Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jayson Williams Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

AP/Jerry McCrea
After pleading guilty last month to aggravated assault in the 2002 death of limo driver Costas Christofi, former Nets player Jayson Williams was sentenced today to five years in prison. Williams, who was recently charged with drunk driving after crashing his Mercedes SUV into a tree near the FDR, will have to serve a minimum of 18 months in prison before he is eligible for parole, and then do a year for DWI if the Manhattan DA has his way. Before his sentencing today, the former NBA star reportedly offered a teary apology:
I know there's nothing I can do to bring Mr. Christofi back. I am deeply deeply sorry... I pray that today brings you some comfort. To my family, please forgive me for the pain I've caused you. You deserve a better father, son, brother than I have been.

In a letter read to the judge, Andrea Adams, Christofi's sister, said it was painful for her to watch Williams "partying around" in recent years as if her loss was "meaningless... Jayson Williams has been treated like a king, and it has been tragic. I believe Jayson Williams is a danger to society and should not be walking the streets. Maybe then my brother can rest in peace."

Williams accidentally killed Christofi in his New Jersey mansion while showing him a shotgun without checking to make sure the gun's safety was on before he snapped it closed. When he pleaded guilty, he admitted to the judge, "I didn't look in the direction the muzzle of the gun was pointed." The State Attorney General recommended the five year sentence because Williams tried to cover up his involvement in the shooting.

White Sorority Wins Sprite Step-Off Competition

Stepping, which is deeply rooted in the tradition of historically Black Fraternities, has moved into the mainstream. At the Sprite Step Off, a traditionally white sorority with all white members, Zeta Tau Alpha won the $100,000 prize. Bossip was in the audience and they agreed that Zeta Tau Alpha “brought it.”
This can be considered of another example of how Black culture becomes mainstream and becomes appropriated by Caucasian people and becomes a greater part of American culture as a whole.
Judge for yourself, here is Zeta Tau Alpha, stepping along with videos of performances from the AKAs, Deltas and Alphas.

Delta Sigma Theta

Alpha Phi Alpha

Alpha Kappa Alpha

Dr. Earl Bradley Arrested: Pediatrician Charged With Molestation

Dr. Earl Bradley, arrested and charged in December for victimizing over 100 children, is facing 471 felony counts of molesting patients in his medical practice. The pediatrician charged with molestation may face additional charges after the evidence is collected and analyzed. Dr. Earl Bradley is a pediatrician in Delaware, but also has licenses to practice medicine in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida. Delaware has taken action and revoked his license to practice medicine, and has contacted the other states as well and informed them of the pending charges.

Read more about Dr. Bradley, the charges he is facing, the victims, as well as how police discovered the abuse, and what evidence was collected in the case, below.

Authorities in Delaware collected what is being described as “video and digital evidence” from Dr. Bradley’s home and his practice. He is accused of molesting over 100 children, over a 10 year period, and is facing 471 felony charges. He is also accused of videotaping some of his attacks on the victims. Thankfully his medical license has been permanently suspended.

Some of the charges Dr. Earl Bradley is facing are sexual exploitation of a child, rape, unlawful sexual contact, continuous sexual abuse of a child, assault and reckless endangering. He is currently being held on $2.9 million bail. Prosecutors have sent out letters to over 3,100 potential victims, and have urged anyone who may have been victimized by Dr. Bradley to come forward and contact the authorities.

I can not explain how sick this case makes me. The thought of a doctor victimizing children for his own sick satisfaction really makes me wish that rape of a child was a capital offense punishable by the death penalty. It appears that prosecutors have over 13 hours of tape that they have reviewed while screening charges. None of the victims were identified by name in the indictment.

The defense in the case has already laid the foundation for a not guilty by reason of insanity plea. Anyone who would do something like this is obviously insane, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t know that it was wrong and it certainly doesn’t mean that anyone who commits this type of crime should ever see the light of day as a free man ever again.

All of the victims, save one, were females and were in an extremely vulnerable position given the fact that Bradley was a doctor and the children, and their parents, trusted him to care for these children. Honestly, nothing disgusts me more than someone who abuses children in this type of way.

So, Dr. Earl Bradley, arrested for abusing patients for over a decade, is going to face a lifetime behind bars. The pediatrician charged with molestation, rape, and numerous other sexually related charges, could be facing even more than the current 471 charges currently pending. I’ve made my opinion pretty clear. I think that the law should exist allowing for capital punishment for rape of a child, and although that is not an option for the judge, I would be just as happy seeing the judge order him to a lifetime of solitary confinement. What do you think? I’d love to see some creative punishments for this type of crime.

Scott Brown lets Tea Party down

Today Scott Brown voted with Democrats on cloture for the jobs bill. Of course, this is just to avoid a filibuster. It's not at all clear he will vote for the bill although his statement certainly holds out that possibility. Meanwhile, the tea party people on twitter are howling with outrage at the "betrayal." Doesn't he know they worked so hard to get him elected so he would say no to everything Obama wants?

Of course, to anyone who knows Massachusetts, this is no great shock. Despite all the silly talk about a conservative revolution, I knew he would be more moderate than anyone expected. Brown doesn't appear to be the brightest bulb in the lamp, but he knows the only reason he won is because Coakley was such a dismal candidate. If he wants to keep that job, his constituency is basically liberal and he can't be a knee-jerk no voter and expect to get re-elected. Of course, that will lose the tea party support that also helped him win. If I were a betting sort, I wouldn't put money on his being more than a placeholder in the long run.

Saudi Prince, Now Part Owner of Murdoch's News Corp., Influences Fox News

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal now owns a 7 percent stake in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., the parent company of Fox News, making him the company's largest shareholder outside of Murdoch's family. Alwaleed is best known for going to Ground Zero after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and personally handing then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani a check for $10 million to help finance relief efforts. Afterwards, Alwaleed released a statement blaming the attacks not on the Saudi airline hijackers, but on U.S. policies in the middle east. As a result, Giuliani returned the prince's donation, gaining him praise from Fox News for doing so. Now that Alwaleed has a controlling ownership in News Corp., he is gaining influence over Fox News. In 2005, just months after Alwaleed acquired his first 5.4 percent stake in News Corp., Fox News covered riots in Paris under a banner saying "Muslim riots." Alwaleed allegedly called Murdoch and had him change the banner to say "Civil riots." Investigative journalist Joseph Trento also reported that a comment he recently made on a Fox Network morning news show, Fox and Friends, about Saudi Arabian money still financing Al Qaeda, was edited out of the show. Trento also reports that Alwaleed "has personally donated huge amounts of money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers." In a rare interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto in January, AlWaleed explained his personal reasons for seeking influence in American politics: the U.S. buys Saudi Arabia's oil, and the bulk of his country's gross domestic product (GDP) comes from oil. Fox News reliably broadcasts misinformation on clean energy, and aggressively fights efforts to move America away from being dependent on a fossil fuels.

Target in a very Tight Range

- Shares
of Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) closed the trading session at $50.64 placing the price action in a very tight range, given that calculated support is set at $48.23 and the calculated resistance based on an algorithm of peaks and troughs is set at $51.08

Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) operates general merchandise discount stores in the United States. The Minneapolis, Minnesota company operates general merchandise and food discount stores and a fully integrated online business.

Target's stock price action indicates that both sellers and buyers are materializing very close to each other, which is indicative to a momentum building area, as the stock can resolve by breaking out of the tight range that developed.

Traders wanting to establish a position should place close attention to Target's price action, as any movement outside its predefined range of $48.23 and $51.08 could grab the attention of momentum buyers, looking for a big movement in the price of the stock. Traders need to be aware that tight range resolution works both ways, hence, a move below support at $48.23 could spark above average selling. A tiered approach can be a good way to approach starting a position in Target's, by establishing a starter position while the stock is in the tight range, and then adding to the position as it breaks and closes above resistance.

Wife charged with assaulting wrestler Ric Flair

Police say the wife of pro wrestler Ric Flair has been charged with assaulting him in their North Carolina home.

In a statement, Flair called the incident an unfortunate disagreement and said he did nothing wrong.

Authorities say officers were called to Flair’s home in south Charlotte on Sunday night. Flair said his wife attacked him after they went out for dinner. He had minor injuries, but refused treatment from paramedics.

Police charged 41-year-old Jacqueline Beems with simple assault. She was released from jail a few hours after her arrest.

The 60-year-old platinum blond grappler nicknamed “The Nature Boy” is currently wrestling for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling after a long career with World Wrestling Entertainment.

76ers G Iverson out indefinitely

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson has left the team and is out indefinitely to spend time with his ill daughter.

Iverson will miss at least the remaining three games of Philadelphia’s road trip. Iverson missed five games and the All-Star game to be with his family when the health issue surfaced earlier this month

Iverson has not disclosed what is ailing his 4-year-old daughter, Messiah.

Sixers president Ed Stefanski says it was in the best interest of the team and Iverson to allow him time with his family to deal with a “very serious issue.”

FBI prepares charges against former Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick

Reports that the FBI is preparing to file new corruption charges against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his father shocked the Michigan political establishment over the weekend and may prove damaging to Democratic candidates facing a hostile electoral climate this fall.

Both Detroit newspapers reported Sunday that the feds have evidence the Kilpatricks took hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Karl Kado, a little-known city contractor. Kilpatrick resigned from office and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges on Sept. 4, 2008, following an investigation that showed he used city resources to cover up a romantic affair with his chief of staff Christine Beatty. He served 99 days in jail and was ordered to pay restitution of $1 million to the city.

Read More....

Lindsay Lohan Blames Father Michael For Cocaine Addiction

Singer and actress Lindsay Lohan is blaming her father for her own interest in Cocaine.

Her dad is a former drug addict, and according to Lindsay it is because of this that she decided to try the drug initially.
Lindsay herself has been in rehab three times since 2007, and has been caught by police with cocaine in her possession.

“It’s not something I ever want to do again,” she says of the drug. “It made me feel like s***. It became uninteresting to me. I’m hyper anyway and I have that kind of personality so I don’t need something like that.”

“I was only aware of cocaine because of my dad,” she tells Britain’s The Sun in a new interview. “I was terrified of it. But I tried it because I was stubborn, stupid, and wanted to see what it was like.”

Today Lindsay says she is in a much happier place than she has been in for a long time.

She says that when it comes to booze, she “knows her limits” and adds that waking up in the morning after a night of drinking is no fun anymore.

She adds: “I’ve made some dreadful mistakes but learned from them - that has probably saved my life.”

Knopf to Do 200K Printing for Remnick's Obama Bio

Knopf has acquired a biography of President Obama by New Yorker editor David Remnick. The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama is slated for April 6 and, according to the Random House imprint, will be "a sweeping and deeply reported look at both the life of the 44th President and the complex saga of race in America that led to his historic election."

Knopf has an announced first printing of 200,000 copies, and will release simultaneous e-book and audiobook editions along with the April hardcover.

Remnick, who has one Pulitzer to his name (for his book about the collapse of the Soviet Union, Lenin's Tomb, which is also published by Random House), delivers what the publisher claims is the "fullest narrative possible of a sitting President," compiled from hundreds of interviews with Obama, as well as his staffers, family, confidantes, and political rivals. The title will also feature never-before-published letters Obama wrote to his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham.

Knopf publisher Sonny Mehta said The Bridge "reveals not only [Obama's] character, but also his trials, motivations, and perspectives in a way that a memoir, even a remarkable one, cannot."

More Dubai murder suspects named

Investigators in the United Arab Emirates have identified four more suspects in the killing of a Hamas military commander last month - all of them holders of European passports.

Dubai police on Tuesday identified two more British and two more Irish passport holders as suspects in the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, adding to the 11 suspects already named.

The new details bring the total number of British passports involved in the hit to eight, and Irish passports to five. Suspects holding French and German passports have also been identified.

Authorities have been using immigration records and CCTV-captured images of the suspects to try to piece together what happened in the hours before al-Mabhouh's murder.

Al-Mabhouh was found dead in a luxury hotel in Dubai on January 20.


Conservatives Unveil New Action Manifesto

Giants of conservatism pen new manifesto on economic, social, and national security issues

By Paul Bedard

More than 80 big-shot conservative leaders and grass-roots activists, moving to seize the momentum in the movement, have drawn up a manifesto aimed at linking the new trends of center-right politics to the roots of conservatism first proposed in 1960 by William F. Buckley Jr.

Some 50 years after conservatives cobbled together the Sharon Statement, named for Buckley's hometown where he penned it, the new gang led by former Attorney General Ed Meese is proposing a Mount Vernon Statement aimed at rewriting the movement's principles. Some excerpts of the document to be released Wednesday have been provided to Whispers:

—"In recent decades, America's principles have been undermined and redefined in our culture, our universities and our politics. The self-evident truths of 1776 have been supplanted by the notion that no such truths exist. The federal government today ignores the limits of the Constitution, which is increasingly dismissed as obsolete and irrelevant."

—"Some insist that America must change, cast off the old and put on the new. But where would this lead—forward or backward, up or down? Isn't this idea of change an empty promise or even a dangerous deception?"

—"The change we urgently need, a change consistent with the American ideal, is not movement away from but toward our founding principles. At this important time, we need a restatement of Constitutional conservatism grounded in the priceless principle of ordered liberty articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution."

—"The conservatism of the Declaration asserts self-evident truths based on the laws of nature and nature's God. It defends life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It traces authority to the consent of the governed. It recognizes man's self-interest but also his capacity for virtue."

The new statement is being timed to influence this week's Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. Here's the lowdown on Wednesday's Mount Vernon Statement release ceremony:


Fifty Years After The Sharon Statement Helped Launch The Conservative Movement, Today's Leaders Will Unveil And Sign Declaration Of Leadership

WHAT: A Who's Who of the conservative movement's leaders will unveil and sign the Mount Vernon Statement: a document defining the movement's principles, beliefs and values in light of the challenges facing the country and the need for Constitutional Conservatism since the Obama administration came to power. The unveiling and signing of the Mount Vernon Statement comes on the eve of CPAC, the largest annual gathering of conservative activists from across the country.

WHO: The proceedings will be led by former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese, senior statesman of the conservative movement. He will be joined by more than 80 national grassroots conservative leaders representing tens of millions of conservative activists including: Edwin Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Becky Norton Dunlop, president of the Council for National Policy; Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center; Alfred Regnery, publisher of the American Spectator; David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union; Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America; David McIntosh, co-founder of the Federalist Society; T. Kenneth Cribb, former domestic policy adviser to President Reagan; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; William Wilson, President, Americans for Limited Government; Elaine Donnelly, Center for Military Readiness; Richard Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com, Kenneth Blackwell, Coalition for a Conservative Majority; Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring and Kathryn J. Lopez, National Review and many others.

But Is She Electable?

By David Bozeman

With recent poll numbers showing that a vast majority of Americans deem Sarah Palin unqualified to be president, liberals are enjoying a state of euphoria they haven't felt since Fidel Castro honored New Yorkers with a visit, culminating in his address to the United Nations.

According to a highly touted ABC News/Washington Post survey, at least 70% of Americans find the former governor unqualified for the presidency. The liberal pundits typically place her odds near zero, claiming that she has failed to connect with voters beyond her conservative base.

And that's where the 70%-numbers raise a few doubts. According to a recent Gallup poll, 40% of voters consider themselves conservative, with 35% independent and only 21% liberal. A Battleground poll found that 20% of voters are very conservative and 40% somewhat. That would mean that conservatives are deserting Sarah Palin in droves. While some are, a recent Gallup poll for 2012 named Mitt Romney the frontrunner, with Palin just two points behind — a statistical tie. A county straw poll in North Carolina named Palin the winner. Early poll numbers for 2008 predicted Hillary Clinton fending off Rudy Giuliani, with John McCain in single digits for the GOP nomination, so one would be foolish to place any bets right now.

So while these numbers don't sound a death knell for a Palin presidency, the odds in her favor remain disturbingly low. First, Sarah Palin the media phenomenon must step aside for Sarah Palin the policy wonk. She must position herself as America's leader in exile, providing sharp, positive alternatives to the Obama agenda. Whether it is fair or not, her forays into celebrity culture dilute her solid messages on energy policy, economic reform, national defense and social issues. Her Runner's World pictorial, while perfectly legitimate for a health and fitness publication, just gave that shadow-of-its-former-self hack sheet Newsweek a chance to sexualize her image.

Her supporters must tout her as a leader and lose the endless flowery allusions to a modern-day Esther leading her flock out of the socialistic night. Nor should she be painted a victim or a martyr to the elitist tastes of the left wing politico-media culture.

Palin-istas cannot fuel a 2012 run on outrage. Recently, feminist playwright Eve Ensler, whose most renowned contribution to our culture consists of The Vagina Monologues, spewed some of that predictable tripe about Palin's intelligence (Palin doesn't buy into global warming!). Like protecting a little sister, conservatives (including this one) pen editorials noting that any Palin appearance is a far greater paean to the nurturing comfort and potential of American womanhood than readings by Jane Fonda and Whoopi Goldberg about their — well, you know. Ensler and her like should remain in the cultural gutter, and Palin (and her supporters) should strengthen her hold on the mainstream by focusing on policy and positive alternatives.

Of course, Palin does not seek advice from armchair advisors. She will follow her gut instincts, which have served her well up to now. That's what people like about her. With eons to go before 2012, she enjoys ample time to sharpen her image and defy conventional wisdom. Still, the fact that she, a private citizen, remains the most discussed figure in American politics — second only to the president — proves that she doesn't need to hold elective office to effect change. Despite the left's best efforts to render her irrelevant, she is a far more compelling figure than the man who beat her for vice-president, Joe What's-his-name. The left is always informing us that resistance is futile, but the strong forge ahead and predicate their strategies not on dubious poll numbers but on whom and what is right for America.

David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer for Americans for Limited Government.

Capitol South

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A Bottomless Pit: The Coming $1 Trillion Public Pension Crisis

By Bill Wilson

Last week, Pew Center on the States reported that "at the end of fiscal year 2008, there was a $1 trillion gap between the $2.35 trillion states and participating localities had set aside to pay for employees' retirement benefits and the $3.35 trillion price tag of those promises."

It's a quite hole, and unfortunately, the states are still digging. Soon it will be a bottomless pit.

That gap, reports Pew, will in all likelihood become even worse because it does not take into account the market crash of late 2008. For most states, fiscal year 2008 ended June 30th, 2008, before the stock market tanked.

What's worse, the current $1 trillion gap is widening as the economy continues to struggle and state tax revenue remains low. This year alone, as ALG News has previously reported, states face budget gaps totaling $180 billion. As noted above, the pension systems are in even worse shape to the tune of $1 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

Pew's diagnosis of the problem is generally spot-on: "pension funding levels declined over the past decade from states' failure to fully pay for their retirement obligations as well as investment losses…"

The report also cites several factors "self-imposed by the states" weighing on the pensions systems: early retirement incentives; cost-of-living adjustments in some states that have not been taken into account; in other states benefits have been increased in good times but not reduced when revenues fall short; retirees have been allowed to "double-dip" by coming back to work while still collecting their pension benefits; and workers have managed to get great increases in salary, promotions, and other "salary spiking" practices immediately before retirment that increase the final dispensation of benefits.

So, as life expectancy has increased and public sector unions have managed to successfully lobby state legislatures to lavish increased retiree benefits upon their members, the systems have increasingly been rendered insolvent. Liabilities in these programs have grown by $323 billion since 2006 alone, whereas assets accumulated for the funds since then only totaled $236 billion, an $87 billion deficit. Since 2000, reports Pew, the deficit has been $500 billion.

The situation in retiree health care and other non-pension benefits is even worse: states face a $587 billion long-term liability, but have only $32 billion on-hand to finance that obligation.

In short, the benefits owed are far in excess of contributions by employees and the states, even as the costs of those contributions are increasing. All of which leaves taxpayers holding the bill.

But, it does not have to be this way. The trouble with the current state pension system is actually quite simple. As reported by the Huffington Post, 90 percent of public sector workers are currently enrolled in defined-benefit plans, plans that promise to pay a certain amount of benefits for every year of retirement based on factors like salary and duration of employment.

The establishment of defined-benefit plans by the several states has been the essential root cause of the crisis. The costs for benefits have far exceeded the projected need for contributions, and may even exceed what is possible to be raised through increased contributions by employees and taxpayers if the system is not reformed soon.

Pew outlines some of the catastrophic implications that have come along with the defined-benefits approach: "high annual costs that come with significant unfunded liabilities, lower bond ratings, less money available for services, higher taxes and the specter of worsening problems in the future." This cannot continue.

One of the reforms proposed, as summarized by the Washington Post, would "increase employee contributions and subject new employees to tighter eligibility requirements for more modest benefits." The trouble with this proposal is that it is only a half measure, and an unfair one at that.

That plan, in essence, is a bad deal for younger and new workers, who would increasingly be saddled with the costs of paying for current retiree benefits while simultaneously being forced to stay in a system that will likely be insolvent when they retire, if not before then. This, of course, is the same problem Social Security faces on a grander scale.

Instead, when one is in a hole, the solution is always to first stop digging — before it is cemented over.

If today states just stopped adding new employees to their defined-benefit plans, as has been done in Alaska and Michigan, and switched to portable, IRA-like defined-contribution plans (as corporate America has already done with much success) while simultaneously offering younger workers an option to switch into the IRA, they could immediately takes steps to address the inherent cause of the crisis by limiting the universe of unfunded liabilities.

Today, that number is $1 trillion. If this proposal were adopted in every state, the unfunded liabilities would not grow that much more, and the states over time could bring the pension funds to fully-funded levels from their general funds.

The second part of the solution would be to make up the remaining shortfalls. As Pew implicitly notes, Alaska for example has yet to take the second step, and currently has a $3.522 billion unfunded liability. Michigan, too, is in a similar situation, with an $11.514 billion shortfall. But, because they have stopped adding new employees to the defined-benefit plans — limiting the universe of unfunded liabilities — those costs will not rise as fast as states that require such unsustainable systems.

The greatest obstacle to such defined-contribution reforms, Pew notes, is from the public sector unions: "Because unions and other employee representatives often have vigorously opposed defined contribution plans, it is unclear whether any state will find such a switch viable, or if such plans are primarily being proposed as a starting point for hybrid plans or other compromises."

However, switching to defined-contribution plans in this manner provides the best opportunity for states to equitably solve the public pension crisis while keeping their contractual commitments to current and soon-to-be retirees.

As noted above, in just the past ten years, the unfunded liabilities have grown by some $500 billion. Ominously, those costs are likely to escalate, unless states first stop digging themselves into a bottomless pit. Instead, there is a way out.

Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government.