Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beware of Single-Issue Politics

By David Bozeman

Grassroots conservatives need not always look to the left for the stench emanating from the Washington backrooms where the important people craft legislation beneficial to themselves and the peon classes be damned.

National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre’s affection for Democrat Harry Reid has made the two quite an item, and fears persist that the NRA itself may well endorse the Senate majority leader over Sharron Angle (herself a strong Second Amendment advocate). Any endorsement would come in the fall, and organization insiders have tried to squelch those rumors, no doubt aware that hundreds, if not thousands, of outraged members would likely bolt.

Equally troubling, according to a July 26th Fox News report, Democrats, who received roughly 10 percent of NRA contributions in 2002, are now garnering about one quarter. Yes, the same Democrats who are now at one of their historic high points of liberal potency.

Defenders of the LaPierre-Reid liaison (and they are few and far between) state that the NRA is single-issue oriented and not meant to be a cheerleader for GOP/conservative causes. Furthermore, it pays to curry favor with those who are — and may continue to be — in positions of power.
Get full story here.

The ‘Right’ Kind of Economic Policies

By Rebekah Rast
Enough is enough. That is the thought of many Republican Congressmen as well as private organizations when it comes to America’s spending spree.

Efforts to save face by the Administration and Obama’s own economists by telling the American people the nation is in a recovery period and just a little more money is needed to get her to complete restoration isn’t working any longer.

All the American people have to do is look around their neighborhoods, communities and states to realize that instead of being on a healthy recovery path, America is on a destructive road far from any sort of improvement.

Unemployment rates are still flirting within the 10 percent range, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have added insurmountable amounts of debt to the nation since taking over Congress and American businesses are being forced to close because of new legislation or the unknown tax rates looming in the future.
But don’t worry, they continue to say, more spending will solve the problems.

Get full story here.

The Reverse Smoot-Hawley Act

By Bill Wilson
In the Great Depression, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act was enacted in 1930 to make goods imported from overseas more expensive to American consumers than domestic goods. The thought was to incentivize the purchase of U.S.-made goods during a devastating economic downturn, boosting the bottom lines for American businesses.

While Smoot-Hawley did not cause the Great Depression, there is wide consensus that the trade war it provoked made it much worse. U.S. exports took a big hit immediately as the world retaliated, dropping from $3.84 billion in 1930 to $2.08 billion in 1931, and bottoming out in 1932 and 1933 at $1.61 billion and $1.67 billion, the years Herbert Hoover was thrown out of office and Franklin Roosevelt assumed control of Washington, respectively.

Exports would not significantly recover until after the 1934 Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, which enabled the Roosevelt Administration to negotiate the reduction of tariffs on a bilateral basis. By 1937, exports had recovered to $3.34 billion on the eve of World War II. The war itself was a tremendous boon for exports, as the U.S. armed Europe against the fascists. By 1941, they had risen to $4.74 billion.

The lesson learned from Smoot-Hawley was that just because a law — in this case punitive tariffs on imported goods to boost domestic consumption — has good intentions, does not mean it will have good outcomes. Often, there are unintended, real consequences to economic policies that must also be considered alongside the stated goals the political class offers for their schemes.
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Buffett, Gates, Rockefeller and the Conscience of the Very, Very Rich

Of all the farcical notions put forth during this time of high farce, casting America as “broke” places way up there on the list, as trillions of dollars are being stockpiled in the face of a national downsizing and its attendant growth in misery.  Here we sit, a captive national audience to the president’s seemingly daily farce, “We are all in this together”. 

Instances of hoarding in U.S. history are many, but the current example stands out for its enduring quality, as Congress reaches deep into corporate pockets, with occasional forays into legislation of the extreme incremental variety.   Profits are up 41 percent since Obama’s election; yet half of American workers have suffered a job loss or a cut in hours or wages over the past 30 months--- hardly the recipe for togetherness.
More farce: that irresponsibility is the root of poverty, a stalwart theme in American political theater, with the latest reminder from Treasury Secretary Geithner in a New York Times op-ed this month, saluting Americans for “saving more” and “borrowing more responsibly”.  These instructions from the government’s top economic point man were imparted in the face of continued wage stagnation, high foreclosure rates and new forms of financial foolery. 

Now enter stage left: the ”Great Givers”, they come in the form of American billionaires proposing to give away half their wealth.  Beware strangers bearing gifts.

The billionaire pledge – a broadside of noblesse oblige – was formulated by none other than two of the planet’s leading mega-billionaires, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.  These two American moneybags are imploring fellow prophets of profit to address global suffering by earmarking not less than fifty per cent of personal wealth for charity. First discussed at a dinner in May 2009, the specifics are just now surfacing thanks to Carol J. Loomis in the June 16 issue of Fortune.

According to Loomis, Buffett and Gates, who share a commitment to charity and to the Democratic Party, summoned a group of billionaires to dinner in New York City. David Rockefeller -- whose granddad cornered the market in kerosene, then gasoline – played host and invited this billionaire boys club to share their calling.   Two subsequent dinners were held, expanding the group invited to take the plunge to about thirty.  Areas of charitable concern shared by America’s very richest, Loomis says, include “education, culture, hospitals and health, the environment, public policy, the poor generally.”   Generally.
Details are scarce because participating billionaires were promised privacy -- privacy being a constitutional commitment to enormous wealth.  One detail that did get out was the name Buffett assigned his file on this new initiative: “Great Givers”.  

It would appear that the ability to give greatly stops at the factory door.  Buffett’s billions, for example, include holdings in Wal-Mart, a company fresh from victory in Chicago where, after years of resistance by community forces, construction of its first mega-store was just given a green light.  Times as they are, with “jobless recovery” taken to new heights and millions looking for work, Wal-Mart offered a wage of $8.75 per hour to seal the deal.  The amount Wal-Mart agreed to pony up is 50 cents over the Illinois minimum; still, at under $20,000 per year gross, no one would argue that it constitutes a living wage.  Such are the elements of Great Giving. 

Buffett’s profits are not tied exclusively to low wages stateside; his Wal-Mart earnings are a result of paying the lowest garment wages in the world, according to labor rights advocates.  Wal-Mart has started moving some of its garment factories out of China, where garment workers have been making the princely sum of $147 per month, to Bangladesh, where monthly earnings total $64, the lowest wage of its kind.  In this world of farce these wages are linked to Bangladesh’s low literacy rate—55 percent.  Had workers only acquired educations, the master thespians of farce would say, wages would be higher. 

It’s not fair, however, to solely tie Buffett’s billions to uneducated Bangladeshis.

This Great Giver also bought a stake in Goldman Sachs and its Ivy-educated money managers, doing his part to rescue the financial system by transferring $5 billion to America’s gilded investment bank (in exchange for a 10 percent per annum return).  Yes, this is the same Goldman that last month admitted “a mistake” in selling subprime mortgage bonds destined to collapse; the same Goldman that set aside $9.3 billion the first half of this year for salary and bonuses; and, yes, the same Goldman that orchestrated speculation in the world wheat crop with disastrous results, according to Frederick Kaufman’s cover story in the July issue of Harper’s, “The Food Bubble.”  Undoubtedly, Buffett’s due diligence uncovered the following when sizing up the Goldman investment:
“The history of food took an ominous turn in 1991, at a time when no one was paying much attention.  That was the year Goldman Sachs decided our daily bread might make an excellent investment…. [W]ith accustomed care and precision, Goldman’s analysts went about transforming food into a concept.  They selected eighteen commodifiable ingredients and contrived a financial elixir that included cattle, coffee, cocoa, corn, hogs, and a variety or two of wheat…. They weighted the investment value of each element… that could be expressed as single manifestation, to be known thenceforward as the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index….
“Since Goldman’s innovation, hundreds of billions of new dollars had overwhelmed the actual supply of and actual demand for wheat….
“In 2008, for the first time since such statistics have been kept, the proportion of the world’s population without enough to eat ratcheted upward.  The ranks of the hungry had increased in a single year, the most abysmal increase in all of human history.”
(pp. 27-28)
Clarifying what the Great Giver Buffett means by the poor generally. 
Buffett’s Goldman investment remains solid, as the SEC fined Goldman for its “mistake” what amounted to little more than petty cash -- $550 million.  It was, according to finance professor Charles Geisst, “like passing around the church collection plate and collecting a few extra bucks for sins.”  Geisst summed it up this way: “This is unlikely to change much at all. I think it will be business as usual right away.”   More money for Buffett to give greatly.

Warren Buffett’s fellow Giver of Great Gifts, Bill Gates, has diversified his holdings as well.  But his tens of billions result chiefly from the company he co-founded and led for decades, Microsoft, where profits remain very strong.  “Microsoft Still Earnings Powerhouse,” barked the headline in USA Today, July 23, 2010.  In its fledgling years, profits on Gates’ software were reportedly 70 per cent annually.  Otherwise, after all, you don’t make upwards of $50 billion charging cost plus five percent.  

Current returns for this scion of the responsible class were reported at 48 per cent, as Windows 7, the latest software batch out of Microsoft, led the company’s product pack.  “It certainly shows that Office and Windows franchises are as strong as ever and delivering huge revenue,” analyst Brendan Barnicle told the Wall Street Journal recently.  Indeed, annual sales have hit new records year after year, tripling to $62.5 billion in fiscal 2010.  Net income for Gates’ Microsoft grew from $9.4 billion per year a decade ago to $24.1 billion this year.  

Another way to gauge Gates’s billions is by catching a glimpse of the multitudes of students priced out of the computer market – thanks in part to that Great Giver’s expensive software – lined up daily at community college libraries for some free access to computers, each machine an expression of Gates’ creative commitment to profit in the +40 percent range – a gift Gates gave himself that keeps on giving.  As Gates told Fortune: “The diversity of American giving is part of its beauty.”
Carl Ginsburg is a journalist in New York City.  He can be reached at

Bernice King breaks silence, asks SCLC to end rif

ATLANTA — After nearly 10 months of silence, the Rev. Bernice King urged the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on Tuesday to end the bitter infighting that has split the group she was elected to lead.

Kingsaid at a news conference she still plans to lead the civil rightsgroup but declined to say when she would take the post. She hasindicated she would wait out the bickering and legal wrangling.

"Ibelieve that the time is now for us to come together in unity as oneSCLC," King said. "A house divided against itself cannot stand. TheSCLC family must be about the business of restoring, rebuilding andredeeming its own internal soul as we continue in our quest to redeemthe soul of America."

Shortly after her election in October by aunified SCLC, the leadership of the group co-founded by her father, theRev. Martin Luther King Jr., split into two factions that have sincemet and made decisions separately. The SCLC is awaiting a decision froma judge as to which faction controls the group.

As the factionsprepare to host dueling conventions in the next week, King says shewill lead a prayer vigil for the SCLC on Friday at Ebenezer BaptistChurch — where her father preached from 1960 until his death in 1968and across the street from where her parents are buried.


Sly and The Stath Blow Up The Expendables Real Good

What’s to know about this latest clip from “The Expendables” (via Myspace)? Well, there’s Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham in a plane, some thugs on a dock, and Eric Roberts and Steve Austin hiding out waiting to do bad things. Then KA-BOOM! Stuff blows up real good. What, you need more than that? Don’t be ridiculous. Please to enjoy.
A group of mercenaries is hired to infiltrate a South American country and overthrow its ruthless dictator. Once the mission begins, the men realize things aren’t quite as they appear, finding themselves caught in a dangerous web of deceit and betrayal.
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke and Arnold Schwarzenegger . Directed, written, and catered by Sylvester Stallone.

Torre: Manny Ramirez lost his swagger after steroid suspension

Dodgers OF Manny Ramirez was given special treatment, complete with body guards and chauffeurs, during his minor-league ”rehabilitation” starts. He was then cheered on his return to the lineup by those sitting in a Mannywood section that never closed. He was never forced to answer the hard questions, face the uneasy truths, or make the difficult changes necessary for former steroid users to maintain some semblance of their success. And so, with a few exceptions like his brilliant bobblehead night grand slam, he miserably failed. ”His personality changed, he lost his swagger,” Joe Torre said. — LA Times

Posted By Ben Maller

Paterno: ‘Speech Slurred, Intellect Seemed Slowed’

Posted By Brooks
This week David Jones of the HARRISBURG PATRIOT-NEWS has a thoughtful piece on what appears to be the failing health of 83-year-old Joe Paterno.
Joe Paterno
Though putting it as delicately as possible, Jones description ofPaterno’s Monday appearance at Big 10 media day in Chicago was ominous.
On Monday at the first of two Big Ten FootballKickoff interview sessions, Joe Paterno looked pretty good to thedistant eye. Tanned, reasonably ambulatory. Some weight loss, butthat’s fine.
It was when the always quick-witted Penn State football coach opened his mouth that everyone here opened theirs. In surprise.
Paterno sounded very much like something he never has — an old man. It was stunning and melancholy and not a pleasant sound.
It gets worse.
Now, he shows no pain at all. It’s just that hisspeech was slow and slightly slurred, and his intellect seemed a littledulled and delayed — something that’s never, ever been true.
A lot has been made about three promotional dates Paterno missedin Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Hershey this summer. He spent a fewmoments trying to pooh-pooh concerns about his health but there werefew laughs, something there have always been here.
“What did Mark Twain say? ‘Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated’ or something?
“I didn’t miss any time. The problem I had was not havingcontrol over some things, and I had to be careful I didn’t get into asituation where I would embarrass myself. I couldn’t make some publicappearances. I didn’t want to be standing up here and then have toleave.”
Stomach ailments aside, he is 83½ and for the first time he looks it.
Jones was far from alone in his observation. Bernand Fernandez of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS also noted Paterno’s seemingly uncertain health after the coach’s Monday appearance. And Ron Musselman of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, via the omnipresent Jay Christensen of Wiz of Odds, recently reported that Paterno has not recruited on the road since January, 2008.
Then there’s my own source, a prominent college football media member who was also in Chicago to observe Paterno. His thoughts:
“It was very sad. He talked very softly. Didn’t havehis normal fire and passon at all. I’d be shocked if he goes beyondthis year.”
Here’s video of Paterno’s Monday appearance:

Reports of Paterno’s demise over health concerns have circulated for decades, but this time feels different.
Hope we’re all wrong. Again.

Tiger Woods Gives Up Orlando Home In Divorce

Tiger Woods is giving up the Orlando home he and soon-to-be ex-wife Elin Woods once shared. This is all a part of the couples multi-million dollar divorce settlement.

At first Elin was planning on taking the nearly finished home inJupiter, Florida. She has close friends in the area so it made since.But she later changed her mind and decided to go with the Orlando home.

“Elin had planned a trip in July but postponed it,” the source said.
“Things were being worked out.”
“It looks like Tiger is going to make the Jupiter home his permanent residence,” the source told

“It’s got a state of the art gym and was built to his specs. And it keeps him just a few hour drive from his children.”

The Windemere home was the location of the best and worst times of the couple’s marriage.

Tiger and Elin lived in the luxury gated community with their twochildren until Tiger’s secret life of serial cheating was exposed.
Elin may move back into the Windemere home or sell it, the source said.
“She hasn’t lived there in more than a year and that home has good and bad memories for her,” the source told
“She hasn’t told anyone if she’s going to keep it or sell it. But onething is for sure, she will walk away from the marriage with enough money to do whatever she wants.”
Making this even harder on Elin was finding out that Tiger had an affair with a neighbor’s 21 year old daughter.

In the early morning hours after Thanksgiving last year, Elin confronted Tiger about his affairs. After the confrontation he drove into a hedge and a tree.

Tiger went to rehab, but the marriage could not be saved as more and more affairs were revealed in the press.
Source Bauer Griffin

August 4, 2010 Roy Halladay pitches Phillies past Marlins 6-1

    Ben Francisco    Roy Halladay    Carlos Ruiz
Phillies ace Roy Halladay tossed another masterpiece for seven innings and reliever Chad Durbin locked-down the Florida Marlins over the final two innings.  Despite the newest member of the walking-wounded 1st baseman Ryan Howard hitting the DL with a sprained left ankle, rightfielder Ben Francisco and catcher Carlos Ruiz each had a monster game hitting back-to-back against Marlin starter lefthander Sean West.  Halladay gave up 5 hits in seven innings while walking 1 and striking out 9.  His only mistake was 2nd baseman Dan Uggla’s second inning solo dinger for the Marlin’s only run.  Halladay, Francisco, Ruiz led the Phillies past the Marlins by a 6-1 score in their series opener.

With their win, the Phils now stand 2 games behind the NL East division-leading Atlanta Braves who were edged by the 3rd place Mets.  The Mets sit 6 1/2 games behind the Braves and 1/2 game up on the 4th place Marlins.

The Phils went to work early on 24 year old lefthander Sean West.  Francisco led off the second inning with a solo homer and Ruiz followed with his own shot back-to-back and the Phils were up 2-0.  When Uggla led off the Marlins’ second inning with a solo shot, it looked like this might be one of those games…  But Halladay was masterful after that spreading out the remaining 4 Marlins hits and 1 walk. 

And the Phils ace help himself with the bat as well.  Leading 2-1 in the Phils fourth inning, Francisco and Ruiz, who were in the center of all of the Phillies scoring, singled and doubled respectively.  After subbing 2nd baseman Wilson Valdez was intentionally walked loading the bases.  But Halladay made the Marlins pay for the disrespect of the intentional walk with a 2 run-scoring single and Phils were up 4-1.

The Marlins mounted their only mild threats in the fourth and seventh inning.  Halladay issued his only walk in the fourth, and a 1 out single put runners a 1st and 2nd base.  A fielder’s choice grounder put runners at the corners.  But “the Doc” struck out rookie rightfielder Mike Stanton to end the inning.  In the seventh, consecutive singles put runners at 1st and 2nd base with 1 out.  Halladay then got catcher Ronny Paulino to ground into a doubleplay advancing a runner to 3rd base.  But Halladay got a fly out to end the seventh inning threat.

Ruiz added a 2 out RBI single in the fifth inning to plate the 5th run and Valdez singled in the 6th run in the seventh inning with a 2 out RBI single to shallow leftfield which scored 3rd baseman Placido Polanco.
After 109 pitches, Chad Durbin was sent out to spell Halladay to open the eighth inning.  Durbin gave up a harmless 2 out double in the eighth, but Uggla’s leadoff single and Paulino’s 2 out double made Durbin’s ninth inning a bit dicey.  But in-between the single and double, Durbin recorded 2 strikeouts and ended the game by striking out the side.

Click here for AP’s game recap for Yahoo.

Military dog comes home from Iraq traumatized

 Military dog comes home from Iraq traumatized

Dog comes home from Iraq suffering what military suspects is PTSD, but is now on mend.

Gina was a playful 2-year-old German shepherd when she went to Iraq as a highly trained bomb-sniffing dog with the military, conducting door-to-door searches and witnessing all sorts of noisy explosions.

She returned home to Colorado cowering and fearful. When her handlers tried to take her into a building, she would stiffen her legs and resist. Once inside, she would tuck her tail beneath her body and slink along the floor. She would hide under furniture or in a corner to avoid people.

A military veterinarian diagnosed with her post-traumatic stress disorder — a condition that experts say can afflict dogs just like it does humans.

"She showed all the symptoms and she had all the signs," said Master Sgt. Eric Haynes, the kennel master at Peterson Air Force Base. "She was terrified of everybody and it was obviously a condition that led her down that road."

A year later, Gina is on the mend. Frequent walks among friendly people and a gradual reintroduction to the noises of military life have begun to overcome her fears, Haynes said.

Haynes describes her progress as "outstanding."

"Pretty fabulous, actually," added Staff Sgt. Melinda Miller, who's been Gina's handler since May. "She makes me look pretty good."

PTSD is well-documented among American servicemen and women returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but its existence in animals is less clear-cut. Some veterinarians say animals do experience it, or a version of it.

"There is a condition in dogs which is almost precisely the same, if not precisely the same, as PTSD in humans," said Nicholas Dodman, head of the animal behavior program at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

But some veterinarians dislike applying the diagnosis to animals, thinking it demeans servicemen and women, Dodman said. He added that he means no offense to military personnel when he uses the term.

The military defines PTSD as a condition that develops after a life-threatening trauma. Victims suffer three types of experiences long afterward, even in a safe environment. They repeatedly re-experience the trauma in nightmares or vivid memories. They avoid situations or feelings that remind them of the event, and they feel keyed up all the time.

When Gina returned to Peterson last year after her six-month deployment in Iraq, she was no longer the "great little pup" Haynes remembered.

She had been assigned to an Army unit, and her job was to search for explosives after soldiers entered a house. The troops sometimes used noisy, blinding "flash-bang" grenades and kicked down doors, Haynes said, and Gina was once in a convoy when another vehicle was hit by an improvised bomb.

Back home at Peterson, Gina wanted nothing to do with people.

"She'd withdrawn from society as a whole," Haynes said.

Haynes, who has worked with more than 100 dogs in 12 years as a handler and kennel master, said he has seen other dogs rattled by trauma, but none as badly as Gina.

Haynes and other handlers coaxed Gina on walks, sending someone ahead to pass out treats for bystanders to give her. They got her over her fear of walking through doors by stationing someone she knew on the other side to reward her with pats and play. They eased her farther into buildings with the same technique.

"She started learning that everyone wasn't trying to get her," Haynes said. "She began acting more social again."

On a sunny afternoon last week, Gina dashed across her training yard, jumping over obstacles on command and deftly pushing a ball with her forelegs and chest. On a visit to a store on base, she trotted calmly down the aisles and sat quietly when a woman bent to pet her.

"She's such a lovable dog," Miller said, describing how the 61-pound Gina will lie in her lap. "I could literally hold this dog like a baby."

But Haynes said they're careful not to let their affection interfere with good training. Treating Gina like a human — for example, comforting her when she's frightened — can leave her thinking that her handler is pleased when she's afraid.

"She's just gorgeous and I love her, but you also have to balance it with — you have to do what's right," he said.

Gina has resumed some of her duties, searching cars for explosives at Peterson or other nearby military facilities. Eventually, she may be able to return to the kind of hazardous duty she did in Iraq, but that's at least a year away, Haynes said.

"We're not planning on doing it anytime in the near future because obviously, we don't want to mess up everything we've already fixed," he said.

Dodman said he doubts Gina can recover completely.

"It's a fact that fears once learned are never unlearned," Dodman said. "The best thing you can do is apply new learning, which is what (Gina's handlers are) doing," he said.

Haynes acknowledged that's a concern, and although he hopes Gina recovers 100 percent he doesn't know if she will.

"Anytime someone has that much fear about anything, then obviously it will be hard just to get it fixed," he said.

"But, I mean, we don't really have many other options," Haynes said. "You can't really give up on them. They're your partner."

Source: AP News

Fox News Execs Meet Following Beck Holocaust Comments

beck_8-3.jpgYahoo! News' Michael Calderone writes of a July 26 meeting involving Fox News chairman and founder Roger Ailes as well as SVP Joel Cheatwood. They reportedly met with Simon Greer of Jewish Funds for Justice regarding comments host Glenn Beck had made recently on his radio program:

Simon Greer, chief executive of Jewish Funds for Justice, told The Upshot that when Greer approached them, Ailes and senior vice president Joel Cheatwood agreed that Beck crossed the line in comparing Greer's worldview to that of the Nazis and promised to speak with Beck about the matter. Two days later, Greer said he received a handwritten letter from Beck.

Beck's initial comments were in reaction to a piece Greer had written for the Washington Post.

Six Teenagers Drown in Louisianas Red River: Whites Kept Blacks from Swimming Pools

Six teenagers from two families wading in Louisiana's Red River fell into deep water and drowned as their families watched. No one in the group could swim and only one life jacket was available. The Shreveport fire department was able to pull one 14-year-old boy to safety. CBS, never failing to play the race card, says few Blacks can swim because racism keep them out of swimming pools for decades.

Six Teenagers Drown in Louisiana

The victims ranged in age from 13 to 18 - three brothers from one family and a two brothers and a sister from another.
Swimming skills can be scarce among African-Americans like the teens in this tragedy. A study commissioned by the sports governing body USA Swimming found 69 percent of black children had low or no swimming ability. Segregation kept blacks out of public and private pools for decades and the disparity continues because many poor and working class children have limited access to pools or instruction.

The teens had started playing in a familiar area but ended up at a spot in the river where the bottom fell suddenly and that's where divers found the bodies, Sanders said.
These kids were under 20 years old. We haven't had segregated public pools for decades. They were with their parents, and the parents failed to protect their children by making them safe in water. Shame on CBS for making this a matter of racism.

By Maggie M. Thornton

Live From Rikers: Lil Wayne Talks Fan Love, Eminem’s Support, & Self-Reflection

Lil Wayne
Lil Wayneused his phone privileges to call up Hot 97’s Funkmaster Flex from Rikers Island on Tuesday (Aug. 3). Lil Tunechi, who’s due to bereleased from jail in November, spoke about all the love he’s receivedfrom his fans, the first two rappers he wants to record with once heleaves jail, receiving Eminem’s support, how often he calls Drake andNicki Minaj, and which Young Money member he speaks with every day. Healso reflected on how his time behind bars will change him.
“I definitely [will] move more carefully. I definitely take heed tomy situation and my status,” he said. “Everybody says that you’re herefor a reason, so I promise you Flex I try to find out that reason everyday. I search for that reason. I think when I get out, that’ll be theonly time I know the answer.”
Listen in on their 10-minute conversation below.

NASA Solar Storm Warning - Sun Solar Flares Tsunami Video Surfaced

Downbelow Sun Solar Flares was recorded by extreme UV cameras onboard theSolar Dynamics Observatory shows an enormous magnetic filament breakingaway from the sun on august 1, 2010. Some of the breakaway material isnow en route to Earth in the form of a coronal mass ejectio.

OnAugust 1st, the entire Earth-facing side of the sun erupted in a tumultof activity. There was a C3-class solar flare, a solar tsunami,multiple filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface,large-scale shaking of the solar corona, radio bursts, a coronal massejection and more

In latest development NASA Solar Storm warning Solar tusname will hit Earth by August 3, 2010

Update :
Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity SDF Number 214 Issued at 2200Z on 02 Aug 2010

IA.Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 01/2100Z to02/2100Z: Solar activity was very low. Two B-class flares wereobserved, one of which was produced by Region 1092 (N16E10). Region1092 showed a minor increase in spot count during the period and was
classified as a Cho group with a beta magnetic configuration. No new regions were assigned.

IB.Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is expected to be very low.However, there will be a chance for an isolated C-class flare fromRegion 1092.

IIA. Geophysical Activity Summary 01/2100Z to02/2100Z: Geomagnetic field activity was at quiet levels. The greaterthan 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was high throughoutthe period.

IIB. Geophysical Activity Forecast: Geomagneticfield activity is expected to be at unsettled to active levels on day 1(03 August) due to the arrival of the first of two CMEs observed on 01August (this CME was associated with the long-duration C3/Sf flare at01/0826Z).

Activity is expected to be at active to minor stormlevels with a slight chance for major storm on days 2 - 3 (04 - 05August) due to the arrival of the second slower CME observed on 01August (associated with a large filament disappearance).

Wednesday’s ETF To Watch: Oil Service HOLDR (OIH)

by Eric Dutram
One of the biggest stories from the second quarter of the year wasthe Deepwater Horizon oil spill which continues to contaminate the Gulfof Mexico. As embattled oil giant BP prepares to finally seal off thewell, the focus moves from containment to blame which has put a varietyof companies in the spotlight of both the government and shareholders.In addition to shaving close to $70 billion off of BP’s market cap, thedisaster has put the oil service industry into focus with companiesgrowing increasingly concerned over the extent of an offshore drillingban as well as their costs for the cleanup of the spill [also see Uncertain Future For Energy ETFs].

Despite the spill and the potential loss of business, companies inthe sector have reported robust earnings so far this quarter. Two ofthe biggest names in the industry, Halliburton (HAL) and Schlumberger (SLB),posted extremely strong profits for the most recent quarter which hashelped to cool fears over a downward spiral in the industry. SLB reported a 33%increase in profits on the back of North American land markets andthanks to its global reach which left the firm less exposed to the Gulfthan some of its peers. Yet, even the spill-implicated Halliburtonreported an impressive increase in profits, posting a gain of 83% overthe previous quarter. HAL cited the robust demand for land basednatural gas drilling as the reason for the increase saying that thiswill more than make up for the loss in offshore drilling in the Gulf.These bullish reports look to put the pressure on another oil servicegiant to perform in this crucial earnings period; Transocean (RIG).

Thecompany, has been one of the big three involved in the spill and looksto be in focus today as it gives its second quarter earnings report.Due to the timing of this event, right as BP attempts to ’static kill’the remaining leak, as well as the company’s central role in thedisaster, this report should put the struggling sector into focus formuch of today’s trading session. Shares of RIG have already been hithard by the disaster and are down more than 40% so far this yearleaving the company with a robust forward P/E of just 5.4. Analysts areexpecting the company to report EPS of $1.71 versus $2.79 in the prior year periodon plunging revenues which are expected to drop 11.3%, a huge downturnwhen compared to its surging counterparts HAL and SLB [also read Five ETFs To Hedge Against Skyrocketing Gas Prices].

Due to this earnings report, we have decided to make the Merrill Lynch Market Oil Service HOLDR (OIH),which allocates 11.2% of its assets to RIG, today’s ETF to watch. Inaddition to this sizable weighting in RIG, the fund offers similarlevels of exposure to Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, and Halliburton. Thefund holds 15 securities in total and has a heavy focus on large capfirms which make up close to two-thirds of the fund’s total assets. OIHhas had a rough year, posting a loss of 9.3% so far in 2010 but it hassurged in recent weeks, posting a gain of 11.8% over the past month.However, a weak report from RIG later today could undermine thissector’s budding recovery and send the fund further into negativeterritory on the year [also see Are Energy ETFs Now A Buy?].

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

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NBA Rumor: Shaquille O’Neal To The Boston Celtics

I guess we can say the Boston Celtics are going all in and embracing their role as the old-timers of the NBA. This afternoon, A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast SportsNet New England tweeted that Boston is extremely close to signing Shaquille O’Neal. While it hasn’t been confirmed yet, the speculation about matching the Big Aristotle with the Big Green was growing daily.

Just last night, O’Neal said on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he thought highly of the Celtics. With his options running out – Atlanta wasn’t interested, Cleveland didn’t want him back and the Spurs didn’t want to get any older – there were reports about O’Neal considering big-money offers from Europe. More than likely, that was just a futile attempt to drive up his NBA value.

Now for most likely the veteran’s minimum, he joins a group of Celtics who seem to be stuck in Never Never Land. While some wanted to see Boston get younger this offseason, they retained their current roster while adding 32-year old Jermaine O’Neal and now the 38-year old Shaq.

Say what you want about Shaq, but last year he averaged 12.0 points and 6.7 rebounds a game. He could help this team on the court, especially against the Lakers. But, it is still to be determined how his presence affects the locker room – there is no clear alpha dog, no one Shaq will undoubtedly defer to – and also how minutes will be dealt once Boston’s frontline gets fully healthy.

Shaq gladly played a secondary role to LeBron James. That was an obvious move. But the last time he was on a team that lacked a single, commanding presence, O’Neal and Phoenix struggled to adjust to each other. With a solid core of veteran personalities, it will be interesting to see how Shaq fits in.
What do you think?

Omar Thornton - Hartford Distributors shooting about race

Omar Thornton 
Omar Thornton, the Hartford Distributors, Manchester, Ct shooting suspect was reported to be "not violent" according to his former girlfriend Kristi Hannah. She also said he was the target of racism at the workplace.

That does not in any way excuse what Omar did, but it serves as a warning sign regarding what can push a person to the edge. If it was racism that pushed Omar, then that should be studied so that such a climate is not allowed to exist in the workplace.

Reportedly offered the chance to quit or be fired from the beer distributor because he was an alleged discipline problem according to a Teamsters Union Official, 34-year-old Omar Thornton opened fire and hit eight people, seven have died and one was critically injured according to news updates.

Thornton was the last to die, and according to HLN on television, he called his mother to say "goodbye" after he shot the employees (UPDATE: CBS reports he said to his mother he "killed the five racists who were bothering" him). But how he died is still a source of conflicting reports: some say he was killed by police officers when he refused to drop his gun and others claim that Thornton turned the gun on himself.

Whatever the case, it's clear Omar Thornton snapped. His former girlfriend said he was not a violent person. While he purchased two guns, Omar Thornton had a legal gun permit, and was going to teach his girlfriend how to use guns, according to the Associated Press.

Teamsters official Christopher Roos is wrong about race

Teamsters official Christopher Roos said the shootings had nothing to do with race because Omar Thornton never filed a complaint with the union or any government agency. But what Mr. Roos didn't consider is that some people don't know where to go to file a complaint of racism.

Teamsters official Christopher Roos' statement that "it had nothing to do with race" is both cowardly and irresponsible and wrong. What's the fear in saying that it did have to do with race, when apparently it did? To avoid the chance that maybe they did something to make Omar Thornton snap? Saying that what Omar Thornton did was awful is obvious. But there's a less to be learned here that's being covered up thus far.

Thornton's girlfriend said that he, to quote the Houston Chronicle, "complained of racial harassment and said he found a picture of a noose and a racial epithet written on a bathroom wall." When that happens at work, some people don't know what to do. Perhaps that was the case with Thornton.

But obviously Thornton had also not been instructed on how to deal with race. If he were made to be a mentally stronger person, this story would not have happened.  African Americans have been the victims of racism for centuries, but we're not known for killing anyone as a reaction to it.   This is disturbing.

There's is much to know, still.  What was the discipline problem (on HLN the allegation was theft)?  Did he have any friends within the ranks of the Hartford Distributors beer distributor company? Why did he break from his girlfriend of eight months?

A very sad story of a person who went on a rampage and killed people he worked with.

End of Kilpatrick Dynasty!

It appears that the sins of the son have derailed the political career of the mother as Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick's tenure in Congress came to a stunning end last night when she was beaten by Sen. Hansen Clarke in Michigan's Democratic primary. The Congresswoman has served in Congress since 1996 and raised up to 3 times more money than her opponent, but was still soundly beaten according to the Detroit Free Press.

Cheeks Kilpatrick's son is now infamous Kwame Kilpatrick who destroyed all political credibility of the Kilpatrick name. Despite the money that she spent, it would've been surprising for Cheeks Kilpatrick to survive political baggage left by her son.

“Spectacular Stint Is Over”: Brett Favre Will Not Return To The Vikings

 Posted By Pat Dollard.
Vikings Favre Football
MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - Brett Favre’s spectacular stint with the Minnesota Vikings appears to be over.
Favre has informed the Vikings he will not return to Minnesota for a second season, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The 40-year-old Favre called coach Brad Childress to say his injured left ankle is not responding as well to surgery and rehabilitation as he had hoped, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not made an official announcement.

With Favre, of course, nothing is ever necessarily final after 19 NFL seasons. He told the Vikings last year he wouldn’t play, but changed his mind and joined them immediately after they broke training camp, with Childress even driving to the airport to pick him up. Camp this year ends on Aug. 12.

Favre has waffled on retiring every summer since 2006. It led to an ugly parting with the Packers that got him traded from Green Bay to the Jets in 2008. After a so-so season in New York, he announced his retirement in early 2009 for the second time, then reconsidered and signed with the Vikings.

He had one of his best seasons last year, with career bests in completion percentage (68.4), quarterback rating (107.2) and fewest interceptions (7), while throwing for 33 TDs and 4,202 yards to lead the Vikings to an NFC North title. He hurt his left ankle in the NFC championship game loss to the New Orleans Saints and had arthroscopic surgery in May.

Favre was under contract for $13 million this season, but only if he plays.

Nearly everyone had assumed Favre would return and he did nothing to discourage that. He threw passes for a second straight summer with high school students in Hattiesburg, Miss., joked about playing until he’s 50 and said playing another year wouldn’t worsen his already-damaged ankle.

Childress shrugged off all the questions and admitted he didn’t know whether Favre would really come back. The Vikings didn’t pursue a trade for Donovan McNabb and declined to select a quarterback of the future in the draft.

Still, Favre took a beating in the loss to the Saints and said afterward that he would not take long to make a decision on returning for the second year of his contract. As the months ticked by, Favre posted a statement on his website reminding everyone that his ankle problems didn’t mean his career was over.

If Favre doesn’t play next season—and if he decides to actually retire for good—it will end one of the most storied careers in NFL history.

A three-time league MVP (1995-97), Favre won Super Bowl XXXI with the Packers. His 11 Pro Bowl appearances are the most ever by a quarterback.

Indeed, Favre holds most major NFL records for a quarterback, including career touchdowns (497), yards passing (69,329); wins (181); and seasons with at least 3,000 yards passing (18).

Of course, he also has thrown the most interceptions (317) and been sacked 503 times—a long, long history of wear and tear.

Many of Favre’s sacks came on scrambles, and so did the picks as he fearlessly tried to force the ball—underhanded, left-handed, whatever worked—where few, if any, could put it. He brought a sense of danger to the game and Vikings fans responded in droves. He was a classic gunslinger and has never minded the label.

“I would hope 20, 30 years from now, I’m remembered for something else besides records,” Favre told The Associated Press in 2007, when the annual summer waffling was still sort of new. “Whether I have them or don’t have them. If that’s the only way I’m remembered, apparently I didn’t do something right or leave a good enough impression on the fans. …

“I know when I leave the game, I’m going to miss it. I know that. I’m not going to sit here and say, when I leave, it’s over and I felt like I’ve done everything there is to do.
“I feel like I’ve given every ounce of energy I can give every single time I stepped on the field

Wyclef Jean For President Of Haiti

Posted 8/04/2010 7:30 am by Ron Hogan

Even before the earthquake that devastated Haiti, the land was a troubled one. However, since the quake destroyed the land, it’s just gotten worse, and that’s why native son Wyclef Jean has decided to do something about it. The donations raised by Wyclef for the land of his birth through his Yele Haiti foundation were nice, but they weren’t really doing much to change the country itself, so he’s decided to take a more active role in the rebuilding of his country. Wyclef Jean announced that he would run for President of Haiti on Larry King Live Tuesday night.

“If not for the earthquake, I probably would have waited another 10 years before doing this,” said the 37-year-old who was raised in Brooklyn, New York. “The quake drove home to me that Haiti can’t wait another 10 years for us to bring it into the 21st century. If I can’t take five years out to serve my country as president, then everything I’ve been singing about, like equal rights, doesn’t mean anything.”

A singer as president? Ha! That’s almost as crazy as an actor running for President of the United States! Oh, wait

Iran - Official Denies Grenade Thrown at Ahmadinejad's Convoy in Assassination Attempt

Ahmadinejad moved to another car after assassination bid
Iran - A makeshift bomb exploded near President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s convoy in western Iran, local media reported Wednesday.

“This morning a hand grenade exploded next to a vehicle carrying reporters accompanying the president in Hamedan,” Iranian website Khabaronline reported.

“Ahmadinejad’s car was 100 meters away and he was not hurt.”

A source in Ahmadinejad’s office confirmed that the Iranianpresident’s motorcade had come under an attack.He said a home-made explosive device had exploded, but that the president, who was travelling from an airport in the western city of Hamadan to give a speech in a sports arena, was fine.

Al Arabiya television said an attacker had thrown a bomb at Ahmadinejad’s convoy before being detained.
Earlier this week Iranian news outlets quoted Ahmadinejad as saying that Israel was trying to assassinate him. In a speech delivered on Monday, the Iranian president said, “the Zionists have sent people to assassinate me. Look how hopeless they are.”

Last year Iran’s intelligence minister also claimed Israel was trying to kill Ahmadinejad. According to him, “Zionist” elements had met in Egypt and Paris with members of the Iranian opposition group“Mujahideen Khalq” in order to plan an assassination.

In November the Iranian Intelligence Ministry said it succeeded inthwarting a “plot to kill a senior regime official.” It was apparently referring to Ahmadinejad.

In 2008 Ahmadinejad’s aide said another plot to assassinate the president during his visit to Italy was foiled.
But Iranian state TV has denied reports that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faced an assassination attempt.

A conservative website reported that a handmade grenade exploded near the president’s convoy Wednesday as he was on his way to address a crowd in western Iran, but the leader was not harmed. The president gave his speech as planned and it was broadcast live on state TV.

Iran’s state-run Press TV, the government’s main English-language broadcast arm, says Ahmadinejad’s office has denied the allegation,insisting “no such attack had happened.”