Monday, November 29, 2010

Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar - Saluting the longevity of Sachin Tendulkar, West Indies great Brian Lara has described the Indian batting legend as the ‘Don Bradman’ of modern era but refused to the compare the icons of different eras.

Lara, himself a legendary left-handed batsman from the Caribbean, said what astonishes him the most about Tendulkar is his longevity.

“I don’t think there is any race. Both are great players. Tendulkar has shown the world what he is capable of and his longevity in the game is something to be really appreciated,” Lara said.

“The time he will spend in the game, records are going to tumble. The fact that someone can be there from the age of 16 and still at the age of 37 perform brilliantly is something that I cherish more than anything else,” he said.

The West Indies player is of the opinion that Australian great Don Bradman, who ended his career with an incredible Test average of 99.96, and Tendulkar should not be compared as they played and flourished in different eras.

“He is our period’s Don Bradman. Forget the difference in averages with Bradman but whoever I have spoken to who have seen very old players in action, they believe that he [Bradman] would not have averaged 99 in today’s cricket.

“So I believe that Sachin is our period’s Bradman,” Lara, who visited Dubai for a jewellery brand endorsement, told Gulf News.

Sachin Tendulkar

Wikileaks: China Moving Away From North Korea

Wikileaks: China Moving Away From North Korea - China is distancing itself from North Korea and increasingly accepting the "new reality" of a reunited Korean peninsula, a cable released by Wikileaks says.

The cable from US ambassador to Seoul Kathleen Stephens describes a widening gap between the governments of China and North Korea.

It signals China could not stop the collapse of the ailing dictatorship after the death of its leader Kim Jong-Il.

Ms Stephen's cable is dated February 22, 2010 and given the second highest security classification Secret.

It quotes South Korean Vice-Foreign Minister Chun Yung-woo saying China expects a political meltdown in North Korea within three years of Jong-Il's death.

There is "no will" to increase Chinese economic investment and influence in the country to force a change in its policies, he is quoted saying.

"China had far less influence on North Korea "than most people believe."

Beijing had "no will" to use its economic leverage to force a change in Pyongyang's policies and the... leadership "knows it," the cable says.

Mr Yung-woo also cites two "sophisticated" unnamed Chinese officials who are "ready to face the new reality" that North Korea had little value to China.

New trade and labor-export opportunities for Chinese companies would help salve concerns about a reunified Korea, he said.

"Describing a generational difference in Chinese attitudes toward North Korea, Chun claimed (unnamed official) believed Korea should be unified under ROK control," the cable says.

More than 251,000 diplomatic cables are being released by whistleblower Wikileaks.

Wikileaks: China Moving Away From North Korea

Picasso Paintings Found In France

Picasso Paintings Found In France - More than 270 previously unknown works by Pablo Picasso recently surfaced when 71 year-old Pierre Le Guennec, who worked as an electrician for the Spanish artist, sought to have them authenticated by the late artist's estate, the Picasso Estate said Monday. The previously unseen collection includes all the fan favorites: Cubist collages, sketches, and a watercolor, worth about $80 million total. Oh, maybe it wasn't such a good idea for this guy to suddenly admit he's hiding a huge stash of Picassos: "In a twist, Le Guennec found himself slapped with a lawsuit filed by Pablo Picasso's son, Claude Picasso, and five other heirs who say the works were stolen." A lawyer for the Picasso estate explained: "It doesn't make sense that Picasso would give away 271 works. There are no documents which prove that this man was Picasso's close friend. It is simply unbelievable." But Le Guennec insists: "It was madame who gave them to me, because he was pleased with my service." On the upside, the Picasso estate has confirmed the works' authenticity. So maybe Picasso just really, really valued his electrician?

Picasso Paintings Found In France

Best Cyber Monday Deals 2010

Best Cyber Monday Deals 2010 - Were you able to buy the products that you’ve been dying for to buy at Black Friday 2010? It’s not too late because the Cyber Monday 2010 is a full blast on its last day today. It is considered as the biggest techno and online sales in United States as well as in some part of the world like in Canada, UK and Europe.

What would you ask more if the giant and popular store Walmart has a lot of products to offer also thru online on the last day of Cyber Monday 2010. If you will try to access the Walmart.com, you will get there their wide range of Best Cyber Monday Deals 2010.

Furthermore, Walmart is offering the following deals to grab by the active shoppers: Element 42? 1080p 60Hz LED HDTV Element 42? 1080p 60Hz LED HDTV – $499 , RCA 42? Plasma 720p 600Hz HDTV, 42PA30RQ – $419 , Playstation 3 Entertainment Value Bundle Playstation 3 Entertainment Value Bundle – $388

Whats the latest online and Best Cyber Monday Deals 2010 at Amazon.com? Amazon is known for being one of the giant stores online. Their best deals composed of Cyber Monday Lightning Deals that includes: Dollhouse: Season One” Blu-ray $9.99, “Home Alone Collection” Blu-ray $14.99 , “Repo Men” DVD $7.99 , “Alice” 2009 miniseries Blu-Ray $7.99.

Some Cyber Monday Lightning deals to grab at Amazon.com includes: “Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy” + digital copy on Blu-ray $24.99 , “Fringe: The Complete First Season” DVD $13.99 , “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” Widescreen Edition DVD $6.99 , “Stargate 15th Anniversary Edition” Blu-ray $8.49 , “Shutter Island” Blu-ray $12.99.

Meanwhile, on macys.com, hot offers included $600 one-carat sapphire earrings for $199. On bestbuy.com, $999.99 60-inch Mitsubishi high-definition TVs were $599.99.

Best Cyber Monday Deals 2010

Cesc Fabregas Warns Barcelona

Cesc Fabregas Warns Barcelona - Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has warned Barcelona defender Gerard Pique that he will have to be on top of his game in order to stop Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo in tonight’s El Clasico.

Ronaldo and Pique know each other well from their time at Manchester United, and although Fabregas claims their overlapping Old Trafford careers may help his compatriot contain the former Premier League star, the Arsenal midfielder suggests Ronaldo has the individual ability to destroy his boyhood club at the Nou Camp this evening.

Fabregas is quoted by the Daily Mail, saying: “It must help Gerard that they played together at Old Trafford.

“But he will know that, if you lose your concentration, then Ronaldo kills you.”
Despite endorsing the world beating ability of Ronaldo, Fabregas has backed Barcelona to triumph in tonight’s top of the table clash, heralding Lionel Messi as the finest player on the planet.
He continued: “Messi is a phenomenon. He is like a bull, hardly ever injured, he is a physical evolution. He does things no one else can do. He scores goals, makes them... everything.

“Game after game he does all this. He’s the best, he seems to be from another planet. When he gets the ball no one ever knows what he is going to do.

“Real are improved from recent seasons, more dangerous that in the past. No one should be surprised at my feelings for Barcelona. My grandfather took me to the Nou Camp and in our house there was always a very special party for Barca-Real.

Cesc Fabregas Warns Barcelona

Comcast And Netflix On Fees

Comcast And Netflix On Fees - Comcast Corp. has begun imposing a fee on Internet middleman Level 3 Communications Inc., one of the companies that Netflix Inc. has hired to deliver movies and TV shows to Web customers.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable TV company, has set up an Internet “toll booth,” charging Level 3 whenever customers request content, the Broomfield, Colorado-based company said in a statement yesterday.

Level 3 plans to complain to U.S. regulators who may enact so-called net-neutrality rules next month. The Federal Communications Commission is seeking to bar phone and cable providers from interfering with legal traffic on their networks. The rules are backed by President Barack Obama and companies led by Google Inc., EBay Inc. and IAC/InterActiveCorp. Phone and cable companies say rules aren’t needed and may hurt investment.

“This action by Comcast threatens the open Internet and is a clear abuse of the dominant control that Comcast exerts in broadband access,” Thomas Stortz, Level 3’s chief legal officer, said in the statement. “With this action, Comcast is preventing competing content from ever being delivered to Comcast’s subscribers at all, unless Comcast’s unilaterally determined toll is paid.”

Comcast, which is seeking regulatory approval to acquire majority ownership of NBC Universal, defended the fee in a statement, saying it is based on “long established and mutually acceptable commercial arrangements” with Level 3’s peers.

Comcast And Netflix On Fees

IPL Teams Cost Cutting

IPL Teams Cost Cutting - It's the biggest shakeup of stars in the Indian Premier League Season 4. And the biggest names are running for cover. TIMES NOW can't say for sure whether it's cost cutting or something else, or maybe just performace, but nothing is certain for the biggest names and even ex-gods of cricket in the IPL anymore. Iconic players Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly are liekely to be dropped.

In fact, as deadline for retaining players is getting closer, most of the teams have decided against retaining all four players.

So far, Chennai Super Kings is the only team to have retained all 4 players. Mumbai Indians are set to retain Sachin Tendulkar along with other big stars.

IPL Teams Cost Cutting

Intel Sandy Bridge Seen In Laptops

Intel Sandy Bridge Seen In Laptops - While the desktop versions of Intel' s upcoming Sandy Bridge processors are expected to be launched at CES show on January 5, 2011, some laptops are already showing off early samples of the laptop version, according to a report by Laptoping.

Laptops from Lenovo and Gateway are apparently having Intel Core i7-2630QM aka Sandy Bridge inside. The laptops with 15.6-inch LED displays are Lenovo IdeaPad Y560P with AMD Mobility Radeon HD 6570M, while the Gateway model with discrete graphics is as yet unnamed. The Gateway is based on the upcoming HM65 aka Huron River laptop platform expected in the first quarter of 2011, while it is not mentioned what chipset the IdeaPad would use, but we think it should also be the HM65.

Keep in mind that these processors based on 32 nm fabrication technology are not expected to be shipped in bulk volumes until the first quarter of 2011, so these laptops will probably be the first ones to let us get our hands on these next generation processors.

Intel Sandy Bridge Seen In Laptops

Israel Jumps On Wikileaks Documents

Israel Jumps On Wikileaks Documents - Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed hope Monday that U.S. diplomatic cables revealing that several Arab states share his country's concern about Iran's nuclear weapons program could build momentum for tougher international action against the effort.

"More and more states, governments and leaders in the Middle East and the wider region and the world believe this is the fundamental threat," Netanyahu said, referring to disclosures in cables released by the Web site WikiLeaks. According to the cables, some leaders, including Saudi King Abdullah, have advocated using military action to stop the Iranian nuclear program.

"There's a gap between what they say privately and publicly," Netanyahu said at an annual gathering of the Tel Aviv Journalists' Association. Regional leaders read publicly from one "script" that says the "greatest threat is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Netanyahu said. "But in reality, leaders understand that this narrative is bankrupt. There is a new understanding."

Israeli analysts responded as enthusiastically as Netanyahu.

The leaked documents show that "the entire world, not just Israel, is panicked over the Iranian nuclear program," wrote Sever Plocker, a commentator for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

Israel Jumps On Wikileaks Documents

Gotham Awards Independent Film

Gotham Awards Independent Film - Where will the final resting place be for Winter's Bone? The Academy Awards, perhaps.

The critically adored drama about a hardheaded teen searching for her missing father topped more buzzed-about fare like Natalie Portman's delusional-ballerina thriller Black Swan to be named Best Feature at the 20th Annual Gotham Awards, a celebration of independent film that unofficially heralds the beginning of Award Season.

Last year, in particular, the Gothams kicked things off with a bang, awarding The Hurt Locker, the eventual Best Picture Oscar winner, the night's top prize.

But more often than not, and despite its estimable guest list, the Gothams' half a dozen or so trophies tend to go to the actors and directors who might spend most of the year otherwise overlooked.

Along with Black Swan, Winter's Bone also bested the blush-worthy Blue Valentine, The Kids Are All Right and the retooled-for-America vampire scarefest Let Me In.

The cast of Winter's Bone, headed up by Jennifer Lawrence as an impoverished teen in the Ozarks who sets off to find her meth-cooker dad after she learns he's put up the family's home as a bail bond, was also honored for Best Ensemble Performance.

Lawrence lost out for Breakthrough Actor (no mainstream actor/actress distinction at this serious-thespian ceremony), however, to Daddy Longlegs' Ronald Bronstein.

Meanwhile, Portman and her fellow lucky losers seemed to be having a great time regardless.

Paying tribute to Black Swan director, Darren Aronofsky (one of a whopping four tributes tonight), Portman hilariously called his breakthrough film Requiem for a Dream "a disturbing film about sleep disorders." (It's not.)

Gotham Awards Independent Film

Google To Buy Groupon

Google To Buy Groupon - What happens when you throw a bunch of Chicago comedians into a complex of Silicon Valley engineers? Hilarity, maybe. Or one of the more unusual M&A gossip yarns of the past few years.

There's loads of talk right now about whether group-buying coupon service Groupon will sell to a big buyer or will hold out as an independent company in the hopes that it may become the world's leading name in local-business advertising. The barrage of rumors over Groupon is an interesting one--Yahoo wants it! Yahoo loses it! Google may be willing to fork over $4 billion for it! Groupon doesn't want to sell! Wait, has Google bought it?--is an interesting one, if only for the reason that most of the acquisition targets these days are eyed for the hot technology they've built. Groupon isn't.

What it boils down to, primarily, is the fact that Groupon's "secret sauce" is not its technology--as evidenced by the fact that the group-buying model, which had a short and unsuccessful stint in the dot-com days, has proven ridiculously easy to replicate and that hundreds of "Groupon clones" have popped up--but its massive sales force and how that sales force is organized. It's not Google's usual cup of tea, but it's one of Google's own weak spots. And on the other side of things, it's something Groupon may not be able to maintain at such a fast clip on its own.

Groupon is a bit wacky: The Chicago-headquartered company, under the reign of proudly eccentric CEO Andrew Mason (he keeps a level head by surrounding a framed copy of his Forbes magazine cover with other magazine covers featuring the CEOs of once-hyped companies that flopped), has thousands of employees brokering deals with local businesses in dozens of U.S. metro areas as well as international locales in Europe and Latin America. Many of these sales reps, copywriters, and customer service employees were sourced from the Chicago comedy scene.
All in all it's a stark contrast to the current engineer-centrism in Silicon Valley, the attitude depicted through Facebook's displaying of "HACK" in massive stylized letters on the doors to its Palo Alto, Calif. headquarters and through Google's much-publicized willingness to keep its engineers from leaving for the pre-IPO Facebook or small start-ups. If Google buys Groupon, it's not picking up an ace developer team or a legendary Valley entrepreneur. (ThePoint, a "group action" company out of which Groupon spun a few years ago, was Mason's first company.) It's also buying a company that's proven it can make money--and a lot of it--just fine on its own.

Google To Buy Groupon

NASA Astrobiology Findings

NASA Astrobiology Findings - NASA will hold a news conference to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.

The news conference will be held at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2 at the NASA Headquarters auditorium. The live broadcast of the conference will be available at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv .

Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

Though the science journal has embargoed details of the discoveries secret until the conference, it can be expected to be related with three fundamental questions from NASA's Astrobiology Program: How does life begin and evolve? Is there life beyond Earth and, if so, how can we detect it? What is the future of life on Earth and in the universe?

NASA funded its first exobiology project in 1959 and established an Exobiology Program in 1960. NASA's Viking missions to Mars, launched in 1976, included three biology experiments designed to look for possible signs of life. In the 21st century, astrobiology is a focus of a growing number of NASA solar system exploration missions.

NASA Astrobiology Findings

Gerson Lehrman In Probe

Gerson Lehrman In Probe - Federal Bureau of Investigation agents questioned a consultant for Gerson Lehrman Group in August as part of the probe, according to people familiar with the matter. The consultant, an employee of Marvell Technology Group Ltd., provided information about the technology industry to a Gerson client, Diamondback Capital Management LLC, a hedge fund the FBI raided last week, the people said.

Gerson controls two-thirds of the market for expert networks, which set up meetings and calls with current and former managers from hundreds of companies for hedge-fund and other traders seeking an investing edge, according to Integrity Research Associates, a New York firm that tracks expert networks.

A spokesman for Marvell, a Santa Clara, Calif., semiconductor company, declined to comment, as did representatives for the FBI and the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office.

The development is part of an insider-trading investigation examining the activities of expert-network firms, investment bankers, analysts, hedge-fund traders and mutual-fund traders. Last week, prosecutors charged an employee of Primary Global Research LLC, another expert-network firm, with providing inside information to a hedge-fund trader. A lawyer for that consultant, Don Ching Trang Chu, declined to comment. A spokesman for Primary Global, of Mountain View, Calif., declined to comment.

The FBI questioning of the Gerson consultant shows the government's examination of the expert-network business is broader than Primary Global. Criminal and civil authorities are investigating whether these consultants passed inside information to clients, who pay the expert companies large fees for their services.

Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed in a news conference that the U.S. is investigating trading on Wall Street, first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Nov. 19, though Mr. Holder declined to provide any details.

Gerson Lehrman In Probe

World Cup 2022 Voting

World Cup 2022 Voting - This past summer, I joined thousands of fans in the stands of the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, to watch as the United States faced a strong Ghana team during the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup.

I had changed my schedule to attend the game, following an exhilarating U.S. win over Algeria in the first round. Even though Ghana defeated the U.S., I was proud of our team. They played well and fought to the very end.

I’m always amazed by the game’s powerful, unifying force. For 30 days, fans from all nations put aside their differences to embrace a shared love for a game that has been bringing people together for generations.

In 1994, when I was president, it was a great thrill to sit in the stands at Soldier Field in Chicago with more than 67,000 enthusiastic fans, including German chancellor Helmut Kohl and the president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, in the opening game of the 1994 World Cup.

It was the first time—and so far, the last time—that World Cup games were played on American soil. I’m trying to change that by serving as the Honorary Chairman of the USA Bid Committee to bring the World Cup back in 2022.

The bid could not come at a better time for the game of soccer, the United States and the world. First, the level of enthusiasm for the game has never been greater across America. Thanks in good part to the opportunity FIFA gave us to host the games in 1994, we have become a nation of footballers, young and old. The last 16 years have seen the creation of the MLS professional league, an expansion of the game’s United States fan base to more than 90 million and now a roster of four million registered youth players. Last summer, our passion for the sport extended beyond our borders: The United States was second only to South Africa in tickets purchased for the 2010 World Cup.

Second, our nation, like the game, is more diverse than ever before. We have a fascinating mix of ethnicities and cultures within our borders. Players from every competing nation would feel as though they were playing a home game right here in the United States.

Third, this is an important moment for the future of the game of soccer. Our bid promises not only to uphold the great legacy of the World Cup but also to advance global growth by creating new opportunities for the world’s soccer economy, including greater television and sponsorship rights, increased franchise and team values and greater investment in player development.

Last, and perhaps most important, our bid will mobilize American citizens and citizens around the globe to do more to address the economic, social and environmental challenges facing our world in the 21st century. If awarded the opportunity, we will use the 2022 World Cup as a platform to assist those less fortunate and promote environmental sustainability in line with the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. For example, a percentage of every ticket sold at the 2022 World Cup will go to the World Cup of Life campaign, a project aimed at providing drinking water for millions in the developing world. Additionally, as hosts, we would set new standards in environmental responsibility by minimizing the footprint of the event in six core areas: water, waste, energy, transportation, procurement and climate change.

World Cup 2022 Voting

Fantino Vaughan Election

Fantino Vaughan Election - Early results in three federal byelections show former the Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino, the Conservative candidate, neck-and-neck with his Liberal opponent in Vaughan, while the Liberals were hanging on to a narrow lead in Winnipeg North.

With 220 polls of 284 reporting, Mr. Fantino had 49.3 per cent of the vote compared to 46.2 per cent for Liberal Tony Genco.

Vaughan, a suburban district north of Toronto, has been a longtime Liberal stronghold under MP Maurizio Bevilacqua, who stepped down to become mayor.

In Winnipeg North, where the Liberals also faced a tough race the party’s Kevin Lamoureux, had 44.5 per cent of the vote for a narrow lead over NDP candidate Kevin Chief, who had 43.0 per cent with 132 out of 153 polls reporting.

The traditionally NDP riding was up for grabs after MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis, the NDP health critic who had represented the riding since 1997, vacated her seat for an unsuccessful run at the mayor’s office.

Mr. Chief is a political newcomer who heads Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre and was expected to capture the riding over Mr. Lamoureux, a Manitoba MLA for nearly two decades.

A third by-election, in the central-west Manitoba riding of Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette, was expected to be an easy win for the Conservative candidate Robert Sopuck. The riding had been held by Inky Mark under several different political banners, including Reform, Canadian Alliance and Conservative, since 1997. Mr. Mark stepped down in September to run as Dauphin’s mayor, but lost.

Mr. Sopuck took a commanding lead with 58.1 per cent of the vote with 165 of 226 polls reporting.

The Liberals were watching the races in Winnipeg and Vaughan closely to prove whether Mr. Ignatieff’s cross-country summer tour has drummed up support despite a recent Harris Decima poll showing the opposition leader suffered from an “enthusiasm gap.”

Fantino Vaughan Election

Eurozone Banks

Eurozone Banks - Jim O'Neill, probably the most influential thinker at Goldman Sachs (as current head of its asset management division and erstwhile chief economist), has this morning written that "European Monetary Union (EMU) will probably survive, but it is likely to remain very messy".

Which is hardly a ringing endorsement by the world's most powerful investment bank of the most ambitious economic and financial project in Europe of our age.

And, let us not forget, Goldman Sachs is not famous for issuing public statements that rile the world's most powerful governments - which tend to be its customers.

For O'Neill, the issue is about the governance of the eurozone, not about the magnitude of the debts of Europe's financially stretched economies. He points out that the sovereign indebtedness of Greece, Ireland and Portugal is huge relative to the size of their respective economies but almost de minimis in relation to the size of the eurozone as a whole.

Even Spanish debt represents "only" 5.3% of eurozone GDP, he points out.

So if Germany, France and the Netherlands were to properly underwrite the debt of their over-stretched neighbours, Europe would (in theory) have little more difficulty borrowing than the US - whose overall ratio of debt to GDP, at 80%, is more-or-less the same as the eurozone's would be, on a pro forma basis.

The verdict of the markets this morning, following last night's agreement on the structure of a bail-out for Ireland and on a new framework for eurozone financial rescues, is that Germany, France and the Netherlands are a long way from being prepared to properly guarantee the indebtedness of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy.

The prices of Irish, Portguese, Spanish, Italian and Greek government bonds have hardly moved this morning. The implied interest rate that they would have to pay to borrow for 10 years remains way above normal levels, and a mile above what Germany pays: it's 9.12% for Ireland, just under 7% for Portugal, 5.2% for Spain, 4.45% for Italy, and 11.9% for Greece.

Eurozone Banks

Miami Coach Jon Gruden

Miami Coach Jon Gruden - All was quiet on the University of Miami coaching front Monday -- or at least it seemed that way in the midst of the Hurricanes' search to replace coach Randy Shannon.

The speculation has centered on ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden, who won a Super Bowl in 2002 as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has not coached since he was fired after the 2008 season (other than as a volunteer at Tampa Carrollwood High, where his son, Deuce, is a junior quarterback).

Gruden brings the Wow! factor more than any other candidate, and some believe a deal is quietly brewing. But just in case they're dreaming, here are some other potential candidates (in no particular order):

• Dan Mullen -- Former Gators offensive coordinator and Tim Tebow mentor, who now coaches Mississippi State. Mullen -- a spread offense guy -- led the Bulldogs to an 8-4 record this season after a 5-7 inaugural season. He makes $1.2 million and is one of the hot young coaches, and knows this state for recruiting. He is expected to eventually go to a high-profile program, though those who cover him don't believe it will be UM. Matthew Stevens of The Starkville Daily News put a transcript on his blog of Mullen during a First Call radio interview Monday in Tupelo, Miss. ``I guess it's a good thing for myself and for MSU because it means we're winning,'' Mullen said, amid talk of teams targeting him as a candidate. ``Speculation only comes when you're winning. I think a lot of that stuff gets overblown. . . . I have not been approached by anybody at this point and my wife and I are very happy here at Mississippi State.

Miami Coach Jon Gruden

Nancy Grace Cancer

Nancy Grace Cancer - HLN's Nancy Grace announced on her program Monday night that she had surgery to remove a solid mass that doctors had feared could be cancer.
The operation last Tuesday, which Grace said took "hours and hours,'' revealed that the mass was not malignant, she said.

Speaking by phone to substitute host Jean Casarez of In Session, Grace said she is recovering at home with her husband, David, and their 3-year-old twins, John David and Lucy Elizabeth.
A nurse administering an ultrasound test to Grace during a routine gynecologist visit discovered the growth, Grace said.

Grace had felt no symptoms and scheduled the appointment based on "a hunch,'' she said.
During the ultrasound, the nurse called in the doctor who looked at the results and said he wanted to speak to Grace in his office.

"He was very calm and very honest and he told me they had discovered a mass,'' Grace said.
When the doctor said it could be cancer, Grace described it as "that moment you see in movies and you hear about that always happens to somebody else but not to you."

Surgery was scheduled for a few days later at Northside Hospital in the Atlanta, Georgia, area.
"It seemed like the world just stopped because you know when you wait a long time for happiness...it always just feels like it could be taken away,'' she said, referring to her marriage and the birth of her children.

Nancy Grace Cancer

Large Earthquake Hits Japan

Large Earthquake Hits Japan - A 6.9-magnitude earthquake has hit Japan swaying large buildings in the center of Tokyo.

The earthquake hit Tuesday afternoon, centered off the country's southern coast, Japan's meteorological agency said.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The agency said there was no danger of a tsunami.

Large Earthquake Hits Japan

Mariah Carey Pregnant

Mariah Carey Pregnant - American singer Mariah Carey has hinted she may in fact be expecting twins, OK! magazine has reported.

Only weeks after the singer finally confirmed she was pregnant, Carey explained during an interview to promote her latest Christmas album that she sings holiday tunes to her growing baby bump and said, “I just hope that they don’t turn out hating Christmas!”

The reference to "they" had the rumor mill buzzing that Carey, 40, and husband Nick Cannon, 30, might be expecting two little bundles of joy.

Carey recently released Merry Christmas II You - her 13th studio album - and will help kick off the Christmas season at New York City's Rockefeller Center tree lighting today.

Mariah Carey Pregnant

Food Safety Modernization Act

Food Safety Modernization Act - Small farmer advocacy groups disagree over what the Food Safety Modernization Act (SB 510), a measure that would substantially increase the power and reach of the Food and Drug Administration, will mean for small farmers if passed by the Senate Tuesday.

SB 510 would allow the FDA to mandate that a company recall a food product it suspects is infected, which is something the agency hasn’t had the ability to do in the past. The bill also expands the FDA’s inspection powers, and would force food producers to comply with several new bureaucratic requirements, including opening their production facilities to more FDA inspections officers and following new in-depth inspection procedures.

On Monday night, senators voted to 69-26 in favor of a move for cloture on the bill, a way to circumvent the filibuster. The vote came on the heals the passage of the Tester-Hagan amendment, which provides exemptions and special provisions for farms that make less than $500,000 annually, meaning that such farms wouldn’t have to follow the same in-depth inspection requirements factory farms would. The amendment was proposed by Democratic Montana Sen. Jon Tester and Democratic North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan in response to several small farm lobbying groups that argued the original bill would unintentionally hit small farmers, family farmers and local farmers hard with “one-size-fits-all” regulations.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition policy director Ferd Hoefner told The Daily Caller that the Tester-Hagan amendment was key to his organization finally supporting the bill. NSAC is now in favor of SB 510, after having wavered on it for a long time. He said the Tester-Hagan amendment adds extra protections for small farms and for direct-to-consumer farmers, like those who farm for local farmers’ markets.

Food Safety Modernization Act

Prius Coolant Pump Issues

Prius Coolant Pump Issues - Toyota is fixing the pump that cools the hybrid system in 650,000 Prius cars — the Japanese automaker's prized green vehicle — but is adamant the repair being carried out worldwide isn't another recall.

Toyota Motor Corp. spokesman Paul Nolasco said Tuesday the coolant pump in Prius cars for model years 2004 through to 2007 is being replaced because it doesn't work properly.

But the Japanese automaker is calling the move a "customer satisfaction campaign" because the problem doesn't warrant a recall under regulations where the vehicles have been sold, according to Nolasco.

Of the Prius cars that need fixing, 390,000 are in North America and 180,000 are in Japan. The problem affects 70,000 Prius vehicles in Europe.

The problem with the Prius, which is closely associated with Toyota's reputation for innovative technology, is the latest embarrassment for the world's No. 1 automaker, which has recalled more than 11 million vehicles globally since late last year.

The massive recalls cover a wide range of models for various problems, including faulty gas pedals, floor mats that can trap accelerators, defective braking and stalling engines.

The popularity of the Prius in Japan had been one bright spot in Toyota's performance, although worries remain that its image in North America has not recovered from the recalls. The hybrid was Japan's best-selling car for the 18th straight month in October, even after green vehicle subsidies ended.

Prius Coolant Pump Issues

University Of Phoenix Fires 700 Employees

University Of Phoenix Fires 700 Employees - Apollo Group Inc., the country's largest for-profit school company, said Monday that it has laid off 700 full-time employees, mostly in student admissions, as enrollment drops off sharply.

In October, Apollo said it expected new students enrolling at University of Phoenix campuses to drop 40 percent in the quarter ending in November and withdrew its profit outlook for its upcoming fiscal year.

It has been expecting a steep fall-off in new students as the broader sector remains under increasing scrutiny from the Department of Education and lawmakers because of surging student loan defaults. Critics have accused schools like the University of Phoenix of using aggressive enrollment counselors to sign up students unprepared for college classes. The schools receive government-backed student aid, the bulk of their revenue, even if students eventually drop out of classes burdened with debt.

In response to the criticism and potential regulatory changes, Apollo implemented a free, three-week orientation program to weed out students unprepared for its curriculum. The Phoenix-based company also stopped paying recruitment counselors based on how many students they enroll.

A company spokesman said Monday he could not speculate if there will be more layoffs.

"This is a period of transition for us, and we're going to be very diligent about managing our costs through the transition," said spokesman Alex Clark.

The layoffs took place across the school's U.S. campuses, Clark said. As of Aug. 31, Apollo had 21,777 employees and 35,194 full- and part-time faculty. Apollo said in a regulatory filing that it expects to book charges of $5 million for the quarter ending Nov. 30 connected to the layoffs, but expects to start saving about $8 million per quarter starting in its fiscal second quarter.

University Of Phoenix Fires 700 Employees

Fire At Milburn Country Club

Fire At Milburn Country Club - The fire at the Milburn Golf & Country Club is contained, the Overland Park chief said shortly after 6 p.m.

“But we’re in a defensive posture” to make sure it does not spread as high winds whip the fire, Chief Bryan Dehner said.

The large three-alarm fire was reported about 4:30 p.m. Monday.

The fire was thought to have started on the clubhouse’s second floor, but authorities said they didn’t know what sparked it.

No injuries were reported, but high westerly winds fanned the flames and made the blaze difficult to control. Heavy smoke blanketed a large area of homes east/southeast of the club.

A fire occurred in building earlier Monday, and fire officials were working to find out more about it.

One Milburn staff member was at the club when firefighters arrived, and officials have talked to that person, Dehner said. Some construction work was being done at the club.

The club reportedly was closed Monday.

Flames were visible above the roof into the evening. Fire crews extended an aerial bucket over the clubhouse, and firefighters in the bucket poured water on the fire from above.

Crews also had to bring water from a long distance because there were no nearby hydrants.

Fire At Milburn Country Club

Wisconsin Hostage Situation

Wisconsin Hostage Situation - A hostage situation at Marinette High School is underway. The Marinette High School’s hostage situation in eastern Wisconsin is currently being handled by local SWAT and 100 officers from Marinette County.

A school official at Marinette High School called police after 3 pm local time Monday. The official reported an identified student had taken over one classroom. Police have since contacted the student’s parents. Police Chief Jeff Skorik says he has no motive yet for the student’s actions.

Skorik was quick to dispatch SWAT team Monday evening. City councilman Bradley Behrendt has been monitoring the tense situation nearby. Nearby streets are currently blocked off.

Twenty three students are being held along with their teacher. The total campus has an enrollment of 800 students. A hostage list has not been released. Police are telling concerned parents to go to the Marinette County Courthouse for the latest news updates.

SWAT officers have not been able to get the hostage-taker to communicate, despite a three hour effort. The hostage-taker is armed with a single handgun. Police want the public to know that social media reports of injuries

Wisconsin Hostage Situation

Brian Westbrook Scores First Touchdown

Brian Westbrook Scores First Touchdown - Frank Gore has been sidelined for most of the game with a sore hip and is unlikely to return, but that has hardly slowed the San Francisco ground attack, which is slicing through the Cardinals defense with the greatest of ease.

Midway through the second quarter, the 49ers already have 105 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. It should come as no surprise to Arizona that the 49ers would want to attack with their power rushing game even with Gore out of the game.

Though Anthony Dixon had the first San Francisco rushing TD, it has been former Eagles back Brian Westbrook who is getting the bulk of the touches. So far Westbrook has nine carries for 43 yards, including the eight-yard scamper in the end zone to give the Niners a 21-3 lead in the second quarter.

Brian Westbrook Scores First Touchdown

Wikileaks Turkey

Wikileaks Turkey - U.S. officials had scrambled to keep two allies from airing their growing differences in public — again.

Hours before an annual joint military exercise was to begin in June 2009, Turkey booted Israel from the event. But American diplomats persuaded Turkey to paper over the differences, mainly involving Israel's war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip several months earlier, and officially describe Israel's absence as a mere delay.

"Through some remarkable work with allies … we engineered a public 'postponement' of the international portion of the exercise," the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the Turkish capital, reported. "But, the relationship is souring," it said of ties between Turkey, the only Muslim nation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and longtime U.S. ally Israel.

The embassy's secret account was among the trove of documents about America's complicated relationship with an increasingly independent and ambitious Turkey that were released this week by the website WikiLeaks.

The documents underscore the importance of Turkey, a moderate Islamic country bordering Iran, Iraq and Syria. The documents show that U.S. officials use Turkey as a base to gather intelligence on Iran and value the massive U.S. airbase at Incirlik as a location to ferry supplies to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The reports span much of the period since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party, or AKP, came to power, and show that U.S. diplomats cheered the new government as it instituted democratic reforms.

But they also show how Americans grew frustrated and even angry over a foreign policy out of sync with the U.S. vision.

U.S. officials often blamed Erdogan, and said they were seeking to sway deputies they considered more moderate into adopting positions closer to those of the U.S., especially regarding Iran and Israel.

Wikileaks Turkey

Wisconsin Hostages

Wisconsin Hostages - A handgun-toting student released five hostages Monday night, but still held 18 and a female teacher inside a room at a northeast Wisconsin high school, police said.

The young male took over the classroom sometime near the end of the school day Monday, preventing anyone from leaving and eventually communicating with police through a teacher, Marinette Police Chief Jeffrey Skorik told reporters.

The chief announced shortly before 8 p.m. (9 p.m. ET) Monday, with word that five hostages had been released.

Refuting rumors circulating on social media sites, Skorik said authorities did not believe anyone had been hurt thus far at Marinette High School or that any shots had been fired.
The chief said that the student had no previous run-ins with the law, adding that it wasn't clear why he took hostages.

The incident riled residents of the Wisconsin city of about 11,600 residents, which borders Lake Michigan.

A school administrator called police at 3:48 p.m. (4:48 p.m. ET) Monday, after most students had left for the day, reporting that an armed student had gone into a classroom and taken those inside hostage.

Bradley Behrendt, a city councilor, told CNN that he was two blocks from the school when about 15 police squad cars pull up and several officers come out, with their vests on and holding guns as they entered the school.

Wisconsin Hostages

Walmart Cyber Monday Deals

Walmart Cyber Monday Deals - When it comes to the best Walmart Cyber Monday deals it wouldn’t be fair not to discuss price. Walmart has approximately 189 items on their Cyber Monday deals list ranging in price from $7.00-$848.00. The most inexpensive markdowns by Walmart this Cyber Monday are the $7.00 Faded glory jackets followed by an Axe Holiday Value set which is set at $8.50. Walmart has several $10.00 deals including a personalized photo stocking by Disney, Iron Man 2 figures, children’s pajama sets, document frames, Christmas photo gift and a photo collage travel mug. You’ll find plenty of toys and housewares under $20.00 as well.

Walmart Cyber Monday best deals


For $30.00 you can get a Philips Norelco Men’s Shaving system, two Snuggies, Bright Starts cradling bouncers for babies and a George Women’s double breasted pea coat in available colors. There is a Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Swing Set marked at $99.00 as well as an Ironman Dakota Massage Table for 99.00.

One of what we’re guessing may become Walmart’s most popular deal is the Apple iPod Nano 8GB, and 16 GB bundle with accessory kit starting at $138.00. For $139.00 you can get a Brother 60 stitch computerized sewing machine and at $149.00 an electric oak fireplace.

An Xbox 360 live value bundle starts at $249.00 and a 26” viore Class TV/DVD combo is at $249.00 as well. A 15′ trampoline and enclosure combo is only $250.00.

Walmart Cyber Monday Deals

Adrian Peterson Uncertain

Adrian Peterson Uncertain - The news today on Adrian Peterson's injury was pretty murky.
According to Judd Zulgad, on the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Vikings blog: "Judging from the approach Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier took in discussing Adrian Peterson's sprained right ankle during his news conference Monday, it sounds as if we might be in for a week of 'will he or won't he play,' Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

Zulgad goes on to say that it's not known yet whether it was just an ankle sprain or a high ankle sprain (bad).

Peterson's rookie backup, former Stanford standout Toby Gerhart, had a solid game after Peterson went out — 22 carries for 76 yards and a score. He's most likely available in your league, so if you have Peterson, you should think about picking him up.

Adrian Peterson Uncertain

Frank Gore Hip Injury

Frank Gore Hip Injury - Frank Gore is the workhorse of the 49ers’ offense. As Gore goes, usually the 49ers go as well.

So it wasn’t good a sight for the 49ers when Gore jogged off the sideline and into the locker room midway through the first quarter of Monday night’s game against the Cardinals. The 49ers announced Gore has a hip injury and is questionable to return.

Without Gore, little-used Brian Westbrook could be in line for the bulk of the carries for the 49ers. The only other running back on the active roster tonight is Anthony Dixon.

The 49ers offense did show some signs of life without Gore when Troy Smith hit Michael Crabtree for a 38-yard touchdown on the first play of the team’s second possession.

Frank Gore Hip Injury

Anderson Cooper Joins Fox

Anderson Cooper Joins Fox - A few months back we mentioned that Anderson Cooper would be launching a day time talk show set to premiere next fall.

Well the show finally has a home and it’s going to be on Fox of all places.

Three Fox-owned stations in the top markets have already cleared the show, which was unexpected as Fox News rivals Cooper’s CNN show.

Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution president Ken Werner stated:

"Although the marketplace for fall 2011 has been filled by many returning franchises and the expansion of news programs, there is still a big opportunity across stations.

We are delighted that these major market stations have embraced the opportunity to bring one of America's finest storytellers to daytime and early fringe viewers."

The show is already being described as one which will "bring to viewers the biggest celebrity and newsmaker interviews, fascinating human interest stories and in-depth coverage of pop culture, social issues, trends and major events."

Anderson Cooper Joins Fox

George Bush On Facebook

George Bush On Facebook - Former President George W. Bush has pledged not to publicly criticize his successor, Barack Obama, but he did offer some praise Monday during a live broadcast on Facebook to promote his new book.

Bush participated in an hour-long discussion on Facebook Live with the site's founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and was asked what he thought the current administration was handling well. The former president responded that he liked Obama's policy on Afghanistan.

"I think the idea of putting more troops in was something that I can applaud," Bush said. "I also appreciate some of the education position. As I understand it they do believe strongly that accountability is necessary in order to achieve excellence in the classrooms."

As the discussion started, Zuckerberg asked Bush why he decided to appear on Facebook. Bush quipped: "Because you've got a lot of people paying attention to us, and I'm trying to sell books."

He then told Zuckerberg that he loves entrepreneurship and a country that could help make someone like Zuckerberg able to realize his dream and, in turn, create jobs for many people. "Yours is a really interesting company, and plus: I'm shamelessly marketing," he said.

Bush, whose book, "Decision Points," was released earlier this month, visited Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., fielding questions from Zuckerberg, Facebook employees and those watching online who submitted questions during the broadcast on the company's streaming video channel.

"I've written this book because I recognize there's no such thing as accurate short-term history. I want to give future historians a perspective: mine," he said, adding, "I've also written it for people who wonder what it's like to be president."

George Bush On Facebook

Dream Act Vote

Dream Act Vote - The DREAM Act is on the move this week, and as members of Congress file back into Capitol Hill after the Thanksgiving break, D.C. is bracing for an onslaught of lobbying and behind-the-scenes work to get the bill passed before the year is over and the House changes hands in January.

According to the DREAM Act’s most visible congressional allies, advocates have reason to be cautiously optimistic about the bill’s prospects in the House. “The core group of House members who support immigration reform and the DREAM Act have been reaching out throughout the Democratic House caucus,” Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez told ColorLines. “From what we are hearing back, I am encouraged by the breadth of Democratic support.”

Gutierrez, who has long pushed for more comprehensive immigration reform solutions, has emerged as the DREAM Act’s most visible House advocate since joining advocates who called for a piecemeal approach in the face of comprehensive immigration reform’s sour prospects this year.

Congressional insiders indicated that a version of the DREAM Act could come up for a vote in the House, where it has more reliable support than in the Senate, as early as Wednesday or Thursday. House Democrats are currently conducting counts to determine the bill’s exact numbers—it needs 218 to pass the House—but insiders say that the numbers look good so far.

Still, Gutierrez said that the next few days will be hectic on the Hill.

“We have a lot of work remaining to convince fence-sitters, but I am encouraged and optimistic about House passage if leadership calls a vote.”

The DREAM Act would allow undocumented youth with a clean criminal record who were brought to the country before the age of 16 the right to apply for permanent residency if they commit two years to the military or higher education. The Migration Policy Institute estimated that the bill would benefit about 825,000 undocumented youth who’ve been raised and educated in the country but are ineligible to work because of their immigration status.

Dream Act Vote

Nancy Grace Has Surgery

Nancy Grace Has Surgery - In an emotional phone call aired on her HLN show tonight, Nancy Grace revealed doctors recently found a mass that the host and doctors feared might be cancer–but tests confirmed was not cancerous.

“I didn’t know how much longer I was going to be with my family,” said Grace, who has shared the birth of twins with viewers, and called in to share the news of her diagnosis by phone from the hospital where she is recuperating from surgery to remove the growth. “I didn’t want the twins to grow up without a mother,” said a clearly emotional Grace.

Grace says doctors were very concerned about “the rapid, rapid growth” of the mass, which the host kept secret until tonight. “I prayed and felt very strong that it was going to be okay.”

“I felt that worrying about it was giving in to the devil. I really did.”

“I appreciate everyone’s prayers,” said Grace, who described the surgery as extensive, and yet says she has “great faith” that she will be back on the job next week.

Nancy Grace Has Surgery

Senate Bill 510: Food Safety Bill

Senate Bill 510: Food Safety Bill - A pivotal vote tonight will be the clearest signal yet whether or not food safety reform legislation will pass the Senate this year.

If the cloture vote is successful, Sen. Harry Reid said that a final vote on S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, could come late this evening or on Nov. 30.

Invoking cloture is the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill and avoid a filibuster. Cloture requires 60 votes, or three-fifths of the Senate.

The bill includes an amendment by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., that exempts smaller operations from some requirements, drawing opposition from produce industry groups.

Allowing exemptions for small food operations has created an element of uncertainty about the fate of the bill, said Kam Quarles, director of legislative affairs for the Washington, D.C.-based McDermott Will & Emery law firm.

“It’s anybody’s guess, especially in this kind of strange political post-election lame duck partisan climate that we are in,” said Ferd Hoefner, policy director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Washington, D.C.

Twenty fresh produce organizations came out in opposition to S. 510 in response to the revised Tester amendment, saying blanket exemptions would fail to protect consumers.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, in a Nov. 29 letter, defends the Tester amendment.

“Within agriculture, the amendment has been attacked by industry trade associations as too permissive and the bill by some food freedom advocates as too highly regulated,” according to the letter. “We believe the bill’s managers have achieved a responsible balance between these extremes.”

Senate Bill 510: Food Safety Bill

FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid

FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid - The world’s greatest football rivalry gets underway for the first time this season on Monday as the two Spanish giants contest El Clasico once again. Read on for a brief overview of the rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

With football, as with any sport, there is no more powerful reflection of greatness than to compete against a powerful arch-rival, a nemesis whose very existence fuels passion and against whom one’s own greatness is either confirmed or found wanting. Seabiscuit, for example, had War Admiral. Muhammad Ali had Joe Frazier. Lance Armstrong had Jan Ullrich.

Such a nemesis serves to enhance, perhaps even define, a competitor’s greatness, and no competition can be considered truly successful unless the nemesis has been vanquished. And yet, as so often occurs in titanic sporting tussles, greatness may be confirmed for loser and winner alike.

Few rivalries in sport can compare with the spectacle, the passion, and the sheer football brilliance of a match between Spanish football titans Real Madrid FC and FC Barcelona. And any meeting between the two is known simply, elegantly, and without overstatement as “El Clasico.”

The rivalry between Real Madrid an FC Barcelona transcends football. It represents a clash of cultures between the Castilian Spanish and the Catalan. To some it represents a clash of the established order versus a progressive social movement. And to others, it may still represent the forces of oppression versus those of freedom and equality.

FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid

Bridalplasty On E

Bridalplasty On E - Since the E! channel announced in September that it had ordered up a new reality series called "Bridalplasty" featuring brides-to-be competing to win a complete plastic surgery overhaul for their big day (ah, romance), commentators have worried that the show would mark a "new low" in reality television. Apparently, they did not worry in vain: Last night's premiere prompted one critic to wonder if it "just might be the most depressing TV series ever to air on television." Just how bad is it? (Watch a clip from "Bridalplasty's" premiere)

Horrible: "This is about as repulsive as reality TV gets," says Mark A. Perigard in the Boston Herald. The brides-to-be on this "creepy," "'Stepford Wife'-like show" seem to have come "through a black hole that leads to the 1950s." The show feeds "the idea that a woman's worth is based on attaining the perfect physique by any means."
"Love, honor and garish"

Worse than horrible — but addictive: "This show is a train wreck, albeit one that no one wants to turn away from," says Chris Spargo at Hollywood Life. "Bridalplasty's" "whining blonds" are "almost all in perfect shape" yet they still feel compelled to obliterate their "minor imperfections." It's "beyond addictive," and "sadly, I will be tuning in each week."

Bridalplasty On E

Marinette Hostage Situation

Marinette Hostage Situation - An armed student burst into a high school in Wisconsin and seized a teacher and 23 students, police said today.

An official at Marinette high school called the authorities just before 4pm local time to say a student had taken over a classroom. A choral teacher, Bonita Weydt, said she was talking with a teacher in another classroom when the headmaster, Corry Lambie, came in and told them both to leave immediately.

"I said, 'Corry, what's going on?' and he said, 'Get out of the building,'" Weydt said.

Eric Burmeister, a Marinette county emergency official, said parents were being asked to go to the county courthouse.

A woman at a hair salon across the street from the school told Reuters by telephone that the school was surrounded by police cars and fire engines and the car park nearby was filled with people, many of them students.

Marinette's police chief, Jeff Skorik, said the hostage taker is a male student with a handgun and is using a female teacher as a liaison to talk with a hostage negotiating team inside the school. The team has yet to speak directly with the student.

Negotiators do not yet know what his demands are. The student does not have any history with the police, Skorik said.

"We have no idea as far as motivations at this point," he added.

The high school has about 800 students, according to its website. Marinette, a town of 11,400 people, is about 30 miles north of Green Bay.

Marinette Hostage Situation

Amazon Cyber Monday

Amazon Cyber Monday - Amazon.com is continuing their Cyber Monday video game deals this evening with some popular titles getting the "sale" treatment.
Up for sale right now and selling fast are Super Street Fighter IV for Xbox 360 or PS3 priced at $14.99, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow for Xbox 360 or PS3 at $34.99, Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition for PS3 at $19.99, and several others. All these games are moving fast and will be sold out in minutes, if not already.

Amazon Cyber Monday

Ronald Isley New CD

Ronald Isley New CD - A news release from Sound Spike says that Ron Isley,the 68-year-old lead singer of the Isley Brothers will release his first solo album just seven months after his release from prison for tax evasion. He got the idea to do a gospel album while working on the album in a chapel in prison. In the new album, Isley is joined by Aretha Franklin on Carole King's "You've Got a Friend," as well as T.I.
His new album entitled ‘Mr. I,’ is scheduled for release November 30th.

Singersroom reports that Ron Isley may be one of the few artists still recording music that needs no introduction. Isley, "Mr. Biggs," resume spans over four decades.
During an interview, Singersroom asked him who he collaborated with for the album. Isley said he worked with Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, T.I., the young brother Tank.

Ronald Isley New CD

Federal Pay Freeze Planned

Federal Pay Freeze Planned - The freeze, which would require congressional approval, would affect about two million workers in 2011 and 2012 and save just $5 billion, a tiny fraction of the current $1.3 trillion annual budget deficit. The GOP has called for much bigger reductions in federal spending and has specifically targeted the federal work force.

But the gesture could have broader political ramifications. It was seen by members of both parties as a sign that Mr. Obama, in the wake of what he called his electoral "shellacking," might be willing to tack away from his liberal base in search of compromise with Republicans.

"Going forward, we're going to have to make some additional very tough decisions that this town has put off for a very long time," Mr. Obama said. "And that's what this upcoming week is really about. My hope is that, starting today, we can begin a bipartisan conversation about our future."

On Tuesday, the president will host the first bipartisan meeting of congressional leaders since the election, to try to reach a deal on the future of President George W. Bush's tax cuts, which expire at year's end. Also on Tuesday, the chairmen of the president's bipartisan commission on the federal debt will hold a press conference, a day before the panel's deadline to achieve consensus on a broad plan to tackle the nation's red ink.

Federal Pay Freeze Planned

Soldier Field Fall Still Mystery

Soldier Field Fall Still Mystery - Stuart Haverty seemed to be having the time of his life.

About to finish a tool-making apprenticeship at a company that had employed him since high school and already living in his own home at age 23, the ambitious, affable young man was thrilled to be invited to a Bears game for the first time by his boss, Bruce Glass.

Along with four other employees from Fox Tool and Manufacturing in Woodstock, they had headed out to Soldier Field early on Sunday, tailgating in the parking lot before the Bears-Eagles game and feasting on grilled steak.

"We were cheering and having a great time and high-fiving everyone around us and each other at all the good plays," said Glass, who sat with Haverty during the first half of the game in the southwest corner of the stadium. "Stuart was enjoying the success of the Bears immensely."

That made it all the more puzzling for Glass when, just before halftime, Haverty said he was going to the bathroom and never returned. The puzzlement only deepened when, after waiting for Haverty for 90 minutes after the game, the group sought out security and learned what had happened.

At just before 5 p.m. Sunday, Haverty fell about 35 feet from the colonnade level on the west side of the stadium, said Luca Serra, a spokesman for SMG, which runs the stadium for the Chicago Park District. Haverty, who grew up in Woodstock but had been living in Harvard, was pronounced dead a short time later at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

How and why he fell remains a mystery. The Cook County medical examiner' office ruled the death accidental on Monday. Chicago police continue to investigate, though Officer Veejay Zala, a department spokesman, said late Monday that Haverty's death "seems to be a tragic accident."

The open-air concourse has a railing about 3 feet high that Haverty had to have scaled, and beyond that is a ledge about 2 feet wide, so someone would have to take extra measures to get past it, Serra said.

Glass said he doubts media reports that Haverty had climbed over the railing to sneak a cigarette.

Though Haverty did smoke, Glass said he'd warned his employees before the game that smoking is banned at Soldier Field. He wanted them to follow the rules because, as a season ticketholder, he didn't want any "marks" against him.

Soldier Field Fall Still Mystery

James Franco To Co-Host Oscars

James Franco To Co-Host Oscars - Imagine if the TV Academy announced that its next Primetime Emmy Awards would be hosted by Kim Kardashian and one of the zombies from "The Walking Dead." Yeah - it's kinda like that.

On paper, Hathaway and Franco sound great.

Franco is the star of "127 Hours" - the flick based on the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston, who had to cut off his own arm to free it from a fallen boulder, after being trapped in a canyon in Utah. Franco - besides being just 32 years old - is a big deal among people who write blogs and editors of New York-based magazines. People who write blogs do not watch the Oscars, and there are not enough editors of New York-based magazines left to be a meaningful demographic group for Nielsen ratings.

Hathaway, meanwhile, is one of those pretty and adequately talented actresses who has crossed the line into "artist," by recently appearing in a couple of chick flicks in which her hair was all messy, and by appearing nude on a magazine cover. Granted, it was the cover of Entertainment Weekly - but still.

James Franco To Co-Host Oscars

NeNe Leakes Getting A Divorce

NeNe Leakes Getting A Divorce - The Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes took to her blog on Bravo to discuss the big blowout she had with her husband Gregg and called it her “breaking point.”

In a post titled, “The Breaking Point,” NeNe wrote an explanation to her fans for the blowout she had with her husband Gregg and what is happening with their relationship.

Read NeNe’s Bravo blog post below!

“Sheree and Lawrence talking about me and Gregg … it just goes to show you that there are really people in the world that want to see you fail. That whole scene with them was just phoney to me! I didn’t buy it!

Gregg and I have held it together for years, but my breaking point has come. I’m one hell of a woman, and I am nobody’s fool. When the person you love and trust betrays you, it has got to be one of the worst feelings. Having that moment with Gregg was so much bigger than you saw. I was really hurting! I felt Gregg was an emotionless wall that was cold with no remorse. The pain in my stomach was unreal, and my heart was heavy! I had been accused of cheating and doing Gregg wrong in the press and on blogs everywhere. I wanted to spit it all out and say some horrible things, but I wanted to handle this situation like a lady as best I could.

I was hearing things like Gregg was this good guy that had done all this great stuff for me. Yes, Gregg is a good guy, but that doesn’t mean Gregg is a good husband. All I can say is, I’m tired! Only I know what I’ve been through! My happiness and independence means everything to me, and I want to follow my heart, but I’m scared! I’m taking baby steps, but I hope I’ve been brave enough for all the women that couldn’t! I hope I was able to show my children what a strong woman looks like and stands for! I will only accept loyalty and trust! My happiness is everything to me!

NeNe Leakes Getting A Divorce

Federal Unemployment Extension

Federal Unemployment Extension - Without an extension of federal unemployment benefits, beginning this week, 1,100 unemployed people a day in Michigan will stop getting unemployment checks — 168,520 by the end of April, reports the Michigan League for Human Services (MLHS).

Federal unemployment benefits expire Dec. 1. Without an extension, those who lost their jobs after June 2010 will receive only 26 weeks of unemployment benefits.

Congress may try to pass an extension of unemployment benefits later this month, but its passage is far from certain, even though Congress has never before failed to extend benefits when the nation's unemployment rate remains so high.

"These unemployment extensions are especially important to Michigan because of our high unemployment rate. If Congress prematurely ends unemployment support to tens of thousands of families and with few jobs available, it will put a terrible strain on the private and public safety nets," said Judy Putnam, MLHS communications director.

Those 168,520 people in Michigan who will lose benefits by April don't even include the "99ers" — those who have already exhausted all of the unemployment benefits available to them.

With jobs few and far between (an estimated one job for every five people), many of the jobless will turn to Michigan's public safety net, which is unprepared to meet the demand.

"The Legislature has not budgeted for any growth in public assistance known as the Family Independence Program," Putnam said. "If more families begin to qualify after losing unemployment benefits, the state will have to come up with more revenue in an already-stretched year or reduce or deny benefits to children and their families living well below the poverty line."

Lawmakers budgeted for 82,000 public assistance cases on average for fiscal year 2011. In October, the first month of the fiscal year, there were 82,560 cases, reports MLHS. Expect those numbers to rise.

Federal Unemployment Extension

Windows Phone 7 Being Outsold

Windows Phone 7 Being Outsold - We all knew Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 would have a hard time catching up with the leading contenders in the smartphone arena, and now there's yet another fresh batch of evidence suggesting that it can't.

Following the platform's lackluster launch, Windows Phone 7 is being outsold by Android phones by about 15 to 1, a U.K. retailer reported today. Even battle-weary Symbian is doing better, with its Symbian 3 handsets--primarily the Nokia N8--outselling Windows Phone 7 by three to 1, Mobiles Please reported Monday on its blog.

Specifically, for the sales period between Nov. 11 and 24, Windows Phone 7 accounted for a measly 1.87 percent of Mobiles Please's smartphone sales, while Android weighed in with 28.56 percent, company representative Ben Pusey told me this morning. BlackBerry accounted for 19.36 percent, Symbian 3 drew 6.95 percent, and Apple's iOS pulled in 6.83 percent, according to the company's data.

"The Windows Phone 7 handsets--as nice as they are--are by and large generic phones from well known manufacturers, and in most cases an almost identical model is available from the same manufacturer with Android," Mobiles Please wrote. "Given the choice, people seem to be picking Android."

Windows Phone 7 Being Outsold

Eating Disorder Rates Keep Climbing

Eating Disorder Rates Keep Climbing - Eating disorders have risen steadily in children and teens over the last few decades, with some of the sharpest increases occurring in boys and minority youths, according to a new report.

In one startling statistic cited in the report, an analysis by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that hospitalizations for eating disorders jumped by 119 percent between 1999 and 2006 for kids younger than 12.

At the same time as severe cases of anorexia and bulimia have risen, so too have "partial-syndrome" eating disorders -- young people who have some, but not all, of the symptoms of an eating disorder. Athletes, including gymnasts and wrestlers, and performers, including dancers and models, may be particularly at risk, according to the report.

"We are seeing a lot more eating disorders than we used to and we are seeing it in people we didn't associate with eating disorders in the past -- a lot of boys, little kids, people of color and those with lower socioeconomic backgrounds," said report author Dr. David Rosen, a professor of pediatrics, internal medicine and psychiatry at University of Michigan. "The stereotype [patient] is of an affluent white girl of a certain age. We wanted people to understand eating disorders are equal-opportunity disorders."

The report is published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

While an estimated 0.5 percent of adolescent girls in the United States have anorexia and about 1 to 2 percent have bulimia, experts estimate that between 0.8 to 14 percent of Americans generally have at least some of the physical and psychological symptoms of an eating disorder, according to the report.

Eating Disorder Rates Keep Climbing

Wisconsin High School Hostages

Wisconsin High School Hostages - An armed student burst into a high school classroom and took hostages in eastern Wisconsin on Monday, an emergency management official said.

A Marinette High School administrator called authorities shortly after 3 p.m. to say a student had taken over a classroom, according to county emergency management director Eric Burmeister. He was not sure how many people were in the classroom and no injuries had been reported Monday evening.
Choral teacher Bonita Weydt said she was talking with a teacher in another classroom after school, which lets out about 3:10 p.m., when principal Corry Lambie came in.

"I said, 'Corry, what's going on?' and he said, 'Get out of the building,'" Weydt said.
Burmeister said parents were asked to gather at the county courthouse.

Marinette is about 50 miles north of Green Bay and sits on the border with Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The high school has an annual enrollment of approximately 800 students, according to its website.

Wisconsin High School Hostages

Cyber Monday Deals

Cyber Monday Deals - Apple today unveiled its Cyber Monday deals, and while there are no deals on hardware items like the Mac or iPad, the company is offering savings on iPod docks, iPad cases, and more.

"Merry Monday," Apple said. "Today only, get special savings on these iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Mac accessories."

First up are discounts on Beats by Dr. Dre products. The Beats by Dr. Dre Solo HD headphones are selling for $179.95, down from $199.95. The Beats by Dr. Dre Beatbox speaker dock, meanwhile, is available for $359.95, down from $399.95.

Apple is also offering discounts on iPad and iPhone cases designed by Michael Kors. The iPad case, which normally retails for $129.95, is selling for $116.95, while the iPhone case is $71.95, down from $79.95. Apple also has laptop bags from Kenneth Cole and Kate Spade for $116.95 ($13 savings) and $404.95 ($45 savings), respectively, and a Cole Haan zip wallet iPhone holder for $116.95.

Also on sale: Edifier Prisma E3350 2.1 speakers for $116.95, down from $129.95; Panasonic HM-TA1 HD video camera for $152.95, regularly $169.95; a G-Technology mobile hard drive for $89.95, a $10 savings; Twelve South Compass portable stand for the iPad for $35.95, down from $39.95; and an M-Audio KeyStudio 49 plug-and-play keyboard for $69.95, a $30 savings.

Cyber Monday Deals

Julian Assange Under Attack

Julian Assange Under Attack - The chief Wikileaker who the U.S. promised today to prosecute said his Internet site was just beginning to unload its diplomatic secrets and said the documents will skewer "lying, corrupt and murderous leadership from Bahrain to Brazil."

Julian Assange, the Australian who heads the secret-sharing Web site, told ABC News today he believes his safety and freedom are in danger. He responded to questions by email from a clandestine hideout.

He was undaunted by vows from the U.S. and Australia to prosecute him and said the forthcoming diplomatic cables are aimed at "lying, corrupt and murderous leadership from Bahrain to Brazil."

"We're only one thousandth of the way in and look at what has so far being revealed. There will be many more," he wrote defiantly.

Assange also dismissed a warning today by Secretary of State HillaryClinton who said the dump of secret documents "puts peoples lives in danger," particularly those sources who provided the U.S. with information about abuses in foreign countries.

"U.S. officials have for 50 years trotted out this line when they are afraid the public is going to see how they really behave," Assange said in his email. "The facts are that we wrote to the State Department asking for a list of any specific concerns that might have. They refused to assist, and said they demanded everything, including those documents that revealed abuses, be destroyed."

Julian Assange Under Attack

China Will Abandon North Korea

China Will Abandon North Korea - China has signalled its readiness to accept Korean reunification and is privately distancing itself from the North Korean regime, according to leaked US embassy cables that reveal senior Beijing figures regard their official ally as a "spoiled child".

News of the Chinese shift comes at a crucial juncture after the North's artillery bombardment of a South Korean island last week that killed four people and led both sides to threaten war. China has refused to condemn the North Korean action. But today Beijing appeared to bow to US pressure to help bring about a diplomatic solution, calling for "emergency consultations" and inviting a senior North Korean official to Beijing.

China is sharply critical of US pressure tactics towards North Korea and wants a resumption of the six-party nuclear disarmament talks. But the Guardian can reveal Beijing's frustration with Pyongyang has grown since its missile and nuclear tests last year, worries about the economic impact of regional instability, and fears that the death of the dictator, Kim Jong-il, could spark a succession struggle.

China's moves to distance itself from Kim are revealed in the latest tranche of leaked US embassy cables published by the Guardian and four international newspapers. Tonight, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said the US "deeply regrets" the release of the material by WikiLeaks. They were an "attack on the international community", she said. "It puts people's lives in danger, threatens our national security and undermines efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems," she told reporters at the state department.

The leaked North Korea dispatches detail how:

• South Korea's vice-foreign minister said he was told by two named senior Chinese officials that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul's control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing.

China Will Abandon North Korea

Wikileaks Cyberattack

Wikileaks Cyberattack - In the first test of WikiLeaks’ resiliency since a staff rebellion earlier this year, the organization recovered within hours from a distributed denial of service attack during its roll-out of leaked State Department cables on Sunday. But experts who monitored the disruptive traffic say the attack was relatively modest in size.

WikiLeaks’ main web address and its “cable gate” site were unreachable as the organization’s media partners published their first analyses from a massive trove of a quarter-million U.S. diplomatic cables Sunday afternoon. Hours earlier, WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter: “We are currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack.”

But Arbor Networks, which analyzes malicious network traffic crossing the internet’s backbones, reports that the DDoS generated between 2 and 4 Gbps of disruptive traffic, slightly above the average for all DDoS attacks, but well below the peak 60 to 100 Gps consumed by truly massive attacks against other websites over the last year.

“The traffic that we’re looking at going to the network where WikiLeaks was hosted at the time the attack started is 12 to 15 gigs per second, so 2 to 4 gigs on top of that is not much,” says Jose Nazario, a senior security researcher at Arbor.

The DDoS tested WikiLeaks’ mettle in the wake of a staff rebellion earlier this year that cost the organization a key technical volunteer responsible for its complex bulletproof back-end. The volunteer had set up a censorship-resistant system that decoupled WikiLeaks’ document archives from its public internet IP addresses, allowing the site to jump back to life within an hour of losing its hosting.

When that volunteer resigned in September, along with spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg and other staffers, WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange was given two weeks to “prepare an alternative setup,” the volunteer said in an interview last month. After that, “we pulled off all the technology developed for WikiLeaks and handed the remaining people the machines. We only took with us that which was developed by us.”

Wikileaks Cyberattack

LeBron James Frustrated

LeBron James Frustrated - The blame game has already started in Miami and surprise, surprise, Erik Spoelstra has emerged as the clear target.

There is a report that Miami Heat players are "frustrated" with their coach and question whether he is the right man for the star-studded team. Something tells me Juwan Howard and Eddie House aren't the players doing the questioning.

If I were a betting man I'd wager that someone from LeBron James' beleaguered entourage is stirring the pot. It's probably the same people who wanted Mike Brown blamed for LeBron's no-show performance in Game 5 against the Boston Celtics.

Rule No. 1 among superstars in the NBA is never accept responsibility for underachieving, especially when there is a young coach without a championship pedigree on the bench. Make that poor sucker the scapegoat and dare Pat Riley to coach the free agents he signed last summer.

The Heat's slow start - they're 9-8, the Knicks are 9-9 - is surprising but not exactly shocking. Once you get past the big three of LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat are not very deep, particularly along the front line. Factor in the injuries to Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem and what you have is team struggling to find its way, even with three All-Stars.

LeBron James Frustrated

Houston Texans vs Philadelphia Eagles

Houston Texans vs Philadelphia Eagles - The Philadelphia Eagles (7-4) had been rolling right along since Michael Vick returned from injury. They had won three in a row over the likes of Indianapolis, Washington and the New York Giants before meeting their match in Chicago last Sunday. The Eagles fell behind 31-13 and eventually lost 31-26 with their comeback attempt coming up short.

The Bears were able to do something no other team has been able to do this season – intercept Vick. That interception turned out to be a be a big one as it came in the Chicago end zone, stopping a potential go-ahead score.

The Eagles should have an excellent opportunity to bounce back against the Houston Texans (5-6). The Texans have lost four of their last five games, but they enter Sunday’s contest with some momentum on their side.

After three straight heartbreaking defeats, the Texans blanked Tennessee 20-0 last week. It was a completely dominant performance by Houston, outgaining its division rivals by 346-162. The big story was Tennessee’s run defense. It held All-Pro running back Chris Johnson to just five yards on seven carries. Meanwhile, Arian Foster gashed Tennessee for 143 yards on 30 carries.
While Houston’s performance was impressive, NFL odds makers believe the Texans will have a tough time building on it. They have listed the Eagles as 9-point favorites with the total set at 50.5.

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The Texans dodged a major bullet with the league deciding not to suspend wide receiver Andre Johnson for fighting with Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan. Rather than receptions, however, it may be Johnson’s down-field blocking that gives the Texans the best opportunity to win.

Led by Foster, who leads the NFL with 1,147 yards rushing, Houston ranks seventh in the league with 132.5 yards per game on the ground. The Texans may be able to find more success running the football this week against a Philadelphia defense that allowed 131 yards rushing to the Bears. It is worth noting that Chicago only ranks 20th in the league in rushing offense (101.9 yards per game).

Houston Texans vs Philadelphia Eagles

AFP To Investigate Cablegate

AFP To Investigate Cablegate - Canberra has refused to offer a safe haven to WikiLeaks' Australian founder Julian Assange after the website began releasing 251,287 confidential US State Department documents.
And Australian Federal Police are investigating whether the leaking of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables broke Australian law.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said yesterday the Australian Federal Police is examining whether revealing 250,000 confidential diplomatic cables could be criminal.

"From Australia's point of view we think there are potentially a number of criminal laws that could have been breached," Mr McClelland said.

"The Australian Federal Police are looking at that."

A defence taskforce which had been monitoring Wikileaks would become a "whole-of-government taskforce", Mr McClelland said.

The taskforce was set up in July to investigate the implications of the release of some 400,000 US military documents on Iraq.

Although the taskforce recently reported Australian interests had not been damaged, Defence Minister Stephen Smith warned that this time things could be different.

"The early indicators were that we were hopeful no great or any damage had been done," he told Sky News.

"But in the case of these cables it's a much wider remit."

Mr McClelland stopped short of saying the government was considering cancelling Mr Assange's passport but did not rule it out.

Alongside the growing US desires to nab Mr Assange on security charges, he is wanted in relation to allegations of rape in Sweden.

He has referred to the Swedish charges as "false".

The US is already in damage control over the cables, which were released early to several news publications around the world.

AFP To Investigate Cablegate

Amber Alert For Missing Boys

Amber Alert For Missing Boys - A statewide search is underway in Michigan for three missing brothers, who “are believed to be in extreme danger,” according to an AMBER Alert from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that went out on Nov. 27.

The alert adds they may be traveling in a silver van. The three boys are Alexander Skelton, 7, Andrew Skelton, 9, and Tanner Skelton, 5. They were last seen at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 26 in Morenci, Michigan.

The suspected kidnapper is a woman by the name of Joann Taylor.

The AMBER Alert program is a partnership between media, law-enforcement, transportation, and wireless groups to activate urgent bulletin alerts in extremely serious child-abduction cases and get communities involved in helping, according to the Department of Justice.

The father of the boys, John Skelton, claimed he left the children with Taylor. Taylor claimed he had an online relationship with Skelton just before he allegedly attempted suicide.

Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks told the press, however, that Skelton’s relationship with Taylor is a lie. “A reported relationship between Mr. Skelton and Joann Taylor does not exist,” Weeks said in a video feed from AP.

The police are investigating where Skelton drove the day he had the boys. Weeks added, “Since we can last pinpoint the boys in the backyard on Thursday afternoon, and that we know that the vehicle wasn’t there during a period of time there, we certainly want any leads we could gather for that period of time on where that vehicle was at. Were the boys in the vehicle? Did anyone see that vehicle?”

Amber Alert For Missing Boys

Capitol Christmas Tree Arrives

Capitol Christmas Tree Arrives - If you think setting up your Christmas tree is difficult, imagine trying to center a 67-foot spruce. That's the task at hand on the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

The Capitol Christmas tree arrived early Monday morning from Hershey, Penn., but its journey began in Wyoming.

"We have a 67-foot-tall Englemann Spruce tree that was harvested about 40 miles north of Jackson Hole, Wyo., from the Bridger-Teton National Forest," said Capitol Christmas Tree Coordinator Mary Cernicek. "It's 83 years old, weighs 9,000 pounds and it took a little bit more than a mile of rope to wrap around that tree to get it to actually fit inside the eight-foot box that carried it across the country."

How long did it take to get to D.C.?

"Well, that was a long trip by design. We did 22 stops in Wyoming, we did 12 across the nation. We started our tour on Nov. 10," Cernicek said.

The Capitol Christmas tree-lighting is scheduled for Dec. 7 and the tree will be decorated with 5,000 ornaments that were made by school children in Wyoming.

Capitol Christmas Tree Arrives

International Monetary Fund Warns Of Deficit

International Monetary Fund Warns Of Deficit - The International Monetary Fund on Monday called upon the Israel to reduce the fiscal deficit faster than planned and implement steps to cool the housing market.

“Israel passed through the global recession swiftly – the fruit of decisive policies – and strengthened macrofinancial policy frameworks,” the IMF said in its preliminary report on Israel’s economy in 2010. “The challenge now is to sustain growth and low inflation while boosting medium-term prospects – in the context of continued global uncertainty, capital outflows from advanced countries, shekel appreciation and a housing market that is overheating.”

On Monday, the members of the IMF mission, headed by Peter Doyle, submitted their report to Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer. The IMF is expected to submit its full 2010 report on Israel’s economy in January.

“The members of the mission are expert and experienced economists, and we derive much benefit from their reports,” Fischer said. “IMF economists generally express support for economic policy implemented in Israel. Nevertheless, in some areas they also voice criticism and make proposals which we take very seriously.”

The IMF praised the Israeli economy and the firm policy response for succeeding in bringing back strong growth and lowering unemployment to about 6 percent, close to its historic low. But the organization also pointed to several challenges.

“This performance has, however, come at a cost,” the report said. “Buoyed by global capital movements, the shekel appreciated by some 15% in real terms relative to precrisis levels, and is still rising. Competitiveness has been adversely affected, and this may already be reflected in loss of export market share in 2010, falling FDI inflows, and in recent months, outright falls in exports and flat employment.”

At the same time, the strong shekel has helped to contain inflation, which recently returned into its 1%-3% target range after a lengthy period just above it, the report said.

“Alongside, and in an echo of advanced countries in the early 2000s, nominal house prices took off in 2008 after years of stagnation, rising over 40% in just two years,” the report said.

International Monetary Fund Warns Of Deficit

Ronald Isley New Album

Ronald Isley New Album - Do you remember Ron Isley of the popular Isley Brothers group? His first solo album will be released tomorrow and he'll be joined in song by some big voices, like those of Aretha Franklin and Carole King. Isley says the idea for his gospel album, titled "Mr. I," came to him in a prison chapel.

Though Ron Isley was released from prison where he served time for tax evasion just seven months ago, things are looking up for the 68 year old former Isley Brother's lead singer. Big name musical stars like Jeffrey Osborne, Peabo Bryson and more were on hand to pay tribute to Isley during last night's Soul Train Awards. Isley performed a medley of hits and closed out the show with the help of Cee Lo Green who joined him to sing a duet of the Isley Brothers' big hit song, "Shout."

Ronald Isley New Album

Stewart Haverty Soldier Field

Stewart Haverty Soldier Field - By all measures, Chicago's on-field demolition of Philadelphia was a cause for celebration for Bears fans across Chicagoland. However, before we get to the breakdown of the game, there must be the reflection and acknowledgement of Stuart Haverty's passing. That skull-faced specter, Death, appeared at, of all places, Soldier Field and a 23-year-old was left to shrug off the mortal coil. Death is never maudlin and the fact that someone so young, died at something so commonly associated with communal revelry is shocking and disheartening. By most accounts the event is being reported as a most-unfortunate accident and an isolated incident. Cold comfort and of little solace to Haverty's family to be certain. Tailgate's thoughts are with Stuart Haverty and his family today.

The action on the field? Astounding. The Bears defense has been mauling the lesser squads of the NFL all season and, I, dubious jerk that I am, had all along been assuming that a real offense (read: Philadelphia's) would shred the Bears. I was wrong, dear reader, so, so, so, so wrong. At this point in the season, Chicago's 8-3 record is no longer a mirage and the team's three losses (one to the mighty New York Giants defense; two to baffling egg-laying Washington and Seattle) appear to be the abnormalities. The defense which had grown so fat on the foundering and folly-prone likes of Dallas, hapless Buffalo and toothless Miami, proved how real they are by defusing the nuclear Philadelphia offense with the deft precision of a SWAT team.

Offensively, the Bears were incredibly balanced. Matt Forte after popping off for 97 yards and a tuddie last week in Miami, exploded for 117 yards (with longs of 61 and 28) against Philly. Meanwhile, Jay Cutler was the sterling Cutler-Bot 5000 of his Vanderbilt days, torching the Eagles secondary to the tune of four TDs on 14 completions and no interceptions.

Stewart Haverty Soldier Field

Willie Nelson Charged With Possession

Willie Nelson Charged With Possession - This probably won't come as a huge shock, but legendary country singer Willie Nelson was arrested and charged with marijuana possession on Friday after six ounces of pot was found aboard his tour bus in Texas, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman told the Associated Press.
On Friday morning, an officer smelled pot when Nelson's tour bus pulled into a Sierra Blanca checkpoint at 9 a.m.

A suspiciously early hour for such an odor to be eminating from a vehicle.
Marijuana was discovered during a search of the bus, patrol spokesman Bill Brooks told the AP.
SODAHEAD SLIDESHOW: See the biggest celebrity potheads.

Sheriff Arvin West told the El Paso Times that Nelson said that the marijuana was his.
The singer was held briefly on a $2,500 bond before being released.

Nelson, 77, has made no secret of his love of ganja. The outspoken advocate for the legalization of marijuana was busted at a traffic stop in 2006 for one-and-a-half pounds of pot and a bag of mushrooms.

He entered a guilty plea and was fined $1,024 and placed on probation for six months.
But Nelson is far from the only celebrity to get caught green-handed.

Willie Nelson Charged With Possession

Anne Hathaway Oscars Host

Anne Hathaway Oscars Host - Well, that was unexpected: The Academy made a surprisingly bold gamble with its announcement today that James Franco and Anne Hathaway will be co-hosting this year’s Oscars — particularly for a group not often known for being especially surprising, bold, or gamble-y about much of anything. In the latest effort in its perennial campaign to goose up ratings for the Oscar telecast, the Academy is clearly banking on Franco and Hathaway (should we start calling them Francaway for short?) to draw in the kind of younger viewers who have largely spurned the Oscars in recent years. Not to be ageist about this, but last year’s hosts, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, are 64 and 51, respectively, while Franco is 32 and Hathaway is 28 — a good deal younger than even Jon Stewart or Chris Rock were when they hosted the Oscars in recent years.

Some are already grumbling that the Academy’s pick smacks a bit of generational pandering and sets the stage for a show that’s more like the MTV Video Music Awards than the Oscars as we’ve traditionally known them. Then again, virtually everyone complains endlessly about the Oscars as we’ve traditionally known them, so let’s wait and see. (It’s not like we’re talking about Steve-O and Snooki here.) In addition to their acclaimed acting careers, both Hathaway and Franco have charisma to spare and a knack for comedy (and Hathaway showed off her musical skills as well when she gamely pitched in with a song-and-dance number when Hugh Jackman hosted in 2008), so it’ll be interesting, to say the least, to see what they bring to the party. Between Franco’s recent performance-art stint on General Hospital and Hathaway’s much-discussed sex scenes in Love & Other Drugs, they’ve got plenty of comedic fodder to work with in their recent past. One particularly intriguing question: How will Franco and Hathaway handle the potentially awkward situation of one or both of them being up for awards themselves, since Franco is a veritable shoo-in for a Best Actor nomination for 127 Hours, while Hathaway has been discussed as a long-shot Best Actress nominee for Love & Other Drugs?

Anne Hathaway Oscars Host