Friday, September 30, 2011

Instant Candidates: Not the Best Way to Choose Our Leaders

By Richard A. Lee

A year ago, it was quite common to find New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg mentioned together in news reports since Zuckerberg had just donated $100 million to the state’s largest school system.

One year later, the two men once again were in the news at the same time – Christie because of yet another increase in speculation that he may run for national office; Zuckerberg because of changes to Facebook that irked many of the social network’s 800 million active users.

This year’s news stories are about the two distinct topics, but there is a connection, albeit an indirect one.

Among the Facebook changes are features that provide for faster sharing of information. This is a sign of the times in which we live. We want our news and information instantly, whether it’s the White House press corps reporting on the president or a text message with word that your sister has just had a healthy baby boy.

It is this environment – one in which information arrives quickly and unfiltered – that has helped spur interest in a Christie for President candidacy.

Ten years ago, it would have been unthinkable for a man with his resume to be seriously considered as a candidate for national office. After all, he has been a governor for less than two years.

But look at the man in the Oval Office today. Barack Obama was in his first term as a U.S. Senator when he was elected president. And when the GOP chose Sarah Palin as the party’s 2008 vice presidential candidate, she had served less than two years as governor of Alaska.

Obama’s use of the Internet and social networks were critical to his success in quickly becoming a national figure, winning the Democratic Party’s nomination and emerging victorious in the presidential election. Palin, despite her slot on a losing ticket in 2008, also has used the Internet and social networks effectively, building a strong and faithful core of supporters.

Chris Christie’s national popularity provides another example of this pattern. He has become a YouTube star, drawing hundreds of thousands of hits for his lively video exchanges with teachers, journalists and public employees. But I can’t help but wonder how many of those hopping on the Christie bandwagon know him primarily from YouTube and have spent little time actually learning the details and results of his policies.

Regardless of whether one is a supporter or an opponent of Chris Christie or any other potential candidate for president, we should be basing our opinion on hard facts – not on two-minute video clips.

# # #

Richard A. Lee spent more than 30 years as a journalist and government communications professional in New Jersey. He now is an assistant professor in the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University near Olean, N.Y. Read more of Rich's columns at richleeonline and follow him at

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Obamacare regs grind on as courts debate

By John Vinci

Last Friday marked one and a half years since the passage of Obamacare. The more the Obama Administration implements Obamacare and the more Americans discover what it actually contains, the more we realize how disastrous it is.

Just this week Milliman, Inc. issued a report for the Ohio Department of Insurance that estimates Obamacare will cause individual health insurance premiums in Ohio to increase by 55 to 85 percent.

Milliman also calculates that Ohio’s health insurance exchange (now called “Affordable Insurance Exchanges” by the Obama Administration) will cost between $19 million and $34 million per year.
A health insurance exchange is an online marketplace for health insurance — just like Expedia and Orbitz are online marketplaces for the airline and hotel industries. Every state must be on track to have their own exchange set up by 2014 otherwise the federal government will be required to run an exchange for that state. As running an exchange is a substantial undertaking, the Obama Administration is working very hard and somewhat unsuccessfully to encourage states to start their own health insurance exchanges. With only 13 states having passed exchange legislation into law, there’s a good chance the federal government will have to run a significant number of state exchanges.

Obamacare gives the State exchanges the authority to issue subsidies to assist some people with paying for their health insurance. But a federally-run exchange, due to a glitch in the Obamacare statute reported by Investor’s Business Daily, does not have the statutory authority to issue such subsidies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the administration has ignored the plain text of the statute and is proceeding as if both state and federal exchanges can offer subsidies. If the federal government continues to go beyond the congressionally approved law and provides people with health care subsidies it will mean tens of millions of additional taxpayer dollar expenditures.

Then there’s the High Risk Pools. Due to pre-existing conditions many individuals find it difficult to find health insurance. A high risk pool is an insurance plan for people who can’t get health insurance elsewhere because of their pre-existing conditions. Obamacare sets aside $5 billion to subsidize high risk pools called “Pre-Existing Condition Plans” in every state. While early estimates predicted that the program would quickly run out of money, the program has instead been unsuccessful in attracting people who were presumed to be the most in need.
Get full story here.

Cripple America

Get permalink here.

Obama’s latest jaw dropper

By Rick Manning
The Obama Administration has one shining quality — an ability to dumbfound and amaze through some of the most ill-conceived proposals in human history.
I’m talking bad like, “Abe, let’s go see the new play that is at Ford’s Theatre,” bad

The latest gem out of the White House comes via Robert Pear of the New York Times, who reports that Obama wants to provide civil rights protection for people who are unemployed.

Apparently, Obama believes that the reason that there are 14 million unemployed Americans is because employers are discriminating against them.
His remedy?

Allow an unemployed person to drag an employer who doesn’t hire him or her into federal court to prove that the reason they weren’t hired, and presumably, someone else was, is because they were unemployed.
I’m pretty confident that threatening job creators with lawsuits by 14 million people who were not hired is not going to encourage opportunity.

In fact, I’m pretty confident that threatening legal action against job creators for failing to hire someone who is currently unemployed is going to significantly reduce the willingness of that business to put out a help wanted sign at all.

While stunned by the approach, in retrospect, no one should be surprised.
Remember, this is the Administration who made certain that lawyers were among the first Obama Administration officials on the scene during the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Somehow, in the warped world of the White House, threatening lawsuits equates to helping solve the problem.

It almost seems that in Obama’s hope-y, change-y world, the ambulances chase the attorneys, and patients are healed by a lawsuit.
Get full story here.

Watch your back, America! Obama is listening.

By Rebecca DiFede

Imagine for a second, a world in which people could tell on their fellow neighbors, friends and enemies for speaking out against government actions or policies, and deliver that information to the leaders themselves.
Think about the unspeakable horror that could occur when people with a grudge make false accusations against their counterparts, and those accusations are followed by direct action from the government against the nay-sayers. Sound familiar?

History is replete with examples of governments turning citizen against citizen in cynical attempts to retain power. This tactic has been used by governments as a mean of controlling their citizenry. During World War II the German people were encouraged to hand over their Jewish neighbors, and report those who they believed might sympathize with them.

Unfortunately, in this age of rapid communication, our leaders have to be much more careful not to set up systems that can effectively have a chilling effect on our American freedoms.

In order to keep up with the Jones’, or rather, what the Jones’ are saying about him, Obama’s presidential re-election campaign has created; a website where citizens can tattle on their fellow Americans for saying mean spirited things about our illustrious president.

In the wake of his failing administration, sinking ratings and titanic debt, he has attempted to build himself a fortress where he can construct answers to all of his detractors insults, essentially the adult version of ‘sticks and stones will break my bones.’

However, luckily for Americans, our Constitution protects us from actually being prosecuted in any way for our beliefs or thoughts about Obama’s policies. In fact, the most that AttackWatch can do, is compile an ever-growing list of people who are dissatisfied with the way Obama is running the country. Legally, it can serve no other purpose.
Get full story here.

Lebron’s All-Star Classic

The Big Three is back

MIAMI ( – Miami Heat fans won’t have to wait until the NBA’s owners and players settle their differences to get their next glimpse of the Big Three. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will come together next week to host and play in “The South Florida All-Star Classic,” according to sources close to the project.

The game will be held on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. ET at Florida International University, where Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas is coach. All proceeds will go toward a charity supporting the educational community of South Florida.

A number of NBA players are slated to join the Miami trio on the court, including fellow Heat teammate Mario Chalmers, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, the New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul, the Washington Wizards’ John Wall, the Atlanta Hawks’ Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson, the Houston Rockets’ Jonny Flynn, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Eric Bledsoe, the Dallas Mavericks’ Caron Butler, the Memphis Grizzlies’ Rudy Gay, the Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Lou Williams, the Golden State Warriors’ Dorell Wright, and the Portland Trail Blazers’ Wesley Matthews and free agent Eddy Curry.

<a href='' target='_new' title='Highlights: Melo vs. Goodman' >Video: Highlights: Melo vs. Goodman</a>

Cleveland Cavaliers first-round picks Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson also are possible participants in the game.

Irving and Thompson are waiting to see if a spot opens up, a source told’s Brian Windhorst. Other rookies, the source said, were interested but there’s no room in the game for other first-year players. There’s no interest in 15-player rosters because players want to be able to play in the game and not sit on the bench.

The source told’s Windhorst that there could have been two games played because there was so much interest from NBA players. The squads will be headlined by Brand Jordan players (Wade, Anthony, Paul) vs. Nike (James, Bosh, Durant).

Comedian Kevin Hart, who has appeared in Brand Jordan commercials with Wade, is expected to coach the Jordan team, while Miami-based rap star Rick Ross is expected to coach the Nike club.

FIU’s U.S. Century Bank Arena can hold 5,000 fans. James has played in several “barnstorming” games over the past month of the NBA lockout, but this is the first time he’s been a part of hosting one.

Chris Broussard covers the NBA for ESPN The Magazine. Heat reporter Brian Windhorst contributed to this report. Follow Chris Broussard on Twitter: @chris_broussard

Listeria Outbreak in Cantaloupes Is the Deadliest in a Decade

A listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupes from Colorado has infected 72 people in the US and killed 13, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday. Today's grap.

By Cole Petrochko, Associate Staff Writer, MedPage Today WASHINGTON — The FDA has announced that the multi-state listeriosis outbreak has now spread to 14 states and sickened 55 patients, eight of whom have died. The outbreak, which has been traced to

Health officials said Tuesday that 16 people, including one in Missouri, have died from possible listeria illnesses traced to Colorado cantaloupes, the deadliest food outbreak in more than a decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said

WASHINGTON – Health officials say as many as 16 people have died from possible listeria illnesses traced to Colorado cantaloupes, the deadliest food outbreak in more than a decade. The Centers for Disease Control and

He fell ill with symptoms of listeriosis the illness caused by Listeria infection, including headache and fatigue, on August 30. the next morning, mr. Palmers wife found him unresponsive and immediately rushed her husband to the hospital,

NY prosecutor: Probe of SAT scandal will proceed – CBS News

Daily Mail

CBS News

(AP) GARDEN CITY, NY — A New York prosecutor says she's investigating whether students at other schools were participating in an SAT cheating ring. This follows the arrest of seven current or former students at Long Island's Great Neck North High ...

Governor Chris Christie Speech At The Reagan Library

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave his momentous speech at the Reagan Library which will be heavily dissected by the GOP faithful.
After Speech Christie revels in pleas to run

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chris Christie: a GOP Messiah?

Although it arguably would only be fair to finally have a president who “looks like America,” I’ve never come near to getting on the bandwagon to draft Chris Christie. The Republican Governor of New Jersey seems to be doing a fine job in that traditionally-Democrat-dominated state, but he’s only been in office 21 months, and he can’t possibly be finished with his work there. If he’s as talented and effective as his fans think, reforming New Jersey is good and holy work for him to complete, surely.

Then there are the concerns that he is not really very conservative when looked at from the perspective of national issues. This morning Ed Morrissey of Hot Air has a post titled, “Should conservatives by clamoring for a Christie candidacy?” that touches on some of these problems.

Christie is shaky on gun rights. Christie is shaky (and significantly shakier than Rick Perry) on the issue of illegal immigration. Christie is a firm believer in anthropogenic global warming.

In an election cycle where conservatives (1) are seeking a genuine conservative candidate and (2) have every reason to believe an unabashed conservative can win against Barack Obama—the weakest incumbent in recent memory—Christie, on the issues, appears instead to represent a compromise. I’ve been mystified when I hear someone like Ann Coulter wishing and dreaming out loud for his entry into the race. But then, she supported Mitt Romney last time. She seems to favor some notion of “electability” in her mind versus reliability on the issues; it’s a strange perspective for someone as uncompromising in her own political arguments as she is. However, I’m one of those who disputes that conceding issues to the other side is the way forward for conservative candidates in America, or that it makes a presidential candidate more electable. I think it does not, and I think that the last presidential race is exhibit A.

I think it’s time, frankly, for some on the conservative and/or Republican side to grow up, and realize that there’s a more than merely serviceable slate of candidates out there right now. Dreaming of white knights is a sign of weakness. The campaign didn’t end somehow at the last debate. Perry isn’t done: he is reloading. Cain is a candidate the GOP should be proud of: a genuine non-politician pushing genuine conservatism. Gingrich may yet qualify for a second act in American politics — stranger things have happened. And if you want a crypto-RINO-who-knows-what-o, Mitt Romney is currently filling that position admirably, with panâche and eloquence. It’s time for people to focus on the choices that are there to be made, and stop looking out the window for a parachuting savior. (If I wanted to make a cheap gag, I would point out that Chris Christie really should neither be jumping on white horses nor parachuting out of airplanes, but since I don’t I’ll let it go.)

If he does get in the race, at this late stage, he’ll have a variety of very serious obstacles to overcome due to that lateness. I predict he won’t win the nomination, and will limp back to the Garden State as damaged goods. That would not be good for anyone. New Jersey needs him right where he is. May good sense, with some help from the law of inertia, keep him there.

Chris Christie can’t — repeat: can’t — win the GOP nomination

No matter all the buzz of late suggesting that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie might jump into the race for the Republican presidential nomination, I’m betting that he won’t.

And if I lose that bet, I’ll wager twice as much that he doesn’t win the GOP nod.

The people who see Christie as the answer to the party’s general dissatisfaction with its current crop of White House hopefuls just haven’t thought this thing through. They’ve fallen in love with the man’s straight-talking style — and ignored the substance of some of things he says.

On several occasions over the past five months, I’ve explained (HERE and HERE) that Christie has foreclosed upon any presidential bid by staking out positions on global warming and Islamophobia that run counter to the prevailing attitudes among the GOP’s Tea Party types.

And now, Dan Amira of New York magazine has ADDED three more issues — immigration, gun control and education — to the list of things that right-wingers would hate about Christie if he seeks the Republican nomination.

Sure, Christie could try walking back his previous statements on those matters, but that would only add flip-flopping to the list of conservative grievances against him.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, time is running out for late entrants in the Republican race, as we see HERE.

UPDATE II: Politico offers SEVERAL DOZEN RESPONSES to the question of whether Chris Christie should take the plunge.

By Pat Cunningham

Monday, September 26, 2011

Deion Sanders Files for Divorce, Wife Surprised

Former football great Deion Sanders has officially served his wife, Pilar, with divorce papers.

Pilar Sanders is Sanders' second wife and mother of three of his children. She reportedly received the documents Friday morning in Dallas, Texas.


Click here for Part One of Deya Direct's recent video interview with Pilar Sanders.

Click here for Part Two.


Here’s what Sanders said about the split: “Enough is enough. I never signed up for all this. Enough is enough. If I wanted a model or a television star, I would have married one a long time ago. All I wanted was a housewife.”

Late Monday afternoon, Pilar Sanders gave HelloBeautiful the following statement: “It’s unfortunate that my husband decided to take this course of action. I’m surprised and hurt. As I said to my children, we must take a minute, breathe and trust God.”

Pilar Sanders recently co-starred in VH1's “Single Ladies” and become a perfumista, all while running multiple charities and dabbling in music.

‘The Chicago Way’

By Howard Rich

As Barack Obama’s radical appointees on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continue their jihad against American jobs and the free market economy, many have wondered: From where does Obama get the nerve? Based on what warped ideological mooring does the leader of the free world summon the “audacity” to tell private companies where they can (or in Boeing’s case, “can’t”) locate new jobs?
That’s easy — it’s “The Chicago Way.”

Obama’s hometown sets the standard for union appeasement — although a quick look at the Windy City’s pro-union excesses reveals just how corrupt and unsustainable such practices are.
Earlier this month, The Chicago Tribune reported that 23 retired union leaders will collect $56 million from cash-strapped government pension funds — courtesy of a few well-placed lines that were quietly inserted into the state’s 1991 labor law (with no public debate or cost-benefit analysis). It’s the latest in a long line of flagrant abuses — handouts from corrupt politicians who continue to game the system for the personal benefit of a select, powerful few.

For six decades city government workers in Chicago have been granted “leaves of absence” enabling them to work full-time for the unions while retaining their city benefits (including generous pensions). While such an arrangement is patently unfair to taxpayers and should never have been adopted in the first place, some of the abuses that have occurred under its ever-expanding auspices are downright shocking.
For example, the Tribune recently reported on the story of Dennis Gannon — former president of the Chicago Federation of Labor. Gannon has pocketed $1 million in pension fund payments over the last seven years and is in line to receive $5 million more — a level of compensation five times greater than what the typical government retiree receives.

How did Gannon get such a sweetheart deal? The City of Chicago hired him for a single day back in 1994 — and then granted him an “indefinite leave of absence.” Not only that, they pegged his pension amount to his inflated union salary.

Incidentally, Gannon now draws his exorbitant benefits on top of a six-figure salary from a hedge fund that manages public pensions — and was one of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s most generous campaign contributors.
Get full story here.

Team Obama Spotlight: Billionaire George Soros

Video by Frank McCaffrey
Get permalink here.

The real crisis

By Robert Romano
Normally, when the Senate passes a piece of legislation, and then the House passes something slightly different, it’s called the legislative process. Now, it’s a crisis.

“Shutdown Fears Rise as House Passes CR That Cannot Pass Senate,” blares one headline. “Shutdown specter rises once more,” warned another. Still another read, “Shutdown Looms as GOP Bends to Will of Tea Party.”
At issue? Just $1.6 billion of spending cuts to the Department of Energy’s lending programs — including those to the bankrupt firm, Solyndra — included in the House bill. The cuts would offset increases in disaster funding.
In principle, such an outcome might result in a conference committee being appointed to hash out differences between the two bills.

But over a measly $1.6 billion less money to a failed lending program for “green” energy, Democrats are instead threatening a government shutdown.

Virginia Democrat Senator Mark Warner blamed “a small group within the House of the tea party crowd” for the impasse. Senior White House advisor David Plouffe said, “We're not going to make progress on the deficit, on things we can do right now for jobs, on tax cuts, unless those 30 or 40 Tea Party members of the Republican House stop being the focal point of our discussion.”

There’s only one problem. When the House failed to pass a continuing resolution on Sept. 21, 48 House Republicans who voted no were demanding there be much, much more in spending cuts, not just a pathetic $1.6 billion. They did not get what they wanted, and on Sept. 23 practically the same exact resolution ultimately passed.

This underscores the true crisis in Washington, D.C., which is that no spending cuts of substance at all can be achieved. Not even miniscule cuts, despite a rapidly escalating national debt of $14.7 trillion projected to rise to $26 trillion by 2021.

At best, the tea party has managed to focus some attention on the perilous debt issue, but thus far has been shut out of making any significant reforms. A little more than $300 million in cuts was found in the previous 2011 continuing resolution, and only $31 billion in cuts out of the 2012 budget in the debt deal.
To put that in perspective, that’s a cut of less than 1 percent out of the $3.7 trillion budget.

Yet we are to believe that somehow, tea party objections are holding up the latest continuing resolution, which actually won’t cut spending at all. After all, the $1.6 billion of cuts in lending programs is an offset.
Since when has the tea party movement advocated not cutting anything at all? What a joke.
Get full story here.

Legal action aims to reverse state bans on race and gender preferences in California and Michigan

By Kevin Mooney

In his amicus brief challenging the legality of a state constitutional amendment that bans race and gender preferences, California Governor Jerry Brown cites the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court Grutter v. Bollinger decision to make his case. Brown also invokes the same “political-structure doctrine” litigants used to overturn Proposition 2 in Michigan. The governor also appears set sign off on a bill that would reinstate preferential policies; a move that is certain to spark additional legal challenges.

On July 1, a three-judge panel on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the anti-discriminatory language included as part of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) actually violated the amendment’s equal protection clause and must therefore be overturned. The two Clinton appointees who formed the majority opinion, declared MCRI, widely known as Proposal 2, to be unconstitutional because it alters the state’s political structure in a manner that unduly burdens racial minorities.

But, Jennifer Gratz, the executive director of the MCRI, points out that opponents of race-neutral initiatives have always misconstrued and misinterpreted Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s majority opinion in Grutter.
“While it’s clear that O’Connor favored a holistic approach that included race, she also said it was acceptable for voters in states to make preferences unconstitutional,” Gratz explained. “She certainly did not mandate the use of preferences and made it clear that over the next 25 years following this decision race should ultimately cease to be a factor.”

O’Connor also ruled that law schools should make a “good faith” effort to adopt race neutral alternatives capable of yielding a diverse student composition. In addition, she encouraged other states to follow the example set by universities in California, Florida and Washington State, which all had state laws prohibiting race preferences at the time of O’Connor’s ruling.
Get full story here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Free Markets and Choice Key to Preventing Depression

By Bill Wilson

In the face of a deteriorating economy, the liberal-left has been scurrying to assign blame for the impending disaster while offering “solutions” that would further entrench their stranglehold over America. It has become a mantra, repeated over and over from all quarters of leftist academia and media.

No better summation of the policy prescriptions from the neo-Marxists can be found than in a recent article by celebrated economist Nouriel Roubini. In “How to Prevent a Depression,” Professor Roubini lists eight steps that need to be taken on the international and national stage. While it would take a tome to respond to each of his suggestions, point number 7 does need to be addressed.

Roubini writes, “advanced economies need a medium-term plan to restore competitiveness and jobs via massive new investments in high-quality education, job training and hume-capital improvements, infrastructure and alternative/renewable energy.” Translation: massive “stimulus” that kicks borrowed money to the ivory towers of academia, union honchos, and the crony-socialists selling the snake-oil of green industry.

Let’s take each of Professor Roubini’s points one at a time and see if there is a better way to achieve the same goal.

On education, America spends billions more and more each year on a system that produces weaker and weaker results. We have built up an education-industrial complex that is sucking the life out of local and state governments. But if you accept the proposition that we need a better educated workforce then way not go a different route?

Universal education choice would cost us less than we spend now, put parents in charge of judging the end product, end the culture wars still raging in our schools and once and for all end the tyranny of organized labor in the classroom. Is this what the good Professor has in mind? Doubtful. But if he is being honest about enhancing education outcomes, there is no real alternative.

Get full story here.

Soros turns up in Obama's LightSquared imbroglio

By Timothy Carney

As Republican lawmakers begin to dig into the White House's cozy relationship with a startup wireless company and the wealthy Democratic donor who owns it, a new character has appeared on the story's edges: liberal superdonor, conservative bete noire and controversial investor George Soros.

Soros reportedly invested in the telecom company LightSquared through a hedge fund, and many of the nonprofits he finances have backed LightSquared in regulatory and policy disputes.
The background:

LightSquared wants to compete with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to provide mobile broadband (for instance, email and Internet on your Blackberry or iPhone).

Harbinger Capital Partners, a hedge fund run by billionaire financier Philip Falcone, owns LightSquared, and deftly steered the company through some tricky regulatory waters (with would-be competitors AT&T and Verizon fighting him along the way) to get preliminary approval for its plan to start a high-speed broadband wireless network.

Today, LightSquared is scuffling with the global positioning satellite industry, which argues that the company's current plan would interfere with GPS signals. Air Force Gen. William Shelton, head of Space Command, testified to Congress this month that giving LightSquared the radio frequencies it is slated to get would interfere with the military's GPS needs.

Here's the potential scandal: Ahead of Shelton's testimony, White House officials nudged Shelton to go easy on LightSquared, according to Daily Beast reporter Eli Lake. Shelton reportedly said that someone (presumably in the administration) had leaked the first draft of his testimony to LightSquared -- which Falcone denies.

Another government official said the White House pushed him to downplay the GPS worries.

Get full story here.

Vesta Dead: Singer Vesta Williams Found Dead In Hotel Room

Singer Vesta Williams died on Thursday. She was 48-years-old.
Williams’ body was reportedly found in a Los Angeles hotel room. No cause of death has been given, and an investigation is said to be underway.

Celebrities have already taken to Twitter to express their condolences.

“Our dear sister and one of the sangiest diva’s ever, vesta williams, has passed away. I loved that sister,” actor Sinbad tweeted

“R.I.P. Ms. Vesta Williams. Wht a tremendous talent + great soul! ‘Cuz as long as I can breathe, you’ll always be the one~for me!” Kimora Lee Simmons wrote.

The Ohio-born Williams had a multi-faceted career, but was best known for her 1988 album “Vesta 4U.” The album produced multiple hits, including “Congratulations,” “Sweet, Sweet Love,” and “Once Bitten Twice Shy.”

Throughout the years the singer, who often just went by her first name, was involved in collaborations with musicians like Chaka Kahn, Anita Baker, Sting, Gladys Knight and Jermaine Jackson. She lent her voice to jingles for Baskin Robbins, Diet Coke, Revlon, Nike/Air Jordan and Exxon, and was a radio personality for a station in Dallas Ft. Worth.

Williams had several acting roles. She played the recurring role of Monica, Jackie Harry’s best friend, on the hit show “Sister, Sister,” and played saloon singer Vera in Mario Van Peebles 1993 film “Posse.” In addition to her role in “Posse,” Williams wrote and performed two songs—”Ride For Your Life” and “Tell Me—for the film.

According to her website she was currently in the studio working on material for her next project

When basketball returns, let’s make these changes –

USA Today When basketball returns, let's make these changes Our sports world isn't better off with the NBA and the union fighting over money for nine or 10 months. It's a better world if the Lakers and Heat are fighting over the Lawrence O'Brien trophy in 10 months. Yes, there's nothing to be gained if the NBA … The NBA Cancels 43 Preseason Games New York Times NBA cancels 43 preseason games Boston Globe NBA Saturday: Agents Poaching During Lockout? HoopsWorld Los Angeles Times – Orlando Sentinel all 1,140 news articles

Abbas rejects int'l peace blueprint

f5a14aedb52e18b85dda38b2fa39f2c1 Abbas rejects intl peace blueprint   CBS News
Globe and Mail
 Abbas rejects intl peace blueprint   CBS News
Abbas rejects int'l peace blueprint
CBS News
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) UNITED NATIONS — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas strongly suggested Saturday that he would reject
PM: I'm the one who will establish peace between 2 statesJerusalem Post

'Quartet's integrity compromised over peace talks' blueprint'Ynetnews
Netanyahu ready to accept Quartet plan -Los Angeles Times
all 5,063 news articles »

Libya NTC faces credibility test at Gaddafi strongholds

Libya’s new government said it had tightened its grip on oasis towns which sided with Muammar Gaddafi, but faced a tough fight to take two remaining strongholds loyal to the ousted leader and bolster its credibility.
Forces of the National Transitional Council said they controlled a string of desert towns in Libya’s deep south, although they said Gaddafi loyalists were still holding out in pockets of at least one oasis.

So far they have failed to take the two much larger loyalist strongholds far to the north, Bani Walid and Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, in a series of chaotic offensives which have raised questions about the NTC’s ability to control the country.

A fighter for Libya’s interim government helping desperate residents flee Muammar Gaddafi ‘s hometown was killed on Friday and a packed family car was destroyed when pro-Gaddafi  forces fired on their convoy, a local commander said.

One month to the day since Gaddafi ‘s compound fell to rebels in Tripoli, the campaign to take Sirte and the fugitive ex-Libyan leader’s other remaining bastion of Bani Walid was on hold for another day.
Asked why National Transitional Council fighters were delaying a final assault on Sirte, commander Osama Muttawa Swehly said ‘we’re trying to get the families out.

‘We are averaging between 400 to 500 cars a day. We are basically trying to starve the Gaddafi  forces)out.’

He said reports from inside the city are that there is no electricity, the water is cut off, shops are closed and people are running out of food.

‘We are giving the families every chance to get out. Once that stream turns into a trickle then stops, then it will be time to act. We don’t want victory at any cost.’

One resident, Malik Mohammed Ferjani, left with about 40 relatives in a seven-car convoy on Friday, saying he was on a Gaddafi  hit list.

‘People are being executed by Gaddafi  soldiers,’ Ferjani said. ‘Gaddafi  soldiers have a list of 500 names; my name is on that list.’

The family decided to flee ‘after they fired three rockets at my house this morning,’ he said.
He was speaking at a field hospital 50 kilometres west of Sirte, where NTC officials were searching cars coming from the city before allowing them to proceed.

The officials said that, by midday, 385 people had come through.

When rebel fighters stormed and captured Gaddafi ‘s Bab al-Aziziya headquarters on August 23, they found no trace of the strongman, who has since made several broadcasts claiming he is still in Libya.

While the country’s new authorities do not know where he is, they are focused on taking the coastal city of Sirte and the desert redoubt of Bani Walid, two places where some think he might be.

Following fierce resistance by defenders, Gaddafi  spokesman Mussa Ibrahim called on Friday for continued resolve against ‘agents and traitors.’

Speaking on Damascus-based Arrai television from an unknown location, he also denounced what he called ‘genocide’ by NATO and its ‘Libyan agents’ and criticised the world community for ‘inaction.’

News source: The daily new age

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cornel West Joins with Ralph Nader to Challenge Obama in 2012

Cornel West joins forces with Ralph Nadar
Dr. Cornel West has joined forces with Ralph Nadarin search of a primary challenger to face President Barack Obama in 2012.

DA in Troy Davis' County has Shady Allegations from the Past

Dr. Boyce: What Troy Davis Implies about Race and Justice in America

the racial implications of the Troy Davis execution
by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action

Many of us went to bed hurt and angry about the unbelievable execution of Troy Davis last night.  As I woke up in the midst of my emotional hangover, I thought carefully about Davis’ case and the racial implications behind this predictable, yet deeply hurtful incident.  When my brain finished processing the ramifications of this state-sanctioned murder, the following thoughts came to mind regarding what the Troy Davis case says about race and justice in America: 


NEW YORK - After reaching the top of Forbes "Highest-Paid Men in Entertainment," film producer and director Tyler Perry is back in the headlines as the war in Urban America continues to build momentum.

My boy Dr. Boyce Watkins, who I can't thank enough for allowing yours truly to contribute to, and social news commentator Touré both appeared on CNN the other day to debate the socioeconomic impact of Perry's films.

Touré, who loathes the Madea character, compared Perry's films to "cinematic malt liquor."

Touré also knocked the quality of Perry's movies and questioned his overall talents as a director.

Touré says: “Tyler Perry is definitely serving an audience that is underserved by Hollywood. Especially black southern women do not see themselves at all in Hollywood fare. So, when he’s serving them movies where they appear to be in situations that are naturalistic and recognizable to them and definitely have that Christian message, I absolutely understand why my grandmother, my mother, and my aunts love this stuff, and my family down south, they love this stuff. I just can’t watch it without cringing because I’ve seen good movies and I know these are poorly made films.”

Although he's not exactly thrilled about a black man making millions for donning a dress, Dr. Boyce defended Perry by lauding his accomplishments in hiring black workers.

Touré countered that drug dealers create jobs too but it doesn’t make them “good jobs.”

As I previously mentioned, there's a war going in Black America. And with all the social media that's available today, it's being exposed for the entire world to see.

Dr. Boyce and Touré do battle on CNN

 If you've followed Mass Appeal the past year or so, you already know my stance on Perry. I like him as a person. I love his onstage productions. Although entertaining, I do lamen the quality of his films. But, I also understand we have to laugh. So buffoonery is necessary sometimes.

That said, aside from the repetitive abuse of the English language, Perry's flicks tend to follow the same, tired, redundant theme. The omission typically includes a weed-smoking elder (like Aunt Bam in the film Madea's Big Happy Family) accompanied by:

1) Big Mama melodramatics. 2) Madea’s sass & opprobrious attacks on disenchanted youth. 3) Mr. Brown’s hideous attire. 4) A black man fresh out of jail. 5) Contumacious, profanity-spewing children. 6) Inadequate acting. And 7) a rustic, predictable storyline which usually concludes with a Madea counseling session coupled with a reconciliation between bitter, rivaling parties. 

All of these items, according to Perry, are endorsed through the heavenly name of Jesus.
“It’s crazy the things people print without any facts. What is also interesting is how hard they work to try and discourage (people) from going to see my films…,” said an irritated Perry in response to his critics.

“They don’t get the spiritual side of this… They don’t get that it’s about uplifting and encouraging the soul.”

Yep. Nothing uplifts the soul like a $20 bag of marijuana.

Look, I'm actually in agreement with Dr. Boyce and Touré.

Like Dr. Boyce, I applaud Perry's efforts when it comes to hiring black employees; especially during a time when African-American unemployment has fluctuated to a Depression-like 16.1 percent.

From where I'm standing, Perry has already done more to alleviate the black unemployment crisis than the Obama Administration and Congress put together.

However, like Touré, I do believe certain genres in films and music have done irreparable damage to the universal black image. And some of Perry's films and characters certainly fit this mold. 

Trust me, from both a business and international perspective, nonsensical characters Madea and Mr. Brown are doing the black community absolutely no favors.

I guess what I'm trying to say is when it comes to Perry's heart, I'm a big fan. Conversely, when it comes down to the quality of his theatrics, I'll go to my grave believing there's much to be desired.
Check out this quote from Dr. Boyce:

Dr. Boyce says: "The point is that black people have every right to be as silly and ridiculous as any white man we might see on the MTV show, 'Jackass.'  The problem with predominantly white media is that these are typically the only images provided to us, which puts us into a discriminatory box.

"Films like 'The Help,' and shows like 'Basketball Wives' might provide popular and profitable entertainment, but the broader concern is that Hollywood has a troubling history of casting African Americans in subservient and humiliating ways."

Everything Dr. Boyce said is 100 percent true.

Just keep in mind, most people don't travel to the hood to get an accurate depiction of black culture. Therefore, what they see on film is typically what they believe.

Most Tyler Perry supporters I talk to are quick to defend him by claiming "it doesn't matter what other people think about us" when in fact it truly does.

How so? Because legions of blacks, at this very moment, are busy filling out job applications at predominantly white-owned businesses.

What people think does indeed matter.

In giving reasons for non-hire, a Chicago-based employer let the cat out the bag recently by citing a plethora of racial stereotypes in describing blacks as “uneducated,” “unskilled,” “unstable,” “illiterate,” “dishonest,” “lack initiative,” “unmotivated,” “involved with gangs and drugs,” “don’t understand work,” “lack charm,” “have no family values,” and are “poor role models.”

And believe me, if this employer feels this way – the majority of them probably do too.

Whether fair, perception is usually construed as reality. Like I said, buffoonery is necessary sometimes. But, it's imperative we put enough positive images out there to help offset the bad ones.

See, I encourage every black person to travel overseas at least once. Because, after you do, you'll return to the United States peeved at Perry and all other comparable filmmakers.

Dr. Boyce mentioned that blacks have as much right to act an ass on TV as white folks. The difference, nevertheless, has much to do with balance.

Think about it. For every show like "Jackass" there's a 'Criminal Minds,' 'The Mentalist,' 'Castle,' 'CSI,' 'NCIS' and 'Cold Case.' Shows that feature whites in tactical, intelligent and valiant roles.

Basketball Wives portrays bad images
Conversely, shows like 'Basketball Wives,' 'Meet the Browns' and 'Tiny & Toya' disseminate repulsive images of black people; giving the world a very distorted view of what truly constitutes Black America.    
Folks, worldwide, we're being laughed at. And our suffering has escalated as a byproduct.

For years we were taught the 'white man' is solely responsible for our socioeconomic decline. Decades later, we're forced to swallow the despicable fact our impasse is tied mostly to black-on-black hate, commercial greed and self-destruction.

As a race, we have to get back to making sense and holding each other accountable. Somehow we've gotten strange. Now we're battling to regain a measure of normalcy in an era of anti-shrewdness and uncertainty.

For example, with a median household income of $34,445, blacks are officially the poorest people in the United States; trailing the Hispanics, who are equipped with an median household income of $40,946.
Yet, too many of our songs, too many of our television shows, and too many of our movies deliver contumacious messages about "getting paid" and "making paper."

There's an arrogance in our entertainers, our actors and our athletes that illuminates our socioeconomic plight even that much more.

Black people it pains me to say this, but "we're not getting paper." Instead, we are poor and destitute. We lack ownership, yet we embrace being owned. There's nothing glamorous about finishing last in median income.

And it's certainly nothing to be proud of.

Come on man... let's get over ourselves and start re-examining our goals and expectations.
70 percent of black women are single. And most black films focus on relationships. But given the high number of single parent homes and lonely souls in Black America, one has to wonder how credible these films are.

The intent here is not to come off as pompous or condescending. I just don't see the point in sugarcoating our inevitable genocide any longer.
Wayne HodgesWayne Hodges, an MBA from St. Mary University, is the Editor-in-Chief of “Mass Appeal News.” He's also a business columnist for the Atlanta Post, he’s a Democrat reporter for the Examiner, and he’s a film critic with

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Moneyball: More than a Baseball Story

By Richard A. Lee

Moneyball, the film based on Michael Lewis’ best-seller about the creative strategies employed to keep a team with one of the smallest budgets in Major League Baseball competitive, opens on this week.

Like the book, the movie is likely to be more than a story about baseball. As Michael De Luca, a co-producer of the film, explained in a recent New York magazine article: “Sports movies work when they transcend the sport they’re about and become metaphoric.”

In this case, the story of Moneyball transcends the sport because it is a story about not doing things the same way simply because that’s the way they always have been done.

As Lewis wrote in his book, for years baseball teams relied on scouts to decide which high school and college players were most likely to succeed at the big league level. He unflatteringly described the scouting process as  “driving sixty thousand miles, staying in a hundred crappy motels, and eating god only knows how many meals at Denny’s all so you could watch 200 high school and college baseball games inside of four months.”

By contrast, Oakland Athletics’ General Manager Billy Beane, the central character in Moneyball, turned to Paul DePodesta, a young man with a degree in economics from Harvard and a laptop computer that crunched numbers and analyzed statistics about the players available in baseball’s amateur draft. Unlike the scouts, DePodesta had no experience as a professional baseball player. In fact, he believed that scouts’ judgments often were flawed because they generalized too heavily from their own experiences on the diamond and tended to put too much weight on an athlete’s most recent performance.

I won’t spoil the plot of the movie, but as those who follow baseball know, Beane did keep the Athletics competitive for several years. The team never won a World Series, but the unorthodox techniques he used have since found their way into the operations and management of other major league organizations.

As for the lessons that Moneyball teaches outside of baseball, journalism is a prime example. Just as the scouts Beane encountered were set in their ways and resistant to change, so too were news entities – large and small – when the Internet radically changed the nature of their business and undercut its financial foundation.

Instead of embracing the new technology, much of the industry’s initial reaction to the Internet was to dismiss it and argue that it would never replace print newspapers.

“Newspapers dig up the news. Others repackage it,” former Los Angeles Times editor John S. Carroll said in a widely circulated speech delivered in 2006 to the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

“At present the Internet is basically an electronic version of the ten-year-old boy on a bicycle who used to toss the newspaper on the front porch: an ingenious circulation device,” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Russell Baker wrote a year later in a New York Review of Books essay.

In the ensuing years, history has proven wise men such as Carroll and Baker wrong.

Websites such as this one do in fact break stories and produce original content. Moreover, the once black-and-white line between print newspapers and the Internet has virtually disappeared since the work of “print” journalists now appears online – and with great immediacy.

We’ve also seen the Internet have an impact on public policy and politics, most notably the 2008 presidential campaign in which Barack Obama’s creative and intensive use of technology helped propel him to the White House.

And social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are playing important roles in the delivery of news and information. Just ask New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has used YouTube masterfully on his way to becoming a national figure.

Would the journalism industry be on a more solid financial footing today if it had embraced the new technology sooner?

The question is a hypothetical one that probably is impossible to answer. But if you were to ask Billy Beane, I suspect he would respond with a resounding yes.

# # #

Richard A. Lee spent more than 30 years as a journalist and government communications professional in New Jersey. He now is an assistant professor in the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University near Olean, N.Y. Read more of Rich's columns at richleeonline and follow him at

Friday, September 16, 2011

9/23 - Demonstration in Trenton against Sustainable Growth

             Sept. 23 10:30AM to 1:30PM

Fight Agenda 21, Sustainable Growth and the taxes we are charged to pay for this. 

Stand up in defense of our nation, our state, our liberty, our childrens' future as a free people.
All NJ citizens are affected. Every day the agents for A21 grows stronger, every day, we, our state and our nation grows weaker.

Almost all the ills within our state are caused by Agenda 21; overtaxation, illegal immigration, awful school curriculems, bond debt, loss of liberty, over regulation in our towns, in our homes, loss of jobs and industry, loss of public assets .... we are facing bankruptcy from towns, to counties, to state.

We simply MUST NOT delay any longer!  Please send this notice to your own sphere of influence and urge them to attend, too.

Sept. 23 10:30AM to 1:30PM

The State House is located at 125 West State Street in Trenton, NJ. The zip code is 08625.   ... directions

Is the Soros-Sponsored ‘Agenda 21’ a Hidden Plan for World Government? (Yes, Only it Is Not Hidden)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How Sharia Threatens Western Justice

Wife-battering imam of the Darul Quran Mosque in Munich, Sheikh Abu Adam, is the face of Germany’s Islamic “Justice .” Adam gave a lecture at the city’s Catholic University entitled “An Islam which distances itself from violence,” shortly before being arrested (12/10) for allegedly assaulting his spouse so violently that she suffered a broken nose and shoulder and numerous cuts and bruises. Media reports claimed the woman, who has borne one of his ten children, wanted to live a more “western” lifestyle, and was allegedly attacked by him after expressing this wish to her husband.  The icon of Germany’s Islamic parallel Islamic “justice” system,  Sheikh Adam, purportedly shouted Koran 4:34 at his wife as he beat her. [for eg., Shakir translation: “Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great”]

Read More:

Posted by Andrew G. Bostom