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El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco
Big lines today for El Pollo Loco 2-chicken freebie.

El Pollo Loco seems to have won Round 1 in the initial battle of the birds contest with KFC.

While all was quiet yesterday when KFC was giving away its free grilled chicken, I’m hearing reports today of long lines at El Pollo Loco restaurants in Orange County. The Costa Mesa-based chain is giving away two pieces of chicken (a leg and thigh) until 8 p.m. today.

The offer is good for dine-in only, so don’t bother getting in a drive-through.

I just got back from an El Pollo Loco in Orange, where the parking lot was jammed as cars tried to find a spot. To control lines inside the restaurant, customers were forced to wait outside. Still, my store seemed to be prepared. I got in and out within 15 minutes.

While waiting for my meal, I chatted with Jacob, Brenda and Miguel Alvarado. The family (shown above) didn’t know about the deal, but was happy to take advantage.

“We lucked out,” said Miguel.

El Pollo Loco said the chain was “thrilled” with the popularity of the Taste the Fire event, an expensive marketing tactic aimed at deflecting buzz away from KFC’s new grilled chicken.

“It’s all hands on deck today in our restaurants and we expect to be able to handle the crowds,” El Pollo Loco spokeswoman Julie Weeks said.

In case restaurants run out of chicken, which is not likely, Weeks said restaurants are prepared to issue “rain checks” just in case.

Tip: For $1, El Pollo Loco will add a small side or small drink to your Freebie Meal today.

Baskin-Robbins freebie alert: Don’t forget: On April 29, Baskin-Robbins will offer customers a 2.5 ounce scoop of ice cream for 31 cents. Deal good from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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David Poole

David PooleLongtime Writer David Poole Passes Away. would like to extend its condolences to the family of motorsports journalist David Poole. The 50-year-old writer passed away Tuesday at his home in Stanfield, N.C. as a result of a heart attack.

One of the most prominent voices in the NASCAR media, David Poole lived and breathed racing. Born in Gastonia, N.C. Poole covered NASCAR for the Charlotte Observer for thirteen seasons and served as the host on “The Morning Drive” weekday mornings on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio. A student of the sport, Poole did everything he could to learn all he could about the history of NASCAR. The four-time winner of the NMPA George Cunningham Award – which recognizes the organization’s writer of the year – Poole had a presence in the media center unlike anyone.

While this writer is fairly new to the close-knit world of the NASCAR media, David Poole was always someone I have looked up to. From my early days in New Jersey, I would somehow get my hands on Poole’s commentaries, insights and race reviews to get the inside scoop.

When I first got the chance to do what I do today, I found myself in a media center unsure of what to do, where to go or what to say. Sitting only a few chairs to my left, David Poole served as one of the leading examples of what a true motorsports journalist is supposed to be.

His unique voice and incredible style will be greatly missed, but perhaps much more will be his presence amongst his peers.

"The NASCAR community is stunned and saddened by the loss of David Poole," Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO said in a statement. "David was as passionate about NASCAR as anyone and had very definitive opinions about the sport. He served the industry, and most importantly the fans, through his reporting and commentary in the Charlotte Observer and Sirius Satellite Radio. Our thoughts and prayers go out to David's family and friends. He will be missed."

Cheryl Carpenter, Observer Managing Editor offered these words, “David’s expertise and character have become part of racing’s story.”

Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.

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Swine Flu Orlando

Swine Flu OrlandoNo Swine Flu Orlando!

Reports of Swine Flu at Disney in Orlando Florida are not confirmed, says reports. Swine Flu in Orlando Florida reports swirled out of control shortly pass 2 PM EST Tuesday.

To recap, Dr. Loran Hauck, Chief Medical Officer at Florida Hospital had first said in an email:

“a case was diagnosed here in Orlando today on a tourist from Mexico who came to Disney attractions two days ago to visit.”

But that was reportedly followed up by a quick press conference today to correct that email by saying - no - there are no confirmed cases of swine flu in Orlando

“In this case, if it was implied that it was swine flu, that was a misstatement. We have not had any confirmations from the CDC. We’ve had two or three cases of positive influenza. We should know about these in 48 hours.”

Again, Florida state officials say there is no confirmation, emphasis confirmation, as they are awaiting testing.

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Shadow Hare

Shadow HareMan Buys Unitard, Declares Himself a Superhero.

This is either really, really noble -- or really, really stupid. Or both.

Some gangly dude in a spandex outfit who calls himself the "Shadow Hare" is roaming the streets of Cincinnati -- dedicated to ridding the city of evil-doers. Seriously.

Here's the catch -- he's 21-years-old, he's built like a math tutor, and he has no known super powers.

But Shadow Hare -- who refuses to reveal his true identity -- still bravely/stupidly patrols the streets, carrying legal items like handcuffs, tasers and pepper spray.

The guy even busted his shoulder trying to stop a guy from beating up a woman. And he hands out food to the homeless.

But he's not alone -- Shadow claims he's part of the "Allegiance of Heroes" which includes Aclyptico in Pennsylvania, Wall Creeper in Colorado and Master Legend in Florida.

Shadow Hare recently told WLWT that he's even teamed up with Mr. Extreme in California to "track down a rapist."

So the big question -- is he noble for standing up for good and trying to protect his community ... or is he just some delusional moron who's gonna hurt himself?

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Arlen Specter

Arlen SpecterArlen Spector to Switch Parties: Reaction.

Democrats Nearing a 60-Vote, Filibuster-Proof Senate Majority.

Larry J. Sabato, political analyst and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, was online Tuesday, April 28, at 2:30 p.m. ET to discuss Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's decision to switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.

Sabato is the author of the new book, "The Year of Obama: How Barack Obama Won the White House," released last week.


Larry J. Sabato: Hello to all. It's another exciting day in politics on Obama's 99th. I'm here to answer questions on, and also listen to what you have to say about, Arlen Specter. His switch to the Democratic party has been rumored as a possibility for some time--but clearly came as a surprise anyway. Larry Sabato


Claverack, N.Y.: Should we assume Gov. Rendell has assured the senator he'll have an uncontested Democratic primary? Otherwise Sen. Specter would run into the same primary problems he had with Toomey on the right, only from the left.

Larry J. Sabato: Great question. I am wondering the same. But I believe we are safe in assuming that Specter and Rendell have talked, and both know how to make a deal. Remember, Rendell had given just a token contribution to one D candidate, and he wasn't much enthused about the field. Rendell can't empty the D field for Specter, but he can sure help Specter win the primary.


Charlottesville, Va.: What significance does the timing of Specter's switch have? Why do it now, as opposed to earlier this year? Why not wait until closer to November?


Larry J. Sabato: This gives the Democratic activists time to adjust, and it gives Gov. Rendell time to work whatever magic is needed. Remember, the GOP right may hate Specter, but the D activists don't love him either. He votes their way some of the time, and they'd prefer a senator who was with them over 90% of the time. Let's see what changes appear in Specter's Senate voting record in the months to come. Card-check won't change, Specter says, but there may be some other concessions to Democrats.


WDC: What does this mean for the Senator's committee assignments? What will his role be on the Judiciary Comittee?

Larry J. Sabato: I can only assume that Harry Reid has promised to secure those assignments and guarantee Specter's seniority, but we'll have to wait for an announcement.


Cincinnati, Ohio: Do you expect Specter's switch to spark more antagonism between Senate Republicans and Democrats? Could we end up just as divided as during the Bush years, or is this a wake-up call to overhaul the Republican party's substance and not just its image?

Larry J. Sabato: The antagonism level, already high, will just remain there. The second part of your question is key. How did the Republicans lose the 60th vote (Franken is already #59, just not sworn in yet)? They lost it because the very conservative GOP base of activists wouldn't even listen to Sen. John Cornyn, a dyed-in-the-wool Texas conservative who heads up the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He tried to get Pat Toomey NOT to challenge Specter in the 2010 GOP primary, because he knew Toomey was a November loser and only Specter could hold the seat for the GOP. Did they listen? Is the Pope Samoan? And now yet another Senate seat is gone with the wind for the GOP.

Perhaps I should say the Republicans shot themselves in the foot--but they ran out of feet a long time ago. If this kind of stupidity continues, the Republican party will be a rump instead of a party. That's bad news for all of us, even the partisan Democrats (who won't agree). Neither party can be trusted with complete power over time. Arrogance and corruption always develop when one party is guaranteed dominance. We need two strong, competitive parties. But the GOP can't be that until it remembers a metaphor provided by nature: Neither a bird not a party can soar with just one wing.


Westlake Village, Calif.: Hi, Larry! Is there any reason to suspect that more NE Republicans (i.e., the ladies from Maine) may be thinking of following Specter's lead? Is there any inkling that more Republican congressmen outside the South may begin thinking along these lines?

Larry J. Sabato: Smart question. Here's the logical answer: If Maine's conservative Republicans decide to challenge either Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins (just reelected) in a future GOP primary, and polling shows they are in trouble, then they can run as Independents or switch to the Democratic party. Believe it or not, there are plenty of GOP base activists who would gladly see their party lose the two Maine seats so the party could be even more 'pure'.


Charlotte, NC: Will Specter have trouble adjusting to life in a different party? How have others dealt with a switch in the past?

Larry J. Sabato: There will be some bumps but let's remember, politicians switch parties for two reasons: (1) They will be happier in the other party ideologically; and (2) They will have better job security. Sounds like a formula for happiness to me!


Fort Mill, S.C.: Doesn't the party in power typically lose seats in midterm elections? Why is there no discussion around that as the "filibuster proof" majority is talked about in the media as it relates to Sen. Spector?

Larry J. Sabato: I encourage you to read my Crystal Ball,, where we recently did a three-part analysis of the 2010 Senate contests. Democrats have quite a good chance to add Senate seats next year. It's really because of the specific states coming up and the pattern of GOP retirements. But in the House, the Republicans ought to be able to add some House seats, though no one currently believes they have any real chance at a takeover. We'll see. It's too early to know the conditions that will prevail in November 2010.


Eau Claire, Wisc.: Sen. Specter has stated he is opposed to the Employee Free Choice Act. Does his decision to switch parties make it more likely he could vote for this bill?

Larry J. Sabato: All I know is that Sen. Specter said today he will continue to oppose the bill in its current form.


Atlanta: With so much at stake with regard to the massive expansion of government pushed by the President and the fact that this move will give the Democrats the opportunity to pass nearly any legislation they want, shouldn't Specter have resigned his seat and then Pennsylvania could have held a special election, in which he could have run as a Democrat?

It just seems unfair to the country that one Senator decides to switch parties and the possibilities of what can and cannot be passed changes dramatically. This almost makes Specter one of the most powerful people in Washington as he himself can decide what passes or doesn't, or at least what comes to a vote or not.

Larry J. Sabato: Strom Thurmond (SC) did that in the early 1950s, but normally, when senators from either party switch parties, they do not resign. Gee, I wonder why?


Soon to be Independent: I have to say I identify with Sen Spector. I have been a Republican my entire adult life. But because I have libertarian views on social issues (I think government should not try to legislate morality), I would be considered a RINO, as Spector was often called. Do the Republicans realize they are dirving many Foreign Policy and Economic conservatives out of the party because of our social views? If only social conservatives are left, than the party will be completely irrelevant.

Larry J. Sabato: Many GOP leaders with whom I have spoken understand exactly what you have just expressed. But they fear the GOP right-wing base in their own states and districts. They can be challenged in party primaries and conventions from the right, and lose. But they are fiddling while the GOP's Rome burns.


as a Democrat: I'm amused by the concept of a filibuster proof majority. Since when have the Democrats done anything in lockstep? That's one area where the Republicans have managed their members better than we have. So while it's something to trumpet, it probably will never happen.

Larry J. Sabato: Good point. The Democrats theoretically have 60 votes to shut down a filibuster (after Franken is sworn in). And I theoretically could choose to retire this year, despite the size of my 101k (formerly my 401k).


Bethesda, Md.: What's the latest on the Franken seat? And any chance either of the Maine senators or other moderate GOP will jump?

Larry J. Sabato: I am fond of Minnesota and have many friends there, but no one is going to tell me they have a recount system that works. I'll bet most people in MN wish they had had a run-off election like Georgia did last November, or maybe even instant run-off (rank-ordering the candidates at the first election). But it is too late for that! The MN Supreme Court is taking its nice sweet time about Norm Coleman's appeal, and it is going to be probably another 6 weeks before a resolution.

No, I don't think Snowe or Collins will switch unless, like Specter, they are pushed by the right.


Washington, DC: Specter published an article today taking issue with how powerful the office of the president has become. Does that mean he's likely to ensure tough hearings on President Obama's judicial appointments? Are there any other ways that this balance-of-powers issue he wants to advance may cause troubles for the President, even though they're now of the same party?

Larry J. Sabato: Specter can be a contrarian, and you never know, but somehow I'll bet he becomes quite accommodating on most issues to the Democrats and the Obama administration. He isn't going to want to stir up a D primary challenger for himself next year.

Come to think of it, Specter's timing delivers a 100th day-eve anniversary present to President Obama. And you want to tell me that's a coincidence?


Washington, DC: I wonder Sen. Specter considered that at his age of 79, it's time to think of retirement and moving aside to let the chips fall where they may. I'm happy to see Democrats gain strength, but not about the fossilization of our political structures.

Larry J. Sabato: As you know, we now have the oldest Senate in American history (average age). Thanks to us, the taxpayers, senators have the nicest retirement home in America. What a sweet life--and power, too!


Orono, Maine: Larry,

The chances that either Snowe or Collins will switch is pretty minimal. There are still moderate Republicans here and both are extremely popular.

My question is what does this for the Minnesota Senate seat that's currently in litigation.

Larry J. Sabato: Agreed on Collins and Snowe, as I said earlier.

For MN, the GOP already had all the incentive it needed to draw out the proceedings for as long as possible. This really doesn't add much more.


Minneapolis: Can we expect to see Specter break from some of his previous positions as part of the deal to bring him over? I assume that Specter must be willing to toe the party line on some issues in order to make it worthwhile to clear the field in 2010.

Larry J. Sabato: I'd love to know the deal, but don't. We'll just have to watch Specter's voting record as it evolves--and maybe wait for the leaky sieve called Capitol Hill to deliver some gossip.


Naive human interest questions: Does this mean Specter has to change his office space? How about staff, will he have to fire and rehire? How does it work on the Senate floor, does a desk physically get moved over to the other side?

Larry J. Sabato: It's highly doubtful that this will force Specter to do much of anything in terms of offices and seniority. Some Republican staffers will almost certainly leave him; otherwise they will switch parties, too.

As far as his desk, with tongue only half in cheek, I'd recommend Specter seat himself in the middle of the Democratic majority to insure his physical safety.


Minneapolis: Doesn't the fact that the Democrats are willing to take in Specter -- who voted for the war in Iraq, for the Military Commissions Act, for the renewal of the Patriot Act, for telecom immunity, for NSA warrantless wiretapping, and for the Bush tax cuts -- say as much about the desire for raw power among Democrats as it does about the conventional wisdom about the Republicans losing the "moderates"?

Larry J. Sabato: Sure, you can draw that conclusion. But the American party system, as opposed to the classical British party system of Edmund Burke, is all about winning. Score a big one for the Dems, subtract a big one for the GOP.


Hampton, Va.: Professor Sabato,

Do you think Specter will face any difficulties in being reelected as a Democrat?

Larry J. Sabato: This is a test for Gov. Ed Rendell, Sen. Bob Menendez of the Dem Senatorial Committee, and others. Can they clear the field of POTENT challengers? We'll see. But remember, as long as Pat Toomey is the GOP nominee, count this one in the Democratic column come November 2010, whether the D is Specter or another prominent Democrat.


Suburban DC: What bills are more likely to get through now come June when Franken is seated (climate change, a free choice bill without a card check, health care, etc.)? Also with this switch how much will NIH's budget increase? I am assuming his medical causes will be assured proper funding.

Larry J. Sabato: Again, this is so new I don't have the answers for you. My instinct tells me that Democrats will be marginally better off in getting their agenda passed, but let's keep in mind that Specter already has a lot of influence and seniority, and he already defects to the Dems on some big ticket items. Is this a revolution in the Senate? No. It really has greater implications for the sad state of the Republican party, and the GOP's inability to make room for a moderate and independent corps of officeholders and voters that can actually get it back into power in the future.

We have a party-and-a-half system right now, instead of a healthy two-party system.


Washington, D.C.: Has Specter already switched parties or is he just planning to do so in time for the 2010 election?

Larry J. Sabato: Specter's statement speaks of the switch both in the present tense, and also as an intent to run in the D primary in 2010. But can you really imagine Republicans letting him into their next caucus lunch? From their perspective, he's a traitor and a spy. He'd better be well armed if he goes.


Alexandria, Va.: Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele made the following statement about Specter's decision:

" Some in the Republican Party are happy about this. I am not. Let's be honest-Senator Specter didn't leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record."

Do you think that kind of statement will help the GOP gain new support ? How long do you think Steele will be around ? And who is the real GOP leader ?

Larry J. Sabato: And in Steele's statement, we find the GOP's problem in a nutshell--just as I've already described.

A large majority of the Republican leaders who are out-front on TV or grabbing the headlines as "leaders" are old divisive faces from the past, not fresh younger faces of the future. Until that changes, expect the GOP to make little progress in changing its image.


Reading, Pa.: People in Pennsylvania are not dumb or forgetful. We know what a Republican lapdog Arlen has been all these many years. He was a Nixon defender for goodness sake. I'm as yellow dog as they come but no way in hell will I vote for this jerk.

Larry J. Sabato: It will be interesting to see how many Democrats feel the way you do in PA, and whether they sponsor a strong, well funded candidate in the D primary in 2010.


Wait, what?: The Democrats could reject his switch? That makes no sense. They could certainly reject working with him but they can't refuse someone entry into the party can they?

Larry J. Sabato: Of course they will welcome him with open arms. But that doesn't mean the D party activists in PA will necessarily re-nominate him for the Senate in 2010. We'll see.


San Jose, Calif.: Could a libertarian and nonreligious party rise from the ashes of the Republican party - either a new party, a splinter off the Democrats, or a nonreligious Republican party? Or is this just a pipe dream?

Larry J. Sabato: I heard this in the 60s after Goldwater. I heard it in the 70s after Watergate. I'm hearing it again. Most observers would say no, but maybe the third time is the charm.


Tipping point?: Any clue what finally pushed Sen. Spector over the edge? (Snowe says she's "devastate" and Brownback says he's "stunned" so they were not confidants prior to the big switch.)

Larry J. Sabato: About a dozen public and private polls that showed he would lose overwhelmingly in the 2010 GOP primary that would be dominated by right-wing activists.

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2009 Kentucky Derby Contenders

2009 Kentucky Derby ContendersKentucky Derby 2009 Contenders, Entries, Favorites Odds Preview: On Sunday morning, the Kentucky Derby 2009 added a new member to this year’s race at Churchill Downs. A bronze, 1500-pound statue honoring the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbado was unveiled today in the same place where he became a legend almost three years ago.

Barbado spent the last 8 months of his life battling to stay alive after braking down during the Preakness in 2006. The horse’s struggles brought renewed attention to track safety and breeding practices in horse racing that will help all future Kentucky Derby entries.

The 135th edition of the Kentucky Derby will take over the headlines on May 2nd beginning at 6 PM ET (3 PM PT) and it can be seen live in High Definition on ABC-Sports. Gate assignments for all 2009 Kentucky Derby contenders will be drawn this Wednesday. Going into this year’s Kentucky Derby, another thoroughbred is getting all the media and fan attention, but for all the right reasons. “I Want Revenge” is listed among the top Kentucky Derby favorites and has been listed at 11 to 4 odds by online racebook

This week, all of the various 2009 Kentucky Derby entries hit the track at Churchill Downs to get in one of their final major workouts before the race on May 2 but all eyes will be on "I Want Revenge". Last Tuesday, the 3-year-old colt covered five furlongs in 1:01 3-5 seconds with jockey Joe Talamo (19 years old). Despite the track being a little muddy from heavy downpour the day before, I Want Revenge trainer Jeff Mullins said he was pleased with the practices.

At, oddsmakers have put together a great batch of Sports Odds to make your 2009 Kentucky Derby odds wagering experience a memorable one. Will any horse win the 2009 Triple Crown? Is a question oddsmakers at want to know! What do you think? Here’s a hint: Yes [+600 ML], No [-1000 ML] .

Here’s another great one: What will be the Kentucky Derby 2009 Official Winning Time? OVER 2:01.60 [-190 ML] or UNDER 2:01.60 [+155 ML]? Can’t get enough Kentucky Derby 2009? Fine, I will give you one more: What will be the Kentucky Derby 2009 Winning Saddlecloth Number? Would it be Odd Number [-120] or perhaps an Even Number [-120]?

Here are other notable betting odds on the top 2009 Kentucky Derby contenders from online racebook


DUNKIRK [11:2]



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Jayson Williams

Jayson WilliamsEx-Nets star Jayson Williams 'suicidal' at Manhattan hotel; Tasered after showdown with NYPD cops.

Cops Tasered ex-NBA star Jayson Williams Monday after the troubled hoopster went nuts in his luxury Manhattan hotel room, police sources said.

The popular New Jersey Nets center, who beat the rap trial for shooting his chauffeur in 2002, was rushed to St. Vincent's Hospital in handcuffs after cops found suicide notes and empty bottles of pills in his room, sources said.

"He was barricaded, drinking, taking pills. He was overwhelmed," a police source said. "It all came crashing down."

Police were called to the Hilton Embassy Suites in Battery Park City at 4 a.m., after a female friend called security to report a disturbance in Williams' 15th-floor suite, the sources said.

Williams, 41, trashed his room, forcing Emergency Service Unit officers to subdue the former All-Star with a Taser gun, sources said. It took two sets of handcuffs to restrain the husky star, cops said.

Cops found several suicide notes, including a message scrawled on the wall. They said he was distraught over his divorce, his parents' illnesses and his impending retrial in the chauffeur-shooting case.

Guests arrived home to find the posh hotel transformed into a crime scene. "There were about cop cars and an ambulance outside," said Annette Peters, 29, of Minneapolis.

It was not immediately known if he injured himself or if he was armed.

A few hours later, Williams' manager insisted the troubled ex-athlete was on the mend.

"Jayson is doing fine. He said he was fine," said Akhtar Farzaie, his manager and friend, outside the hospital emergency room. "All of us are here to be by his side as friends."

His ex-wife, Tanya Young Williams, also arrived at the hospital to join him.

In 2002, Williams was charged with gunning down 55-year-old limo driver Costas "Gus" Christofi at the former player's sprawling "Who Knew?" estate in Alexandria Township, N.J.

Williams, who was hosting a party for a charity basketball game that included several Harlem Globetrotters, had hired to Christofi to drive for the event.

Prosecutors charged that Williams was goofing off with a shotgun while giving a tour of this palatial home and the weapon went off, killing Christofi.

"I always expected that he would do something violent again if he wasn't stopped," said Andrea Adams, Christofi's sister. "He's very careless. He's violent and he doesn't care."

Williams was cleared of the most serious charges. The jury deadlocked on the count of reckless manslaughter.

In 2006, a New Jersey appeals court ruled Williams could be retried on that charge. No trial date has been set. The hoop star paid Christofi's family $2.75 million to settle a wrongful death suit.

"He had a lot of demons, a dark side that would surface every now and then," said a person who knew Williams when he played eight seasons for New Jersey.

The Nets source said Williams is usually a gregarious and fun-loving person, but seems to need a structured lifestyle.

"He needs something to fill his time," the source said. "You hate to see him hurt himself, but this was a guy with a lot of demons."

Earlier this year, Williams' estranged wife claimed in divorce papers he once threatened to kill her and their two daughters.

Tanya Young Williams claimed in court papers that her husband punched out a car window while the couple's daughters sat inside and hurt himself while coming home drunk.

Williams, who became a city high school basketball star at Christ the King High School in Queens, went on to star at St. John's University. He was drafted in the first round of the 1990 NBA draft and debuted with the Philadelphia 76ers. He blossomed into a star with the New Jersey Nets after a 1992 trade and remains one of the franchise's all-time leading rebounders.

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Mexico City Earthquake

Mexico City EarthquakeMagnitude 5.6 Earthquake Hits Mexico.

A 5.6 magnitude earthquake shook Mexico City early Monday afternoon, sending frightened residents into the streets and saturating phone lines, but causing no apparent significant damage.

The quake rattled nerves of Mexicans already coping with an outbreak of the swine flu that has killed an estimated 149 people.

The combination of the higher death toll from the flu and the quake weakened the peso, which had lost nearly 5% from Friday's close to MXN13.975 per U.S. dollar.

The quake briefly interrupted a press conference in which Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova was giving an update on the flu emergency situation.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter was in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero, home to the resort of Acapulco, which lies roughly 360 kilometers from Mexico City.

The earthquake's depth made serious damage less likely, said Jim Dewey, a research geophysicist with USGS.

"Certainly strong shaking could be perceived, but it wouldn't likely cause extensive damage," Dewey said. "It was 25 miles deep, so that puts some distance between it and the surface of the ground."

Telephone service in parts of Mexico City was lost briefly. A spokesman for phone company Telefonos de Mexico (TMX) said lines were temporarily saturated with call volume, as usually happens after earthquakes, and that there was no reported damage to exchanges.

Mexicans, accustomed to earthquakes, largely shrugged off the tremor, worried more about the killer flu. "Ah, we're accustomed to earthquakes around here," said Leopoldo Garcia, a 70-year-old retiree walking around the city.

Mexican state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos is operating normally despite an earthquake that hit Mexico Monday and the flu outbreak, said a company spokesman.

"We haven't seen any damage yet," said the spokesman, adding that the company is still checking for earthquake damage and that it's premature to rule out any incidents.

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Ellis Hobbs

Ellis HobbsEllis Hobbs analysis.

The Patriots’ logjam at cornerback has been broken with today’s trade of Ellis Hobbs to the Philadelphia Eagles for two 2009 fifth-round draft choices (which were later traded).

A starter in 2008, Hobbs was set to return to a crowded situation this season. Competition figured to be fierce at the position.

The Patriots drafted cornerback Darius Butler in the second round, signed Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden in free agency, and had 2008 draft picks Terrence Wheatley (2nd round) and Jonathan Wilhite (4th round) returning to the fold.

Springs would seemingly be a lock for one starting spot, with Hobbs probably battling Bodden and Wheatley for the other. Either Bodden or Hobbs would then compete with Butler and Wilhite as slot options.

The Patriots’ secondary struggled last season – the team was 26th of 32 teams on third down – and this trade seems to reflect how the Patriots felt Hobbs contributed to that statistic.

Finances also could have been a factor here.

After reaching escalators in his contract, Hobbs was due to earn $2.54 million this season. This is the last year of his contract.

One other note on this trade: The Patriots lose their top kickoff returner.

Original Source :

Hampton University Shooting

Hampton University Shooting3 Va. men hurt in shooting at Hampton University.

Officials say three men are hospitalized after an overnight shooting in a dormitory at Hampton University in Virginia.

Police say the suspect is an 18-year-old Richmond man who shot a 62-year-old Hampton man and a 43-year-old Hampton man and then turned the gun on himself. No students were injured.

School spokeswoman Yuri Rodgers Milligan says that police believe the shooter is a former student, and that one victim is the night manager of Harkness Hall.

Officials do not know the motive for the shooting, reported around 1 a.m.

All students, faculty and staff were notified about the situation via text message and e-mail.

The school remained on lockdown Sunday morning while police investigated.

Hampton University is a private school with about 5,700 students.

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Kraig Urbik

Kraig UrbikTwo holes fixed early on second day.

The Steelers addressed some specific needs with their first two picks of the third round. Updates will be provided throughout the day.

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers moved to improve their dreadful short-yardage run game by making Wisconsin guard Kraig Urbik their first pick of the second day of the draft.

Urbik is a 6-5 ¼, 328 pounder who was a four-year starter at Wisconsin, where he played right tackle as a redshirt freshman before moving to right guard. He made 45 consecutive starts and was going for the school record of 50 when he injured his knee last season against Penn State and missed two games.

Urbik finished the season by being named second team All-Big Ten Conference for the second time. He’s an alert, strong, durable, versatile and hard-working player. He’s not considered a mobile, get-to-the-second-level player, but Urbik will add necessary muscle up front.

“I love him,” said Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. “Big, tough, nasty. If you watch him play one-on-one, you’re not going to pick him on your team. But it’s about playing together and this kid understands football.”

Arians said that Urbik will also learn the center position to give him the versatility of playing four positions, but Arians also said that Urbik will compete for the starting right guard position this season.

With the second pick of the third round, the Steelers drafted a more exciting player in Ole Miss wide receiver/return specialist Mike Wallace, a 6-0 3/8, 199-pounder with 4.31 speed and a vertical jump of 40 inches.

“He’s a burner,” Arians said. “He’s not gone over the middle a lot but he’s an outside-speed guy who’s an excellent return guy. We really, really like him.”

Arians said that he wrote down the two names – Urbik and Wallace – three weeks ago, “and I just watched them drop,” he said.

Wallace comes from a tough upbringing in New Orleans and landed at Ole Miss where he spent the last two seasons as one of the top kickoff return men in the SEC, as well as one of the top receiving deep threats. He led the SEC with a yards-per-reception average of 18.8 in 2007, and improved to 20.1 last year. He caught 101 passes for 1,910 yards and 14 touchdowns in his career and averaged 23.2 yards per kickoff return and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.

“He’ll work on his punt returning but he’s primarily a kickoff returner,” Arians said. “We’re looking for someone to replace Nate (Washington) outside and he’s a candidate. Inside, that takes time.”

With their final pick of the third round, the Steelers selected cornerback Keenan Lewis of Oregon State. Lewis, a 6-1, 198-pound cover guy, was actually a high school teammate of Wallace. The Steelers compare him favorably to Ike Taylor.

Original Source :

Arbor Day

Arbor DayArbor Day is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees. Arbor Day originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska, United States and is celebrated in a number of countries.

The national holiday is celebrated every year on the last Friday in April; it is a civic holiday in Nebraska and was founded by Julius Sterling Morton. Each state celebrates its own state holiday. The customary observance is to plant a tree. On the first Arbor Day, April 10, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted.

Original Source :

Hungry Girl

Hungry Girl'Hungry Girl' Has Found the Way To a Snacking Nation's Heart.

The country's best-selling cookbook right now is for people who don't really cook, written by a hyperkinetic 43-year-old former TV producer named Lisa Lillien, who once upon a time hated the fact that she couldn't fit into her skinny jeans. "I was that person who would sit at the computer and eat an entire bag of fat-free pretzels and think I was doing a good thing," Lillien says. "I wasn't."

She lost 25 pounds eight years ago, and in 2003 she started sending her friends low-fat recipes and tips for finding healthful food in mainstream supermarkets. She then very smartly turned herself into a cartoon character on the Internet called Hungry Girl. Now Lillien has almost 700,000 subscribers to her daily Hungry Girl e-mails, and she employs a staff of nine.

As foodies seek eco-revelation in the local and organic, Hungry Girl speaks the language of chips, cake, cereal, breakfast sausage, taco shells, easy noodles. By doing so, she acknowledges something we all know about ourselves: For all our slow-cooking, sustainable gardening ambitions, we are a nation of snackers. We eat stuff out of bags and cans. Lillien has turned her conviction that she can lose weight while still eating her favorite foods -- or at least some version of them -- into the latest entry in the highly competitive and ever-changing diet field.

"I know exactly what people will like," she says. "I just know. I'm that way. When I taste something, I can say, 'You know what? I like it okay, but only 20 percent of the people will like it,' or 'If I really like it, then 99 percent of people will like it, too.' " She is absolutely sure of her taste buds and absolutely skeptical of nutrition labels.

This all started when, like in a "Seinfeld" rerun, Lillien drove 40 miles to have her favorite low-fat pastries tested at a lab. They weren't low-fat at all. She felt burned (and chunky). "People lie," she says. "Whether or not it's malicious, there's a lot of mislabeled stuff out there." Thus Hungry Girl was born.

Out of seemingly nowhere, Hungry Girl is now the queen of processed food. Manufacturers beg Lillien for her imprimatur on low-cal, low-fat or otherwise "healthy" food. They don't always get it. They send her bags of baked tortilla chips, boxes of snack bars. A rave on can phenomenally alter a product's sales, but the only hitch is that Lillien has to like it. When she touted House Foods brand tofu shirataki noodles last year, the response was so strong that the manufacturer put the Hungry Girl cartoon logo on the package. When she bestowed favor on Holey brand low-fat doughnuts, the maker said it caused his biggest sales day ever, better than when his product was featured on cable TV shows and in People magazine.

Last year, a compilation of Lillien's most successful recipes, "Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World," sold more than 200,000 copies -- more than two new cookbooks by "30-Minute Meals" queen Rachael Ray. Lillien's latest, "Hungry Girl 200 Under 200: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories," will debut at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list May 3.

The world headquarters of the Hungry Girl empire is located in an unmarked 1,600-square-foot rental apartment not far off the 101 freeway in the San Fernando Valley, where, on a recent Tuesday morning, a few of Hungry Girl's employees sit working at computers in what would be the dining room.

In the open kitchen, a food assistant works on today's test recipe, a version of a Planet Hollywood appetizer from the carbed-out 1990s known as Chicken Crunch (and informally as "Cap'n Crunch Chicken").

"It was good. We used to order it all the time," Lillien says fondly, but with a grimace of caloric regret.

The smell of chicken and sugar quickly fills the room, and the recipe's secret is one of Hungry Girl's trademark leaner workarounds -- blending the pulverized Cap'n Crunch with her favorite healthful breading ingredient, Fiber One cereal.

This is all exactly what it seems: fast recipes, with names such as "chocolate pudding crunch explosion" and "swapcorn shrimp," using mostly processed ingredients to assemble shame-free nosh. Hungry Girl recipes approximate the foods Lillien knows her adherents (mostly women) crave, such as fried calamari, onion rings and that totem of post-feminist gastronomic fetishes: cute cupcakes.

"It's a pink Web site, but it's not too girly-girl," Lillien says. "The copy isn't written in that 'Hey, girlfriend' stuff."

Marion Nestle, a New York University nutrition professor, author and proponent of the never-shop-the-center-aisles approach to food, took a look at Hungry Girl's site the other day and was not thrilled by all the pink freneticism and exclamation points. Nor could she hide some of her skepticism: "Really? A pizza with only 400 calories?"

But then she thought about what we all know about food consumers in America: There are two kinds. More than half of them are more like Hungry Girl. The rest (and Nestle includes herself here) can often be snobs.

"I'm glad people are interested in food and in nutrition," Nestle says. "If this helps them reach that point, then okay."

Lillien knows she has critics out there. "People are hypocrites," she says. "They say 'shop the perimeter of the store, never eat anything that's not organic,' but it's B.S., because people can't live like that forever."

She insists she will not expose her readers to any product she doesn't run through her own standards: How does it taste, and will it make me fat? She imposes her own simple, Internet-age ethic, walking a line between editorializing and advertising. She says she won't accept payment for any brand mentioned in her editorial content and won't sell advertising space on her Web site for products she wouldn't eat herself.

In an online cacophony of self-started Web sites offering strong opinions about what to eat-buy-do, Lillien is one of those rare profitable breakouts. Hungry Girl occupies a new frontier between consumer news and retail sales, blowing past traditional media. The site does for a new yogurt what Chromewaves does for new music releases, or Naturally Curly does for a new hair conditioner, or Net-a-Porter does for the newest shoes.

Lillien grew up on Long Island. Her mother was (still is) a yo-yo dieter who did Scarsdale, grapefruit, Nutri-System, Optifast, losing the same weight over and over. Her sister went to fat camp one summer. Her brother ate all he wanted. ("Like, an entire box of Lucky Charms, in a salad bowl, with a carton of whole milk," Lillien recalls, with envy. "And he was a stick with a big head, who never gained weight, wearing a swimsuit with a belt on it.")

Young Hungry Girl loved the commercials for Dolly Madison Zinger snack cakes that aired with Charlie Brown TV specials. (It was an off-brand Twinkie.) "You couldn't get Zingers where we lived," she says. "We had to wait until we went to our summer house."

It was that sort of life. It was that sort of food. It was many up-and-down pounds ago.

Lillien is married with no children. She and her husband, Daniel Schneider, the creator of Nickelodeon's "iCarly," go out for sushi three nights a week. When grocery shopping, she likes to peek in other women's baskets, a never-ending quest for likeminded Hungry Girls who are looking for healthful options. She always reminds her readers that she isn't a nutritionist -- she's just bossy. "I think of myself as everyone's crazy best friend," she says, "who will go get the answers to what they want to know but don't have time to get themselves."

Last month, she added a video studio in an apartment down the hall from her office. A Hungry Girl television show, at some point, is not out of the question. Neither is a line of Hungry Girl grocery items. "And I still have people from my life who ask me what my day job is," Lillien says. "They have no idea how big this has become."

The Cap'n Crunch Chicken is done. But is it -- to use one of Hungry Girl's favorite words -- yumtastic?

Lillien examines a piece, squints at it, nibbles, considers it, then frowns. "Did you mix the spices first?" she asks her aide. "The Cap'n Crunch is still too chunky. It needs to be smoother. But it's a good start."

Original Source :

Timothy Wright

Timothy WrightTimothy Wright, Grammy-nominated gospel singer, dies at 61.

Grammy-nominated gospel singer and composer the Rev. Timothy Wright died yesterday at Bronx Veterans Hospital at the age of 61. The Brooklyn-born singer was critically injured in a three-vehicle car accident last summer that claimed the lives of his wife and grandson and put the singer on a respirator. Wright's 1994 record, Come Thou Almighty King, recorded with the New York Fellowship Mass Choir, cracked the Billboard Top 20 for gospel albums and grabbed a Grammy nod for best traditional soul gospel album. He was nominated again in that category in 1999 for Been There Done That, recorded with the B/J Mass Choir and featuring Myrna Summers. His best-known songs include "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus," "Who's on the Lord's Side," and "You Must Come In at the Door."

Original Source :

Myrtle Beach Fire

Myrtle Beach FireWildfires Hit Myrtle Beach Area.

Wildfires swept through a coastal region of South Carolina on Thursday and headed for North Myrtle Beach, destroying more than 40 homes and forcing more than 2,500 people to evacuate, state officials said.

Gov. Mark Sanford declared a state of emergency in Horry County, which includes the Myrtle Beach area, and officials of North Myrtle Beach were scrambling to get residents to pack up and flee.

No injuries have been reported since the fire began on Wednesday, but the blaze jumped a state highway and rapidly headed toward a heavily concentrated residential and tourist area, prompting the mass evacuations and the closing of schools and businesses in North Myrtle Beach.

The blaze began along the coast just west of Myrtle Beach around noon on Wednesday and quickly spread, fueled by 25 mile-an-hour winds and extremely low humidity.

“Our public safety department went door to door and we asked everyone to leave,” Mayor Marilyn Hatley of North Myrtle Beach said at a news conference Thursday. “We tried our best to remove everyone as soon as possible.”

Although the blaze has moved quickly along the coast, it stopped just sort of the Intracoastal Waterway separating the mainland from the coastal area, which firefighters were hoping would act as a natural barrier.

“We realized right away that it had huge potential, that it was a very dangerous fire,” said Russell Hubright, a spokesman for the South Carolina Forestry Commission. “The other serious part is that there’s quite a lot of homes in that immediate area there.”

Todd Cartner, a spokesman for the Horry County Fire Rescue, told The Associated Press that the blaze was the worst to hit the area since 1976, when about 30,000 acres, or 47 square miles, burned.

Typically, wildfires claim about 35 homes a year in South Carolina, Mr. Hubright said, adding that the wildfire that began on Wednesday claimed at least 40 homes and damaged another 100 in barely 24 hours.

“This is the worst fire on record as far as loss of homes,” he added.

Mr. Hubright said that fire and forestry officials responded quickly the blaze, and contained about 25 percent of it by late Wednesday, but that the fire burned vigorously overnight, and by Thursday morning containment was below 10 percent.

By early Thursday, officials said that the blaze had engulfed about 15,000 acres.

Many tourists who had been vacationing in the area --known for its golf courses and beaches and which generates about $16 billion a year in business -- were forced to flee. Officials were directing evacuees, including tourists and local residents, to three nearby shelters.

In the meantime, firefighters tried to fence in the flames with tractor plows and a helicopter equipped with a 750-gallon water bucket. But dry and gusty weather conditions that were expected to continue through Thursday were threatening to stoke the flames. Firefighters said they were concerned that the low humidity and strong winds would allow the fire to “spot,” or send out embers as far as a quarter mile away, causing the blaze to spread more quickly.

“When you’re out there trying to contain a fire and you’ve got fire jumping ahead of you, that makes it even more dangerous,” Mr. Hubright said.

Original Source :

Caz Pal

Caz PalCaroline Caz Pal. Is Pal Michael Phelps’ girlfriend? Caroline Caz Paul of Palms Moon Nightclub Las Vegas photos were broke first by LALATE’s VEGASLATE last year.

Back in fall 2008, Pal joined reported boyfriend Michael Phelps for Thanksgiving.
Miss USA runner-up Miss California Carrie Prejean has been reported this week as the now girlfriend of Phelps after her grandmother Jeanette Coppolla tells RADAR she and Phelps hang out.

“Carrie and Michael have been out to baseball games and lunch.He always calls her when he is in town and they go out. Carrie knows that he has dated a lot of girls but she enjoys going out with him and isn’t serious about being in a relationship with him. He’s a nice guy and she likes him.”

And what about Pal and Phelps? Are they together? No comment by either last year or now.

In fall 2008 People Magazine claimed

“The Olympic champ has been dating Las Vegas cocktail waitress Caroline “Caz” Pal, 26, for about two months. … Along with dating Pal, a waitress at the Palms Casino Resort’s Moon Nightclub, Phelps is spending time in Vegas working on his poker game.”

Original Source :

Bride Sues Guest

Bride Sues Guest

Bride Sues Guest Sandrina Purdum Jennifer Angevine!

I do … sue you! Bride Sandrina Purdum sues her wedding guest Jennifer Angevine for ruining wedding? Sandrina Purdum’s lawsuit against Jennifer Angevine sounds a bit like another wedding lawsuit LALATE told you in 2007.

In 2007, LALATE reported on New York bride Elana Glatt who sued her wedding florist because the flowers were the wrong color. The New York bride claimed it all ruined her wedding.

Now another New York bride is suing mad again.

Sandrina and Harold Purdum got married in September last year but during the ceremony Sandrina claims Harold’s then boss and wedding guest Jennifer Angevine threw a drink on another guest and exclaimed that she slept with Harold, allegedly shouting:

“Me and Harry were good together.

“You had to ruin everything by marrying him. You f- - -ed everything up,”

Purdum is reportedly suing for slander and inflicting emotional distress and battery and her hubby says he never slept with Jennifer.

Don’t mess with New York brides! No comment by Jennifer.

Original Source :

Bo Jackson

Bo Jackson
Bo knows … banking? Introducing the Bank of Bo Jackson. Bo Jackson’s Burr Ridge Bank & Trust is a new bank Bo has founded in Burr Ridge Illinois.

Jackson who lead the Raiders and in MLB played for the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and California Angels is now launching a bank. His own bank, thank you.

The Bank’s CEO says about fan / depositor’s reactions:

“I walked through there, and it was like the place stopped. (Traders) are shouting, ‘Bo! Bo!’”

NFL? MLB? Na, you haven’t made it til you have your own bank.

Original Source :


EarthlinkEarthLink suffers Earth Day crash.

Internet service provider EarthLink Inc. was hit with a major outage on Wednesday, with users unable to access their e-mail or any Web pages hosted by the company.

(See slideshow: "Worst moments in network security history.")

The cause of the crash was unknown. The company's Web page was knocked offline, and its phone numbers have also apparently been disconnected. Inquiries to the company's public relations department were not immediately returned.

EarthLink users first started reporting problems with their e-mail accounts on Twitter at around 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

"Wake-up call to EarthLink," wrote "

"EarthLink down on Earth Day," noted tweeter QuiCacet. "Coincidence or dastardly conspiracy?"

Atlanta-based EarthLink serves an estimated 2.8 million subscribers in the U.S. The company provides several different kinds of connections, including dial-up, cable and Digital Subscriber Line. It also offers Web hosting and voice-over-IP services.

Original Source :

Ira Einhorn

Ira Einhorn

Earth Day Philly Style.

Environmentalist Loved Planet, Murdered Girlfriend.Today is Earth Day, a holiday created to honor the planet and to raise the consciousness of man’s effect on the environment. Philadelphia has a very strong tie to this day. One of its native sons, Ira Einhorn, was a co-founder of the environmentalist jubilee.

But Mr. Einhorn has another line on his resume. In addition to being a environmental guru, he is the Unicorn Killer.

While a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Einhorn dated a Bryn Mawr College graduate by the name of Holly Maddux. When the affair ended in 1977, Mr. Einhorn went into a jealous rage and murdered her.

He concealed his crime for 18 months by stuffing Ms. Maddux’s body in a trunk that he kept in his apartment. The foul odor of the decomposing corpse coming from Mr. Einhorn’s Powelton Village apartment caused neighbors to complain. In 1979, police found the trunk stored in a closet in Mr. Einhorn’s apartment.

Ira Einhorn, member of the counterculture pantheon, one of the founders of the environmentalist movement, icon of the liberal intelligentsia, was charged with murder. But it was not just a simple murder, it was a gruesome case of domestic violence.

At the bail hearing, Mr. Einhorn was praised by a contingent of luminaries — all testifying to his character. There were Ivy League professors, an Episcopalian minister and corporate executives who worked with Mr. Einhorn raising funds. They all stated under oath that he was a man of the greatest integrity.

Arlen Specter, currently Pennsylvania’s senior United States Senator, was Mr. Einhorn’s attorney. He managed to get the bail set at the unheard of amount of $40,000 for the suspected murderer. Only 10 percent was needed to free him. Barbara Bronfman, heiress to the Seagram liquor fortune, paid it.

Proclaiming his innocence, Mr. Einhorn told all that he was framed. He said it was the CIA or the FBI who committed the murder and they were trying to frame him for it because of his political activities.

Some will note that another notorious Philadelphia murderer, Mumia Abu Jamal, used this defense a few years later. Like Mumia, Mr. Einhorn had no shortage of leftist followers.

Mr. Einhorn skipped bail and left Philadelphia in 1981. More than a decade passed when the DA's office tried Mr. Einhorn in absentia after being unable to locate him. He was convicted in 1993.

Several years after the absentia conviction, in 1997, Mr. Einhorn was located. He was living in France with a new girlfriend — a Swedish woman. The District Attorney’s office in Philadelphia immediately asked to have him extradited. However, the humane French refused to extradite Mr. Einhorn. French officals cited the use of capital punishment in Pennsylvania and the conviction in absentia as reasons for their refusal.

Mr. Einhorn was able to convince the French courts not to extradite him until he received the promise of a new trial. A Pennsylvania legislator, Dan O’Brien, introduced a bill in the Pennsylvania General Assembly that allowed granting Mr. Einhorn a new trial, if he asked for it, and if the French extradited him. The bill did not vacate the original verdict.

When France began extradition, Mr. Einhorn’s representatives requested the European Court of Human Rights to review the case. The request was denied.

He was extradited to Pennsylvania in July 2001. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison October 17, 2002.

But there is a little mentioned irony about the Einhorn saga.

Ira Einhorn was arrested for murder March 28, 1979, the day the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident occurred. Ira Einhorn, environmentalist, was charged with murder during the same period as one of the greatest environmental accidents in United States history.

But the real irony is that more people died in the apartment of Ira Einhorn, co-founder of Earth Day than at Three Mile Island. The environmentalist killed more people than the so-called environmental disaster.

Happy Earth Day.

Original Source :

Yannique Barker Stack$!

Yannique Barker Stack$!Here are pictures of rapper Yannique Barker aka Stack$ (Stacks). Brooke Hogan and Stack$ were photographed this week - but are they dating?

While chatter is asking if the two are dating, one thing is for sure - snaps of the two were taken as Brooke shot her new music video for the label that Stack$ owns - SoBe Entertainment.

MTV says of Stack$:

Yannique Barker, a/k/a STACK$, was about to enter his third year at the prestigious USC School of Film and Cinematography when he decided to pursue his lifetime passion for music full-time. By chance, Stack$ met super-producer Scott Storch (Fat Joe, The Roots Mario, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre.) The two became fast friends and eventually Storch decided to executive produce his newfound protégé’s entire first album, and enlisted the help of a number of celebrity friends. Now STACK$ is set to release his debut, CraZee and ConfuZed. The album features cameos from stars like The Game, Diddy, Busta Rhymes, Trick Daddy, PitBull, Paul Wall, and Twista, as well as tracks produced by the likes of Scott Storch, Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes, Timbaland, Jazze Pha, and Red Spyda.

Hogan’s July 2009 album Redemption is on SoBe Records for which Barker is CEO. Other artists on his label include Jah Cure, LP, The New Rivals, Urban Mystic, and Phyllisia.

Stacks told press about his upbringing back in a 2007 interview:

“When you rap, you’re supposed to come from poverty, in impoverished situations and go through struggles. Okay, well, I wasn’t born poor. I was very fortunate to be blessed. But somehow you don’t realize that when you do have money, there is a struggle that comes with it. It’s a struggle that I’ve been going through for the past five or six years.”

Original Source :

Earth Day 2009

Earth Day 20092009 Earth Day is special, says green jobs czar.

A former Oakland activist now serving as President Barack Obama's "green jobs czar" said this week's Earth Day observance is special because of the new administration.

"As we move forward, one of the big differences is that we recognize now that the debate over whether we can do right by the environment and right by the economy at the same time is over," said Van Jones, appointed in March as special adviser for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

"This Earth Day is for everybody ... for those of us who are concerned about the natural world in the traditional sense, but also for laid-off workers," he said, as well as for home and business owners who could save on energy costs through weatherization and energy-efficiency measures, and for entrepreneurs who can capitalize on economic-recovery funds to provide those services.

Jones' conference call with reporters Tuesday was part of his first big media blitz since he left Oakland for Washington, D.C., last month; he was on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Monday night.

Jones, 40, until last month was CEO of Green For All, an Oakland-based nonprofit organization he founded to promote green-collar jobs and opportunities for the disadvantaged; his recent book, "The Green Collar Economy" made The New York Times nonfiction hardcover best-seller list. Earlier, he cofounded and was the longtime executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, now based in Oakland, which deals with issues such as juvenile justice reform, police reform and youth-violence prevention.

In his current post, he's charged with helping to shape and implement job-generating climate policy; working to ensure equal protection and equal opportunity in the administration's climate and energy proposals; and publicly advocating the Obama administration's environmental and energy agenda.

There's more to celebrate this Earth Day, Jones said, and more reason to recommit to environmental protection and economic growth.

"All across the country now, you're seeing people begin to get the actual benefits of the recovery package," he said, citing a Kansas City, Mo., project in which $200 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money has been dedicated to retrofitting and weatherizing 150 blocks of blighted, low-income neighborhoods.

Such an initiative creates jobs, lowers residents' energy costs, improves property values and is good for the environment, he said: "They're calling it a 'Green Impact Zone' ... showing you can fight pollution and poverty at the same time."

"There's a wingspan on these jobs that goes from the GEDs to the Ph.D.s," he added, noting that finding ways to save energy is as important as finding new, cleaner ways to generate it. "Caulking guns are an equally important part of the agenda ... as are solar panels."

Original Source :

Bioidentical Hormone

Bioidentical HormoneBioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is a layman's term for the treatment of the hormone deficiencies caused by menopause and andropause using only molecules that are identical to the endogenous hormones found in the human body. BHRT differs from traditional hormone replacement therapy which includes animal-derived and invented molecules that are similar to, but not identical, to human hormones. The primary bioidentical hormones replaced in human females, estradiol and progesterone, are available in both FDA-approved and individualized pharmacy-compounded products. "BHRT" is sometimes use more generally to describe the practice of using only bioidentical hormones in the treatment of all hormone deficiencies.

BHRT proponents argue that studies show significant differences between bioidentical and non-bioidentical hormones, and that replacing hormones lost due to menopause not only relieves symptoms but can improve health and quality of life. The actress Suzanne Somers has been a prominent advocate of BHRT in the media.

Original Source :

Andrew Bynum And Rihanna

Andrew Bynum And RihannaAndrew Bynum Is Rihanna Boyfriend.

Meet Andrew Bynum, an American professional basketball player who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers of NBA. Bynum is the youngest player to play an NBA game. He is reportedly dating singer Rihanna.

Bynum and Rihanna reportedly went on a date last Friday and if sources are to be believed, they are becoming closer to each other every day and Rihanna seems to have moved on after her breakup with Chris Brown.The couple dined at Mastro’s Steakhouse in Beverly Hills. When they left together, a witness reports that they looked “very couple-y, sitting real close to each other in the car.”

The two also showed up together at Byron Davis’ birthday party last week.

As a biography, Andrew Bynum was born on October 27, 1987 in Plainsboro, New Jersey so his age is 21. He attended St. Joseph High School and was named to the 2005 McDonald’s All-American team. He averaged 22.4 points, 16.8 rebounds and 5.3 block in his senior year and decided to go directly to NBA. He was selected 10th overall in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bynum was trained by none other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during his initial stay at the club. He became the youngest player to appear in an NBA game in November 2005. He was not exactly consistent during his rookie season but went on to display good dominating skills in the games.

Bynum averaged 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in his 2007-08 season with the Lakers. He suffered from a knee injury in January 2008 and was virtually out of the whole season, only to return in September and resigning a contract with the club worth $58m for four years. He then scored career-high 42 points in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers in January 2009.

Original Source :

Megan McAllister

Megan McAllisterFiancee Megan McAllister on accused Craiglist killer Philip Markoff: 'He wouldn't hurt a fly'.

Accused "Craigslist killer" Philip Markoff is due in court today, where he will be charged with murder, kidnapping and gun possession in the shooting death of masseuse Julissa Brisman in a Boston hotel last Tuesday. But the murder suspect's fiancee says he is innocent.

Megan McAllister told the Boston Herald:

Philip is a beautiful man inside and out. He is intelligent, loyal, and the best fiance a woman could ask for. He would not hurt a fly!"

The couple, both of whom are 22-year-old med students, plan to marry in August. She told the Herald:

I will stand by Philip as I know he is innocent. I love him now and always will.”

She also sent an e-mail to ABC’s "Good Morning America" today, saying basically the same thing.

The 26-year-old victim advertised massage services on Craigslist and had a massage table set up in the room where she was shot.

Original Source :

William Parente

William ParentePolice identify 4 dead in Md. hotel as NY family.

Four people found dead in a hotel room near Baltimore were members of a New York family, police said Tuesday, and they continued to investigate the case as a murder-suicide.

Those killed were identified as William Parente, 59; Betty Parente, 58; Stephanie Parente, 19; and Catherine Parente, 11; all of Garden City, N.Y., on Long Island, the Baltimore County Police Department said.

Police said the victims were related, although they did not say how. Next-door neighbor Mary Opulente Krener said in a phone interview that William and Betty Parente were a couple and Stephanie and Catherine were their daughters.

"I can't tell you how heartsick I am," she said. "This is the most wonderful family, the most kind and loving family. I'm astounded."

She said William Parente was a real estate attorney in New York. A call to his office was not immediately returned.

Autopsies were planned for Tuesday.

Staff at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel in Towson, a Baltimore suburb, found the bodies Monday afternoon in a locked guest room after the occupants didn't check out as expected.

Several hotel employees declined to comment.

"This is just a terrible tragedy and our team is terribly saddened by this event," said K.C. Kavanagh, spokeswoman for Sheraton Hotels and Resorts. "We're doing all we can to assist the police and it's a matter that's in their hands at this time."

Nick Gelston, 30, an electrician from Bel Air, said he stayed at the hotel Saturday night to attend a friend's wedding. He was back Monday afternoon because his car had broken down and he left it there.

"I hope it was nobody who was with us," Gelston said. He said he wasn't aware that any of the wedding guests had stayed on the 10th floor where the bodies were found.

Melanie Morris of Birmingham, Ala., checked into the hotel Monday afternoon and was "a little scared" to see police cars outside.

"The front desk said there was an incident on the 10th floor and there was no immediate danger to the guests," Morris said.

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KronurThe króna (plural krónur) (sign: kr; code: ISK) is the currency of Iceland. The króna is technically subdivided into 100 aurar (singular eyrir), but in practice this subdivision is no longer used.

The word króna, meaning "crown", is related to that of other Nordic currencies (such as the Danish krone, Swedish krona and Norwegian krone) and to the Latin word corona ("crown"). The name "Icelandic crown" is sometimes used, for example in the financial markets.

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Detroit Lions

Detroit LionsPoor Lions! Another tough decision to make.

The Detroit Lions didn't get to 0-16 by drafting wisely — think Charles Rogers, Joey Harrington, Mike Williams and the like.

Now they face a dilemma. Even if they make what's considered the "right" pick with the first selection in Saturday's draft, they could prolong their decade-long agony.

That's because having the No. 1 overall spot commits the Lions to guaranteeing more than $30 million to an unproven player. If it's potential franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford of Georgia, it's hardly a guarantee.

Stafford has all the tangibles: big, strong-armed, reasonably mobile. He worked out wonderfully at his pro day, the orchestrated party his university threw for scouts. Then he worked out wonderfully when the Lions had him in.

But his career at Georgia was a mild disappointment — he was so-so in some of his biggest games, making bad reads, throwing key interceptions and demonstrating that what you see in shorts isn't necessarily what you get when the game is played for real.

The Lions could play it safe by taking Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith or Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, and use Daunte Culpepper at QB. Smith could be this year's Jake Long, a solid left tackle with a dozen good years ahead of him. And Curry is likely to be a starting linebacker for 10-12 years even though he's not spectacular; he's never been used as a pass rusher, for example.

So Stafford is the likely choice: pass rushers, left tackles and, of course, QBs tend to be the most coveted players.

Yet the failure rate for first-round quarterbacks is still pretty high.

Basically, there are good years and bad years, 2004 being a good year with Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, 2006 being not so good with Vince Young and Matt Leinart sitting on benches in Tennessee and Arizona. Even Jay Cutler, the third QB taken that year and by far the most successful on the field, has issues. Cutler got himself traded to Chicago after owner Pat Bowlen got tired of his non-responsiveness to messages.

Smith and Curry are safe picks. But Detroit gambles on ...


Just for fun, this first round includes seven players from a state that normally doesn't produce NFL players the way Florida, Texas and California do. (Answer at the bottom). For those who keep score and mock everybody's mocks, please note that these are for guessing purposes only. One trade or one unexpected pick and everything is thrown off.

2. ST. LOUIS: Orlando Pace was released. JASON SMITH, T, Baylor, is drafted. Easy transition. Or so the Rams hope.

3. KANSAS CITY: This should be simple. AARON CURRY, LB, Wake Forest, is the obvious choice. But he was an outside LB in college, so where does he fit in the 3-4 defense that Scott Pioli and Todd Haley, the new GM and coach, plan to install? Probably inside between newly obtained veterans Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas. He could drop if the Chiefs go for someone like offensive tackle Eugene Monroe.

4. SEATTLE: Matt Hasselbeck has a bad back. MATT SANCHEZ, QB, Southern Cal, might not be ready yet, but he fits Seattle's West Coast offense and may have a higher upside than Stafford.

5. CLEVELAND: The Browns are trying to trade Braylon Edwards. MICHAEL CRABTREE, WR, Texas Tech, is insurance, although he's recovering from a stress fracture in his foot.

6. CINCINNATI: The Bengals used to be able to score. Even with Carson Palmer back, they need help up front. EUGENE MONROE, OT, Virginia.

7. OAKLAND: The draft is now a three-month process, which is why ANDRE SMITH, OT, Alabama, can fall from a top five pick to the bottom of the round, then rise again.

8. JACKSONVILLE: What the Jags need are wide receivers. Even if they sign Torry Holt, they take JEREMY MACLIN, WR, Missouri.

9. GREEN BAY: The Packers dropped last year because of defensive failures. Switching to the 3-4, they take a 330-plus pound nose tackle, B.J. RAJI, DT, Boston College.

10. SAN FRANCISCO: The 49ers' defense isn't bad. But Manny Lawson, a No. 1 three years ago, hasn't quite fit, so they clone him with BRIAN ORAKPO, DE/LB Texas.

11. BUFFALO: How do you complement T.O? By beefing up the defense. ROBERT AYERS, DE, Tennessee.


12. DENVER: Suddenly the Broncos are a team that needs a young QB, although Josh McDaniels may like Kyle Orton enough to consider this less than a major need. AARON MAYBIN, DE/LB, Penn State, for a defense that STILL needs all the help it can find.

13. WASHINGTON: The Redskins are old on the OL and slow on the DL, even with Albert Haynesworth. EVERETTE BROWN, DE/LB, Florida State, for some outside speed.

14. NEW ORLEANS: Reggie Bush will never be an every down back. BEANIE WELLS, RB, Ohio State, is from the Deuce McAllister mold.

15. HOUSTON: No premium pass rushers left to supplement Mario Williams. So take a cover man in VONTAE DAVIS, CB, Illinois.

16. SAN DIEGO: Lost Igor Olshansky to Dallas, replace him with TYSON JACKSON, DE, LSU.

17. NEW YORK JETS: The Jets need a quarterback and this is probably where Stafford deserves to go. But if you can't take a pitcher, get a catcher, PERCY HARVIN, WR, Florida.

18. DENVER: Josh McDaniels likes Orton, the QB he got from Chicago for Cutler. But JOSH FREEMAN, QB, Kansas State, has an upside that, in a couple years might make him this draft's best quarterback.

19. TAMPA BAY: BRIAN CUSHING, OLB, Southern California, is bigger, stronger and a bit slower than Derrick Brooks. He fits a rebuilding Bucs defense.

20. DETROIT: The Lions no longer have Shaun Rogers. PERIA JERRY, DT, Mississippi, may be as good. He certainly has a better attitude.

21. PHILADELPHIA: The Eagles need someone who can push the pile and take the load off Brian Westbrook. KNOWSHON Moreno, RB, Georgia, is a steal this low.

22. MINNESOTA: Even with Antonio Winfield, the secondary needs help. MALCOLM JENKINS, CB, Ohio State.

23. NEW ENGLAND: Bill Belichick likes his players versatile. CONNOR BARWIN, DE-LB-TE, Cincinnati, has been rising quickly and is the perfect replacement for Mike Vrabel, who played all three of those positions. Barwin also might last to No. 34, the pick the Patriots got for Matt Cassel.

24. ATLANTA: Keith Brooking and Michael Boley are gone, which provides a slot for CLAY MATTHEWS, LB, Southern California.

25. MIAMI: Relatively simple, assuming DARIUS HEYWARD-BEY, WR, Maryland, is still around.

26. BALTIMORE: Bart Scott went to the Jets with Rex Ryan. REY MAUALUGA, LB, Southern California, replaces him.

27. INDIANAPOLIS: BRANDON PETTIGREW, TE, Oklahoma State, is an old-fashioned type who can block and catch and allows Dallas Clark to do what he's been doing anyway — function as a wide receiver.

28. BUFFALO: Traded Jason Peters. His long-term replacement is MICHAEL OHER, T, Mississippi.

29. NEW YORK GIANTS: The Giants have a lot of extra picks for an Edwards trade. If this choice doesn't go to Cleveland, LARRY ENGLISH, OLB, Northern Illinois, to solidify a position where they need a playmaker. Not enamored of local kid Kenny Britt, a WR from Rutgers, although Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina could fit here.

30. TENNESSEE: Did a lot last season with no deep threat. BRITT may take a year or two, but he has size and speed.

31. ARIZONA: DONALD BROWN, RB, Connecticut. Plenty of first-rounders from UConn in the NBA and WNBA but never before in the NFL. He's also the seventh first-rounder from the trivia state.

32. PITTSBURGH. ALEX MACK, C, Cal, is the quintessential Steelers pick.

Raji, Monroe, Cushing, Moreno, Jenkins, Britt and Brown all grew up in New Jersey.

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Stephen Hawking Very Ill

Stephen Hawking Very IllReports: Stephen Hawking 'Very Ill," Hospitalized.

Noted physicist Stephen Hawking has been described as "very ill" and has been hospitalized, according to reports.

The report was confirmed to the BBC by Cambridge University, which employs Hawking as its Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

Hawking, 67, has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, often fatal after a few years. Hawking has survived for more than 40 years with the disease, CNN reported.

A Cambridge University spokesman said that Hawking had "been unwell for a couple of weeks," according to the BBC.

An iconic scientist both for his intellect and his ability to coexist with a debilitating disease, Hawking entered the popular consciousness with his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time.

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Scoot Coupe

Scoot CoupeIf Market Motors is successful, brightly colored three-wheeled vehicles soon will be tooling around the Mid-Ohio Valley this summer.

Market Motors is set to unveil Scoot coupes to potential customers in Ohio and West Virginia.

Bill Waldeck, owner of Market Motors, described the vehicles as a cross between a motorcycle and a Volkswagen.

"There is really nothing else like them." he said.

The three-wheeled, two-passenger coupes are similar to a motorcycle, with a set of handlebars instead of a steering wheel. Helmets must be worn and drivers must have a required motorcycle license.

Unlike scooters and motorcycles, the coupes are more stable and allow passengers to ride beside the driver. The coupe's features include seat belts, a locking trunk and glove box and a roll bar. Models can also be accessorized to accommodate an iPod.

The Scoot coupes can reach a top speed of 55 mph and gets up to 75 miles per gallon. Waldeck said a Scoot coupe will go about 110 miles on a tank of gas.

The vehicles are certainly eye-catching, manufactured in vived blue, green, yellow and red colors.

Market Motors has been stocked with the coupes since January and is ready to open its doors. Waldeck said they are still waiting on approval from the state.

"If we had our license, we would have sold about 36 of these by now," he said. "The hold up with the state getting the license has been a major headache."

Waldeck said Market Motors has been getting calls from all over, Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland, from buyers interested in purchasing the coupes.

"We want them to come to Parkersburg," he said.

In addition to fielding calls from prospective buyers, curious onlookers stop by daily, peering inside their 925 Market St. location.

Waldeck said they clean the glass daily, but nose prints from people seeking a better look at the coupes quickly reappear.

"We get notes shoved inside the door from prospective customers," he said. "Most people that see it just can't believe it."

The Scoot coupe was created in 2004 by Panther Motors, a Florida company. Waldeck became friends with the company's CEO and was interested in carrying the line in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Waldeck said Market Motors will serve West Virginia and Ohio. He's optimistic the vehicles will eventually be assembled in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

"Maybe a lot of jobs," he said.

The Scoot coupes come with 50cc or 150cc engines and a Fiberglas body. Coupes have a one-year, 12,000 mile warranty. Models, which have a pricetag of about $6,000, are available in four bright colors and a limited edition black, all of which are on display.

Waldeck said the vibrant colors make the coupe standout.

"You can recognize them on the street and see them coming down the road," he said.

One of the drawbacks is the lack of a top, making it less than ideal for rainy days or cold weather.

"It is a late March to October vehicle," Waldeck said.

In addition to selling the vehicles, Market Motors has a parts department, including a mechanic and garage that can work on the vehicles. Market Motors also offers custom accessories, floor mats, covers, chrome package, shirts and hats.

"We are doing all the after market stuff," he said.

Once Market Motors receives its license Waldeck said it will be open Monday through Friday from 9 to 3 and on weekends by appointment. Once the operation begins running the company will add a second salesman and open seven days a week.

Market Motors will also add Micargi bicycles to its product line.

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