Tiger Woods, Wife Welcome a Son!

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods welcomed his second child, a son, on Sunday.

"Elin and I are thrilled to announce the birth of our son, Charlie Axel Woods," the golfer, 33, wrote on his Web site. "Both Charlie and Elin are doing great...Sam is very excited to be a big sister and we feel truly blessed to have such a wonderful family."

See photos of adorable celebrity babies.

Woods was due to compete at Torrey Pines in the final round of the Buick, which he's won six times -- but said last week that he'd skip the competition -- the first time he's missed it in 11 years -- if his wife went into labor.

Can you guess which stars these bumps belong to?

Woods and Elin Nordegren are already parents to daughter Sam Alexis, who was born on June 19, 2007 -- the day after he came in second at the U.S. Open.

Check out pictures of sexy dads.


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In Loving Memory of Mike Detjen

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Essence Music Festival: Maxwell, Anita Baker Join Beyonce As Headliners

"The 15th Annual Essence Music Festival" may very well turn into an old episode of 'Soul Train' come this Fourth of July weekend.

In addition to the aforementioned Beyonce, the much anticipated "Party With A Purpose" has also added Maxwell, Anita Baker, Al Green, John Legend, Teena Marie, En Vogue, Jazmine Sullivan, Janelle Monae, Raphael Saadiq, Robin Thicke, and Salt-N-Pepa to their star studded line-up.
As if that wasn't enough, ladies and gentleman who are donning their finest threads can also attend various seminars which will take place at New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Keynote speakers include activist Bill Cosby, Juanita Bynum, Tom Joyner, Hill Harper, Roland Martin and Sheryl Lee Ralph among others.

With such a diverse line-up of activities and performances, Essence Communications president, Michelle Ebanks wanted to make sure their 15th anniversary is represented in the proper perspective.

"To mark the Essence Music Festival 15-year anniversary, we wanted to really celebrate all the forms of music that have been central to the event's history," she said. "Our audience is truly loyal, and we made every effort to come up with a special line-up that's multi-generational and spans diverse genres; it brings together heritage artists, new chart-topping acts and local favorites in New Orleans."

Other performers include Solange, Lalah Hathaway, Ledisi, Brand New Heavies, and Keri Hilson. "The 2009 Essence Music Festival" takes place July 3, 4 and 5 in New Orleans.

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Ten Questions for Tonight's Presidential News Conference

President Obama asserts that failure to pass the economic stimulus package will result in a “catastrophe.” Since he’s about to be handed one trillion dollars, it might be a good idea for the press to ask him what he and his economic advisors project will happen if the stimulus bill passes. Nothing complex, just some simple comparatives:

1. You assert that without your economic stimulus plan unemployment will reach double digits. If your stimulus plan passes, as expected, what do you project the unemployment rate to be in one year? Two years? Three years?

2. How many jobs will the bill create in its first year? In what sectors of the economy will the job growth occur?

3. What will the deficit be in 2009? 2010? 2011?

4. What will the national debt be in 2009? 2010? 2011?

5. You have said that the economic situation is so serious that failure to immediately pass the plan would be a catastrophe. If the situation’s so serious, why is most of the spending slated to occur after the recession (according to historical patterns) will likely end? And if it’s so serious, why are tens of billions being spent on frivolous items?

6. Since we don’t have the money contained in the spending bill, when will you have to raise taxes? Which taxes will be raised and on whom? What will be the highest marginal rate?

7. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the economic stimulus package will actually stifle growth. If your bill passes, what do you project the nation’s GDP to be in 2009? 2010? 2011? What do your experts say the GDP will be if your bill doesn’t pass?

8. What do you and your advisors believe your plan will do to interest rates and the rate of inflation in the next five years?

9. What’s the percentage probability that the stimulus plan will work? If you can’t give an estimate, why should we give you one trillion dollars?

10. What’s your Plan B if the economic stimulus doesn’t work? What's your exit strategy if the plan actually does harm?

And two non-stimulus bonus questions:

The tax problems of Geithner, Daschle, Killefer, and Solis are different in kind and degree. Please describe your standards for permitting some tax scofflaws to remain in your administration but not others.

You 're about to ramp up military operations in Afghanistan but Russia has pressured Kyrgyzstan to forbid the U.S. from using the Manas air base crucial to supplying our forces in Afghanistan. What have you done about that?

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GACE Exam Flashcard - Georgia Assessment for the Certification of Educators

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Dub Magazine Photo Shoot (Video)

ONUS: Check out Keri Hilson’s Dub Magazine Photo Shoot after the jump.


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Saks goes Doggy with Westminster

When an email shows up that says Saks and Westminster, you know you've got a good one. At least you do if you're like me and love shopping and dogs.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show began today. The biggest and best in the country, it's a great way to watch and learn about breeds. Then, if you are dogless currently, and decide you want a dog, please go the shelter or rescue route. Shelters get many pure breds, and breed specific rescues operate in almost every state. http://www.petfinder.org/ is a great resource. My own German Shepherd was rescued from a puppy mill.

Last week Saks in NYC hosted last years cutie winner Uno. The afternoon benefited Angel on a Leash, a charity of the Westminster Kennel Club.

Is this a fun idea or what? I've always wanted to take my dog shopping with me. She enjoys luxury as much as much as anyone.

"Dog owners gathered on the 8th floor of the Saks NY flagship, to have their pets reviewed by the co-host of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, David Frei.

Best in Show prizes were awarded by Saks in three categories: Best Style, Best Personality, and Best Hair.

A long line wrapped around Saks's Home department to have copies of this year's Westminster Poster autographed by Uno, who paw-printed, and artist Trish Biddle. Uno also posed for pictures with suggested donations going to Angel on a Leash. "

Enjoy the show tonight and tomorrow. I'll be rooting for the herding group winner.


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All eyes on me

All eyes on me by waxandwool.
My card will have a spot in the style column, Chic Geek, for the blogzine Fierce and Nerdy.


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Helen Thomas to Obama: Do you know of any country in the Middle East with nukes?

Behold the left’s journalist hero, using her moment on national television not to ask a probing question of the president but to grandstand by asking a question everyone knows the answer to. She’s trying to get Obama to say “Israel” so that she can embarrass herself with a follow-up about why it’s okay for them to have apocalyptic weapons but not the anti-semitic, eliminationist fanatics in Tehran. Tony Snow, among his many other virtues, had her pegged. I give her credit for consistency, though: Take a walk down memory lane with Newsbusters and remind yourself what her first “question” to Bush was. She’s always been a grandstanding hack. That’s why liberals adore her, and why even The One feels obliged to pay her a little extra homage at the beginning here.

I’m giving you the full exchange so you can see how he avoids her trap. I take the fact that he didn’t let her follow up at the end as a sign of his righteous annoyance. Note, too, her reference to the “so-called terrorists” in the Pakistani tribal areas. Like I say, Tony Snow was no fool.


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Selena Roberts: Sports Illustrated Stalks A-Rod?

Meet Selena Roberts, the competent Sports Illustrated reporter who was accused of stalking Alex Rodriguez by A-Rod himself. You are not here to see Sports Illustrated swimsuit photos because she does not have any, but she is a respected lady who is working hard to make a buck.
Ms. Roberts is the Sports Illustrated reporter who broke the steroids story by revealing to the world that A-Rod tested positive for steroids in 2003. Instead of congratulating her on a job well done, Alex Rodriguez came unglued.

Rodriguez also criticized Sports Illustrated and said Selena Roberts, one of its reporters who covered the story, stalked him. He also accused Roberts of trying to break into his home last week while his two daughters were sleeping.

“What makes me upset is that Sports Illustrated pays this lady, Selena Roberts, to stalk me.”

“There are some really respectable journalists that are following this lady off a cliff.”

Read more here.
Selena Roberts Biography
As a biography, Selena Roberts is a respected journalist. Not only is she a Sports Illustrated investigative journalist, she has written for the New York Times for 6 years. She has been a beat writer for basketball, baseball, and tennis. And she covered the recent Olympics.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Roberts covered the Orlando Magic and Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the Orlando Sentinel and the Minnesota Vikings for The Minneapolis Star Tribune. She also reported on auto racing including NASCAR racing.

As a black mark on her record, she was heavily criticized for her coverage of the Duke Lacrosse case in which she was reluctant to give the innocent players a fair hearing.

She was born May 15, 1966 which makes her 42 years old. She currently lives in Westport, Connecticut. Ms. Roberts graduated from Auburn University in 1988 with a degree in journalism.

She responded to A-Rod’s far-fetched allegations by responding in the following way:

“The allegations made by Alex Rodriguez are absurd,” said Roberts, in the statement. “I’ve never set foot in the lobby of Alex’s New York apartment building, never spoken to the University of Miami police, and never set foot on his home property or been cited by the Miami Police for doing so.”

Read her interview with Sports Illustrated here.

See more photos and a video of Selena Roberts below.


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Exposure: Super Adventure Club

Exposure: Super Adventure Club

With possibly the most exciting band name ever, ever, Super Adventure Club could hardly be a bunch of stale dullards now could they? Nope, the Edinburgh trio’s very, um, special mixture of jazzy exploration, sonic GBH and facetious sarcasm is a wacky joy to behold, while live they promise about as many thrills as it’s possible to experience in the company of two boys, one girl and a kind of freaky human/equine cross breed. Intrigued? Read on.

Greetings guitarist and singer Bruce Wallace. We see the phrase “spazz jazz” employed frequently in describing your music. How does that sit with you?

‘I would just say it’s quirky pop, but spazz jazz is fine. I’m not insulted.’

Jolly good. It’s all a bit prog, innit?
‘I’ve got just as much interest in stuff like Frank Zappa and King Crimson as I have in The Pixies and Pavement. We all listen to loads of different kinds of music and throw it into what we’re doing.

What’s the most exciting thing about the very excitingly named Super Adventure Club?’
Probably Mandy’s ever changing luminescent hair. I think since we started, it’s been at least five different colours. Sometimes at once.

We understand that you’re occasionally joined onstage by a mysterious man with a horse’s head.
Yeah, his name’s B. He’s an elusive character, sometimes he just turns up completely of his own accord, sometimes we summon him. I just watched The Dark Night recently – maybe we should get a spotlight with a horse’s head on it to shine into the night sky.

Super Adventure Club play the Arches, Glasgow, Mon 10 Nov (supporting Volcano!)

Super Adventure Club’s debut album Chalk Horror! (self-released) is out now.


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Sign The “No Stimulus” Petition!

Americans For Prosperity have created a “no stimulus” petition in response to the overwhelming negative support for Porkulus. It’s pretty amazing to me that right now (1 pm ET) the number 1,2,3 and 4 Top Google searches are for “no stimulus petition” or a variation of it, and for Americans For Prosperity.

Right now support is fading from many and now seemingly with every passing hour support erodes. A Rasmussen poll had only 37% supporting the plan over the weekend. It is SO bad that Barry is now back on the stump holding Town hall style meetings, in small communities with the highest unemployment in the nation, begging for support of the $800 billion plus plan.

Click to sign the petition at www.nostimulus.com. Keep trying if you are delayed; response is so overwhelming that the site has crashed twice this past week. Time is running OUT. Obama’s coming on primetime TV tonight to attempt to drum up more fear and support for this insanity. Let’s hope everyone will be watching “House” and “24″ instead.


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Americans for Prosperity Expands Rush Limbaugh's Anti-Obama Bashing With No Stimulus Petition (Video)

AFP Founder Tim Phillips on Fox


The conservative and outspoken radio host Rush Limabaugh isn’t the only one publicly denouncing President Barack Obama. Americans for Prosperity, a non-partisan Washington-DC advocacy group that promotes free trade, has started a No Stimulus Petition web site (at nostimulus.com — which, by the way, has been crashing for most of the day possibly due to traffic) to gain support against the Obama’s $827 billion stimulus package. The grassroot president Tim Phillips was on Fox News talking about the petition and said AFP expects the signatures reach more than 100,000 today. Watch:


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Archos to release first Android-based Internet Media Tablet

Android is a pretty versatile platform. Besides the flagship T-Mobile G1, we've seen a bunch of other devices people have hacked the software onto, from other smartphones to laptops. Now we've got word from media player manufacturer Archos, which just announced a new "Internet Media Tablet" that caught our eye for being both one of the first Android-based media players announced, as well as Archos' first tablet with cellular voice call support.

Archos already has some pretty advanced media players in its IMT line; the company tries to differentiate itself from other music-and-video-only players with support for web browsing, similar in functionality to the iPod touch. While most of the players just had WiFi support, the Archos 5 modelincluded a cellular modem for getting online with a 3.5G connection. For this next-generation Android device, it makes sense that Archos is expanding that data support to include voice calls; since the tablet would already have a cellular chipset, and will be running an operating system that includes the necessary software, why wouldn't it connect the dots?

We don't expect the Archos tablet to replace your existing phone, though. If the upcoming model looks anything like existing Archos IMTs, it probably won't have the best form-factor for use as a handset. You'll probably get the most use out of the cell modem for data connections, but it will be nice to know the voice support is there if you ever need it.

From what specs Archos has made available, the player will sport a five-inch screen and support drives up to 500 GB. Archos will be using a high-performance Texas Instruments processor, which it says will help power HD playback and handle full-screen Adobe Flash video. All of this it expects to cram into a tablet under 0.4 inches thick. We have to admit: we're intrigued. Hopefully we'll be learning a little more about the device before its scheduled release, sometime in Q3 2009.


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Jeff Bezos Finds Wild Success with the Kindle


In the New Establishment last October, we suggested that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (No. 6) would be credited with inventing the modern bookstore—and the next-generation book—if his Kindle were to take off. Well, take off it has, and it looks like Bezos will continue cashing in on his e-business prowess.
Since its release in November 2007, the Kindle, a wireless device onto which people can download and read electronic books, has sold in great volume, despite its $360 price tag. An endorsement from Oprah (No. 43) last fall led to scarce availability over Christmas, and shoppers have been willing to shell out twice the ticket price for used models. Sales of digital books and magazine subscriptions are also providing a steady revenue stream. So while virtually every other retailer is getting hammered, Amazon is riding high. Fourth-quarter earnings, released two weeks ago, exceeded expectations, and even though Amazon isn’t releasing financial data on the Kindle, CitiGroup analyst Mark Mahaney expects that by 2010 the Kindle could bring in $750 million, or 3 percent of the company’s total revenue.

And in what could be considered akin to achieving the Holy Grail for Bezos, the Kindle is beginning to draw comparisons to the iPod. VF.com attended a packed press conference at New York’s Morgan Library this morning, where Bezos unveiled the Kindle 2. A vast improvement on the old device, which many described as ugly, the second-generation e-reader has been significantly streamlined, and, with a thickness of .36 inches, it’s even thinner than an iPod. A five-way controller has been added to ease use, battery length and memory have been enhanced, and Bezos boasted of an improved display screen that utilizes 16 shades of gray. New features include a text-to-speech option, which you can select to have a book read out loud to you. And if Bezos’ endorsement wasn’t enough, he brought in reinforcements. Stephen King took the stage to read a selection from “Ur,” his new short story available exclusively on the Kindle. With the new version of the device, Bezos says his “top objective was to make the Kindle disappear.” He stressed that he wants to provide the ultimate reading experience—so a person forgets that he’s using it.
Bezos realizes what he has with the Kindle. He aptly summed up the success of it thus far, saying that “we’ve been selling e-books for years, and guess what? It didn’t work, until 14 months ago.” Amazon’s stock price didn’t jump after the press conference, but the stock is trading $5 higher than last Monday, likely due to a week of speculation about this morning’s unveiling. Mahaney estimates that 500,000 devices have been sold already, and this number is sure to multiply with the release of the new model (which will also be priced at $360), which is set to ship on February 24. But just how much that figure grows remains to be seen; one would surmise that if the recession worsens, pushing thousands more out of work, people won’t be using their unemployment checks to snap up Kindles. But they could still spend the checks at Amazon—to buy groceries, kitchen items, clothes, tools, baby supplies, you name it. It seems that Bezos demonstrated a keen vision last July when he said, “We suspect that higher fuel prices may be a relative advantage for us.” So far so good.

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Stephen King at the Amazon Kindle 2.0 Launch

At the launch of the Kindle 2.0, Jeff Bezo introduced Stephen King who wrote a story exclusively for the new device. King came on stage and told the audience that he initially declined Amazon's request as he "never was able to write a story on demand."

Later, though, King was hit with a story idea and produced the piece days before the introduction.

Here I interview King one-on-one at the launch event:


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AMD Launches Five AM3-based Processors

AMD has today announced five new AM3-based processors that we've been expecting to see for a few monthsnow. These new chips perfectly follow-up to the company's Phenom II launch last month, which featured two Quad-Cores, the X4 940 and X920. Today's releases feature three more Quad's, and two Tri's, all of which are priced very competitively to Intel's offerings.

The top model of the new releases is the X4 910, which at 2.6GHz, settles right below the X2 920 at 2.8GHz. Like its bigger brothers, the 910 features 6MB of L3 Cache. Also introduced today are the 800 series, including the X4 810 and X4 805. Both models are Quad-Cores, but feature slightly less cache than the 900 series, with 4MB L3 Cache. These models are clocked at 2.6GHz and 2.5GHz, respectively.

On the Tri-Core side of things, we have the X3 720 Black Edition, which AMD promises to be one heck of an overclocker (they expect people will have even better luck overclocking this chip than they do with the X4 940). Given this chip clocks in at 2.8GHz, it's going to be plenty fast even without overclocking. The X3 710 becomes AMD's current lowest-end AM3 offering, at 2.6GHz. Despite the missing core, these Tri's still include 6MB of L3 Cache like the 900 series, so in some regards, they may even out-perform the 800-series Quad's in certain scenarios.

One of the biggest new features of the AM3 platform is DDR3 support, and although it really wasn't that needed (the differences are mostly moot for most people), it's nice to now have the option. The best part of AM3 is that it still natively supports DDR2 as well, and can also be used in all AM2+ motherboards. So, if you don't want to upgrade to an AM3 motherboard right now (and it seems like you shouldn't), you can still pick up a new chip and use it in your current motherboard. AM2 boards might work in some cases, but you'd want to do some reading up on it first to make sure.

We're running a little behind here, but you can expect our review of the X4 810 and X3 720 BE later this week.

AMD (NYSE: AMD) extended the value and lifespan of its heralded Dragon platform technology today with five new additions to its AMD Phenom II processor family, including the industry's only 45nm triple-core processors and three new AMD Phenom II quad-core processors. These AMD Phenom II processors deliver choice and lay the foundation for memory transition; they fit in either AM2+ or AM3 sockets and support DDR2 or next generation DDR3 memory technology. AMD continues to enhance the Dragon platform technology value to OEM and channel partners as well as Do-It-Yourself (DIY) consumers who build and customize their own PCs.

Source: AMD Press Release

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Sony Ericsson Hikaru gets leaked prior to MWC

We’ve seen a bunch of mobile phones already from various manufacturers that are all slated to be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress, and now, you can Sony Ericsson to that growing list.

The Sony Ericsson Hikaru has been reported before, but no one knew what it would look like. Well, just a few days away from the grand event in Barcelona, we now have this leaked image to tickle our fancy. It’s rumored to be the next XPERIA X1 though the current specs available don’t really say much as to which Sony Ericsson family it belongs to. It’s got an 8-megapixel camera, 2.6-inch display, WiFi, A-GPS, 3.5mm headphone jack, and a kickstand similar to the N96.

That’s it for now. For more info regarding the Sony Ericsson Hikaru, check back in a weeks time when hopefully more details will be made available already.


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BlackBerry 9300 Gemini specs leaked


Several sites are reporting leaked specs for the BlackBerry Gemini 9300, and the greatest unknown is any ETA on the device.

What has been reported at places like SlashGear is that the device will have a silver casing (not like my mockup above!), include triband UMTS/HSDPA, a slightly redesigned keyboard, higher resolution screen (and a bit larger screen) and 3G, along with Quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE. We should expect GPS and WIFi, though there is no real word on that… End of this year? First quarter 2010? What’s your guess? Join the discussion here where we’re all waiting for the real pictures of the device.

What you can expect before this “Gemini” ever sees the light of day is the “Niagara” (CDMA Bold-like device with EVDO Rev. A and WiFi), and the BlackBerry “Apex” (CDMA variant of the Flip).

[via SlashGear and BGR]


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Apple And China Mobile Can’t Agree On Anything

According to an inside source at the China Mobile Research Institute, the most recent talks between Apple and China Mobile broke down over control of the App Store. This isn’t the first time the two companies have disagreed.

Interfax China’s anonymous source has reported that China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou wants control of the App Store including payment collection.

“Wang said China Mobile should operate the application store itself in order to maintain its advantage,” the source said.

Wang has a problem with the App Store’s use of credit cards because most customers in China pay with money deposited into mobile accounts instead of the popular plastic currency. China Mobile is currently working on their own way of distributing smartphone applications.

The other negotiations consisted of talks about the iPhone itself. Apple previously asked for 20-30 percent of China Mobile’s revenues from iPhone users. That deal was rejected.

Apple then attempted a subsidized pricing model where it would sell the iPhone to China Mobile for $600 per unit while forgoing any other revenue sharing and once again, China Mobile didn’t agree with Apple.

All of the negotiations have occurred over the past 18 months and have included Steve Jobs, Tim Cook and other various company officials. Apple has always considered the Chinese market a high priority due to its size.

China Mobile is the largest mobile carrier in the world with over 415 million subscribers and those numbers are from mid 2008. Apple may have to turn to one of the smaller mobile carriers in China to get the iPhone finally installed there.


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Nokia 5800 Firmware Receives Update v20.0.0.12

Nokia 5800 Firmware Receives Update v20.0.0.12Nokia is upgrading software these days. We’ve just seen the Nokia Maps 3.0 beta get a new version and now we have a new firmware update for that Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.

Version is now ready to be downloaded. It will get you camera photo geotagging, full search and faster operation. You can update the 5800 over-the-air or using your PC. Make sure you save your precious data before upgrading. Nokia 5800 has that user data preservation but what if anything goes wrong? Don’t wait around anymore, get your update already!


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Baseball satr Rodriguez confesses taking steroids to ESPN

Major League Baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez admitted in an interview with ESPN that he took performance-enhancing drugs while playing for the Texas Rangers from 2001 through 2003.
Rodriguez, baseball's richest player as a New York Yankees superstar, made the admission to the television network two days after Sports Illustrated magazine's website reported "A-Rod" had tested positive for steroids in 2003.
"I did take a banned substance. For that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful," Rodriguez said.
A 12-time All-Star whose parents immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez was traded from Texas to the Yankees in 2004, three years into a then record 10-year contract worth 252 million dollars.
"I had just signed this enormous contract," Rodriguez said. "I felt like I needed something, a push, without over-investigating what I was taking, to get me to the next level."

The shame of Rodriguez, who inked a record 10-year deal with the Yankees in 2007 worth 275 million dollars, follows upon doping links by several top stars and sparked President Barack Obama to comment upon the situation's sadness.
"It's depressing news on top of what has been a flurry of depressing items when it comes to Major League Baseball," Obama said at a news conference, adding the new admission "tarnishes an entire era to some degree".
Rodriguez said he took steroids from the time he started playing for the Rangers through 2003, when he was the American League Most Valuable Player.
"When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure, felt all the weight of the world on top of me to perform, and perform at a high level every day," Rodriguez said.
"Back then, (there) was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naive. I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time."
Instead, Rodriguez joined a list of shamed stars whose feats have been clouded by doping accusations, one that includes US all-time home run king Barry Bonds and star pitcher Roger Clemens.
Bonds faces a perjury trial next month for lying to a grand jury when he said he did not take performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens is being investigated for possibly lying under oath to US lawmakers when saying he was clean.
"I'm just going to have a blanket cloud over my career, but it feels really good coming out and being completely honest," Rodriguez said. "I've learned as I've gotten older and a little wiser is that the truth will set you free.
"I've been stupid. I've grown up. Until you have that monkey off your back, it's hard to be that person you know you can be. It's hard to realize your potential."
Living down to critics who dubbed him "A-Fraud", Rodriguez said he hopes he will be judged on his non-steroid seasons when it comes time to consider him among the game's greatest legends.
"I hope people give it time and realize this was three years I'm not proud of, but judge me on prior Texas and post-Texas," Rodriguez said/ "I have nine years left in my career that I think I can do some very special things.
"I'm going to have a sample of years past this where I get to show I'm improved as a player, hopefully on a championship team or two.
"I know a number of people will be disappointed in me but I look forward to moving forward as I have the last five years and as I did before 2001."
The magazine report cited four anonymous sources who claimed Rodriguez was among 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing substances in 2003 as part of a pilot test program whose results were meant to stay secret.
Investigators into the BALCO steroid scandal wound up obtaining the testing results and the list of names linked to the samples, opening the door to the revelation of Rodriguez and potentially more than 100 other dope cheats.
"I'm sorry for that time. I'm sorry for my Texas years. I apologize to the fans," Rodriguez said. "It wasn't until then I thought about substances of any kind and since then I've proven to everyone that I didn't need those things.
"I'm guilty for being negligent, for not asking all the right questions. To be honest I don't know what substances I was guilty of using."
Rodriguez tested positive for the anabolic steroids Primobolan and testosterone, according to the SI report.
Rodriguez, the AL Most Valuable Player in 2005 and 2007 for the Yankees, hit a league-best 47 homers in 2003 and with 553 career homers was seen as a likely candidate to eclipse Bonds as the all-time homer king.
"All my years in New York have been clean," Rodriguez said.
During the 2001-2003 span, Rodriguez averaged 52 homers and 161 games a season. In his other 10 major league seasons, "A-Rod" averaged 39 homers and 148 games.


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Sync Google Calendar and Contacts with Mobile Devices

A number of official Google blogs have just announced that Google Sync – a way of synchronizing your Google Calendars and Contacts with mobile devices – is now available for iPhone and Windows Mobile, and that other devices which support SyncML can also use Google Sync, but only for contacts.

Google Sync, which was previously only available for Blackberry devices, uses “push” technology, which means that any online updates made to either your Google Account or Google Apps account – if your administrator has enabled the “Google Sync” option in the Mobile dashboard – are pushed to your device within minutes using your mobile data plan, rather than having to either dock your device to sync with your desktop applications or check Google’s servers for updates every few minutes like POP3 and IMAP mail accounts.

Since it took me literally hours to make sure all my contacts were entered correctly and synced with Microsoft Outlook when I first got my iPhone, I’ve decided to just try syncing my calendars for now. (I’ve been solely using the Google Calendar mobile interface so had no data on my iPhone to lose.)

Setting up Google Sync on my iPhone was really easy. By adding a new “Microsoft Exchange” account, I was able to enter my Google Account details, select just the “Calendars” option and my iPhone’s calendar was synced with my main Google Calendar in seconds! I guess a future iPhone update may add this functionality to the native Gmail / Google Mail account option to avoid any confusion.

One thing that wasn’t immediately obvious to me was how to get my multiple calendars synced too. By complete chance, I visitedm.google.com/sync on my iPhone and found that you can simply select which calendars you want. After syncing more than one calendar, the events from each one are color-coded in the iPhone’s native calendar application.*

One downside is that you can only add one Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync account to your iPhone, so if you use calendars with multiple Google Accounts or Google Apps accounts, you’ll need to pick which account you want to use as your primary account and share your other calendars with it.

Google Sync is in beta and there are still some known issues, but I’m really pleased with it so far and may even try to sync my contacts one day.

If you’ve installed Google Sync on your iPhone or Windows Mobile device, let us know what you think about it in the comments...


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Stimulus Spending Spree Gets Cloture In Senate 61 - 36 With $10 Billion In Spending Added

The tally will be here when the Senate finally posts it. Senator Judd Gregg recused him from voting given that he’s joining the Obama administration. Given that vote tally, either another Republican joined Democrat ranks or Ted Kennedy made it into the Senate chamber to cast a vote.

And while you’re contemplating being one step closer to shelling out hundreds of billions of dollars for pork and no new jobs, consider this fun fact from Senator Jim DeMint:

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) claims that his proposed compromise “trimmed the fat, fried the bacon and milked the sacred cows” from the widely-ridiculed House “porkulus.”

But a closer look at the new 778-page bill (based on information available on Sen.Nelson’s site) reveals that the new Nelson-Collins compromise increases spending on over 130 government programs over the original House bill.

According to Ace another $10 billion in spending was tacked on during the Senate’s “trimming” and “slimming” of the bill.

Apparently that’s a new budgeting procedure from the US Congress. Let’s call it “trimming spending by adding spending.”


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Chris Brown Bruised and Bit Rihanna; World Awaits Mug Shot

Chris Brown turned himself in earlier this evening to the Los Angeles Police Dept. for assaulting Rihanna. According to sources, Chris Brown hit Rihanna with his fists and bit her. Chris Brown, who is known for his singing and dancing, also studied martial arts, said the Daily News. The details of why Brown hit Rihanna have not been released. According to a information released by the police to TMZ:

Law enforcement sources have now gotten specific with us… police took pictures of Rihanna’s injuries and they are “horrific.” As we reported, the photos show major contusions on both sides of the singer’s face — there is serious swelling and bruising. Her lip is split and her nose bloody. We have now confirmed there are bite marks on one of her arms and on several fingers.

As reported earlier, following the incident, Brown left Rihanna battered at the scene. The injured singer was then taken to the Cedars Sinai Medical Center where she was treated for bruises and bites. Rumors were flying today that Brown beat up Rihanna because she gave him herpes. The rumors are unconfirmed. According a rep from Rihanna the singer is “well.” Brown was arrested and was released on a $50,000 bail. The mug shot of Brown, which has begun to be heavily searched for on the web, has yet to be released.


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Raw Beijing Mandarin Oriental Hotel Fire Videos

Fire rages at Beijing luxury hotel after fireworks: This video captured the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Beijing caught in flames. The hotel, which is next to new CCTV headquarters building, went up in flames Monday just after being showered with sparks from fireworks set off during the last day of the Chinese Lunar New Year (Lantern Festival, Yuan Xiao Jie). There are more videos after the jump.

Click on image to watch the video

Last day of Chinese NY. Massive fire took place at Central Business District in Beijing, next to new CCTV headquarters building.

An unfinished luxury hotel, next door to China Central Television's landmark headquarters in downtown Beijing, went up in flames Monday just after being showered with sparks from fireworks set off during a holiday celebration.

There were no reports of deaths or injuries resulting from the fire.
This next video caught the fire at the start which spread very quickly!

Click on image to watch the video
The Mandarin Oriental hotel caught fire sometime before 9 p.m. (1300 GMT) as the skies above the Chinese capital were filled with exploding fireworks — part of celebrations of the lantern festival that follows the Lunar New Year.

The entire hotel building was engulfed in flames, sending off huge plumes of black smoke and showering the ground below with embers. At least seven fire crews were on the scene and police held back crowds of onlookers and closed a nearby elevated highway to ensure safety....
This video was filmed from the west side of the North CCTV Building. A lot of the noise from the fireworks as it was the same night as Lantern Festival (Yuanxiao Jie).

Click on image to watch the video


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For Some Reason, Wrigley Suspends Commercial Of Chris Brown Kicking Gum Around

Wrigley has apparently decided not to air the following commercial of Chris Brown suavely kicking a pack of Doublemint gum around, for reasons unspecified. Without being too speculative, I’m guessing that either test audiences had problems with the lighting in the commercial or there may have been a royalty issue with the rights to the song; I can’t imagine why else any company wouldn’t want to publicly associate its brand with R&B star Chris Brown as much as humanly possible. Maybe they’re negotiating to get Michael Phelps?


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Will A-Rod bombshell blow up in Yankees' face?

Alex Rodriguez during an interview today on ESPN in which he admitted using steroids. AP photo

By Jason Fink

The Yankees signed Alex Rodriguez to baseball's richest contract no doubt envisioning him wearing the team's uniform as he broke some of baseball's most storied records.

Now, the Yankees will be forced to deflect criticism from those who accuse Rodriguez of not earning his achievements fairly.

“They’re just going to have this blanket cloud over my career," A-Rod said yesterday. "They may have their own point."

Rodriguez’s bombshell admission today on ESPN that he used steroids will no doubt turn the Yankees’ Spring Training, which begins next week, into a media circus, hogging much of the spotlight from the team’s newest stars.

But the revelations are unlikely to seriously derail the team’s push for a championship, observers and fans say.

“A-Rod’s continuing fiesta of off-field distractions has never been much of a problem for the Yankees,” said John Thorn, a baseball historian, referring to tabloid stories about Rodriguez’s infidelities and feuding with teammates.

“I don’t think it will affect how the players treat him because this happened before he joined the Yankees.”
Thorn said Rodriguez’s sometimes frosty relationships with other players – particularly Derek Jeter – has more to do with his “distance in the clubhouse” than with any of the scandals in his personal life.

“He’s such a lightning rod for attention, a lot of it negative, I don’t think it will affect him that much,” said Joe Pietaro, editor of New York Sportsscene magazine.

In the interview yesterday with ESPN, Rodriguez said he expects to be able to keep his focus on the game and predicted that Yankees fans will forgive him.

“New Yorkers like honesty,” he said. “I think they like people that say the truth. I also think they like great players that know how to win. I think winning is the ultimate medicine we can take here.”

And while Rodriguez’s use of performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003 while on the Texas Rangers is more directly related to baseball than, say, his fling with Madonna, he is just the latest high-profile player to be linked to a banned substance, perhaps lessening its impact.

“It’s not a surprising development,” blogger Mark Townsend wrote on Bugs and Cranks. “It was 2003. Everybody and their mother were on steroids in 2003.”

Indeed, Rodriguez was one of 104 players to test positive in 2003 as part of a trial program meant to lay the ground work for the testing policy put into place a year later.

With home-run king Barry Bonds and former Yankees and Red Sox great Roger Clemens, among many others, already embroiled in the steroids scandals, fans have come to label the whole era chemically enhanced.

“We are going to keep hearing about the steroid issue until Major League Baseball releases the names of players that tested positive,” said Cliff Parks, the webmaster of Yankeeshomeplate.com. “A-Rod will be asked about it at almost every interview during spring training but I think he is the type of player that can put it aside and go out there and help the New York Yankees.”

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Former eBay CEO making run for California governor seat

Meg Whitman, the former president and CEO of online giant eBay Inc., today dipped her toe into the water of state politics by announcing that she is exploring whether to make bid for the Republican nomination for governor of California. The creation of the exploratory committee is the first step in seeking a run for the post.

Whitman, 52, has been testing her political chops since retiring after a 10-tear stint atop eBay. She moved on to become co-chair of Sen. John McCain's unsuccessful presidential campaign. During a debate, McCain had said he was considering Whitman for the treasury secretary post if he won the election.

Dan Olds, principal analyst with the Gabriel Consulting Group, said Whitman's experience in Silicon Valley would make her an interesting candidate for California's governor.

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Victorian bushfires a sad reason for Australia to be in the spotlight

Wherever you turn in Australia right now, there's bushfire news. And with good reason, because the fires in Victoria are the worst in recorded history. Yesterday when I woke up, they were saying the death toll could go to 200; now they're saying it could be 300. That's without thinking about the hundreds of homes that have been destroyed.

Yesterday I had to blog about the bushfires for Jaunted.com - way over there in the United States, my editor had put the topic first on my schedule for the week. I struggled to write something about the bushfires in just a paragraph and as soon as I'd sent the piece off, I went to the Australian Red Cross site and donated my earnings (and a bit more) to their Victorian Bushfire Appeal. I've also heard that you can donate at Bunnings and Myers stores here and that on Friday, Coles supermarkets will donate their profits so there are plenty of ways to help out.

Blogger friends of mine from around the world have been talking about our bushfires. Ex-pat Heath in London wrote about them; world traveller Gary Arndt wrote about the issue philosophically; and Nora from The Professional Hobo had the scariest report of all, as she was evacuated from her newest accommodation in Victoria just after moving out of a farm that's believed to have been destroyed by the fires. I hope she's safe.

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Obama Justice Department Supports Bush ‘State Secrets’ Claims

In a move that’s sure to dismay some of President Obama’s faithful, the new administration today stood up in a federal appeals court and reiterated the Bush administrations’ arguments that victims of “extraordinary rendition” and torture should not be allowed to bring their claims in federal court because doing so would reveal “state secrets” and harm national security.

As we first reported in late January, the Bush administration had succeeded in getting the case, Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, dismissed by arguing that subject of the lawsuit — the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program — was itself a state secret, regardless of how many times President Bush and various CIA directors had talked publicly about it.

Countering the arguments of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented five victims of the program who all claim they were abducted abroad and shipped to a foreign country to be brutally tortured, the government claimed that even allowing the federal judge overseeing the case to review any classified evidence behind closed doors would endanger national security.

The ACLU, the bipartisan Constitution Project and others have been watching this case closely. Since we first reported on it, in the past week The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times‘ editorial boards have both weighed in, urging the Obama administration to reconsider the Bush Justice Department’s claims.

Today, we got our answer: Obama’s executive orders and presidential memoranda on ending needless government secrecy notwithstanding, the Bush administration’s view that allowing torture victims to have their day in court is a danger to national security still stands.

It’s worth noting that while it’s still early in the new administration and Attorney General Eric Holder was just recently confirmed, the Justice Department did NOT ask the court for more time to consider its views on the case. Instead, it supported the Bush administration’s position that the case should be dismissed.

The Obama administration took a similar position in a related British case that I wrote about last week.

None of this bodes well for the likelihood of obtaining additional information about the Bush administration’s interrogation policies in the future.

Update: Here’s what ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero had to say after today’s hearing:

Eric Holder’s Justice Department stood up in court today and said that it would continue the Bush policy of invoking state secrets to hide the reprehensible history of torture, rendition and the most grievous human rights violations committed by the American government. This is not change. This is definitely more of the same. Candidate Obama ran on a platform that would reform the abuse of state secrets, but President Obama’s Justice Department has disappointingly reneged on that important civil liberties issue. If this is a harbinger of things to come, it will be a long and arduous road to give us back an America we can be proud of again.

I’ll be writing this week about an important FOIA case in which the Obama Justice Department will soon have to take a stand as well. Stay tuned.


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