Monday, November 8, 2010

RockMelt, a Social Web Browser

Tomorrow, there's a new competitor in the web browser arena: RockMelt. It's a web browser built to fit perfectly "the way people use the web today" (they say), namely with Facebook, Google & Twitter completely integrated from the ground up. With this tight integration, RockMelt makes tasks like sending a Facebook or a Twitter message faster than before because you're always logged-in. Looking at several Google Search results should also be quicker because the search results say visible while you look at those pages.

Will it change the way we use the web? Probably not, but maybe it will make us more social (employers are going to "love" it). In my view, the main strength of RockMelt is its new user interface: it would be difficult to build with an array of plug-ins made by several companies. Also, launching a browser that's based on the fact that Google and Facebook (should we call it “GooBook”?) are two dominant forces might not be such a bad idea (business-wise), even if that seems closed-minded... In some ways, it reminds me of when AOL "was" (almost) the internet - not a pleasant thought.

This browser doesn't claim to be the fastest, although it should be plenty fast, as it is based on the code that was used to build Google Chrome. Soon, you'll be able to experience it. In the meantime, there's only the official video. If you try it, leave us a comment.

By Hubert Nguyen


A judge sentenced ex-BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle to the minimum term of two years in prison Friday for fatally shooting unarmed train rider Oscar Grant, saying he believed the former officer's testimony that he had confused his pistol for a Taser.

Mehserle, 28, faced as many as 14 years in prison after he was convicted in July of involuntary manslaughter and a separate charge of intentionally firing a gun at Grant at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland early on Jan. 1, 2009. But Judge Robert Perry threw out the firearm conviction before sentencing Mehserle in Los Angeles County Superior Court, saying there was no evidence to support it.

Mehserle's lawyers argued all along that the shooting was a tragic mistake made by an officer under great stress, and Perry's sentencing remarks showed he agreed.

His decision infuriated members of Grant's family, some of whom stalked out of the courtroom before the judge had even finished speaking. Grant's sister, Chantay Moore, exclaimed from the gallery, "Oh, my!"

Afterward, they said the outcome showed that the justice system was stacked against African Americans such as Grant, especially in dealing with white police officers such as Mehserle.

With credit for time he has already served behind bars, Mehserle will be eligible for release in about seven months. His attorney, Michael Rains, said he will appeal the involuntary manslaughter conviction and in the meantime will try to win Mehserle's release on bail. (SOURCE)

In Metro-Atlanta 2010 - A Young Black Male College Student Suffers An "Emmit Till Outcome" As He Is Beaten To Death

AJC: 4 arrested after Douglas County teen beaten to death

Map: From The King Center For Non-Violent Social Change In Atlanta To Douglasville Georgia

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AJC Story
An 18-year-old beaten and stomped to death at a house party simply walked by his attackers at the wrong time, Douglas County Sheriff Phil Miller told the AJC Sunday.

Bobby Tillman, of Douglasville, died before he could be transported to the hospital early Sunday, Miller said. Four people have been arrested in connection with the teen's death.

The four arrested were identified as Quantez Devonta Mallory, Horace Damon Coleman, Emmanuel Benjamin Boykins and Tracen Lamar Franklin.

What started out as a small party at a home on Independence Drive ended up with between 60 and 80 people, Miller said.

“Some very responsible parents let their daughters have a party at their house, and there were only 10 people expected to come," Miller said.

The parents asked the party-goers to leave, and a fight began between two girls outside the home, Miller said.

One of the females hit a male, who said he wouldn't hit a girl but would hit the next male that walked by, Miller said. The 5-feet-6 inch, 124 pound Tillman was the next male.

Tillman was still breathing as deputies arrived at the scene, Miller said. Deputies administered CPR to the teen, who did not survive.

"It'll bring tears to your eyes," Miller said. "It's just so sad."

Deputies interviewed 57 people following the beating incident, Miller said. Witnesses were taken by bus to the sheriff's office, he said.

Four people were arrested, and investigators do not believe there will be additional arrests, Miller said. The homeowners are not expected to face charges, he said. No drugs or alcohol were involved, Miller said.

"They were doing the very best they could," Miller said. "The situation got out of hand."

Tillman's death came as a shock to friends and former classmates of the 2010 graduate of Chapel Hill High School. Some, such as 18-year-old Adrienne Anderson, learned of his death on Facebook.

Anderson said Tillman didn't attend Chapel Hill very long, but made a lot of friends before he graduated.

“He never bothered anybody," Anderson said. "He was an all-around nice person.”

Anderson said she had planned to attend the party Saturday night, but changed her plans. "I was supposed to be going, but I'm glad I wasn't there," she said.

Aimee Michael: Daughter and Mother Get Long Prison Sentences for Hit and Run

Aimee Michael

Aimee Michael (pictured left), for the most part, seems to be a lot like the rest of us. She's a 24-year-old black female college graduate with two parents who love her. Her parents have been married for 28 years, and her mother is a 52-year-old former school teacher. On Easter Sunday in 2009, though, Aimee found herself facing up to 50 years in prison. While she didn't get the entire 50 years, she did get 36 of them.

Aimee Michael was the cause of a massive car accident in Atlanta, a chain reaction that caused the deaths of five people, including a newborn baby, a 6-year-old and a 9-year-old. After being sideswiped by another car, Michael's BMW hit another car, causing it to collide head-on with another vehicle. Michael is going to prison, because after causing this terrible accident, she fled the scene and tried to cover up the evidence.

Aimee Michael's mother, Sheila (pictured right), was given eight years in prison for her role in the cover up. This has left the Michael family devastated, but not nearly as much as the families of the victims.

"I want to say that I am wrong. I have wronged three families and for that I am sorry," Michael said in court.

Michael was arrested two weeks after the accident, when neighbors called the police. She was found guilty on five counts of vehicular homicide, six counts of hit and run and several misdemeanors.

The judge was actually brought to tears and said she prayed about the decision before rendering the sentence. The deciding factor in the crash was the fact that Michael left the scene of the accident. She also expressed disappointment in Michael's mother for not turning her daughter in to the police.

When it comes to the sentencing of Aimee Michael, I'm going to have to keep it real: Based on what I've read about Aimee and her family, it appears that much of this could have happened to any of us. While most of us would not have left the scene of the accident, I can't help but imagine Aimee as a frightened 24-year-old young adult who did something incredibly stupid.

Also, while we can easily criticize Aimee's mother for protecting her daughter, I am willing to bet that at least half the people reading this article may at least consider doing the same thing if it meant keeping their child from prison. This does not, in any way, condone Aimee's actions (or those of her mother), but it does highlight the difficulty of the decisions that this family had to make.

Aimee's attorney made a very good point. She said that we should consider what the sentence would have been had Aimee not left the scene:

"What Sheila Michael did was driven by fear and attempt to protect her child," said Renee Rockwell, Aimee's attorney. "It was the worst move she could have made. If Aimee Michael had gone back to the scene, we would be talking about six to 12 months at most."

Personally, I see the accident as the thing that it was: an accident. She was side-swiped and hit another car. Given that's the case, I am not sure if a long prison sentence would be appropriate. But one thing that must be considered is that Aimee Michael has been cited numerous times for driving too fast. In the state of Pennsylvania, she received several speeding tickets within a very short amount of time. She is also known to be someone who regularly smokes marijuana and there was even a "marijuana cigar" found in the car during the police investigation. This information tells us clearly that Aimee, like many young people across America is both reckless and inconsiderate in her personal choices. In spite of her shameful behavior, I can't help but feel that 36-years in prison is simply too long of a sentence.

On a secondary note, there is no doubt in my mind that Aimee Michael and her mother deserve to go to prison. My heart dropped to the ground when reading about the three young children killed in this accident. I also mourn for the families of all of the victims. This story serves as a cautionary tale to all of the kids across America who think it's cute or cool to speed down the highway or to get involved in drugs. You might think you're having harmless fun, but you could end up ruining the lives of yourself, strangers and people you care about. When Aimee Michael showed up to her mother's house after getting involved in this accident, she instantly destroyed her family. Should it be the case that she was driving irresponsibly, the guilt of this experience will be with her forever.

The fact that Aimee and her mother were so selfish as to ignore the suffering of these families by attempting to hide their involvement is simply sickening. With that said, I will also say that 5 - 10 years in prison for Aimee might have been a more reasonable sentence. I don't agree with 36 years in prison, and I sincerely doubt she would have gotten this much time if she were Paris Hilton or someone from an affluent Georgia family.

On that note, this is an incredibly painful story to read, and I wish the families the best. The sadness of this tragedy resonates through all of our psyches, and we can learn quite a few lessons about vehicle safety and doing the right thing. When you get behind the wheel, please be careful. Driving is an important responsibility.

 Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.


Israeli PM Netanyahu: Get back to us when you
get serious about stopping Iran, sanctions are a joke.

According to Tundra Tabloid sources, top Israeli MFA officials whose job is researching Iran's nuclear ambitions, lean towards sanctions as the more preferable option, but that's not to say all other measures are off the table. In all honesty, who really thinks that Iran can be rationally negotiated with? KGS

Gates: Threat of force not the only way to deter Iran
US defense secretary responds to Netanyahu's assertion that only military option will stop Iran's nuclear program; says sanctions are hitting Islamic Republic hard and should be given more time.
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday said that although military action against Iran remains an option, the threat of force is not the only way to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb. Gates was speaking during an official visit to Australia.
The comments from the US defense secretary came in response to Israeli assertions on Sunday that Iran would put a stop to its nuclear ambitions only if it feared military action would be taken against it. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, visiting the US this week, is turning up pressure on the Obama administration to take a tougher line.
According to diplomatic officials, Netanyahu told US Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday that "the only way to ensure that Iran is not armed with nuclear weapons is to create a credible threat of military action against it, unless it stops its race to obtain nuclear weapons.”
The two men met on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New Orleans, an annual event sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America.
More here.

Attacking The Boards: Where Atlanta Lost Its First Game

The Phoenix Suns, despite losing their most poignant offensive option this summer, still play the best fast-paced basketball in the league. Steve Nash is so good at pushing the tempo, setting up his offense, getting his players moving and dominating the game with his picture perfect shot. Turnovers and getting everybody back into the swing of things was preventing Nash from distributing the ball as well as he usually does over the first few games of the season but the Suns came out and looked very strong against the previously undefeated Hawks in Atlanta.

The Suns dominated the contest for two and a half quarters, but a barrage of three’s from Jamal Crawford, Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson got the Hawks rolling near the end of the third quarter and clutch baskets down the stretch from Johnson, Crawford and Al Horford nearly got the Hawks an impressive comeback victory. But a pull-up mid-range two from Nash and a beautiful post-up from Channing Frye in the final 20 seconds (the 10 inch smaller Mike Bibby was guarding him) got the Suns the win. The Hawks couldn’t repeat last season’s heroics against the Suns in nearly the same situation as a Joe Johnson drive into the lane produced no positive results.

Nash finished with 19 points on seven-of-11 shooting and had a stretch where nobody could stop him from pouring in jumpers. He also had five rebounds and 15 assists, to just two turnovers no less. Nash also iced the game with four free throws late, capping off his magnificent game.

Last season, the Suns’ role players like Grant Hill and Jason Richardson got their looks by committee. Whenever Steve Nash found them, they got their looks. That plan of attack has continued this season, only there are more touches to go around without Amare. And in this game the balance of the offense was fantastic for Phoenix. Six players scored in double figures and everybody that played had at least six points.
Richardson continued his weekend hot streak by going for 21 points with three triples, Grant Hill had 14 and six, and Hedo Turkoglu had his first really impressive stretch for Phoenix, knocking down three straight three’s before becoming a non-factor down the stretch. Still, he filled it up for a pinch and finished with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists. Not quite the versatility he displayed in Orlando, but he’s adjusting to his role slowly.

The Suns’ bench continued their impressive play in this game as well. Josh Childress had a crucial 11 points and six rebounds in his return to Atlanta (for whatever reason, he was booed) and Jared Dudley played his regular role as an irritant and outstanding hustle player, dropping 15 points on five-of-eight shooting with a pair of AND-1′s while grabbing six rebounds. Also, you’d be hard pressed to find me a more impressive shot maker for a back-up point guard than Goran Dragic who seems to hit big time three’s when his team needs it the most.

Not a bad game for Atlanta, they just took two quarters too long to get their shots to fall. Al Horford and Joe Johnson were just monsters and they ate up a porous Suns defense all night long. After struggling from the field to start the season, Joe Johnson had his best shooting night of the young year, knocking down 15 of his 27 shots for 34 points while adding the usual seven rebounds and six assists. He’s not a max player, but games like this show you why it was hard for the Hawks to just let him go. The motion offense has taken a lot off his shoulders, but he is still relied upon to make big plays and he comes up with good results most of the time.

Horford was even more impressive and his performance so far this season has been masterful. 30 points on 13-of-16 shooting. Yes folks, he missed three shots while scoring 30 points. Mid-range jumpers and a lot of pretty post moves that got him some good looks at the rim. Oh, and he had 10 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal. Horford is playing the best basketball of any big man that doesn’t play for the Lakers right now and it is really a joy to watch. You have to congratulate the Hawks on resigning this guy. He’s good enough to be the cornerstone of a franchise.

Josh Smith was impressive as well, scoring 19 points on six-of-10 shooting with a pair of wide open two point jumpers that the Suns forced him to take. Its not a shot you want him to take when he’s covered, but its good to see him swish that look when its in the flow and the defense is conceding it. Smith added nine boards, four assists and three steals.

The Hawks did have 29 assists to 14 turnovers, but scoring wasn’t easy for anyone other than Smith, Horford and Johnson and a late surge from Crawford wasn’t enough to cover for his very poor start.
I know its early, but Phoenix is not getting a lot of good from Robin Lopez. He only played 19 minutes in this game and in that time he only grabbed one rebound while giving up a lot of easy looks to Horford. Something to keep an eye on going forward.

20 Killed Over Weekend in Mexican Border City

Nov. 7: Relatives of fallen police officers react as they arrive to the scene after gunmen attacked a municipal police car in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- At least 20 people were killed in drug-gang violence over the weekend in this northern Mexican border city, including seven found dead outside one house.

The seven men were believed to have been at a family party when they were gunned down Saturday night, said Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the attorney general's office in Chihuahua state, where Ciudad Juarez is located. Five were found dead in a car, and the other two were shot at the entrance of the home.
There have been several such massacres in Ciudad Juarez, a city held hostage by a nearly three-year turf battle between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels.

Few residents now venture out to bars and restaurants. And like those attacked on Saturday, others have discovered that they aren't even safe in their own homes: Last month, gunmen stormed two neighboring houses and massacred more than a dozen young people attending a party for a 15-year-old boy.

Eleven other people were killed Saturday in the city, including two whose bodies were found dismembered, Sandoval said. On Sunday, two city police officers, a man and a woman, were shot to death inside their patrol car.

Full Story:
20 Killed Over Weekend in Mexican Border City -

FBI Arrests Philly Police Official With Aspirations to be Chief

By Allan Lengel
The FBI in all likelihood put an end to any aspirations of Philadelphia police inspector Daniel Castro becoming the department’s commissioner.

On Friday, agents arrested him at his home on charges of extortion in a scheme the Philadelphia Inquirer reported ” portrays him more like a gangster.”  Castro is the 15th Philly cop to be arrested since March 2009.

The paper reported that Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, a former Chicago police official and former head of the D.C. police department, knew the inspector was under FBI investigation.  In fact, the paper reported that last month at a press conference announcing the arrests of two officers charged with ripping off drug dealers, he remarked  that it “could get worse before it gets better.”
To read more click here.

Blacks Community Struggles with Unwed Mothers Rate

The AP reports:
Children of unmarried mothers of any race are more likely to perform poorly in school, go to prison, use drugs, be poor as adults, and have their own children out of wedlock.

The black community’s 72 percent rate eclipses that of most other groups: 17 percent of Asians, 29 percent of whites, 53 percent of Hispanics and 66 percent of Native Americans were born to unwed mothers in 2008, the most recent year for which government figures are available. The rate for the overall U.S. population was 41 percent.

Republicans: No Compromise On Bush Tax Cuts

Remember when Obama responded to Republicans questioning his stimulus plans with, “I won”?
Consider this the new Republican House majority’s “I won” moment.
WASHINGTON – Republican leaders in the House and the Senate said Sunday that there would be no compromise with Democrats on whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers.
President Barack Obama has said he wants to extend the tax cuts for taxpayers with a combined annual income of less than $250,000, but that the cuts should be eliminated for people making more than that. He has suggested there might be room for compromise in discussions with Republicans on other tax issues.
But Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., who is expected to become majority leader in the House when the new Congress is sworn in next year, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Sunday news programs that they would insist on extending tax cuts for the wealthy. McConnell said higher taxes on upper-income earners would harm small businesses.
“We can’t negotiate it this morning, but our view is don’t raise taxes on small business,” McConnell said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Cantor said Republicans plan to make spending cuts a priority when they take control of the House in January.
“We’re going to embark on a regular diet of spending-cut bills being brought to the floor weekly,” he said.
This is, I think, exactly the tone Republicans need to strike though they need to stop using the class warfare rhetoric of Democrats. Instead of saying that they’re not going to raise taxes on this or that demographic, they need to say that they’re not going to take any more away from the private sector. No more taxes on the economy we all live and work in.

Rather, they’re going to downsize the government that economy has to support.

President Obama on 60 Minutes

Transcript: Pt. 1, Pt. 2

STEVE KROFT: No one at the news conference yesterday asked you about the Tea Party. According to the exit polls, four out of ten voters on Tuesday said they supported the movement. How seriously do you take the Tea Party, and will it make the task of finding common ground with the Republican Party more difficult?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it’ll be interesting to see how it evolves. We have a long tradition in this country of a desire for limited government, the suspicion of the federal government, of a concern that government spends too much money. You know? I mean, that’s as American as apple pie. And although, you know, there’s a new label to this, I mean those sentiments are ones that a lot of people support and give voice to. Including a lot of Democrats.
And so, the test is gonna be what happens over the next several years, when it’s not just an abstraction, but we have to start making serious choices. I’ve got a deficit commission that I’ve put forward that is gonna be releasing recommendations for how we can start reducing the deficit. And I don’t know yet what they’re gonna say, but I do know what the federal budget looks like. And if you eliminate all the earmarks. If you eliminate all the foreign aid. If you eliminate all the waste and abuse that people, you know, talk about eliminating — you’re still confronted with a fact that the vast majority of the federal budget are things that people really think are important. Like Social Security and Medicare and defense.
And so, you then have to start making some tough decisions about how do we pay for those things that we think are important? And you know, we’re not gonna be able to balance the budget just by slashing the National Parks budget, even if you didn’t think that was a proper function of government. We’re not gonna be able to balance the budget by, you know, eliminating the National Weather Service.

I mean, we’re gonna have to, you know, tackle some big issues like entitlements that, you know, when you listen to the Tea Party or you listen to Republican candidates they promise we’re not gonna touch.

By: Jane Hamsher

First Listen: Michael Jackson's "Breaking News"

After controversy surrounding Howard Mann, Katherine Jackson and the new Michael Jackson single that was really just a remix of "Destiny," the King of Pop's latest, posthumous effort has actually been released, and "Breaking News" is terrific.

It's the first song from Sony's new Jackson album, due out later this year. "Breaking News" is vintage Jackson, from the vocals down to the catchy beats.
Michael Cover
The much-anticipated song is a harsh look at the media through the eyes of MJ, who knew a thing or two about scrutiny. The lyrics have the feel of a defiant, comeback proclamation from an unparalleled entertainer with something to prove.

As we previously reported, the song was recorded at the home of music producer Eddie Cascio, where Michael and his children lived for four months in 2007.

Follow the jump to hear "Breaking News" for yourself ...
Breaking News by Jon_ALi