Endorsements: Sepulveda, Reyes for Triton board

West Cook County voters will be asked to choose 2 of 4 candidates to serve on the Triton College board of trustees. We endorse newcomer Roberto Sepulveda and the incumbent Jay Reyes.

Sepulveda would bring a fresh, independent outlook to the board. Besides ensuring Triton provides a variety of programs to serve a large cross-section of its residents, he thinks the college should help them with job placement. He says he will use his business background to explore partnerships with corporations for job training. He also wants to explore why students are becoming disengaged with Triton. More importantly, he will bring a diversity of thoughts and ideas to the board without any of the baggage or influences that affect longtime board members.

When Reyes was appointed last year to replace veteran Merrill Becker who resigned, he told us Triton was like home for him. He majored in the political science at Triton before moving on to University of Illinois and John Marshall Law School. While at Triton, he was president of the Student Association, among other associations. 

Continuing with his message of home, Reyes said he wants to follow the college's continuing work with Achieving the Dream grants to help address remedial education concerns among students. He's interested in seeing the college pursue health-care-related fields such as nursing and pharmaceutical.

She is the executive director of Veterans Park District, serving Melrose Park, Franklin Park and Northlake. She also owns DAL Consulting, which seeks open space grants for her client, the village of Melrose Park. In 2009, DAL was paid $30,000 from Melrose Park. Over the past 11 years she has contributed $44,500 to campaigns, including Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico and Triton College Chairman Mark Stephens.

Longtime board member Donna Peluso, who was appointed in 1992, could not clearly state her vision for the college's future and said she was "thrown" by the question. Her background, her income and her elected positions are dependent on her political connections.

Another patronage concern is that Peluso's Triton board oversees the college's staff including Executive Director of Marketing Tom Olson, while Olson is commissioner and treasurer of Veterans Park District, essentially directing funds for Peluso's job. We find that symbiotic relationship very troubling.

Posted by imran Thursday, March 31, 2011 0 comments

More snow for the Richmond area again this morning?

For the second day in a row, the Richmond area could see some of that white stuff falling from the sky this morning.

The National Weather Service says a period of light snow is expected in Richmond area between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. before the precipitation ends as light rain and drizzle early this afternoon. Accumulation of up to an inch is expected, mainly on grassy and elevated surfaces, before it all gets wiped away by a projected afternoon high of forty-eight degrees.

Tuesday should be mostly sunny with a high near fifty-eight degrees.

Thursday should be mostly cloudy with a high near 57, and rounding out the work week, Friday should bring a 50 percent chance of rain with a high near 55.

Wednesday should bring a 70 percent chance of rain, mainly after noon, with a projected high near 50 degrees.

Posted by imran Monday, March 28, 2011 0 comments

VCU upsets No. 1 seed Kansas, 71-61

The lead was collapsing in on Virginia Commonwealth, the dream of a most remarkable NCAA tournament run finally flickering. Rams coach Shaka Smart had just earned a technical for charging toward an official at the Alamodome after calling a timeout on Sunday.

"I didn't even say anything, but I guess I charged out there a little bit faster than I should have," said Smart, 33. "I've got to control my pace as I move toward the officials."

The second-year head coach then offered a blunt pep talk: "It was basically forget about the refs, forget Kansas,'' he said. "This is all about us, and we have got to do what we've got to do.''

When it was over, VCU had done it, taking out top-seeded Kansas, 71-61, in the NCAA Southwest Regional final. In the ensuing delirium, some fans began cheering at the sight of several older men in suits. "Selection committee," those fans yelled in tribute. The men indeed were part of the NCAA selection committee, sudden celebrities in the Virginia Commonwealth orbit after making the surprising decision to put the Rams into the tournament. Now the most unlikely team ever to reach the Final 4 will face Butler on Saturday in an all-Cinderella matchup in Houston.

Officially, VCU (28-11) becomes the third No. 11 seed to advance to the Final 4, after LSU in 1986 and another Colonial Athletic Association miracle team, George Mason, in 2006. But sources said VCU really was a 12th seed, bumped up to an 11th seed because of all the bracket rules that keep teams from playing each other. If the NCAA hadn't expanded from 65 to 68 teams this season, VCU, a fourth-place finisher in the Colonial Athletic Association, wouldn't have been in.

"Their players could play for us any day," Kansas coach Bill Self said after his team made just 2 of 21 3-pointers and just 15 of 28 free throws. "If we played shirts and skins today, you wouldn't have much of a difference on players or how they look. They've got some good-looking kids. They got what they deserved today. They certainly outplayed us."

As Rams guards drained a barrage of first-half threes, racing to a shocking 18-point lead, there was no fear factor. VCU super-sub Brandon Rozzell dropped one of his four first-half three-pointers from right in front of the Kansas bench and then ran his mouth at that shell-shocked group.

Kansas (35-3), led by the twin tower Morris brothers of North Philadelphia, Marcus (20 points, 16 rebounds) and Markieff (13 points, 12 rebounds, 8 turnovers), got within two points. But VCU counterpunched.

Point guard Joey Rodriguez - ignoring the air ball he had just thrown up, followed by a blocked layup attempt - drained a three-pointer off the dribble, pushing VCU's lead back out to 60-52 with five minutes left. ("I'm short - I get my shot blocked all the time," Rodriguez said.)

After Marcus Morris scored on a putback, Rodriguez drove and threw back outside to Bradford Burgess, who had made six three-pointers and the game-winning shot Friday against Florida State. A wide-open Burgess drained a three from the top of the key.

"That game was all about style of play," Smart said. "We got the style going the way that we wanted in the first half. And if you watched closely, their players were tugging on their shorts for much of the game."

Posted by imran 0 comments

Joey Foundation of Levittown ‘Rocks the Rainforest’ for Kiwanis

More than forty friends, family and the community members turned out in support of the fundraising efforts of Levittown’s Joey Foundation last week at Industry Nightclub.

The Foundation held a very special event called “Rock the Rainforest,” hoping to raise the final costs of a ProBotic America “Joey on a Schwinn” robotic bicycle to be donated to the Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Center (KPTC) at North Shore Hospital.

“The Joey Foundation has become a great friend to the KPTC Foundation. Its support of our Service Leadership Committee has enhanced the Key Clubbers and Circle K’ers Safe Kids workshops,” said Director and Service Leadership Liaison of KPTC Foundation Board Rich Santer. “The tele-tutor that was purchased by the Joey Foundation has already been incorporated into the curriculum and the Committee is looking forward to being trained to use the traffic signs and the robotic bicycle in their Safe Kids workshops.”

Tim Alderidge of Levittown donated his services as the guest disc jockey, playing ’70s and ’80s rock hits for everyone to dance to, even hosting a karaoke session. The Foundation also raffled a special trip to Costa Rica to a lucky winner from Massapequa Park.

To pair with the rainforest theme of the fundraising party, Ann Torcivia of the Joey Foundation, and friends, prepared Latin appetizers, rice, beans, fried plantains and roasted pork to share with special guests of the party.

Through several fundraising efforts, the purchase of the bicycle is still $800 short of the final price. Torcivia hopes that through several smaller fundraising efforts, the final costs can be raised and the bicycle can be delivered to the KPTC program as planned.

The Joey Foundation was started to honor the memory of a brave Levittown child who suffered from A-Plastic Anemia. Joey Torcivia spent much time in the hospital for treatment, nearly 6 months each year. He was a patient liaison to other kids in the hospital, even being dubbed by hospital employees at “the mayor of the playroom.” Even at a young age, Joey had a giving spirit, giving most of his own birthday gift to the hospital for other kids to play with.

When asked, Ann told the Tribune, “Joey helped so many kids in the hospital and now he’ll be helping kids forever.” She heard about the request for a robotic bicycle through her Kiwanis affiliation and knew the Joey Foundation could answer the call.

The Joey Foundation gives back to the community each year by honoring a person who's made a difference in the life of a child. Since Joey also loved to travel, in conjunction with Friends Travel in Levittown, the Foundation honors that special person with a trip for 2 to a selected location. Nominations for the 2011 award are now being accepted.

Posted by imran Friday, March 25, 2011 0 comments

Chris Brown Apologizes For 'Good Morning America' Outburst

Chris Brown had a bad morning on the Tuesday. For that, he's very sorry.

The singer, who let out an emotional outburst backstage after a contentious interview on "Good Morning America," addressed his allegedly violent, window-smashing tirade on the BET music video countdown show, "106 & Park."

"First of all, I want to apologize to anybody who was startled in the office, or anybody who was offended or really looked, and [was] disappointed at my actions," Brown said on the show. "Because I'm disappointed in the way I acted."

"I felt like they told us this just so they could get us on the show so they can exploit me," Brown said. "So I took it very, very hard and I really kinda kept my composure throughout the whole interview, although you can see me upset, I kept my composure, I did my performance.

"And when I got back I just let off steam. I did not physically hurt anyone, I didn't try to hurt anyone, I just wanted to release the anger that I had inside me because I felt that I worked so hard for this music and I felt like people kept just trying to take it away from me."

Brown's outburst came after repeated questioning by co-anchor Robin Roberts about the 2009 incident in which he inflicted a devastating beating on his then-girlfriend, Rihanna.

In a statement that followed the incident, Roberts said that she had a good relationship with Brown, was shocked by his outburst, and invited him back to the show.

Posted by imran Thursday, March 24, 2011 0 comments

Elizabeth Taylor, violet-eyed screen siren, dies at 79

Elizabeth Taylor, the glamorous queen of American movie stardom, whose achievements as an actress were often overshadowed by her rapturous looks and real-life dramas, died early Wed of congestive heart failure at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said publicist Sally Morrison. She was 79.

During a career that spanned 6 decades, the legendary beauty with lavender eyes won 2 Oscars and made more than 50 films, performing alongside such fabled leading men as Spencer Tracy, Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando and Richard Burton, whom she married twice. She took her cues from a Who's Who of directors, including George Cukor, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, George Stevens, Vincente Minnelli and Mike Nichols.

Long after she faded from the screen, she remained a mesmerizing figure, blessed and cursed by the extraordinary celebrity that molded her life through its many phases: She was a child star who bloomed gracefully into an ingenue; a femme fatale on the screen and in life; a canny peddler of high-priced perfume; a pioneering activist in the fight against AIDS.

Some actresses, such as Katharine Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman, won more awards and critical plaudits, but none matched Taylor's hold on the collective imagination. In the public's mind, she was the dark goddess for whom playing Cleopatra, as she did with such notoriety, required no great leap from reality.

Taylor, NY Times critic Vincent Canby once wrote, "has grown up in the full view of a voracious public for whom the triumphs and disasters of her personal life have automatically become extensions of her screen performances. She's different from the rest of us."

Her passions were legend. She loved to eat, which led to well-publicized battles with weight over the years. She loved men, dating many of the world's richest and most famous, including Frank Sinatra, Henry Kissinger and Malcolm Forbes, and married 8 times, including the 2 visits to the altar with Burton.

She loved jewels, amassing huge and expensive baubles the way children collect toys.

"It would be very glamorous to be reincarnated as a big ring on Elizabeth Taylor's finger," Andy Warhol once mused about the woman who owned the 33-carat Krupp diamond ring — a gift from Burton that she wore daily. It broadcast to the world that she was a lady with an enormous lust for life.

But Taylor attracted misfortune too. According to one chronicler, she suffered more than 70 illnesses, injuries and accidents requiring hospitalization, including an appendectomy, an emergency tracheotomy, a punctured esophagus, a hysterectomy, dysentery, an ulcerated eye, smashed spinal discs, phlebitis, skin cancer and hip replacements. In 1997, she had a benign brain tumor removed. By her own count, she nearly died four times.

In 2004 she disclosed that she had congestive heart failure and crippling spinal problems that left her in constant pain. For much of her life she struggled with alcohol and prescription painkillers.

It meant, she once told the Los Angeles Times, "steamy, full of drama. I'm sure they did not mean it kindly. Tennessee's heroines are all fraught. They're all on the brink of disaster."

She was often described as the quintessential Tennessee Williams heroine, a characterization Taylor didn't dispute.

On the evening of Oct. 6, 1991, two dozen helicopters carrying paparazzi and reporters whirred in the skies above singer Michael Jackson's ranch in Santa Barbara County, Calif. Despite an armada of hot-air balloons launched as a shield against prying eyes, a parachutist wearing a camera on his helmet managed to land mere yards from the 59-year-old bride and her 39-year-old groom.

Thus were Taylor and construction worker Larry Fortensky wed — amid Hollywood hoopla and conjecture about whether the movie star's eighth walk down the aisle would be her last.

Who could know? The only sure thing was that Elizabeth Taylor adored men.

"I'm more of a man's woman," she once admitted. "With men, there's a kind of twinkle that comes out. I sashay up to a man. I walk up to a woman."

She was 17 when Husband No. 1 laid eyes on her. That was Conrad Nicholas Hilton Jr., the handsome scion of the Hilton hotel clan. Their 1950 marriage, burdened by Taylor's celebrity and Hilton's gambling, drinking and abusive behavior, lasted 8 months.

No. 2 was Michael Wilding, a British actor 20 years her senior, whose gentleness offered Taylor a safe haven. They had 2 children: Michael Howard, born in 1953, and Christopher Edward, born in 1955. They were divorced in 1957 after 5 years.

Posted by imran Wednesday, March 23, 2011 0 comments

No. 11 seed 1 of 5 teams to win on home court Monday

It was as if Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot wanted to put a highlight reel of her entire career into one basketball game. A contest that would be her last on her home court at the McCarthey Athletic Center, but not her last in a Bulldogs uniform.

That's because No. 11 seed Gonzaga, for the second season in a row, will be going to the Sweet 16 -- thanks to a great point guard, a very strong team … and some good fortune with geography.

The Bulldogs beat No. 3 seed UCLA 89-75 Monday in Spokane, Wash., taking advantage of being at home to knock off the Pac-10's Bruins.

Being at home was also a big help to Dayton No. 1 seed Tennessee and Philadelphia No. 2 seed Duke; both were pushed Monday in the second round but survived.

Tennessee, after a first-round romp over Stetson, got all it could handle from eighth-seeded Marquette. The Golden Eagles' senior guard tandem of Angel Robinson and Tatiyiana McMorris had not played in an NCAA tournament before this year, but they certainly made the most of the opportunity.

McMorris hit the winning shot in a first-round victory against Texas. Then against Tennessee, Robinson and McMorris combined for 34 points in a 79-70 loss to Tennessee.

Meanwhile, Duke had an even closer call than that against No. 10 seed Marist at Cameron Indoor Stadium, winning 71-66. The Red Foxes were in control much of the game, despite the loss of senior guard Erica Allenspach in the first half to an ankle sprain. But eventually, the Blue Devils rallied, and Duke fans breathed a sigh of relief when the Red Foxes' potential game-tying 3-pointer didn't go.

Duke will next face DePaul, one of two Big East teams to advance to the Sweet 16 Monday; five others will try to do that Tuesday. The Philly No. 3 seed Blue Demons were almost tripped up on sixth-seeded Penn State's home court, but rallied for a 75-73 Dayton No. 2 Notre Dame beat Temple 77-64.

Home was sweet for Dayton No. 4 seed Ohio State, which beat Georgia Tech 67-60 and faces Tennessee next, and Spokane No. 1 seed Stanford, which beat No. 8 St. John's 75-49 and finished its fourth consecutive season with a perfect mark at Maples Pavilion.

Stanford senior starters Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen concluded their Cardinal careers 63-0 at home, and but now go to a regional where another team is the hometown favorite.

That's Gonzaga. The Bulldogs will have the support of the entire city with them -- including Gonzaga alum John Stockton, who was in attendance Monday appreciating the skills of a fellow point guard -- as they play in the upcoming regional at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.

The setup of predetermined sites for the first and second rounds of the NCAA women's tournament means that sometimes, a worse-seeded team gets a home-court advantage over a team with a better seed because it submitted a winning bid to host.

The Bulldogs will face either No. 2 seed Xavier -- the team they lost to last year in the Sweet 16 -- or seventh-seeded Louisville. Both play Tuesday in Cincinnati. Stanford faces fifth-seeded North Carolina in the other Spokane semifinal Saturday.

Would No. 11 Gonzaga have defeated sixth-seeded Iowa in the first round or UCLA in the second on a neutral court? Hard to say, but the Bulldogs did make the Sweet 16 away from home last year. Of course, then Gonzaga had a home-state advantage -- the subregional was played across the state in Seattle -- and defeated No. 2 seed Texas A&M in the 2010 second round.

But no one can argue that Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves has built a terrific program in Spokane, and Vandersloot has been the centerpiece. The senior guard was sensational Monday: 29 points, 17 assists, 7 rebounds, 5 steals. During the game, she scored the 2,000th point of her career. Are you watching, WNBA scouts? You know you need point guards in the league.

It's not too often that a player could score 30 points and be overshadowed by her teammate, but Gonzaga's Kayla Standish was. Not that she minded.

UCLA is a very good defensive team, but it didn't look so against the high-octane offense of Gonzaga, which shot 55.8 percent from the field. It was an unfortunate break in a good season for UCLA to have to play on Gonzaga's home court in the second round. Last season, the Bruins fell in the NCAA second round to No. 1 seed Nebraska on a neutral court.

UCLA's loss -- combined with the first-round exit of Arizona State -- leaves Stanford as the last Pac-10 team standing in the 2011 tournament. The Cardinal, going for their fourth consecutive Final Four, are still considered the Spokane Regional favorite.

But the idea that the Bulldogs are really underdogs? They sure aren't looking like it.

Posted by imran Tuesday, March 22, 2011 0 comments

Hero or villain? The shackled and naked United States. soldier in WikiLeaks freedom of speech row as Julian Assange preens himself in UK

This weekend, demonstrators will take to the streets of cities across the world, including London, to protest against America’s treatment of the man it holds responsible for the WikiLeaks debacle — the release of 250,000 confidential U.S. embassy cables last Nov that revealed devastatingly damaging details of what the diplomats really thought about everybody else.

Protesters in America will gather outside the razor-wire gates of the U.S. marine corps base at Quantico, Virginia.

Inside a tiny cell in the base’s prison block languishes the object of their mission — a slightly-built, fresh-faced young man held in conditions that have been compared to those at the notorious detention camps Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

But he won’t hear them, no matter how loudly they shout. His cell doesn't have a window and on the rare occasions he's allowed out, the clanking of the chains that shackle his hands and feet tend to drown out other sounds.

He might face rape charges in Sweden but, pursued by plaudits and feted by celebrities such as socialites Jemima Khan and Bianca Jagger, Assange is on something of a high at the moment.

We're not, of course, talking about Julian Assange. The white-haired WikiLeaks supremo will be spending his weekend pottering around the 600-acre grounds of his current billet, Ellingham Hall in Suffolk, basking in warm reflections over his speech last Tuesday to 700 wide-eyed students at Cambridge University Union.

But Bradley Manning — who's being held on remand at Quantico as the Army Private First Class who allegedly leaked the cables and gave Assange his biggest scoop — is most definitely on a low.

Posted by imran Monday, March 21, 2011 0 comments

The Celebrity Apprentice 4 Episode 3

Lisa Rinna seemed to be out of her depth in The Celebrity Apprentice 4 Episode 2, and bitches she was surrounded by took advantage of that, leading to her firing.

The men’s win seems to have escaped them already, so Meat Loaf and Gary Busey exchange words before the ladies come back out of the boardroom.

Star tells the women they’re on their own next time. At least now they’ll get the font right. NeNe doesn’t buy it. Star will be back again trying to take over because that’s who she is.

The task is to create an outdoor camping experience to display Camping World’s products and RVs. They will be judged on brand messaging, originality, and overall presentation.

Niki Taylor will be the project manager for the women. Gary Busey will be the project manager for the men (good luck).

The teams will have to negotiate for which campers they want. The men like the one that looks like a tour bus, while the women like the one that looks like it’s for families, so this negotiation process is simple.

After they get done talking, now it’s time for Jose to voice his opinion. He’s not too sure about their choice. A little late for that.

For somebody who was no longer interested in being in control, Star doesn’t waste any time taking over the conversation when they meet the executive from Camping World. Everybody else would love to say something, but they’re not having much luck.

Gary and Lil Jon are already not getting along. Richard Hatch has his seat belt on, expecting a bumpy ride. Meat Loaf is confused where they’re heading.

The women have a theme picked out, a 21st century camping experience. How that differs from a 20th century camping experience I do not know. They arrive at the Camping World store before the guys, and it’s first come, first served. As the other women run around like crazy at the store, Dionne takes her time slowly roaming around and not doing much.

John Rich comes up with an idea to create a Camping World song. Jose wants to be on record that he’s against that, too. It’s too hickish. This leads to a debate with Richard Hatch, who wants to use something other than country, for fear that its audience is perceived as less educated.

By the time the men finally arrive at the store, the women have a huge stack of supplies already outside. They have so much stuff that they start to become overwhelmed. The men, who arrived long after the women, also depart before them.

The guys decide the need trees to make it look more campy. Mark McGrath gets some trees. He informs Gary of this, telling him to set aside a few hundred bucks. Richard gets some trees, too. Gary gives him the okay as well. Mark agrees to cancel his order, at which time Gary denies knowledge of it. When Mark goes to cancel, he finds out he won’t be charged anything. I’d think they should now just cancel Hatch’s order and spend the $900 on something else, but they appear to be ready to just take both.

Star is not happy that she’s been left behind without much instruction, so she takes this as an opportunity to take control again..

Meanwhile, models Hope and Niki go off to the graphics designer. Their first order of business is to figure out what century it is.

The men still don’t have a theme. Gary is unconcerned, just sitting around and relaxing with Jose.

At 6:30, Star calls Niki to say she doesn’t know what the experience is going to be. Niki finds this amusing, responding “We’re camping.” She says they should go to Home Depot for some greenery, which Star calls “very complicated.” When she gets back, Niki sends Dionne and La Toya to Home Depot, but they want to go to Bed Bath & Beyond first.

Mark McGrath is convinced his team has lost. While he panics in the RV, Gary and Jose play catch outside, so Mark takes a video, hoping Trump won’t be so enamored with Gary’s 1979 Academy Award nomination when he sees this. When they return from the printers, John Rich and Meat Loaf don’t think anything has been done. As they carry stuff around, Jose just stays put in his chair.

Unsurprisingly, Dionne and La Toya did not end up going to Home Depot last night, so the women have settled on ballons instead of trees. On the other hand, the men have plenty of greenery, allowing Mark to think that maybe this might not be such a slaughter after all.

When Don Jr. arrives, Niki refuses to say anybody is an issue. Adding to that, she says that, if they don’t win, it’s probably her fault. Marlee’s not quite as shy, and she still doesn’t like Dionne.

While she’s giving her tour, Niki still doesn’t know what century it is.

Hope starts off the tour and shows some people around. From there, they don’t know where to go. Dionne doesn’t like that Hope is stepping on her toes, and she should be outside, rather than in Dionne’s camper. Niki doesn’t want any part of Dionne’s tirade, but Star is okay if she continues.

The Camping World exec seems to be enjoying himself watching the guys in action. Then he asks Meat Loaf what’s behind that big banner he hung up. Turns out it was a TV they never noticed.

Unlike the men, who had prominently, if perhaps inappropriately, placed banners, the women placed their signs on the outskirts where they were not really noticeable.

The exec liked that the women had a high level of knowledge. La Toya could get a job as a salesperson for the company. The lack of branding, however, was a problem. For the men, John Rich did a good job with music, Jose was playing catch with fans, their landscaping was good, and they had a lot of signage. However, they neglected the inside, which looked it was decorated by men.

Niki does not want to pick a favorite. She’s not sure they won, though.

Hope thinks she was a good project manager, and everyone got along. Even Star was happy with how well they worked together.

Needless to say, Dionne is the sour apple of the bunch. Marlee thinks Dionne works when she’s given a task, but doesn’t go beyond what she’s asked.

Gary feels he’s being ganged up on by a group of people within his team, who may have an alliance. He believes Lil Jon is the weak link because he was difficult to communicate with.

Richard does not think Gary was a good leader. John was disappointed. Meat Loaf thought he was good, in situations. Mark says the team was strong enough to overcome his inadequacies. Lil Jon thought they lacked direction, and it was a train wreck.

On an unrelated note, Marlee noticed that Gary had trouble hearing, so she set him up with a doctor, who made him a hearing aid. Turns out he’s been legally deaf for 22 years.

Ivanka points out Jose’s lack of energy. He claims it was just a 5 minute break.

Having heard positive things about John’s performance, Trump asks him to sing his theme song in the boardroom.

In spite of the men having dug apart their project manager and having another airtight scapegoat in Jose, they have won the task. Gary will receive $20,000 from Trump plus $20,000 from Camping World for his charity the Center for Head Injury Services, which he supports since he had a traumatic injury in 1988 after he was thrown off his motorcycle without a helmet.

The men may have won, but they are already bickering before they even get back to the suite.

Niki accepts responsibility for her team’s loss. She refuses to blame anybody else. You don’t have to fire her because she quits, in spite of the fact that she’s one of the stronger people on her team.

Posted by imran Sunday, March 20, 2011 0 comments

Critic's Notebook: Farewell to 'Big Love' [Spoiler alert!]

Polygamy may seem like a man’s game — a different bedroom every night, never having to do a dish — but what kept HBO’s “Big Love” from becoming a sexual and the marital farce was the more-than-kin, less-than-kind relationship between Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), Nicki (Chloe Sevigny) and Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin), the 3 wives of hardware store magnate turned state senator Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton).

So it was only fitting that the show, which concluded its five-season run Sunday night, would end with the women, now a trio of widows, standing together still more than a year after the strange and unexpected murder of Bill marked the finale’s climax.

In the end, nothing else seemed to matter, as if the hectic spree of plotlines that filled this season almost as crazily as it did the last were somehow just a distraction. Although death lurked in the corners of the last few episodes — the moody light, the ominous soundtrack, the references to the afterlife — the moment came with silent, sudden swiftness, a distillation of the show’s disdain for convention. Bill was murdered not for being polygamous or a politician or even an often supercilious husband but because he re-sodded his neighbor’s lawn, and his death was not played as tragedy. Having made his stand in the Senate and brought the oppressed of Juniper Creek to freedom, Bill dies surrounded by his wives in a state of spiritual ecstasy.

It was a perfect finish to an astonishingly ambitious show that often careened through genre, narrative structure and believability like they were false walls on a stage. To have remained a “perfect” show, “Big Love” probably should have ended 2 seasons ago, before the action began moving away from the original nexus of family drama, spreading voracious tendrils of subplot all over the place like so much bougainvillea.

But “Big Love” was never much interested in perfection, and that was the unexpected beauty of it. Creators Will Scheffer and Mark V. Olsen set out to explore the sticky, tantalizing mess of love and marriage, family and commitment in a way that seemed patently absurd — through middle-class polygamy. While audiences, captivated by the smart writing and stellar cast, struggled with the idea that any modern American woman would willingly share a husband, “Big Love” patiently and consistently explained that to try to confine the myriad ways in which the human heart experiences enduring love to one narrow definition of marriage is far more absurd than the idea of polygamy.

Sunday night’s season finale felt, at times, very much like the end of days. For weeks, relationships, finances and plotlines had been collapsing all around, and it seemed impossible that the writers, much less the Henrickson clan, could dig themselves out. Bill may have ended the corruption of Juniper Creek by taking down Alby (Matt Ross) in a gunfight  that literally rang through the corridors of the Salt Lake City capital building, but he still faced charges of statutory rape after it was made public that Margene had been 17 when they “married.” Meanwhile,  Barb, suddenly called to the priesthood, prepared to leave Bill’s church for a more modern (i.e., polygamy-rejecting) church. Margene, having given up her various attempts to be a businesswoman, realized she needed to see more of the world via a missionary cruise and Nicki struggled to prevent her 15-year old daughter Cara Lynn (Cassi Thomson) from continuing the affair she was having with her high school math teacher.

It was all totally crazy — Bill uses his final moments as a sitting state senator to propose a bill legalizing polygamy and all his wives put in their 2 cents — except for when it wasn’t. As with “Lost,” it became easier to experience things emotionally than intellectually: Grace Zabriskie’s heartbreaking depiction of Bill’s mother’s descent into dementia; Barb’s lovely, honest moment with Nicki — ”I’m spiteful and mean,” says Nicki; “I know,” answers Barb, before embracing her; Nicki’s revelatory reconciliation with Cara Lynn; the wives’ brief Thelma and Louise top-down moment; Bill’s maddening mixture of sanctimony and loving humility, which made him one of television’s most infuriating and compelling characters right up until the moment he dies.

And when the action returns to the Henrickson home 18 months later, we see the family altered but still together, the marriage still holding, because real love rarely looks like what you see on TV. Especially now that “Big Love” is gone.

Posted by imran 1 comments

Hostility toward Iranian Jews revealed in distortion of Purim

On March 20, or Adar II 14 on the Jewish calendar, Jews around the world will observe Purim, a joyous celebration of the deliverance of the Jews of the Persian Empire from annihilation more than 2,400 years ago. However, for the Jews of modern Persia—otherwise known as Iran—this year’s Purim may be anything but a joyous celebration. 

This year in Iran, Purim will be observed by Iranians as a day of mourning for the ancient Persians who—according to the Iranian version of the story being broadcast by the state news agency Fars—were massacred by the Jews under the command of the Jewish Queen Esther.

The events that led up to the first observance of Purim are recorded in the biblical book of Esther. However, the Iranian version of the story leaves out all the pertinent details found in the biblical account—except of course, the death of Persians near the end of the book—and instead presents a rewritten story in which Esther and her uncle, Mordecai, perpetrated a holocaust against the Persians. This rewritten version of the original story isn't only being broadcast by the state news agency, but has been taught to Iranian schoolchildren for years.

The Iranian version of Esther leaves out significant events in the story such as a decree legalizing the annihilation of the Jews of Persia. It also neglects to mention that in response to that decree, Esther only asked that the authorization for the destruction of the Jews be overturned.

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Council to consider laptops

Wicomico County Council members are considering buying laptop computers, a move they say would cut down on the printing out bulky briefing books before meetings.

"The bottom line, of course, will be the cost," Council President Gail Bartkovich said.

The current practice is to print out copies for all 7 council members, members of the law office and executive's office employees, Council Administrator Matt Creamer said. Printing costs add up; it's not unusual for each briefing book to top 100 pages, he said.

This past week, the council met with IT Director Ray Micciche to discuss buying Windows-based laptops. Inquiries about buying Apple's iPads or MacBooks were made briefly, but they did not gain much traction because the county uses Microsoft's operating system and iPads aren't compatible with the Microsoft office suite.

Micciche is supposed to get back to the council with a cost estimate before its April 5 meeting. Given a rough estimate so far, he said the least expensive PC would be $400, but that cost may more than double when adding in software, disk drives and security features.

Bartkovich said council members would have to give up the laptops when their term is over. She said a laptop would increase her productivity because it's easier to carry the slim-sized device than lug around overstuffed binders of information.

He told each council member that he or she should create a log-in password so if the laptop gets lost, a person can't sign in. He said hackers have their ways around that, but security would foil the average person.

"I personally get tired of having to carry around reams of paper," Bartkovich said. "I bring bags full of paper from the brief book to recycle."

Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt and spokesperson Jim Fineran have county-issued laptops, Fineran said.

However, in the legislative branch, government laptops are less common. The Salisbury City Council and Worcester and Somerset County Commissioners do not use laptops, according to officials with those governments.

Worcester spokesperson Kim Moses said that at one time, the school system gave laptops to new teachers as a hiring incentive. But that has since been cut from the budget.

Creamer said money for the laptops would come out of this year's budget for the council.

Posted by imran Friday, March 18, 2011 0 comments

Yen currency exchange rate strengthened

The currency exchange rate of the yen has amazingly strengthened despite catastrophic consequences of the recent earthquake and tsunami.

Chris Towner, director of FX advisory services at HiFX, said that the trading environment in the foreign exchange markets has been stable.

He added that this is in contrast to the stock exchange, which saw global stocks hit a 2-and-a-half-month low.

However, the main reasons for the stability of the yen's currency exchange rate are the fact that it's a risk-averse reputation, the insurance market in-flows into the Japanese yen to meet the huge claims and the vast repatriation of big multi-national companies in order to start re-building.

Mr Towner added that sterling isn't expected to weaken aggressively as a result of the natural disaster, however, he noted that the pound is expected to "trade on the back foot over the next few weeks", helped by the uncertainty allowing the Bank of England to hold off from raising interest rates imminently.

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Hunting the elusive Shamrock Shake; not in Louisville

"I've lived here for 3 years and haven't been able to find these delicious nuggets of joy that I grew up with yet," Kim Jurewicz said. "What is wrong with this city?"

Managers of several area McDonald's referred us to corporate headquarters for comment, while daring to suggest that the Shamrock Shake might not be as popular as ardent admirers believe.

The trail led to Pam Fisher, director of marketing for McDonald's Restaurants of Kentuckiana, which includes stores here.

"Some flavors of shakes perform better in different markets," Fisher said. "I'd love to hear that the local community actually wants it. If they wanted it, we would sell it. That's what happened in Indianapolis. We'd a radio station going live from location to location asking for the Shamrock Shake and we got lots of calls."

Don't tell Erin Thompson, a hotel housekeeping manager in Elizabethtown, Ky, that no one wants the Shamrock Shake. The Minnesota native is jealous that her friends back in the Twin Cities can sip Shamrock Shakes while she would have to make a trip to Lebanon Junction, Ky., to get her fix.

"My best friend in Minnesota has had 3 or 4 already. She's coming to visit this week, and well, she wishes she could bring me one - but you can't really fly with a Shamrock Shake," Thompson said.

Posted by imran Thursday, March 17, 2011 0 comments

Mizuho Restarts ATM’s After 3rd Day of System Failures

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. (8411), Japan’s third-biggest bank by market value, restarted automated teller machine service nationwide, its 3rd day of system outages following the country’s biggest earthquake on record.

While Mizuho Bank is investigating the exact cause of the disruption, a surge in transactions may have caused the glitch, said the bank’s President Satoru Nishibori at a press conference held in Tokyo today. It may take more time for the system to return to normal operation, he said.

The breakdowns follow a 2-day outage of its money transfer system and today’s ATM and Internet service failure after a record 9-magnitude earthquake struck Japan on March 11, leading to power outages. The system failure is not related to the earthquake, Nishibori said.

The Tokyo-based company’s Mizuho Bank unit as of yesterday was unable to complete 440,000 transactions valued at 570 billion yen ($7.2 billion), it said in a statement on its website. Unit spokesman Gaku Deguchi said the system was restarted at 11:30 a.m.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Naoto Kan appealed for calm as the government worked to help hundreds of thousands of people facing freezing temperatures with no power, while Tokyo Electric Power Co. battled to prevent a nuclear catastrophe at its earthquake-damaged Fukushima plant 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of Tokyo.

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Remembering the Recession on St. Patrick's Day

Even as President Obama and members of Congress celebrate St. Patrick's Day, I doubt they'll dwell on the worst chapter in the history of the Emerald Isle -- the Irish Famine of 1846 to 1850.

Yet shamrock-sporting politicians everywhere should pay heed to the depths of that calamity. An inadequate response and misplaced priorities of the government in London added immeasurably to the tragedy.

How horrific was the famine? In the decade before 1851, the population density in Ireland dropped from 335 to 231 inhabitants per square mile. Almost one-third of the population perished, or moved away -- one million peasants died. But sheer numbers cannot tell the horror of the famine.

In Paul Bew's seminal work, "Ireland: The Politics of Enmity 1789-2006," he includes a passage from a magazine article written at the height of the famine: "In a sort of hutch there lay 4 skeletal children... death-stricken. Had they been removed at this moment to go to the Queen's palace, they could not have lived."

Bew then recorded this report from A. M. Sullivan, a Young Ireland activist: "a sort of stupor fell upon the people, contrasting remarkably with the fierce energy put forth a year before. It was no uncommon sight to see the cottier and his little family seated on the garden fence, gazing all day long in moody silence at the blighted plot that had been their last hope."

As thousands perished in 1846, the British Government under Sir Robert Peel spurred roads and rail improvements in Ireland, imported 12 million pounds of corn meal from India, and lent money for local relief. Those measures proved to be a thimbleful of help in a rising sea of tragedy.

Those grudging half-steps were never Peel's top priority. In 1846, his primary focus was the repeal of the Corn Laws and the tariffs that protected English farmers from imported grain. Repealing those tariffs would reduce the value of the only crop Ireland could sell -- corn -- even as its potatoes turned black. The lure of Free Trade was great. In the debate over repeal, some called reports of conditions in Ireland "exaggerated," "a gross delusion" or even "a pretext." All sides played fast and loose with the truth of what was happening just across the Irish Sea.

Sullivan was later quoted as saying, "It would be utter injustice to deny that the government made exertions which, judged by ordinary circumstances, would be prompt and considerable. But judged by the awful magnitude of the evil then at hand or actually befallen, they were fatally tardy and inadequate."

Fast forward to today. Sullivan's even-handed judgment applies just as well to the Congress and the Obama administration. The original stimulus package was "prompt and considerable." Yet, Washington's lack of focus on the "awful magnitude" of this Grave Recession means any initiatives this year -- or even next -- will be "fatally tardy and inadequate."

Since the Economic Recovery Act became law in 2009, more than 400,000 Americans have filed first time claims for unemployment benefits every week save two. Our jobs crisis still affects over 30 million Americans. Yet, President Obama keeps searching for "solutions on the cheap," according to one adviser quoted in the NY Times Magazine. And Congress seems intent on deep spending cuts even for programs that assist the unemployed.

Right around the corner, in the name of job creation, there are plans to press for passage of the Korea, Panama and Colombia Free Trade Agreements. These NAFTA-lite deals may create jobs across the globe. Here at home, they'll add to our jobs crisis.

What is missing from the White House and Congress approach is any sense of urgency. For millions of 99ers -- Americans who have exhausted all unemployment benefits -- this is a time of blight. Their careers, credit, savings and homes are forfeit. Hunger and homelessness, helplessness and hopelessness -- those are the four horsemen of today's jobless.

Will history judge our government as cruel and callous as Her Majesty's in the 19th Century? I suppose so.

On a smaller but no less depressing scale, American workers today are reliving the hard times that laid waste to an entire island. As the toasts of "Erin Go Bragh" echo across Washington today, the complete indifference of politicians is, once again, on display for an entire continent to see. And our jobless millions won't forget -- for now, forever.

Ironic but true, on the night that the House of Commons repealed the Corn Laws, Peel's conservative government fell. It lost a vote over the Irish Coercion Act, legislation meant to curtail the violence erupting across Ireland. The peasants, ejected from their leased lands and gripped by hunger, were taking matters into their own hands.

Posted by imran Wednesday, March 16, 2011 0 comments

Spoiler Alert: The following reveals outcome of The Bachelor finale

After traveling the world and narrowing down the pool of 30 women, Brad Womack chose woman he wants to marry.

Brad's family arrives in South Africa to the meet remaining women, Chantal and Emily. He explains to his mother, brothers and 2 sisters-in-law that he's 100 percent considering proposing.

Cut to a shot of Brad as he watches Emily, appropriately dressed in white, walk down the aisle. "You're the one Em, you're it," he says before declaring his love and proposing.

During the After the Final Rose special, viewers get an update on how the couple is doing today, three months post-proposal. Turns out it hasn't been an easy road, to say the least.

Brad explains that he and Emily have broken up once since their engagement and that Emily has had a very tough time watching the season. Although she admits "it's certainly not all roses," Emily does say she's confident in how she feels about Brad. Still, a wedding date has not been set and Emily is not yet ready to relocate to Austin.

The 3 successful Bachelor/Bachelorette couples join in to share some advice. Molly says they should just focus on the relationship and each other, and host Chris Harrison jokes that it could be worse -- Emily could've watched Brad propose to someone else (as Molly had to endure Jason's proposal to Melissa).

Ryan, who's married to the first ever Bachelorette Trista, says that Emily may have to go through a lot of hurt, but in the end it will be to get her perfect guy. Ali and Roberto share how they still remind themselves, "It's just us in a bubble."

Brad and Emily watch their proposal for the very first time and Emily finally gets to wear her ring. Although the two may have had a bumpy road since they finished filming, they're hopeful that they can make it through.

Posted by imran Monday, March 14, 2011 0 comments

The word "meltdown" goes to heart of the big nuclear question - is nuclear power safe?

The term is associated in public mind with the 2 most notorious accidents in recent memory - 3 Mile Island, in the United States, in 1979, and Chernobyl, in Ukraine, 7 years later.

You can think of the core of a Boiling Water Reactor (BWR), such as the ones at Fukushima Daiichi, as a massive version of the electrical element you may have in your kettle.

It sits there, immersed in water, getting very hot.

The water cools it, and also carries the heat away - usually as steam - so it can be used to turn turbines and generate electricity.

If the water stops flowing, there is a problem. The core overheats and more of the water turns to steam.

The steam generates huge pressures inside the reactor vessel - a big, sealed container - and if the largely metal core gets too hot, it will just melt, with some components perhaps catching fire.

In the worst-case scenario, the core melts through the bottom of the reactor vessel and falls onto the floor of the containment vessel - an outer sealed unit.

This is designed to prevent the molten reactor from penetrating any further. Local damage in this case will be serious, but in principle there should be no leakage of radioactive material into the outside world.

But the term "in principle" is the difficult one.

Reactors are designed to have "multiply redundant" safety features: if one fails, another should contain the problem.

However, the fact that this doesn't always work is shown at Fukushima Daiichi.

The earthquake meant the 3 functioning reactors shut down. But it also removed the power that kept the vital water pumps running, sending cooling water around the hot core.

Diesel generators were installed to provide power in such a situation. They did cut in - but then they cut out again an hour later, for reasons that haven't yet been revealed.

In this case, redundancy didn't work. And the big fear within the anti-nuclear movement, as used in the film The China Syndrome, is that the multiple containment of a molten core might not work either, allowing highly radioactive and toxic metals to burrow into the ground, with serious and long-lasting environmental impacts - total meltdown.

However, the counter-argument from nuclear proponents is that the partial meltdown at 3 Mile Island didn't cause any serious effects.

Yes, the core melted, but the containment systems held.

And at Chernobyl - a reactor design regarded in the West as inherently unsafe, and which wouldn't have been sanctioned in any non-Soviet bloc nation - the environmental impacts occurred through explosive release of material into the air, not from a melting reactor core.

To keep things in perspective, no nuclear accident has caused anything approaching the 1,000 fatalities stemming from Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

'Subcritical' reactors

Whether a partial meltdown is under way at Fukushima Daiichi isn't yet clear.

The most important factor is summed up in a bulletin from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) that owns the facility: "Control rods are fully inserted (reactor is in subcritical status)."

Control rods shut off the nuclear reaction. Heat continues to be produced at that stage through the decay of radioactive nuclei - but that process in turn will begin to tail off.

Intriguingly, Ryohei Shiomi, an official at Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission, is widely quoted as having said a meltdown was possible and that officials were checking.

The explosion at the site does appear to have been in one of the reactor buildings. Reports indicate that walls of the building were severely damaged in the blast.

What caused it's unclear, but a nuclear site does have chemicals around that could cause an explosion if they came together - the explosion was definitely not a "nuclear explosion" in the common sense of the term.

In principle, the exterior damage shouldn't cause leakage of radioactive material because the building is just an outside shell; the job of keeping dangerous materials sealed in falls to the containment vessel inside.

Under pressure

The only release of any radioactive material that we know about so far concerns venting of the containment vessel.

When steam pressure builds up in the reactor vessel, it stops some of the emergency cooling systems working, and so some of the steam is released into the containment vessel.

However, according to World Nuclear News, an industry newsletter, this caused pressure in the containment vessel to rise to twice the intended operating level, so the decision was taken to vent some of this into the atmosphere.

In principle, this should contain only short-lived radioactive isotopes such as nitrogen-16 produced through the water's exposure to the core. Venting this would be likely to produce short-lived gamma-ray activity - which has, reportedly, been detected.

One factor that's yet to be explained is the apparent detection of radioactive isotopes of caesium.

This is produced during the nuclear reaction, and should be confined within the reactor core.

If it has been detected outside the plant, that could imply that the core has begun to disintegrate.

"If any of the fuel rods have been compromised, there would be evidence of a small amount of radioisotopes in the atmosphere [such as] radio-caesium and radio-iodine," says Paddy Regan, professor of nuclear physics at the UK's University of Surrey.

"The amount that you measure would tell you to what degree the fuel rods have been compromised."

It's an important question - but as yet, unanswered.

Cover-ups and questions

In fact, the whole incident so far contains more questions than answers.

Parallels with 3 Mile Island and Chernobyl suggest that while some answers will materialise soon, it may takes months, even years, for the full picture to emerge.

How that happens depends in large part on the approach taken by Tepco and Japan's nuclear authorities.

As with its counterparts in many other countries, Japan's nuclear industry hasn't exactly been renowned for openness and transparency.

Tepco itself has been implicated in a series of cover-ups down the years.

In 2002, the chairman and four other executives resigned, suspected of having falsified safety records at Tepco power stations.

Further examples of falsification were identified in 2006 and 2007.

In the longer term, Fukushima Daiichi raises several more very big questions, inside and outside Japan.

Given that this isn't the first time a Japanese nuclear station has been hit by earthquake damage, is it wise to build such stations along the east coast, given that such a seismically active zone lies just offshore?

And given that Three Mile Island effectively close down the construction of civilian nuclear reactors in the US for 30 years, what impact is Fukushima Daiichi likely to have in an era when many countries, not least the UK, are looking to re-enter the nuclear industry?

Posted by imran Saturday, March 12, 2011 0 comments

Japan earthquake update: 400 reported dead, Tsunami warning raised to more than 20 countries (Video)

A total of 400 people were reported to have been killed after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit Japan on Friday, March 11, 2011 and eventually led to a huge tsunami as shown in the video below, as tsunami warning were raised to more than 20 countries around the world.

As of this writing, Aljazeera reported that the casualties due to the recent Japan earthquake have already reached to 48, where most of them have crushed to death by collapsed buildings.

A 10-meter tsunami (about 33 feet) hit Sendai airport, that washed away cars, boats, homes and even people, and the fires broke in different establishments, as the story is still developing.

Apparently, the Japanese government was said to have quickly responded as rescue teams were immediately released and military planes were launched to assess the extent of the damage.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii issued tsunami warning to most of the parts that cover the Pacific Ocean, which includes Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, and Philippines.

On the other hand, the Tsunami Warning Center in Alaska also issued a tsunami watch for the entire US West Coast and in Canada from the Mexican border to Chignik Bay in Alaska.

The public is being strongly advised to coordinate with local authorities for possible evacuation and preparedness in the next hours, as well as to updates about the tsunami warning.

Posted by imran Friday, March 11, 2011 0 comments

Facebook 6 founders, investers in Forbes billionaire list

Six of the founders and investors behind the popular social networking site Facebook have made it to the Forbes annual list of the world's top billionaires.

It may not have been Facebook's year at the Oscars, with 'The Social Network', the film depicting its creation, being trounced by The King's Speech, but its creators have marked their spot on the list of billionaires.

Created in a Harvard dorm room in 2004, Facebook rocketed from an online directory for college students to the world's No. 1 social network, quickly surpassing its predecessor Friendster and dominating its rival News Corp's MySpace in popularity, The Guardian reports.

Facebook co-founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg ranks 52 in the Forbes list, with a fortune estimated at 13.5 billion dollars.

His wealth, along with the other 5, massively increased this year when Goldman Sachs invested 1.5 billion dollars, in capital into the site, increasing the value of the company, which remains private, at 50 billion dollars.

Next among the 6 to feature in the list is Dustin Moskovitz, a co- founder. His wealth is estimated at 2.7 billion dollars, making him the world's youngest billionaire

Other members of the Facebook team featuring on the list include Sean Parker (1.6 billion dollars), Peter Thiel (1.5 billion dollars) and a Russian investor in the company, Yuri Milner (one billion dollars).

The final member of the group is Eduardo Saverin, whose falling out with Zuckerberg and the eventual lawsuit and settlement provided the dramatic core of the film 'The Social Network'. Forbes estimates that the agreement that was reached makes Saverin worth 1.6 billion dollars.

However, the top three spots of the Forbes billionaire list remain unchanged, with Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican Telecom Tycoon ranked at the top spot, with his wealth estimated at 74 billion dollars, followed by Bill Gates (56 billion dollars) and Warren Buffet (50 billion dollars).

Posted by imran Thursday, March 10, 2011 0 comments

Michelle Obama Forces Captain Crunch’s Retirement?

How many of you grew up eating Cap n’ Crunch with or without crunch berries? I know I did. Captain Crunch was my favorite cereal as a kid, and now there is speculation that the Captain may be docking his ship for good. Did Michelle Obama have something to do with the forcing Captain Crunch into retirement?

Rumors are swirling about what is going on with Cap n’ Crunch since he no longer appears on the Quaker website. There is even talk that pressure from the federal government, in particular Michelle Obama’s whole anti-obesity iniative is part of the reason for Captain Crunch’s absence from the site.

Quaker denies that Captain Crunch has exited the building, saying, “Reports of Cap’n Crunch’s demise are greatly exaggerated. In fact, we just launched an official Facebook page for Cap’n Crunch. Now that our Cap’n Crunch brand is in the social-media space, our adult consumers can stay up to date on all things Cap’n Crunch.”

So, what’s the official verdict? Did Michelle Obama kill Captain Crunch, or will he re-emerge in the social media sphere?

Posted by imran Wednesday, March 9, 2011 1 comments

LIU dethrones Robert Morris in NEC champ game

Jamal Olasewere scored 7 of his 31 points in overtime and the Long Island University earned its first NCAA tournament bid in 14 years with an 85-82 overtime victory over two-time defending champion Robert Morris in the Northeast Conference title game Wednesday night.

Jason Brickman made two free throws with 7 seconds left to give top-seeded LIU (27-5) an 85-82 lead. Russell Johnson, who made a 3-pointer with 16.8 left for the Colonials (18-14) to send the game to OT, missed a potential tying 3 with the clock winding down.

But the rebound bounced out of bounds with 0.6 left and 3rd-seeded Robert Morris had one more chance. Johnson’s catch-and-shoot 3 at the buzzer from the wing hit the front of the rim and within seconds Blackbirds fans sprinted on to the court to celebrate the school’s first NEC championship since 1997.

In front of a standing room-only crowd of about 1,300 at the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center, a short walk from the construction site which will eventually become the Nets home arena and around the corner from Brooklyn’s famed Flatbush Avenue, LIU secured the fourth NCAA bid in school history.

Johnson led RMU with 22 points, and Velton Jones had 15 of his 20 in the second half.

After Johnson’s clutch three capped a 10-2 run to tie it at 74 for Robert Morris, LIU’s C.J. Garner missed a high-arching runner at the buzzer and the game went to overtime.

Brickman and Garner, the 5-foot-10 guards who fuel the fast-paced Blackbirds attack, each scored 15 points.

Long Island came in ranked 6th in the country in scoring, intent on pushing the pace against a Robert Morris team which uses a far more deliberate style.

The Blackbirds had the tempo they were looking for in the first half, but shot only 34 percent.

Johnson’s three 3s and 11 points helped Robert Morris take a 33-32 lead at halftime.

Olasewere had 17 points in the half, as the rest of the Blackbirds went 7 of 25 from the floor.

Behind Brickman and Garner, LIU raced out of the gate to start the second half. Brickman hit a three to put the Blackbirds up 50-41.

Robert Morris steadied itself behind the inside game of Lijah Thompson, but LIU kept pushing the pace behind its speedy guards and the top defensive team in the league in terms of scoring had a difficult time keeping up.

Thompson finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Julian Boyd’s slam off an alley-oop from Garner made it 72-64 with 2:28 remaining, and the Blackbirds could hardly contain their smiles, sensing a trip to the NCAA was only a few stops away.

But Robert Morris showed championship poise and closed regulation with a 10-2 run, capped by Johnson’s 3 from the wing that momentarily deflated the home crowd.

The Colonials were trying to become the first team to win three straight NEC tournaments.

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Fat Tuesday 2011: Prince William, Kate Middleton flip pancakes in Ireland

Is there anything the beautiful Kate Middleton can not do? Now she's flipping pancakes and they're landing back in the pan. Amazing. Though it does look like Prince William got the best height on his flip.

For Fat Tuesday, or as it's referred to in the United Kingdom, "Shrove Tuesday," Prince William and Kate Middleton traveled to Belfast and outside the city hall they took turns flipping pancakes, which is the traditional food eaten in Ireland for Shrove Tuesday, according to the AP.

The pan and pancake were there for a fundraiser for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children, but nobody had any idea that Prince William and the soon-to-be Princess Catherine would be stopping by.

Fat Tuesday is so-called because it's the day of traditionally eating rich, fatty foods before the season of fasting for Lent, which starts Wednesday (March 8, this year) with Ash Wed. Are you getting ready to kick of Lent (and Mardi Gras) by indulging?

William and Kate will be married April 29 and hey, at least now they know they can make each other pancakes.

Posted by imran Tuesday, March 8, 2011 0 comments

Justin Bieber Fired Guitarist Dan Kanter? Twitter Prank Scares Fans!

Justin Bieber fired his guitarist, Dan Kanter? At first look on the Twitter, it would appear that Dan Kanter was canned from Bieber’s tour…

Turns out Justin Bieber was pulling a Twitter prank that got some fans a little worried.

You can read more about how Justin Bieber pulled the prank on Dan Kanter, but looks like Bieber got Kanter’s phone and sent out a tweet that he had resigned!

Justin Bieber played up the prank by tweeting back to Kanter: “you will be missed @dankanter .. but what you did was horrible. you will never be forgiven.”

Yep, Bieber fans and Kanter followers started to wonder “What did Dan Kanter do to get fired?”

Posted by imran Monday, March 7, 2011 0 comments

Clip Of WWE Tough Enough Revealed, Sunny Denies Hall Of The Fame Rumors

Entertainment Weekly has released the first teaser clip of WWE’s Tough Enough, which centers on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin showing the wrestler wannabes “who’s the boss.” Tough Enough premieres April 4 on the USA Network following Monday Night Raw. The 30 second clip can be viewed here. http://wwerawvideos.blogspot.com/

Former WWE Diva Sunny is expected to be announced as the next inductee into WWE’s Hall of Fame Class of 2011 tonight on Monday Night Raw. She said yesterday on Facebook that she will be at Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar (located on 2241 U.S. One North Brunswick Township, NJ 08902) tonight to watch the show because “there’s supposed to be something big happening.” Minutes later, she shot down speculation that it pertains to WWE.

“Listen, I’ve told you all….I have NOT been contacted by the WWE for anything,” she wrote. “I’m scheduled to appear for ROH wrestling in Atlanta…get over it already.” She later backtracked amidst numerous congratulatory messages, writing, “Ok..thank you…but everyone needs to stop. Nothing is official until it’s official… keep that in mind.”

Posted by imran 0 comments

'Celebrity Apprentice': Jose Canseco survives boardroom

Jose Canseco is a controversial person because of his 2005 in which he named names about steriods and who used them. He even talked about his own steriod use. The controversy has plagued MLB for the past decade at least, and so many of the players have ended up being users of the illegal drug. Although many people denied the claims Canseco made in his book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big. 

Canseco has had many interesting relationships. He has an identical twin brother named Ozzie Canseco who also played in MLB. He has been married twice. Once to Esther Haddad and the other time to Jessica Sekely. Both of his former wives divorced him after accusing him of domestic violence.

This season's cast of Celebrity Apprentice is the most volitile yet. Jose Canseco fits right in. However, if he wants to continue on to win money for his great charity, he is going to have to create and maintain relationships with his fellow competitors. He started off a little rough with Richard Hatch. Ultimately, Jose Canseco ended up being the star of the first show because he was such a hard worker.

Then, when the men lost, Hatch picked Jose Canseco to come back, and oh man, the gloves came off. In the boardroom with Donald Trump Hatch accused Canseco of not raising any money. Regarldless, Jose Canseco appears to be playing for the end, and he should go far. Do you think he will be successful on the show? Will he develop successful working relationships with the other celebs? Will they be able to trust him?

Posted by imran 0 comments

GameStop Hours in Sioux Falls SD

GameStop business hours depend in the location. So kindly check your local listings for the specific opening and ending GameStop hours.

Since I live in South Dakota, here are the locations and the store hours:

Game Stop 2435
(605) 361-0722
3801 West 34th Street
Suite 123
Sioux Falls, SD 57106
Store Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 11am-6pm

GameStop – Mall 1150
(605) 361-5505
W 329 Empire Mall
Sioux Falls, SD 57106
Store Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 11am-7pm

Game Stop 6681
(605) 995-6996
1005 Spruce Street
Mitchell, SD 57301
Store Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 11am-6pm

Posted by imran Sunday, March 6, 2011 0 comments

The Container Store on the CBS News Sunday Morning

Today, CBS News Sunday Morning shot a story about The Container Store this week in Dallas. The has been named one of FORTUNE magazine’s list of “a hundred Best Companies to Work For” for the past 10 years!

CBS News Sunday Morning Show Summary:

Can businesses make more money by paying their workers more? According to The Container Store CEO Kip Tindell the answer is yes. By investing more in employee wages, health benefits and training, ultimately you get a more satisfied customer. CBSMoneyWatch.com Editor at Large Jill Schlesinger goes to a Container Store that seems to inspire so much enthusiasm from customers to find out what the excitement is all about.

Posted by imran 0 comments

Fennville’s Wes Leonard much more than star athlete

Never had I witnessed such a momentous shift in emotions as Thursday night at Fennville High School.

The entire Fennville community rallied round its undefeated boys basketball team during a season that was already unforgettable — then became so for tragic reasons.

But transcending it all — from the time Wes Leonard led his team to a come-from-behind victory over the Bridgman Bees to after his shocking collapse — was that the Fennville community supported him.

As Leonard led the turnaround by scoring 10 points in the 3rd quarter, the home crowd exploded with cheers while he made those 1st 5 shots. They erupted in jubilation when his swooping finger-roll layup won the game 57-55 in overtime.

Then as Leonard lay on the court before being taken to Holland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 2 hours later, the tears and prayers showed that Leonard meant much, much more to this community than just his athletic prowess.

I was privileged to have a chance to experience a small sample of what they had become used to seeing out of Leonard, both on and off the court.

The first time I interviewed Leonard, he held a handful of balloons as we talked about his team’s win over Bangor on February. 11. He greeted me with a welcoming smile that became a regular occurrence during the handful of times I talked to him.

Engaging, smart, humble and insightful, I could count on him to put a voice to the action.

He received the balloons as part of a celebration that night for him surpassing 1,000 career points in the previous game.

It struck me as humorous to see him holding them, hinting at a gentler, lighthearted side after he spent the previous couple of hours fending off double teams in the paint, playing with relentless effort and toughness.

Other times, such as making five consecutive jumpers in the third quarter and the game-winning layup, Leonard made it look effortless.

As hard as he played and as good as he was, he never showboated in the games I covered, never complained about not getting the foul called — trust me, he could have argued a few — despite constant physical defense while posting up.

He just played.

And his stunning performance was supposed to be the story last night.
Obviously, when something as devastating as that happens, 5 pages of game notes become meaningless.

But last night’s game embodied what made him special as a player. He was a gamer in the truest sense of the word.

He took a charge in the third quarter, and Fennville took its 1st lead of the game on the next play. In overtime, the Blackhawks had the ball with the score tied and 56.5 seconds remaining. An entry pass to Leonard under the basket went low, and he had to save it from going out — a fingernail’s length from the boundary line.

About 40 seconds remained and he reset the offense at the top of the key. He then saw an opening and took the ball from 6 feet past the 3-point line straight through the middle of the defense. He elevated higher than he had all game and laid it in.

26 seconds of defense and a missed 3-pointer at the buzzer later and the whole gym rocked with Blackhawks glory, everyone wanting to celebrate with their hero.

I had so many questions for Leonard.

How did he do it? What did he see on that last play? What inspired his play in the third quarter?

Those questions, and others about how and why a 16-year-old with such a bright future could have his life end suddenly, will be left unanswered.

Posted by imran Saturday, March 5, 2011 0 comments

Charlie Sheen sucks in 500,000 Twitter followers in one day

What can one say about Charlie Sheen that hasn't been said already? By Charlie Sheen.

It seems that there is still more. For Sheen himself today, perhaps not content with having the "Today Show," ABC, Howard Stern, and the countless other radio shows as outlets, joined Twitter.

It seemed as if the star of a show currently suspended by CBS and Warner Bros. because of his somewhat eccentric behavior was first going to gauge just how popular he was. So you will be turned into a pillar of Hercules when I tell you that he amassed more than 50,000 followers without bothering to even tweet.

That's what happens when you have, as Sheen confessed to the "Today Show," tiger blood and Adonis DNA.

When he finally decided to tweet his way into history, Sheen made sure it would be memorable: "Winning..! Choose your Vice... #winning #chooseyourvice http://twitpic.com/455ly9."

You will assuredly want to know what was contained in the twitpic. Well, it was a picture of Sheen and one of his two live-in goddesses. I'm not sure if it was the blonde or the blonde. Anyway, he looked happy with her, as she held her Naked juice and he held his chocolate milk.

Once he got into the tweeting swing, Sheen showed confidence. His next tweet was: "Just got invited to do the Nancy Grace show... I'd rather go on a long road trip with Chuck Lorre in a '75 Pacer....

Such forthright and wise tweeting has already earned Sheen more than 500,000 followers.

You can understand why. Who could not be moved by his Twitter tagline: "Born Small... Now Huge... Winning... Bring it..!" Isn't that how we'd all like to be?

You might also be wondering whom Sheen is following. Well, there are, at the time of writing, 12 apostles. Among them are Alyssa Milano, Piers Morgan, and Howard Stern. More importantly, he is also following Nick Swisher of the Yankees and the great, impossible- to-mimic San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson.

Wilson was recently in LA to advise Sheen on the potential production of "Major League 3."

The original "Major League," in which Sheen starred, was one of the 20 greatest movies ever made. One can only hope, therefore, that Sheen will develop into one of the 20 greatest twitterers on the planet. The signs are good. The self-described "rock star from Mars" clearly has his own style, vernacular, and purpose.

Soon, one hopes, he will be offering his unique perspective on the issues of the day. Like the Charlie Sheen crisis.

Posted by imran Wednesday, March 2, 2011 0 comments

NFL Combine 2011: How Smart Are You? Time to Take the Wonderlic Test

At the NFL Scouting Combines, the athletes are finally able to see the physical results of their hard work in the weight room. The long hours in the gym, eating food prepared by their nutritionist, all of the sacrifices that they had to make to impress the NFL scouts and general managers in attendance.

The one part of their body that probably received the smallest amount of preparation time was their brain. That is where the Wonderlic exam comes in to play. NFL teams will find out just how smart the players are. The players actually have to take this test on their own, so there is nobody to sit in for them. ( Read Wonderlic Sample Test more... )

Sample 'Wonderlic' Test

One of the more interesting tests the players at the NFL Scouting Combine have to take is not even on the gridiron. It's in the classroom and it's the intimidating 'Wonderlic' Test, which supposedly goes a long way towards measuring a player's "Football IQ."

The history of the test includes some very interesting scores, both at the high and low end. A few years ago, former University of Texas and Tennessee Titans QB Vince Young reportedly scored a '6' on the test. At the same time, Buffalo Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick scored a '50' and Washington Redskins QB Donovan McNabb got a '14' on his test. ( Read Wonderlic Sample Test more... )

Sample Wonderlic Test Questions

1. A physical education class has three times as many girls as boys. During a class basketball game, the girls average 18 points each, and the class as a whole averages 17 points per person. How many points does each boy score on average?

2. Randolph has 8 ties, 6 pairs of pants, and 4 dress shirts. How many days could he possibly go without wearing the same combination of these three items?

3. John is a mechanic. He makes $8.50 an hour, plus $3 extra for every oil change he performs. Last week he worked 36 hours and performed 17 oil changes. How much money did he make? ( Read Wonderlic Sample Test more... )

Kicking the Wonderlic

Which THREE of the following words have similar meanings?
A) observable
B) manifest
C) hypothetical
D) indefinite
E) theoretical ( Read Wonderlic Sample Test more... )

Wonderlic Test: NFL should sack useless exam

Here's a question any aspiring NFL player would love to answer:

Randolph has 8 ties, 6 pairs of pants, and 4 dress shirts. How many days could he possibly go without wearing the same combination of these three items?

That is an actual question from a recent Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test - the bizarre 12-minute, 50-minute exam that teams use to decide whether a rookie is smart or not.

As the NFL scouting combine heats up in Indianapolis, so do the annual rumors and questions about the Wonderlic. This year the buzz is that Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy scored a 48, just missing a perfect score of 50. ( Read Wonderlic Sample Test more... )

Developed in the 1930s by psychologist Eldon F. Wonderlic, the Wonderlic cognitive ability test has been embraced by the NFL, which uses it to assess players during the league's Scouting Combine.

This year it's been reported that quarterback Greg McElroy scored 48 out of 50 on the standardized test, though NFL scouts say they doubt test scores have been reported yet. Only one player has been known to score a perfect 50 on the Wonderlic: the Bengals' Pat McInally, who played in the 1970s and 1980s after graduating from Harvard.

Here are five details about the Wonderlic test -- and why it might not be so important after all. ( Read Wonderlic Sample Test more... )

Debate emerges regarding McElroy’s 48 on Wonderlic

After reports emerged five years ago that Vince Young got only six of 50 questions correct on the Wonderlic test, conflicting information quickly emerged.

It’s fitting, then, that a debate already has surfaced regarding the accuracy of the report that Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy got 48 right, as reported by Clarence E. Hill, Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. ( Read Wonderlic Sample Test more... )

Carroll ex McElroy almost perfect on Wonderlic test

INDIANAPOLIS — Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy didn’t get to show his stuff at the NFL Scouting Combine because he is rehabilitating an injury he suffered at the Senior Bowl.

Posted by imran Tuesday, March 1, 2011 0 comments

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