Thursday, May 19, 2011

Get Your Kicks: Hoops Star Maya Moore Becomes First Woman To Represent Jordan Brand

by Leslie Pitterson
Thought basketball superstar Maya Moore had already broken every record? Think again.

This morning, the University of Connecticut phenomenon inked a historic endorsement deal with Nike imprint, Jordan Brand, becoming the first female basketball signee on the brand’s roster. The 22-year-old forward joins Derek Jeter, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Andre Johnson as the newest athlete signed with the brand.
In a press release from the company announcing the deal, Nike and the Jordan family expressed their excitement naming Moore as their newest brand ambassador. Michael Jordan, the brands namesake said:
“I am thrilled to welcome Maya Moore into the Jordan Brand. Not only has Maya proven to be a prolific winner on the court, but her hunger and determination to make an impact off the court makes her a valuable addition to the Jordan family. We look forward to working with Maya as she carries her success to the next level.”
This year’s WNBA number one draft pick, Moore will be starting next season with the Minnesota Lynx.  But the 6’0” is best known for her days in the UConn Women hoops program. Leading the team to a record breaking 90-game winning streak, back-to-back championship titles in 2009 and 2010, Moore became a Huskies’ legend and national face.  Not only is the two-time National Player of the Year, considered one of the top players in women’s basketball, her name is discussed among the greatest college basketball players of all time, period.

For Moore, representing the Jordan brand is an honor that has been a long time coming. Speaking on her new role, she said:
“As a student of the game, it is a dream come true to align myself with a brand that has a rich history in sports. Like most kids, I grew up idolizing Michael Jordan and continue to work relentlessly to reach his iconic status on the court. I’m truly motivated to take my career to the next level as a member of Team Jordan.”
Love it.
Always good to see a sister doing her thing- congrats to Maya on her big deal!

US puts Sanctions on Syrian Leader and 6 Aides

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama issued sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as 6 of his aides – Vice President Faruq al-Shara, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar, Military Intelligence Chief Abdul Fatah Qudsiya, Prime Minister Adel Safar, Defense Minister Ali Habib Mahmud, and Political Security Directorate director Mohammed Dib Zaitoun. This has put more pressure on the officials in the wake of their violent crackdown on protesters in the nation.

The executive order from Obama, along with other sanctions that the US Treasury imposed on Syrian and Iranian intelligence commanders and services, reflects the increasing frustration in America that Assad’s government isn’t heeding international criticism and pursuing a peaceful resolution to the uprising. Obama had, until now, adopted a more cautious and measured approach to the situation in Syria than he did in Libya, hoping that Assad would respond to the pressure, according to officials. They have obviously decided this wasn’t working. Although the move is symbolic, it exhibits a big step in isolating a government that has sought to anchor itself during its worst crises and then recover itself when the danger subsides. However, this could be harder now with the sanctions.

The sanctions freeze any of the assets that Assad has in financial institutions in the US, as well as those held by his 6 aides, and trade is also prohibited with them. It’s believed that the Syrian leader has many less vulnerable assets than Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi, whose over $30 billion in assets have been frozen as well. An official for terrorism and financial intelligence, David S. Cohen, is cited saying that the Obama administration’s actions send an unequivocal message to Assad, the country’s other leaders and regime insiders that they will be held responsible for the violence and repression that continues in Syria.

The move comes amid developing signs that the government feels encouraged after faltering in the face of an exceptional challenge to the Assad family’s 40 years of rule. Officials say they think they have a major advantage and talk about putting an end to protests, which have spread from the southern plains and Mediterranean coast to Damascus’ outskirts, in just weeks. Human rights activists say that a minimum of 700 people have been killed and 10,000 have been arrested, while the military has stormed at least 4 cities and towns.

Assad declared in an interview published by a privately owned local newspaper on Wednesday that the uprising is coming to an end. He also recognised that his security forces had made mistakes in a suppression so broad that hundreds of people have been detained on soccer fields and in schools. He also said that 4,000 police officers are being put through training for preventing these excesses, but he didn’t give anymore details.

He wins a few million in the lotto and he is still eligible to keep receiving his food stamps.....

Photo: Leroy Fick, A Michigan man who won $2 million from a state lottery, is reportedly still eligible to receive food stamps

Michigan $2 million lottery winner on food stamps

DETROIT (Reuters) – A Michigan Lottery $2 million jackpot winner from last year is eligible and collecting some food stamp assistance under a loophole state officials have been working for months to close.

Leroy Fick, who lives near Saginaw, took a lump sum payment for his June 2010 prize, buying a house, a used 2008 Audi and investing the rest, attorney John Wilson said on Wednesday.

The income he receives from investing the remaining money leaves Fick eligible under federal rules for food assistance of "far less than $5,000 for the year," Wilson said.

"There is no asset based testing for it, it is all based on income," Wilson said. "The amount that he has invested of this winnings spins off an amount of income and that income is such that he is eligible."

Michigan has been working with federal officials for two or three months on ways to close the loophole, said Gisgie Davila Gendreau, a state human services department spokeswoman. She was not speaking about Fick's case specifically.

"We are actively seeking a change to the food assistance policy, which is a federal policy, to ensure that those who are truly needy qualify," she said.

Michigan state Senator John Moolenaar, a Republican from Midland near where Fick lives, has proposed requiring lottery officials to share winners names with government departments and remove them from public assistance programs.

"Taxpayer dollars should be used to help the truly needy, and we must stop situations like this from falling through the cracks," Moolenaar said in a statement on Wednesday.


(JPost) — US President Barack Obama is at risk of losing financial support for his re-election campaign from Jewish donors and fund-raisers because of concerns about his attitude towards Israel, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The complaints began early in Obama’s term, centered on a perception he has been too tough on Israel, the report suggested.
According to The Wall Street Journal, top Democratic fund-raiser Michael Adler said he urged Obama campaign manager Jim Messina to be “extremely proactive” in countering the perception in the Jewish community that Obama is too critical of Israel.
There are some Jewish donors who claim that the US president has put too much pressure on the likes of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to halt the construction of housing settlements in the West Bank, the report said.
Obama is also putting more pressure on the Israelis than the Palestinians to enter peace negotiations, according to some Jewish donors, The Wall Street Journal reported.