Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Griner dunks, No. 8 Baylor routs Jacksonville State

Becomes 7th woman to dunk in a college game

- For Baylor freshman sensation Brittney Griner, it was just another dunk. Something she is used to doing.

Except for an audible "Yes!" when she finally slammed one down for the eighth-ranked Lady Bears, the 6-foot-8 Griner was pretty nonchalant when she became only the seventh woman to dunk in a college game with a one-handed slam Tuesday night in a 104-45 victory over Jacksonville State.

"Sometimes I'll dunk, I get pumped up. Sometimes I really don't feel the dunk. I'm real particular on my dunks," said Griner, who dunked routinely in high school. "If I slammed it two-handed, I probably would have gotten more riled up. ... I got more excited on the blocks."

But this was the first dunk by a collegiate female since Tennessee's Candace Parker on Feb. 3, 2008, against Kentucky. Parker had a record seven dunks in her college career, and is the only woman with two in a game — a mark that Griner appeared to have chances to match though she didn't get a chance to attempt any more.

Griner missed one-handed dunk attempts in each of Baylor's previous two games. This time, she converted on a set play about 5 minutes into the game, getting a lob pass from Kelli Griffin and slamming it home to put the Lady Bears (3-1) ahead 17-3.

Black kids told to pick cotton

Parents, teachers and the NAACP are up in arms after a group of Black Children were told to play the role of slave in front of their White classmates.

Parents, teachers and the NAACP are up in arms after a group of Black Children were told to play the role of slave in front of their White classmates. 

During a field trip to Latta Plantation earlier this month, a historian told Black students from a Rea View Elementary school were made to pick cotton. Ian Campbell, a Black historian who has in the business for more than 15 years, defended his action by saying he wanted to give the kids a hands-on lesson about the Civil War.

“I am very enthusiastic about getting kids to think about how people did things in 1860, 1861 -- even before that period," he told WSOC-TV. "I was trying to be historically correct not politically correct."

One parent said Ian picked three Black children out of a mostly White class and had them put cotton collection bags around their necks during the demonstration. While Ian said he was merely trying to be as realistic in his lesson as possible, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg chapter of the NAACP feels he took it way too far.

"There is a lingering pain, a lingering bitterness, a lingering insecurity and a lingering sense of inhumanity since slavery,” said Chapter President Kojp Nantambu. “Because that's still there, you want to be more sensitive than politically correct or historically correct."

For now it seems that Ian was the only one who learned a lesson from this controversial tour. 

"I'm going to start asking for volunteers instead of calling people from the audience,” he said. “I think that would make it a lot easier that way if someone is afraid of public speaking or getting up in front of peers it wouldn't embarrass them."

However, the Kojo still wants him to strive for equality, suggesting, "Even if the black children had volunteered, I probably would have tried to use all of the children. That would have made all the children feel equal in the experience."

Lambert says he got carried away, but not sorry

NEW YORK — Adam Lambert admits he got carried away with his sexually charged American Music Awards performance, but he's offering no apology.

The glam rocker from "American Idol" said on "The Early Show" that his performance would not have caused as much controversy if he weren't openly gay. He also said there were other "adult" moments on the show that caused no outrage.

"I admit I did get carried away, but I don't see anything wrong with it," he said Wednesday. "I do see how people got offended and that was not my intention. My intention was to interpret the lyrics of my song and have a good time with it."

Lambert kissed a male keyboard player, dragged a female dancer around by the ankles and had a dancer simulate oral sex on him while performing "For Your Entertainment," a song with a sexual edge. ABC received many complaints about the performance and that network's morning show, "Good Morning America," canceled Lambert's scheduled appearance on Wednesday because it said it couldn't trust what he would do.

The Full Story
"The Early Show" on CBS, perennially third in a three-network morning show race, happily gave him a platform and milked it — interviewing him, having him interact with fans and asking him to sing. One of the show's hosts, Harry Smith, tied the flap to rock history, noting that camera operators were only allowed to shoot Elvis Presley from the waist up during a network TV appearance generations ago.

Israel 'to halt settlement growth'

Israel's prime minister is expected to announce a 10-month halt to the construction of new settlement houses in the occupied West Bank.

Binyamin Netanyahu was due to hold a news conference on Wednesday evening, after Israeli officials said that the proposal had been approved by the security cabinet.

However, the proposal excludes areas of the West Bank that Israel has annexed to its Jerusalem municipality since occupying the territory in the 1967 Middle East war and building projects already under way.

Netanyahu reportedly told the cabinet: "It's not a simple step, not easy. But it has far more advantages than disadvantages.

"It allows us to present before the world a simple truth: The Israeli government wants to enter negotiations with the Palestinians, is taking practical steps to enter negotiations and is very serious about its intentions to promote peace."

Limited freeze

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland, reporting from Jersualem, said that the freeze would only apply to "new residential permits and new residential starts".

"We are only talking about housing here. This freeze applies to public buildings such as schools or police stations or whatever, and it also means any existing building permits that have been granted they will go ahead," she said.

The Full Story

Roman Polanski Granted Bail

A Swiss court ruled on Wednesday that Roman Polanski can be freed on bail.

The court set bail at $4.5 million, according to the Associated Press, and stipulated that he must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and stay at his Swiss chalet under house arrest.

The AP reports that the court said in its decision, "The 76-year-old appellant is married and the father of two minors. It can be assumed that as a responsible father he will, especially in view of his advanced age, attach greater importance to the financial security of his family than a younger person."

Polanski has not been released however, pending a possible appeal by the Swiss government, which has 10 days to decide whether it will fight the bail decision.

Polanski was arrested on September 26 in Zurich and the U.S. government is attempting to extradite the Oscar-winning director. Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse after having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. He later fled the U.S. and has lived abroad as a fugitive sought by U.S. authorities since.

Bill O’Reilly Has A Twin! (Video)

The Bill O’Reilly Show on Fox News got a lot more interesting yesterday (November 24) when Sesame Street livened things up a bit. Spill O’Reilly is the new guy over on the Pox News Network and he already has a great following!

Bill and company seemed to enjoy the spoof and I think everyone got some good laughs, including me.

Watch the video after the jump,

Hillary 2012: A Vice Presidential Odyssey

The latest rumor coming out of Washington suggests that Hillary Clinton is in running to take the VP slot in the 2012, displacing Joe Biden and setting her up for another Presidential run in 2016.

While it's being billed as a "reward" for her work at the State Department, one wonders if it isn't because moving Hillary Clinton's get-it-done attitude wouldn't be helpful on the Senate floor.

Michael Hirsh, writing obnoxiously for Newsweek, thinks that Obama is going about foreign policy all wrong, and that only Secretary Clinton can fix the problem. Well, she could, if only she could let go of one certain pet issue (emphasis mine):

The one hope for forward movement on all these issues may be to rethink them entirely-not just the strategy but the personnel, too. That's not to say Holbrooke, Mitchell, and Co. should go, but their efforts should be subordinated to higher-level engagement, especially from Clinton. The secretary of state must play a much more active role on a regular basis; only Clinton, apart from Obama himself, has the necessary political star power, acumen, and gravitas to make a difference. It's clear that she can no longer afford to allow herself to remain at a strategic distance or to be sidetracked on women's issues, only occasionally parachuting in for ill-briefed appearances as she did in the Mideast.
Silly ladies! Don't we know that the real work of stabilizing a country by empowering a disenfranchised segment of the population will have to wait until we've sufficiently rattled sabres and swung dicks around?

Of course, Hirsh has a recommendation on exactly how to accomplish said dick-swinging:

For example, with additional troops likely to be deployed to Afghanistan soon, it may be wise to seek to negotiate with the Taliban, which we are not doing. At the same time it may be better policy not to negotiate with Tehran, as we are now doing. The West should consider new ways to isolate the discredited regime in Iran and find fresh methods of encouraging the still-insurgent election dissidents.

On the Mideast, perhaps we should drop all pretense of addressing final-status issues that are clearly irresolvable at present and look instead for a long-term interim arrangement[.]
However, Hillary Clinton will not be so easily dissuaded from looking at a different way to promote international peace ad equality.

"Women are key to our being able to resolve all of those difficult conflicts," Mrs. Clinton said in a speech in August. Since then, she has pursued initiatives to help women gain political power, personal safety and enough money to help their communities and countries improve economically and transition to democracy.

"There is nothing that has been more important to me over the course of my lifetime than advancing the rights of women and girls," she said in a Washington speech Nov. 6. "And it is now a cornerstone of American foreign policy."

By elevating the plight of women so publicly, Mrs. Clinton has breathed new life into women's issues on Capitol Hill. Senator John Kerry and Representative William Delahunt, Massachusetts Democrats, are expected soon to introduce legislation to make permanent the ambassadorship Ms. Verveer now holds.

Their measure would also direct the administration to create a five-year strategy that reduces assaults against women and girls in at least 10 nations and creates ways to judge the effectiveness of U.S. aid in advancing the goal.
Clinton would be an asset in either position, so the question is clear: where does she want to be in 2016?

Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience

Posted by Rev. Robert Sirico

Last week, I joined a group of Christian leaders in Washington to announce the publication of the Manhattan Declaration. This is a landmark document signed by Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant leaders who joined together to “reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them.” These truths are the sanctity of human life, the definition of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and the rights of conscience and religious liberty.

The Manhattan Declaration’s statement on religious liberty is, of course, something that fits perfectly with the core principles of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. Here is a key passage:

The struggle for religious liberty across the centuries has been long and arduous, but it is not a novel idea or recent development. The nature of religious liberty is grounded in the character of God Himself, the God who is most fully known in the life and work of Jesus Christ. Determined to follow Jesus faithfully in life and death, the early Christians appealed to the manner in which the Incarnation had taken place: “Did God send Christ, as some suppose, as a tyrant brandishing fear and terror? Not so, but in gentleness and meekness…, for compulsion is no attribute of God” (Epistle to Diognetus 7.3-4). Thus the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the example of Christ Himself and in the very dignity of the human person created in the image of God - a dignity, as our founders proclaimed, inherent in every human, and knowable by all in the exercise of right reason.

Christians confess that God alone is Lord of the conscience. Immunity from religious coercion is the cornerstone of an unconstrained conscience. No one should be compelled to embrace any religion against his will, nor should persons of faith be forbidden to worship God according to the dictates of conscience or to express freely and publicly their deeply held religious convictions. What is true for individuals applies to religious communities as well.

The rationale for this statement is simple and powerful. Though historically many Christians have had differences related to doctrine, we feel we must come together, make common cause, to affirm our right — and more importantly to fulfill our obligation — to defend principles of justice and the common good that are now under assault. As the Manhattan Declaration states: “We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but we will under no circumstances render to Caesar what is God’s.”

The drafting committee for this statement included Robert George, Professor, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University; Timothy George, Professor, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University; and Chuck Colson, Founder, The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview in Lansdowne, Va. Go here to see a list of the initial signers. When I last checked, some 87,000 people had signed since Friday.

Those of us involved in this important project invite other Christians to advocate for these foundational biblical and rational principles and to stand in solidarity with us by signing the Manhattan Declaration at

Again, the full text of the Manhattan Declaration is available for download here.

New Jersey Senate: Could Dobbs Challenge Menendez?

Former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs is reportedly considering a 2012 Senate run against Robert Menendez (D-NJ). According to the New York Times, a spokesman has confirmed the seriousness of such a consideration.

By Tuesday, Mr. Dobbs had apparently begun screening his calls: the phones rang off the hook at his Florida home. A spokesman played down the idea of a presidential race, but said Mr. Dobbs was taking seriously the idea of running against Mr. Menendez.

“I think Lou is realistically saying, that’s a long way off, but if he did run for office there’d have to be an intermediary step, such as the Menendez seat,” said the spokesman, Robert L. Dilenschneider. He said Mr. Dobbs was impressed by Republican gains in New Jersey in November and by President Obama’s sinking popularity.


Mr. Dobbs’s two biggest assets in a Senate race would be name recognition and his fortune. But it is less evident that he has a political base of support, even in Sussex County, where he lives, and where Republicans dominate every level of politics.

Richard Zeoli, a former Sussex Republican chairman who was just elected a county freeholder, said he did not know whether Mr. Dobbs would energize Republicans on a full range of issues or focus too much on a few subjects. “Beyond immigration, there’s a lot of things that party leaders would want to ask,” he said.

Virginia Littell, a former state Republican chairwoman, said Mr. Dobbs and his wife, Debi, had been only “peripherally involved” in the community. “I don’t even know anything about him politically,” she said. “I know he was a Republican and now he’s an independent. So, say he comes back to be a Republican. Is that really who he is?”

It’s unclear if Mr. Dobbs “would run as an independent or seek the nomination of the Republican Party, which he spurned in 2006, switching his registration to independent.”

(credit image – ny times)

Media Reports: Obama To Send 34,000 More Troops To Afghanistan

General McChrystal gave the President three options on Afghanistan: A low-risk plan requiring 80,000 more troops, a medium-risk plan requiring 40,000 more troops, and a high-risk plan requiring 20,000 more troops.

Obama has apparently, if these reports are accurate, opted to go between the high-risk and medium-risk plans with 34,000 more troops.

President Barack Obama met Monday evening with his national security team to finalize a plan to dispatch some 34,000 additional U.S. troops over the next year to what he’s called “a war of necessity” in Afghanistan, U.S. officials told McClatchy.

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.

As much as I believe in the mission in Afghanistan, and as much as I believe it would be a mistake to withdraw, I think I would rather see us pull our troops out and end the war then go forward at this point with Obama’s decision.

If we are going to commit our troops to the battlefield I think we need to be committed to winning. “Go big or go home.” Our commander in Afghanistan offered the President a low-risk solution to the war. Obama opted to undercut that solution for the sake of political expediency.

If that’s how Obama’s going to lead on the war, if he’s going to be more worried about political calculations and keeping up the appearance of standing by his campaign promises on Afghanistan than actually winning the war, then let’s give up. Let’s bring the troops home and stop the charade.

The blood of our soldiers, and to a much lesser degree our tax dollars, are too important to play these sorts of games with.

Obama Copenhagen-bound: Climate talks

by Jim Tankersley

President Barack Obama will attend the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen next month, according to a senior administration official, a sign of the president's increasing confidence that the talks will yield a meaningful agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The White House will also announce today that the United States will commit, in the talks, to reduce its emissions of the heat-trapping gases scientists blame for global warming "in the range of" 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, the official said. That's the target set out in the climate bill the House passed in June.

The president will address negotiators on Dec. 9, just after the opening of the two-week summit, on his way to pick up the Nobel Peace Prize in nearby Sweden. His speech will come ahead of planned visits by prominent heads of state from Europe and around the world, and before the talks are expected to reach their most frenzied pitch.

White House officials said the decision to attend came after productive climate discussions between Obama and the heads of China and India, two developing nations whose participation is seen as critical to any successful effort to avert catastrophic climate change.

Those discussions left the president optimistic that his presence in Copenhagen could seal a meaningful - though not legally binding - climate deal, meeting the standard that Obama previously set for his attendance at the summit, the officials said.

Environmentalists have pushed for Obama's attendance to add heft to the Copenhagen meeting, which was originally intended to produce a new climate deal to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Several nations key to the talks, including the United States and China, have conceded in recent weeks that negotiations have proceeded too slowly to produce a legally binding treaty in Copenhagen. Instead, those nations are now aiming for a sort of executive summary of a future treaty to be completed next year; that summary would nevertheless include critical issues such as emissions reduction pledges for individual nations.

Obama has stressed the importance of the talks. In public speeches and private meetings with world leaders, he has repeatedly pledged U.S. action to curb global warming, in contrast to eight years of reluctance under the Bush Administration.

But he wavered on whether to attend in person, even as leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown committed to go.

Obama's attendance carries political risks at home, where his energy and climate bill has bogged down in the Senate behind health care, and where critics figure to pounce if he fails to lead the world to a climate agreement. Republicans in particular are mindful of Obama's trip to Copenhagen earlier this year, when he lobbied unsuccessfully for Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.

His absence at the talks could have brought serious repercussions abroad, where many nations are already blaming the dim prospects for a legally binding treaty in Copenhagen on the United States' failure to adopt emissions limits.