Britney Spears' conservatorship -- update

The attorneys for pop singer Britney Spears believe that her conservatorship is too conservative.The following excerpts are from Harriet Ryan, Britney Spears' conservatorship compared to Soviet oppression, LA Times, March 13, 2009:

Attorneys for Britney Spears’ father [appeared in court last week] to respond to court papers in which a Whittier lawyer compares the conservatorship overseeing the pop star’s affairs to the forced labor camps portrayed in the Russian masterpiece “The Gulag Archipelago.”

In the March 6 filing, lawyer Jon Eardley contended that the court-ordered arrangement giving her father complete control of her personal life and shared control of her estate is invalid, partly because Spears, who is touring to promote her new album, is working while deprived of freedoms.

He wrote that there were parallels to the suppression of dissidents in Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn’s book, adding: “It is worth noting that there has not even been a ‘show trial’ for Ms. Spears.”


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Britney Spears Death Threats; Spears Stalker Fears Threaten Circus Tour

Britney Spears has threatened to cancel her eagerly anticipated Circus World Tour after receiving a string of death threats.

The “Womanizer,” 27, singer kicked off the visually-impressive Circus: Starring Britney Spears in New Orleans earlier this month, but has become increasingly concerned for the lives of herself and her toddler sons Sean Preston, three, and two-year-old Jayden James, after receiving messages last week.

Spies tell Britain’s Look magazine: “Britney received some anonymous death threats over the phone and in the mail, and her worst fear is a kidnap plot against Sean or Jayden. She’s been having terrible nightmares ever since then and she wakes up in the middle of the night crying out for her boys.”

The pop tart’s security team believes the messages are the calling card of a crazed stalker.

“She told her head of security and he thinks it’s a lone stalker. Her paranoia has reached fever pitch and she’s wracked with fear.”


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Britney Spears: No Madonna Cameo

She’s in the midst of a super-successful comeback tour, and Britney Spears is on top of the world. But contrary to rumors, she won’t be getting a visit from Madonna onstage.

There has been widespread speculation that Madge was planning a cameo appearance at some of Brit’s upcoming dates, but the Spears camp says it isn’t so.
Posting on her official site, a rep for Britney revealed, “Despite rumors otherwise, at the moment Britney has no plans to collaborate with anyone in the near future at any of her upcoming performances.”

The rumors began when someone claiming to be the “Gimme More” songstress’ stylist said that a collaboration with the Material Girl was “in the works.”


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News Ticker: DJ AM, Britney Spears, Elvis Presley and Amy Winehouse

* DJ AM is seeking at least $20 million in damages from the company that booked the jet carrying himself and Blink-182’s Travis Brarker when it crashed in September 2008, TMZ reports. AM wants $10 million for medical bills and lost earnings, while the other $10 million is for physical pain and suffering.

* Contrary to reports, Britney Spears “has no plans to collaborate with anyone in the near future at any of her upcoming performances,” the singer’s official site posted yesterday. Rumors began circulating after Madonna was in attendance at Brit’s show at Nassau Coliseum last week.

* Elvis Presley’s sequined blue jumpsuit from his 1972 concert at Madison Square Garden, a white baby grand piano from Graceland and a pair of pants from Jailhouse Rock are among the many Presley-related items up for auction over at

* Amy Winehouse has pleaded not guilty to common assault charges after an incident that occurred last year. According to BNO’s Twitter, Winehouse will go to trial on July 23rd.


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EXCLUSIVE: 'Amy' Outfit- Win One! has teamed up with Lacoste to give three lucky Britney fans the chance to win a pink polo and sweater set just like the one Britney wears in the 'If U Seek Amy' video.

In order to have a chance of winning, all you have to do is scroll through the gallery of past Britney music video looks and leave a comment saying which one is your favorite and why!

We'll pick three winners at random. Just make sure you enter your e-mail address when you fill out the comment fields or we won't be able to contact you.

View the rules: Britney Spears contest rules


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Kevin Federline waiting for Britney Spears ?

Kevin Federline is waiting for Britney Spears in the wings during her comeback concerts around the country — and sources tell Star that old loving feeling is coming back!

In the March 23 issue of Star, the magazine Kevin was brought on board for Brit's Circus tour to help watch over their young sons, Preston and Jayden. But he's not just a babysitter: Kevin has been showering Britney with attention and affection, say insiders — and she's lapping it up!

"The truth is, they're falling in love again," says an insider. "I don't think they ever really fell out of love to begin with!"

Kevin has actually been gushing to his mom that being with Britney now reminds him of when they first fell in love in 2004, a family insider tells Star.

The family friend reveals there's been "some kissing. It started when they agreed that Kevin would take the boys on tour. They've shared a lot of flirty moments."


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Download Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 CTP

I still haven’t installed Visual Studio 2008 SP1 on all my Virtual PC’s and there is a pre-release version of Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0 that you can download and install. Wow!You can download Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 here.

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Visual Studio 2010 - Review

Microsoft released Visual Studio 2010 CTP in October. You’ll be amazed with the download size its near about 7 GB. You can download it from here.

After you download you’ll run the .exe file to extract the setup and the setup is of the .vhd format that is Virtual PC hard disk. So you’ll need Virtual PC to run Visual Studio 2010.

But, but, but guys please check out the minimum requirement for this CTP to run. Hard disk space required is 75 GB, yes, its not 7.5 but 75 GB. Well that’s not true you can have this CTP run if you have upto 25 GB on one drive.

When you extract the .exe file the .vhd file extracted is of size 23 GB. Also when you bind the .vhd file to the virtual pc, you need minimum 1GB ram allocated to the Virtual PC disk.

When I ran the Visual Studio for the first time the screen took around 10 mins to load and I just shut down the CTP and got back to work.

The reason for the extracted file to be of 23 GB is because that VHD when you map to Virtual PC will have Visual Studio 2010, Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2005 + many more software installed.

When you execute the Virtual PC which is mapped to VHD, Virtual PC will load Windows Server 2008 and it takes lots of burden it killed my laptop. Although I have fair enough configuration. My processor is Core 2 Duo, 1.83 GHZ and with 1 GB ram. Yet it just killed my PC performance.

I even tried to extract the file on an External Hard Disk and Even on my IPod classic. But I was able to extract only first rar file. I googled the reason and found it was because the External Hard Disk is of FAT32 format and they do not support data transfer of more than 4GB. So I had to clean up my Hard Disk and extract 23 GB .vhd file there.

I really did not understood why Microsoft shipped Visual Studio 2010 this way. With 7GB download size and 23 GB extracted file. I was really disappointed with such strategy. Microsoft must have shipped Visual Studio 2010 as a single file. What could be the reason for adopting this process?

Here is my Virtual PC screen shot with Visual Studio 2010 :


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IPhone OS 3.0 To Unlock 2G iPod Touch Bluetooth Functionality

If there ever was a great reason to shell out ten bucks, the iPhone update would have to be it. According to Apple’s Greg Joswiak, the iPhone OS 3.0 unlocks the Bluetooth functionality hidden in the 2G iPod Touch. We all knew and were desperately hoping the Bluetooth chip actually did something. So our hearts are glad, our minds at peace, knowing that we were right all along.



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Geithner waited 2 days to tell Obama about AIG bonuses

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A new timeline released by White House officials late Tuesday evening reveals the president first learned about the $165 million in AIG bonuses last Thursday, days before the story leaked to the media over the weekend.

The new timeline was released after White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he was unaware of when President Barack Obama first learned of the bonus controversy and reporters asked that the White House provide a timeline. It also shows that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner first found out about the bonuses from his staff last Tuesday.

It was not until the following day, after 6 p.m. Wednesday, that Geithner called AIG’s CEO Edward Liddy to “express outrage” and say the payments were “unacceptable,” according to the timeline released by White House officials


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Natasha Richardson Suffers SKI Accident

Actress Natasha Richardson suffered a skiing accident on Monday at Mount Tremblant ski resort in Quebec, Canada.
According to sources from Fox, the 45-year-old actress is brain dead and will be transported to New York City where she will be taken off life support.
A representative from the family is expected to release a statement on Wednesday.
Natasha’s husband is actor Liam Neeson. They have two sons, Michael, 12 and Daniel, 11.
Our prayers and thoughts are with Natasha, friends and family.


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Pope Benedict says "Condoms can increase the problem of Aids"

"HIV/Aids is a tragedy that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem." This was Pope Benedict's message to Africa at the beginning of his papal visit to the continent. 22 million people are infected with the Aids virus in sub-saharan Africa, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of infections worldwide. But Pope Benedict believes condoms can exacerbate the problem by encouraging promiscuity.
This is not the first time the Vatican has questioned the effectiveness of condom distribution as a strategy for combating HIV, but the pope's decision to make this statement while visiting the continent most devastated by the Aids pandemic is sure raise yet another worldwide debate about his judgement. At the very least, many will question his understanding of PR implications of an analysis that flies in the face of the consensus view within medical science. At worst, he will face accusations of moral irresponsibility given the weight of influence his words carry in Africa, where 17 per cent of the population is Catholic.

The Times religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill has already fired a salvo in his direction: "Pope Benedict XVI has re-opened a running sore in the side of the Church and Africa with another scientifically illiterate attempt to justify a policy that is unjustifiable even by faith."
Ruth ends her piece with a defensive coda: "And before any more readers come out and accuse me of yet another 'Paisleyite' attack on the Church, I haven't got it in for the Roman Catholic Church. This latest episode is proof that the Church has got it in for itself."


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First Hands on with iPhone firmware 3.0 New Features via AppleInsider

Developers late Tuesday evening are downloading a widely distributed beta of Apple’s new iPhone 3.0 software, installing it on their handsets, and weighing in with some first impressions and screen shots, all of which follow.

The beta is available in a variety of distributions for the various multi-touch products Apple has released over the past two years, each of which weighs in around 250MB. The updated version of the iPhone SDK is much heftier, at around 2.5GB.

Generally speaking, developers are excited about the release and say the beta is stable enough for them to use as their primary iPhone OS for the time being, though the software is clearly ‘not something Apple would ship’ at this point.

In particular, Spotlight is said to be very responsive and functions just as you would expect having used the feature previously on a Mac. Copy & paste is also well received, but feels somewhat flaky. Developers have experienced some difficulty making selections in Safari, which may suggest a slight learning curve like that required when exploring the iPhone’s touch keyboard for the first time.

Below are a series of screenshots highlighting some of the widely publicized features of iPhone 3.0 and some that have gone unmentioned, like encrypted iPhone backups, background messaging and Camera app tweaks. Two apps that have reportedly seen no changes as of yet are Weather and Clock.


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Veterans Groups Slam Obama Over VA Healthcare Plan

President Barack Obama was harshly criticized by veterans groups Monday over a controversial plan he has proposed to bill veterans' private insurance companies for the treatment of combat and active-duty related injuries in order to generate half-a-billion dollars in 2010 for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Currently, VA covers those costs, and bills veterans’ private insurance only for treatments unrelated to a veterans’ military service. Critics of Obama's proposal, who include a number of Democrats in both Houses of Congress, said Obama’s plan could end up discouraging employers from hiring disabled veterans because it could raise employers’ insurance premiums.

Following a meeting Obama had with veterans groups Monday, Commander David K. Rehbein of the American Legion, the country’s largest veterans organization, excoriated the president for moving forward with an “unreasonable plan” and for refusing “to hear arguments about the moral and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it.”

“I got the distinct impression that the only hope of this plan not being enacted is for an alternative plan to be developed that would generate the desired $540-million in revenue," Rehbein said. He added that American Legion "has long advocated for Medicare reimbursement to VA for the treatment of veterans" and he plans on presenting his proposal to the White House on Thursday.
"This, we believe, would more easily meet the President’s financial goal," he said.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday Obama has not made a decision on his proposal.

"The president and the [veterans groups] had a good conversation, and veterans can be assured that the president understands any concerns that they would have," Gibbs said. "The budget the president has proposed represents an historic increase in discretionary spending to take care of our wounded warriors: those that have been sent off to war, have protected our freedom and have come back wounded."

The meeting Monday afternoon included Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Steven Kosiak, the overseer of defense spending at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

David Gorman, executive director of Disabled American Veterans, attended the meeting. He characterized Obama’s as “the vets are paying premiums to insurance companies, and that is a free ride that needs to stop.”

The backlash directed at Obama after Monday’s meeting appears to have caught White House officials off-guard. To quell the anger, Emanuel has scheduled another sit-down with the organizations and their representatives on Thursday to further address their concerns about Obama's plan.

Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said “America's veterans and their families pay the true cost of war everyday, and we must pay for the care and benefits they have earned.”

Rehbein, however, opposes the plan on moral grounds.

“This reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate ‘… to care for him who shall have borne the battle…’ given that the United States government sent members of the armed forces into harm’s way, and not private insurance companies,” Rehbein said. “I say again that The American Legion does not and will not support any plan that seeks to bill a veteran for treatment of a service connected disability at the very agency that was created to treat the unique need of America’s veterans!”

Paul Riechkhoff, the executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said Obama’s proposal “is bad for the country and bad for veterans.”

“If the president and the [Office of Management an Budget] ant to cut costs, they can start at AIG, not the VA," Rieckhoff said, referring to the insurance giant that received $170 billion government bailout.

To be fair, Obama’s proposed 2010 budget for the VA, which he recently unveiled, calls for a $15 billion increase above 2009 levels. The $113 billion request includes $52.5 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $4.9 billion from 2009, or 10.3 percent. The bulk of discretionary spending goes to VA medical care. By contrast, the Bush administration routinely underfunded VA and shortchanged veterans even as the Iraq war raged.

Bush proposed a 0.5 percent budget increase for the VA for fiscal year 2006, which amounted to a “cruel mockery” of Bush’s promises to do everything to support veterans and soldiers, Rep. Lane Evans, D-Illinois, said at the time.

Evans called Bush’s proposed budget increase for the VA “grossly inadequate,” saying it would force the VA to “ration” healthcare to veterans.

VA officials had testified in 2005 that the agency needed at least a 13 percent increase to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of war veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan and others who needed long-term mental health care.

Simultaneously, Bush was resisting congressional efforts to beef up the VA’s budget. In May 2007, Bush threatened to veto legislation that sought a 10 percent—$3.2 billion—increase, calling it too expensive. Bush proposed a 2 percent increase, far below what lawmakers and VA officials said was needed to treat a dramatic increase in traumatic brain injury and PTSD cases.

After Congress passed the legislation with the higher VA spending, Bush backed down on his veto threat but that was largely due to the fact that every Republican in the Senate with the exception of Jim DeMint of South Carolina, supported the measure.

Last week, Rep. Bob Filner, the House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman, said during a hearing last week that Obama’s budget proposal for VA “marks the first time any president has submitted a budget that exceeds the recommendations of the Independent Budget.

But Filner requested an additional $600 million from the White House to cover the health care expenses that Obama said he could raise by billing private insurance companies. Filner said his committee does not support Obama’s plan to bill insurance companies.

During the same committee hearing, Rep. Mike Michaud D-Maine, told Shinseki that Obama risks losing votes on his budget proposal for the VA if he intends to try and win support for his plan to bill insurance companies for treating veterans.

“It's unconscionable and it is an insult to our veterans who have been hurt overseas,” Michaud told Shinseki.

Although Rehbein said he believes Obama won’t back down from his proposal, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who sits on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, told Shinseki last week the proposal would be “dead on arrival” if it is formally presented to the Senate.

“I do want to express my concern about a rumored proposal that would supposedly allow the VA to bill a veteran’s insurance company for service-connected disabilities and injuries.” Murray said at a committee hearing March 10. “I believe that veterans with service-connected injuries have already paid by putting their lives on the line for our safety. When our troops are injured while serving this country, we should take care of those injuries completely. We shouldn’t nickel and dime them with their care. While no such proposal has been formally made, I can assure you that it will be dead on arrival in this Congress if it is proposed.“

Murray also expressed her opposition to the plan during a phone call with Shineki that took place earlier this month.

When rumors of the plan began to swirl late last month, about a dozen veterans organization fired off a letter to Obama stating their fierce opposition to the proposal.

“There is simply no logical explanation for billing a veteran’s personal insurance for care that the VA has a responsibility to provide,” said the Feb, 27 letter signed by representatives from American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled Veterans of America, Blinded Veterans Association, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Military Officers Association of America, and Military Order of the Purple Heart of the USA, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America. “While we understand the fiscal difficulties the country faces right now, placing the burden of those fiscal problems on the men and women who have already sacrificed a great deal for this country is unconscionable.”

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Will Seattle Post-Intelligencer Be Profitable Online?

NEW YORK ( -- Most newspapers wouldn't dream of stopping the presses, from which they still derive the overwhelming bulk of their ad revenue, which in turn often contributes to a healthy, profitable bottom line. In 2007, the most recent year figures are available from the Newspaper Association of America, print ad revenue represented 93% of total ad revenue for newspapers.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's final print edition.

But Hearst's Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which is going online-only after today, had big losses to contend with. If the print revenue wasn't enough to erase a $14 million loss, according to Hearst, you can see the logic in shutting down. The weekday print edition booked $141 million in ad revenue in 2007, but that dropped to $118 million in 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
Now the question is what it takes to make the new, online-only P-I profitable.

The site will probably cost $4.5 million to $5.5 million a year to run, according to back-of-the-envelope estimates by Ken Doctor, the newspaper vet-turned-analyst for Outsell. If the site maintains or expands its current traffic, and if it could achieve $10 pricing per thousand impressions by making the most of relationships with Yahoo and others, it could collect some $4.8 million in revenue.

There are several big "ifs" in that analysis, however. The site won't be a traditional newspaper site. It will aggregate content, link to sources including The Seattle Times and pull in community participation. The site also has to build a sales staff from scratch and make the most of partnerships with Yahoo's Newspaper Consortium and Quadrant One. And a lot of the page views the site has to offer right now represent low-value inventory like photo galleries and blogs.

"The challenge is to have a sales force that can be quickly and well trained on the Yahoo system and then make the connections," said Mr. Doctor, who has written about the Seattle situation on his blog, Content Bridges. "But Hearst has time. This is the thing. Let's say they lost a couple million. That's not a lot to Hearst. For Hearst it's a great lab. They can really learn what happens when you flip the switch."

While Hearst Newspapers is backing this venture, others who have lost their jobs and newspapers are attempting to create their own web news site. Following the demise of Denver's Rocky Mountain News, a group of journalists banded together to start InDenver Times. The group is asking readers to pledge to pay a $4.99 fee per month, and if they reach 50,000 pledges by April 23, they will go live with a news site.

A Hearst spokesman did not respond to requests to speak with Seattle P-I executives or George Kliavkoff, hired Monday to lead the digital expansion of Hearst Entertainment and Syndication.

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Mass Effect 2 Coming In “Early 2010,” PS3 Not Mentioned

A few months ago, EA’s CEO mentioned that a sequel to Mass Effect was already in development. Today, the company confirmed in a press release, that Mass Effect 2 is coming in ‘early 2010.’ The document announced the next installment of the RPG will be available for the PC and Xbox 360 and it purposely didn’t mention the PlayStation 3. What does this mean for Sony owners? Simple. As of now, its not coming out for the PS3, which is strange because EA usually publish their games on all of the next-gen systems.

Of course, Left 4 Dead is also published by EA and Valve was the team who created it. Because Valve has issues with Sony’s consoles, they decided not to release the game on the PS3. Looks like Bioware might have the same concerns and EA agreed with them, for now. Joystiq contacted Bioware’s Heather Rabatich who said, “We have no comment beyond the platforms we’ve announced it for.” I guess that’s a better answer than “no.”


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Christina Ricci Is Engaged To Comedian Owen Benjamin

Actress Christina Ricci and comedian boyfriend Owen Benjamin are reportedly engaged. The two met on set of their movie All’s Faire in Love, and are of disproportionate height, Christina is a tiny 5′1″ and Owen is 6′6″. They went public with their relationship last October. E!Online claims Christina and Owen have already thrown a little engagement party but so far the reps. for both remain mum on the subject.

Photo: SplashNewsOnline

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Happy St Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's day is a day filled with the "luck of the Irish" and much green. Saint Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.

Did you notice the really cute shamrock? It was created with the loving hands of a little one - isn't it cute? On the back is this little poem:

Just like the leaves on each shamrock I see,

There are three parts to the Holy Trinity,

First is God the Father,

Then Jesus His only Son,

And the Holy Spirit

Together as One.

So, did you eat Corned Beef and Cabbage today? We did over the weekend, but not tonight. By the way, I have it on good authority that Corned Beef and Cabbage is not the traditional St. Pat's meal. Corned Beef is apparently more of an English meal, not Irish. A meal that is eaten in Ireland is boiled bacon and cabbage. Lest you forget, here is a funny poem by Frances Shilliday to help us remember:


I just want to put something straight
About what should be on your plate,
If it's corned beef you're makin'
You're sadly mistaken,
That isn't what Irishmen ate.

If you ever go over the pond
You'll find it's of bacon they're fond,
All crispy and fried,
With some cabbage beside,
And a big scoop of praties beyond.

Your average Pat was a peasant
Who could not afford beef or pheasant.
On the end of his fork
Was a bit of salt pork,
As a change from potatoes 'twas pleasant.

This custom the Yanks have invented,
Is an error they've never repented,
But bacon's the stuff
That all Irishmen scoff,
With fried cabbage it is supplemented.

So please get it right this St. Paddy's.
Don't feed this old beef to your daddies.
It may be much flasher,
But a simple old rasher,
Is what you should eat with your tatties.

©Frances Shilliday 2004, please visit her website which debunks other myths including this little ditty.


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