Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Candi Holyfield Accuses Evander of Repeated Abuse

By Paul Shepard

Former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Evander Holyfield is defending himself against charges from his wife, Candi, that he hit her several times after an argument over payments to his church.

She alleges the attack is part of a pattern of abuse she has suffered at the hands of the former champion and episodes have been witnessed by the couple's two children.

Candi Holyfield, 30, has been granted a temporary protective order against the boxing legend.

The couple was married in 2003 and since the abuse began six months after they were married. In court papers, she said the abuse was emotional at the start but that physical attacks escalated after 2008.

Candi Holyfield said she was hit in the face, back of her head and back the evening of Feb 1. when she refused to show her husband check stubs from the family's church donations.

She added that the boxer apologized after her saw her bruises later that evening.

A magistrate judge's order now bans the boxer from being within 500 yards of wife and their six year-old son and five year- old daughter.

Against the wishes of many advisors and his fans, Holyfield, 47, is scheduled to reenter the ring Jan. 16th to fight Francois Botha for the little-known WBF title in Uganda. Last year, Holyfield lost a decision to mammoth Russian Nikolai Valuev.

Holyfield has found life outside the ring, in what should be the start of his retirement years, to be a much tougher opponent than many of the boxers he faced during his glory days in the ring defeating greats like Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes and Riddick Bowe.

Though Holyfield has earned more than $200 million in purses and purchased a 54,000-square-foot mansion, with more than 100 rooms and 17 baths in Atlanta, Holyfield reported he couldn't pay child support for one of his 10 children two years ago and had the mansion foreclosed on.

It was a sad but all- too-familiar story among fight fans of a rich hero turned pauper thanks to bad money management. But in the ring, it was another story.

For fight fans, Holyfield played the gallant, noble counterpoint to bad boy Mike Tyson during the last great days of heavyweight boxing in the late '80s and early '90s.

Chiseled like a statue but undersized for a heavyweight, Holyfield fought with a tenacity matched by few.

Let us hope these allegations against Holyfield prove to be false, because his legacy doesn't need anymore tarnish.

First Black Ice Skating Pair To Compete In Winter Olympics

VANCOUVER (AFP) – French pairs skaters Yannick Bonheur and Vanessa James are set to create history on Sunday when they become the first black couple to compete in figure skating at the Olympic Games.

Getting to Vancouver has been a long journey for the duo who teamed up just over two years ago after Bonheur put an advert on the internet after splitting with previous partner Marylin Pla.

Canadian-born James' aunt saw it and convinced her niece, who has lived in England since she was a child, to reply.

James, 22, arrived in France for a trial run and never left with the duo teaming up in December 2007.

"It's destiny and I'm very happy about it," said 27-year-old Bonheur.

"There's the grace and beauty of Vanessa and then my athleticism. And the fact that we're both black brings a pleasing visual harmony."

James previously competed internationally for Britain as a single's skater. She was the 2006 British national champion and 2007 silver medallist.

The pair moved to Indianapolis in the United States in August 2009 to train with Russian coach Sergei Zaitsev.

And last December they booked their ticket to Vancouver by winning the French nationals, a victory which enabled James to receive French citizenship.

Bonheur said they were determined that their Olympic experience will lay the groundwork for future successes, after they finished seventh at Europeans.

"This is just the beginning. We want to make a name for ourselves so that they'll remember us for next season," he said.

Being tagged the first black pairs skaters is not a disadvantage, they insist.

"It's often been remarked that we look different on the ice. So we want to highlight that," said Bonheur.

"We want to climb the ladder to show that black skaters can stand on the podium."

Didier Gailhaguet, president of the French skating federation, added: "They have a really exceptional look about them."

Spokesman: Ulcer put NJ's Lautenberg in hospital

CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. — A bleeding ulcer was behind the hospitalization of longtime New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg this week, an aide said Tuesday.

The 86-year-old Democrat underwent a successful endoscopy procedure, spokesman Caley Gray said. Lautenberg is expected "to make a full recovery and will be back to work soon," Gray said.

The senator was taken to a hospital Monday after becoming lightheaded and falling at his Cliffside Park home. His office announced Monday night that he was in great spirits, was joking with doctors and would stay there overnight for routine observation.

Lautenberg returned Friday from a trip to Haiti with a congressional delegation. He was scheduled to discuss the trip and the U.S. aid effort for the Caribbean nation, which is recovering from a devastating earthquake, at a news conference Tuesday. His office has not said whether he is still expected to attend.

Lautenberg, born in Paterson, first came to prominence as chairman of Automatic Data Processing, a payroll services company he founded with two friends in 1952.

The liberal Lautenberg has been a staunch gun control advocate and critic of the tobacco industry. He wrote laws to ban smoking on domestic airline flights and to institute a national minimum drinking age of 21.

He has been back in the spotlight recently as a critic of the Transportation Security Administration after a January security breach at Newark Liberty International Airport. He also was active in the effort to end a custody dispute with Brazil involving the son of Tinton Falls, N.J., resident David Goldman.

EXCLUSIVE: Jesse Jackson calls for Bank of America to restructure

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has a lot of criticism for Bank of America. Jackson is calling for bank of America to restructure because of what he is calling poor lending practices following the federal government bail out money they received.

Jackson was set to speak with local leaders in Dallas Monday morning about how they're going to handle the complaints. The reverend was live on News 8 Daybreak to talk about the issues he and others have with Bank of America.

Report: Fewer Black students at NYC high schools

MANHATTAN — The city’s top public schools have seen a 10 percent drop in the enrollment of black students since Mayor Michael Bloomberg took control of the school system in 2002, the New York Daily News reported.

Public records showed that there are fewer black students at all but one of the city’s eight schools that require an admissions tests for admittance. The number of black students dropped from 1,160 during the 2002-03 school year to 1,042 this year, the News said.

A former student at Brooklyn Technical High School told the News she was not surprised that the percentage of black students there dropped from 18 to 12 percent.

"There's a self-esteem factor in terms of not believing that you can succeed," Beatrice Lors, who graduated from the school in 2005 and mentors black students there, said to the News. "I think black students have it in them, they just don't know they do. ... I think there's not sufficient support."

At Bard High School and Eleanor Roosevelt High School — both in Manhattan — the percentage of black students was almost halved, the News reported.

But education department officials said that several new small schools were enrolling a large percentage of black students, citing Benjamin Banneker Academy and Bedford Academy in Brooklyn where over 80 percent of the student populations are black, according to the News.

"Graduation rates and test scores for black students have risen in the last eight years," DOE spokesman David Cantor said to the paper.

By Heather Grossmann

Black women don't need guilt trip from abortion billboard

Shame of abortions is burden of entire black community


There are certain things that only God can sort out. Abortion is one of them.

Although most of us, whatever our religious beliefs, respect a woman's right to choose, there are others who believe abortion is the taking of human life.

I know better than to tell another woman what to do should she suffer an unwanted pregnancy.

Life can take such twists and turns that during rough periods it takes all of your strength just to keep you going.

And let's face it: Some of us are so self-centered we can't handle the detour of an unplanned pregnancy.

Still, I wouldn't want to point any woman toward an abortion clinic. For some women -- in the quiet moments of their regrets -- they will hear the cry of that unborn child.

Nor would I want to urge another woman to bring into the world a child that she believes she is unable to take care of.

Thirty-seven years after Roe vs. Wade, the weight of exercising the right to end an unwanted pregnancy is still a personal burden each woman carries alone.

That is why I find the billboard campaign that targets black women with a frightening anti-abortion message disturbing.


A New Mob Bus Tour in N.Y. That Will Include Some Oldies But Badies

To the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office, the characters were voices on wiretaps or investigative files or criminal case numbers. To the public, they still represent a slice of fascination.

BY Erica Pearson

That Starbucks over there? Used to be the scene of one of the city’s most notorious mob hits.

This trendy Nolita shoe shop? It was once John Gotti’s hangout, the Ravenite Social Club, where many a bloody murder was planned.

Starting next month, John (Cha Cha) Ciarcia hopes to bring some of the city’s old gangland history back to life with a new bus tour.

“Everybody loves the mob,” said Ciarcia, a restaurateur, radio host and actor who had a bit part in “The Sopranos.” “We’d like to give them a taste of history in the mob.”

To read more click here.

Ex-Special Prosecutor Ken Starr Named President of Baylor Univ.

Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor who toiled in the eye of the political hurricane during the President Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal that rocked Washington, will become the new president of Baylor University in Texas, the Associated Press reported.

Starr has been dean of Pepperdine University Law School in Malibu, Calif.

The AP said Baylor cited Starr’s Christian ideals and experience heading Pepperdine law school as some key reasons for his selection.

“While I look forward to the honor of serving as Baylor’s next president, my wife Alice and I know how much we will miss Pepperdine,” Starr said in a statement released Monday by Pepperdine, according to AP. “Working with Pepperdine students, faculty, and the law school’s alumni has been one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences of our lives.”

By Allan Lengel

US media omission: Iran calls for global nuclear disarmament

By Gavin Dahl

The American public has not been informed by the US news media about highly newsworthy statements made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday February 12.

He said the era of nuclear weapons is over, suggesting Iran has no plans to build "inhumane" A-bombs. Ahmadinejad called for a world free of nuclear arms in an interview with Russia's NTV channel.

"We believe that not only the Middle East but also the whole world should be free of nuclear weapons because we see such weapons as inhumane," he said.

"Today, no one can use a nuclear weapon and we believe that the US is taking a wrong move by stockpiling nuclear weapons," he added. "Those who claim that they are against nuclear weapons should dismantle their nuclear weapons first to prove that they are honest."

So far, the libertarian-leaning Antiwar.com has been the only American media outlet to cover his statements.

Considering Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's calls for sanctions over Iran's nuclear program, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's position that new sanctions should be "crippling," one might think the US media would pay attention to Ahmadinejad's statements.

Instead, the media's Sarah Palin obsession means that more Americans heard repeated calls to start a new war with Iran in the past week.

Iran has continually denied it plans to build nuclear weapons. The country's high-profile stance is that enriched uranium will be used for Tehran's medical reactor.

The interview Friday was given to Russian channel NTV, once critical of all-powerful Vladimir Putin, but now controlled by the state-owned Gazprom conglomerate. CNN published a timeline of the changes to the station nine years ago.

Russia on Iran/S-300 Missile Deal

In 2008, Russia denied a deal to sell S-300 missiles to Iran, a rogue state sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. A Russian arms-export monopoly denied knowledge of such a sale. Although a Russian foreign ministry spokesman said there was no S-300 missile sale and referred to Iran as “unstable” in 2008, Russia has refused to join us in calling for tougher sanctions against Iran and said, presumably with a straight face, that there’s no “military element” to Iran’s uranium enrichment.

Fast forward to 2010, and Russia has since come clean and confessed to the S-300 deal with the “unstable” Iran. Earlier this month, Iran accused Russia of stalling on delivering the weapons. According to Reuters, Russia’s Security Council denied this accusation.

Security Council deputy secretary Vladimir Nazarov said, “There is a signed contract…which we must implement, but deliveries have not started yet. This deal is not restricted by any international sanctions, because the talk is about deliveries of an exclusively defensive weapon.”

Is it possible Russia has no intention of delivering the weapons, and the arms sale agreement is Russia’s leverage against the U.S.?

The deputy secretary warned the U.S. and Israel not to preemptively strike Iran, “a neighbor of Iran.” Is Russia concerned about stopping Iran’s nuclear program or helping Iran maintain the program for its own interests? Russia is selling so-called defensive weapons to an unstable country that has Israel in its sights, and refuses to agree on stronger sanctions. After denying the deal to sell S-300s, Russia has gone on record and admitted the deal.

From where we’re sitting, Russia seems more interested in aiding Iran than containing Iran.

Eurozone Troubles May Impact Travelers For Years

The immediate problem: the entire country of Greece is about to go bankrupt. They've got overly generous pensions and benefits, they've displayed a seemingly petulant unwillingness to consider belt-tightening, and their government sector is veritably Italian in its efficiency and size. This is not the stuff that long-term economic health is made of.

The bigger problem: Greece is part of the Eurozone and, while its long been kind of funny to refer to them as the "honorary member," the other 15 countries who share the Euro aren't amused. The bankruptcy of any individual state would tank the shared currency, cascading across the continent in ways that are totally unpredictable (the upshot of a disaster which was never even a consideration when the Eurozone was formed). If it did happen, most of what we've thought about travel for the last decade—dollar vs. Euro, the long-term stability of the EU, frictionless travel across Europe, etc—would quickly have to be revised.

The alternative is for the rest of the Eurozone countries to bail out Athens, allowing them to service their sovereign debt and avoid default. But the bigger European countries - Germany in particular - don't see why they should have to suffer just because the Greek language doesn't have a translation for "fiscal responsibility." Some Germans are even calling for Greece to be kicked out the Eurozone altogether.

Is it going to happen? Tough to say. The Eurozone is a political as well as economic pact, and the symbolism of a Eurozone drift is something that political leaders want to avoid. That said, it's also an economic pact, requiring a certain level of discipline from each member, and the Greeks have not exactly been holding up their end of the bargain.

But back on the political point. The Eurozone isn't something you lightly abandon. There's a treaty and stuff. Throwing Greece under the bus would make people feel less than sanguine about Europe's future stability. Individual European nations are definitely suffering. But the whole point of having a single European entity is that European citizens weren't supposed to think in those terms any more. Plus kicking Greece out will take time, with the Euro bleeding every day they're still in the market. So yeah, there's going to be a bail out one way or another.

Regardless, this fracas is another reminder that we're just at the beginning of debt-driven global economic turmoil. There are trillions of dollars of bad debt hidden in various countries, threatening to very quickly disrupt and very jarringly change everything. The economic collapse or political breakup of the Eurozone is one possibility. A Chinese economic decline, with all that it portends for Asia and the US, is another. We're still climbing out of the hole here in the United States, and no one knows how long that's going to take.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying: traveling is going to change over the next half-decade in ways no one can predict, and in the meantime we'd advise against gambling on currency unless you're very, very brave.

Weekend Book Review: In Fed We Trust

It is only fitting that I am writing this book review on a Sunday. In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke’s War on the Great Panic starts off by telling about the importance of a few Sundays in 2008. In March, there was the Sunday when the Federal Reserve announced an unprecedented action to lend $30 billion to JPMorgan Chase to buy Bear Stearns. There was the Sunday in August when the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department decided to seize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Of course, there was the Sunday in September when they allowed Lehman Brothers to fail. There was the Sunday when Bank of America agreed to take over Merrill Lynch.

David Wessel tells a story about Ben Bernanke’s rule of the Federal Reserve deciding to do “whatever it takes” to protect the U.S. economy from the incredible economic threat of those Sundays. The story takes us through what it missed, what it did, what it didn’t do, what it got right and what it got wrong during the “Great Panic.”

During Alan Greenspan’s term as chairman of the Federal Reserve we mostly watched as he and the Board decided whether to raise interest rates or not. Most of the country thought that was the extent of what the Federal Reserve did. During Bernanke’s term we saw the incredible power of the Federal Reserve to create vast sums of money out of thin air.

One of the key takeaways from the book is that is very difficult “to get the politics, the policy and market reaction all right at the any one point in time.” That was a quote from former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson shortly after leaving office.

The book is sometimes short on its depiction of events. The one that stuck out the most was the short description of the Merrill Lynch discussion by Bank of America’s Ken Lewis and Joe Price. The New York Attorney General tells a more interesting tale in his indictment of the Bank of America executives.

But of the book provides terrific insight into the events of the Great Panic. (That’s the term the Wessel uses.) During the full-court press of forcing the largest banks to take TARP money, it’s Merrill Lunch’s Thain that asks how taking the TARP money would affect government controls on executive compensation. As we later find out, Thain became one of the poster boys for the banks’ failures with executive compensation.

In the end, as we all know, mistakes were made. The Federal Reserve did not always get the politics, policy and market reaction right.

But what if Bernanke had not been a student of the Great Depression? What if he had not taken bold steps? I think the economy and the country would be much worse off.

Why Is Amare Stoundemire Preventing Himself From Being Dealt To Cleveland?

After speculation over the past two weeks that the Cleveland Cavaliers have shown major interest in Amare Stoudemire, could the biggest road-block be Stoudemire, himself?

It’s looking that way.

The original plan coming from Cleveland (rumored, anyways), is that adding either Stoudemire or Washington’s Antawn Jamison would give them another athletic body inside to help the aging Shaquille O’Neal make it through the playoffs.

The Cavaliers were widely rumored to be hot on Jamison, then talks of interest in Indiana’s Troy Murphy arose, and now the latest piece of gossip is a deal that would bring Stoudemire to Cleveland, and send Zydrunas Ilgauskas, J.J. Hickson, and and another player (likely Wally Szscerbiak) to Phoenix.

However, Stoudemire has apparently put the nix on such a trade (for now, at least), and for two very good reasons.

1. Success With Shaq

Stoudemire discovered first-hand what it’s like to play with Shaq as a teammate, and unless you’re a star shooting guard, it doesn’t do much for your stats or your fame.

Playing with Shaq and sharing the inside, as well as the stage with O’Neal and James, isn’t something that appeals to Stoudemire, even if doing so brings the real possibility at an NBA Championship. That, and there’s the slight chance that Stoudemire feels his own team could win it this year (although unlikely).

2. His Contract

Stoudemire is looking for something along the lines of a three-year, $60 million-dollar extension, and by allowing himself to go to Cleveland, he knows that’s not likely to happen for him, at least not right away.

And because of the uncertainty of his contract status, Stoudemire has more than enough reason to say no to it.

Playing with Shaq inside would kill his numbers and probably lessen his minutes, and even if it didn’t, he still has to share the stage and ball with LeBron James.

Stoudemire wants the money, and he wants to win, but he also wants to be “the guy”
for the team he’s playing for.

It’s far from being worked out, and with less than three full days remaining, the Cavaliers may have to cut their losses and aim for either Jamison or Murphy, after all.
Posted By Kevin Roberts

Clinton says Iranian military supplanting government

The Washington Times reports that US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that Iran is becoming a military dictatorship, a new US accusation in the midst of rising tensions with Iran over its nuclear ambitions and crackdown on anti-government protesters. Speaking to Arab students at Carnegie Mellon University's Doha campus, Mrs. Clinton said Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps appears to have gained so much power that it effectively is supplanting the government.

Spokesman: Unruly passenger took a swing at Romney

BOSTON — A spokesman for Mitt Romney says the former Republican presidential candidate was threatened by an unruly airline passenger on a flight out of Vancouver.

Spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom (FERN'-strum) says Romney and his wife were on an Air Canada flight to Los Angeles on Monday when Romney asked the passenger sitting in front of his wife, Ann, to raise his seat back before take off.

Fehrnstrom says the passenger then became enraged and took a swing at Romney. He says the former Massachusetts governor did not retaliate, but let the airline crew respond.

The plane returned to the gate, the passenger was removed and the flight took off a short time later.

The Romneys had been in British Columbia since Friday to watch the opening of the Olympic Winter Games.

Kerry: Taliban arrest due to US-Pakistan effort

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kerry says the capture of the Taliban's top military commander is proof of a "stronger cooperative effort" between the United States and Pakistan.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says the arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is a signal that Pakistan will pursue militants "who engage in violent extremist acts" against its people.

Baradar was arrested 10 days ago in a joint CIA-Pakistani operation in Pakistan, according to Pakistani and U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release such sensitive information.

Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, is in Islamabad for a meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. He told CBS' "The Early Show" on Tuesday that Pakistan's government now knows that "this fight is their fight."