Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Breaking News: NBA center Shaquille O'Neal announces his retirement

Shaquille O'Neal Calls It Quits After 19 NBA Seasons

At long last, Shaquille O'Neal has decided he's had enough.

Yes, it's true. The man known as "The Big Diesel," "Superman," "The Big Aristotle," and of course, just plain Shaq is retiring. He broke the news himself on his very own Twitter page less than an hour ago by linking to a short video.

In the video, Shaq kept it simple:
We did it. 19 years, baby. I want thank you very much. That's why I'm telling you first. I'm about to retire. Love you, talk to you soon.
Barring an elaborate plan involving a Twitter account hack and Shaq's long-lost twin, it would appear that this is legit.

If so, there goes one of the great centers in NBA history. In 19 seasons with the Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, Cavaliers and Celtics, Shaq won four NBA titles, made 15 All-Star teams, and won two scoring championships. He also has a Rookie of the Year and an NBA MVP to his credit, and was named the Finals MVP three times. 

As of right now, Shaq is fifth on the NBA's all-time scoring list with 28,596, and 12th on the all-time rebounding list with 13,099.

Physically, Shaq is one of the biggest players ever to set foot on a basketball court. He stands 7-foot-1, and in his prime he was 325 pounds of muscle, making him one of the most imposing players in NBA history.
Of course, Shaq's personality was (and still is) larger than life too. He has always had that rare kind of trademark smile that few athletes possess. Combine that with his renowned sense of humor and overall goofiness, and you have not just one of the most unique athletes of all time, but one of the most unique celebrities of all time.

As we all know, Shaq always did like to make the most of his celebrity. He has starred in movies and TV shows, cut his own rap albums, and has been a playable character in myriad video games. He has also tried his hand at law enforcement and mixed martial arts. Not all of these ventures are timeless classics, mind you, but you certainly can't be angry at Shaq for trying.

Yes sir, they just don't make 'em like Shaq anymore. And in my opinion, they never will.
Godspeed, old sport.


Get Ready for QE3

By Bill Wilson

The New York Times has launched its trial balloon for the Federal Reserve to begin yet another round of so-called “quantitative easing” to, it thinks, help the economy. In its May 30 editorial, “The Numbers Are Grim,” the Times calls for the Fed to, among other things, “be prepared to continue measures to bolster the economy as needed, even if that means looser policy for longer than it originally planned.”

It may not be long before the wonks over at the Fed come to the same conclusion, under pressure from the Obama Administration and its allies at the Times. So far, the central bank has said it is not considering such a move, but that could change if the bad economic data continues to come in, with growth at a dismal 1.8 percent in the first quarter.

The Times also calls for unemployment welfare to be extended yet again, for an easing of rules for refinancing, “bolstered foreclosure relief and more fiscal aid to states,” job “retraining,” and even tax increases to, it says, “help cover needed spending.” You know, all of the stuff government has already been doing without any success to facilitate this so-called “recovery”.

Times columnist Paul Krugman too jumps into the fray for his part. He wants “W.P.A.-type programs putting the unemployed to work doing useful things like repairing roads… a serious program of mortgage modification, reducing the debts of troubled homeowners… [and] [w]e could try to get inflation back up to the 4 percent rate”.

Basically, the Left wants more of the same — more “stimulus”—which has already failed. We know that because of the 4.2 percent decline in home values in the first quarter as measured by the S&P/Case Shiller home price index.

Get full story here.

Pro-Choice: It’s time for federal government employees to decide where their paycheck goes

By Adam Bitely

Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) has introduced the Empower Employees Act, a bill that would stop labor unions from automatically deducting union dues from federal government employees’ paychecks. For far too long, Big Labor has relied on the government forcing its employees to automatically have their union dues taken directly out of their paychecks and put straight in the labor union’s bank account.

Big Labor will fight to the last person standing on this issue, and that is because of what this would do to the labor union organizations.

As Rep. Scott noted in his “Dear Colleague” letter, the legislation would lead to a decrease in dues paying members of public sector unions. Rep. Scott wrote, “Time and again, when the automatic deduction of union dues has been stopped, there have been dramatic decreases in the amount of dues collected.”
It is well known that public sector unions will be eviscerated if their members aren’t forced to pay. This is one of the many reasons that Big Labor has put up such vicious fights in states around the country as legislatures have tried to get their budgets under control, and against right-to-work legislation.

Rep. Scott went on to further note two prominent moments when unions were barred from automatically collecting dues. The first was when Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels ended the automatic collection of dues in 2005. Dues paying membership dropped off by roughly 90 percent in Indiana. This is just more evidence that once forced-to-unionize workers are free of having their paycheck shanghaied by Big Labor they chose to spend their money elsewhere rather than pay the union.
Get full story here.

Is Gov. Chris Christie of N.J. Now a Global Warming Alarmist?

By Kevin Mooney

After expressing skepticism toward the concept of man-made global warming at a town hall meeting in Toms River, New Jersey last year, Gov. Chris Christie appears to have shifted over into the alarmist camp.

This has become a sore-point for free-market conservatives who have held out hope Gov. Christie may yet emerge as a GOP savior in the 2012 presidential race. On the scientific side of the equation, he is sending out mixed messages. On the economic side, he has delivered.

At a press conference in Trenton earlier this month, Gov. Christie announced that he would withdraw New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which requires participating states to cut their emissions by 10 percent come 2018. The program did not have any appreciable impact on the environment and only serves to burden state residents with higher costs, Christie pointed out in his public comments.

“RGGI does nothing more than tax electricity, tax our citizens, tax our businesses, with no discernible or measurable impact upon our environment,” Christie said. “So, we will withdraw from RGGI in an orderly fashion by year’s end. This also corresponds with the end of the first compliance period when compliance entities must true up, match their allowances to their emissions. By giving them this notice we are confident that the market and the participants will be able to adjust to our withdrawal from RGGI.”
Get full story here.

Is the Obama Administration Being Sloppy on Black Unemployment?

by Wayne Hodges, Your Black World.
WASHINGTON – With black unemployment marinating at an unfathomable 16%, philanthropist and talk show host Tavis Smiley has an impudent message for President Barack Obama: “Put black folk back to work!”

A few days ago, while promoting his new book (Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success From Failure), Smiley took time to address our nation’s struggling job market along with Obama’s impending role in confronting unemployment.

“We gotta check him respectfully,” said Smiley, referring to Obama. “He can’t be afraid to talk about black unemployment, when he needed to stand up for the Jews, he did. Gays and lesbians? He did. Immigration for the Hispanic community? He did.

“So don’t leave black folks twisted in the wind because you are afraid of being accused of being ‘tribal’ and giving negroes the “hook up”. We are the most loyal part of your base! If you want the deficit to go down, put black folk back to work!”

Everything Smiley stated is true.

Obama has indeed ruffled the feathers of many blacks by lending credence to the claims of women’s groups, gays and Hispanics while shifting pressing African-American concerns to the back of the bus (no pun intended). And blacks are certainly known to expend versus save.

Therefore, by putting more African-Americans to work, we stand a much better chance of increasing consumer purchases for depreciable goods. However, we must remain cognizant of the fact Obama is not Superman.

He alone can’t rectify the black unemployment problem.

Rather than challenge Obama to put more blacks to work, Smiley should push for a national address urging members of Congress to conduct an employment study detailing why so many African-Americans are jobless.

Who knows?

As blacks, our socioeconomic plight may not be the fault of discriminatory business owners after all. Instead, it could involve something as remedial as African-American laziness or lack of qualified applicants.

With discriminatory practice, you’re talking about implementing provisions in the form of affirmative action or similar programs. With laziness, you’re talking about applying additional restraints to key social service programs with the hope of forcing more able-bodied citizens into the job market.

Oversimplifying the issue won’t help.

We won’t know the truth until a diligent study is both conducted and divulged.

So, why the push for a national address?

Because, in my humble opinion, it would give legitimacy to the proposed study while raising political awareness in the domestic job market.

Look, I’m sure Smiley means well.

Hell, everybody’s frustrated.

But it’s not fair to be injurious or to single-out Obama as the primary culprit. An attack must be levied against Congress too.

“We have to respect our President, and I do,” said Smiley in Obama’s defense. “We have to protect the President, and I do. But we also have to correct the President, remember he is a politician not a prophet like Dr. King.

“We have to push him into his greatness for him to become a great President and hold him accountable, lovingly not with malice, but there are some things he has to step up on like black unemployment, wars, and poverty.”

Push him? Yes.

Single him out? No.

Wayne Hodges, an MBA from St. Mary University, is the Editor-in-Chief of He also serves as District Committee Delegate in Johnson County, he’s a Democrat reporter for the Examiner, and he’s an adjunct professor in Kansas City. Wayne welcomes your comments 24/7

The Violence of Urban Weekend Has Activists Calling for it to End



For the past 10 years, the Art Deco District on South Beach has turned into a hip-hop street party during Memorial Day weekend, with a bulked up police presence monitoring hundreds of thousands of young revelers.

Monday’s early morning shootings, which resulted in one dead, four bystanders hit by stray bullets and three police officers injured, has renewed a call to replace the hip-hop themed festival with a less rowdy event — or do away with it altogether.

“There isn’t a residential street in South Beach not affected by tons of garbage, crime to our vehicles, excessive noise 24 hours a day, and simply a lack of respect for our community, citizens and property,” activist Herb Sosa wrote in an open letter to the Miami Beach City Commission. “Make the difficult but correct decision to put an end to Urban Weekend in Miami Beach.”

On Facebook, Miami Beach Commissioner Jerry Libbin supported a Memorial Day weekend curfew, which he said was proposed by City Manager Jorge Gonzalez.

“I think we need to take back the city for the residents,” said Libbin, who is also president and CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. “It’s just not right that people live in fear.”
Read more:

Percentage of Employed Black Men Is Lowest It’s Been in 40 Years

IN MEMPHIS — His week had begun with a graduation ceremony, a standing ovation and a walk across the stage to meet the president of the United States. Kenneth Roberson was a top-ranked student at the high school President Obama had selected as the country’s most “inspiring,” and the president had extended his hand and asked Roberson what he planned to do next. The 18-year-old thought back to his mother’s advice about making first impressions: Stand tall. Make eye contact. Smile. Be confident.

“Sir, I’m going to get a job and go to college,” Roberson told the president.

Now it was Friday afternoon, four days later, and Roberson idled with a group of fellow graduates in the empty parking lot of Booker T. Washington High, a public school surrounded by the housing projects of South Memphis. The president was gone. The commemorative banner had been packed away into storage. A school security guard had locked the main entrance. All that was left were the littered remains of green-and-white confetti on the asphalt and a shared uncertainty about what to do next.

“I need a damn job, man,” said Chris Dean, 18. “Any of y’all got something?”
“Nah,” said one.
“Nah,” said another.
“I’m still trying to get hooked up at McDonald’s,” said a third.

The group turned to Roberson, who had always been the first of his friends to get everything. He had graduated in the top five in the class and won a partial scholarship to college. He hoped to earn at least $2,000 over the summer to pay for school and buy a car that would get him there. But now, in the parking lot, he was another teenager shaking his head.

Terror trial testimony: Lockheed CEO targeted

By Annie Sweeney

Tribune reporter

11:20 AM CDT, May 31, 2011
An admitted terrorist-turned-government witness testified today at a federal trial in Chicago that a co-conspirator with alleged ties to al Qaeda had once targeted the CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp. in apparent retaliation for drone attacks in Pakistan.

David Coleman Headley testified that Ilyas Kashmiri, an influential leader of the Islamic Struggle Movement, was frustrated over the drone attacks and targeted the boss of the U.S. weaponsmaker. Drones are used to attack suspected insurgent sites along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Headley is in his fifth day of testimony at the trial of Tahawwur Rana, a Chicago businessman and Headley’s friend since childhood, on charges he helped in preparations for the deadly attack on Mumbai in 2008 as well as a plot to attack a Danish newspaper that never took place.

Kashmiri was indicted for alleged involvement in the Danish plot, but he has never been apprehended to face trial.

Headley is being cross-examined by Rana’s attorney, Patrick Blegen.,4602647.story

Zuma's Libya trip a chance to redeem African Union

Written by MICHELLE FAUL   
A new cadet for the Libyan rebel army holds a pre Moammar Gadhafi flag after a graduation ceremony for new cadets in Benghazi, Libya, Sunday, May 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) 5/30/2011

President Jacob Zuma's mediation trip to Libya this week will test the relevance of the increasingly discredited African Union as well as an old friendship between South Africa's governing party and strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Zuma, who arrives Monday, will be looking to restore some faith in the 54-nation pan-African body whose diplomatic efforts to resolve Libya's crisis were sideswiped by NATO airstrikes that began March 19.
Officially, Zuma arrives in Tripoli — the capital and stronghold of Gadhafi, whose command centers have been pounded by a relentless NATO bombardment for days — to resuscitate an African roadmap drawn up in February that calls for an immediate cease-fire.

Unofficially, Zuma will try to persuade Gadhafi to step down, South Africa's influential Mail and Guardian newspaper reported, quoting a senior security source.

His visit comes as all sides appear stalemated: Gadhafi has remained intransigent in the face of stepped-up NATO airstrikes; the rebels have proved unable to capitalize on the airstrikes to advance the battle fronts and are fast running out of cash even as they win increasing diplomatic recognition.

Hundreds of thousands of Libyans are suffering: in Tripoli from the trauma of the bombings as well as growing shortages and increasing prices of fuel and food; in western mountain towns besieged by Gadhafi's forces; in refugee settlements at borders with Tunisia, Chad and Egypt.

South Africa voted for the U.N. resolution authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya and the use of force to protect civilians, using its power as a rotating member of the Security Council to flout an African Union stance demanding a peaceful resolution.

Since then, Zuma has joined other African leaders in accusing NATO of overstepping the U.N. mandate and calling for an end to the airstrikes.

Relations with Gadhafi already were strained when Zuma came to Tripoli in April at the head of an African delegation. But he came away pleased, having won Gadhafi's agreement to a cease-fire. The same day it became clear that Gadhafi was not honoring his word.

The rebels' National Transitional Council in their eastern bastion of Benghazi already had dismissed the African roadmap because it did not demand Gadhafi surrender power.

The African plan calls for an immediate cease-fire; ensuring humanitarian aid reaches all who need it; protection of foreigners, including African migrants; and "adoption and implementation of the political reforms necessary for the elimination of the causes of the current crisis."

In Benghazi on Saturday, rebel council chairman Mustafa Abdul-Jalil emphasized that any solution would have to involve Gadhafi's departure.

"We would like to reconfirm that the basis of any consideration for the resolution of the Libyan crisis, is the elimination of the main cause of this crisis, Col. Gadhafi."

The Mail and Guardian said Zuma's trip to Tripoli is at the request of the rebels, though no rebel official would confirm that.

"We welcome any political solutions that help end the bloodshed, but they must be predicated on the departure of Gadhafi, his sons and his regime," Abdul-Jalil said.

Zuma has known Gadhafi since the 1980s when he was the intelligence chief of the then-outlawed African National Congress and Gadhafi provided arms and money for its fight to end a brutal white minority regime in South Africa.

Two decades later, Nelson Mandela was able to return the favor, using his international moral standing to end Libya's pariah status. Mandela helped broker the agreement that ended sanctions imposed on Libya over the downing of a civilian jetliner that killed all passengers over Lockerbie, Scotland.

For Zuma, the mission is an opportunity to redeem the African Union as leaders say they are being upstaged on their own turf by other world diplomatic efforts.

"Some international players seem to be denying Africa any significant role in the search for a solution to the Libyan conflict," African Union Commission chief Jean Ping complaint at an extraordinary summit in Ethiopia last week.

"Africa is not going to be reduced to the status of an observer of its own calamities," he warned.
Zuma also has a hurtful bilateral issue to discuss with Gadhafi. South African officials say Gadhafi misled them with assurances that a missing South African photojournalist, Anton Hammerl, was alive and in Libyan custody. Four journalists held in Libya revealed upon their release that Hammerl was shot and killed by government forces on April 5 and left to die in the desert.

Teacher Protects Pupils During Drug Shooting

A teacher in Mexico has been honoured after she kept a group of children calm by singing with them as a shootout took place outside their school.

Police said gunmen killed five people at a taxi rank just outside the Alfonso Reyes kindergarten in Nuevo Leon state on Friday.

A video taken on her mobile phone and posted online showed Martha Ivette Rivera Alanis leading the youngsters in a song from Barney the Friendly Dinosaur about raindrops made of chocolate, as they lay on the floor.

Bullets could be heard in the background.

Read more…