Things That Keep Me From Sleeping At Night

(1) Do you think that Jerry Mathers ever got a day at Penn State's Beaver Stadium?

(2) And speaking of Penn State....why is it called Penn State when its in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?

(3) Pink Floyd....which one's pink?

(4) The Utah Jazz....yeah, when I think about Utah, its always about Brigham Young, the Great Salt Lake, and Miles Davis.

(5) If God Created Man in His Own Image? Lemmy Kilmister of MOTORHEAD.
(6) Kudos to the heroes of Flight 3407, not losing a single passenger in the emergency crash into the Hudson River. Sadly, all their luggage was reported as "late" or "missing".

(7) If ESPN's Trey Wingo married Drey Mingo, of the University of Maryland's women's basketball team, would Mrs. Wingo be called Drey Mingo Wingo? And when they get old, would Mr Wingo and Ms. Mingo Wingo get to spend their Golden Years playing Bingo?

(8) I found out recently that under most circumstances Medicare will not pay for most hearing aids used by most elderly patients. I suppose the logic is that if Grandpa can't hear what's going on he'll be less likely to break into the conversation with the same story you've heard at least fifty times.

(9) A very simple two-pronged way to end the economic crisis and get people to spend again- first, have Congress declare a Christmas, Part II for sometime in July, a Little Valentine's Day in September, and Son of Mother's Day for August. Bill O'Reilly and Fox News could fight their war on those heathens who declared war on Christmas twice in the same year, keeping conservatives happy. And second, the Department of Treasury can send notices to all of the people who bought those mass marketed Barack Obama "collectibles", and tell them the actual value of those items.....then give the people envelopes, like the guys who buy the used gold in the infomercials, and send them to the US Treasury in exchange for a US Savings Bond....savings....what a concept!

And the economy is saved. See, I'm not wasting my time online.

(10) If God Created Man In His Own Image, Pt2....Keith Richards

Wow!!!! That last one even scared me. I'm going to try to get some sleep.

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chuck norris

For some reason my husband has no idea who Chuck Norris is. Can someone explain that to me? Well, I found a fun google search on a friend's facebook.
1. Go to Google
2. Type in "find Chuck Norris"
3. Press I'm feeling lucky.

The results are too funny and so... Chuck Norrisesque.

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Power Animals: The Parrot

The parrot as a healer would be representative of both a colour therapist and a speech therapist. Parrot is a magical totem that teaches us that the world is full of possibility. The role of the parrot is that of a linguist opening communication centers. When parrot totem appears look to see if you need assistance in understanding views that are different from your own. It may be time to widen your horizons or sign up for a class to learn a new language

With its brightly coloured feathers, the parrot is considered a bird of the sun. The attributes of colour and association with the life-giving sun are what gives it its magic. Parrot feathers can be used in prayer sticks for powerful healing rites and also to invoke the energies of the sun at any time of the year.

Some parrots are taught to mimic humans. Because of this ability, the parrot is considered a link or bridge between the bird kingdom and the human one. In this sense, parrots can be viewed as ambassadors, diplomats, or interpreters for the bird realm. They have a magic that can awaken a diplomacy within and enable you to understand others more effectively.

In the Pueblo tradition, parrots are associated with the gathering of salt. Salt was a precious commodity, and the places where salt was found, were considered a gift from the sun. Since the parrot was a bird of the sun to the Pueblo, there is that correlation. But the most noticeable attribute of parrots is its bright colours. Anyone with a parrot as totem should study colours and their effects. Thus the parrot can be a wonderful teacher of the power of light and colour.


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Video: Shaq Grooves With Jabbawockeez

Jabbawockeez + Shaq = pure hilarity. NBA FanHouse's Brett Pollakoff detailed Shaq's exciting performance at the All-Star Game, which included one of the most memorable introductions ever (video after the jump).

The masked 15-time All-Star busted a move with the dance troupe that won Season 1 of America's Best Dance Crew during the opening, and was later named co-MVP after the game.
Big Baryshnikov's shifty moves definitely impressed Kobe. "On the dance floor that'd be an A-plus," Bryant said. "That size moving and all that ... and he didn't show you the windmill. He can still windmill."


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Amber Frey & Bobby Hernandez: Frey & Hernandez divorce

Amber Frey, better known as the former girlfriend of Scott Peterson, filed for divorce from her husband, Bobby Hernandez. Frey cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for her divorce.

The background story on Amber Frey and Scott Peterson.

Photo of Amber Frey.

Amber Frey has troubles on her home.

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Idiocracy–It’s The End of the World And I Can’t Stop Laughing


If you’re into dystopian fare like I am, you know that, most of the time, looking at a shattered future in which the basest urges and instincts of man come to the fore can be a little, well, depressing. Doesn’t matter if it’s the next-Sunday-AD style collapse predicted by The Trigger Effect, in which we lose power for a few days and the next thing you know civilization collapses around us or the slow death and rebirth and redeath of the various zombie movies out there. It doesn’t even matter if it’s a nuclear sort of affair, as was the case with The Day After, Jericho, and countless other movies and games.

But what if the cause of the downfall of mankind…is mankind’s own stupidity? If you were watching Comedy Central recently, you might’ve caught a glimpse of Idiocracy, one of my personal favorite movies. And despite the sheer amount of humor involved, it’s no less dystopian.

Idiocracy takes a central premise that’s surprisingly plausible and ramps it up to the Nth degree. See, maybe you’ve seen a daytime talk show lately–Jerry Springer, Steve Wilkos, Dr. Phil, Maury, what have you–and maybe you’ve noticed that the people who show up on those shows with a passel of kids aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. Idiocracy displays this very well, by showing a couple with genius level IQs–both in the 140 range–and shows how they continually put off having kids until one of them dies in a tragic accident involving in vitro fertilization. The union has no children. Meanwhile, a man of much more modest intelligence–in the high eighties–continually spawns youngin after youngin with the various ladies of his trailer park. This carries on until his oldest son, a football jock, assures a watching Friday night football audience that he was going to, following a significant win, have lots and lots of sex with high school girls. His father looked on proudly from the stands, assuring us that that was “his boy”.

Idiocracy takes this central premise, that the dumber you are the more children you have, and advances it forward five hundred years. The result is that intelligence, by this point, is essentially selectively bred out of the population, leaving behind a crumbling future run by idiots. Garbage is piling up with no solution, health care is a disaster, the language has been reduced to urban slang and assorted grunting noises, and the most popular movie in theatres is called Ass. And that’s all it is, for two hours.

Introduced into this horrible future is a young man from the twentieth century, an Army soldier selected for a special suspended animation project due to his extreme averageness. Left in suspended animation for those five hundred years, he now emerges to a future in crisis. The interesting thing? Now, he’s the smartest man alive. A nation of dullards turns its hopeful gaze to the most average man the twentieth century has to offer. Will he solve the nation’s problems, or be put to death by idiots who can’t understand him?

It’s this combination of idiots in charge of high technology that’s downright unsettling, and yet funny beyond all words. You have to remember that the crash was gradual, so technology continued to advance even as the population dumbed down. But despite this advance in scientific knowledge and reason, the culture rapidly began to crash. Imagine a world where Jackass is considered mainstream. Now imagine a world where it’s considered inaccessibly high art. If you didn’t just get a cold chill, then you’re a braver man than I am.

But it’s not all disaster, mayhem, and idiot-fuelled panic in Idiocracy–no, not at all. There’s some great jokes, and lots of interesting looks at the future. Imagine a big box store so large it encompasses the equivalent of a city and the greeters welcome you with a vaguely mechanical repetition of “Welcome to CostCo. I love you.” and you’ll get the idea of the kinds of funny stuff that’s just waiting for you here.

Dystopia may always be just a little depressing–even here, imagine what could be saved if we all just read a book every so often–but perhaps for the first time, Idiocracy shows us that the end of the world can be a little funny, too. And that gives us all just a little extra reason to hope.


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Sluti portrayal airs Sunday

EARNEY — The made-for-TV movie about the 2001 kidnapping of Anne Sluti of Kearney will air at 7 p.m. Sunday.

The 88-minute movie based on the true story of Sluti’s April 6, 2001, kidnapping will appear on the Lifetime Movie Network. The channel is available only to Charter digital customers on Channel 302.

Viewers with basic and expanded basic cable do not receive LMN because that channel is part of the digital view package.

James van der Beek, left, plays Tony Zappa in a television drama about the 2001 kidnapping of Anne Sluti from Kearney’s Hilltop Mall. Canadian actress Sara Canning plays Sluti. The movie will be broadcast Sunday." vspace="2" width="400" border="0" height="267" hspace="0">
The show will air on DirecTV Channel 253 and Dish Network Channel 109, depending on individual customer plans.

“Taken in Broad Daylight” focuses on Sluti’s six-day survival: how she outsmarted her captor, Tony Zappa of St. Paul, Minn.; how she left evidence for law enforcement along the way; and how she kept her wits to ultimately help negotiate her safe release.

A preview of the show can be seen by going to and typing “Taken in Broad Daylight” in the search engine.

Filming began Sept. 22 near Winnipeg, Manitoba, and wrapped Oct. 16.

Of the more than 100 law enforcement officers between Kearney and Montana involved in Sluti’s case, there are only two fictional characters portrayed in the drama: FBI Detective Reynolds and a detective and hostage negotiator, Mike Timbrook, who is played by actor LeVar Burton.

Sluti, now 24, is a quality engineer in Indiana at Boston Scientific, where urology medical products are manufactured. Zappa, now 38, is in federal custody near Tucson, Ariz.

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The Frustrating History of Dave Eggers Film Adaptations

It’s kind of crazy that no film studio has yet to successfully adapted one of Dave Eggers’ books for the big screen. Considering he’s been a literary rock star since the release of his breakout memoir, 2000’s “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” it seems to reason that we’d have seen at least one of his books hit the big screen by now. Is it possible that Eggers’ work is somehow too literary to make for an easy adaptation? In search of an answer, we investigated the status of his books’ journeys to the big screen. Read on for the latest info, plus the scoop on a couple of other film projects he’s involved with. And keep your fingers crossed that we’ll get to see one of his books on the big screen soon.

In 2002, New Line pictures optioned Eggers’ award-winning memoir about raising his younger brother after the death of their parents. The property spent several years in development and a screenplay was penned by fellow one-time “it” author Nick Hornby and D.V. DeVincentis, but the project eventually evaporated. “The option ran out,” he told Entertainment Weekly in a 2007 interview. “So that will probably be the end of that.”

Miguel Arteta (”The Good Girl”) is attached to direct the film adaptation of Eggers’ first novel, the story of a pair of childhood friends who travel the globe giving away the large sum of money one of them is uncomfortable with having earned — a plot at least partially inspired by Eggers’ own overnight success in the literary world. “With the ‘Velocity’ movie,” Eggers told Entertainment Weekly about the production, “We’re talking very, very small numbers. It’s a small independent production company.” Wells Tower, a contributor to The Believer, will write the screenplay.

Tom Twyker (”Run Lola Run”) is involved in the big-screen version of “What Is the What,” the semi-fictionalized biography of a Sudanese refugee who journeys from his village in Sudan to Ethiopia, Kenya and eventually to the U.S.

Other film projects:
In addition to “Away We Go,” which he wrote with his wife, and which will be directed by Sam Mendes (”Revolutionary Road”) and star John Krasinksi and Maya Rudolph, Eggers himself has been hard at work on an adaptation of his own — Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are,” which Spike Jonze is directing. The film, which is a mix of live-action, CGI and animatronics, was originally being made for Universal, but after the studio and Jonze clashed, he brought it to Warner Bros. It cost a reported $80 million, and at one point, the troubled production was rumored to be re-shooting nearly the entire film. “The jury is still out on this one,” Alan Horn, President of Warner Bros, told the L.A. Times. “But we remain confident that Spike is going to figure things out and at the end of the day we’ll have an artistically compelling movie.” Karen O from the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs is on board to create the soundtrack and Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini and Forest Whitaker will star.


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What's On Tonight: 'Eastbound & Down,' 'Oliver Twist'

BO's newest comedy concerns an ex-big leaguer who loses his arm (and yes, is caught in a steroids incident) and forced to go back to his hometown, where he generally acts like a jerk as he takes a job as a gym teacher.

"Eastbound & Down" (HBO, 10:30 p.m.) stars Danny McBride, a beefy Will Farrell discovery who also appeared in "Tropic Thunder" and "Pineapple Express." Though HBO has aired comedies about people who are tough to like, there was always a certain grace to "Curb Your Enthusiasm" that is utterly lacking in "Eastbound," which seems to have found a home there as a way to lure Ferrell to HBO for future projects. As it is, Ferrell appears in a cameo in the series, as a used car salesman with a long blonde wig. It looks like he's having a lot more fun than we are.

Much more intriguing: the Michael Gondry directed episode of "Flight of the Conchords" (HBO, 10 p.m.) that precedes it.

"Masterpiece Classic" (CPTV, 9 p.m.) begins a series of works by Charles Dickens beginning with a two part "Oliver Twist" with a terrific young star in William Miller and some interesting turns in the colorful cast by Timothy Sprall, Tom Hardy and Sophie Okonedo. Part two comes next Sunday.

Earlier, people who really, really love their dogs and cats may enjoy the episode of "Nature" (CPTV, 8 p.m.) that celebrates some of heir most devoted masters. It may be appalling at times for those who prefer humanity.

"The Amazing Race" (CBS, 8 p.m.) begins another run, this time with a quasi-celebrity who runs with his dad. It's Mike White, who co-starred in "School of Rock" and "Chuck & Buck." One other parent/child team features the show's first deaf contestant. They're up against the usual teams of cheerleaders, airline attendants, romantic couples and siblings. The race, covering 40,000 miles and nine countries stops for the first time in Siberia and Romania. First stop: the Swiss alps and a hilarious cheese carrying competition.

Another race, the Daytona 500 (Fox, 3:30 p.m.) runs today as well in Florida. Coverage begins at 2 p.m. Later, automotive related movies include "Cars" (ABC Family, 6 and 8 p.m.), "Gone in 60 Seconds" (Encore, 8 p.m.) and "Taxi Driver" (Flix, 8 p.m.). Yeah, the last one is sort of a stretch.

"The Simpsons" (Fox, 8 p.m.) goes high-def for the first time, which means the opening gets the first reworking in decades ("HDTV is worth every penny," Bart writes on the blackboard). The drawings are more sharp and the computer-assisted backgrounds more complex, as they were in "The Simpsons Movie." And the jokes are still pretty good in the story about what would have happened if Homer had won senior class president.

The No. 1 UConn women (ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.) host Pittsburgh at Gampel Pavilion. It follows another national broadcast of a women's team from the state, Marist at Hartford (ESPN2, 1 p.m.).

In men's hoops, it's Illinois at Indiana (CBS, 1 p.m.), Towson at Drexel (CSN, 3 p.m.), Duke at Boston College (NESN, 5:30 p.m.), North Carolina at Miami (NESN, 7:30 p.m.), Southern Cal at Arizona State (CSN, 10 p.m.).

The NBA All-Star Game (TNT, 8:30 p.m.) is played in Phoenix.

The big questions of space are posted in the three hour "The Known Universe" (National Geographic, 8 p.m.)

The miniseries "XII" (NBC, 9 p.m.) runs its concluding part II.

The 2009 BET Honors (BET, 8 p.m. get a replay.

Another thme notight on TLC where "The Worlds Heaviest Man" (7 p.m.) makes way for "The World's Heaviest Man gets Married" (8 and 11 p.m.), an event that would certainly qualify for both "Amazing Love Stories" (9 p.m.) and "Incredible Weddings" (10 p.m.).

Anything to recommend on the new MTV Sunday night lineup? Nothing but the daringly different "How's Your News?" (MTV, 10:30 p.m.).


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Sky Nellor / Supermodel, DJ / Photos by Diana Levine

Sky Nellor [Supermodel, DJ]
Photo by: Diana Levine
Contact Diana for full set/licencing info:

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Presidents Day closings

Monday, Feb. 16
U.S. financial markets X
Area banks X
Post offices X
City offices
Belton X
Blue Springs X
Gardner O
Grandview O
Gladstone X
Grain Valley X
Independence X
Kansas City, Mo. X
Kansas City, Kan. X
Leawood O
Lee’s Summit X
Lenexa O
Leavenworth X
Liberty X

North Kansas City O
Oak Grove X
Olathe X
Overland Park O
Prairie Village X
Raymore X
Raytown X
Shawnee X
Sugar Creek X
County offices
Cass County X
Jackson County X
Clay County X
Platte County X
Johnson County O
Wyandotte County X
Leavenworth County O
State offices
Missouri X
Kansas X
Federal offices X
Libraries and museums
Airline History Museum O
Johnson County Library O
KC Public Library O
KCK Public Library X
Mid-Continent Library X
North Kansas City Library X
Olathe Library O
Truman Library O
Truman Home X
Thomas Hart Benton Home O
Bingham-Waggoner Estate O
Liberty Memorial X
Johnson County Museum of History X
Kansas City Museum X
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum X
American Jazz Museum X
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Fine Art X
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art X
Nerman Museum X
National Frontier Trails Center O
Science City O
Union Station O
Vaile Mansion O
Arabia Steamboat Museum O
Kansas City Zoo O
Wonderscope Children’s Museum O
ATA bus schedule Regular service
Residential trash collection
KANSAS CITY, MO. Delayed one day
Deffenbaugh Regular service
Deffenbaugh Regular service
Allied Waste Regular service
Platte Valley Sanitation Regular service
Willey Disposal Regular service
Deffenbaugh Regular service
Allied Waste Regular service
Deffenbaugh Regular service
Allied Waste Regular service
Ted’s Trash Regular service
Flynn’s Raytown Disposal Regular service
Deffenbaugh Regular service
Ted’s Trash Regular service
Allied Waste Regular service
Allied Waste Regular service
Deffenbaugh Regular service
Envirostar Regular service
Allied Waste Regular service
Deffenbaugh Regular service
Ted’s Trash Regular service
Town and Country Regular service
LIBERTY Regular service
NORTH KANSAS CITY Regular service
HARRISONVILLE Regular service
Deffenbaugh Regular service
Allied Waste Regular service
A-1 Disposal Regular service
OLATHE Regular service


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brushy mountain

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Current hot test on the web. Are you racist?

Google a lot, like me, you will know that many took this test. The test, however, merely suggest. My conclusion, you know yourself. I tend to have a strong attitude towards people who is but said they aren’t.

You also may like to know, my opinion on races are not limited to just skin color.

(Link) Project Implicit, Take the racist test, and ask yourself, what you call race? Skin color? Political differences? Worship methods? Or you have prejudices against their parent?


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The Milkshakes - "Shimmy Shimmy" & "Pretty Baby"

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Brothers & Sisters Spoilers! The Lastest Scoop on Tommy’s Temporary Exit!

“Taking Sides” — Even in the wake of a life threatening medical crisis and the excitement surrounding the birth of his son, Robert remains steadfast in his drive to run for governor, despite the damage that it may do to his marriage. Meanwhile, Saul and Sarah go to extremes to hide Tommy’s legal troubles from Nora, and Ryan gets a bit too close too fast for anyone’s good, on “Brothers & Sisters,” SUNDAY, MARCH 8 (10:01-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.


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Chris Brown ‘Sorry and Saddened,’ Seeking Counseling

In a statement issued through his publicist, Chris Brown says words are not enough to express his regret over his alleged attack on Rihanna.

Chris Brown
Chris Brown issued a public statement through his publicist Michael Sitrick on Sunday, February 15, saying he is “sorry and saddened” over his alleged attack on girlfriend Rihanna that occurred last Sunday, February 8, the report of which has dominated major media headlines over these past few days. Expressing his feeling even further, the R ‘n’ B singer said words are not enough to express his regret over the blow-up.

For the time being “I am seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother and other loved ones and I am committed, with God’s help, to emerging a better person,” Chris added. He, moreover, stated, “Much of what has been speculated or reported on blogs and/or reported in the media is wrong. While I would like to be able to talk about this more, until the legal issues are resolved, this is all I can say except that I have not written any messages or made any posts to Facebook, on blogs or any place else. Those posts or writings under my name are frauds.”

Chris Brown currently has been staying at home, his biological father Clinton Brown exclusively confirmed to People last week. Refusing to disclose the exact location of Chris’ whereabouts, Clinton simply stated, “Let’s just say he’s home. Just know that he’s home.”

In the meantime, Chris is awaiting for his next court appearance, scheduled for March 5. Beside the felony charges of making criminal threats, which was pressed to him during his brief arrest last week, Chris may face additional charges from the district attorney.


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The Slippery Senator Burris

Roland Burris held another cringe-inducing press conference today, this one to address the charges that he misled the Illinois House Impeachment Committee in January when asked about any contacts he may have had with Gov. Blagojevich or people close to him prior to receiving the appointment to the Senate. During the press conference Burris was combative with reporters and embarked on some revisionist history regarding his candor when asked whether he spoke with Gov. Blagojevich's brother, Rob. Burris's new and improved affidavit admits that yes, he did speak with Rob Blagojevich; as you can see from his testimony back in January, however, when asked specifically about contact with Rob Blagojevich, he, at best, ignored the question (h/t Progress Illinois.)

Some context from Progress Illinois:

As you can see, Burris is trying to focus all the attention on State Rep. Jim Durkin's line of questioning during the January 8 hearing -- claiming that Durkin didn't give him a chance to fully illustrate the extent of his contacts with Blagojevich aides prior to the governor's arrest. And indeed, as the video we posted yesterday shows, Durkin passed up an opportunity to press Burris on this matter (as did all the committee members who subsequently questioned him).
But that's really beside the point.

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Tribune said on CNN today that she suspects this is more a political problem for Burris than a legal one, since Burris may have a technical out to explain his answer back in January. Of course, that's not stopping the Illinois GOP from pursuing perjury charges and calling on Burris to resign. As for any action that might be taken by the US Senate, Sen. Reid, understandably, is punting.

He said Reid "is reviewing the affidavit and will await any action by Illinois legislative leaders after they review the matter."


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Hugo Chavez: President for life and beyond!

Today, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who was first elected in 1999, won a referendum to eliminate term limits.

The vote paves the way for him to run again in 2012 — and beyond — while broadening his vision of a socialist Venezuela. The Constitution was amended after his first election, allowing for the president to serve two six-year terms. He would have been barred from running after this term. Today’s vote was Chavez’s second attempt to alter the process. Voters rejected a broader referendum in December 2007.

With 94 percent of the vote counted, 54 percent had voted in favor of the constitutional amendment. Forty-six percent had voted against the measure to eliminate term limits on all public officials.

Venezuela’s leftist allies in Latin America have adopted this model. Both Ecuador and Bolivia have revised their rules regarding presidential re-election. Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinistas also plan to propose an amendment that would let Daniel Ortega run for another consecutive term. Chavez is a close friend of Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro.

In 2006, Chavez spoke before the United Nations spewing his anti-U.S. rant. While at the podium he called President Bush “the devil.” Referring to Bush’s own U.N. speech the previous day, Chavez said, “The devil came right here, and it still smells of sulfur today.” This past September, Chavez expelled Patrick Duddy, the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, giving him 72 hours to leave the country.

Despite this, President Barack Obama has scheduled a meeting with Chavez at the three day Summit of the Americas, April 17 -19, as reported on Hot Air.

Obama joins the loony-left-fringe of Hollywood — sometime/onetime celebs such as Kevin Spacey, Sean Penn, Naomi Campbell, Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover, all of whom have made pilgrimages to meet with the Marxist leader.

Now these anti-American fools can plan their South American travel at a more leisurely pace, since Venezuelan President Chavez doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.


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Crisis Averted? Congress Agrees on Stimulus

Congress passed President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package this past Friday. President Obama’s tendentious support for the bill, which he insists is necessary for a nation at the worst economic junction since the Great Depression, was not shared by Republicans. No Republicans supported the legislation in the House of Representatives, while only three affirmed the bill in the Senate. Despite the partisan nature of the passage, Obama expressed great excitement and optimism for the direction the nation is headed, noting the bill’s ground shaking implications for the economy.

The bill expects to save about 3.5 million jobs, with a vast majority of the funding going towards spending programs. The Republicans argued to increase the $212 billion in tax breaks for which the bill provides but were unsuccessful.

The financial crisis is not just a domestic matter. With world markets being affected, numerous other countries have passed stimulus packages in the past year.

The bill provides an estimated $32 billion to higher education, including increased funding for scholarships and federal grants. The Sun examines the stimulus package in its relation to higher education, as well as in relation to stimulus packages of other countries.

Distribution of Estimated 32 Billion Dollars Spent on Higher EducationDistribution of Estimated 32 Billion Dollars Spent on Higher Education

A Global Comparison of National Stimulus PlansA Global Comparison of National Stimulus Plans

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Kobe & Shaq share MVP; West winds NBA All-Star game

Former teammates Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal teamed up again during the NBA All-Star game to lead the West to a dominating 146-119 victory over the East.

“We wanted to be aggressive,” Bryant said. “We talked about it before going out there, we wanted to play. We lost last year and we wanted to make sure we came out here and played the game hard, come out here with a win.”

Bryant led all scorers with 27 points while Shaq had 17 points in just 11 minutes on the court. Their dominating performance earned them Co-MVP honors.

“It felt like old times,” O’Neal said. “I miss those times. He was really looking for me, especially when we went to a pick-and-roll and they had Rashard Lewis on me.”

Come on Lakers, reunite these guys in Los Angeles.


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Penguins fire Therrien

At around 8 p.m. Sunday evening, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced they relieved head coach Michel Therrien of his duties. In his place, Dan Bylsma, head coach of Pittsburgh's AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (which is 35-16-1-2 this season), has been named interim head coach.

My thoughts:

I don't really know what to think. So I'll do a Pro/Con type thing to provide analysis.

In favor of the firing:

This team just does not consistently play hard each and every night. That's a sign of either the coach failing to motivate his players or the players tuning out the coach. Either way, grounds for dismissal.

Change needed to happen. The Penguins have horribly underperformed and a message had to be sent, and it's easier to fire the coach than 23 players.

Therrien has long had a reputation for being tough on players and difficult to play under. Rumors surfaced that's why Marian Hossa chose not to re-sign and that several veteran players would refuse to waive their no-trade clauses because they don't want to play for Therrien. While GM Ray Shero has said no players asked for a coaching change, personal dealings with players is, in my opinion, Therrien's biggest fault.

His constant line juggling and mis-use of certain players (Alex Goligoski, Janne Pesonen, other skill players being either healthy scratches or buried on the fourth line) caused plenty of head-scratching and second-guessing, particularly how he handled Goligoski and Pesonen.

Not in favor:

Therrien didn't suddenly forget how to coach. Less than a year ago, he coached the team to the finals and was a coach of the year candidate the year before. Now he can't do it anymore?

At some point, the players have to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they want to be a part of a winner. A coach can motivate and talk all he wants, but a player has to decide to take that torch and run with it. If he doesn't, maybe that's a knock on the coach, or maybe it's a black mark on the player.

Players have to execute. Plain and simple. Passing up shots from 10-15 feet away, numerous back-passes in the attacking zone, failure to move people from in front of the defending net, and a host of other things are on the players.

Shero didn't exactly fill the roster with the likes of Jari Kurri or Glenn Anderson. This team is filled with too many role players and not enough young guys who can put the puck in the net. Hell, or old guys.

Injuries are a factor. Call it an excuse if you want, but they are. Yes, there is still talent in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but losing Sergei Gonchar for the season up to this point has been crippling.

Final word:

While I've been unhappy with some of Therrien's quirks, primarily the line shuffling and failure to even want to use certain players in offensive roles (after Chris Minard was demoted once, he scored a hat trick in the AHL the next game. Yet rarely got top-six duty), I'm not convinced this was the right move. A fire needed to be lit under this team, yes, but this was a coach who had phenomenal seasons the last two.

Lose Marian Hossa and replace him with Miroslav Satan, lose Ryan Malone (who's finally found himself in Tampa) and replace him with Ruslan Fedotenko, a short offseason, key injuries, and this team didn't have a chance of being as good as last season's. Depending who you believe, none of that was Therrien's fault (jury remains out on if it cost Hossa; but if Hossa re-signed, there's a good chance Brooks Orpik does NOT re-sign.)

The timing of this move was also very curious. The move was made at 8 p.m.-ish; the Penguins play Monday at 2 p.m. According to an AP story, Bylsma won't even have a morning skate to meet his team. How can he prepare them for a game? What system will they use? Just how disjointed will they be?

It's possible the firing will save the Penguins' season. It's more likely it won't have any effect and they'll remain out of the top eight. It's possible it would've helped if it was made sooner. Maybe a more up-tempo style suits the Penguins better than Therrien's strict defensive system - which the Penguins weren't playing well anyway.

One thing remains certain: the Penguins still need changes if they want to reach the playoffs. Simply replacing the man behind the bench won't solve all the problems.


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Israeli Gunboats Hit Northern Gaza

The Israeli military has launched fresh attacks on the northern Gaza Strip using gunboats and warplanes in pounding the coastal region.

Witnesses said Israeli gunboats attacked Al-Sudaniah region in the northern strip early Saturday morning after military jets struck two targets near a refugee camp overnight.

There were no reports of injuries in the Saturday's attack.

The overnight raid which struck two targets in the Jebalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip wounded at least six people.

The military confirmed the attacks on northern Gaza, saying the airstrikes destroyed two Hamas-related arms facilities.

On Friday, a Palestinian was killed and three others wounded in another attack on the southern town of Khan Yunis.

Palestinian fighters in response fired two Qassam rockets at western Negev later in the day.

The rocket attacks which hit the city of Sderot and an open area in the Eshkol region caused no injuries.

Despite a ceasefire after a three-week Israeli onslaught on the densely-populated Gaza Strip in January, Tel Aviv continues its attacks on the beleaguered territory.

The all-out war which lasted 23 days claimed almost 1,400 Palestinian lives and left vast swathes of the besieged strip in ruins.


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Sony Ericsson announces 12-megapixel Idou, W995 Walkman phones

Getting a head start from the rest of the pack, Sony Ericsson has officially announced the W995, formerly known as the Hikaru, and the Idou.

The Sony Ericsson W995 is their latest addition to their Walkman phone family and comes with 2.6-inch scratch-resistant diplay, 8-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, dual-band HSDPA/tri-band HSDPA for North American version, quad-band GSM, WiFi, Bluetooth with A2DP support, A-GPS, accelerometer, 3.5mm headset jack, YouTube play and will come bundled with an 8GB M2 card. It’ll be available in the 2Q in three colored variants (black, red, and silve) though pricing is yet to be known.
The Sony Ericsson Idou, meanwhile, is still currently under development, but it is officially the first 12-megapixel camera phone to be unveiled to the public. Aside from its massive megapixel rating, it also boasts of autofocus functionality, a Xenon flash and a host of other imaging features. It’ll come with a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, and, get this, an OS developed by the Symbian Foundation. Not only will it be groundbreaking in terms of its imaging features, but it might also be the first Symbian Foundation-powered phone.
They’ve already put up a microsite and released this demo video to get us all excited for it.

The Sony Ericsson Idou is expected to become available in the second half of 2009.
Samsung was also rumored to be unveiling a 12-megapixel camera phone this year, but apparently, it won’t happen at the MWC. However, with Sony Ericsson already announcing one this early on albeit releasing it at a later date, Samsung might just be pressured to come out with one a little sooner than planned.


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