Thursday, January 28, 2010

Black students in hiding after racist threats

NELSONVILLE, Ohio: Officials at Hocking College, a campus carved into a forest in the Appalachian foothills, say they are taking seriously a threat scrawled on a bathroom wall warning that black students would be killed on February 2.

The Ohio college has provided temporary housing for students who are too scared to stay in Hocking Heights, the dorm where the threats were found.

For those wary of venturing outside until after February 2, teachers are making allow-ances for missed class work.

Campus spokeswoman Judy Sinnott said she had not heard previous complaints of racist taunting, but that on a small campus anything could happen.

"Any time that there are young people, you know, there's going to be tension," Sinnott said. - Sapa-AP

Study: Black Buying Power Increased Dramatically

The percentage of blacks in America is growing, and so is the amount of money blacks have available to spend on goods and services, according to a study released this week.

The "African-Americans Revealed" study, based on a BET survey of 80,000 black consumers over 18 months, showed a 10 percent increase in America’s black population between 2000 and 2008 and 55 percent increase in black buying power over the same period.

According to the survey, black buying power is estimated now at about $913 billion and is projected to increase to $1.2 trillion by 2013.

A similar study released in November by the Selig Center at the University of Georgia estimated that black buying power would be about $1.1 trillion by 2014, with current spending power for blacks at about $910 billion.

"'African-Americans Revealed' shows us that the black community should never be referred to as one homogeneous population," said Matthew Barnhill, senior vice president of corporate research at BET Networks. "We hope this report will help organizations better connect with an audience and intimately recognize all of its

Boyce Watkins, a Syracuse University business professor, said he is not surprised by studies that show growth in black spending power.

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Full Video: Obama’s 2010 State of The Union Address

China's share in Russian arms export dropping

MOSCOW: Buying of arms by Russia's one-time biggest customer, China, has seen a decline and such trend may continue, head of the country's sole state intermediary agency for export-import of defence-related technologies and services said today.

"China's share in our (arms) exports is now less than 18 per cent and will further drop," Director General of Rosoboronexport, Anatoly Isaikin said.

Addressing a press conference here, Isaikin said the dwindling volume of arms sales to China was logical.

"Their military-industrial complex is successfully developing. That's why China buys very little," he said.

During the last 15 years, China has been Russia's largest arms buyer followed by India.

In the first decade of the century, beginning from 2001, China has bought USD 16 billion worth of arms from Russia, including 200 Sukhoi fighters of various modifications, S-300 air defence missiles, Sovremenny class destroyers and Kilo class diesel-electric submarines.

Last year, Russia signed an agreement for the sale of 100 RD-93 engines for Chinese J-10 fighters.

Meanwhile, in an apparent reference to India, Isaikin said a similar tendency is visible with other partners also, with the focus shifting from 'buyer-seller' relationship to joint development and production of weapon systems.

Why Elizabeth Edwards Showed John the Door

In addition, a soon-to-be-released book by a longtime former aide to John Edwards claims to offer details about the Edwards marriage, and John's romps -- including word of a possible sex tape.

In Defense Of Geithner

By Douglas McIntyre

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was cross-examined yesterday by the House Oversight and Government Reform committee. The lawmakers could not understand why AIG (AIG) got $182 billion in taxpayer bailout cash.

They said that it was an even greater enigma that $62 billion of that money should go to pay AIG counterparties which are essentially firms that used the insurance company to cover risk on their derivatives investments. It is fair for Congress to ask why a firm like Goldman Sachs (GS) received 100 cents on a dollar from AIG when the NY Fed or Treasury might have forced Goldman to take less go save taxpayer’s money.

Geithner’s answers were not what the committee wanted to hear, but they were almost certainly based on an accurate assessment of the credit markets at the time of the crisis late in the fall of 2008. Geithner says that they NY Fed did not have the right nor did it have the time to enter into negotiations with each of AIG’s counterparties. Some of those counterparties might have faced financial
distress of their own if AIG had failed to pay them full face value for its obligations.

Steve Jobs & The iPad Ten Commandments

Steve Jobs & The iPad Ten Commandments
January 28th, 2010 by Ron Callari Share Steve Jobs, after having parted the Red Seas of Apple-land with the release of his iPod and iPhone was looking for a new challenge. So while leading the flock of the digerati to the promised land of sweet new gadgets, it was important not to divulge too much in advance. For months while keeping his secret under wraps, his followers thought he had taken ill. Others thought he passed on. But the faithful knew that something miraculous was about to take place.

News and rumors traveled by word of mouth from tribe to tribe, from Twitter to Facebook, from Cupertino to Bangkok and all points in between. For 40 days and 40 nights prior to January 27, 2010, he communed with God. God sure had a lot to tell Jobs. God wanted to make sure that Jobs delivered his new inspirational toy with rules attached, so they could be best instructed how to use this miraculous new device.

So upon return from Mac mountain, Job delivered the much anticipated "iPad" in the form of tablets. And as important as this new innovation was to be for his flock, it was equally important to note that the iPad Ten Commandments that came part and parcel were not so much about what the new iPad offered, but more along the lines of what it would not.

Chris Matthews “Forgot Obama Was Black” Comments [VIDEO]

By Super Bro..

Really glad Chris Matthews could forget Obama is black for an hour. Somehow, I remain unable to forget that Matthews is a horse’s ass…..

President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address has been marred by controversy after noted MSNBC correspondent Chris Matthews remarked that he “forgot Obama was black” during his post-speech commentary with pundit Keith Olbermann.

“You know, I was trying to think about who he was tonight. It’s interesting: he is post-racial, by all appearances. I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. You know, he’s gone a long way to become a leader of this country, and past so much history, in just a year or two,” the Hardball host reflected as video of the President’s motorcade leaving the US Capitol played on a split screen beside him.

I mean, it’s something we don’t even think about. I was watching, I said, wait a minute, he’s an African American
guy in front of a bunch of other white people,” Chris continued. “And here he is president of the United States and we’ve completely forgotten that tonight — completely forgotten it. I think it was in the scope of his discussion. It was so broad-ranging, so in tune with so many problems, of aspects, and aspects of American life that you don’t think in terms of the old tribalism, the old ethnicity. It was astounding in that regard. A very subtle fact. It’s so hard to talk about. Maybe I shouldn’t talk about it, but I am. I thought it was profound that way.”

While there’s been no apology — or even acknowledgment — by MSNBC, Matthews’ racially-insensitive comments have opened the floodgates of Hell on Twitter, with numerous Tweeters spreading the news and voicing their outrage via a series of angry Tweets.

People Hate Congress, Like Obama

Another result from the poll discussed below. When asked who is to blame for the government’s failure to solve national problems, voters are unimpressed with either congressional party, but like Democrats more than Republicans and Obama a lot more than Congress:

Under the circumstances you would think electorally vulnerable congressional Democrats would be eager to just shut up and align themselves with the popular White House. Instead they’ve tended to pursue a strategy of calling attention to themselves and trying to affiliate with the very unpopular congressional Republicans. It’s strange.

VIDEO: Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito visibly disapproved as President Obama criticized Supreme Court ruling in State of the Union address last ni

In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama showed his disapproval of SCOTUS’s recent decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. However, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, sitting in front of the President, showed visible disagreement over the President’s remarks.

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Report: Warner expected to retire on Friday

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Cardinals have scheduled a Friday press conference to address Kurt Warner’s future and according to Schefter, all signs point towards Warner retiring.

Teammate Antrel Rolle also believes Warner will hang ‘em up (From Player

“Judging from conversations that I’ve had with him I think he understands that he’s had a great, Hall of Fame career. I think football has taken its course. But he’s the best teammate I’ve ever had. He’s been a leader on and off the field.” -excerpt from Rolle’s January 26th blog.

Warner has racked up 32,344 yards and 208 touchdown passes throughout his stellar career. He has also compiled a 93.7 passer rating, a 65.5% completion percentage and only Peyton manning (four) and Brett Favre (three) have compiled more MVP awards than Warner (two).

There’s nothing left for Warner to prove and if the game isn’t fun for him anymore, then it makes sense that he would retire now. He took one hell of a shot in the Divisional Round against the Saints and it no doubt reminded him that he has other things that he wants to pursue when he’s done with football.

There have been rumors that Arizona might pursue Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick, but it makes more sense that Matt Leinart will get the first crack at the starting QB job if Warner does retire. And if that happens, the Cardinals’ offense will definitely change from a pass-first unit to a balanced approach that features young running back Beanie Wells.

Acting Boss of N.Y. Genovese Crime Family Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Charges

The acting head of the Genovese organized crime family, Daniel Leo, aka “The Lion,” and his nephew Joseph Leo, a lieutenant, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Manhattan federal court to racketeering charges related to loan sharking, extortion and illegal gambling.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged that Daniel Leo became the acting boss of the Genovese organized crime family in 2005, rising from the family’s ruling council to run the show. The Genovese family is one of New York’s five legendary Mafia families.

Today’s guilty pleas were considered significant, part of the ongoing crackdown in recent years on the infamous New York mob, which has often been glamorized in films and TV. But the FBI asserts that Genovese and Gambino crime families in particular continue to thrive.

“They certainly have taken hits with the RICO statute (Racketeer Influenced And Corrupt Organizations Act), but organized crime in the New York City area is alive and well,” said David Shafer, assistant special agent in charge of the New York Office of the organized crime branch. “The Genovese family is a very, very strong family.”

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Men Who Tampered With Sen. Landrieu’s Phone Were Pulling a Prank, NBC Reports

NBC’s Pete Williams is reporting that the four men arrested Monday for tampering with Sen. Mary Landrieu’s phones in her downtown New Orleans office were not trying to wiretap the phones, but “wanted to see how her local office staff would respond if the phones were inoperative.”

Williams’ attributed the information to a law enforcement official. The group of men were led by conservative videomaker James O’Keefe, who once duped the organization ACORN by posing as a pimp.

Authorities charged that O’Keefe, using his cellphone, videotaped two other men who entered the office posing as phone repairmen, who were trying to tamper with the phones.

The U.S. Marshals office arrested them.

Williams wrote that “they were apparently motivated, the official says, by criticism that when Sen. Landrieu became a big player in the health care debate, people in Louisiana were having a hard time getting through on the phones to register their views.”

Other Shoe Drops: 2nd NBA Player Jarvaris Crittenton Pleads Guilty of Gun Charge

WASHINGTON — The other shoe dropped Monday in the gun drama involving suspended Washington Wizards’ star Gilbert Arenas.

The other figure in the scandal, Wizards player Jarvaris Crittenton, 21, who has been injured all year, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possession of an unregistered Firearm and was sentenced to one year probation, D.C. U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips announced.

D.C. Senior Superior Judge Bruce Beaudin also ordered Crittenton to perform community service through the NBA’S Haiti project, and perform community service with a children’s organization in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities say Crittenton had brought a firearm to the Verizon Center in the Chinatown district of downtown in December 2009 following an argument with Arenas on a plane two days earlier.

According to a U.S. Attorney press release:

“The factual proffer presented at the plea hearing, on December 19, 2009, into the early morning hours of December 20, 2009, Crittenton and Arenas became involved in a verbal exchange following a card game.

“In a heated exchange, Arenas stated he was too old to fistfight and threatened to shoot Crittenton in the face. Crittenton responded that he would shoot Arenas in his surgically-repaired knee. On the shuttle bus from the airplane to the terminal, Arenas further stated that he was going to burn or blow up Crittenton’s car when they came to practice the following Monday. According to Crittenton, he believed that Arenas intended to harm him.”

“On December 21, 2009, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Crittenton arrived at the Verizon Center, 601 F Street N.W., Washington, D.C., to receive medical treatment and attend Wizards’ practice.

“According to Crittenton, before he left his home in Virginia for practice that day,Crittenton had placed a lawfully owned, unloaded handgun into his backpack because he believed that Arenas would carry out his threat to shoot him that day.

“Once Crittenton entered the Wizards’ locker room, he put his backpack in his locker and went to a separate room to see team trainers and medical personnel. When Crittenton returned to the locker room, he saw Arenas walking away from the area in front of Crittenton’s locker.

“On the chair located directly in front of Crittenton’s locker, Arenas had placed several handguns with

a piece of paper with the message “PICK 1.” According to Crittenton, he believed that Arenas intended Crittenton to select a firearm with which Arenas would carry out his threat to shoot Crittenton. Arenas has claimed he placed the guns on Crittenton’s chair as part of a practical


“Crittenton asked Arenas “[w]hat is this?” and told him to get the guns off his chair, picking up one of the firearms by its extended clip and tossing it along the floor away from his chair.

“According to Crittenton, he feared for his own safety, so he told Arenas he had his own gun.

“Crittenton took his handgun out of his backpack and, without pointing it at anyone, showed it to

Arenas, holding it below his waist pointed downward.

“There is no evidence that Crittenton’s firearm was loaded when he pulled it out of his backpack or that Crittenton ever loaded the firearm with ammunition. There also is no evidence that Crittenton ever chambered a round, pulled back the hammer, raised or pointed the firearm, or otherwise brandished the firearm in a threatening manner at any time during this incident. After

deciding that Arenas did not intend to shoot Crittenton at that time, Crittenton placed his firearm

back in his backpack and went from the locker room to the trainer’s room.

“Crittenton arranged for the voluntary surrender of the firearm involved in this incident, an unloaded silver and black nine millimeter semi-automatic Taurus with magazine, which is now in possession of law enforcement. Crittenton, who was 21 years old at the time of the incident, has no criminal record, has never been arrested, and has been cooperative and forthcoming with

law enforcement.

“Gilbert Arenas plead guilty in connection with this case on January 15, 2010, to Carrying a Pistol Without a License before Judge Robert Morin in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Arenas is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Morin on March 26, 2010.

“In announcing today’s guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips praised the work of MPD Detectives Robbie Saunders, Timothy Smith, and Joseph Oh, Officer Jeff Janczyk, and Sergeant James Black of MPD’s Intelligence Branch.

“He also acknowledged the efforts of members of his

own staff including Investigators Christopher Brophy and Larry Grasso, Paralegal Kalisha Johnson-Clark, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh, who handled the investigation and prosecution of this matter.

Clyburn: House Dems Will Pass Senate Bill If Fix Is Guaranteed; Urges Obama To Push Dems Harder

Clyburn: House Dems Will Pass Senate Bill If Fix Is Guaranteed; Urges Obama To Push Dems Harder
An influential House Democrat is now predicting that House Dems will pass the Senate health bill if they are persuaded they have a guarantee that it will be fixed in reconciliation — a declaration that could give a boost of momentum for the prospects of getting reform done via this route.

In an interview with me, House majority whip James Clyburn also urged the President to throw his weight behind this approach during tomorrow’s State of the Union Address, declaring that it would be “helpful.”

The comments from Clyburn — who’s been canvassing opinion from members in recent days — could contribute to a growing sense that this is course of action most likely to succeed, and could give ammo to to those pressing this case.

“I feel certain that the House Democrats will pass health care reform if the fixes that we feel need to be made to the Senate bill are guaranteed,” Clyburn said. Asked directly if the House votes would be there if this happened, Clyburn said: “Yes, sir.”

Clyburn’s comments suggest that if Dem leaders figure out a way of demonstrating to House Democrats that the reconciliation fix is iron-clad, they could support the Senate bill in large enough numbers to pass.

Clyburn cautioned, however, that House Dems would have to be convinced of the veracity of the fix, citing the “natural distrust between the two bodies.” He added that House Dems would want to see the fix address their opposition to the “Cadillac” tax, to state-based exchanges, and to various sweetheart deals for Senators.

Clyburn called on the President to use his clout and prestige to urge Congressional Dems to follow this course of action during tomorrow’s speech.

“I think that would be helpful,” Clyburn said. “I would like for him to say that we ought to do the fixes…and pass the rest of the Senate bill. I think it would be good for him to let everybody know.”

Howard Zinn Dies at 87

Sad news. Howard Zinn, the American historian best known for his book, A People’s History of the United States, died today of a heart attack at the age of 87. The Boston Herald has more on his life and passing here. If you’re familiar with Zinn’s biography, you’ll know that he served in World War II and later took a strong position against the Vietnam War. So, perhaps fittingly, we feature Zinn talking above about wars and the role governments play in manufacturing them…

State of the Union 2010: President Obama delivers another eloquent call to action... but will there be any action?

Minutes ago, President Obama finished delivering a beautifully crafted, endurance-themed State of the Union Address that called on Congress (but perhaps more specifically, the Senate) to fulfill its Constitutional obligation to responsibly govern our United States of America.

The speech was very unlike either of the past two addresses the President made to Congress (January and September 2009). It touched on several major policy directions, from healthcare to economic security to national defense.

Notably, Obama asked Congress to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, provide thirty billion dollars of repaid TARP money to help community banks make loans, and a vaguely-defined National Export Initiative to help farmers and small businesses reach untapped markets around the globe.

Like past State of the Union addresses, this one was heavy on platitudes and light on concrete details, but it was nevertheless uplifting.

One of the more subtle aspects of the speech that stood out for me was that the President deliberately made the effort to single out and praise the House of Representatives for acting on his administration's priorities.

He did this not one, not two, not three, but four times:

•"The House has passed a jobs bill that includes some of these steps. As the first order of business this year, I urge the Senate to do the same. People are out of work. They are hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay."
•"The House has already passed financial reform with many of these changes. And the lobbyists are already trying to kill it. Well, we cannot let them win this fight. And if the bill that ends up on my desk does not meet the test of real reform, I will send it back. "
•"I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families."
•"And yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America. I am grateful to the House for passing such a bill last year. This year, I am eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate. "
Not surprisingly, he got spirited cheers from the House Democratic caucus at each of the moments where he spoke the words excerpted above. The White House cleverly took advantage of the speech as an opportunity to create a juxtaposition between the House (which has been moving legislation to better the country) and the Senate (which has failed to accomplish much of anything during the past year) without explicitly condemning the Senate for seemingly endless dithering.

Although Republicans allowed their lack of enthusiasm for the President's agenda to clearly show during the first half of the speech, their resolve to stay seated eventually withered, and many of them were joining in on the applause lines by the end. There were no shouts of "You lie!", although there was grumbling and mumbling when the President talked about needing to solve the climate crisis.

The speech ended up being more sobering than soaring. It managed to be both optimistic and realistic about the challenges that confront our country. It was, to be sure, an eloquent call to action. The question is, will it lead to any action?

President Obama has spoken eloquently before, to disappointing results. If 2009 taught us anything, it is that great speeches do not equal great legislative achievements... or even substantial progress. The White House is simply going to have to provide some parental supervision in the Senate if it wants to get Congress' dysfunctional half to confront our nation's challenges.

Former PM Villepin cleared in Sarkozy smear case

A Paris court on Thursday found former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin not guilty of complicity to libel President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The court cleared the 56-year-old Villepin of the charge that he had done nothing to stop the dissemination of a falsified list of individuals, including Mr. Sarkozy, who were alleged to have received kickbacks from the 1991 sale of six French frigates to Taiwan.