Republican comeback if the party scores more victories next month.

BY David Weigel

Serena Williams Covers ESPN Magazine

There seems to be a lot of nakedness going on in magazine land. First, Glamour had its "Beautiful Bodies Spread," which featured a photo gallery of seven plus-size models in the buff. Now, ESPN is featuring naked athletes in its upcoming "Body Issue," due out on newsstands Oct. 9.

There will be a total of six covers to choose from that include Serena Williams and mixed martial artist Gina Carano, as well as plenty of naked photos of athletes amongst its pages. Some of the notables being featured are Laird Hamilton, Jessica Mendoza, and Christina Kim.

Here are a few preview pics to peek at.

Minnesota Twins To Play The Yankees...Boston Red Sox Are READY!

The Minnesota Twins defeated the Detroit Tigers in a 12 inning comeback battle by a score of 6-5. Early in the game, they were behind the Tigers by a score of 3-0, but the Motor City team could not hold down the home team. They will play the Yankees with no days of rest starting tonight. Good luck to them...they'll need it. Boy, will they! CC is going for the pinstripers, not that he has a stellar postseason record.

The Boston Red Sox, who will spend their second day on the left coast, will play two night games in Anaheim and will be at always friendly Fenway Park early next week. Let's hope we can take two of the first three. Remember, this is only a best of five series. The first team to take three games moves on to the American League Championship Series. Yes, the Sox have had great success in past postseasons against the Halos but every year is different. Here are the pitching matchups announced by Boston skipper Terry "Tito" Francona for the first two games in Anaheim...

10/8/ LAA...9:37 PM ET...TBS...Lester (15-8) vs. Lackey (11-8)
10/9/ LAA...9:37 PM ET...TBS...Beckett (17-6) vs. Weaver (16-8)

I'll have the games three and four pitching matchups at Fenway tomorrow, right here. The times have not yet been set. But here's a question that's been on my mind...where does Matsuzaka fit in? I'll tell you even though I might not agree with Tito's thinking process. He will be the first one out of the bullpen if a starter falters unless a fourth Boston starter will be needed. We'll see him toeing the rubber, that's for sure. The Boston Red Sox are pumped up and more than ready to try to win another World series. I have you?

NJ enviro group backs Christie for governor

No that's not a typo in the headline.

The New Jersey Environmental Federation (NJEF), one of the largest enviro-activist organizations in the state has endorsed not only a (gulp) Republican for governor but (double-gulp) one who served in the federal government under Bush/Chaney.

Yes, we're talking about Chris Christie.

Surprised? Amazed? And maybe a bit baffled?
We are, too.

It was one thing for the Sierra Club to endorse former NJDEP Commissioner Chris Daggett's independent campaign for governor. But it's another for the NJEF, which had originally announced it would make no endorsement in the race, to come out for Christie.

What's going on? We don't know. But here's a theory.

The state's other big enviro group, the Sierra Club, didn't just stop with their endorsement of Daggett. Its leader went on, in press release after press release, to rip incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine's environmental record.

The pounding culminated in the astonishing claim that Corzine is
the worst environmental governor in history.

Whoa! Did they forget all about Christie (Honey, I shrunk the DEP) Whitman and Jim "fast track development" McGreevey?

Is this the same Jon Corzine who the rest of us have seen signing one environmental bill after another? The governor who got out ahead of virtually all other states in setting aggressive goals for greenhouse gas reductions. The guy who has backed cap-and-trade, solar-energy incentives and offshore wind power development?

And, even if the Sierra Club wasn't satisfied with Corzine's record, it's one thing to back another candidate to display your convictions but totally another to flay a sitting governor who just might win re-election. That, we submit, is just plain dumb.

So, our theory continues, rather than risk seeing the governor's office door slammed on the environmental community for the next four years, it might be a good idea for the other big green group to back the other major candidate...even if he is a Republican friend of Karl Rove.

There's one tiny weakness to the strategy. Corzine could win.

Then what happens?

The enviros may be counting on the fact that Jon can't seem to repress a single "progressive" reflex. They may have good reason to suspect that, after a decent interval for sulking, he'll succumb to let's kiss and make up.

But what if the governor has been in New Jersey long enough now to adopt a more native political reaction? You know, the one called: Piss me off and see who wins.

Time will tell. In the meanwhile, we thought you might enjoy the Star-Ledger video below.

Even after today's NJEF announcement, is still a pretty good summary of the New Jersey environmental community's current political quandry.

BY Frank Brill

Obama Says He Won't Reduce Troops in Afghanistan

President Obama told congressional leaders Tuesday that he would not support a major reduction of troops in Afghanistan and will not shift the mission to simply hunting terrorists. He added that he remains undecided about the troop increase recommended by Gen. Stanley McChrystal. White House officials said that in meeting with leaders from both parties, Obama hoped to find middle ground on the wildly opposing ideas of how the war should be handled and to "dispense with the straw man argument that this is about either doubling down or leaving Afghanistan."

Despite the president's desire to smooth over the debate, the meeting was slightly contentious. While some Democrats said they would support him whatever he decided, many raised strong objections to further troop increases. Republicans, meanwhile, urged him to follow the general's recommendations without delay. In one sharp exchange, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told Obama that "time is not on our side" and that the decision "should not be a leisurely process." Obama responded that "no one feels more urgency to get this done right now than I do."

Jets acquire WR Braylon Edwards from Browns

The New York Jets reached an agreement with the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday to acquire troubled but talented wide receiver Braylon Edwards.

The Jets sent wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, linebacker Jason Trusnik and undisclosed draft choices to the Browns for the deep threat they had been lacking. Edwards will combine with Jerricho Cotchery to give rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez two proven playmakers as starting wide receivers.

Edwards, in his fifth season, has 10 receptions for 139 yards but was held to no catches for the first time in his career in the winless Browns' 23-20 overtime loss to Cincinnati on Sunday. His best season came in 2006, when he had 80 catches for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns.

The former first-round pick out of Michigan comes with his share of off-field issues. The NFL is investigating whether he violated the league's conduct policy following accusations he assaulted a man outside a nightclub. Cleveland police are also looking into the incident.

The Jets, off to a 3-1 start, had been looking to replace Laveranues Coles in the starting lineup after allowing him to become a free agent in the offseason. They were looking into former Giants star Plaxico Burress' legal status before the draft, and the Jets were mentioned in possible trade talks with Denver's Brandon Marshall.

San Francisco also filed tampering charges against the Jets in September, claiming New York was looking into wide receiver Michael Crabtree, the 49ers' top draft pick. The league is still investigating those charges.

Edwards allegedly punched promoter Edward Givens, a friend of NBA star LeBron James, early Monday morning following an argument in downtown Cleveland.

Although Edwards hasn't been charged with a crime, the league's conduct policy states that discipline may be imposed for "the use or threat of violence."

Edwards has been involved in other off-field incidents. In March, Edwards was partying with suspended Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth in Miami the night Stallworth later drove drunk and killed a pedestrian. Edwards was not with Stallworth at the time.

Last November, Edwards was fined $150 and given 30 hours of community service after he was found guilty of driving 120 mph.

It's the second major trade the Jets have made with the Browns and Eric Mangini, their former coach. On the first day of the draft in April, New York acquired the fifth overall pick from Cleveland to select Sanchez for its first-round pick, its second-rounder (No. 52), and defensive end Kenyon Coleman, safety Abram Elam and quarterback Brett Ratliff.

Stuckey, who won the No. 2 receiver spot opposite Cotchery out of training camp, has 11 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. He was a seventh-round draft pick out of Clemson in 2007, but missed his first season with a foot injury. Stuckey had 32 receptions last season, catching three touchdown passes from Brett Favre.

Trusnik, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio Northern in 2007, is a special teams ace and backup linebacker. He was selected as the AFC's special teams player of the week last week after forcing and recovering a fumble on a kickoff in the Jets' 24-17 win over Tennessee.