Custom Search

Gideon Yu Is Out

Gideon Yu Is Out
Facebook CFO Gideon Yu is out.

Facebook chief financial officer Gideon Yu is leaving the company, representatives from the social network confirmed Tuesday.

"Facebook confirms that CFO Gideon Yu will be leaving the company," a statement from Facebook read. "Gideon has played an important role in helping us achieve our financial success, building a strong finance team and establishing the core financial operations of our company. We are grateful to Gideon for his contributions to Facebook and what we are trying to accomplish."

But there's more: It looks like the reason for Yu's departure is because Facebook still hopes to be on track to file for an initial public offering.

"Despite the poor economic climate, we are pleased that our financial performance is strong and we are well positioned for the next stage of our growth," the statement from Facebook continued. "We have retained (search firm) Spencer Stuart to lead our search for a new CFO and will be looking for someone with public company experience."

The report was originally published in The Wall Street Journal.

Yu, a former Google employee who was brought on board there when it acquired YouTube, had been hired fewer than two years ago, and the Journal reported that Facebook is currently hunting for a replacement who has experience running a public company. Prior to YouTube, Yu had been employed as "treasurer" at Yahoo. He also has side projects, joining the team of high-profile investors--including the new Google Ventures--in e-commerce start-up Pixazza.

Yu was one of the first in a string of prominent Googlers to join Facebook's upper ranks as it rose to the top of Silicon Valley's pecking order. Eventually, sales chief Sheryl Sandberg joined the company as chief operating officer, and public affairs czar Elliot Schrage was hired as head of global communications.

So now it looks like Facebook's plan is to push for an IPO. With Yu at the helm of its finances, rumors had swirled for months that it was looking to raise additional venture capital funding to fuel its exponential growth. The company will likely hit 200 million members worldwide within days, a mass that requires costly hardware and personnel around the globe. Persistent reports hinted that not only was Yu attempting to drum up interest in more funding, but that he was having a tough time doing so.

Facebook's valuation was hit hard by the recession, with private stock trading dipping to lower and lower values and Forbes magazine speculating that founder Mark Zuckerberg had lost his status as a paper billionaire as a result.

In November 2007, Microsoft invested $240 million in Facebook at a $15 billion valuation. These days, Facebook is lucky if its valuation is a third of that. But it eventually became evident that the $15 billion was never a reality: Microsoft's stake was in preferred stock, and the $15 billion was a term of the deal.

Going public is a risky move for any company in a recession, particularly one that is still on the road to profitability but not there yet. But for Facebook, with the quest for more venture funding growing increasingly fruitless, it may be the best road out.

Original Source :

Conficker Working Group

Conficker Working GroupBlocking Conficker domain names: Will it work?

Over 100 top-level domain providers are trying to block the registration of tens of thousands of domain names.

On the eve of Conficker.C's expected activation date, April 1, more than 100 providers of top-level domains around the world are trying to block the registration of tens of thousands of domain names that the Conficker worm could start using Wednesday to get botnet instructions.

That effort started last February when the industry group, which included ICANN and Microsoft, got together to pull together a united front against the scourge of Conficker, a sophisticated piece of malware infecting millions of Windows-based computers around the world. It's called the Conficker Working Group.

Starting Wedneday, Conficker could be activated to scan for about 50,000 domain names per day -- a different 50,000 names each day for months -- in a process security experts believe is intended to allow the worm to locate instructions for downloads or destructive operations. It's suspected that most of the domain names are a cover to hide the real points of botnet control.

The idea is for the Top-Level Domain (TLD) providers to do what they can to block the registration of the tens of thousands of domain names Conficker appears programmed to search for. It's a process that those involved in say has been ongoing --though may not ultimately be successful.

"This is a case of the weakest link," acknowledges Roland LaPlante, senior vice president of Afilias, the registry operator that provides technical services to 15 TLDs including .info and .org. but also .Asia, along with BZ for Belize and .IN for India -- a total of about 14 million domains.

LaPlante says ICANN has been trying to coordinate the TLD providers around the world to block registration of the Conficker worm's programmed domain names, but it appears less than half of the TLDs are actively cooperating. Sometimes it's simply that there are small TLDs around the world run by one person who may not even answer the phone. He notes that the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has very limited authority to compel actions.

Afilias has blocked more than 300,000 names so far in the domains that it supports, and expects to block more than 1 million over the course of the year. Greg Aaron, director of domain security at Afilias, says most of the domain names in Conficker's scanning mechanism appear to be random combinations of letters.

Attempts at registering Conficker names are viewed as suspicious and referred to law enforcement, Afilias says.

So, while an attempt is being made to block Conficker's preferred domain names, the effort may not work if Conficker's creators find a willing source from somewhere in the world to supply domain names they want.

Original Source :

Pistachio Recall

Pistachio RecallSalmonella Worries Prompt Pistachio Recall.

Calif. Company Taking 1 Million Pounds Of Nuts Off Shelves After Contamination Found.

A Central California company is recalling about 1 million pounds of pistachios over concerns of possible salmonella contamination.

Food safety officials are looking through Setton Farms' plant in rural Tulare County to see if it could lead them to the source of the contamination.

The recalls began last Friday when the Georgia Nut Company recalled its Kraft Back to Nature Nantucket Blend trail mix after some samples tested positive for salmonella. Setton Farms has started a separate recall of roasted pistachios, and grocery operator Kroger also has recalled some pistachio products.

No illnesses have been reported.

The California Department of Public Health said Monday it was tracking nuts processed at Setton Farms, a firm whose Web site describes it as the second-largest pistachio processor in the United States.

State authorities said Setton sent its roasted pistachios to Georgia Nut. Setton Farms has initiated a separate recall of three lots of roasted pistachios tied to the positive results in the trail mix, California officials said.

Kroger said the California firm also supplied the line of pistachios it recalled because of possible salmonella contamination. Those nuts were sold in 31 states.

Setton Farms did not immediately respond to calls for comment.

Dr. David Acheson, director of food safety for the Food and Drug Administration said the contaminated pistachios are not related to a recent outbreak of salmonella tied to peanuts, reports CBS News Correspondent Nancy Cordes.

The one million pound recall figure could grow as the company tracks its products, Cordes reports, and it will likely extend to all manner of pistachio products.

Right now, the FDA is advising Americans not to eat pistachios but not to throw away their pistachios either. Basically, people should hold on to their pistachios until the FDA knows more about which products are affected.

Original Source :

Gary Sheffield Released By Tigers

Gary Sheffield Released By Tigers
Tigers release Gary Sheffield, look to get younger.

The Detroit Tigers knew they needed to make changes this season -- and in an unexpected move on Tuesday, the team released designated hitter Gary Sheffield. (Photo by Charles Krupa, AP)

The 40-year-old Sheffield hit .225 last season and just .178 this spring, but he still figured to be a fixture in the middle of the Tigers lineup this season. Instead, the Tigers will eat the $14 million they still owe him. The move will give the Tigers more flexibility on their roster and will open the door for Marcus Thames or Jeff Larish to fill the DH spot.

In addition, Detroit acquired 26-year-old outfielder Josh Anderson yesterday from the Atlanta Braves.

Sheffield is just one home run away from 500 in his career. Although it's unlikely any team will pick Sheffield up off waivers because they'd have to honor terms of his contract, there figures to be some team out there interested in Sheff as a part-time right-handed DH. Perhaps a return to his hometown of Tampa?

Original Source :


ZoomInfoMicrosoft Dynamics CRM Integration With ZoomInfo Delivers Tools and Intelligence to Expand Customer Relationships, Drive Sales.

Sales Executives, Marketers and Customer Relationship Managers Gain Access to Unparalleled Information on People and Companies From Within Microsoft Dynamics.

ZoomInfo, the most comprehensive source of business information on people and companies, today announced that ZoomInfo is fully integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Businesses using Microsoft Dynamics CRM can now leverage the powerful capabilities of ZoomInfo from within Microsoft Dynamics CRM to identify new leads; expand intelligence on existing customers, qualify prospects and create targeted marketing and sales campaigns.

ZoomInfo is a streamlined business information search tool designed to help sales and marketing teams access in-depth sales intelligence on companies and people. Providing detailed and fresh data on 45 million people and 5 million companies, ZoomInfo allows sales teams and marketers to accelerate prospecting and shorten sales cycles with the creation of intelligent targeting through more qualified leads. Complementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM existing capabilities, ZoomInfo provides a centralized platform for aligning the needs of marketing and sales teams -- enabling sales and marketing to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts by leveraging a single data source across the organization.

"It's important to have good visibility to be able to accurately predict your business," said Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM at Microsoft. "Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives organizations the power to improve customer interactions. The integration with ZoomInfo's search engine can help give Microsoft customers additional insight into their customer base."

Following on the heels of ZoomInfo's announcement of Enhanced Company Data and ZoomInfo Lists, the integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM continues ZoomInfo's effort to expand its offering to provide a complete portfolio of services and tools for every stage of the new business acquisition process.

"Our customers are demanding new and innovative ways to access information that will make them more effective in connecting with existing and potential customers," said Sam Zales, President of ZoomInfo. "By integrating ZoomInfo with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we are further empowering marketing and sales executives with the information they need to be effective and efficient in their job."

About ZoomInfo

ZoomInfo is the most comprehensive source of business information on people and companies in the world. ZoomInfo is used by sales and marketing professionals to find leads, recruiters to uncover talent and by business professionals to find detailed information on people and companies. ZoomInfo's semantic search engine gathers publicly-available information from the Business Web -- millions of company websites, news feeds and other online sources -- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, then automatically compiles it into easy-to-search and easy-to-read profiles. ZoomInfo currently has profiles on more than 45 million people and 5 million companies, and its search engine adds over 20,000 new profiles monthly.

More than 6 million people search every month. And over 3,000 customers, including Yahoo!, Microsoft, Oracle, PepsiCo, and 20% of the Fortune 500, subscribe to ZoomInfo's premium service products. ZoomInfo is privately held and based in Waltham, Mass.

Original Source :

YFZ Ranch

YFZ RanchAs the one-year anniversary of the state raid on the YFZ Ranch approaches, today’s Oprah Winfrey Show will focus on the West Texas polygamist community.

“Texas state officials say the ranch was a place where child abuse was rampant and young girls were forced into polygamist marriages,” Winfrey says on her Web site. “The people who live here say, while yes, they do believe in plural marriages, they say the are not forced to marry anyone.”

In Austin, Oprah’s show is on KVUE at 4 p.m.

Texas officials removed more than 400 children from the ranch; all but one have been returned to their families.

Original Source :

2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act

2009 Omnibus Public Land Management ActObama Signs the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you so much, Ken, for that extraordinary introduction and for the work that you and your team are undertaking at the Department of the Interior. We're going to add a little bit to your plate today as a consequence of this extraordinary piece of legislation.

I want to thank all the members of the legislature who helped to craft this. Many of them are on the stage here today. Obviously I've got to single out the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, for her extraordinary leadership, but also our Leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, who worked so diligently on this bill and made sure that it got done. And so please give all of these legislators a big round of applause. (Applause.)

If you'll indulge me, there are just a couple other people I want to acknowledge: Nancy Sutley, who is the Chair of our Council on Environmental Quality, who is here. Where's Nancy? There she is, right in front. (Applause.) Jane Lubchenco, who is the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Please, Jane -- (applause.) A couple of great friends from Indian Nation -- President Joe Shirley of Navaho Nation, who is here. Go ahead, Joe, stand up. (Applause.) And Tribal Chairman Robert Bear, of the Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute Tribes. Thank you so much. (Applause.)

It is fitting that we meet on a day like this. Winter's hardships are slowly giving way to spring, and our thoughts naturally tend to turn to the outdoors. We emerge from the shelter offered by home and work, and we look around and we're reminded that the most valuable things in this life are those things that we already possess.

As Americans, we possess few blessings greater than the vast and varied landscapes that stretch the breadth of our continent. Our lands have always provided great bounty -- food and shelter for the first Americans, for settlers and pioneers; the raw materials that grew our industry; the energy that powers our economy.

What these gifts require in return is our wise and responsible stewardship. As our greatest conservationist President, Teddy Roosevelt, put it almost a century ago, "I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us."

That's the spirit behind the bipartisan legislation I'm signing today -- legislation among the most important in decades to protect, preserve, and pass down our nation's most treasured landscapes to future generations.

Many senators and congressmen here deserve enormous credit for making this bill possible. I'm grateful to all their hard work. As I mentioned before, Harry Reid made this a top priority. He made sure this was the first bill the Senate passed this year. This day would not be possible without his tireless dedication to protecting our treasured lands.

This legislation -- just to give you a sense of the scope -- this legislation guarantees that we will not take our forests, rivers, oceans, national parks, monuments, and wilderness areas for granted; but rather we will set them aside and guard their sanctity for everyone to share. That's something all Americans can support.

And that's why so much of this legislation, some of it decades in the making, has the backing of Americans from every walk of life and corner of this country. Ranchers and fishermen, small business owners, environmentalists, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats on the local, state and federal levels -- all united around the idea that there should be places that we must preserve; all doing the hard work of seeking common ground to protect the parks and other places that we cherish.

We're talking about places like Colorado, where this bill will realize a vision 35 years in the making by protecting the wild back country of Rocky Mountain National Park, which attracts 3 million visitors a year.

Folks in communities around this park know they don't have to choose between economic and environmental concerns; the tourism that drives their local economy depends on good stewardship of their local environment. And year after year, these communities have worked together with members of Congress in an attempt to ensure that Rocky Mountain National Park will forever remain as breathtaking as it is today.

And that is what this bill does from coast to coast. It protects treasured places from the Appalachians of Virginia and West Virginia to Michigan's Upper Peninsula; from the canyons of Idaho to the sandstone cliffs of Utah; from the Sierra Nevadas in California to the Badlands of Oregon.

It designates more than 2 million acres across nine states as wilderness; almost as much as was designated over the past eight years combined.

It creates thousands of miles of new scenic, historic, and recreational trails, cares for our historic battlefields, strengthens our National Park System.

It safeguards more than 1,000 miles of our rivers, protects watersheds and cleans up polluted groundwater, defends our oceans and Great Lakes, and will revitalize our fisheries, returning fish to rivers that have not seen them in decades.

And it wisely faces our future challenges with regard to water. This bill assesses how growth and climate change will affect our access to water resources, especially in the West and Southwest, and it includes solutions to complex and long-simmering water disputes. It's hard to overstate the real and measurable impact this will have on people's lives -- people like Frank Chee Willetto, a Navajo code talker in World War II, who's joined us today. And because of this legislation, Frank, along with 80,000 others in the Navajo Nation, will have access to clean running water for the very first time. That's something worth applauding. (Applause.) Thank you for your service. (Applause.)

When coupled with the Recovery Act, which makes an historic $3 billion investment creating jobs that will restore and protect our landscapes and our ecosystems, preserve our national monuments, retrofit our facilities for energy efficiency and renewable energy-- taken together, today's legislation takes another step toward fulfilling Teddy Roosevelt's vision for this land that we love.

It's a vision that sees America's great wilderness as a place where what was and what is and what will be -- all are the same; a place where memories are lived and relived; a place where Americans both young and young at heart can freely experience the spirit of adventure that has always been at the heart of the rugged character of America.

Now, the legislation I'm signing today also makes progress on another front for which many Americans have long waited.

The Christopher and Dana Reeve's Paralysis Act is the first piece of comprehensive legislation specifically aimed at addressing the challenges faced by Americans living with paralysis. (Applause.) Many folks and organizations from across the disability community worked hard to get this bill passed, and we are grateful to each of you for bringing us that much closer to providing all Americans with disabilities a full, fair and equal opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

This act creates new coordinated research activities through the National Institutes of Health that will connect the best minds and best practices from the best labs in the country, and focus their endeavors through collaborative scientific research into the cure for paralysis, saving effort, money, and, most importantly, time.

It promotes enhanced rehabilitation services for paralyzed Americans, helping develop better equipment and technology that will allow them to live full and independent lives free from unnecessary barriers. And it will work to improve the quality of life for all those who live with paralysis, no matter what the cause.

That's the mission of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. In the lobby of their facility in New Jersey sits Christopher's empty wheelchair. And his son, Matthew Reeve, was once asked if the sight of it ever saddened him, and he replied no. He said, "Empty chairs -- that was Dad's goal," he said. "We hope there will be many more of them."

Matthew is here with us today. And the legislation I'm about to sign makes solid progress toward the realization of that hope and the promise of a brighter future.

All in all, this legislation is that rare end product of what happens when Americans of all parties and places come together in common purpose to consider something more than the politics of the moment. It's the very idea at the heart of this country: that each generation has a responsibility to secure this nation's promise for the next. And by signing this bill into law, that's what we're doing today.

So -- is Matthew here, by the way? Matthew, come on up. (Applause.) Let's sign this bill. (Applause.)

Original Source :

Tony Bennett

Tony BennettWSU's Tony Bennett will take Virginia job.

Washington State men's basketball coach Tony Bennett will be named the new coach at the University of Virginia.

Bennett told WSU president Elson S. Floyd and athletic director Jim Sterk this afternoon that he has taken the job. Later, Bennett told his players of his decision.

Sterk said Virginia asked for permission to speak to Bennett on Friday.

"Dick and Tony Bennett have elevated the men's basketball program at Washington State to an unprecedented level of success," Sterk said. "We will begin a national search for a coach immediately with the goal of finding someone with the integrity, experience, and values that Dick and Tony brought to the program."

Dick Bennett was hired as WSU's coach in 2003, and after three seasons his son, Tony, was elevated from assistant coach to the head-coaching spot.

Dave Leitao resigned at Virginia two weeks ago after a 10-18 season, the Cavaliers' worst in more than 40 years. Leitao had coached at Virginia for four seasons.

Bennett was a hot item a year ago after taking the Cougars to a second straight NCAA tournament. He turned down a chance to go to Indiana, and also rebuffed advances from Marquette and LSU.

This year, the Cougars fell back to a 17-16 overall record and a one-game appearance in the NIT.

Original Source :

San Jose Earthquake

San Jose EarthquakeSan Jose Earthquake: Tremor Shakes Bay area, California.

A minor earthquake has struck the Westland of California's Bay Area, leaving many residents talking but nothing damaged.

No injuries were reported after an earthquake struck San Jose, California and the Bay area, weighing in at a light 4.3 magnitude tremor.

According to Geologists, the epicenter of the earthquake was near Morgan Hill, Calif. The time was Monday, March 30, 2009, at 10:40 AM local time.

No damages have been reported.

Original Source :

Bright Automotive

Bright AutomotiveStealthy Bright Automotive gives hints about electric car launch.

Indiana-based startup plans to unveil gas-electric plug-in hybrid capable of reaching 400 miles on a tank of gas at Norway auto show in May.

Anderson, Ind.-based startup Bright Automotive is being cagey about the details of its gas-electric plug-in hybrid set to debut at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Norway in May.

The one-year-old company has created buzz because of its origins in the consulting organization Rocky Mountain Institute and the track record of CEO John Waters, who invented the battery pack system for General Motors’ EV1 electric vehicle, which was discontinued after three years in 1999.

Bright Vice President of Marketing Lyle Shuey told the Cleantech Group that the company has designed the vehicle from scratch, using lightweight materials, aerodynamic shapes, low-resistance tires, and highly efficient battery and drivetrain systems.

“In order to make a plug-in hybrid cost-effective, a person must look at the entire vehicle structure,” Shuey said today. “The aerodynamics, all the platform efficiencies, and the most important thing is mass. Every gram of mass increases the size and cost of the battery.”

Bright says low-resistance tires can improve fuel economy by 6 percent to 9 percent, and a 10 percent weight reduction improves fuel efficiency by 7 percent. Bright is working to replace steel with strong lightweight materials. In all, the company is seeking to reduce vehicle weight by more than half, allowing it to use smaller and less costly batteries.

Shuey said the company is still “looking at multiple battery cell technologies around the world” to power the car, which Bright says will have an electric range of 30 miles and a full range of 400 miles.

“We’ll take all the best technologies available,” he said. “We’re not tying the vehicle to any existing infrastructure or any materials.”

Shuey declined to name the target price or reveal the intended customers. But he did say that Bright expects to begin selling the vehicle in the fourth quarter of 2012 in the United States, with global markets to follow. The company has fewer than 50 employees, Shuey said.

Bright plans to manufacture the vehicle in the United States. The vehicle is planned to be classified as light-duty, a category that includes pickup trucks. Shuey ruled out the possibility of a small, two-seat passenger vehicle, such as Mercedes-Benz’s Smart car (see Electric Smart cars head to Denmark).

Bright doesn’t plan to be a vertically integrated company using all its own technology, Shuey said, declining to detail what proprietary technology the company is providing, and what is being provided by partners. However, he said the company is using its unique IP on how to control the powertrain.

“We’ll look at partners on the interior system, but we also have strong intellectual property on the interior… We’ll look at partners on the powertrain, but we have intellectual property there. We’ll work with partners in the body architecture, but we have strong expertise there,” Shuey said.

The company reportedly raised $11 million of a $17 million Series A round as of February. Investors include White Pines Partners of Boston and Duke Energy’s venture capital arm Duke Investments (see Trans-India drops $375M Solar Semiconductor bid).

The company spun out of the Rocky Mountain Institute in January 2008. The work at the institute was funded in part by companies including Google, Alcoa, Johnson Controls and the Turner Foundation. Shuey said the companies are “involved at different levels at Bright Automotive” but declined to say whether any of those companies have invested in the company.

As leader of the Breakthrough Design Group for the Rocky Mountain Institute, Bright CEO John Waters reported favorably on the debut of the electric SUV by Altairnano in 2006 (see Altair shows off all-electric SUV with nanotech batteries).

Bright has other plans that could be realized sooner than 2012. The company’s Bright Works division is creating systems for mass-production vehicle conversion, hybrid controls, and battery pack integration that Bright plans to sell to major automakers around the globe. Shuey said he expects the company to announce customers for those products in the second of third quarter of this year.

Original Source :

Man Beheads Sister

Man Beheads SisterKerby Revelus beheaded his sister Mona in front of cops. Bianca was decapitated by Kerby in front of cops after law enforcement walked in to investigate Kerby’s earlier stabbing of sister Samantha. Then police had to restrain Kerby who went after a third sister Saraphina.

Police finally shot Kerby dead.

Two sisters are dead. The third sister Saraphina (picture above) is reportedly recovering from several wounds. The police officers are on administrative leave.

Original Source :

Phantom Alert

Phantom Alert

Phantom Alert: safe or protective?

The next time you're driving home from a date in the evening, you could be pulled over for speeding, or you could have a new program, Phantom Alert, installed in your GPS system. Phantom Alert software will actually warn you if you are driving into a speeding trap, if a speed dectector is nearby, or if a traffic camera up ahead. But will this program be classified in the same category as radar dectectors, or will it help slow people down? You be the judge.

Original Source :

Rick Wagoner

Rick WagonerGeneral Motors Chief Rick Wagoner Said to Step Down.

General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner will step down after more than eight years running the largest U.S. automaker, people familiar with the situation said.

The Obama administration asked Wagoner, 56, to leave the company and he agreed, an administration official said. Wagoner said March 19 that he didn’t plan to resign.

The departure of Wagoner comes as President Barack Obama prepares an address tomorrow morning on his plans for the future of the U.S. auto industry. GM is surviving on $13.4 billion in U.S. loans and is asking for as much as $16.6 billion in additional aid to survive. Wagoner was asked to step down as part of the company’s restructuring, the official said.

The longtime GM chief, who has been lampooned on Saturday Night Live and vilified for his central role in the auto- industry collapse, said this month that the hadn’t been asked by the government or his own board to resign and his plan was to finish the restructuring.

“I do it because it’s important and I feel like I have a responsibility to do it,” Wagoner said in a March 19 interview. “I plan to stay here until we get things well in shape and on track and beyond that, we’ll see.”

GM Plans

GM has said it will shed 47,000 jobs globally in 2009 and plans to close five assembly plants. Executives said the Detroit-based automaker will focus on four U.S. brands down from eight and eliminate thousands of dealers. The stock tumbled 87 percent last year.

GM has rallied 66 percent since March 12, when Chief Financial Officer Ray Young said it wouldn’t need a $2 billion payment by the end of this month to survive as originally forecast. The biggest U.S. automaker is benefiting from increased cost cutting, Young said.

Wagoner has run GM since June 2000, presiding over $82 billion in losses beginning since the end of 2004, the last profitable year. Wagoner weathered the losses and activist investor Kirk Kerkorian’s 2006 push for an alliance with Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co.

Long Career

Wagoner has repeatedly argued he knows the company better than most who could take his job. He joined GM in 1977, as U.S. automakers were fending off Japanese competitors who recognized the need a decade earlier to build fuel-efficient vehicles.

As CEO, the former Duke University freshman basketball player and Harvard University MBA early on bet against gasoline- electric hybrid vehicles, focusing research on hydrogen technology. GM offered its first full-scale hybrids in 2007, a decade after Toyota introduced the Prius.

Wagoner kept GM focused on trucks and sport-utility vehicles, only to press for development of the Volt plug-in electric car when gasoline prices soared.

He used the purchase of South Korea’s Daewoo Motor Co. to expand GM’s overseas sales 51 percent to 5.5 million cars and trucks by 2007. He wrung concessions from labor unions in 2007, including cutting wages in half for new hires and offloading retiree health care to a union-run trust by 2010.

Others Ousted

The federal government has previously requested the replacement of chief executive officers at American International Group Inc., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when they received aid.

Then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson replaced Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd and Freddie Mac’s Richard Syron when he put the two mortgage-finance companies into government conservatorship in September. AIG chief Robert Willumstad left after the Fed took control the same month.

In 1984, federal regulators replaced the board chairman and CEO of Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Co. after taking an 80 percent ownership stake.

The chairman of Lockheed Aircraft Corp., now part of Lockheed Martin Corp., kept his job when the defense contractor won $250 million in federal loan guarantees in 1971, even after offering to resign.

Original Source :

Lou Saban

Lou SabanLongtime football coach Lou Saban dies.

Lou Saban, the longtime college and pro football coach who led the Buffalo Bills to a pair of AFL championships, died early Sunday morning at the age of 87.

Saban coached professional football for 16 years, and most notably led Buffalo to back-to-back AFL titles in 1964-65. He also coached the Boston -- now New England -- Patriots for their first two seasons, in 1960-61 before moving on to Buffalo from 1962-65.

He spent five seasons with Denver (1967-71), overseeing the team through the AFL-NFL merger, and returned to the Bills from 1972-76. Saban's pro teams went 95-99-7.

Away from football, Saban was also president of the New York Yankees from 1981-82.

"He has been my friend and mentor for over 50 years, and one of the people who helped shape my life," Yankees owner and chairperson George M. Steinbrenner said in a statement. "Lou was tough and disciplined, and he earned all the respect and recognition that came his way. He spent a lifetime leading, teaching and inspiring, and took great satisfaction in making the lives around him better. This is a tremendous loss to me personally, and I extend my deepest condolences to his wife, Joyce, and the entire Saban family."

Saban's coaching career also included stints at numerous colleges, Northwestern, Western Illinois, Maryland, Miami, Army and Central Florida.

Saban played college football at Indiana and was with the Cleveland Browns from 1946-49 before moving onto coaching.

Original Source :

Carthage NC Shooting

Carthage NC Shooting
NC nursing home shooting kills at least 6.

A gunman opened fire at a North Carolina nursing home Sunday morning, killing at least six people and wounding several others, police said.

The gunman was also injured before he was apprehended by police after the 10 a.m. shooting at Pinelake Health and Rehab in the town of Carthage, Police Chief Chris McKenzie told several television stations. A police officer was also hurt.

"It's a horrible event in any size town, particularly, though, when you deal with a small town such as Carthage," McKenzie said. "It's hard. This is my home, my small town. I was born and raised here so, yeah, I take it to heart a little bit. All you can do is move forward."

Gretchen Kelly, spokeswoman at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in nearby Pinehurst, said six people were brought to the hospital from the nursing home. Kelly said two of the injured died at the hospital, but it wasn't clear if those two were among the six initially reported dead by police.

Kelly said two other patients had been discharged, while two were still being treated. She wouldn't release further details on the injuries or conditions of those hospitalized.

McKenzie said the gunman wasn't a patient at the nursing home, located about 60 miles southwest of Raleigh, but didn't offer any further details on what the gunman's motive might have been.

Late Sunday afternoon, authorities appeared to be conducting a search of the nursing home's parking lot, which they had blocked off with yellow police tape. Among the items they found was a camouflaged-colored rifle or shotgun, which was leaning against the side of a Jeep Cherokee.

The road leading to the home was filled with parked cars, both of police and relatives of those living at Pinelake. Howard McMillian, of Lakeview, said he raced to the scene as soon as he heard about the shooting. His 56-year-old sister lives at the nursing home, and McMillian said his brother had gotten a call from officials saying she was unharmed.

"I know she's real nervous," McMillian said. "I just want to make sure she's OK."

A nursing home Web site said the facility that opened in 1993 has 110 beds, including 20 for those with Alzheimer's disease.

Calls to the nursing home by The Associated Press rang unanswered Sunday, and McKenzie and several state law enforcement agencies didn't immediately return messages or declined to comment. Police planned a news conference for later Sunday afternoon.

Carthage is a small town of roughly 1,800 people in the North Carolina Sandhills, an area popular among retirees and home to several noted golf courses, including the famed Pinehurst resort and its No. 2 course that regularly hosts the U.S. Open.

Pinelake Health and Rehab was last inspected in May, and the review resulted in an overall five-star — or "much above average" — rating from federal Medicaid officials.

Original Source :

Citi Field

Citi Field

Play ball! Citi Field grand opening is here.
The Mets don't beat the Yankees too often.

Interleague play? Yankees, 39-27. 2000 World Series? Yankees in five.

The Yankees have been around a lot longer, have more World Series trophies, more Hall of Famers. More history.

The Mets will beat the Yankees today, however. To the punch.

The Mets will be the first to open their new baseball stadium when the $800-million Citi Field opens its doors for a 1:10 p.m. game between the St. John's and Georgetown baseball teams.

Fans scarfed up 30,000 tickets in 45 minutes when they went on sale March 2. Twelve thousand more were distributed through schools and community groups, meaning all 42,000 seats could be filled.

But chances are fans won't stay in those seats for long. Most probably will spend time walking around the new ballpark, checking out the concourses, the food stations, the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, the quirky outfield configuration, the 50-feet-high by 70-feet-wide centerfield scoreboard, the nine merchandise shops, the 646 restrooms.

Well, maybe just one or two of the 646 restrooms. But you get the point. For fans, Citi Field will be a feast for the senses.

For the St. John's and Georgetown players, it will mark a chance to play in a brand-spanking-new major-league ballpark, and to make history doing so. The NCAA Division I single-game attendance record for baseball is 40,106 for a game between San Diego State and Houston at San Diego's Petco Park in 2004.

For Citi Field workers, the game will be a chance to road-test the new digs. Will everything be ready? No, according to Mets executive vice president of business operations David Howard. But most everything will be, and the Mets will get two other chances to take the new ballpark out for a spin when the Mets host the Red Sox in a pair of exhibition games Friday and Saturday.

"The Delta Sky 360 Club ," Howard said. "That's the premium club right behind home plate. It's operating in conjunction with Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group. They made very extensive modifications, and that delayed the finish. They'll be close to finished on Sunday, but we're not planning on opening that space. The Sterling Suites, right next to that, won't be open, either. And the Fan Fest area in centerfield, the play space for kids, that probably will not be open for Sunday. But both will be open for the Red Sox games."

Howard said the biggest logistical challenge for today and the early part of Citi Field's life will be trying to help fans figure out where everything is. By the time it closed, Mets fans had had more than 40 years to get used to Shea Stadium, such as it was. They will know they are not at Shea anymore the minute they walk into Citi Field. They also won't know their way around their new baseball home.

"For the first part of the season, our fan base has to learn the building," Howard said. "It's very different from Shea Stadium. We've given extensive training to our game-day staff to help them navigate this beautiful building. It's a challenge, but I'm sure we can meet it. It lays out pretty well, and it's pretty self-descriptive. Shea was a little harder because it was circular. This ballpark contours to the playing field."

Unfortunately - or fortunately, depending on your point of view - the Citi Field staff might get to test out the drainage system and the tarp that covers the infield. The forecast for today calls for a 30-percent chance of showers.

Rain, however, probably would not ruin the spirit of this dry run. Even if it pours, the first totally new New York City baseball stadium to open since Shea debuted in 1964 will begin its existence today. That's a full five days before new Yankee Stadium opens Friday with a 7 p.m. exhibition game against the Cubs.

Just in case, though, the Mets' exhibition game against Boston on Friday is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. So even in the event of a rainout today, the Mets will win this race to be first against their crosstown rivals.

Hey, it's a start.

Original Source :,0,2921324.story

Monica Conyers

Monica ConyersConyers sparks reaction on race, Cobo.

"Making peace, I have found, is much harder than making war."

- Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein

And so it appears based on reaction to my column last week about various conflicts smoldering across our region: Democrats vs. Republicans, Wayne County vs. Oakland County, haves vs. have-nots and more.

I talked to Michigan Chronicle Publisher Sam Logan, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson about a host of issues.

But the one who grabbed the lion's share of attention was Detroit City Council President Monica Conyers.

I wrote last week about a taping of "Michigan Matters" (which aired last Sunday on WWJ-TV) in which Conyers commented on Cobo Center and touched on race.

In discussing whether race had entered into the debate over Cobo and putting a regional authority in charge, I asked whether she thought she was a racist. She said: "Black people cannot be racist."

E-mails and voice-mails came pouring in disagreeing with that idea.

"She said in your column in Sunday's Free Press 'I don't think African Americans can be racist.' This doesn't mean they can't be prejudiced," wrote Christine Codish.

Segments from Conyers' interview also aired on radio shows, including the "Jay and Bill Show" (Jay Towers and Bill McAllister) on the Ticket, 97.1 FM. Callers flooded the station's lines.

Indeed, a station spokesman told me Conyers is a sparkplug for discussion.

She also argued that Cobo could be renovated with federal stimulus dollars -- an idea that attorneys for Granholm, Patterson and Ficano do not seem to agree on.

E-mailers wondered about the dollars and cents of it all.

"Is there any realistic chance of stimulus money being used for Cobo Hall?" asked Charles Richards. "If that was done, then why not let the metro hotel and motel tax expire when scheduled and let Detroit be responsible for, and pay for, Cobo Hall entirely?"

If you are interested in hearing more on Cobo, race relations and other regional topics, don't miss the second Michigan Chronicle "Pancakes and Politics "event April 23 at the Detroit Athletic Club. Tickets are available; call 313-963-8100, ext. 2254.

Foreclosure advice

As the home foreclosure crisis continues, leaders are stepping up to offer counsel.

Ted Wahby, treasurer in Macomb County since 1995, has met with thousands of people the past few years in a bid to help them work through the process of saving their home.

Wahby, a former executive at Comerica, talked about the human toll of the situation during a taping of "Michigan Matters," which airs at 11 a.m. today on WWJ-TV.

In Oakland County, there were 9,625 sheriff's sales in 2008, up from 8,019 in 2007. In just the first two months of 2009, there were 1,087 sheriff's sales, said Kathy Williams, Housing Counseling and Homeless Services, which is part of Oakland County's Community and Home Improvement Division.

"We have partnered with other agencies to host events that bring lenders, housing counselors and consumers together to resolve mortgage delinquencies," Williams said.

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press personal finance columnist, also talked about the crisis and warned financially struggling owners to beware of scam artists trying to cash in on their woes.

Original Source :

Justin Timberlakes William Rast Clothing

Justin Timberlakes William Rast ClothingMaking music and acting have been Justin Timberlake's passions for decades. Now, he can add a new accomplishment to his résumé—fashion designer. In 2005, Justin co-founded the William Rast clothing line with his childhood friend and business partner, Trace Ayala.

"We've always wanted to get into it," Justin says. "I think there was more actual apprehension for me because, in this day [and] age, you do something, you want it to come across genuine."

The name of the fashion line, which is known for its premium denim, is a tribute to two important men in their lives—their grandfathers. "Trace and I are huge fans of our grandfathers," Justin says. "William is my grandfather's first name, and Rast is his grandfather's last name. So we took the names, and put them together."

Today, Justin is wearing William Rast "Ben" jeans with a New America T-shirt, utilitarian shirt and a dark gray wool blazer.

Want to see more? Justin brought along a few of his favorite items from the spring 2009 collection!Justin says he loves to see women wear a mix of sexy and tomboy looks…a style his girlfriend, actress Jessica Biel, is known for. "She's obviously a huge muse for me and with the designers too," he says.

In keeping with this style, the first model is wearing William Rast's black leather jacket with studs and "Jerri" skinny jeans in Rosewood wash.

Every woman should have a good pair of jeans and a leather jacket in her wardrobe, Justin says.

Over the years, Justin has become known for his unique sense of style. "I like mixing sort of a cleanup top with the rugged jeans and like a flannel with a blazer," he says. "Try it, guys. See what happens."

To illustrate his point, a male model pairs the William Rast "Ben" jeans with a flannel shirt and optical wave wool blazer.

Original Source :

Billy Donovan

Billy DonovanDonovan not a UK candidate; recruits react to news.

Once again, Billy Donovan won't be accepting the vacant head coaching position at the University of Kentucky.

University of Florida spokesperson Fred Demerest told Florida Today, "Billy (Donovan) will not be a candidate for any job that comes open, I can confirm.”

The school is scheduled to release a statement later Friday.

In a statement from coach Billy Donovan, he said, “In response to the rumors circulating about my interest in other jobs, I wanted to address this as quickly as possible," Donovan said. "I am committed to the University of Florida and look forward to continuing to build our program here."

- In other news, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports that top Kentucky recruit Jon Hood is "heartbroken" over the news of Billy Gillispie's firing, but would wait to see who the school brings in before deciding whether to opt out of his national letter of intent.

- The Courier-Journal also talked to the father of G.J. Vilarino, a point guard from McKinney (Texas) and the first recruit that Gillispie signed with Kentucky.

Gerry Vilarino told the newspaper, “It’s a tough day for us because we have known those guys (the staff) for years and they’re like family. We’re hurting today and we feel for them. It’s a difficult day on that side of it.

“But from a basketball perspective – solely – G.J. has had his mind set for a long time. Based on our conversations, it’s going to be pretty hard for him to turn it off now and say he’s not going to Kentucky. He has everything ready to go.”

- Kooner Tucker, the Wildcats' most-recent signee, says he's still committed to Kentucky, but will also wait and see who the school brings in as their next coach.

“(Gillispie) is a great coach and I felt like he was someone I could play for,” Tucker told the Courier-Journal. “I don’t know now. I will have to see who they bring in and what he wants and everything like that."

- Meanwhile, one of Kentucky's most prized recruits, Dominique Ferguson, might re-open his recruiting process, his father said.

Deon Ferguson said his son had a great relationship with Billy Gillispie and his staff.

“He has a lot on his mind right now," Deon Ferguson said. "He’s just trying to figure things out.

Original Source :

Oakland Police Funeral

Oakland Police Funeral
Oakland police funeral set for today.

Thousands of police officers from across the country and Bay Area residents are expected to fill Oracle Arena today for the funeral of four Oakland police officers shot and killed in the line of duty.

Officers from throughout California and from as far away as New York and Florida will attend the 11 a.m. service in the arena, which holds more than 19,000 people. A contingent of officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is also planning to be there.

People who can't get into the arena will be able to watch the service on big screens in the adjacent Oakland Coliseum.

The funeral will also be televised live on several television stations, an unprecedented action that police officials said was commensurate with the outpouring of grief over the single deadliest loss of life in Oakland Police Department history.

"It is very overwhelming and touching," police spokesman Officer Jeff Thomason said.

The funeral will be unprecedented in at least one other respect - all 815 members of the Oakland Police Department are being allowed to attend, meaning the city's streets will be patrolled most of the day by officers from 15 law-enforcement agencies in Alameda County, including the sheriff's office, the California Highway Patrol and city and regional police departments.

"Any time an event like this happens, it's up to the other agencies to step up and do the right thing," sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said Thursday. "Tomorrow, we'll be helping the city of Oakland and Saturday, the city of Oakland might be helping us."

Officers and several hundred other police employees will be bused to the arena from Oakland police headquarters and the Eastmont substation in East Oakland. The substation is just a block from where Sgts. Mark Dunakin, Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai and Officer John Hege were shot and killed Saturday by 26-year-old Lovelle Mixon, a wanted parolee.

Dunakin, 40, and Hege, 41, were killed after they pulled Mixon over for a traffic stop at 74th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard. Their motorcycles were on display this week in the Eastmont substation, surrounded by flowers.

Romans, 43, and Sakai, 35, died when their SWAT team stormed the apartment where Mixon was hiding. Mixon, armed with an assault rifle, was also shot to death.

Dispatchers from police agencies across the state reported for duty Thursday at the Oakland dispatch center at a building on Edgewater Drive, located across Interstate 880 from the arena. They will help answer calls today.

"There will be no decrease in police service during the funeral," Thomason said.

Speakers at the service will include acting Police Chief Howard Jordan, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and state Attorney General Jerry Brown. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will attend and meet privately with the officers' families, but will not address those attending the funeral.

Attendees are being urged to arrive early and to take public transportation. BART, Amtrak's Capitol Corridor train line and AC Transit have stops or stations adjacent to the Coliseum complex.

The gates to the parking lot will open at 7 a.m., and the doors of the arena will open at 9 a.m. Video cameras will not be allowed inside the arena.

Long processions to and from the arena will result in the closure of many East Bay freeways in the hours before and after the funeral. "It will affect every major freeway," Thomason said.

Processions from mortuaries in Tracy, Danville, Oakland and Hayward will make their way to the arena on Interstates 580, 680, 880 and 980 and Highway 238. Families of the slain officers will begin arriving about 10:15 a.m.

The funeral will be followed by a number of rituals, including the playing of bagpipes, a 21-gun salute with a military cannon, and flyovers involving 20 law-enforcement helicopters from across the nation.

Police Capt. Paul Figueroa has been overseeing planning for the funeral. The families of the slain officers embraced during an emotional meeting Tuesday night, Figueroa said.

Asked to describe the challenges in putting together such a service, Figueroa said, "What I'm doing is nothing compared to ..." His voice trailed off, and he abruptly left a media briefing.

In the first-floor lobby of the police headquarters on Seventh Street, a worker was busy sandblasting four new names Thursday onto a memorial wall, joining those of 47 other Oakland officers killed in the line of duty.

Original Source :

Foxy Knoxy

Foxy Knoxy
Murder case brings 'Foxy Knoxy' infamy in Italy.

The Italian media call her "Foxy Knoxy" and portray her as a "devil with an angel's face," and there are 11 Facebook pages dedicated to her, all in Italian.

Amanda Knox, 21, is an American college student from Seattle, Washington, who is on trial for murder in Perugia, Italy. The case has given Knox almost pop star status there.

She was voted the top woman in an online "person of the year" poll by an Italian TV channel in December, beating out Carla Bruni, the Italian-born French first lady.

Seven of the 11 Facebook pages champion her innocence; four seem convinced that Knox is pure evil. A sampling of comments: "No to Amanda. No to her superstardom" ... "She's a sociopath" ..."Everyone is not sure if she is guilty or not and that she will lead us to a new existential awareness. Please shout with me your anger. ... Let's say no. Let's say Knox."

Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24, are charged with murdering and sexually assaulting one of Knox's roommates, British exchange student Meredith Kercher, on November 1, 2007. They have pleaded not guilty.

Knox and Sollecito are due back in court today. The last time Knox appeared before the panel of eight judges, she wore a T-shirt quoting The Beatles: "All you need is love."

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini alleges that Kercher, 21, was killed because she refused to participate in a drug-fueled sex game played by Knox, Sollecito, and a third man, Ivory Coast native Rudy Hermann Guede. In court papers, prosecutors stated that Sollecito held Kercher by her wrists while Knox poked at her with a knife and Guede sexually assaulted her.

The case is being tried in Perugia, a university town about 115 miles north of Rome that is better known for its chocolate than for its scandalous murder trials.

According to the prosecutor's office, Kercher had been in Italy for two months as part of a year-long course with Leeds University, where she was working toward a degree in European Studies. She shared a house with Knox, a University of Washington student in the same exchange program, and two Italian housemates.

The crime scene, which has become a tourist attraction, has been broken into twice, police say.

Knox and Sollecito were arrested November 6, 2007, and were kept in prison while an investigation continued. The judge overseeing the investigation found both were capable of committing the crime again, fleeing the country or tampering with the evidence.

Police sought charges in July 2008, and they were ordered to trial in October. The trial began January 16 and has been held mostly on weekends.

Italian newspapers assigned their top crime reporters, and the case has received unprecedented international coverage. Knox has appeared on the cover of People magazine, which shares a corporate parent with CNN.

A random sampling of women on the streets of Rome showed that all of them had heard of the case and most believed Knox and Sollecito were at the very least implicated in the slaying.

The superheated publicity surrounding the case helped make Knox a household name in Italy. She is usually portrayed as a femme fatale. Consider these headlines:

• "Sex, lies and stabbings"
• "Lovers without any inhibitions"
• "And in prison, she even tries to sun tan"

Italian journalists also have plastered their newspapers with photos they found of Knox on the Internet, especially images that showed her as a "wild girl." They pounced on the "Foxy Knoxy" they found on her MySpace page, even though her parents later explained the high school moniker came from the way Knox played soccer, quick like a fox.

Although Italian law limits the publication of court and police records, the media ban is less strict than in many European countries. While it is not exactly legal to publish police investigative reports, no journalist has gone to jail in Italy for doing it.

Among the items leaked: Knox's diary, various police interrogations, photos of Kercher's body, video of Kercher's body (which wound up on YouTube but has been pulled), and video of the Italian forensic police carrying out their investigation. Eventually, even the leaks made headlines, leading to more speculation.

Knox can do no right in the Italian media. If she appears reserved and timid in court, she is portrayed as someone with plenty to hide. If she smiles or laughs in court, she's called disrespectful. As far as the Italian media is concerned, Knox is the mastermind who manipulated those around her and seduced her Italian boyfriend and led him astray.

While Knox and Sollecito's preliminary hearings were being held in October, Guede was convicted of murder after a fast-track trial. His lawyers had hoped that the speedy resolution of the case would give him a break at sentencing. He got 30 years in prison.

According to testimony at Guede's trial, his fingerprints were found in the house, and his DNA was linked to Kercher's body. He has never denied being in the house the night of the slaying but insists he didn't kill her. He says he had an "appointment" with her that night and was in the bathroom when she was killed.

Sollecito and Knox say they weren't at the house the night of the slaying. They say they both were at Sollecito's house. But the alibi has been contradicted by witnesses at the trial.

Eighty-six media outlets sent 140 journalists to cover the opening of the trial in January, but publicity has waned since then. The Italian 24-hour news channel TG24 no longer breaks into its programming with multiple updates. Knox, for now, has been relegated to the pages preceding the sports or weather report.

But Italians love their murder cases, and attention has shifted to other crime news. A mother is accused of killing her toddler son, a husband and wife are accused of multiple killings. Their courtrooms are now filled with spectators who wait in line an hour or more.

The Perugia courtroom still is packed, but the long line is gone. That is likely to change, however, as testimony draws to a close next month.

Original Source :

Whitestone Bridge Accident

Whitestone Bridge Accident2 Hurt on Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.

An M.T.A. construction truck struck an overhead road sign on the Queens-bound plaza of the Whitestone Bridge at 1:10 p.m. on Friday, causing the steel sign structure to come crashing down on all six lanes and injuring two people who were on the truck, according to M.T.A. Bridges and Tunnels. The accident, which did not injure other passengers, the agency said, forced the immediate closure of the bridge. Cars were being rerouted to the Throgs Neck or Robert F. Kennedy Bridges just before the onslaught of Friday afternoon traffic.

The boom truck was driven by Alpha Painting and Construction Company, a contractor for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority hired to paint the bridge’s Queens and Bronx towers, according to Judie Glave, a spokeswoman for the authority. Two men sustained minor injuries, one had a head injury and another had a fracture leg, and both were taken to New York Queens Hospital.

“Right now we have our maintenance crews out there, they have to cut the metal part of the sign and remove it,” Ms. Glave said. “The hope is to get it open by rush hour.” She admitted that might be difficult.

George Attwal, a witness who said he was driving his Volkswagen Passat two cars behind the truck, described it as a pickup truck, with a cranelike operator in its bed, perhaps used like a cherry-picker to fix things, he said.

“I guess he forgot to lower it and it hit the roadway sign,” Mr. Attwal, 23, of Flushing, Queens, said in a telephone interview. “It collapsed right in front of us and two people fell off. They were standing in the back of the pickup. On person fell off and he rolled onto the road itself.”

Mr. Attwal, who was returning from a business call in New Jersey and headed to Long Island, said the accident “all happened within two seconds.” The car in front of him slammed on its brakes, and he hit his brakes hard to avoid a collision.

He estimated that the truck was going 15 to 20 miles an hour, but questioned why the two people would be outside on the bed of the truck.

Ms. Glave said she had no information about where the passengers of the truck were at the time. As soon as officials arrived on the scene, they directed Mr. Attwal to turn around and take the Throgs Neck Bridge.

The bridge was most recently closed in February during high winds when a tractor trailer overturned, Ms. Glave said.

Original Source :

Online Town Hall

Online Town HallPresident Obama today held what the White House says is the first-ever "online town hall" meeting by a president. As we've been reporting, the administration solicited questions at, and the president answered some of them during his live webcast.

You can watch here. We'll be updating this post with highlights. Click your refresh button occasionally to be sure you're seeing our latest additions.

1:05 p.m. ET: The town hall has generated many comments on this post. If you prefer a slightly different type of discussion about how it went, head over to our Forum.

12:51 p.m. ET. Obama concludes with an appeal:

"Thanks for paying attention," the president says as he wraps up, "and we need you guys to keep paying attention in the months and years to come."

According to White House spokesman Nick Shapiro, about 67,000 viewers were watching online as the town hall finished.

12:50 p.m. ET. Last question:

A member of the White House audience asks about the problem of "pre-existing conditions," which prevents some people from getting health insurance.

"Reform of the health care system has to address this issue and say 'we are going to allow anybody to get health insurance,' " Obama says. "And if you can't obtain it through a private plan there's going to be a public plan. ... That's a principle" of any reform.

Town_hall 12:42 p.m. ET: USA TODAY's Rich Wolf reports he's been told by White House spokesman Nick Shapiro that the current online audience for the town hall is about 64,000 viewers.

12:38 p.m. ET. The president continues to take questions from the invited guests at the White House. A teachers asks if members of her profession will be involved in discussions of how to improve the education system:

"Absolutely," says the president. "The teachers are the most important persons in the education system." Without teachers' input and buy-in, he adds, any reforms are "not going to work."

12:35 p.m. ET. Nurses:

Asked by a registered nurse from Maryland if members of her profession will be involved in developing plans for health care reform, Obama assures her they will.

"Frankly, it was the nurses that were there with us," he says about the birth of his daughters and seven-year-old Sasha's bout of meningitis when she was three months old.

"The more that we can deploy nurses as the troops on the front lines" of health care reform, the better, he says.

12:25 p.m. ET. The first question from someone in the audience at the White House: What specific steps do you see your administration taking to help the auto industry?

"I'm going to be making some announcements in the next several days about the auto industry," Obama says. It will be "an extensive answer."

Then he says that "it is appropriate for us to say, are there ways we can provide help for the U.S. auto industry? ... But the price is (they must) finally restructure to deal with (their) long-term problems."

If U.S. automakers aren't willing to make structural changes, Obama says, "then I'm not willing to have taxpayer money chase after bad money" by giving them additional help.

12:17 p.m. ET: Ohio college students ask in a video question about what can be done to reduce the cost of higher education.

The president talks about his administration's efforts to "make the student loan and student grant programs that are already in place work better."

One thing he wants to see done, Obama says, is to eliminate the system where banks act as middle men between government-guaranteed loans and the students who get them. "Let's make all these direct loans," from the government, he says. "That then allows us to lower student loan rates or expand grants" -- making college more affordable.


(Photo by Mandel Ngan of AFP/Getty Images.)

12:13 p.m. ET. Veterans' benefits:

What will he do to make sure members of the military and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan get the help they need?

"They have earned these benefits that all too often we fail to give them," Obama says. In an effort to change that, "we are increasing veterans' funding by more than any time in the last 30 years."

12:10 p.m. ET. A "no" to legalizing marijuana:

Obama notes that one of the most popular questions posed online was "whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation."

"I don't know what that says about the online audience," the president says with chuckle.

"The answer is no, I don't think that is a good strategy to grow our economy."

12:08 p.m. ET: Addressing the health care crisis, the president says that "I don't think the best way to fix our health care system is to scrap what everybody is accustomed to," most importantly a system built on employer-provided insurance. Instead, he says, the nation should "build on what we have ... and fill in the gaps."

12:01 p.m. ET: Continuing to talk about employment, Obama says that "I don't think we've lost all the jobs we're going to lose in this recession."

"Employment is typically a lagging indicator" of the economy's strength, he says, because businesses typically don't start hiring again until after they're sure that demand and other key indicators are on the rise.

The nation's jobless rate stood at 8.1% in February.

11:58 a.m. ET. A video question is shown from a woman who wants to know what the president is doing to keep jobs from going overseas:

Obama_1 "By fixing our education system ... reducing costs of health care ... (and) going after clean energy jobs" to put the economy on a more solid footing, Obama says, the U.S. can increase the number of high-skill, high-wage jobs.

"Our economy, if it's dependent on low-wage, low-skill labor, it's very difficult to hold on to those jobs," he says. "We've got to go after the high-skill jobs."

"The answer to the question is not all of these jobs are going to come back," he says of lower-wage positions.

(Photo by Ron Edmonds of the AP.)

11:53 a.m. ET. What benefits are in his programs "to those of us paying our mortgages, but living paycheck to paycheck," an online questioner has asked.

"There are whole lot of folks out there who aren't going to walk away from their homes ... but are getting killed" by falling home values, Obama says.

His efforts, says the president, have created a climate that has lowered mortgage rates and opened up FHA loans to give more homeowners a chance to refinance.

11:51 a.m. ET. The first question comes from Boston and is on the topic of education. How does the president plan to restore education as a right and a core cultural value?

"Too many of our children aren't getting (the) kind of education" they need, Obama says, for two reasons. "One, in many cases our schools are under-resourced. ... There's a second problem and it's one that money alone cannot solve. ... We have a school system designed for the agricultural era" that gives children three months off in the summer.

"The key thing to understand about our education system is that we need more resources and we need reform," Obama adds.

He stresses the importance of early childhood education, investing in teachers and investing in science. "It's going to take more money and more reform," and "openness to things like charter schools," the president says.

11:43 a.m. ET: The president continues with his opening remarks, which have focused on the steps his administration has taken in an effort to get the economy going again and the $3.6 trillion 2010 budget he's proposing. The message (he appears to be reading it) is very similar to recent speeches he's given and to the opening statement he gave at Tuesday night's prime-time news conference.

11:41 a.m. ET: The president says to those watching online that, "what matters to you is how you're going to find a job ... medical bills ... how you're going to put your child through college."

11:40 a.m. ET: Obama just came into the room. "I am thrilled that all of you here in the White House and everybody who is viewing this online is participating in this experiment we're trying out," he says.

11:38 a.m. ET: Jared Bernstein, Vice President Biden's chief economist, just came to the microphone. He's the emcee today. "Today, the president will focus on the economy," he says.

11:34 a.m. ET: "The program will begin in two minutes," the audience at the White House was just told.

11:32 a.m. ET: Things should be starting shortly.

Original Source :

Dan Seals

Dan SealsDan Seals, country-music star, dies at 61.

Sad news for country music fans: Daniel Wayland Seals, the Texas-born, CMA-award-winning singer who piled up 11 No. 1 songs between 1985 and 1990, passed away yesterday after a battle with mantle cell lymphoma. Initially known to pop fans as the "England Dan" half of England Dan and John Ford Coley, who had a No. 2 single in 1976 with the soft-rocking classic "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight," he went on to forge an impressive solo career in Nashville.

Over 16 studio albums, the gentle, bearded crooner in the ten-gallon hat produced some 20 hits, including "Bop," the duet "Meet Me In Montana" with Marie Osmond," "Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold)" and "You Still Move Me." Music clearly runs in the family: Older brother Jim was in Seals & Crofts, and several cousins are well-known country singers and songwriters. Seals' final studio album, Make It Home, was released in 2002. Messages of condolence are being forwarded to his family at

Original Source :


Peloop™ is a revolutionary new form of male enhancement.
Peloop™ is an adjustable Silicone ring, which is made by combining Tourmaline and Germanium with Silicone and is worn around the base of the penis. The ring also has a small powerful magnet contained within it.

The process of using magnets to help the body has been used for many years in the form of bracelets, earrings and other jewellery to treat pains, osteoarthritis, blood circulation and many other ailments. Peloop™ takes this kind of therapy to a brand new level.

The use of the magnet within peloop™ benefits the blood when entering the penis, by helping to separate the actual blood cells, giving them the ability to carry more oxygen to the surrounding tissues, and also allows the blood vessels to widen, which dramatically increases the blood flow. The unique way that peloop™ works, by conditioning the blood entering the penis, makes this a completely natural form of penis enlargement.

The use of Tourmaline and Germanium contained within the Silicone ring itself help by emitting negative ions, which work to neutralize acidic levels in the bloodstream, and Far Infra-Red Rays which cleanse and increase the production of cells inside your penis. The ring is very comfortable to wear and easily adjustable.

Throughout the ages there has always been the question of “Does Size Matter?” Well, many people have aired their opinions on the subject, some say that size does matter and some say that it doesn’t. It all depends on the individual, if size matters to YOU, then peloop™ could be the solution you have been waiting for.

Discover a natural form of male enhancement that involves NO discomfort, NO surgery and NO use of weights or other penis stretching devices (which can actually damage your penis). Peloop™ will help to change your sex life for the better.

Denver International Airport

Denver International AirportPoor weather conditions are causing delays at Denver International Airport today. Denver International Airport weather for today is the following:

Delays by Destination [DENVER]:

* Due to WEATHER / LOW CEILINGS, departure traffic destined to Newark International Airport, Newark, NJ (EWR) is currently experiencing delays averaging 1 hour and 27 minutes.
* Due to WEATHER / LOW CEILINGS, departure traffic destined to La Guardia Airport, New York, NY (LGA) is currently experiencing delays averaging 55 minutes.
* Due to WEATHER / LOW CEILINGS, departure traffic destined to Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia, PA (PHL) is currently experiencing delays averaging 2 hours and 32 minutes.

General Departure Delays: Traffic is experiencing gate hold and taxi delays lasting 15 minutes or less.

The National Weather Service is reporting the following conditions:

Conditions at

2009.03.26 1601 UTC
Wind from the ENE (070 degrees) at 24 MPH (21 KT) gusting to 29 MPH (25 KT)
Visibility 1 mile(s)
Sky conditions overcast
Weather Light snow
Precipitation last hour A trace
Temperature 26 F (-3 C)
Windchill 10 F (-12 C)
Dew Point 24 F (-4 C)
Relative Humidity 92%
Pressure (altimeter) 29.7 in. Hg (1005 hPa)

Original Source :

Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury'BLITHE' Star Angela Lansbury Featured in WSJ.

Angela Lansbury is appearing in the current revival of Blithe Spirit which began preview performances on Thursday, February 26, 2009 and had an official opening on Sunday, March 15, 2009 at The Shubert Theatre (225 West 44th Street).

Stage legend Lansbury is profiled in an a wonderful article in the Wall Street Journal, she gives a witty and candid interview on her return to Broadway.

She tells the WSJ that, "To have this opportunity at my time of life and career, it was too good to pass up,"adding "Having done the other roles I have -- let's say it was a natural for me."

To read the full article click here.

Angela Lansbury, who last appeared on Broadway in Deuce, has enjoyed a career without precedent. Her professional career spans more than a half-century, during which she has flourished, first as a star of motion pictures, then as a four-time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical star and most recently as the star of "Murder, She Wrote," the longest-running detective drama series in the history of television. The actress made her Broadway debut in 1957 when she starred as Bert Lahr's wife in the French farce, Hotel Paradiso. In 1960, she returned to Broadway as Joan Plowright's mother in the season's most acclaimed drama, A Taste of Honey, by Shelagh Delaney. One year later, she starred on Broadway in her first musical, Anyone Can Whistle. Lansbury returned to New York in triumph in 1966 as Mame, for which she won the first of her unprecedented four Tony Awards as Best Actress in a Musical. She received the others as the Madwoman of Chaillot in Dear World (1968), as Mama Rose in the 1974 revival of Gypsy and as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd (1979). From 1984-1996 she starred as Jessica Fletcher, mystery-writing amateur sleuth, on "Murder, She Wrote," for which she won four Golden Globe Awards. In 1982, she was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, and in 1994 she was named a Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. Angela and her husband Peter were married in 1949. They worked together until Peter's death in January 2003. Angela has three grown children, Deirdre, Anthony and David, and three grandchildren.

Tickets for Blithe Spirit can be purchased by visiting or calling 212-239-6200 in the New York area, and 800-432-7250 outside the New York metro area,

Original Source :

IBM Layoffs

IBM LayoffsMore IBM Layoffs Coming?

Even as it is in talks to acquire Sun Microsystems, it is looking increasingly like IBM is set to announce another round of layoffs. Layoffs are expected in the IBM Global Business Services group and the Global Technology Services group, among possible others.

Even as it is in talks to acquire Sun Microsystems, it is looking increasingly like IBM is set to announce another round of layoffs.

The Wall Street Journal reported on March 25 that IBM "is expected to inform a large number of U.S. employees in its global-business services unit that their jobs are being eliminated, with the work of many of them being transferred to IBM employees in India..."

And according to the Alliance@IBM, an organization promoting the unionization of IBM employees, IBM is planning to cut several jobs on March 26 in such locations as Denver and Hartford, Conn., particularly regarding a services contract supporting The Hartford insurance company.

Also, according to a letter to IBM managers obtained by the Alliance@IBM, IBM officials said:

"Starting next week several Hartford delivery teams will be working directly with fellow IBM team members from India to begin the second phase of our Global delivery solution planned for the Hartford account. The teams will be engaged in a multi-week effort to facilitate knowledge transfer to prepare for migration of specific work activities to global delivery counterparts later in 2009. Your continued support and leadership is critical to ensure our overall success and to ensure we continue to deliver high quality cost effective solutions that IBM committed to the Hartford. Please ensure you and your teams actively support this effort."

IBM already has laid off nearly 5,000 workers. Yet the company is reportedly in negotiations to acquire Sun, which itself has announced plans to cut its workforce by up to 6,000 employees.

Meanwhile, in, one anonymous commenter on March 25 said: "I talked to two different Band 10s in IBM Global Business Services yesterday who have both said that tomorrow will be a big day for firing in almost all of the GBS business units. Both of them are expecting that they will be cut because the percentages are going to be higher at the higher levels. Both made reference to this could be called a black Thursday. I know that several employees have been contacted by their manager to have a short meeting that day."

Yet, in response to some of the anti-offshoring backlash, another commenter who identified themselves as "Raju," said:

"I am part of IBM India's 2000 new hires. Hired at approximately 5000 dollars per year salary. This 2000 hires would approximately support 50,000 people in the economy. Many folks will eat a good meal. IBM might be laying off folks in high cost countries but it is doing lot of good in cheaper economies. So, if you count the people affected in a positive way by IBM, I would say IBM is doing a lot of good. And, remember IBM is a global company. It answers to all of humanity, not just to US citizens. God help us all to make this world a better place to live."

Original Source :