Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Banking sector back to profit, insurance fund in red: FDIC

The US banking industry returned to profit in the third quarter, but the government insurance fund went into deficit for the first time since 1992, regulators announced Tuesday.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said commercial banks and thrifts earned a collective 2.8 billion dollars in the third quarter.

This came after a collective 4.3 billion dollar loss in the second quarter, and the profit was well above the 879 million dollars the industry earned in the same period in 2008.

But the sector is still feeling the effects of the deep financial crisis triggered by a collapse of the US housing market and global credit crunch.

"Today's report shows that, while bank and thrift earnings have improved, the effects of the recession continue to be reflected in their financial performance," said FDIC chairman Sheila Bair.

More than 26 percent of all insured institutions reported a net loss in the latest quarter, and total loan balances declined by the largest percentage since quarterly reporting began in 1984, the FDIC said.

As projected in September, the FDIC's deposit insurance fund balance fell below zero for the first time since the third quarter of 1992.

The fund balance of negative 8.2 billion dollars reflects a 38.9 billion dollar contingent loss reserve that has been set aside to cover estimated losses over the next year.

The FDCI report showed total loans and leases declined by 210.4 billion dollars, or 2.8 percent, during the quarter.

Loans to commercial and industrial borrowers declined by 6.5 percent, residential mortgage loan balances fell by 4.2 percent, and real estate construction and development loans dropped 8.1 percent.

"There is no question that credit availability is an important issue for the economic recovery," Bair said.

"We need to see banks making more loans to their business customers. This is especially true for small businesses that rely on FDIC-insured institutions to provide over 60 percent of the credit they use."

Philly FBI Busts 5 Men of Lebanese Origin in Sting That Involved Stinger Missiles

The Philly FBI busted five men of Lebanese origin in an international sting in which one man allegedly wanted to buy 100 Stinger missiles designed to shoot down aircraft, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The paper reported that the central figure in the sting, which was run by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, planned to use anti-aircraft weapons and 250 machine guns in the Middle East, “and asked to have them exported to Iran or Syria for use by “the Resistance,” according to an FBI affidavit unsealed today, the Inquirer reported. The “Resistance” group was not identified.

To read more, click here.

FBI Busts NY Man in Theft of Andy Warhol Piece

In the pop art world, the provocative Andy Warhol made a big splash. On Monday, one of his classic works proved his 15 minutes are far from over.

Federal authorities announced Monday they had charged James S. Biear, 49, of Ossining, N.Y., with stealing a Warhol work — a silkscreen on a wooden crate mimicking a Heinz 57 case of ketchup — and selling it to an unwitting New York art collector for about $220,000.

Biear turned himself in to authorities Monday and faces one count of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud, authorities said. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison, although sentencing guidelines would recommend a much shorter term.

Cyber-Bully Mom Off the Hook in MySpace Suicide Case

It looks like cyber-bully mom Lori Drew has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

The Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed notice in court that it does not plan to pursue an appeal in her case. She was charged with computer fraud and Abuse Act after she created a fake MySpace account to harass a teenage girl who committed suicide, WIRED’s Threat Level website reported.

Drew was convicted in L.A. last November, but a federal judge acquitted her in July.

“We have a notice with the 9th Circuit that we are withdrawing our notice of appeal in the case,” a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles wrote in an e-mail to Threat Level.

The case raised all kinds of Constitutional questions. In the end, the law governing the Internet remains murky.

Prosecutors charged Drew under a federal hacking law, but U.S. District Judge George Wu ruled that the government’s interpretation was, in the end, unconstitutional and would have opened up the gates for more questionable prosecutions.

Background on the MySpace Case

Farrakhan: Black America must change to survive

CHICAGO | Mosque Maryam (FinalCall.com) - The leader of the Nation of Islam began a major lecture series, “The Time and What Must Be Done,” by using scripture, current events, social conditions and, at times humor, in a poignant warning about the need to change to avoid divine chastisement as an old world goes out and a new reality begins to come into existence.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stressed November 15 that change was mandatory, and no one would be exempt from a universal change on the horizon.

“When you use the definite article ‘the,' it's a particular time, no other time like it, it's ‘The Time.' Today I would like to give you a capsule of the time, which is a period between two events, the beginning of this world is the first event and the end of this world, which is the second event,” he said. “When it says what must be done, there is no other choice. It is an absolute necessity that when you know The Time, you have to make up your mind to act in accord with the time or you will be destroyed from the face of the earth.”

Crowd at Mosque Maryam enjoys Nov. 15 lecture.
Living in the time of God's judgment, actions must be taken to survive the fall of this world and to become a part of what God intends to make new, said the Minister. He spoke to a full mosque, overflow crowds in the gymnasium next door, listeners watching in mosques around the country and others who tuned in via the internet.

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Klan Rally Held at Ole Miss-LSU Game: Why We Shouldn't Care

I was intrigued by recent reports that the Ku Klux Klan had a rally on the Ole Miss campus. It may surprise you to know that I am essentially unconcerned by the group's presence on campus. Don't get me wrong, Klansmen are incredibly ignorant, and we cannot deny their historical reign of terror over people of color in America. I can, however, give you a list of reasons why we should stop paying attention to the KKK.

1) It thrives off attention: The KKK has very little power. It doesn't do very much anymore, and even in this rally, it appears that there were only a few members present. The truth is that the Klan only has power because we provide it by paying attention to its actions. The group is like a grease fire: The more water you put on it, the more it grows. If you starve the fire of oxygen, though, it eventually dies out. The Klan must be starved of attention, and then it will go away. It only remains relevant because we allow it to.

2) The KKK distracts us from real racism: While Ole Miss can proudly brag about how it ran the KKK off campus, school administrators haven't dealt with the fact that the university doesn't hire very many African American professors and doesn't graduate black athletes at a high rate. But it is not alone in its campus segregation. According to a survey we conducted on YourBlackWorld, more than one-third of black college students have never had a black professor, and more than 60 percent of them have only had one. That should embarrass our universities and be the source of absolute outrage among African American students. Rather than fighting against Klan members they will probably never see again, Ole Miss students should focus on dealing with their professors. Also, we are allowing the campus to brag about something that is not worth bragging about. For campus administrators to fight against the KKK and simultaneously support systemic racism via the lack of campus diversity is like saying, "I am completely against rape, but I plan to molest you every single day."

3) The KKK has freedom of speech just like everyone else: Whether we like it or not, the KKK has liberties. As long as it is not encouraging people to kill African Americans, it is protected by the Constitution. I want to protect the Klan's right to speak, because that also gives me the right to speak. The last thing we want is to live in a country where the government decides whose opinions should be heard. The Klan has a right to exist.

I don't support the KKK, but I also have major problems with Ole Miss. The university was built on a foundation of racism, and it is not being very progressive in terms of fighting it. In order for us to combat racism in America, we must be intelligent about our targets. The KKK should not be a meaningful part of that dialogue.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University.

Usher's Raymond Vs. Raymond Pushed Back

First it was set for early 2010, then it was bumped up to December 21, and now it's "TBD." The release of Usher's next album, Raymond vs. Raymond, has been delayed because "We believe that the album is so strong that we want to give it the opportunity to have the proper setup before coming out," a rep for the singer told MTV News.

Producer Bryan Michael Cox spoke with MTV News recently about his work on the upcoming album, promising a deeply personal project from Usher.

"I think Usher is in a place where he really wants to express what's going on in his life, as any artist would," Cox said, referring to Usher's divorce from Tameka Foster-Raymond. "All the greats did it. Marvin Gaye did Here, My Dear. All the greats express where they are personally."

Cox said the album will tell the stories everyone wants to hear, especially since Usher is back on the single scene.

"I think [the new album] is where we are going to see Usher as an artist. I'm very curious to hear what the rest of the album is going to sound like," Cox said about Raymond vs. Raymond. "Our records are definitely in that lane of touching on what's going on in his life, so we are going to see what's going to happen. I'm very excited about the album. I think he has a lot to say." It'll just be a little while before he know exactly what.

Hundreds Mourn Teen Allegedly Slain by Father

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (AP) — An impromptu memorial of artificial flowers and dozens of stuffed animals remained Monday near strands of yellow crime-scene tape in a vacant lot where relatives say 15-year-old Jamar Pinkney Jr.'s father shot him in the head while he begged for mercy.

The lot is next to the two-story brick home where Jamar lived with his mother in the impoverished Detroit enclave of Highland Park, a once-prosperous city of 16,000, where decay, abandonment, fires and demolition have eaten away at the community.

Around the neighborhood, Jamar was remembered as a humble and generous boy who grew up tossing the football and worried about keep his grades up. Since his death a week ago, friends, family and the community have struggled with making sense of his slaying and his father's arrest.

Relatives say Jamar's father, Jamar Pinkney Sr., was irate over allegations that his son had sexual contact with a 3-year-old girl and made him strip at gunpoint, marched him to the lot and shot him as he begged for his life. Prosecutors have charged him with first-degree murder and jailed him without bond.

Police say the sexual misconduct accusation isn't part of the their investigation, and for many who knew Jamar, that allegation hasn't tempered the grief and outrage that another young life has been cut short.

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Blackwater’s Secret War in Pakistan: Jeremy Scahill Reveals Private Military Firm Operating in Pakistan Under Covert Assassination and Kidnapping Prog

In an explosive new article in The Nation magazine, investigative journalist and Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill reveals the private military firm Blackwater is part of a covert program in Pakistan that includes planning the assassination and kidnapping of Taliban and Al-Qaeda suspects. Blackwater is also said to be involved in a previously undisclosed U.S. military drone campaign that has killed scores of people inside Pakistan. The article says the program has become so secretive that top Obama administration and military officials have likely been unaware of its existence. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, Scahill joins us for his first interview since the story broke.

For our first segment we turn to an explosive new story about the private military firm Blackwater.

Writing in the the Nation magazine, independent journalist Jeremy Scahill has revealed Blackwater is secretly operating in Pakistan under a covert program that includes planning the assassination and kidnapping of Taliban and Al-Qaeda suspects. Blackwater is also said to be involved in a previously undisclosed U.S. military drone campaign that has killed scores of people inside Pakistan.

Blackwater operatives have been working under a covert program run by the Joint Special Operations Command—the military’s top covert operations force. The previously undisclosed JSOC operations would mark the first known confirmation of U.S. military activity inside Pakistan. A military intelligence source said Blackwater operatives are effectively running the drone bombings for both JSOC and the CIA. The CIA drone program is already public knowledge. But the military source says some of the deadliest drone attacks attributed to the CIA were actually carried out by JSOC.

The article also reveals Blackwater operatives have taken part in ground operations with Pakistani forces under a subcontract with a local security firm. The operations have included house raids and border interdictions in northwest Pakistan and other areas. Blackwater has also been given responsibility for planning JSOC operations in Uzbekistan.

The Nation reports the program has become so secretive that top Obama administration and military officials have likely been unaware of its existence.

Independent journalist and Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill broke this story for the Nation magazine. He joins us from New York for his first television interview since the article’s publication last night.

Jeremy Scahill, independent journalist, Democracy Now correspondent, and author of “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” His latest piece for the Nation magazine is “Blackwater’s Secret War in Pakistan.”

Ampatuans on Maguindanao Massacre

What happened last Monday (November 23) with the Mangudadatu clan and some members of the tri-media was really cruel, gruesome and horrible. Tagged as the “Maguindanao Massacre,” this incident maybe consider as the most violent election related crime of all time. What more condemning about this issue are the journalists who became victims of these evil and rude politicians. Their eagerness to stay in power showed their cruelty that they will wipe out those who will come and run against them.

The Ampatuans, one of PGMA allies, are allegedly behind this brutal massacre. Evidences like the backhow seen in the crime scene is said to be under the custody of the provincial government. The conversation between the victims and their relatives relaying the message that they have been abducted plus those who escaped the said massacre are pointing to the Ampatuans.

Are the Ampatuans really untouchables? Reports said that this clan helped PGMA win in the 2004 thru the alleged cheating. Is this the reason why PGMA and her police and military men’s actions are kind of shallow in handling the case? Why this government always portrays the difference of the powerful and powerless? I’m sure if the suspects are ordinary individuals they will order to attack and ransack its houses and hide outs.

With the Ampatuans being alleged as the mastermind of this gruesome” Maguindanao Massacre,” may the Commission on Election (COMELEC) disregard and reject any Certificate of Candidacy that will be filed by any Ampatuan until the case is resolved. That this goes the same with those politicians who will be involved in any election related crime. This procedure will enable the police and military men and even the government to finish the investigation the soonest possible time.

State of Emergency
PGMA to go after the Ampatuans
Death toll rises to 46

Pray Not For The Buffaloes

Gadhimai Festival

By R.G. Lewis
Over the next day Hindu’s in Nepal will attend a sacrificial festival to the goddess Gahimai. Up to a half-million animals will be sacrificed to Gadimai who is to believed to grant devotees blessings, healing and power. This festival wouldn’t draw much attention if it wasn’t for animal rights protest. Bridget Bardo, writing to the president of Nepal, states "Thousands of terrified buffaloes will have their heads cut off by drunken devotees."

You’d think that in a land of vegetarian’s that this type of festival would be unpopular, yet, according to the Times of India, 75 percent of the 5 million devotees will be from India. Hinduism is not a monolithic religion and with 300 million deities the only similarity in their worldview belief is an underlying superstition and myth.

Animal sacrifice has been around since the days of Cain. Muslims sacrifice sheep and goats every year at Eid Al Adha, to mark the end the 30 day fast of Ramadan. There was a time when our forefathers were involved in such sacrifices. How many goats were slaughtered at Passover? While I don’t condone the Gahimai fesitival, I give my Hindu friends a pass as they live in a world where there are few opportunities to hear about the final sacrifice secured 2,000 years ago at another sacrificial spot called Golgatha.

If one is really concerned about the buffalo in Nepal, may I suggest that they pray and support those of us who work and equip the people in that part of the world, 87% who do not personally know a Christian.

FDIC: Number of troubled banks rises to 552

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The number of distressed banks in the U.S. rose to the highest level in sixteen years, according to a report released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Tuesday. The FDIC said that the number of troubled banks rose to 552 at the end of September from 416 at the end of June and 305 at the end of March. This is the largest number of banks on its "problem list" since the end of 1993. Banks insured by the FDIC swung to a total quarterly profit of $2.8 billion, more than three times the $879 million they earned during the same period last year and significantly better than their combined $4.3 billion net loss in the second quarter of 2009. The FDIC reported that its Deposit Insurance Fund swung to an $8.2 billion loss, which the agency hopes will be made up by advance payments of $45 billion in fees.


Friend or Foe? Choosing the Best Strategy for Working with the Press

By Richard A. Lee

In the few years that have passed since I taught public relations at the college level, the business has changed significantly, largely due to the continued growth of the internet and social networks. However, the greatest change in the industry may not have been a technological one but a fundamental shift in the relationship between the news media and the people and organizations they cover.

As a public relations instructor, I stressed the value of building a strong, working relationship with the press. Whether it was writing press releases, planning news conferences or answering questions from reporters, I taught my students that the best way to garner positive coverage for their clients was to be honest, accessible and cooperative.

Lately, however, I sense that the dynamic has changed.

On the national level, Sarah Palin rarely gets through a speech or an interview without chastising the media – and she’s drawing record crowds to her public appearances while her book is on top of the best seller lists. And it’s not just conservatives who have been taking aim at the Fourth Estate. The Obama Administration has been extremely vocal in its criticism of Fox News and has even boycotted the network at times in an effort to alter the tone of the coverage and fire up the President’s supporters.

So would national figures such as Barack Obama and Sarah Palin receive failing marks were they to take my Public Relations 101 course? Poor grades might have been justified four or five years ago, but I have to admit treating the press with disdain has its advantages today.

For starters, public opinion of the news media is at a low point. According to the PEW Project for Excellence in Journalism, public opinion on accuracy, morality, professionalism and bias in the press is lower today than it was a generation ago. And an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted earlier this year found that only eight percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in national news media -- and 18 percent have no confidence at all.

Secondly, since public opinion of the media is so poor, the press makes a perfect scapegoat for politicians who are unable or unwilling to address the many serious and complex problems confronting our nation, our states and our communities today. Why not blame the press for fueling partisanship and polarization -- or for focusing on motor vehicle infractions, infidelity and other transgressions instead of substantive issues (even when it often is politicians and their campaigns – not the media – driving these stories)?

Lastly, why should public figures bother to court the press and build relationships today when it is so easy to bypass traditional media outlets and deliver information directly to the public through the Internet and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? Their messages can arrive in the inboxes of constituents just as they intended it – without the editing and scrutiny of the press.

This trend in media and government relations comes to mind as a new gubernatorial administration is preparing to take office in New Jersey. Governor-elect Chris Christie and his transition team have begun the process of building their administration, and much time will be spent on structuring the executive branch. For the new Governor’s press office, this means making decisions such as who will serve as the chief executive’s spokesperson, who will write his speeches, and how many deputy and assistant press secretaries will be needed.

But a more important decision may be what type of attitude the new Governor and his administration take toward the media. Is it still important to build a strong, cooperative relationship with the press? Or do the advantages of using the press as a foil outweigh the benefits of developing a good rapport with the media?

The answer is not as simple as it was a few years ago, but New Jersey’s recently completed gubernatorial election suggests that taking on the media can be an effective strategy. During the campaign, Christie showed that he wasn’t shy about criticizing reporters and news organizations when he felt he was being treated unfairly – and now he’s the one preparing to move into the State House.

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Richard A. Lee is Communications Director of the Hall Institute of Public Policy – New Jersey. A former journalist and Deputy Communications Director for the Governor, he also teaches courses in media and government at Rutgers University, where he is completing work on a Ph.D. in media studies.

It’s Over, but Jon’s Not Gone

Those hoping the final episode of “Jon & Kate Plus 8” meant “goodbye, Jon Gosselin!” might be disappointed. Sure, after four seasons of cute-kid hi-jinks and one uncomfortable season of grown-up domestic discord, the TLC reality show bearing his name ended Monday night. But don’t be fooled. The father of eight still has plenty of headline-grabbing unfinished business with his former network ahead of him.

The problem is that pesky breach of contract suit against Gosselin, the one in which TLC claims he took on unauthorized television work while under an exclusive agreement with the network. It seems every few days there’s a new twist or turn, and it hasn’t even gone to trial yet.

The latest development, according to gossip site Radar Online, is the discovery of taped business talk that could be a boon for TLC’s case. The recorded phone conversation between Gosselin’s manager, Michael Heller, and former BFF Michael Lohan allegedly reveals the reality dad’s out-of-bounds deals and just how much of a cut his pals would have made.

Adam Lambert's gay kiss on stage gets 1,500 complaints

American Idol star Adam Lambert's performance at Sunday's American Music Awards has prompted more than 1,500 complaints by viewers.

During the closing act, the openly gay singer simulated sex on stage with a back-up dancer and kissed a male musician on the mouth.

Lambert told US network CNN that the kiss was "in the moment".

ABC said the number of complaints was "moderate". The show's producers have declined to comment.

Lambert, who performed his debut single For Your Entertainment, said that if people had been upset by his performance that it is a "form of discrimination and it's too bad".

He added: "I had fun, my dancers had fun, the audience that was in the Nokia [Theatre] had fun.

"Anybody else who was watching it and enjoying it, thank you for being entertained."


The Parents Television Council (PTC), a media pressure group which campaigns against "indecent" content on US television, posted a statement on its website calling the show "tasteless" and "vulgar".

President Timothy Winter said members were "outraged".

He added: "They just can't believe the nature of the content, the explicit nature, and how much graphic content there was."

Lambert's kiss recalled the MTV Video Music Awards moment in 2003 when Madonna and Britney Spears briefly kissed on stage.

And in 2004, Janet Jackson exposed her right breast during the Super Bowl half-time show.

The "wardrobe malfunction" prompted more than 500,000 complaints.

SC legislators begin Sanford impeachment hearings

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Legislators irked for months over Gov. Mark Sanford's summertime vanishing act and his tearful revelation that he was in Argentina for a rendezvous with his lover plan to start debating a measure Tuesday that ultimately would remove him from office.

The Republican does face new ethics charges about his travel and campaign finances. But the seven lawmakers who comprise a panel of the House Judiciary Committee that will debate impeachment are focused solely this week on his five-day absence in June and failure to put someone in charge of the state while he was gone.

The four Republicans who co-sponsored the measure contend he was derelict in his duty and wrong to mislead staffers into thinking he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

The measure says in part that Sanford's "conduct under these circumstances has brought extreme dishonor and shame to the Office of the Governor of South Carolina and to the reputation of the State of South Carolina." It continues that it has caused the office and state "to suffer ridicule resulting in extreme shame and disgrace."

The panel of three Democrats and four Republicans includes Chairman Jim Harrison. The Columbia Republican said Monday that later meetings will consider the 37 civil charges Sanford is facing following a three-month State Ethics Commission probe. Among other violations, Sanford is accused of using taxpayer money for high-priced airplane tickets that took him around the world and to Argentina.

Lawyers representing Sanford said in a legal briefing delivered Monday that the governor hasn't done anything that rises to the standard of impeachment.

"Impeaching a sitting governor is a seldom used and serious legal action that many have termed 'the political equivalent to capital punishment.' It is reserved for situations in which no lesser response or reprimand will do," said the document from the attorneys.

The lawyers include Ross Garber, who represented former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland in 2004 when that politican's ouster was considered. Rowland ultimately resigned, pleaded guilty to a corruption charge and went to prison.

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Stork Craft Recalls 2.1 Million Cribs in Largest Crib Recall Ever

A couple of years ago, it seemed like toy recalls were being announced daily for choking or lead poisoning hazards. This holiday season, parents are being hit with major baby gear recalls. First Maclaren issued a voluntary notification that its hinges could hurt small fingers if a child's hands were holding on to the sides of a stroller during the opening or closing of it. Today, the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) is issuing another statement regarding faulty baby equipment.

Canadian crib maker Stork Craft is set to recall more than 2.1 million drop-side cribs. If the drop-side becomes broken or detaches, it can cause children to fall out of the crib or suffocate. In a statement issued by CPSC and Health Canada:

The CPSC urges parents and caregivers to immediately stop using the recalled cribs, wait for the free repair kit, and do not attempt to fix the cribs without the kit. They should find an alternative, safe sleeping environment for their baby. Consumers should contact Stork Craft to receive a free repair kit that converts the drop-side on these cribs to a fixed side.

Major retailers in the United States and Canada sold the recalled cribs including BJ’s Wholesale Club, J.C. Penney, Kmart, Meijer, Sears, USA Baby, and Wal-Mart stores and online at Amazon.com, Babiesrus.com, Costco.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com from January 1993 through October 2009 for between $100 and $400.

Vince Young and Bernard Pollard Make Nice

The pleasant conversation going on in the video happened just after Vince Young was stopped by Bernard Pollard behind the line of scrimmage on a third down play, right before Rob Bironas put the Tennessee Titans ahead 17-14 in the third quarter. Evidently, Pollard and Young were exchanging Thanksgiving recipes, because it looks like Young was saying “cooks like this.” Although, it could’ve been something different. Maybe a “f**k you, bitch,” but then again, these are grown men we are talking about and we all know grown, professional athletes just don’t stoop to the levels of verbal abuse.

In other news, I wonder if Young’s colorful response offended Pollard the way his previous head coach, Todd Haley, did.

While Pollard did indeed bring his “A” game, it was Young who got the last laugh as the Titans won a second half battle of field goals, 20-17. In other news, Vince Young = win. Any questions?

Notre Dame Quaterback Jimmy Clausen Sucker Punched While Leaving Restaurant

Ah sports fans… nothing like them. They don’t only watch the games, the live the games. Some live them harder than others. Case in point, a crazed fan who sucker punched Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen just hours after their loss to UConn. Clausen was apparently dinning with his parents at a South Bend bar named C.J.’s. As he was getting ready to leave, he was suddenly sucker punched by a man. Jimmy didn’t press charges, but he got a black eye. I”m guessing that random fan lost some bet money.

Yup, getting sucker punched is no fun. Just ask this guy:

Remarks by the President on STEM

by DarkSyde

Making good on remarks made last April before the National Academy of Sciences, President Obama officially launched an "Educate to Innovate" campaign to engage and improve the performance of America’s students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Flanked by science and policy officials including astronaut Sally Ride, the President noted that many of our problems are at root scientific, and spoke of a new, comprehensive series of STEM programs to address them:

The key to meeting these challenges – improving our health and well being, harnessing clean energy, protecting our security, and succeeding in the global economy – will be reaffirming and strengthening America’s role as the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation. And that leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today, especially in those fields that hold the promise of producing future innovations and innovators ... [Full text below]

The President concluded with:

Gov. Mark Sanford Faces Multiple Ethics Charges

This should not come as a surprise. Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) is facing 37 ethics violations charges stemming from his conduct.
A series of Associated Press investigations into his travel showed the governor had for years used state airplanes for political and personal trips, flown in pricey commercial airline seats despite a low-cost travel requirement and failed to disclose trips on planes owned by friends and donors.

The State of Columbia newspaper also questioned whether Sanford properly reimbursed himself from his campaign cash.

The ethics commission conducted a three-month probe into the allegations, details of which have been awaited anxiously by legislators contemplating whether to force Sanford from office in January a year before his term-limited tenure expires.

The panel announced last week that Sanford would face "several" charges but did not reveal the specifics until Monday.

The governor's lawyers last week characterized the accusations as minor and technical and predicted Sanford would face no criminal repercussions.

The attorneys also said they looked forward to mounting a defense against the charges when the ethics panel holds a hearing into them early next year. They also confirmed that Sanford — as the state investigation was being conducted — added disclosures of his private plane flights to his ethics forms

President Obama Capitulates to Gen. McChrystal, Will Send 34,000 to Afghanistan

This is not good. President Obama met Monday evening with his national security team to finalize a plan to send 34,000 additional U.S. troops next year to what he’s called “a war of necessity” in Afghanistan U.S. officials told McClatchy News.

Obama is expected to announce his long-awaited decision on Dec. 1, followed by meetings on Capitol Hill aimed at winning congressional support amid opposition by some Democrats who are worried about the strain on the U.S. Treasury and whether Afghanistan has become a quagmire, the officials said.

The U.S. officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly and because, one official said, the White House is incensed by leaks on its Afghanistan policy that didn’t originate in the White House.

Gen. Stan McChrystal, could arrive in Washington as early as Sunday to participate in the rollout of the new plan, including testifying before Congress toward the end of next week.