Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Whitney Houston comes to ‘LIFE’ in rare photos (SLIDESHOW)

For decades, Whitney Houston amazed the world with her voice and beauty, leaving her fans devastated when she died from accidental drowning at age of 48 last month. Today, the editors of LIFE magazine have released LIFE: Whitney 1963-2012, a book which chronicles the legacy of the iconic Grammy Award winning singer.

Throughout the 1980s and into the ’90s, Whitney ruled the world of pop, her music dominating the charts and becoming the soundtrack for a generation. Houston is remembered as one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold more than 200 million albums and singles worldwide. In 2009, the Guinness Book of World Records cited the “I Will Always Love You” singer as the most awarded female artist of all time, with 6 Grammy Awards, 2 Emmy Awards, and 22 American Music Awards.

According to LIFE, “Her own life was extraordinary, and in the end extraordinarily tragic. In this new commemorative, LIFE Books seeks to celebrate and try to explain Whitney Houston. What a singer. What a life.”

The book includes several never-before-seen and extremely rare photos, and unique insight into the singer’s life. A lot of the photos will be a surprise to even the biggest Houston fans.

Whitney now joins the ranks of other iconic figures that LIFE Books has celebrated in the past including Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor, and Pope John Paul II.

LIFE: Whitney 1963-2012 is on sale today.


Obama’s court intimidation scheme nothing new

By Bill Wilson

In a recent press conference, Barack Obama suggested “overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress”, referring to the health care law, was “an unprecedented, extraordinary step”.

Even if that were true, what is not new is Obama’s latest court intimidation scheme.

For one, it’s not the first time he has brazenly lashed out at the Supreme Court. In his 2010 State of the Union Address, Obama blasted the Court after it struck down restrictions on McCain-Feingold campaign speech and expenditures as a violation of the First Amendment.

He even went so far as to mischaracterize the Court’s ruling in Citizens United with the entire nation watching, with the justices sitting right in front of him. He said, “the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections.”
That was when Associate Justice Samuel Alito famously mouthed the words, “Not true” to Obama’s assertion.
The ruling actually had nothing to do with foreign donations to candidates, nor did it lift the federal ban on corporate donations to candidates. It affected whether third party organizations in the United States could independently spend money electioneering during campaign periods.

But that didn’t stop Obama. He simply did not like the Court’s ruling, so he falsely painted the decision as some sort of foreign coup de tat.

Of course, this is not the first time a president has lashed out at the Court.
Get full story here.

Obama condemns the clown, the comedian and the psychic

By Adam Bitely
Obama is pained by the waste of over $800,000 by the General Services Administration (GSA). The “waste” has resulted in the head of the GSA, Martha Johnson, losing her job along with some other bureaucrats involved in the matter.

Oddly though, Obama has failed to shown any concern for trillions of dollars in debt that he has helped add to the nation’s deficit.
The waste of $800,000 is centered around a conference that GSA hosted just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada:

“The leadership collapse came hours before GSA Inspector General Brian D. Miller released a scathing report on the $823,000 training conference, held for 300 West Coast employees at the M Resort and Casino, an opulent hotel in Henderson, Nev., just south of Las Vegas. From $130,000 in travel expenses for six scouting trips to a $2,000 party in Peck’s loft suite, event planners violated federal limits on conference spending.

“The episode is an embarrassment for the Obama administration at a time when the role and size of government have taken center stage in the presidential campaign. How much government should spend, and on what, will be at the heart of the election-year battles between Democrats and Republicans.”

The event featured a clown, comedian and a psychic, all paid for by the U.S. taxpayer!
As WTOP reported:

“The resignations were announced the same day the agency’s Office of the Inspector General released an extended study of the October 2011 conference at a luxury hotel near Las Vegas, which cost $835,000. Roughly 300 employees attended.

“Expenses included $147,000 in airfare and lodging for six planning trips for the organizers.
“The OIG found that many of the expenditures on this conferences were excessive and wasteful,” the report states. “In many instances GSA followed neither federal procurement laws nor its own policy on conference spending.”

As one GSA employee snarked on Facebook, “When I worked for GSA Martha Johnson was on a war path to ‘eliminate the carbon footprint’ of GSA. They outlawed space heaters and office refrigerators. Now we find out at the same time as she was making every GSA employee’s life hell she was spending thousands to treat herself and her top deputies to Vegas vacations.”
Get full story here.

Appeals court fires back at Obama's comments on health care case

By Jan Crawford

(CBS News) In the escalating battle between the administration and the judiciary, a federal appeals court apparently is calling the president's bluff -- ordering the Justice Department to answer by Thursday whether the Obama Administration believes that the courts have the right to strike down a federal law, according to a lawyer who was in the courtroom.

The order, by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, appears to be in direct response to the president's comments yesterday about the Supreme Court's review of the health care law. Mr. Obama all but threw down the gauntlet with the justices, saying he was "confident" the Court would not "take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."

Overturning a law of course would not be unprecedented -- since the Supreme Court since 1803 has asserted the power to strike down laws it interprets as unconstitutional. The three-judge appellate court appears to be asking the administration to admit that basic premise -- despite the president's remarks that implied the contrary. The panel ordered the Justice Department to submit a three-page, single-spaced letter by noon Thursday addressing whether the Executive Branch believes courts have such power, the lawyer said.

The panel is hearing a separate challenge to the health care law by physician-owned hospitals. The issue arose when a lawyer for the Justice Department began arguing before the judges. Appeals Court Judge Jerry Smith immediately interrupted, asking if DOJ agreed that the judiciary could strike down an unconstitutional law.
The DOJ lawyer, Dana Lydia Kaersvang, answered yes -- and mentioned Marbury v. Madison, the landmark case that firmly established the principle of judicial review more than 200 years ago, according to the lawyer in the courtroom.
Get full story here.

Dennis Rodman laughs off child support debt [VIDEO]

If Dennis Rodman really is broke, he doesn’t give a CRAP — eating at an expensive restaurant in Miami this weekend … and brazenly laughing in the faces of all the people he owes money … literally.

Dennis and his entourage hit up a place called Joe’s Stone Crab — a famous Miami spot where the entrees range from $25 to $45 — and on their way out … a photog asked about The Worm’s widely reported financial problems.

Dennis immediately cracked up — and his entourage proceeded to mock the photog, as if asking the question in the first place were utterly ridiculous (fact — it’s not).

Dennis’ lawyer has publicly claimed Rodman doesn’t have the money to pay $800,000 in back child support and $51,000 in spousal support because he’s completely broke and “sick” (i.e. an alcoholic). For his part, Dennis has been fighting his child support order for years because he can’t afford it.

A former Vegas waitress has also obtained a judgment against Rodman for $225,000 — claiming he slapped her butt on the job.

It’s not the first time Dennis showed zero regard for his debtors — just last month, the guy walked around some Vegas shop … throwing money in the air

Dr. Boyce: Please Mary, No More Drama…At Least Not Over a Piece of Chicken

I like chicken. Let’s start the conversation right there. There is no shame black people enjoying chicken and being proud of it. If eating chicken were a crime, I’d be gladly serving 14 life sentences with no chance for parole.  I also love Mary J. Blige, who might be considered the female R. Kelly, minus the creepy stories about having sex with little kids.

Mary J. Blige also seems to enjoy chicken. In fact, she enjoys chicken enough to sing about it in a recent ad Burger King commercial. Mary doesn’t just sing about chicken in the cute way that I used to sing “I love chicken” to my mama when I was in elementary school (I even had a chicken dance to go with it, typical for a 9-year old boy). She belts about the crispy bird in a way that scoops up the bottom of her soul, as if she’s agonizing over a long lost love, a painful miscarriage or the joy and pain of fighting through a drug addiction. In full Mary J. Blige R&B gear, the queen of all things musical spits out a tune that would be a fit for any awards show, celebrating the juicy-osity of Burger King chicken like a pastor praising the lord for curing his daughter’s cancer.

 I’ll admit that while it’s OK for black people to love chicken, the image of our favorite artists singing and dancing for a piece of chicken can ruin our collective appetite. Mind you, Mary J. reportedly had two million reasons to sing for the chicken, so we can’t get mad at her for taking the money. What we can openly ask is whether or not there’s a price being paid when one of our classiest performers reduces herself to the Chicken Jingle Lady at Burger King.