Saturday, May 22, 2010

Plane Overshoots Runway in Southern India, 158 Killed

An Air India passenger plane crashed early Saturday after overshooting an airport runway in southern India, killing at least 158 people on board.

NBA Vet Says LeBron James' Mother Did Sleep with His Teammate

By Dr. Boyce Watkins, PhD

I am not big on the Internet phrase, "OMG." But when I recently read that an NBA vet was confirming the story about LeBron James' mother sleeping with his teammate, Delonte West, the "OMG" phrase was all I could come up with. Former NBA great Calvin Murphy recently appeared on ESPN radio and said that the rumor about the sleeping habits of LeBron's mother was totally true. In fact, he said that this was only part of the story.

Murphy then said that another man was involved in the affair, but didn't say how. He also said that LeBron was so shaken by the incident, that he may take some time off in the upcoming season.

This sequence of events certainly weakens the credibility of the recent cease and desist order that LeBron's attorneys sent out to celebrity gossip blogs, telling us that "no thinking person would believe such rubbish." Perhaps LeBron's attorneys were the only ones not doing any thinking, since we all know that sex happens and damn near anything is possible in the bedroom.

OK, I am not here to get in to the he say/she say of all this, I'll leave that to the gossip blogs. I only have a few quick comments to make about the affair involving LeBron James' mama:

Texas textbook war: 'Slavery' or 'Atlantic triangular trade'?

Changes to social studies textbooks in Texas proposed by conservatives have resulted in a partisan uproar and generated interest far beyond the Lone Star State.

Protesters at a "Don't White-Out Our History" rally outside the building where the Texas State Board of Education was meeting Wednesday in Austin. Conservatives are pushing for changes in social studies textbooks.
Larry Kolvoord/Austin American-Statesman/AP
Thomas Jefferson out, Phyllis Schlafly in?
While the proposed changes to Texas social studies standards aren’t quite so simple (and contrary to some reports, Thomas Jefferson would still be part of the curriculum), the debate over the standards pushed by a conservative majority of the Texas Board of Education – which will be voted on this week – has resulted in a partisan uproar and generated interest far beyond the Lone Star State.

Conservatives say that the changes are a long-overdue correction to a curriculum that too often deemphasizes religion and caters to liberal views. Critics are dismayed at what they see as an attempt to push conservative ideology – even if it flies in the face of scholarship – into textbooks. And with a textbook industry that is often influenced by the standards in the largest states, there is a chance that the changes have influence beyond Texas.

“Decisions that are made in Texas have a ripple effect across the country,” says Phillip VanFossen, head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and a professor of social studies education at Purdue University.

Still, he notes, as the pendulum swings toward national standards – which have yet to be developed for social studies – that influence might wane. Just in case, California this week passed a bill out of a Senate committee that would ensure no California textbooks contain any Texas-driven changes.

Lawyer airs unpublished intro to Malcolm X classic

NEW YORK — Decrying American race relations as a near-war, Malcolm X expressed hope that his tumultuous life story could help blacks and whites, according to a never-published introduction to his best-selling autobiography.
The introduction, read publicly for the first time Wednesday, underscores the ambition, personal-as-political power and foreboding of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," published shortly after the civil rights leader was assassinated in 1965.
"I'm writing this book for the best interests of the Negro and the white man in America," begins the introduction, read by a Detroit lawyer who bought it from the estate of the autobiography's collaborator, Alex Haley.
"Most sincerely I want my life story to do as much good for America and for both races as it possibly can. ... I give my life to be used to benefit America and humanity, that America will learn that the Negro's problem is a challenge to America's consciousness and that the Negro is America's problem."
The existence of the introduction, and three other unpublished chapters apparently intended for the 19-chapter political classic, has been known since entertainment attorney Gregory J. Reed bought them at a 1992 auction of Haley's estate. Some pages have been exhibited in a Detroit museum.
But Reed on Wednesday read it publicly for the first time, to an audience of hundreds at the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. The organization was founded by the civil rights leader's late widow and housed in the building where he was killed.

Maya Angelou throws garden party for 82nd birthday

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Poet Maya Angelou celebrated a belated 82nd birthday Thursday with a few celebrity friends and a few choice words about political divisiveness in the United States.
Singers Naomi Judd and Martina McBride sang "Happy Birthday to You" to Angelou, who sat at a table in her newly refurbished backyard garden, while hip-hop artist and actor Common improvised a song to honor her.
"I have an attitude of gratitude. Nobody promised me this day," Angelou said in an interview with The Associated Press, explaining how she keeps writing.
Despite her generally upbeat attitude, Angelou said she finds the state of national politics to be tragic.
"I mean, this is our country," said Angelou, whose birthday was April 4. "This is a country of Republicans, of Democrats and of independents. And we are going to work together to make it better. Or we will not. And we will make it worse. And that's dumb."

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe Coming in August. Starts at $38,990.

The all-new 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe is all set to go on sale in early August, and will be priced at $38,990. The CTS Coupe extends the already impressive CTS line-up of the CTS Sedan Sport and the CTS Sport Wagon - a line-up that’s featured in the Car and Driver’s 10 Best list for three consecutive years.

The standard CTS Coupe will come with a 3.6L Direct Injection V6 engine that delivers 304 hp, and is coupled to either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. The higher-end V-Series edition 6.2L supercharged V8 engine that generates 556 hp and comes with Brembo brakes and Magnetic Ride Control will also go on sale at $62,990.

“CTS Coupe is a compelling new alternative for luxury and performance-minded drivers… The addition of a Coupe, especially one this dramatic, provides an important entryway for new consumers to experience Cadillac Art and Science.” – Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac marketing.

The interior is definitely something to look forward – with touch-pad operated doors, and hand-sewn accents that covers the door, center storage console and instrument panel trim.

$38,990 RWD, $40,890 AWD
Six-speed automatic with tap up/down shifting, performance suspension, 18-inch wheels, rear park assist, Bose audio, MP3 input, remote start, EZ Key, power driver and front passenger seats.

Performance Collection
$43,430 RWD, $45,330 AWD
HID Xenon headlamps, adaptive forward lighting, 10-way power leather seats, Bose 5.1 Surround Sound, 40GB hard drive w/ USB integration.

Premium Collection
$47,835 RWD, $49,735 AWD
Interior ambient lighting, heated/vented front seats, heated steering wheel, wood trim, rear-view camera, Bose 5.1 Surround Sound with navigation, sunroof.

6.2L Supercharged V8, paddle shift controls, Brembo brakes, Magnetic Ride Control, 19-inch wheels with performance tires.

By Antony Marceles

Book Seller Borders Raising $25M in Private Placement of Stock, Warrants

Book retailer Borders Group said it's raising $25 million in a private placement of common stock and warrants to improve its capital position, improve productivity in its stores, increase internet sales, and develop business partnerships.

The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company is issuing about 11.1 million shares priced at $2.25 each, reflecting a 0.9% premium to where Borders stock traded yesterday. The offering represents an 18.7% stake in the company.

Borders is also issuing warrants to purchase an additional 35.1 million shares at the $2.25 price, subject to shareholder approval. If Borders is unable to get shareholder approval, it is obligated to issue stock appreciation rights for 35.1 million shares.

The identity of the investors was not disclosed.
Borders said it is also issuing to investor Pershing Square Capital Management contingent warrants to purchase 2.7 million shares of common stock for 65 cents each. Pershing Square is owed the warrants under the terms of a 2008 private placement by Borders of a $42.5 million non-convertible term note.

Pershing also will be entitled to receive contingent warrants to purchase an additional 8.6 million shares of Borders stock following the issuance of either the new warrants or stock appreciation rights.

Rothschild advised Borders on the more recent private placement, while Jefferies & Co. advised the investors.

Source: PrivateRaise

Gun taken from upset JetBlue pilot before flight

BOSTON — Law enforcement officials say a JetBlue pilot who threatened to "harm himself in spectacular fashion" surrendered a gun to authorities who confronted him just before a flight from Boston's Logan International Airport.

The pilot was not charged with illegal possession of a firearm, and the gun was taken by federal authorities. Both actions suggest he might be a member of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program.

The post-9/11 program screens, trains, arms and deputizes pilots as a last line of aircraft security.

The conflict occurred Thursday after a flight attendant who used to date the pilot said she received an e-mail indicating he was distraught.

Federal Security Director George Naccara says the pilot never threatened the aircraft or the passengers. The pilot was hospitalized.

Read More..

Reminiscing The 30 Years of Dot Eating Pac-Man

On May 22, 1980, Namco launched the first Pac-Man machine in a movie theatre at the crowded street of Shibuya, Tokyo. Today, b is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the ever famous game Pac-Man.

Aside from being the inspiration of a novel and addictive game, Pac-Man also became the media’s superstar and appeared on lunch boxes, cover magazines, cartoons and even made it on the Top 10 Pop Hit.

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Unlike the other competition of the Pac-Man game, Pac-Man’s way of eating dots and being chased by ghost game play still keeps it very addicting even in adults.

With the advent of technology, Namco Bandai also managed to squeeze the Pac-Man game into your handy iPhone. According to Namco, Pac-Man is still a money maker even if it is already 30 years old. Friday, Google revealed the first ever “doodle” a version Pac-Man.

None of this could have happened if it wasn’t for genius game designer Toro Iwatani. Iwatani created cute characters for the game which was another reason why people still loves Pac-Man even if it is 30 years old already.

Posted by francis

Video: DNAinfo Manhattan Weekend News Update (May 21 - May 23, 2010)

Study: A heart attack shouldn't kill your sex life

Surviving a heart attack can kill your sex life.
But it doesn't have to, and a new study shows doctors play a key role in whether it does.
Patients were less likely to resume having sex if their doctors did not talk about when it was safe, the study found.

Many heart attack survivors fear that a tryst could land them back in the hospital - or even in the graveyard. But the chance of that is extremely small, doctors say.
"People perceive it might kill them. And it's not just the person with the heart attack, but also their partner," said Dr. Stacy Tessler Lindau, a gynecologist and sexuality researcher at the University of Chicago.
"If you can walk up two flights of stairs or do moderate exercise, then it's OK to have sex," she said.

Lindau led the study, the largest ever on this topic, and was to present results Friday at an American Heart Association conference in Washington.
It involved 1,184 male and 576 female heart attack survivors taking part in a bigger nationwide study, funded by the federal government. The average age was 60.

Less than half the men and only about a third of the women said advice about resuming sex was part of the instructions they got when leaving the hospital. Even fewer had that talk with their doctors over the next year.

One year after their heart attacks, more than two-thirds of the men and 40 percent of the women reported some sexual activity. They were 30 percent to 40 percent more likely to be having sex if they had talked with a doctor about it.

Men were more likely to be sexually active and married before the heart attack, and to maintain their sex life after it.

Some people actually reported more sex after their heart attacks, but this was the exception rather than the rule, Lindau said.

A heart attack should not keep people from enjoying sex, said Dr. Edward Havranek, a cardiologist at Denver Health Medical Center and leader of the Heart Association conference.
"The risk of having a heart attack during sex is really, really low," he said. "The amount of actual physical exertion people have during sex is actually lower than one might think. It's not as demanding as shoveling snow."

Doctors say it is safe to resume sex as soon as the patient feels better and can handle moderate exercise. Chest pain during sex means you should stop and consult a doctor, Lindau said.
Depression and mood swings are common after a heart attack and can dampen interest in sex, but this usually goes away within three months, says advice from the Heart Association.
It has these tips for resuming sex:

-Prepare by improving your physical condition and personal hygiene.
-Choose a time when you're rested, relaxed and free from daily stress.
-Wait one to three hours after eating a full meal.
-Pick a familiar, peaceful setting that's free from interruptions.

Heart Association advice:

U2 tour stop in East Lansing still on

EAST LANSING - Fans awaiting the U2 concert on June 30 at Spartan Stadium shouldn't worry just yet, despite a back injury plaguing the group's lead singer.

MSU officials and concert organizers said Friday the Irish rockers still plan to stop in East Lansing.

U2 frontman Bono underwent emergency back surgery Friday in Munich, Germany. He was injured while rehearsing for the band's worldwide 360° 2010 tour.
The tour's June 3 kickoff in Salt Lake City was postponed. It's unclear if other shows, including the stop in East Lansing, could be affected, a representative from concert promoter Live Nation said Friday.

Kent Cassella, a spokesman for MSU, said he hadn't heard of any problems with the June 30 concert date and it's too early to speculate if the show could be moved or canceled.
"Live Nation hasn't given us any indication there would be any other cancellations at this point," he said.

Jennifer Orlando, a recent MSU graduate, said she'll go to the East Lansing show regardless of a date change - should that occur as Bono recuperates.

"Bono is a huge part of U2 and if he's not 100 percent, the concert isn't 100 percent," she said.
For up-to-date information, visit the band's website,

Student suspended for bringing rosary beads to school

Cassi Finao

A devout Catholic teenager was suspended for the crime of bringing his rosary beads to school. The school claimed it could be showing gang affiliation or endangering “the safety, health, morals or welfare of himself or others”.

The ACLU, shockingly, is seemingly silent on this.

The parents of a high school student from Rockland County are demanding answers after their ninth grader was suspended for wearing rosary beads to school.

He was suspended even though the school doesn’t even have a policy banning them. So did the principal go too far? Jason Laguna is a former altar boy and proud Catholic. He got his rosary beads as a gift, thinks they look cool and sometimes wears them under his shirt at school. But last Friday, right before dismissal, he pulled them out on his way out. He was given a one-day suspension from Fieldstone Secondary School. His mother calls the punishment extreme, considering the 14-year-old is a member of student government and, according to his last report card, “is a pleasure to have in class.” Laguna says she was told the school has an unwritten policy regarding beads because they could be used to show gang affiliation. The principal claims it was insubordination, saying Laguna’s actions, “endangered the safety, health, morals or welfare of himself or others.” Jason was supposed to stay home Friday, but late Thursday the district superintendent put that on hold pending further investigation. It may not be divine intervention, but his mother has contacted the American Civil Liberties Union as she continues to fight the suspension.

Yeah, this kid belongs to a gang all right. It’s called “the Catholic Church”, and those thugs are dangerous. They’ll shank you if you don’t watch your back!

In all seriousness, how could rosary beads, of all things, endanger the morals of others? The health and safety part will obviously get the typical school administration double-speak about how they could offend some poor non-Christian and cause violence (just like wearing the American flag on Cinco de Mayo!). But morals?! I really want to know where they got that one from. One would think that being a devout Catholic, and showing it by wearing rosary beads, would speak well to this boy’s morals. But not at this high school!

Also curious: how is a student supposed to follow an “unwritten” rule? It sounds to me like the typical religious discrimination found in schools today against Christianity, and the school just made up an excuse to stop this boy from expressing his faith. Amazing and ironic, isn’t it, that a student would be persecuted for his religion in a country founded by people seeking to escape religious persecution and discrimination.

I did some searching to see if the ACLU has taken up the case, but didn’t find anything. I don’t expect them to; after all, they don’t look out for the civil liberties of Christians.

Iran Nuke Analysis: Reading the US-Turkey Discussions

Posted by Ali Yenidunya

A bit of background to Monday’s agreement between Iran, Turkey, and Brazil on procedure for an uranium enrichment deal….

Four days before the announcement, on 13 May, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had a telephone conversation with his counterpart Hillary Clinton. Two days after that, on Saturday, they met, just before Davutoglu went to Tehran.

Hours later, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — who had cancelled his own trip to Iran on the Friday — reversed course. He set aside a visit to Azerbaijan and flew to Tehran.

So what happened in the high-letter US-Turkey encounters just before the IBT agreement? According to the State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley:

During the call [on 13 May], the Secretary stressed that, in our view, Iran’s recent diplomacy was an attempt to stop Security Council action without actually taking steps to address international concerns about its nuclear program.
There’s nothing new and nothing encouraging in Iran’s recent statements. It has failed to demonstrate good faith and build confidence with the international community, which was the original intent of the Tehran research reactor proposal. It has yet to formally respond to the IAEA.
She [Clinton] stressed that the burden is with Iran and its lack of seriousness about engagement requires us to intensify efforts to apply greater pressure on Iran. Now, that was the primary purpose of the conversation. They briefly touched on other subjects, including Middle East peace and the relationship between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Throughout the question-and-answer session, Crowley was giving the message: Iran was not going to give up its own enrichment of 20-percent uranium and so there was still the “urgent” need for sanctions as a result of the dual policy towards Iran. Translated, Washington said that there would be no unclenched fist extended to Iran as long as Israel’s protests over Tehran’s nuclear programme and the regional contest for influence continued.
Crowley continued:

Iran has been very busy in recent weeks having conversations with a range of countries. Part of that conversation did occur last week in the dinner in New York. And not only – during the conversation in New York, not only did Iran not offer any new, Foreign Minister Mottaki indicated during the dinner that notwithstanding any potential agreement on the Tehran research reactor, they would continue to enrich uranium to 20 percent, which we –– which is of great concern to us and violates their obligations under the IAEA.
So they had initially, when they announced they were going to enrich uranium to 20 percent, they claimed at the time that it was for the Tehran research reactor, but it’s obviously part of a broader agenda. And that’s what we are concerned about. That’s why we continue to pursue the sanctions resolution as part of our pressure track.

When asked whether Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s expected visit to Tehran was a “last opportunity”, Crowley said:

Well, I mean, we are –– we continue to move forward on a sanctions resolution, and we have a sense of urgency about this. We want to get this done as quickly as possible. But our view remains that we are doubtful that Iran is going to change course absent the kind of significant pressure that comes with a resolution and the consequences that come with them.

Then, when he was asked whether the State Department gave Davutoglu any red lines that Turkey should not cross, Crowley replied:

Regarding the TRR [the Tehran Research Reactor], it [a proposal for "third country enrichment"] was put on the table last fall to build confidence with the international community about the true intentions of Iran’s nuclear program. We have drawn conclusions from Iran’s failure to even respond –– much less engage constructively –– even respond to the proposal formally to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency].
[Clinton] stressed to Foreign Minister Davutoglu again today that it’s not about the public statements that Iran makes. If Iran wishes to engage in –– regarding the TRR, come up with alternatives that meet the fundamental intent of the proposal, then they can pick up the phone and call the IAEA, which is something they have failed to do.

Following the announcement of the IBT agreement, Crowley restated the reasons for an “urgent” sanctions draft:

In the statement, the White House acknowledged the efforts made by Turkey and Brazil and now called upon the IAEA to clearly and authoritatively convey the results of this arrangement to the IAEA. That said, the United States continues to have concerns about the arrangement. The joint declaration does not address the core concerns of the international community.
Iran remains in defiance of five UN Security Council resolutions, including its unwillingness to suspend enrichment operations. In fact, today Iran reaffirmed that it plans to continue to enrich uranium to 20 percent despite the fact that it previously justified this increased enrichment as for the Tehran research reactor. So public statements today suggest that the TRR deal is unrelated to it ongoing enrichment activity. In fact, they are integrally linked.

And then Crowley became very coy and even deceptive about how much Washington knew of the Turkish and Brazilian efforts:

I think we had conversations with Foreign Minister Amorim and Foreign Minister Davutoglu prior to their arrival in Tehran. I’m not aware of any specific contacts with them over the weekend.

But, setting aside Crowley’s public spin, did the US know in advance of Erdogan’s sudden decision to go to Iran? Most likely, Washington did not anticipate that the diplomatic efforts were moving towards an agreement, leading to the Turkish Prime Minister’s change of plans. Ankara had made a decision: the benefits of a joint proposal with Iran and Brazil meant that it would exert autonomy and risk the US reaction.

Now the question is “What will Turkey will do in the UN?” This week, Erdogan wrote a letter to President Obama, saying that Ankara had opened the door slightly for a resolutio. Now the ball was in Washington’s court.

In other words: “We did our part (and gained diplomatic and political advantage from doing so). You want to mess up this agreement with sanctions, so be it — although don’t expect us to vote for the resolution in the Security Council.

“We’ve got our ties with the US, which we value. But we also have our economic and political ties with Tehran.”

Homeland Security Won’t Process AZ Illegals

They won’t enforce the laws and they won’t enforce state laws enacted because they weren’t enforcing the laws. Let me explain:

A top Department of Homeland Security official reportedly said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona authorities.
John Morton, assistant secretary of homeland security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, made the comment during a meeting on Wednesday with the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, the newspaper reports.
“I don’t think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution,” Morton told the newspaper.

Wall Street Reforms Pass the Senate

It's interesting that Specter showed up to vote for cloture on the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 but then blew off the manager's amendment and the vote on final passage. I mean, this was an historic vote. But I guess the really historic vote is on the Conference Report with the House, so Specter can still get a second bite at the apple. The bill passed 59-39, which Republicans Chuck Grassley, Scott Brown, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe voting 'aye.' The Republicans continue to exceed even my dismal expectations for bad behavior. It's incredible that these creeps brought the global economy to its knees and they not only oppose reforming the system but they evidently do not think they will pay any price at the polls. I wonder if the people of North Carolina are going to be impressed with Richard Burr's position on reforming Wall Street.

Obama will probably sign the final bill right before the July 4th recess. Then he'll watch the Senate confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Health Care...Wall Street reform...Supreme Court It still doesn't pay to bet against Obama.

Crybaby Texas Liberals Lose Textbook War; Score One For American History

Texas Board of Education Adopts New Social Studies, History Guidelines

The Texas State Board of Education’s closely watched debate over how to teach social studies and history to the states’ students for the next decade culminated Friday in two votes — one approving the high school curriculum and another approving the curriculum for kindergarten through eight grade.

Both votes fell along party lines.

Critics say that is the problem, that conservatives on the board are playing politics with students’ education. And Texas has large influence over how the same subjects are taught around the country, because textbook publishers who often develop materials for other states based on those approved in Texas.

But conservatives say they simply are counteracting liberal bias from years of Democrats controlling the board.

The ideological debate over the guidelines, which drew intense scrutiny beyond Texas, will be used to teach some 4.8 million Texas students for the next 10 years. Teachers in the Lone Star state have latitude in deciding which material to teach.

The board took separate votes on standards for high schools and kindergarten through eighth grades. The final vote was 9-5 on each set of standards.

The debate has brought national attention, including testimony from educators, civil rights leaders and a former U.S. education secretary.

The ideological dispute contributed to the defeat of one of the board’s most outspoken conservatives, Chairman Don McLeroy, in the March state Republican primary.

In final edits leading up to the vote, conservatives rejected language to modernize the classification of historic periods to B.C.E. and C.E. from the traditional B.C. and A.D. They also required that public school students in Texas evaluate efforts by global organizations such as the United Nations to undermine U.S. sovereignty.

During the monthslong process of creating the guidelines, conservatives successfully strengthened the requirements on teaching the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation’s Founding Fathers and attempted to water down rationale for the separation of church and state.

The standards will refer to the U.S. government as a “constitutional republic,” rather than “democratic,” and students will be required to study the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.

Conservatives say the Texas history curriculum has been unfairly skewed to the left after years of Democrats controlling the board.

Educators have blasted the proposed curriculum for politicizing education. Teachers also have said the document is too long and will force students to memorize lists of names rather than thinking critically.