Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Dale Alexander - Area Development Director, New York and New Jersey, United Negro College Fund. Award Winner Nicole Thompson
Pat Devlin - President, NY Metro Region, Verizon Wireless

Nicole Thompson awarded a $5,000 college scholarship, as well as Verizon Wireless products and gift cards

Verizon Wireless provides a total of $85,000 in college scholarships to contest winners throughout the Northeast

High school seniors entered the contest by submitting essays on the topic of how wireless technology has changed the world

ORANGEBURG, N.Y. – Verizon Wireless, provider of the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G network, and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), today announced that Nicole Thompson from the Newark, New Jersey, is the first place winner of the Verizon Wireless/UNCF Black History Month Essay Contest. The contest, which required high school seniors to submit an essay of no more than 500 words on the topic of how wireless technology has changed the world in which we live, provides the winners with college scholarship money, as well as Verizon Wireless devices and gift cards.

Thompson’s winning essay focused on the ways wireless technology has advanced society, including the improvement of human safety, creating new means for donating money during emergency situations and enhancing the learning environment for students. For her achievement, Thompson won a $5,000 college scholarship, an HP Mini 311 Netbook, a DROID by Motorola smartphone and $2,250 in Verizon Wireless gift cards. Thompson is currently a senior at Malcolm X Shabazz High School and will attend The College of New Jersey in the fall.“The 21st century economy runs on technology,” said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF President and CEO. “It has changed the way we live and the way we work. Verizon Wireless’ support for the Verizon Wireless/UNCF Black History Month Essay Contest will help these aspiring young leaders get the education they need, and that our nation needs them to have, in order to compete in a global economy.”“We are proud of all the highly talented students who took the time to submit an essay for the Black History Month contest,” said Pat Devlin, president, Verizon Wireless, New York Metro Region. “Our winners demonstrated an advanced understanding of the role technology plays in our world and how its evolution will continue to shape the future. We’re honored to provide these students with scholarships and devices that will help them further their education at leading four-year colleges.”

UNCF reviewed all submissions and selected five winners in the New York Metro region. To qualify for the contest, students had to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0, plan to attend a four-year accredited college or university in the Fall of 2010, and reside in one of the following states: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and Washington, DC. This Black History Month Essay Contest is one of a variety of educational and diversity programs supported by Verizon Wireless. With a diverse workforce of over 81,000, Verizon Wireless drives workplace diversity by establishing programs to encourage the hiring and advancement of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds.

Aretha Franklin Earns Honorary Doctorate from Yale University

by Boo Jarchow

Yale University presented the "Queeen of Soul," Aretha Franklin, an honorary doctorate at the university’s commencement ceremonies on Monday. Along with a brief musical tribute, and prolonged cheering from those in attendance, Franklin accepted the honorary doctor of music degree.

While Yale does not appoint a commencement speaker per se, the univeristy is renowned for awarding a range of artists, scientists, political figures and academics with honorary degrees.

“We know royalty when we see it, and you are, without question, the Queen of Soul. A natural woman, you have been signing your whole life, learning the grace of gospel from family and faith community, tuning it with your own sometimes painful, often joyful, experiences, and creating a signature style that transcends any one musical genre,” Yale President Richard C. Levin said in his introduction of the singer.

“You have sung the nation’s hopes at presidential inaugurations and shared your gifts with generations of music lovers. From gospel to pop, from blues to hip-hop, your voice expresses our feelings,” Levin noted.

Franklin had a cute pink camcorder and shot footage of all the professional photographers and lucky fans taking photos of her before leaving the campus.

At Monday's graduation, Yale awarded 2,986 degrees, in addition to the 10 honorary degrees, with 225 more awarded provisionally to law school students who have yet to finish their exams.

Black Man wrongfully imprisoned for decades happy to start relearning life

Tampa, Florida (CNN) -- Meeting 54-year-old James Bain, the one thing that stands out is that the smile never seems to leave his face. He appears happy and positive, and the bitterness that might be buried inside a man who was wrongly sent to prison for 35 years is nowhere to be found.


Torpedo Hit Confirmed. What Now?

By Forecast International

SEOUL: The international investigation team delving into the sinking of the Korean corvette Cheonan has produced irrefutable evidence that the ship was sunk following a hit by a North Korean heavy torpedo. The torpedo had a warhead from 200-300 kilograms of RDX and produced an under-the-keel explosion at a depth of 6 to 9 meters, roughly 3 meters left of the center of the ship’s gas turbine room. The concussion literally tore the ship apart, killing 46 of the 104 sailors on board the stricken vessel.

The key evidence was the recovery of parts from the torpedo, including a propulsion motor with propellers and a steering section, according to Yoon Duk-yong, co-head of the investigation team. "They perfectly match the schematics of the CHT-02D torpedo included in introductory brochures provided to foreign countries by North Korea for export purposes," he said. The CHT-02D is a heavyweight passive acoustic homing torpedo measuring about 53 centimeters in diameter and weighing 1.7 tons with a net explosive weight of about 250 kilograms. Just to screw the identification down tight, the recovered torpedo wreckage had the North Korean serial number still marked on it.

It appears that the torpedo was fired from a 130-ton Yeono-class midget submarine. A few such submarines and a mother ship supporting them left a North Korean naval base in the West Sea two to three days prior to the attack and returned to their port two to three days after the attack. The South Korean Navy has confirmed that all submarines from neighboring countries were either in or near their respective home bases at the time of the incident.

A good guess at this point is that the midget submarines were spread out across the area patrolled by the Cheonan and one of them found itself in a position to take the shot. It is believed that the submarine in question identified its target at night and mounted the attack at close range. After the attack, the submarine appears to have swiftly moved away from the scene and returned (to its home port) using the same infiltration route that it used to get in.

The question now becomes, what will happen next? North Korea responded to the revelations by issuing a bellicose statement that if anybody tried to institute any sanctions or retaliation over the attack, the North would immediately launch an "all-out war." This may be a bluff, but the North is expected to raise the level of aggression against the South, possibly by firing artillery from its coasts or testing short-range missiles. North Korea might also attempt a second provocation in a concealed manner using its special forces.

South Korea plans to announce countermeasures against North Korea, including taking the issue to the U.N. Security Council, which many believe will accomplish nothing. More forcefully, the South also proposes stopping all inter-Korean economic cooperation and exchange projects except for the joint venture in Gaeseong, resuming frontline propaganda, and prohibiting North Korean vessels from passing South Korean waters.

The fact that the sinking of the Cheonan has been confirmed as a deliberate North Korean attack will have a major impact on the South Korean local elections, now just two weeks away. It is widely viewed to work in favor of President Lee Myung-bak?s Conservative Party in the elections, which will serve as a mid-term test for Lee and remap the political topography ahead of the 2012 presidential vote. Dubbing North Korea?s attack "an unforgivable crime," Chairman Chung Mong-joon of the ruling Grand National Party said, "North Korea has clearly violated our armistice and betrayed our faith. It is time for our nation to unite and work with the international community in coming up with a rightful measure that will show North Korea the weight of what it has done."

Backing these presumptions, recent polls show the number of floating voters has decreased rapidly, with elderly conservative voters increasingly expressing their favoritism toward the ruling party candidates. The fact that many of the ruling party candidates are incumbent district chiefs hoping for a second or third term - such as the case in Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi - is another advantageous factor for the GNP.

The Burning and Sinking of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig

Yesterday, we blogged about photographs of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill hitting the Louisiana shorelines and undoubtedly you’ve heard about Big Oil pointing fingers and casting blames at each other about whose fault it was.

But what happened when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded? National Geographic Channel has the exclusive, never-before-seen photographs and video footage of the rig ablaze and the efforts of the US Coast Guards and first responders to put out the flame and rescue the survivors.

Over at Neatorama Spotlight, we have a few photos of the sinking rig that will leave you breathless: Link – Thanks Julie Frazier and Minjae Ormes!

Tony Blair Joins Silicon Valley

Written by Joshua S Hill

Britain’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair has joined a Silicon Valley business as a senior environmental adviser.

Blair will be joining Khosla Ventures, a firm started by Sun Microsystems Inc., co-founder Vinod Khosla. The company has been investing in companies that are themselves pursuing alternative fuel strategies and other environmentally focused technologies.

“[Blair] is going to help us in many areas that technie nerds like us here in Silicon Valley don’t understand and tend to underestimate the importance of,” Khosla said.
Two companies that Khosla Ventures have already invested in include Calera and Cogenra Solar Inc. Calera is looking to make “coal and natural gas power plants and cement plants cheaper and cleaner than solar and wind by reducing carbon by more than 100%,” while Cogenra Solar is looking to multiply the energy efficiency of solar cells.

“I’m more and more convinced that unless we connect and align the public policy space with the creativity and ingenuity and innovation of the entrepreneurs, we’re not going to resolve this issue,” Blair said. “The answer to this has got to lie in science and technology.”

Stanley Cup finals: Black Hawks vs. Philadelphia

The Flyers has won their series 4 games to 1 yesterday against the Montreal Canadiens last night in Philadelphia. The final score for game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals was 4-2.

You can read a report at the NHL website.

BTW, the schedule for the Stanley Cup finals has been set. Games 1 & 2 will be played in Chicago because of the Hawks' superior performance in the previous round. Those games will be broadcast on NBC, while games 3 & 4 to be played in Philadelphia will be broadcast on the cable channel VERSUS. If games 5 through 7 are necessary they will be broadcast on NBC as well.

Game 1 will be on Saturday so until then I may keep the Black Hawk's "W" flag up in the sidebar until I can find a suitable Stanley Cup picture as we get closer to the start of the Stanley Cup finals.

Report: Bulls Inquire About Phil Jackson And Are Not Rebuffed

The Chicago Bulls are working to bring Phil Jackson back to coach the team, ESPN's Chris Broussard reports.

Broussard, citing two unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation, reported Monday night that the Bulls -- who won six NBA championships with Jackson on the bench (and Michael Jordan on the court) -- have had back-channel conversations regarding a Jackson reunion, and that both sides believe Jackson would listen.

Jackson is completing the last season of his contract with the Lakers, and negotiations on a new deal reportedly have been contentious.

In addition to his six titles in Chicago, he has four with L.A., giving him a league-record 10 rings. He is two wins from a shot at No. 11.

Chicago could make a return even more attractive to Jackson by acquiring LeBron James. The Bulls are considered one of the favorites to land the superstar, who can opt out of his Cavaliers contract on July 1.

Bulls general manager Gar Forman declined to comment on the team's coaching search when reached by telephone Monday night, ESPN reports. Chicago fired Vinny Del Negro after the team's first-round playoff loss.

Earlier this month, Jackson told reporters he wasn't interested in taking over for Del Negro.

"No, I'm not," Jackson said, per the Chicago Tribune. "I think it's a wonderful job for whoever takes it. It's a team on the rise and there's some young talent that showed their ability to come back after probably a devastating first two months. Then from January on they played pretty well."

On Monday, the Plain Dealer of Cleveland reported that Jackson is on the Cavaliers' wish list of replacements for the fired Mike Brown.

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Sentenced To Up To 5 Years In Prison

Ousted Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced this morning to 18 months to 5 years in prison for violating his probation.

The Detroit Free Press reported live from the courtroom where Kilpatrick was sentenced and says the ex-mayor pleaded with Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner to go home saying,

"I respectfully humbly ask you, with everything that's in me, to be free. I want to go home, your honor, where I belong."

Judge Groner disagreed with Kilpatrick however and was quoted by the DFP as saying,

“Your testimony in this court amounted to perjury. Most compelling is that you lied to this court, continue to lie, after you pleaded guilty to lying....The initial 120 days incarceration did nothing to rehabilitate you."

Kilpatrick will serve the minimum 1 ½ years in jail before its determined if he should serve the additional time.

His attorneys reportedly plan to appeal the judge's decision.

Kilpatrick was ordered to pay the city $1 million in restitution after pleading guilty in 2008 to obstruction of justice.

The former official was forced to resign after a series of graphic text messages surfaced showing he lied under oath about an affair with one of staff members.

Judge Groner ruled that Kilpatrick, who now resides in a posh Texas neighborhood, was continuing to lie in court about his assets and failed to meet the terms of his probation.

Teacher On Leave After Letting Students Don Klan Outfits

A teacher in Lumpkin County, Georgia, had her students wear Ku Klux Klan costumes while teaching about racism in the United States. (h/t brooklynbadboy at Kos)

The actions of Catherine Ariemma were met with stern disapproval by superintendent Dewey Moye Monday afternoon.

“We cannot allow that type of judgement and will not sanction it even though they were studying a part of history,” he said.

Ariemma, herself, said she made a mistake.

“Unfortunately, I made a bad call,” she said. “It would have saved some hurt and some students would not have felt threatened if I had made a different call. I’m very sorry. It was never my intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable.”

But Ariemma defends the assignment.

Ariemma said that she still stands by the assignment. In fact, when her students proposed cutting the Klan scene out of their video, she encouraged them to leave it.

“I said ‘You know what? No. You have a good topic,’” she said. “It’s unfortunate that in this county we don’t discuss racism very much. When we don’t discuss it we condone it. And so I do discuss it.

The problem is that others in the school saw the Klan-clad students in the halls and in the lunchroom and were not forewarned. Some of them became quite agitated. However, a school assignment, which included making a video, was this really a bad idea?

by Alan

Exposed? 'Official proof' of Israel having nuclear weapons

UK news website claims Israel intended to sell nuclear weapons to apartheid South Africa, but Jerusalem denies the charges.

The Guardian news website, citing the work of an American academic, has reported that declassified South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear weapons to the apartheid regime in 1975.

The office of Israeli President Shimon Peres, who was defense minister at the time of the alleged agreement, has vehemently denied the claims.

Kim Jong Il Orders Military to Get Ready for Combat

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il ordered the country’s military to get ready for combat in a message televised nationwide last week following South Korea’s announcement that North Korea torpedoed the South’s warship.

The message was broadcast on May 20 by O Kuk Ryol, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, according to the website of North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, a Seoul-based group run by defectors from the communist country. Yonhap News agency reported on the group’s posting earlier today.

While Kim doesn’t want war, North Korea is ready to counter any attacks from South Korea, O said in the message, according to the group, which cited an unidentified person in the country. North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity is one of the Seoul-based agencies to first report on North Korea’s currency revaluation late last year. Read more.

US to send secret military teams to Iran: NYT

New York Top US Commander in Middle East, Gen. David H Petraeus, has signed a secret directive ordering that 'Special Operations' troops be sent to countries such as Iran for reconnaissance, a move that may lead to possible strikes against Tehran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate.

These military officials would be dispatched to nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa as well as Iran on intelligence gathering assignments, 'The New York Times' reported.

Citing unnamed officials, it said the order permitting reconnaissance could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate.

The document appeared to authorise specific operations in Iran, most likely to gather intelligence about the country's nuclear programme or identify dissident groups that might be useful for a future military offensive, according to the daily.

"The Obama administration insists that for the moment, it is committed to penalising Iran for its nuclear activities only with diplomatic and economic sanctions," the newspaper said.

"Nevertheless, the Pentagon has to draw up detailed war plans to be prepared in advance, in the event that President (Barack) Obama ever authorises a strike."

The Defence Department "can't be caught flat-footed," said one Pentagon official.

The daily noted that while the previous Bush administration had approved some clandestine military activities, the present directive intended to make such efforts more systematic and long term.

Its goals are to build networks that could "penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy" al-Qaeda and other militant groups, as well as to "prepare the environment" for future attacks by American or local military forces, the document, which was viewed by the paper, said.

"The order, however, does not appear to authorise offensive strikes in any specific countries," it said.

The daily reported that one of the reasons for broadening the secret activities was because the US military wanted to break its dependence on the CIA and other spy agencies.

Some officials, however, noted that the authorised activities could strain relationships with friendly governments like Saudi Arabia or Yemen, or incite the anger of hostile nations like Iran and Syria.

The directive, the Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force Execute Order, was signed on September 30 last year, and reportedly may have been the cause for surge of US military activity in Yemen that began three months later.

24 Series Finale: 24 Movie to come in 2011?

24 finale: After eight seasons and more than 190 hours of TV episodes, on Monday ended one of the most successful series: “24″

Starring Kiefer Sutherland in the role of agent Jack Baer, the show became during its first years adored by fans and even by intellectuals such as Mario Vargas Llosa, who say that the story is well developed, the characters so well drawn in their stereotypes and the ups and downs of the action as well graduate to maintain the expectation and anxiety, with touches of sentimentality and humor that balance the scenes of violence, sometimes almost intolerable, that history, with all its exaggerations and improbabilities, flows naturally and has captured the attention of the viewer as the best police films.

The end of this eighth season, which was not the best in ratings or in positive reviews, it shows Jack Bauer must leave their country to avoid being caught by the Russians, paving the way for the promised 24 movie that will reach cinemas, presumed, in 2011. The success of 24 movie will depend on whether there will be consequences that will lead to a kind of new James Bond.