Friday, July 9, 2010

McDonald's(R) 365Black(R) Awards Salutes Influential African Americans

Rodney Peete and Holly Robinson Peete, Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. Among Others Are Saluted 'In The Golden Spotlight'

OAK BROOK, Ill., July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Celebrities and dignitaries joined McDonald's over the weekend at the 2010 McDonald's 365Black Awards, held in New Orleans. Honored at the event were Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.; Lieutenant General Russel L. Honore, US Army (Ret); philanthropists Rodney Peete and Holly Robinson Peete; and National Black McDonald's Operators Association CEO Rita Mack, a New-Jersey-based McDonald's owner/operator for their achievements and contributions as African American community and business leaders.

Activist Al Sharpton, Actress Victoria Rowell, Award-winning journalist and CNN commentator and 2008 365Black Award recipient Roland Martin, were among dignitaries present at the event hosted by Tom Joyner, nationally syndicated radio personality and one of the first recipients of the 365Black Award, recipient and Sherri Shepherd, television co-host of "The View." Since 2003, the McDonald's 365Black Awards have recognized African American leaders who are bettering the lives of African Americans across the nation.

About McDonald's

McDonald's USA, LLC, is the leading foodservice provider in the United States serving a variety of wholesome foods made from quality ingredients to more than 26 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by local business men and women. Customers can now log online for free at any of the 11,000 participating Wi-Fi enabled McDonald's U.S. restaurants. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter (@McDonalds) and Facebook ( for updates on our business, promotions and products.

© 2010 McDonald's

1st defendant in NJ schoolyard slayings gets life

NEWARK, N.J. — With the anguished words of the victims' relatives providing a preamble, a Newark man convicted in the execution-style murders of three college-bound friends in a schoolyard was sentenced to more than 200 years in prison Thursday by a judge who said the killings were produced by "a mind diseased."

Rodolfo Godinez, convicted in May on 17 counts including murder, felony murder, robbery and weapons offenses, was given three consecutive life sentences plus 20 years by state Superior Court Judge Michael Ravin, who followed the state's sentencing request.

The 27-year-old Nicaraguan immigrant is one of six defendants in the case; the other five await separate trials.

Ravin called Godinez "a menace" and referred to the "monstrousness of what happened in a place where, by day, one would hear the laughter of children at play."

Before Ravin pronounced sentence, a procession of family members spoke about victims Terrance Aeriel, Iofemi Hightower and Dashon Harvey. The last to speak was a woman who survived the attacks and in chilling testimony at Godinez' trial described being sexually assaulted, slashed with a machete and shot in the head.

"Y'all left me for dead, but I'm still here and I just graduated (from college)" said the woman, who is not being identified by The Associated Press because of the sexual assault charges. Turning to Ravin, she asked, "Are you going to inform us when he dies? Because if you do, I think I'm going to have a party."

Full Story..

More Black Men Lawyers, But Racial Gap Remains

By Chad E. Quinn

Is the lack of Black lawyers in the United States cause for concern? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, although Blacks account for only 13 percent of the U.S. population, 40 percent of all prisoners in the United States are Black.

This lack of representation extends beyond the criminal-justice system into corporate America as well. Once Blacks enter the legal field, they are disproportionately underrepresented. Only 4 percent of partners in private practices are people from traditionally underrepresented groups, while in corporate America, only 9.1 percent of general counsel are people from traditionally underrepresented groups. These examples of racial disparity stress the need for more legal representation within the Black community.

There is evidence of small progress, however. A recent survey conducted by the "Journal of Blacks in Higher Education" (JBHE) revealed that Black men are narrowing the gap between themselves and Black women in law-school enrollments.

The analysis found that Black women make up 61.7 percent of today's Black enrollments, compared with 64.3 percent five years ago. Black men represent the majority of Black enrollments at six of the nation's top law schools, compared with only three five years ago.

More survey results:

■Black women students are enrolled at 25 of the top 50 law schools, compared with 33 of the top 50 five years ago

■Black women represent 70 percent or more of all Black enrollments in seven leading schools, compared with nine leading schools five years ago

■Black women represent 63.2 percent of Black enrollments at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), virtually even with 63.4 percent five years ago

Black women still dominate their counterparts in the legal profession. The 61.7 percent of Black women who comprise the total Black enrollment in the nation's 50 highest-ranked law schools is nearly 15 percent higher than for all women enrollment in law school.

However, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University, law schools nationwide remain predominantly white and the number of Black enrollments has been stagnant over the past 15 years. Additionally, research from the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) indicates that since 2001, only 7 percent of U.S. law students are Black, compared with 70 percent of law schools enrolling white students.

As the United States becomes an increasingly diverse nation, the lack of Black legal professionals is cause for major concern, New York Law School's Prof. Elizabeth Chambliss told "The low level of Black representation in the profession may discourage promising Black students from considering law and limit Black lawyers’ chances to find mentors and role models within the law. And, to the extent that Black lawyers are more likely than others to be concerned with racial justice, discrimination, community development, and the like, the dearth of Black lawyers contributes to an already unequal access to lawyers in the United States."

Video: News Update: Johnson & Johnson Recalls More Tylenol As Odor Issues Persist (JNJ) SmarTrend News

The musty, moldy smell that has caused a headache for the makers of Tylenol products is forcing more recalls, reported Friday.

Video: Oakland Chaos: Video of riots after BART shooting Mehserle verdict RT

Arrests are made on 14th Street at Broadway in downtown Oakland after a looting at the nearby Foot Locker on Thursday.

" Russia is far more dangerous today than in the 1980’s. "

This really is a fascinating article coming from over at Family Security Matters that deals with just how Russia has really never ended their cold war campaign...and that the new Russia is actually a more formidable enemy to the West than ever before.

The article is quite long but I'm still excerpting all of it - there are just too many valid points in it to not cover all of them.

When you look at the current Iranian nuclear situation, it fits perfectly with what this author is stating. Russia has worked the fence on the Iranian crisis for years - they have literally sold nuclear technology to the Iranians yet positioned themselves as the broker for peace there. To me, it is very obvious that Barack Hussein Obama, through his constant fawning over the Russian leadership and concessions, has put his hopes in Russia to solve the Iranian problem.

The problem is ... people like Putin hold a grudge. And with the recent economic upswing in Russia when they were able to actually get on their feet a bit through income from oil and natural gas, the Russians haven't hesitated to flex their muscle. I'm thankful that we have some watchdogs out there who still keep their eye on past enemies who still are, just that.

Jury reaches verdict in BART police shooting caught on cellphones: involuntary manslaughter

A Los Angeles jury has reached a verdict in the trial of Johannes Mehserle (shown in the photo at left), a white Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer who fatally shot Oscar J. Grant III, an unarmed black man who was lying face-down on an Oakland train platform. The event was captured on mobile phone photo and video by many bystanders—even by the shooting victim himself, just before his death—and much of that media made its way onto the internet.

Here in Los Angeles, crowds have gathered at the courthouse. Up in Oakland, trains and streets are packed with people trying to get out of the way of anticipated civil unrest in the event of a not guilty verdict.

Update, 4:08pm PT: Mehserle has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Mehserle could get 2, 3 or 4 years for involuntary manslaughter plus 3, 4 or 10 years for using a gun. "That means the minimum total sentence that Judge Robert Perry could impose would be five years, and the maximum would be 14 years."

Lots of police on the streets in Oakland tonight.


A Moment of Clarity by Tom Donnelly

The writer Michael Kinsley once observed that in Washington a “gaffe” occurs when someone inadvertently tells the truth. If that is so, the World Trade Organization committed one of the largest gaffes in late memory with its recent ruling that European government “launch aid” to Airbus aircraft amounted to large-scale and illegal subsidies.

Well, duh.
That Airbus received such prohibited subsidies is, of course, an important issue of international trade. And although, speaking as a sometime passenger on Airbus planes, I applaud the willingness of European taxpayers to subsidize my traveling comfort (they make a nice plane in Toulouse), the WTO ruling brings a moment of policy clarity to an issue too often clouded and intentionally obfuscated. And, from a defense perspective, this clarity comes not a moment too soon, for the U.S. Air Force will soon choose whether to buy a new refueling aircraft based either on the Airbus A330—identified as one of the planes that received “launch aid”—and Boeing’s 767. That is, the competition is between a European government-directed consortium and an American private company.

One might argue that, like my traveling comfort, a tanker partially subsidized by European governments stretches the Air Force’s and the American taxpayer’s dollar. Or, more cleverly but more mendaciously, that local and state governments or U.S. defense contracts represent a subsidy for Boeing. Even if these analyses were true—and they are not—they quite miss the point. The two essential issues in the tanker decision are: one, the operational suitability of the competing aircraft; and two, the strategic importance of preserving the American defense industrial base. On both of these counts, the case for the Boeing tanker is overwhelmingly clear.

The key distinction between the 767 and A330 is that the Airbus is a significantly larger plane. Indeed, Airbus, for its own economic and market reasons, does not make a 767-sized aircraft. And, in fact, the fact that the Air Force has been forced to conduct a “competition” for the tanker job reflects its terrible mismanagement of the program, the illegal behavior of several of its senior acquisition officials, and a mindless, grandstanding vengefulness on the part of a few U.S. senators; the competition has been a penalty exacted for past wrongs, nothing more. Because it’s a larger plane, the A330 can haul around more fighter fuel. Nice in the abstract, but, at best, operationally irrelevant. And here’s a flash of insight: a larger aircraft costs more to operate! It weighs more! It needs a larger parking space! In sum, the Air Force rightly, originally identified the 767 as the only aircraft that met is refueling needs.

But the “launch aid” issue should also make clear the nature of the defense-industrial policy questions that the tanker decision—and, really, a host of looming and recent Pentagon program decisions—provokes. Whipsawed by nearly two decades of defense budget reductions, rapidly changing technology, and a shift in emphasis from high-intensity conventional conflict to irregular warfare, the American “arsenal of democracy” is in a state of chaos. Even more than Airbus and other European semi-private firms, the military aircraft and the overall defense industry are dependent upon government policy decisions. Except for a brief period during the 1990s, when the Clinton Administration summoned the will and the expertise to allow for a consolidation and restructuring of the defense industry, the U.S. government has largely been unable to make up its mind—or stick to its decisions—about how much and what kind of defense industry it wants. The Obama administration now combines an inbred hostility toward capitalism with either a special hatred of “merchants of death” or a curious lack of interest; it is notable that the $780 billion of supposed “stimulus” contained nary a nickel of funding for defense procurement programs, despite their clear Keynesian pedigree, the fact that American military systems are the best in the world (and one of the few reliable sources of export and high-value, well-paying unionized jobs) and—oh, yes—the fact that skipping a couple of generations of procurement leaves American forces with fewer and older systems.

Altogether, the WTO ruling makes it easier for the Air Force and the administration to do the right strategic, operational and industrial thing—alas, a decade later than planned—and to at last begin to replace the aging fleet of tanker aircraft that provide an essential element in American global military power.

Carnahan Drops Prices For Obama Event

By Reid Wilson

Pres. Obama is the best fundraiser the Dem Party has, but his drawing power is way down from its peak during the '08 campaign.

Obama is heading to MO and NV today to raise money for Sec/State Robin Carnahan (D), running for an open Senate seat, and Senate Maj. Leader Harry Reid.

But Carnahan's campaign wasn't able to completely sell out the Folly Theater, where Obama will appear for a grassroots event on Carnahan's behalf, at the prices they wanted. Tickets once priced at $250 are now going for $99, while $35 tickets are half off.

The grassroots event at the 1,078-seat theater is expected to net $250K for Carnahan's campaign, the Kansas City Star reported today.

It's just one of Obama's 2 stops for Carnahan; he will appear at a higher-dollar affair at a Marriott hotel in downtown Kansas City -- ironically, the same location where the RNC will host its summer meeting in Aug. But it's telling Obama couldn't fill a theater at the higher price; in '08, just 2 weeks before Election Day, Obama drew 100K to an event in St. Louis and another 75K to a rally in Kansas City, according to a contemporary account from McClatchy.

Obama has 4 total fundraising events scheduled today, 2 in MO and 2 in NV. VP Joe Biden is also hitting the trail, raising money for Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), a freshman Dem facing a tough re-election bid, in a luncheon event in Portland. Later, Biden travels to the Bay Area for a fundraiser with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Mel Turpin Suicide? Dead Kentucky Star Reportedly Kills Himself

A 6'11" center, Turpin attended the University of Kentucky for four seasons before being drafted as the sixth overall pick in the first round by the Washington Bullets in the 1984 NBA Draft, and immediately traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Mel Turpin, an All-American center dubbed "The Big Dipper" who led Kentucky to the Southeastern Conference championship in 1984 and played in the NBA, committed suicide Thursday, authorities said. He was 49. Police and the coroner were called to his North Lexington house on a personal injury call and said they found Turpin dead. Coroner Gary Ginn said Turpin took his life, but would not say how. He also would not say whether Turpin left behind a suicide note. The 6-foot-11 Turpin was an All-American and All-Southeastern Conference player for the Wildcats from 1980-84.-

He was a dominant center in college, scoring 42 points against Tennessee as a junior by making 18 of 22 shots from the field. He similarly dominated LSU as a senior, shooting 15 of 17 from the floor and five of six from the foul line. As a professional, however, Turpin struggled with his weight, and after five seasons with the Cavaliers, Utah Jazz and the Bullets, he retired. Earning the derisive nicknames "Dinner Bell Mel" and "The Mealman", Turpin would be considered one of the biggest busts in a draft class that included future greats such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton.As evidenced in post-retirement interviews, however, Turpin maintained a healthy sense of humor in regards to his disappointing career, telling Sports Illustrated: "In my day, they thought the big man was supposed to be thin. They didn't know too much. It was medieval - wikipedia

Steele staying put

“I ain’t going anywhere,” Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said on Thursday, in response to calls for his resignation from critics in his own party, MSNBC reported.

“I’m here. I’m here,” Steele said at the launch of the Colorado Republican Party’s 2010 “Victory” headquarters.

Steele brushed aside the criticism, calling it a “distraction.” With victory in the November midterm elections at stake, Steele said he was focused on “winning.”

“Look, every time something happens, people go, ‘Oh, you should step down, step down.’ Well, the reality of it is that’s not happening, so stop the noise on that,” Steele said.

Steele ran into trouble when he was caught on tape saying the war in Afghanistan is a “war of Obama’s choosing” and suggesting that it can’t be won.

After that, some prominent conservatives, including William Kristol and Liz Cheney, said it was time for Steele to go.

While not voicing an opinion on whether the Republican party leader should go or stay, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel joined the chorus of critics on Thursday. In an interview on “PBS NewsHour” the Democrat said Steele’s view of the war was “a horrible way and a wrong way to look at it.”

MSNBC said Steele drew cheers from the Colorado Republicans. That’s a far cry from what’s being heard from others who are not happy with the party chief.

Steele “is not my leader,” Congressman Darrell Issa said in a C-SPAN interview taped to air on Sunday. Stopping short of calling for Steele to step down, the California Republican suggested that the chairman get with the party program or move on.

Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert Issues Letter to Cleveland Fans

Before we get to the letter, let me say I can’t believe that LeBron didn’t have the class to call Gilbert ahead of time and say “thanks for the seven years or appreciate the offer but I’m going with Miami.” Classless act.

I was pretty surprised when I read Gilbert’s reaction. Tell me this isn’t an owner that has his finger on the pulse of Cleveland sports fans:

Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:


You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….

Dan Gilbert

Written By: Rick

Did LeBron James Just Cost Himself $150 Million?

by Nate Silver

The one thing I don't think you can say about LeBron James, who announced his intentions to play for the Miami Heat tonight, is that he was selfish. The dude may just have given up a ton of money.

I'm not talking about the small haircut that LeBron will take to keep Miami under the cap (something which is counteracted by Florida's lack of an income tax). Nor am I talking about the 6th guaranteed contract year that LeBron could have gotten by staying in Cleveland (he should still be a max player in 2016 anyway).

Rather, I'm talking about the hit that James may have taken to his reputation for what looks to be an extremely unpopular decision.

James earned $28 million from endorsements in 2009, behind only golfers Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. And James's 'Q' rating -- a measure of the number of people who both know him and view him favorably -- was a 34, placing him behind only quaterbacks Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, and Olympians Shaun White and Apolo Anton Ohno among active athletes.

No doubt there was an opportunity for James to improve upon these numbers. Take Michael Jordan, for instance, who was earning $47 million per year in endorsements by the late stages of his career. Adjusted for inflation, that's about $63 million -- more than twice what James now earns -- and Jordan remains by far the most popular athlete in the country today.

Much of Jordan's popularity, of course, stemmed from the fact that he was the ultimate winner, bringing home six titles to Chicago. And that's one thing that James will presumably find easier in Miami: winning championships. Even with their depleted roster, the Heat should go about 61-21, according to ESPN's John Hollinger. And that projection makes somewhat worst-case assumptions about the sorts of players that Miami will be able to surround James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh with. Especially two or three years into the James deal, the Heat will find a way to improve their roster though various types of mid-level exemptions, draft picks, and veterans willing to play for the league minimum to win a ring. If the pieces gel right, they might have a year or two when they win 70 games, and they're likely to bring home at least one title if not more.

Still, there are no guarantees, and Miami was hardly the only place that James could have gone to win a title. Cleveland lost in the conference finals in 2009 and then the conference semifinals in 2010 -- but they also won 66 and 61 games those years, and their luck might eventually have broken better. Chicago, having added Carlos Boozer to an up-and-coming young roster, would have been just as good as the Heat now figure to be had they added James. LeBron's task would have been harder in New York, but with Amare Stoudemire, some useful pieces that they picked up for David Lee, and a big contract coming off the books next year that could turn into Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks may not have been that far behind. Meanwhile, five years is a long time, and things could turn out badly in Miami if Bosh or Wade get hurt or the three stars can't get along.

And as I argued on Wednesday, it's not just winning championships that matters: it's how you do it. The narrative would write itself if James brought a championship home to Cleveland, or to a lesser extent to Chicago or New York. Miami, on the other hand, is already being branded as the 'easy way out', and the expectations that may rival those of the 1992 Dream Team. In the public's mind, James might need to win several titles there to equal what one could have done for him in Ohio.

In the meantime, there are signs that public opinion on James has soured significantly. In an unscientific poll conducted by, 81 percent of respondents now claim to have a negative opinion of James, whereas 78 percent had a positive opinion prior to free agency.

Some of the fans in the SI poll surely had a vested interest in the outcome -- particularly those who root for the Cavaliers, Bulls and Knicks, whom James spurned. According to; the New York Knicks are the favorite team in 10 markets totaling 23.1 million people, the Chicago Bulls in 19 markets totaling 18.0 million people (the Bulls are popular in Missouri and Iowa, which have no NBA teams), and the Cavaliers in 14 markets totaling 11.8 million people. By contrast, the Heat's market is relatively small at 8.3 million people, and has a smaller percentage of African-Americans than do Chicago and New York. (Black Americans are two-and-half times more likely to be NBA fans than the population average, according to polling conducted by YouGov.)

But James may also have sullied his reputation among more neutral observers for the self-important and humorless way that he came to his decision, including a one-hour special on ESPN that was part newscast and part infomercial. Brett Favre saw his Q rating dip by 41 percent -- from 44 to 26 -- following his drawn out "retirement" process in 2008-09, which might be the most salient recent comparison.

Suppose that, had he stayed in Cleveland, James could expect to continue to earn $28 million per year in endorsement revenues for the next 20 years (including significant money after retirement, as is common for superstar athletes). Discounted at a rate of 10 percent per year, that income stream has a present value of $366 million to James. If an athlete's endorsement earnings are proportional to his positive Q rating, and James suffers the same 41 percent penalty that Favre did between 2008 and 2009, he will have reduced his earning potential by $150 million.

Of course, James may able to redeem himself through athletic success; Favre's numbers recovered some following his solid play with Minnesota last year. But the rewards may not be as great as they would have been in Cleveland, New York, or Chicago, and the public's tolerance for failure may be much less.