Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Steelers' Hines Ward had a 'blast' with 'Dark Knight' role - USA TODAY

The latest trailer for The Dark Knight Rises is out, and (surprise!) Hines Ward is involved.
We did a little digging, and found out that other Pittsburgh Steelers greats including Ben Roethlisberger and ex-coach Bill Cowher are in the movie too.

Apparently they're on some XFL franken-team called the Gotham Rogues.

The scene — which was filmed at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field — features Ward running toward the endzone while the field explodes and gobbles up defenders behind him.

It looks pretty cool, but Hines Ward out-running an NFL-caliber defensive back at age 35 might be the most unrealistic plot point in the history of cinema.

Here's the trailer (the Ward bit comes at 1:18 or so):

Breaking News: Floyd Mayweather enters plea in 2 cases

floyd_mayweatherLAS VEGAS -- Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. plans to plead guilty to reduced misdemeanor charges in a plea deal resolving felony allegations that he battered his ex-girlfriend, court officials said Tuesday.

Mayweather, 34, will face $3,000 in fines and could be sentenced to between two days and 18 months in the Clark County jail after pleading Wednesday to one count of battery domestic violence and two harassment charges, said Tess Driver, an aide to Clark County District Attorney David Roger.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal first reported the plea deal Tuesday.

It also includes an agreement for Mayweather to plead no contest next week to misdemeanor battery and pay a $1,000 fine for poking a 21-year-old homeowner association security guard in the face during a November 2010 argument about parking tickets on vehicles outside the boxer's home in an exclusive, suburban Las Vegas community. 

Roger and Mayweather's lawyers did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.
Mayweather had been facing an evidence hearing Wednesday and a decision by Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa whether to send him to trial on felony grand larceny, coercion and robbery charges, and misdemeanor domestic battery and harassment counts involving ex-girlfriend Josie Harris.

He could have faced 34 years in state prison if he was convicted of all those charges.

The felony case stemmed from accusations that Mayweather hit and threatened his ex-girlfriend, stole her cell phone and threatened two of their children, then ages 10 and 9, during a September 2010 argument about the woman dating another man.

Mayweather, who uses the nickname "Money," was acquitted by a Las Vegas judge in October of other misdemeanor harassment charges alleging he threatened the lives of two other homeowner association security guards in another argument about parking tickets.

Mayweather is undefeated in the boxing ring, with a record of 42-0 with 26 knockouts.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

Payroll tax holiday blues

By Robert Romano
One can fault House Republicans for many things, but opposing an extension of the payroll tax cut and another extension of unemployment benefits is not one of them.

Whether one agrees with the issue or not, the fact is, the House has already passed extensions of both of these items. At a cost of $180 billion, those extensions would last for the duration of calendar year 2012.

Yet, to read the headlines, and to listen to the White House’s talking points, House Republicans are intransigently opposed to the plan, and just want to stick it to the “middle class” on Christmas. How dare they!

“Obama Says Payroll Tax Cut Blocked by 'Faction' in House,” blared one headline. “House Republicans reject 2-month payroll tax cut,” declared another. “House rejects payroll tax cut, jobless benefits,” still another stated.

There’s only one problem. It’s just not true.
It’s a talking point. Not news. Not even remotely factual.
What is true is that the House and Senate have not yet agreed on the details of that legislation. While the House has passed a 12-month extension, the Senate has merely kicked the can down the road for 2 months.

Usually when that happens, as anyone who has passed a basic lesson on civics could tell you, there’s a conference committee, wherein the House and Senate will work out their differences. Heck, it’s even in the Constitution.

After all, the House is under no more obligation to pass the Senate version of the extension than the Senate is to pass the House version. Which is why the framers envisioned a conference committee.
And, that is exactly what the House has voted for.

By a vote of 229 to 193, the House voted in the affirmative on a “Motion to Go to Conference”. Not even on the Senate bill. It was declaring, in effect, that it has already voted on this piece of legislation, and that both houses now need to hash out their differences.
Get full story here.

11 Big Gov't Busts of '11: #5-The Fast and the Furious

Video by Frank McCaffrey
Get permalink here.

How the Grinch Stole Health Care

Get permalink here.

Choice Not Consensus: A Plea From a Less Important State

By David Bozeman

Most registered Republicans will not pick their party's presidential nominee this election. Because of a curious tradition in our electoral process, voters in a handful of small states will get to anoint a frontrunner early this winter.
Now, granted, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina don't always decide a presidential nominee, but we know the drill. Candidates all but live in these early states. Voters, particularly in Iowa and New Hampshire, are wooed and courted, and some are even known by name. These ordinary, unknown Americans resemble, for a fleeting moment, unlikely tie-breakers in an urgent moment of national deadlock.

In 2008, with no early GOP frontrunner, some of the talking heads were delighting in the prospect of a floor fight at the Republican National Convention to select a nominee (Romney, Rudy Guiliani and Mike Huckabee led, with John McCain rounding out the field). Of course, John McCain secured the nomination surprisingly early (March), thus by the time North Carolina's primary rolled around, no GOP contender had come to town or called my home or even run an ad. While that scenario is not a guaranteed repeat for 2012, it's not unlikely, either. Just ask voters in Indiana and West Virginia (also with primaries in early May).

Interestingly, the Gingrich campaign recently announced plans to launch a committee in North Carolina, with former state GOP chairman Tom Fetzer heading the effort. Party officials are enthused that North Carolina could matter after all. Yes, after all. Indeed, my vote might very well count.

8 Charged in Death of Fellow Soldier, US Army Says – New York Times

8 Charged in Death of Fellow Soldier, US Army Says
New York Times
Eight American soldiers were charged with manslaughter and an array of other crimes in connection with the death of Pvt. Danny Chen, a fellow soldier from New York whose body was found in October lying in a guard tower in southern Afghanistan, ...
8 US Army Soldiers Charged in Death of Fellow Serviceman in AfghanistanFox News
8 US troops charged in fellow soldier's deathCBS News
8 US soldiers charged in fellow soldier's deathThe Associated Press -TIME
all 568 news articles »

Kim Death May Intensify North Korea Debate in South’s Elections – BusinessWeek

Kim Death May Intensify North Korea Debate in South's Elections
By Patrick Harrington and Marie-France Han Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) — Kim Jong Il's death may intensify voter focus in South Korean presidential and legislative election campaigns on policy toward a nuclear-armed neighbor now undergoing its first political
Emperor Group Temporarily Halts North Korea Casino Operation on Kim DeathBloomberg
North Korea Opens Some Border CrossingsWall Street Journal
New North Korean leader issued military orders, South Korea saysCNN
AFP -Fox News -The Guardian
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Aaron Rodgers is 2011 AP Male Athlete of Year

 (AP) — Aaron Rodgers is the 2011 Male Athlete of the Year chosen by members of The Associated Press after his MVP performance in the Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl victory in February and his stellar play during the team’s long unbeaten run this season.

Rodgers received 112 votes out of the 212 ballots submitted from U.S. news organizations that make up the AP’s membership. Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander finished second with 50 votes, followed by tennis standout Novak Djokovic, Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton and NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.

Rodgers is one of three quarterbacks to receive the honor in the past five years. The New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees won last year and the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady won in 2007.