Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Today's News NJ Book Of The Month Dr. Randal Pinkett New Book Campus CEO

The Student Entrepreneur's Guide to Launching a Multi-Million-Dollar Business (Paperback)

Dr. Randal Pinkett has established himself as an entrepreneur, speaker, author, scholar and community servant. He is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, a multimillion dollar management, technology and policy consulting firm based in Newark, NJ. BCT Partners works with corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations in the areas of housing and community development, economic development, human services, government, healthcare and education. A partial list of BCT's clients includes: Johnson & Johnson, Ford Foundation, Pfizer, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Hewlett-Packard, Annie E. Casey Foundation and Microsoft.

Prior to founding BCT Partners, Dr. Pinkett obtained corporate experience as a Member of Technical Staff at General Electric, AT&T Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies. A "serial entrepreneur", he also previously launched four socially responsible business ventures. First, Dr. Pinkett co-founded MBS Enterprises, selling compact discs and cassette tapes out of his dormitory in college and using the proceeds to fund high school outreach activities. MBS later evolved into his second venture, MBS Educational Services & Training, a firm committed to providing the highest caliber training and development for emerging and seasoned professionals. MBS's past clients include General Motors, the United Negro College Fund, Exxon, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), Merck & Company, Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, Johnson & Johnson, PNC Bank, Citigroup and Corning Incorporated. Third, Dr. Pinkett co-founded the Inner City Consulting Group, a multi-disciplinary consulting firm that specialized in the unique needs of inner city communities. Fourth, in affiliation with One Economy, Dr. Pinkett co-founded Access One Corporation, with a mission to ensure that affordable housing was equipped for the 21st century by implementing innovative, sustainable, broadband network and telecommunications solutions. BCT Partners represents his fifth and latest business venture, whereas across all five of his companies and to this day, Dr. Pinkett has maintained a relationship as business partners with his close friends and college classmates, Mr. Lawrence Hibbert, BCT's Chief President; Mr. Dallas Grundy, former BCT Chief Operating Officer; and Dr. Jeffrey Robinson, Chair of BCT's Advisory Board and Professor at New York University (NYU).

Stocks giving up gains after weak home sale data

Stocks are giving up early gains Wednesday after a report showed sales of new homes unexpectedly fell last month.

The Commerce Department says new home sales fell 11.3 percent in November to their lowest level since March. The market had rallied a day earlier after sales of existing homes rose much faster than expected last month.

New home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 355,000, the lowest level since March. Economists had forecast sales would rise to 440,000.

The Dow Jones industrial average is down 13.46, or 0.1 percent, at 10,451.47. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down 0.50, or less than 0.1 percent at 1,117.52, while Nasdaq composite index is up 2.97, or 0.1 percent, at 2,255.64.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose modestly in early morning trading Wednesday on more signs consumers are spending again. Major indexes are up for the fourth straight day.

Overseas markets are rising as well, also boosted by prospects for economic growth. Major indexes in France and Germany both hit 2009 highs a day after the Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq composite index closed at their highs for the year.

The Commerce Department on Wednesday reported that consumers' income rose at the fastest rate in four months in November, allowing them to increase their spending for the second straight month. Consumer spending is critical for a rebound in the economy because it accounts for about 70 percent of all economic activity.

The government also said personal incomes rose 0.4 percent, helped by an increase in wages. Spending increased 0.5 percent last month.

The Full Story

Russian Cyber Gang Linked to Citigroup Hack, Tens of Millions Alleged Stolen

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Citigroup’s Citibank subsidiary was hacked over the summer, or even earlier, by cyber criminals thought to be part of a Russian gang associated with members of the hacking enterprise, Russian Business Network. According to government officials, the security breach may have resulted in the theft of tens of millions of dollars. The FBI is reportedly investigating the attack on Citigroup’s computer networks. And people familiar with the breach report that the same gang of hackers attacked at least two other entities, including a U.S. government agency. Citigroup officials are denying the cyber attack and the theft of millions.
The breach was first detected by the US government, and Citigroup reportedly joined forces with the FBI, the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to stop the hackers.

Joe Petro, managing director of Citigroup’s Security and Investigative services, said, “We had no breach of the system and there were no losses, no customer losses, no bank losses.” Petro also denied the reports that the FBI was investigating a theft at the bank. “Any allegation that the FBI is working a case at Citigroup involving tens of millions of losses is just not true.”

The FBI estimates that US losses attributed to online crime topped $260 million in the last year.

World’s Smallest Baby Almost Ready To Go Home

MOBILE, Alabama - The world's smallest baby will get to go home from the hospital soon. News

Oliviyanna Harbin-Page was born August 5th at USA Children's & Women's Hospital. At the time she weighed just 9.1 ounces (259 grams), one gram less than the previous record holder, a girl born in Illinois in 2004. To put that in perspective, Oliviyanna was about the size of a coke can.

“She’s very independent and high-spirited, like me,” her mother, Jamesha Harbin of Eight Mile, said. Oliviyanna is the smallest of a set of triplets born at 24 weeks. “It’s a miracle,” said Robert Page Jr. “Three beautiful girls, and I’m very proud to be their father.”

Oriyanna (1 lbs., 4 oz.) and Tayzanna (1 lbs., 5 oz.) have already gone home. Oliviyanna is expected to join them in a few weeks. All three babies are in good health.

“She has no specific risks for a bad outcome,” said Dr. Charles Hamm, professor of neonatal-perinatal medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. “Like all premature babies, her health will be fragile for the next couple of years and there is always some risk for long-term challenges.”

"The advances in treatment for premature babies are very encouraging," Dr. Becky DeVillier, USA Children's & Women's Hospital administrator, said. "We're thrilled for this family and their new additions, and we’re happy to have played a role in this miracle story."

US professor among 5 sentenced to die in Ethiopia

An Ethiopian court sentenced five people to death — including an Ethiopian professor teaching at a U.S. university — and 33 to life in prison Tuesday for being members of a terror group and conspiring to assassinate government officials.

Those convicted have been accused of being members of the Ginbot 7 — May 15 in the Ethiopian calendar — which refers to Ethiopia's election day in 2005 when postelection violence killed close to 200 people.

Among those sentenced to death was Berhanu Nega, an exiled opposition leader who was elected mayor of Addis Ababa in 2005. But Berhanu, currently an associate professor of economics at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, dismissed the legitimacy of the court and its sentence.

"This is what the government wanted in order to continue terrorizing the population, and there is nothing more to it than that," he said Tuesday. "For those of us who know this government, there is no surprise."

Three of the other five sentenced to death are also living in exile outside Ethiopia; one is in custody.

The prosecution asked the court to impose severe penalties because many of the accused were members of the army. Many of those convicted were expected to appeal.

All but two of the defendants in Ethiopian custody have proclaimed their innocence. Two defendants cooperated with the prosecution and were sentenced to 10 years.

Berhanu and more than 100 other opposition politicians were arrested after the 2005 election and put on trial for treason. Berhanu and others were pardoned and freed after 20 months, but the government last week revoked Berhanu's pardon — and that's when Berhanu knew that further action would be taken against him, he said Tuesday.

According to a Bucknell University article on Berhanu, the economics professor was a leader in the democratic opposition in Ethiopia after returning there in the mid-1990s. In 2005, he become the first elected mayor in Ethiopia's history with 75 percent of the vote, but the ruling party declared victory in races throughout the country.

"Thus ended the Ethiopian democratic experiment that had started with such high hopes, leaving the country in the darkness of totalitarian rule," Berhanu said during a talk on campus last year.

Berhanu was jailed after the election and released after 20 months in July 2007. Since his release, he has urged the U.S. and other Western countries to back democratic movements in Ethiopia and withdraw support for dictatorships.

Opposition politicians have for months been pointing to signs of increased oppression in Ethiopia, notably the harassment and arrest of thousands of their candidates in 2008's local elections that they believe allowed the ruling party to sweep the elections.

T.I. Released From Prison

“The king’s baaaaack!” Rap star Clifford “T.I.” Harris is home from the Big House just in time for the holidays. The “Live Your Life” star has been transferred from an Arkansas prison to a halfway house in his hometown of Atlanta, according to his attorney Steve Sadow.

Sadow said prisoners sentenced to 366 days are eligible for a 54-day sentence reduction for good behavior. Once Tip completes his time in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons in late March, he will still have to finish serving just under 500 hours of community service and about 23 days of home incarceration.

“He was released this morning from his place of incarceration in Arkansas,” Sadow said in an interview Tuesday.

“As I understand it, he’s on his way back to the Atlanta area. He has to report to a halfway house in Atlanta sometime this evening. And he will then spend somewhere between the next two or three months in a halfway house, ending his Buruea of Prison sentence,” Sadow continued. “A halfway house is more along the lines of a residential dormitory. You live within this house that is broken into areas for living, and you are permitted to leave during the day for certain reasons of which would be employment, medical reasons, things of that nature, and you return to the halfway house in the evening. So it’s a restriction on your liberty but it’s a way for you to reenter into society and not be confined within a jail type institution 24-hours a day.”

T.I. served approximately six months of a one year, one day sentence for weapons

Photo's: Chris Henry Memorial

It’s still hard to believe he’s gone, but a funeral has a way of sealing the deal. The Cincinnati Bengals and hundreds of others mourned Tuesday the sudden loss of receiver Chris Henry.

“It’s a bright story and one that didn’t get to get all the way to the end of it which is the most unfortunate part,” the coach said. “We’ll miss Chris’ sparkling smile.”

Seini, the daughter of Cincinati Bengals Player Chris Henry, walks up to his casket

Cincinati Bengals player Chad Ochocinco hugs Seattle Seahawks and ex-Bengal, T. J. Houshmandzadeh

Bobby Bowden 'Disappointed' About Leaving Florida State a Year Early

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Bobby Bowden said Tuesday that while he wanted to coach another year at Florida State, "that was out" as an option.

Bowden announced his retirement Dec. 1 -- a day after expressing a desire to coach in 2010 during a meeting with university officials.

"I wanted to, but that was out," he told The Associated Press as he motored his golf cart onto Florida State's practice field for the final time Tuesday. "I'm disappointed, but that wears off."

Jimbo Fisher will officially become FSU's new coach on Jan. 5.

Regardless of the unceremonial ending to his 34 years at Florida State, Bowden said he has no regrets or hard feelings.

"No regrets whatsoever with the whole picture, big picture," the 80-year-old coach said. "I look at it for the 56 years, not what happened last year or the last four years or five years."

After an unprecedented 14-year run of top five seasons that ended in 2000, Florida State (6-6) has lost six games in a season, three of the last four years. The Seminoles need a win Jan. 1 over West Virginia in the Gator Bowl to give Bowden a 33rd straight winning season.

"I wish I could've done better," said Bowden, whose 388 wins are second all-time to Penn State's Joe Paterno among major college coaches.

"You're never satisfied," Bowden later told writers waiting for him after Tuesday's practice. "I think that's one reason you stay in it as long as you do. I always think there's one more chance, one more chance to have the big year."

Besides preparing the Seminoles for their bowl date, Bowden has been cleaning out his memorabilia-filled office.

"I'm just fixing to start a new life," Bowden said. "At my age it's the direction I should be going. I've got to see what's out there for me.

"It's a change that comes to everybody if you're lucky enough to live long enough," said Bowden, who plans to focus his future efforts on young people.

And, he said he'll be keeping an eye on the Seminoles.

"I'll always pull for Florida State," Bowden said.

The BestPeoplePicsMichelle Obama Death Threat; Kristy Lee Roshia Threatens To Kill First Lady

Here’s one way for the neglected to get some attention during the holiday season. Threaten the life of Michelle Obama.

The Boston Globe reports that the Secret Service in Hawaii arrested Kristy Lee Roshia on Saturday after she called the agency’s Boston office to threaten the life of Michelle Obama. Roshia is a resident of New Bedford, Mass.

The Globe reported that she was charged with threatening to kill a member of President Obama’s family and assaulting a Secret Service agent after striking the agent while in custody.

The Globe reported, according to a Secret Service affidavit, that Roshia “has deluged the Boston office of the Secret Service with phone calls since 2004, when she told agents that she was an assassin whose mission was to kill the president.”

A Secret Service affidavit says over the years she made angry rambling calls to the Boston office, sometimes as many as 10 a day, the Globe reported.

Dead Mexican Marine’s Family Murdered — Possibly by Drug Traffickers

WASHINGTON — The ugly — and only getting uglier — side of the drug war in Mexico reared its head Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Times reported that gunmen killed at least three relatives of a Mexican marine, Melquisedec Angulo C√≥rdova. The Marine died in a raid last week that resulted in the death of one of Mexico’s top drug lords, Arturo Beltran Leyva.

The death of the drug lord had been hailed as a major victory by both Mexican and American authorities.

The paper, attributing the information to the Mexican station Televisa, said gunmen burst into the Marine’s family’s home in Tabasco shortly after midnight and killed his mother and two cousins. Other media reported that a sister was also killed.

The paper said authorities suspect drug traffickers might have been trying to send a message to the Mexican military.

For Full Story

American Airlines jet skids off Kingston runway - breaks in two

Details are still quite sketchy at the moment, but late last night, an American Airlines jet landed at Norman Manley airport in Kingston, Jamaica. It then skidded towards the end of the runway, and split in two.

Passengers reported that the plane made a large "bang", then never slowed down when it hit the tarmac, and that they actually saw the plane break in half. The plane ended up crossing a road, and came to rest on the beach.

An American Airlines spokesperson denies this, and says there are just some minor cracks. The photo on the right (from pretty much confirms the passengers statements, as it clearly shows two pieces of fuselage.

There are no fatalities, and only 40 minor injuries, which is a miracle, considering how devastating this accident could have been. The plane had origininated in Washington, and made a stop in Miami, before proceeding to Kingston.

Senate Still on Track to Pass Health Care Reform by Christmas

by Donny Shaw
The Senate this morning passed two more procedural hurdles on their health care bill and remain on track to pass the bill before Christmas.

Today’s votes were on passage of the manager’s amendment (.pdf), which contains the meat of the “deal” that won unanimous support for the bill among Democrats, and on ending a filibuster of the substitute amendment (as amended by the manager’s amendment), which is basically the underlying Senate health care bill. Both votes passed along party lines, with all 60 Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans that were present voting against. Sen. James Inhofe [R, OK] flew home early for Christmas and did not vote.

Under Senate rules, Republicans can (and are expected to) now require 30 more hours of debate before the Senate votes on passage of the substitute amendment, which means it will take place tomorrow at about 1 p.m. After that, there will be a vote on wrapping up debate of the bill itself (as amended by the substitute amendment as amended by the manager’s amendment). After that, Republicans could again hold debate of the bill open for 30 hours, but there is now some indication that Republican and Democratic leaders are working out a deal to allow a final vote on passage of the bill happen on Wednesday in order to avoid ice storms in the midwest that could hinder senators’ holiday travel plans. (UPDATE: the final vote has officially been scheduled for 8 a.m. on Christmas Eve).

Once the Senate passes their bill, Congress will break for the holidays and not come back until mid to late January. While they are away on recess though, a conference committee made up of committee leaders from the Senate and House will meet to reconcile the different House and Senate health care bills in to a final version that can must be approved again by both chambers. According to Christina Bellantoni at TPM, the final bill that comes out of conference committee is probably going to look a lot like the more conservative Senate bill and completely eschew many of the House bill’s main features, including the public option.

House Democrats believe they will secure additional health care reform votes from Blue Dog Democrats thanks to the Senate’s more conservative version of the legislation. And despite deep misgivings, the House Democratic leadership expects to lose few if any progressive Democratic votes over the demise of the public option, paving the way to get a final bill to President Obama’s desk by Feb. 1.

FBI reveals Michael Jackson death threat

A man threatened to kill Michael Jackson and his fans, a letter released by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) has revealed.
Frank Paul Jones claimed to be entitled to half of the ‘Thriller’ singer’s estate and when no one responded to his threats, he said he would target President George Bush Senior.
The letter said: “I’ll commit mass murder at a Michael Jackson concert if necessary, in an attempt to murder Michael, then you will have to deal with my situation in the public.”

A later letter stated: “I decided that because nobody is taking me serious that I am going to Washington to threaten to kill the President of the United States.
“Michael Jackson I will personally attempt to kill, if he doesn’t pay me my money.”
Other documents released by the FBI reveal that a special agent was sent on a trip to the Philippines to discuss allegations of sex abuse by teenage boys concerning the singer, who died of acute Propofol intoxication in June.
FBI agents also investigated similar accusations made by a teenager in the UK, who claimed that Jackson said he was touching himself during a phone call.
Around half of the classified FBI document concerning Michael has been released, although details of his death have been withheld as they are part of an ongoing investigation. – Source: BANG Showbiz

I guess Wacko Jacko would have moonwalked all over this guy and asking him “Do you wanna be starting something?”

Steven Tyler in rehab for painkiller addiction

Steven Tyler has entered a rehabilitation facility to treat an addiction to painkillers the Aerosmith frontman has taken to cope with 10 years of performance injuries.

Tyler said he's eager to return to work with his band mates.

"I love Aerosmith; I love performing as the lead singer in Aerosmith. I am grateful for all of the support and love I am receiving and am committed to getting things taken care of," the 61-year-old rocker said in a statement released Tuesday.

The band canceled a summer tour in August after Tyler fell off the stage during a performance in South Dakota and broke his left shoulder.

Dr. Brian McKeon, who is treating Tyler, said in a statement that orthopedic injuries over the past decade have left the singer with severe chronic pain that will require surgeries on his knees and feet.

Tyler checked into rehab last year to recover from several foot surgeries and physical therapy. Tyler said the procedures were to correct longtime foot injuries resulting from his physical performances with Aerosmith.

The singer for the blues-rock band was known for heavy drug and alcohol abuse in the 1970s and early 1980s, but completed rehabilitation in 1986, after which Aerosmith enjoyed a successful revival.