Wednesday, January 27, 2010
L.A. PARKER: City schools are weapons of mass destruction
Imagine a brand new $135 million high school with beautiful floors, an auditorium, expansive gymnasium, science labs, beautiful cafeteria, and a roller coaster that can take you to any bathroom.
Now imagine that same school filled with a number of inadequate teachers who milk the system and make tenure sound like a birthright.
Add a number of students who, as they did yesterday, continue to bring embarrassment to the city of Trenton, their families and themselves with violence.
A knife and scissors fight luckily did not deliver a femme fatality.
Show me a girl who carries a knife in her bra and I will show you a child in need of serious help.
We can build schools that look like the Taj Mahal, but without a change in direction regarding personal responsibility, Trenton will be a doomsday project ready to explode at a moment’s notice.
Trenton needs new schools, but this city’s education system and social system first needs a major overhaul.
Granted, it’s not all kids at Trenton High because I attended a Haiti relief event at the Chambers St. campus on Saturday, one made beautiful by the school’s Inspirational Chorus.
These kids were wonderful, but there is a fear that this strong-voiced company is about as far from the norm as Venus or Mars.
Our city cannot take much more of this crap that allows parents to check out of their kids’ lives, allows teachers to act only as prison guards who spend their day just keeping the lid on, and featuring administrators who make extraordinary salaries with few positive results.
If this were my school district, today would start with a visit to Trenton High accompanied by parents, police and teachers who care.
There would be a locker sweep as parents made every complaint in the world while calling the ACLU.
The message would be simple — from this moment until we head home for summer break, life and times at Trenton Central High School will be different.
No cell phones, text messages, tweets or twitters, head wraps, baggie pants, T-shirts, or cussing.
All teachers will be required to stand guard in every hallway until students reach their assigned classrooms.
All detentions will require students to perform certain school duties — sweeping floors, collecting garbage on school grounds, cleaning the gymnasium, etc.
City officials and education administrators discounted an idea here that school uniforms are needed throughout the district but it’s still on the table.
“We wanted the students to participate in choosing uniform colors,” school officials said. Maybe they should ask students which weapons they should be allowed to bring on campus.
L.A. Parker is a Trentonian columnist.
© Copyright 2010 The Trentonian
Elin Nordegren has reportedly done an about-face and now wants to stay married to Tiger Woods.
"People" magazine reports that Nordegren wants her two children to grow up with a father, something she never had.
An unnamed source in Florida said, quote, "She was a child of divorce and felt her dad slighted her." The source added that the Swedish beauty, quote, "wants to keep her family together even if she and Tiger live together as friends instead of lovers."
Nordegren reportedly went to visit the tomcatting Tiger at a sex addiction clinic in Hattiesburg, Mississippi recently.
Woods is there for six weeks of therapy after news broke that he had some 14 different mistresses over the course of his five-year marriage.
Woods, who's now on a self-imposed hiatus from pro golf, has lost millions of dollars in endorsements.
The source said Woods badly wants his old, blemish-free reputation back, including the endorsements.
Woods, quote, "wants his clients, who have kids of their own, to think he is a good family man."
According to People.com the UK singing sensation returned from London to find an intruder in her home. She reportedly brushed shoulders with the unexpected guest when he ran out of the home right past her.
"Lothian and Borders Police were called to an address in Blackburn at around 9:50 p.m. yesterday following reports of a disturbance. A man was detained in connection with the incident and released without charge pending further inquiries," authorities told the mag.
Susan still lives in the same four-bedroom public housing residence she grew up in.
With a best-selling album on the charts, she had reportedly been in a London recording studio. There, she contributed to Simon Cowell's version of REM's "Everybody Hurts," which will help the Haiti relief effort.
NJ Goes to Washington Again -- But Why?
By Richard A. Lee
For years, the question “Why can’t government run like a business?” was a popular refrain from those frustrated by bureaucracy and inefficiencies in the public sector.
But that was before the days of corporate bailouts.
These days, a Wall Street pedigree no longer carries the weight it once did. We’ve all learned that big business doesn’t run as smoothly as we may have thought – and one need not be an MBA to notice the inefficiencies.
Take for example the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Walk to Washington. Every year, a chartered Amtrak train takes some 1,500 people from New Jersey to the nation’s capital for the event, which provides an opportunity to network and attend a dinner with members of the state’s Congressional delegation.
All of that is well and good, but why go to Washington to do it? Those who participate in this annual event leave New Jersey at midday Thursday, spend a few hours on a train and then head to the Marriott Wardman where the evening’s festivities take place. Before noon the next day, they’re back on a train heading home. There’s little time to see or experience much of Washington other than train stations and hotel ballrooms – and you can find plenty of those right here in New Jersey.
Strictly from an efficiency standpoint, it doesn’t make sense. The event costs $560 for chamber members and $660 for non-members. With 1,500 people attending, that’s a total expense of $840,000 -- if they all are Chamber members. And that doesn’t include the price of hotel rooms at the Marriott. If this same group of people got together for networking and dinner someplace in New Jersey, it would cost a whole lot less – and it’s not like they would miss out on seeing the sights in Washington because most of them don’t get to do that anyway.
But wouldn’t they miss their opportunity to network with the New Jersey Congressional delegation? Not really. The truth is, with 1,500 attendees, the dinner is hardly an intimate affair. The odds of catching the ear of a U.S. Senator or Congressional representative for a meaningful discussion are slim.
All things considered, it would make more sense -- both in terms of efficiency and cost -- if the state’s two U.S. Senators and 13 Congressional representatives came to New Jersey -- instead of 1,500 people traveling to Washington. Besides, we’re all thinking green these days. How much energy is used when an Amtrak train filled with 1,500 people makes a round trip from New Jersey to Washington?
Throughout its long history and tradition, the Chamber’s Walk to Washington has had its fair share of critics. Good government groups contend it gives lobbyists an unfair advantage to influence legislators. The party atmosphere and heavy drinking on the train also have come under criticism at times – especially from women who claim that some of those doing the networking literally get too close for comfort.
This year, Governor Christie and his staff are skipping the trip. “We have too much work to do, candidly, to take a couple of days off to go down and schmooze with political folks and business leaders,” the new Governor told reporters.
While no one can question the volume of work confronting the Christie Administration, the seeds of his decision to take a pass on the Chamber trip may have been planted a while ago when the organization took actions that did not sit well with Christie.
In defense of the Chamber, there is an intangible benefit to the Walk to Washington that cannot be quantified. Even in today’s technological world of email and social networking, there is a value in face-to-face contact and the personal relationships it fosters. As Michael Winerip explained in a New York Times column about the changes technology has brought to the workplace, “…the core of my job -- going out and talking in person to strangers about their stories -- has not changed at all, is no easier. I heard the same thing from my brothers-in-law in real estate and office furniture, and from my father-in-law in insurance. They still must travel by car, taxi, subway, plane, and meet the clients to build the bonds that close the sales at the core of their labor.”
With 1,500 people taking part in the Walk to Washington, odds are there will be a few deals that get closed on the train or at the dinner – and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s good for business, it’s good for the economy, and it’s good for New Jersey.
But if there is a better and more efficient way to get those deals done, it may be time to think about doing things differently.
# # #
Richard A. Lee is Communications Director of the Hall Institute of Public Policy – New Jersey. A former journalist and former 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.
A national study found that more prisoners today are serving life sentences across the country than ever before. Alabama ranks among the top three states for number of life sentences imposed and is the national leader in racially disproportionate sentencing of children to life in prison.
Nationwide, 140,610 out of 2.3 million inmates being held in jails and prisons are serving sentences of life imprisonment with or without parole. The study, conducted by the Sentencing Project, noted that number is up from 34,000 life sentences in 1984.
Alabama ranks third in the country in the percentage of inmates it locks up for life with or without parole: 17.3 percent of the state prison population is serving life. Alabama has the nation's fifth largest incarceration rate, and the state's overcrowded, underfunded prison system is under increasing strain.
Two-thirds of prisoners serving life sentences in the United States are Latino or black. Alabama leads the nation with the highest percentage of African American children serving life sentences. More than 84% of children sentenced to life without parole in Alabama are black; the national average is 56%.
Alabama Department of Corrections officials are among those calling for reform of Alabama's sentencing scheme. State Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett told The Birmingham News, “Something must give. If you want to continue to lock folks up at this rate, you're going to have to pay for it. Otherwise you need to look at your sentencing structure." As EJI Director Bryan Stevenson observed, “It costs $15,000 a year to keep a person in prison. And in the case of juveniles, we would be paying that for decades."
The U.S. stands alone in the world in condemning thousands of juveniles to life without parole. And race is a huge factor. Will the Supreme Court even consider it?
This is the second in a two-part series on juvenile life without parole. Read Part One here.
On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases that could have major implications for the way juvenile offenders are treated in our criminal justice system. Sullivan v. Florida and Graham v. Florida both involve men who are serving life without the possibility of parole for crimes they were convicted of as teenagers -- crimes in which no one was killed.
Joe Sullivan was only 13 years old when he was accused of sexually assaulting a 72-year-old woman in her Pensacola, Fla., home, hours after he and a group of older teenagers robbed her house. Sullivan, who reportedly suffers from mental disabilities, insisted that, while he participated in the robbery, he did not commit the rape. But his co-defendants, 15-year-old Michael Gulley and 17-year-old Nathan McCants, 17 pinned the crime on him. Both were tried as juveniles; Sullivan was tried as an adult.
Sullivan is African American, a fact that was stressed repeatedly at trial. The victim, Lena Bruner, testified that her assailant was "a colored boy" with "kinky hair" -- "he was quite black, and he was small," she said. Bruner admitted that she "did not see him full in the face," but she remembered him saying, "If you can't identify me, I may not have to kill you."
According to the New York Times, "at his trial, Mr. Sullivan was made to say those words several times." ("'It's been six months,' the woman said on the witness stand. 'It's hard, but it does sound similar.
January 26, 2010
Contact: Beautiful SeeAsia
Newark, New Jersey: Beautiful SeeAsia and Jessica "Jayda" Jacques to host "Hip Hop 4 Haiti"- A National Movement & Day of Observance
Date: Saturday, January 30, 2010 3:00PM - 7:30 pm
January 26, 2010 - "Hip Hop 4 Haiti" brainchild Queen YoNasda, granddaughter of the Nation of Islam's Minister Louis Farrakhan along with (32) other cities will host hip hop fundraiser concerts nationwide for victims of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Activist and Concert Coordinator, Beautiful SeeAsia and Jessica "Jayda" Jacques (of Haitian descent), star of NAACP's 2010 Image Award nominated documentary "Brick City", founder of Newark's non-profit organization, Nine Strong Women will host this historical event. But it will be the venue's proud sponsors, Central High School's student body anticipated to raise the hype and enthusiasm behind this benefit concert.
The "Got Love? 4 Haiti" movement came from the alumni of the International Youth Organization (IYO) during a strategy meeting to support earthquake victims in Haiti and their families within the metropolitan area. Because Newark and its surrounding communities have one of the largest proportions of Haitian residents in the nation, organizations such as IYO along with having a Haitian American Board president to inspire the mission, immediately branded a course of action with a title to follow. While SeeAsia was coordinating ideas with her IYO constituents for the "Got Love? 4 Haiti" campaign she ironically received an email from Queen YoNasda to coordinate a "Hip Hop 4 Haiti" concert in Newark, New Jersey. Of course with hip hop having its shares of relevancy invested by the youth, SeeAsia contacted friend and Principal Ras Baraka along with Parent Liaison, Pastor Vincent Rouse both of Central High School to have the student body be the main sponsors of making the event a success on behalf of the Haitian community.
Also, diverse talents on board to assist with making this event a success is Newark's own Do-It-All Dupree (Lords of the Underground), KRS One's "Temple of Hip Hop" artists, producer & emcee R-kitech, poet Lamar Hill, Divine Allah of the New Black Panther Party and the Maroon Society, Stop Shootin', FP YouthOutcry, Jael Divine, Infinite Mind Allah, S.U.N., poet Peter Rainmaker and the IYO Poet All-Stars, Sanajah "Star" Simms, break dancing, graffiti artists, DJ sets and more headliners expected to confirm.
The centerpiece of the day will be the "Solidarity & Bridging Ceremony" hosted by Fugees Refugee All-Star member and Haitian American, Sam Jean who will do a brief presentation on Haitian history and a moment of solidarity between Haitian and African American students known for its decades of rivalry in local high schools.
The Hip Hop 4 Haiti concert will be streamed live on its website www.hiphop4haiti.ning.com via
ustream.tv and by one of the media sponsors Jah Jah Shakur's, Shades Media, www.shadesmedia.com and Ronella "Realism" Hargrave's Blackosity Magazine, www.blackosity.com. The Brick City documentary team who are all supporters of Haiti's relief efforts.
Other non-profit organizations and supporters such as Saving Our Selves (S.O.S.) Omar Sharif Foundation (Cut Creaters), Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark, Newark Public Schools, Temple of Hip Hop, Stop the Violence, Newark Anti-Violence Coalition, Da Youth, Street Warriors, Black Cops Against Police Brutality, NJ for Haiti and more.
Hip Hop 4 Haiti is a national fundraising event throughout the hip hop community for Haitians affected by the earthquake. Got Love? 4 Haiti of IYO is a catalyst for solidarity and the forging of relationships between all mankind to step up together with the ongoing relief efforts for Haiti. Hip hop has been the voice of the underground railroad since its inception and will be used in this instance by its stakeholders (the youth) to rebuild a community that has been ravaged by a magnitude of loss.
The International Youth Organization's CEO, Carolyn Wallace was nominated by Governor Ritchie as one of the five "New Jersey's Heroes" out of hundreds of nominations during his January 19, 2010 inauguration. Newark's Mayor, Corey Booker nominated Mrs. Wallace as one of the 2010 "Mentoring Champions" during a mentoring month celebration at City Hall. It is clear that she is the extension of her late husband, James Wallace who founded the organization back in 1970. Over the last forty-years the agency has crafted a community of outcasted youth into leaders of politics, civil service industries, educational institutions and so on. Therefore with staff support and volunteers the agency will manifest its name of being an "international" service to the community by standing for the righteous efforts to support Haiti.
All proceeds will go directly to local Haitian families affected by the earthquake via IYO's Got Love? 4 Haiti Fund. The event is open to the public and will be held at Central High School from 3:00PM - 7:30PM in Newark with a suggested $10 minimum donation, however in today's economy people can bring a donation they can afford.
Hip hop has never failed with raising the consciousness of the people but with this being a relief effort that requires an immediate response it is anticipated that this day can actually raise dollars for the families in a community who need our support.
The official performance list will be announced at Thursday's press conference held at the International Youth Organization, Thursday, January 28, 2010, 1:00PM. Please contact Denise Toney email@example.com or (973) 621-1100, ext. 252 to be a part of this impacting event.
Also for additional corporate, foundation, individual donations and/or sponsorship please contact Denise Toney. All donations are tax-deductible. All media inquiries or additional questions contact Beautiful SeeAsia firstname.lastname@example.org or (862) 763-6604. National Hip Hop 4 Haiti Coordinator, Queen Yonasda Lonewolf can be reached at (602) 487-4885 or email@example.com. All national event details can be checked at www.hiphop4haiti.ning.com.
by Anna Phillips
Claiming that Governor Paterson’s budget plan would put an undue burden on New York City, Mayor Bloomberg said the state’s proposed cut to city schools would mean 8,500 fewer teachers next year.
The cut to schools — Bloomberg put it at $500 million while the state says it’s $418 million — likely means that principals will have a hard time finding funds to replace teachers who leave the system or retire and may have to lay off others. Those who do find replacements will likely have to woo teachers from other schools who are already on the city’s payroll, leading to a complicated reshuffling.
Bloomberg is also unhappy with Paterson’s decision to shift $51 million, the cost of summer special education classes, from the state’s budget to the city’s.
“But let’s be clear — our schools are under Federal mandate to provide these services, no ifs, ands, or buts. So this is not a cut in spending; it’s a cost shift, pure and simple. And it ought to be understood as an unfunded mandate,” he said in his testimony.
Just about the only item in the governor’s budget plan that pleased the mayor was a provision that would reduce the city’s borrowing costs for school construction.
Bloomberg also laid out his administration’s legislative goals for the city schools:
“The prospect of layoffs in our schools also adds urgency to our proposed reform of the ‘last in, first out’ teacher layoff policy. Clearly the only thing worse than having to lay off teachers would be laying off great teachers instead of failing ones.
“So we need you to empower us to objectively and transparently evaluate teachers, and then make personnel decisions based on what that tells us about what matters most: success in the classroom. We also need reform of the absurdly difficult, expensive, and lengthy process of firing incompetent teachers.
“And let’s also lift the State’s cap on charter schools. The success of charter schools is indisputable; charter school students continue to consistently outpace their age-mates on the State’s standardized math and reading proficiency tests.
Every instinct the President has honed, every voice he hears in Washington, every inclination of our political culture urges incrementalism, urges deliberation, and an abundance of caution, particularly in regard to our “unsustainable government spending.” And for all of his apparent newfound populist vigour, it now appears that the President is about to heed these voices of caution. The moves against the banks, coupled with yesterday’s announcement of a spending freeze and previously voiced support for a bipartisan commission on the deficit, all point to Clinton-style triangulation.
The Wall Street Journal reports that President Obama intends to propose a three-year freeze in spending that accounts for one-sixth of the federal budget. The move is designed “to attack the $1.4 trillion deficit” and would “propose limits on discretionary spending unrelated to the military, veterans, homeland security and international affairs, according to senior administration officials. Also untouched are big entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.”
As with so much else with this president, the effect, then, is likely to be cosmetic, but it sends out an awful statement about Obama’s increasingly “Hoover-esque” governing philosophy, and the future likely direction of fiscal policy. The cuts will apparently be supplemented with some “middle class friendly” proposals to be introduced in the State of the Union Address. But the words of the Who’s Pete Townsend spring to mind from the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again”:
“Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss.”
Any kind of spending cuts in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression is insane. What we are beginning to see is the return of Herbert Hoover and the “liquidationists.”
As my friend Mike Norman reminded me, Obama opposed the idea of a spending freeze during the campaign, when it was proposed by McCain. McCain lost the presidency. Now Obama supports it???
What’s next? Raising taxes as the Japanese did in the middle of their recession in the mid-1990s?
Those who rant about the runaway size of government in the US should just go to the BEA statistics page. Bill Mitchell points out that government spending as a percentage of real GDP has actually DECLINED over the past year: “In March 2003 it was 9.4 per cent (and it wasn’t much less than about 10 years earlier as well). It peaked at 12.4 per cent in September 2008 at the height of the crisis when investment was heading south and consumption was still in decline. A year later it was at 11.4 per cent.”
It’s certainly not the image of an out of control, wildly spending, “socialist” government.
If Barack Obama continues to listen to the siren songs of the deficit terrorists, he will almost certainly be a one-term president.
WASHINGTON – There’s no shortage of B.S. in this town.
Enter John Kiriakou, the former CIA operative.
Reporter Jeff Stein has penned an article in Foreign Policy magazine saying that Kiriakou’s claim that waterboarding quickly unloosed the tongues of hard-core terrorists was simply misleading.
Stein writes that “Kiriakou, a 15-year veteran of the agency’s intelligence analysis and operations directorates, electrified the hand-wringing national debate over torture in December 2007 when he told ABC’s Brian Ross and Richard Esposito in a much ballyhooed, exclusive interview that senior al Qaeda commando Abu Zubaydah cracked after only one application of the face cloth and water.”
But Stein writes: ” Now comes John Kiriakou, again, with a wholly different story. On the next-to-last page of a new memoir, The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror (written with Michael Ruby), Kiriakou now rather off handedly admits that he basically made it all up.”
“What I told Brian Ross in late 2007 was wrong on a couple counts,” he writes, according to Stein. “I suggested that Abu Zubaydah had lasted only thirty or thirty-five seconds during his waterboarding before he begged his interrogators to stop; after that, I said he opened up and gave the agency actionable intelligence.”
But never mind, he says now.
“I wasn’t there when the interrogation took place; instead, I relied on what I’d heard and read inside the agency at the time,” he said, according to Stein.
In a word, it was hearsay, water-cooler talk, Stein says.
“Now we know,” Kiriakou goes on, according to Stein “that Zubaydah was waterboarded eighty-three times in a single month, raising questions about how much useful information he actually supplied.”
Skeletal remains found on a Virginia farm may be that of Morgan Harrington, but an official identification has not yet been made.
Harrington’s mother Gil spoke to a local CBS affiliate, saying the remains are “probably” her daughters, and Harrington’s parents were on the scene to assist in identifying the body:
“We don’t think it’s been proved definitively yet, but it’s most likely,” she said. “So, we want to go and be on hand and see if that determination can be made. Or if we can help in making that determination.”
Gil Harrington said she wanted to thank people for all their prayers and the efforts to find Morgan.
“I was hoping we would find her alive, but at least we won’t always be wondering for a lifetime,” she said.
David Bass, owner of Anchorage Farm where the body was located, told press he was checking fences in a cow pasture when he discovered the remains. He initially believed the body to be that of a deer, but contacted police when he realized that it may have belonged to a human.
Morgan Harrington was last seen between 8:30 and 9PM on October 27th, 2009. Harrington attended a Metallica concert at the University of Virginia, but was denied re-entry after leaving during the show. She has not been seen since.
Update: Police say they are “fairly confident” the body is Harrington’s, and the farmer says his first thought upon discovering the body was that the remains belonged to the missing student.
Indonesians, who welcomed Barack Obama as one of their own two years ago, now want a statue commemorating his Jakarta school years to be removed, a sign the U.S. president's global appeal may be waning.
Indonesian authorities said Monday they are considering a petition to tear down a statue of US President Barack Obama as a boy, only a month after the bronze was unveiled in Jakarta.
The statue of “Little Barry” — as Obama was known when he lived in the capital in the late 1960s — stands in central Jakarta’s Menteng Park, a short walk from the US president’s former elementary school.
Critics say the site should have been used to honour an Indonesian and 55,000 people have joined a page on social networking website Facebook calling for the statue to be removed.
“We’ve been discussing for the past two weeks what to do with the statue… whether to take it down, move it elsewhere or retain it. We’re finding the best solution,” Jakarta parks agency official Dwi Bintarto said.
The statue of Obama as a 10-year-old was installed in Menteng park in central Jakarta in December 2009 to mark the four years he attended a local primary school there while living in Jakarta.
A month later, a campaign to pull down the statue has gathered momentum in the world's most populous Muslim nation which not so long ago embraced Obama almost as a native son.
By Wednesday, a Facebook group called Take Down the Barack Obama Statue in Menteng Park had attracted over 55,500 members and local newspaper the Jakarta Post this week reported the group had filed a lawsuit to have the statue removed.
"Barack Obama has not yet made any important contribution to Indonesia and, if we may say, Obama has only ever eaten and defecated in Menteng," the Facebook group's page said.
BY Erin Geiger Smith
Tomorrow is the big day: Tim Geithner and New York Fed general counsel Thomas Baxter are testifying to a house committee about the AIG bailout.
We're guessing AIG's outside counsel, Davis Polk, will be tuning in. As the hearing draws near, more and more emails are being discussed relating to the NY Fed's desire to keep certain aspects of the AIG bailout quiet. And that strategy, or at least the analysis of it, ran directly through Davis Polk.
Forbes: Federal Reserve Bank of New York officials scrambled to do damage control in the days after their $180 billion rescue ofAmerican International Group in September 2008, including an effort to control information by asking AIG to run significant outside communications through the Fed's outside counsel.
The damage control effort is revealed in e-mail between an in-house New York Fed lawyer, its outside counsel, a partner in charge of the restructuring practice at Davis Polk Wardwell, and other New York Fed and Treasury officials.
Insinuations are flying that the NY Fed under-represented the influence it was exerting over what should and should not be disclosed, though no one has suggested that Davis Polk did anything wrong. So far this seems to be a case of what should have been disclosed, rather than questions of actual illegality.
That does not mean, of course, that emails discussing secretive document deliveries to the SEC so nothing will "get in the wrong hands" (that one authored by former Davis Polk lawyer, and new Mayer Brown partner Diego Rotsztain) are fun to see in print.
Law firms do not like seeing their names in lights, or at least not in on the front page of papers accusing them of helping to hide information from the tax-paying public. But law firms in the news have been a by product of the financial crisis -- over and over we read about law firms getting caught representing their clients.
For the first time in the history of its men’s basketball program, the University of South Carolina has knocked off the No. 1 team in America.
Spurred by a superhuman effort from All-SEC guard Devan Downey, the un-ranked Gamecocks downed previously unbeaten and top-ranked Kentucky 68-62 Tuesday night before a frenzied crowd of 18,000 at the Colonial Life Center in Columbia, S.C. Students mobbed the floor after the game, relishing a “mountaintop moment” in what has been up to this point an injury-plagued, lackluster season.
Prior to this win, USC was 0-7 all-time against top-ranked opponents, and this year’s squad seemed an unlikely candidate to break that skid.
The Gamecocks came into the game with an 11-8 record and a 3-4 mark in SEC play, including losses in three consecutive games.
Downey willed them to victory, though, finishing with 30 points – his fifth thirty-point game of the season and fourth in the last six games.
“I told you so! I told you so!” he screamed as fans mobbed him after the game.
During one stretch of the second half, the 5-foot 9-inch senior from Chester, S.C. was virtually unstoppable, spinning and throwing shots off the glass from literally every angle. That run included a critical three-point play after USC was forced to inbound the ball with just two seconds on the shot clock.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari could be seen on the sidelines throwing his arms in the air in frustration as Downey nailed shot after clutch shot.
Kentucky came into the game with an unblemished 19-0 mark – a record achieved largely on the strength of three sensational freshman players, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe.
Cousins finished Tuesday night’s game with 27 points, while Wall added 19.
Wall also converted a three-point play with less than a minute to play that brought the Wildcats within a point, but two clutch free throws from USC senior Brandis Raley-Ross with 24 seconds left helped preserve USC’s victory.
Second-year USC head coach Darrin Horn is now 3-0 against the Wildcats since coming to Columbia from Western Kentucky. The two teams will meet again on February 25 in Lexington, Kentucky.
The outspoken all-American has never been shy about his conservative leanings. On Feb. 7, Tim Tebow will make his most public political proclamation yet in a 30-second spot that may be the most controversial in the Super Bowl's history. In other news, Corinne Bailey Rae's new album The Sea is dedicated to her recently deceased husband Jason. And John Travolta is delivering aid to Haiti in the form of... Scientologists? You heard correct. This is What You're Searching for Today...
Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad - $2.5 million is $2.5 million, no matter who it comes from. That's how much conservative Christian group Focus on the Family spent on a 30-second spot for the upcoming Super Bowl. In perhaps the most controversial 30-seconds in the big game's 43-year history, megastar college quarterback Tim Tebow is expected to promote a pro-life campaign called "Celebrate family, celebrate life." CBS has OK'd a preliminary script that is widely believed to recount the story of Tebow's birth, which doctors advised against after his mother became ill while on a mission trip to the Philippines.
By Lindsay Beyerstein
This just gets better and better. Main Justice reports that one of the men arrested along with conservative activist/pimp impersonator James O'Keefe in connection with the attempted bugging of Sen. Mary Landrieu's office is the son of an acting U.S. Attorney:
The son of acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana William J. Flanagan was arrested and charged with trying to interfere with phones at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in New Orleans.
Robert Flanagan, 24, along with conservative activist James O’Keefe, 25, and Joseph Basel, 24, and Stan Dai, 24 were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purposes of committing a felony.
According to the Associated Press and The Hill, Flanagan is the son of William J. Flanagan, who is the acting head of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Shreveport. O’Keefe was in the news last year for his part in making secret videos in several offices of the community organizing group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).