Saturday, February 27, 2010

Report: Michael Jordan Buys Charlotte Bobcats

Michael Jordan is upping his presence in his home state of North Carolina by reportedly purchasing full ownership of the Charlotte Bobcats.

His Airness has previously been a part-owner of the Bobcats since 2006, and ran the personnel for the team. BET founder Robert Johnson is selling the team to Jordan in a deal for which not all details have been made public.

AP reports say that Jordan will control 100 percent of the team, which puts the longtime financial loser entirely on his shoulders. Jordan has been criticized for not being a more visible part of the team at times.

The Bobcats are currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and are battling for a playoff spot.

Anderson, Oklahoma State topple No. 1 Kansas 85-77

STILLWATER, Okla. — James Anderson scored 27 points, Keiton Page was perfect on four 3-point tries at crucial times and Oklahoma State denied a bid by No. 1 Kansas to go undefeated through Big 12 play with an 85-77 victory on Saturday.

The Jayhawks (27-2, 13-1) had won their last 13 games since losing at Tennessee to close nonconference play and suffered their second loss of the season just hours after No. 2 Kentucky also lost to the Volunteers.

The last time the top two teams lost on the same day was Jan. 21, 2006, when No. 1 Duke lost to Georgetown and No. 2 Florida lost to Tennessee. Both of those teams were 17-0 at the time.

Students stormed the court after Oklahoma State (20-8, 8-6) moved to 3-1 against top-ranked teams all-time at home and likely removed any doubt of whether it would make the NCAA tournament for a second straight season. Despite entering the game in seventh place in the Big 12, the Cowboys had an RPI of 33.

It was OSU's first win against a No. 1 team since beating Oklahoma on Feb. 4, 1989, and the landmark victory came in the same season the program got its first road win over a top 10 team in 52 years.

Sherron Collins had 22 points to lead Kansas, which allowed Oklahoma State to shoot 60 percent from the field and make 10 of 19 from 3-point range. Freshman Xavier Henry added 17 points and Cole Aldrich scored 11 but had little impact on the boards with only five rebounds.

The Cowboys used strong 3-point shooting to build a 19-point lead late in the first half and then held off a late charge by Kansas fueled by its full-court press. The Jayhawks closed within 80-74 on Henry's 3-pointer with 1:08 remaining but Anderson hit three of four free throws on the Cowboys' next two possessions and swatted Tyshawn Taylor's shot in between.

The only thing that stopped the celebration after that was a malfunction that stopped the clock as it ran down — fittingly with all ones at 11.1.

Matt Pilgrim had 18 points after missing OSU's last game due to a suspension, Obi Muonelo scored 17 and Page was 4-for-4 from 3-point range on his way to 15 points. Oklahoma State was 32-for-53 from the field and became only the second of Kansas' past 103 opponents to shoot over 50 percent.

Page hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to keep the Jayhawks at bay after they had closed within 63-50 as Anderson rested on the bench midway through the second half. That proved to be a big enough margin for the Cowboys to protect despite difficulties against pressure down the stretch.

OSU beat Kansas for the fourth time in six games at Gallagher-Iba Arena, including its last visit in 2008. That proved to be the Jayhawks' last loss on their way to the national championship.

Kansas hadn't trailed by more than 11 all season and led from start to finish in each of its previous two games.

The Cowboys capitalized on a brief, 42-second period when Kansas put both Collins and Aldrich on the bench to create an early spark. Anderson and Page hit back-to-back 3-pointers before Bill Self called timeout and put Collins back in, but OSU was already on its way to a 16-2 run. Pilgrim's jumper put Oklahoma State up 23-12, and the Cowboys wouldn't trail again.

Kansas scored the next five points before a lengthy replay determined Marcus Morris wasn't behind the arc for what had been ruled a 3-pointer, and Anderson and Page hit consecutive 3s again — with Aldrich and Collins on the bench again — to put the Cowboys up by 12.

Anderson curled into the lane for a layup and then hit a 3-pointer to make it 36-20, causing Self to call on seldom-used reserve Jeff Withey to find a spark. The Cowboys added to their lead, though, with Anderson making a baseline jumper and then setting up Marshall Moses for a left-handed dunk that made it 45-26 with 1:02 left before halftime.

Collins made a 3-pointer to get the Jayhawks within 16 at intermission but OSU restored its lead early in the second half.

Buffett: Execs should pay price for risky bets

OMAHA, Neb. — Billionaire Warren Buffett, in his annual letter to shareholders, sternly urged companies to develop harsh penalties for executives who get into trouble with risky investments.

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. delivered a 61 percent jump in net income because the value of its investments and derivatives rose sharply in 2009 after taking a beating the year before. But its businesses' exposure to housing construction helped keep it from outperforming the S&P 500 for the first time since 2004.

Buffett used most of his letter, released Saturday, to reiterate the business basics that have made his company a juggernaut. But it did include a section about how corporations should manage risk. Buffett said CEOs and the boards that hired them should pay a steep price if their companies get into trouble with risky investments.

Buffett lamented that shareholders, not CEOs and directors, have borne most of the burden of company failures during the economic crisis.

"In my view a board of directors of a huge financial institution is derelict if it does not insist that its CEO bear full responsibility for risk control," Buffett wrote. "If he's incapable of handling that job, he should look for other employment. And if he fails at it — with the government thereupon required to step in with funds or guarantees — the financial consequences for him and his board should be severe."

Buffett told his shareholders he takes responsibility for the risks Berkshire takes. He also has 98 percent of his net worth tied up in Berkshire stock, so he takes a personal hit if the company has trouble.

Berkshire's derivative contracts helped deliver a largely unrealized $787 million gain in investments in 2009 after a $7.5 billion loss recorded in 2008.

Most of Berkshire's derivatives operate similar to insurance policies. Some of them cover whether certain stock market indexes will be lower 15 or 20 years in the future. Others cover credit losses at groups of 100 companies, and some cover credit risks of individual companies.

That investment gain helped Berkshire post net income of $8.055 billion, or $5,193 per Class A share, for 2009. That's up 61 percent from last year's $4.994 billion, or $3,224 per share, and better than analysts expected.

Revenue rose 4.4 percent to $112.5 billion in 2009.

But Buffett also acknowledged mistakes in the past year, including letting debt and losses at fractional jet ownership unit NetJets grow for too long, and suggesting a credit card through the Geico insurance unit that turned into a fiasco that had to be sold for a $50 million pretax loss.

Buffett devoted much of his letter to educating new shareholders about the company. Berkshire added about 65,000 shareholders in February as part of its $26.7 billion acquisition of railroad operator Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. So those new investors may not be familiar with Buffett's hands-off approach to managing its roughly 80 subsidiaries.

Berkshire's holdings include clothing, furniture and jewelry businesses, but its insurance and utility businesses typically account for more than half of the company's revenue. It also has major investments in companies such as Coca-Cola Co. and Wells Fargo & Co.

Analyst Justin Fuller said over the last two years Buffett appears to be using his annual letter to talk mostly about Berkshire while using interviews and media commentaries to weigh in on other issues.

"They've really transitioned away from using the letter to pontificate on things," said Fuller, who writes online at

Much of the reason for the increase in profit in 2009 had to do with the value of Berkshire's investments and derivative contracts, some of which are worth more when certain stock indexes are up. While Berkshire's annual profit exceeded what analysts expected, the company fell short of the growth posted by the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which is Buffett's preferred measure of performance.

Buffett said Berkshire's book value — assets minus liabilities — grew 19.8 percent to $84,487 in 2009. The S&P 500, which Berkshire recently joined, gained 26.5 percent last year when dividends are factored in.

Three analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated that Berkshire's book value per share at the end of 2009 would be $83,391.44. They had expected full-year earnings per share of $4,712.47.

Buffett said he would love to add to Berkshire's collection of companies that deliver high returns without much new investment, like See's Candies, but the railroad and utility acquisitions made sense because they offer good uses for Berkshire's cash.

"If our expectations are met — and we believe that they will be — Berkshire's ever-growing collection of good to great businesses should produce above-average, though certainly not spectacular, returns in the decades ahead," Buffett said.

Berkshire's utility division, which includes MidAmerican and PacifiCorp, added $1.07 billion net income during 2009, down from $1.7 billion in 2008 because the recession led to lower demand for electricity. Burlington Northern's results will be added to the utility unit in future quarters.

Berkshire's manufacturing, retail and service businesses suffered because of the recession last year, and many of those businesses, such as Acme Brick and Shaw Carpet, are tied to construction. That business unit contributed $1.1 billion net income to Berkshire in 2009, less than half the $2.3 billion profit it generated the previous year.

That division includes NetJets, which lost $711 million in 2009. Buffett said he failed shareholders by letting the problems at NetJets continue so long, but now he's been bailed out by MidAmerican Chairman David Sokol, who took over NetJets.

Buffett said Sokol has made NetJets solidly profitable, partly by laying off 500 pilots and delaying an expansion of NetJets' Columbus, Ohio, headquarters.

Andy Kilpatrick, the stockbroker-author of "Of Permanent Value, the Story of Warren Buffett," said he thinks Berkshire's businesses are primed to rebound.

"If the economy turns a little bit, he's going to be a huge beneficiary," Kilpatrick said.

Berkshire finished the year with $30.6 billion in cash on hand, although it has since used about $8 billion of that to acquire Burlington Northern. The company's cash is down 31 percent from the $44.3 billion it held at the end of 2008 because it made a number of investments.

"It's been an ideal period for investors: a climate of fear is their best friend," Buffett wrote.

Arrested Terrorist Leader Exposes Extensive CIA Connections

(SteveWatson) – The leader of a Pakistan based terrorist organisation closely affiliated with Al Qaeda has detailed how his group benefited from extensive political and financial support from the CIA in return for continued attacks against the government, the people and the infrastructure of Iran.

Abdolmalek Rigi, the leader of the Pakistan-based Jundullah terrorist organization was captured earlier this week by Iranian security officials in the south of the country.

Rigi was tracked by Iranian intelligence when he boarded a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday.

According to officials, Rigi was using a forged Afghan passport which was issued to him by the U.S. government.

The 31-year-old terror leader issued a statement on Iranian state TV yesterday, during which he alleged that he had made a pact with the U.S. for safe haven and unlimited military aid to pursue terrorist activities against the Iranian government.

“They said they would cooperate with us and will give me military equipment, arms and machine guns. They also promised to give us a base along the border with Afghanistan next to Iran,” Rigi said.

“They [were] prepared to give [us] training and/or any assistance that [we] would require, in terms of telecommunications security and procedures as well as other support, the Americans said they would be willing to provide it at an extensive level,” he added.

Rigi indicated that the relationship with U.S. intelligence continued through the election of Barack Obama and up to the present day.

Iranian officials paraded Rigi before the press and presented a photo they claim showed the terrorist leader entering a U.S. base in Afghanistan one day before his arrest.

The Pentagon has strenuously denied having any links to the Jundullah, describing the revelations as “fabrications” and “propaganda” concocted by Iranian officials.

Iran’s intelligence minister, Heydar Moslehi also alleged that Rigi had met the then Nato secretary-general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, in Afghanistan in 2008, and had visited European countries.

Moslehi said agents had tracked Rigi’s movements for five months, calling his arrest “a great defeat for the US and UK”.

Iran has repeatedly claimed that Jundullah, which has carried out scores of bombings against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, killing hundreds of civilians in the process, is backed directly by Pakistan, Britain and Israel, as well as America.

So why should we give any credence to a captured terrorist who has undergone hours of interrogation from Iranian officials?

Because his confession backs up already substantial evidence that the the Jundullah group, in addition to other anti-Iranian terrorist groups, have enjoyed fruitful relationships with western intelligence.

US woman gets prison for gang-rape lie that put man behind bars for crime he didn't commit

'NEW YORK - A woman who fabricated a gang rape accusation was sentenced Tuesday to up to three years behind bars herself, saying she was riven with remorse for sending an innocent man to prison.

Biurny Peguero, 27, pleaded guilty in December to perjury, admitting she made up the September 2005 incident that unjustly put construction worker William McCaffrey in jail and prison for nearly four years. A judge overturned his rape conviction in December, with new DNA evidence also playing a role.
McCaffrey, now 32, said she had agreed to go with them to a party. He said they dropped her off unharmed after she changed her mind.
Prosecutors have said she told them she claimed she was raped to make her friends feel sorry for her. Assistant District Attorney Evan Krutoy suggested Tuesday that she may have lied out of anger at a man who had upset - but not attacked - her.

"I don't know the reason why, but she wanted to do this," he said, urging a two-to six-year sentence.'

Former All-Star Alvin Robertson wanted on charges in Texas

The last time you probably heard Alvin Robertson’s name, Chris Paul was breaking his NBA record for most consecutive games with a steal last season. This isn’t the way to get back in the news. From USA Today:

Former NBA All-Star Alvin Robertson is a wanted man.

The former San Antonio Spurs star, who spent 10 seasons in the NBA, has been charged with sexual assault of a child, trafficking an underage child for purposes of sex and forcing a sexual performance by a child.

Authorities allege that the 47-year-old was part of a ring that kidnapped a 14-year-old girl from San Antonio, forced her to have sex with clients and to dance in a Corpus Christi, Texas, strip club last year.

The girl escaped one of her alleged captors and waved down a police cruiser, prompting the investigation.

In all, seven people have been charged, including Robertson’s girlfriend. All have been arrested except for Robertson, who authorities are still looking for.

Robertson was a four-time All-Star and five-time All-Defensive Team member during his run with the Spurs and Bucks, winning Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player in ‘86. He also played with the Pistons and Raptors. Three times he led the NBA in steals, and averaged 14 points, 5.2 assists and 2.7 steals for his career. Robertson ranks 9th all-time in total steals and first all-time in steals per game.

Back in 1990, while he was still in the League, Robertson spend a month in jail stemming from charges of assaulting his wife. In 1997, he was again sentenced to prison time for domestic abuse, and was also arrested in ‘07 on similar charges. His son, Tyrell Johnson, plays safety for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.

Grammy-winning singer Anita Baker reaches deal in music royalty dispute, avoids jail

Singer Anita Baker avoids jail in royalty dispute

DETROIT — Anita Baker and her attorneys have worked out an agreement that will help determine how much the Grammy-winning singer’s ex-husband is owed in music royalties as part of a divorce settlement.

Baker was ordered to a Detroit court Friday after the 52-year-old R&B singer missed a deadline Wednesday to sign related documents and declined again to sign them Thursday. The judge threatened to jail Baker if she didn’t sign the papers.

The documents empower a court-appointed expert to seek information from the record companies on how much Walter Bridgforth is owed.

After going behind closed doors, Baker and lawyers from both sides emerged Friday afternoon to inform Wayne County Chief Family Court Judge Lita Masini Popke that they had reached a deal.

BREAKING NEWS: Tacoma teacher shot, killed at elementary school

KOMO 4 News is reporting that a Birney Elementary School teacher in Tacoma, Wash. has been shot and killed in what appears to be a domestic-violence-related incident.

The teacher, a woman whose name has not been released, was killed before students began arriving for school.

According to the news reports, the gunman was pursued by Pierce County Sheriff's deputies who tracked him down and then shot and killed him.

Pierce County has seen more than its share of violent deaths at the hands of gun-toting murderers in the past few months. Four Lakewood police officers were shot to death at a coffee shop in late November. Maurice Clemmons, the assailant in that case, was himself shot to death by a Seattle police officer two days after that incident.