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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pop Tarts or Role Models

For teen pop fans, it's déjà vu all over again: Young pop starlet rises to fame on the wings of virginal Disney (or Nickelodeon) goodness, only to shock us when she suddenly goes bad.

But for some reason, the firestorm over the seemingly topless photos of the squeaky-clean Miley Cyrus in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair have risen to a new level of hysteria, much of it, admittedly, fanned by the media. (See what Cyrus tourmates the Jonas Brothers and idol Hilary Duff and a perceptive 21-year-old MTV News intern have to say about the provocative pics.)

All this hullabaloo begs the question: Haven't any of you been paying attention over the past few years?

For those of you who may have missed the earlier signposts on this well-traveled road from not-a-girl-not-yet-a-woman-hood, here are some of the previous red flags thrown up by teens who were in a big hurry to grow up.

The Good Girls Gone Bad

Britney Spears: As if the jailbait-in-a-Catholic-schoolgirl-miniskirt video for Brit's breakthrough 1999 hit "... Baby One More Time" weren't enough of a break from the former Mouseketeer's innocent past, her Lolita-like cover shot for Rolling Stone magazine that same year, when she was 17, had tongues wagging. In addition to spreading rumors that she'd had breast implants, the shots showed her in just her underwear sprawled on a pink satin sheet, clutching a Teletubby doll and talking on the phone.

Christina Aguilera: The fellow former "Mickey Mouse Club" member also debuted in 1999 with an album of come-hither pop tunes, like "Genie in a Bottle," but with a (slightly) more demure persona than Spears'. She began kicking the image to the curb two years later by appearing in sexy lingerie in the video for the "Moulin Rouge" soundtrack remake of Labelle's "Lady Marmalade." She then made the light-speed jump from good girl to very, very bad one with her 2002 album Stripped, which featured raunchier songs, including the first single "Dirrty." The infamous video for that track had Aguilera modeling chaps and a red bikini, showing off her new tattoos, body piercings and multicolor extensions amid images of mud wrestling, foxy boxing, contortionists and other sexual fetishes. The image makeover peaked with a 2002 Rolling Stone cover in which she appeared nude with only an electric guitar covering her body.

Lindsay Lohan: This Disney star has set the low bar for the tumble from pixie cutie to tabloid target. From her debut in 1998 in "The Parent Trap" at age 12 to 2003's "Freaky Friday," Lohan was on track to become the biggest teen/tween star of her era. For Lohan, the crossover from girl to woman wasn't signaled by a sexed-up photo shoot, though, but by her presence at nightclubs years before her 21st birthday, rumors of substance abuse, multiple arrests, three trips to rehab and an endless string of panty-less photos that at one point rivaled Spears' own commando assault.

Vanessa Hudgens: After making her name in such family-friendly fare as "Quintuplets" and "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," the star of Disney's "High School Musical" (hmm, is there a pattern emerging here?) was 18 when she hit the big time, reveling in the attention from the massive hit TV movie. Less than a year after rising to superstardom, her rocket ride hit a snag when provocative photos of her surfaced online, showing the teen star in lingerie and totally nude.

Jamie Lynn Spears: Like Cyrus, Britney's 17-year-old little sister made her name as the star of a kid-friendly TV show, in Spears' case, the Nickelodeon series "Zoey 101." But just two years into its run, the teen announced that she was pregnant with her first child by her boyfriend, 18-year-old Casey Aldridge.

The Exception

Avril Lavigne: If all of the above are cautionary tales about teen girls who are in a big hurry to shed their virginal "good girl" persona and morph into sexy women before they could vote (or, in some cases, drive), Canadian singer Lavigne is the antidote to that bullet train to hormone-ville. Debuting at age 18 with Let Go, the singer's skate-rat image included baggy pants and T-shirts with her then-ubiquitous men's tie instead of body-hugging miniskirts and dresses. For years, Lavigne studiously avoided sexing up her image, playing the role of tomboy, until around 2006, when the now-married 23-year-old began wearing more revealing clothes and posing for photos in provocative outfits. She really upped the ante in a recent Blender cover on which she was seemingly topless with a banner headline across her chest that read, "Hell Yeah, I'm Hot!"

A new Roger Clemens Affair - Angela Moyer

By now we all know about the Roger Clemens’ affair with country star Mindy McCready, and now there is new information about another woman, Angela Moyer, whom Clemens allegedly had an affair with as well. Angela Moyer, who is 30 years old and works as a Realtor in Pennsylvania, was asked about her relationship with Clemens, to which she said, “No comment.” Supposedly Clemens helped pay the rent on Moyer’s Houston apartment and even after she had moved to New York and got a job as a bartender at Sutton Place from 2000 to 2004, which of course is the same time frame that Clemens played for the Yankees, Clemens still continued a relationship with her.

Hmmm, and what does Clemens’ wife Debbie think of all of this?

Angela Moyer Biography
As a biography, Angela Moyer is 30 years old. She attended Lower Dauphin High School in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania and the University of Houston. She moved to New York in 2000 and worked at Sutton Place as a bartender from 2000 - 2004. She currently works for RSR Realtors and has been with them since 2006.

53 Year Old Susan Lefevre Arrested 32 Years after Escaping Prison

A woman who escaped from a Detroit prison 32 years ago has been arrested in San Diego, where she was living under a false name, authorities said.

U.S. Marshals say 53-year-old Susan Lefevre was taken into custody Thursday in the Carmel Valley area.

In 1976, Lefevre walked out of the Detroit House of Corrections after serving just one year of a 10- to 20-year sentence on conspiracy and drug convictions.

Using the name Marie Walsh, she married and raised three children. She lived in San Diego for nearly 10 years.

Authorities in late March received a tip saying Lefevre might be living in California as Marie Walsh. They confirmed it through a thumbprint match.

When she was arrested, Lefevre told marshal's deputies that her family had no idea she was a fugitive.

Great White Shark Attacks and Kills Surfer in Mexico

An American surfer has died after being bitten by a shark off Mexico's Pacific coast earlier this week.
The 24-year-old man was surfing off the isolated Troncones beach when he was attacked by a tiger shark on Monday.

He suffered a 15-inch wound to his thigh and bled to death before he could receive treatment.

The death comes just four days after another fatal shark attack off California's Pacific coast.

The 66-year-old victim of that attack was bitten by a great white shark.

More on the Smiley Face Killers

Could a national gang of killers that leaves smiley-face calling cards be getting away with murdering dozens of male college students by making all the deaths look like accidents?

That’s what two retired New York police detectives think, after spending their own money to link as many as 40 drowning deaths of otherwise healthy young men, many of them athletes.

“This is a nationwide organization that revels in killing young men," Prof. D. Lee Gilbertson of St. Cloud State University said in a report filed Tuesday

“We are talking about specifically targeting a small, narrow group of individuals for murder," said Kevin Gannon, who is now asking the FBI to step into the investigation he and Anthony Duarte began when both were working for the N.Y. Police Department.

It began with the 1997 death of Patrick McNeill, a young man whose body was found in the Hudson River after he had gone missing after a night on the town. McNeill had been drinking and the death was ruled a suicide. His parents refused to believe that, and Gannon, then a detective sergeant, told McNeill’s parents he would never give up on the case.

Gannon’s been good to his word, mortgaging his own house to keep the investigation alive. Working with fellow retired detective Anthony Duarte and looking into nearly 90 separate cases, he’s concluded that McNeill’s death is linked to at least 40 others that have occurred in 11 different states.

Most of what the detectives are calling murders occurred in the Midwest during the winter months. Almost all involved popular athletes with good grades. Most had been drinking before they disappeared and their bodies subsequently found in near-frozen bodies of water.

The link they think they’ve found is a smiley-face symbol drawn near where many of the drowning victims’ bodies have been discovered.

“This is what we saw,” Gannon said. “They're happy, as most serial killers are, and very content with their work and what they're doing and the fact that they're thwarting police."

“Local police departments are skeptical,” Cowan reported, “saying the team didn't produce any new evidence, just a theory, pointing out smiley faces — as well as other graffiti the investigators are using to link the deaths — are all pretty common.”

But parents of victims are lining up behind Gannon and Duarte. Among them is Bill Kruziki, himself a policeman, whose son, Matthew, disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2005 after a night of drinking in East Dubuque, Ill. His body was found three months later in the Mississippi River. He had drowned, but the coroner never determined whether it was an accident, suicide or murder.

"There is an instance in every one of them that doesn't make sense, something unexplainable, they vanished from this earth,” Said Kruziki.

Another death thought to fit the pattern is that of Adam Falcon, a student at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., who drowned in 2004.

"We do want to know truthfully what happened to our son," said his mother, Carla Falcon.

Families want answers

One of the deaths in the group Gannon and Duarte are investigating has been ruled a homicide. The victim was Chris Jenkins and the year was 2002. Like the others, Jenkins’ case was originally thought to be an accidental drowning, but police in Minneapolis, where the death occurred, later concluded that Jenkins had been abducted in a van and tortured before being drowned in the Mississippi River.

Despite the passage of six years, the pain never goes away, according to his mother, Jan Jenkins, who said, "Closure is a funny word; we cry every day."

Gannon and Duarte have exhausted their personal funds. They recently held a news conference in New York to appeal for money to continue the investigation and to get federal investigators involved. They’ve had a hard time convincing others in law enforcement that there is anything to investigate in what most see as unrelated accidental deaths.

Shooting at FAU - Florida Atlantic University - Picture of Shooter

At 1:16 a.m. Boca Raton Police contacted Florida Atlantic University's police department to inform them of a 911 call they had received about a possible shooting on the Boca Raton campus.

Upon receiving the call, FAU police immediately began to investigate the situation and determined that shots had been fired at the student apartments.

At 1:42 a.m. FAU police activated the newly installed siren and PA system, alerting the campus community that there was an armed suspect on campus and that all campus residents and visitors should seek shelter immediately. Messages were posted on the homepage, throughout the website and a university wide email was sent out asking those on campus to seek shelter and those off campus to remain off campus. The new reverse 911 system was also utilized. In addition, notices were posted in the residence halls regarding the situation.

At this time FAU and Boca Raton police are searching for an unidentified male responsible for discharging a firearm on campus. It is believed that this is an isolated incident. No one was seriously injured during the incident, though a non student received minor injuries.

The Boca Raton campus is currently on lock down. Only Level 1 Tier 1 essential personnel are permitted on campus.

The Boca Raton campus of Florida Atlantic University remains in a lockdown state as campus police continue to search for an armed suspect, who opened fire during the night at a party on campus. A non-student was injured during the incident.
All other FAU campuses will remain open. More information regarding making up class sessions will be available on www.fau.edu.

Kristine M. McGrath Assistant Vice President and Press Secretary

Media Relations Florida Atlantic University Phone: 561-297-1168 Cell: 561-716-2101

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Smiley Face Killers - Not so happy

Binding, torturing and killing victims is how serial killer Dennis Rader methodically murdered 10 people near Wichita, Kan., during a 20-year killing spree that garnered him the nickname "BTK strangler."

Like Rader, who began his work in the 1970s, several infamous serial killers have taken ritualistic approaches, either by leaving signature characteristics or repeating their steps in the killings.

Albert Desalvo, the 1960s "Boston Strangler," was convicted of strangling 13 women and then tying nylon stockings in a bow around their necks. Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed 17 men between 1978 and 1991, routinely took body parts from his victims and stored them in his refrigerator. The Zodiac Killer, who got his name from the symbols he drew on notes to the media, is still unidentified, despite having killed at least five people between 1968 and 1969 in California.

So, when two New York City detectives found smiley faces painted at the crime scenes of more than 40 young men  typically high achieving college students initially presumed to have drowned in 25 cities in 11 different states  they began to wonder if they had uncovered yet another overtly proud serial killer.

"We believe they were specifically leaving a clue for us or anyone who was paying attention to these drownings, that the cases were ultimately linked," Detective Kevin Gannon told ABC's "Good Morning America."

The detectives found the smiley faces in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa.

While there has yet to be a sexually-driven motive identified in the smiley face case, criminologists told ABCNEWS.com that it's an example of the kind of signature typically left by psychopathic killers who derive sexual arousal from their killings and are so proud of their murders that they'll do anything they can to get credit for them.

Killers Leave Marks, Clues at Murder Scenes
"Signatures are ritualistic crime scene behaviors that are done for psychosexual gratification," said Louis Schlessinger, a professor of forensic psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. "It goes beyond what is necessary to kill that person because killing alone is not enough."

"The most typical types or signature is leaving the woman in some sort of sexual degrading position," said Schlessinger, who added that he has studied cases where killers put dirt in the mouths of their victims or sodomize them with foreign objects.

These crime scene signatures, according to Schlessinger, are often indications that the killer wants to brag about his accomplishment.

"They're trying to show the police that they're very proud of what they've done and that they feel tremendous," Schlessinger said. "It's arousing to them to feel control and power."

Jack Levin, author of "Serial Killers and Sadistic Murderers," agreed.

"The signature that they leave is often designed to give them what is otherwise missing in their drab and dreary lives  they feel important and special. They've achieved national prominence, even anonymously, and it makes them feel as though they have succeeded."

Levin told ABCNEWS.com that while many serial killers don't leave signatures, many decide to do so, not only to achieve fame, but also to tease law enforcement.

"To a serial killer, torturing and killing victims are great accomplishments and is something that he wants the world to know," Levin said. "At the same time, he leaves the signature at the crime scene to taunt the police.

"They can feel the sense of power by outsmarting the police."

Do Signatures, Contact with the Media Help Investigators Nail Criminals?
Signatures often help investigators  much like those in the smiley face case  to link several crimes together and, more than anything, to establish a dialogue between authorities and perpetrators, that can often be helpful in solving these crimes.

"Any information investigators can obtain may suggest that there's a possible inroad to who might be doing this, or a lead," said N.G. Berrill, a forensic psychologist and director of the New York Center for Neuropsychology and Forensic Behavioral Science.

Of the smiley faces, Berrill said, "there's obviously some dialogue that's being established with these signatures, clues or symbols."

Many serial killers have historically reached out to the media for attention, said Berrill, notably Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, who sent a series of mail bombs, killing three and injuring 23 from the late 1970s to the mid 1990s.

"The idea is that some kind of dialogue will tantalize the authorities and provoke them or tease them," Berrill said. "It's not a cry for help, it's a cry for attention.

"These guys have no conscience," he added.

Porsche Accusing VW of Spying on Porsche CEO

Source: http://allautomobile.blogspot.com

It looks like Cold War-style intrigue is back in Germany. In a case of apparent corporate espionage, while on a visit to Volkswagen's headquarters in Wolfsburg, the hotel room of Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking was found to be bugged.

According to a report in the German magazine Der Spiegel, last year a private security firm discovered an activated baby monitor hidden behind a couch in Wiedeking's room at the Wolfsburg Ritz Carlton, just a day before a meeting of the supervisory board of Volkswagen AG. State police in Lower Saxony have confirmed they are investigating a complaint filed by Porsche with prosecutors in Braunschweig, but have declined to say who it is against.

Porsche currently owns 31 percent of Volkswagen, but has been angling for some time to gain a controlling stake in the automaker. However slightly more than 20 percent of VW is in the hands of the Lower Saxony government, and the two are locked in a battle over a rule requiring that "significant decisions" regarding the company have the approval of 80 percent of shareholders, plus one share, rather than a simple majority.

Considering how easy it is to get hold of professional quality wiretapping equipment these days, the use of the microphone end of a baby monitor doesn't smack of professional work. Hopefully the amateur spies will soon be apprehended, but regardless, Porsche's attempt to acquire VW will no doubt continue as planned.

Giant Squid caught in Antarctic is being defrosted in Australia

Marine scientists in New Zealand on Tuesday were thawing the corpse of the largest squid ever caught to try to unlock the secrets of one of the ocean's most mysterious beasts.

No one has ever seen a living, grown colossal squid in its natural deep ocean habitat, and scientists hope their examination of the 1,089-pound, 26-foot long colossal squid, set to begin Wednesday, will help determine how the creatures live. The thawing and examination are being broadcast live on the Internet.

The squid, which was caught accidentally by fishermen last year, was removed from its freezer Monday and put into a tank filled with saline solution. Ice was added to the tank Tuesday to slow the thawing process so the outer flesh wouldn't rot, said Carol Diebel, director of natural environment at New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa.

After it is thawed, scientists will examine the squid's anatomical features, remove the stomach, beak and other mouth parts, take tissue samples for DNA analysis and determine its sex, Diebel said.

"If we get ourselves a male it will be the first reported (scientific) description of the male of the species," Steve O'Shea, a squid expert at Auckland's University of Technology, told National Radio. He is one of the scientists conducting the examination.

The squid is believed to be the largest specimen of the rare deep-water species Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, or colossal squid, ever caught, O'Shea has said.

Colossal squid, which have long been one of the most mysterious denizens of the deep ocean, can grow up to 46 feet long, descend to 6,500 feet into the ocean and are considered aggressive hunters.

At the time it was caught, O'Shea said it would make calamari rings the size of tractor tires if cut up _ but they would taste like ammonia, a compound found in the animals' flesh.

Fishermen off the coast of Antarctica accidentally netted the squid in February 2007 while catching Patagonian toothfish, which are sold under the name Chilean sea bass.

The squid was eating a hooked toothfish when it was hauled from the deep. Recognizing it as a rare find, the fishermen froze the squid on their vessel to preserve it. The national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, later took possession of it.

The previous largest colossal squid ever found was a 660 pound female squid discovered in 2003, the first ever landed.

Researchers plan to eventually put the squid on display in a 1,800 gallon tank of formaldehyde at the museum in the capital, Wellington.

Colossal squid are found in Antarctic waters and are not related to giant squid found round the coast of New Zealand. Giant squid grow up to 39 feet long, and are not as heavy as colossal squid.

Rumoured Jimmy Hendrix Sex Video due to be released by Vivid

From the files of, If I have to see that I whink I will wash my eyes out with acid come rumours of a Jimmy Hendrix sex tape due to be released.

A Los Angeles porn company is planning to release a film supposedly showing guitar legend Jimi Hendrix having sex with two women, according to a report in the New York Times on Tuesday.

According to Vivid Entertainment, the film, which has no audio, allegedly shows Hendrix having sex with two women in a dimly-lit bedroom, the Times reports. Of course, as with almost all of the films from that era, the Jimmy Hendrix Sex video will most likely be of poor quality and the appearance of Jimmy Hendrix in this sex video will be purely speclative

Your Ad Here

Vivid, which has also released sex tapes featuring Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee and Kim Kardashian, among others, says that the tape is authentic, and will be offered for sale in stores and for download Online, according to the Times report.

“I believe that we did our due diligence, and as a result of that clearly believe that it’s him,” said Steven Hirsch, Vivid’s co-chairman told the Times. “If they said that it wasn’t him, I would never have put it out.”

Some who knew Hendrix, who died of a drug overdose in 1970 at the age of 27, disagree. Kathy Etchingham, one of his girlfriends from the 1960s, says the man in the film couldn’t be Hendrix.

“He would never have allowed anyone to see that,” she told the Times. “In private he was very shy and would cover up.”

Hans Reiser convicted of Murdering Nina Reiser

Hans Reiser took the stand during his murder trial and insisted he didn't kill his estranged wife when she dropped off their children at his Oakland hills home.

But a jury found otherwise on Monday. At the end of a six-month trial in Oakland, it convicted the computer programmer of first-degree murder in the death of Nina Reiser after concluding that her slaying in 2006 was deliberate and premeditated even though her body was never found.

The verdict capped a case that drew widespread attention largely because of Hans Reiser's 11 days of testimony - in which he accused his wife of caring more about her career than their children, antagonized the judge with his rambling answers and wept for his children, who now live in Russia with their grandmother.

"I've been the best father that I know how," Reiser, 44, said after the verdict when Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman directed bailiffs to remove him from the packed courtroom.

Reiser, who faces 25 years to life in prison, is due back in court today to set a sentencing date.

Jurors, who spent three days in deliberations, left the courthouse without commenting. But prosecutor Paul Hora said the lack of a body wasn't an insurmountable challenge for the seven-man, five-woman panel.

"We have a body," Hora said, referring to evidence of Nina Reiser's blood in Hans Reiser's car and home. "We just don't know where it is."

Defense attorney William Du Bois said he was disappointed with the verdict but added: "We weren't completely surprised." He said he expects his client will appeal.

Du Bois said he was sure that Reiser's behavior on the stand - such as demanding that his attorney object to questions, talking back to the prosecutor and giving rambling answers - "negatively impressed the jurors."

Reiser had argued during his murder trial that although he and his wife were going through a contentious divorce - she filed papers in 2004 - she left his Oakland hills house without a scratch after dropping off their young son and daughter on Sept. 3, 2006. Nina Reiser was never seen again - not by her mother, her children or her friends. The defense argued that there was no evidence that the 31-year-old mother was dead and suggested that she could be living in her native Russia or anywhere in Europe.

But after three days of deliberations, jurors agreed with prosecutors: Although her body hasn't been found, Nina Reiser is dead, and Hans Reiser murdered her.

How she was killed might never be known. But the jury concluded there was enough circumstantial evidence to piece together what turned out to be a simple case of a woman murdered by her estranged husband.

Platypus defendant
The prosecution pointed to blood belonging to Nina Reiser that was found in Hans Reiser's car and home on Exeter Drive in the Oakland hills, the fact that he removed the passenger seat from the car in an attempt to destroy evidence and his "callous" lack of concern after she went missing.

"Based on all the evidence in this case, she's dead," Hora said in his closing argument. "He killed her, and he hid her."

Jurors rejected the defense argument that while Reiser might be a geeky, egotistical computer nerd - his attorneys compared the founder of the Namesys computer company to the odd-looking duck-billed platypus - he didn't commit murder. The defense had argued for an acquittal or a voluntary-manslaughter conviction.

The prosecution dismissed Reiser's explanations of why he suddenly went on a cleaning spree, removing the passenger seat of his mother's car, hosing off its interior and washing down the driveway of his home.

During the trial, the prosecution painted a portrait of a man who had so much hatred for his wife that he killed her after accusing her of making up illnesses for his son and resenting that she wouldn't give him legal custody of their children.

In his lengthy time on the witness stand, Reiser rambled so much that the judge rebuked him repeatedly. After one tirade this month, Goodman said: "You are rude. You are arrogant. There's not enough words in the English language to describe the way you are. You have been trying to make a mockery of these proceedings."

Assorted explanations
On the stand, Reiser gave assorted explanations for why he behaved the way he did after his wife disappeared.

He said he removed hard drives from his computer because he resented the government taking all his possessions. He withdrew thousands of dollars in cash so that he could pay his Russian programmers, he said.

And he was cleaning - even though it was uncharacteristic for him to do so - because his mother, Beverly Palmer, had called him an "inconsiderate slob" and threatened to kick him out of the home they shared, he said.

Reiser also verbally attacked his wife, calling her a manipulative woman who "worked" people and was "incapable of love," put up a false front in public and cared more about becoming a doctor than being a good mother. Reiser accused his wife and his former best friend, Sean Sturgeon, of stealing from Namesys and suggested that Sturgeon - who had had an affair with his wife - should be looked at in connection with her disappearance.

He wept twice - not over his wife but over the fact that his son, now 8, and daughter, now 6, were taken away from him. They now live with their maternal grandmother, Irina Sharanova, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Both Sharanova and the boy testified, saying they haven't seen Nina Reiser since she went missing. In an interview played for the jury, Hora asked the boy what he liked best about his mother: "Everything," he replied. Hora showed jurors a video of Nina Reiser kissing her son's cheek at his birthday party when he turned 6.

The jury also heard from dozens of friends, teachers and others who said the same thing: Nina Reiser would never abandon her children. The defense said she did leave her children - with her mother.

Legal analyst Steve Clark, who has worked as both a prosecutor and defense attorney, expressed surprise at how quickly the jury reached a verdict, particularly one for first-degree murder.

"I did not see evidence of planning before the murder, particularly when the murder happened in the house with the kids present," Clark said. "You think if Hans wanted to kill his wife, he would have done it when the kids were not home."

Clark said putting Reiser on the stand "backfired badly because not only did the jury not like him, but he filled in the blanks for the prosecution. There was nothing left for the jury to consider."

The Reiser case
Highlights from the trial of Hans Reiser, at top, for the murder of his wife, Nina, above:

-- Reiser testified that he did not kill his wife, saying she vanished nearly two years ago after they talked about their rancorous divorce. Her body has never been found.

-- Police found Nina Reiser's blood in his car and home in the Oakland hills. Prosecutors say Hans Reiser removed the car's passenger seat in an attempt to destroy evidence.

-- His attorney said jurors were "negatively impressed" by Reiser's 11 days of rambling testimony.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Three Tornado's rip through Suffolk in Southeastern Virginia

Three tornadoes swept through central and southeastern Virginia on Monday, injuring about 200 people and damaging dozens of homes and businesses, officials said.

The city of Suffolk in the southeastern part of the state was hardest hit by the late afternoon storms, said Virginia Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Laura Southard. She said earlier reports of a fatality in linked to the severe weather were incorrect.

Injuries and damage were also reported in Colonial Heights in central Virginia, Southard said.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said three confirmed tornadoes plowed through the region.

"One of the tornadoes hit the Lawrenceville area in Brunswick County," said NWS meteorologist Brian Hurley. "The second tornado developed to the north of Colonial Heights ... The other more significant tornado occurred in the city of Suffolk."

Television pictures showed extensive property damage -- flattened homes, and lawns and streets covered in piles of debris and toppled trees.

"There are trees down everywhere and I've seen a half-dozen vehicles flipped over," Richard Hicks of Suffolk told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper.

Another witness in Suffolk, Robert Brinkley, told the newspaper: "There are tops blown off the roofs of many, many houses."

More than 3,000 Dominion Virginia Power customers were without service, most in scattered outages throughout the southeastern part of the state, the newspaper said.

Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine declared a statewide emergency to coordinate the state's response to what his office said was widespread damage in the wake of storms.


At least 200 were injured in Suffolk where a twister destroyed several homes and businesses, said Bob Spieldenner of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

The storm hit the 138-bed Sentara Obici Hospital, though Spieldenner said the facility was still operational and accepting patients.

A second tornado struck Colonial Heights -- about 60 miles northwest, near Richmond -- injuring at least 18 people, he said.

A third twister damaged several homes near Lawrenceville, about 70 miles south of Richmond, said Bryan Jackson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, which confirmed all three tornadoes.

Gov. Tim Kaine declared a Virginia-wide state of emergency as hazardous weather continued through the central part of the state.

The Suffolk twister touched down just before 4 p.m. ET and plowed its way east into Norfolk, damaging scores of homes, stores and cars and downing dozens of trees and power lines, Jackson said.

Video footage from the scene showed roofs torn off homes, cars flipped over, trees snapped in two and a caved-in section of a newly constructed shopping center.

Furniture, fences and mounds of other debris were tossed in streets, parking lots and lawns.
A tornado warning over the area remained in effect Monday evening.

Jeff Judkins, the city's emergency management coordinator, said there also were reports of people trapped inside cars. It's the worst damage he's seen in the area, he said.

An emergency shelter will be established by Monday night, Suffolk spokeswoman Dana Woodson said.

Officials initially reported a fatality, but later determined that it was unrelated to the storm, she said.

Austrian man Guilty of holding his daughter captive for 24 years

Police in Austria have confirmed that three children freed from a cellar in which their mother had been imprisoned and raped by her own father for 24 years had never seen daylight before.

Austrian police spokesman Franz Polzer told CNN that the 73-year-old man, known as Mr. F., admitted holding his daughter, Elisabeth F., 42, hostage in the windowless cell and fathering seven children by her.

"The mother had memories [of the outside world] and got used to the situation," Polzer told a press conference Monday afternoon. "The others knew nothing else."

Elisabeth F. told police that she and her three children Kerstin, 19; Stefan, 18; and Felix, 5, did not see the light of day during their entire time in captivity underneath the building in Amstetten, a rural town about 150 km (93 miles) west of Vienna.

For more Breaking news on this story

Roger Clemens had an affair with Mindy McCready (She was 15, he was 28)

Wow, we did not see this coming on a rainy Monday morning. (Hey! It's a rainy day and Monday, something that always brings me down.) The Daily News drops a bombshell about Roger Clemens and his "SECRET AFFAIR." Their exclusive reports that for a decade, the Rocket had been carrying on with country singer Mindy McCready.

This is quite the big scoop, but what I'm really interested in is how the story is presented on the front page. The "SECRET AFFAIR" allegations are shocking enough, but it's curious why McCready's name isn't mentioned on page 1. The photo of her on the front has her eyes closed, and she almost looks like Paris Hilton. Could this be a clever ploy by the art department to sell more papers by making it look like Clemens spent a few years in Paris? Probably not.

As a person who likes to slice with Occam's razor as much as possible, I think it's probably just that McCready's country-star status might not play as much in the Big Apple. Keeping it mysterious cuts off any chances for a reader to say, "Huh, who?" and dismiss the story before the reader's fifty cents hits the newsstand.

The News takes care of the "just who is Mindy McCready?" section pretty deftly. For those who are not familiar with the musical products of Nashville, McCready first burst onto the scene in the mid-1990s. She's faced a number of career and legal woes that would make one hell of a country song. (Drug addiction? Check. Abusive relationship? Check. Arrest record? Check.) Now she's staging a comeback via documentary, and, yes, the requisite reality show. (No word on the network, but the title, Mending Mindy, sounds remarkably similar to VH1's other redemption-themed reality shows, Breaking Bonaduce and Saving Sizemore.)

New York, however, is a sports town, not a country-singing, tear-in-your-beer town, so the important question is, "How does this affect Roger?" Well, a lawyer for Clemens's former trainer Brian McNamee—whom Clemens is suing for defamation—says that this information benefits his client, as "If it's proved that [Clemens]'s a philanderer, his reputation is already damaged…Anything is fair game, including his claim of sanctimonious purity."

For the record, Clemens denies a sexual relationship with McCready, whom he first met in a karaoke bar in Florida when she was 15 and he was still pitching for the Red Sox. Clemens, lawyer, Rusty Hardin, issued this statement to the Daily News on behalf of Clemens:

"He flatly denies having had any kind of an inappropriate relationship with her…He's considered her a close family friend…He has never had a sexual relationship with her."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Jamie Lynn Spears is worried about Postpartum depression

SOURCE: http://ooopsshediditagain.blogspot.com/

Jamie Lynn Spears is getting closer to her June due date and “the pregnant 17-year-old is seeking the advice of a life coach near her Kentwood, La., home to deal with her difficult situation,” reports In Touch Weekly.

“Her sister, Britney, changed for the worse as soon as she had children,” a pal told, noting that Britney was rumored to be suffering from postpartum depression after the birth of her two sons, Jayden James and Sean Preston. “Jamie Lynn’s terrified the same thing will happen to her.”

EOS Airlines - Latest to shut down over high fuel prices and market issues

Eos Airlines Inc., a transatlantic, all-business-class airline, filed for bankruptcy protection over the weekend and said it will shut down Sunday, becoming the fourth U.S. carrier to go out of business this month.

Rising fuel prices, tight credit markets and the slowing economy are wreaking havoc on all U.S. carriers. But smaller, less well-funded companies are proving unable to withstand the challenges. Aloha AirGroup Inc., ATA Airlines Inc. and Skybus Airlines Inc. ceased operations earlier in April and Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection but continues to operate.

Closely held Eos, based in Purchase, N.Y., earlier this month said it expected to receive $50 million in new capital from a current investor, "financing needed to take us to corporate profitability in 2009," the company said at the time. But the company said Saturday it was unable to close on the financing, leaving it with insufficient cash to continue operating.

Eos said it planned to operate two flights Sunday from London's Stansted Airport to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and then shut down. It advised passengers to contact their credit card companies for refunds, and to contact other airlines directly to make alternate travel plans. Eos said other carriers are under no obligation to honor unused Eos tickets. The company filed its bankruptcy petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, listing $70 million of assets and debt of $35 million.

Launched in 2005 with funding from West Coast venture capital firms, Eos, named for the Greek goddess of dawn, was an immediate hit with its upscale clients. The carrier operated a handful of Boeing 757 planes outfitted with just 48 seats that converted to lie-flat beds. Its service was luxurious but affordable. Prices, while in the range of $2,700 to $3,400 roundtrip, were much lower than business class on larger competitors.

The company's business model attracted imitators, including Silverjet PLC, flying between Newark and Luton, another London airport, and L'Avion, offering flights between Newark and Orly Airport in Paris. But a third competitor, MAXjet Airways Inc., based in Dulles, Va., and traded in London, shut down last Christmas Eve after failing to raise new capital.

The transatlantic market is highly competitive, and larger airlines, defending what they call their turf, added flights to some of London's alternate airports. British Airways PLC and Virgin Atlantic Airways both announced plans to start all-business class flights of their own.

When it announced its agreement on additional funding April 19, Eos said it was operating 44 transatlantic flights a week and planned additional routes between Newark, N.J., and Stansted, and between Stansted and Dubai. The financing was meant to close next Friday.

Jack Williams, chief executive officer of Eos, said Saturday that "after overcoming today's extremely challenging economic and credit environment to negotiate terms for a round of financing, it is regrettable that we were forced to take this action." But "some issues arose that we could not overcome," he said, and the financing fell through.

Salvia Leaf Powerful natural hallucinogenic drug being banned

Kansas has joined a growing list of states to outlaw an old hallucinogenic drug called salvia divinorum.

With Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' signature earlier this week, Kansas became one of at least nine states to place restrictions on the drug. Nearly 20 other states are considering similar legislation.

The broad leaf is often used by landscapers as ground cover, but its concentrated extract can be chewed or smoked to feel its effects. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, salvia causes hallucinations, a perception of overlapping realities, dizziness and impaired speech. It has long been legal in the United States and used in shamanistic rituals by groups in southern Mexico.

But it was mentioned as one of many factors in the suicide of a Delaware teenager in 2006, and states soon took notice of the drug.

Tom Stanton, president of the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association, said he came to the issue after hearing of the Delaware death and viewing Internet videos of teenagers giggling and tripping around while on the hallucinogen.

He couldn't provide any numbers on the drug's prevalence, but said the videos he watched were enough evidence to convince him of the law's merits.

But Jon Sloan, owner of Persephones Journey in Lawrence where the substance was sold, said the ill behavior of some kids on the Internet isn't reason to ban the substance across the state.

He also said salvia could prove to have medicinal effects.

Thomas Prisinzano, a medicinal chemistry professor at The University of Kansas, has participated in studies on salvinorum A, the psychoactive chemical compound found in salvia. He said in the past that the drug may be used for treatment of pain and possibly depression and Alzheimer's disease.

There have been few comprehensive studies of the drug's short-term and long-term effects on the brain, however, and Stanton said the state shouldn't take any risks with it.

With the governor's signature, possession, use or sale of salvia is illegal.


In Related news


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In what is likely the first arrest for possession of salvia divinorum anywhere in the nation -- and definitely a first in North Dakota -- a Bismarck man now faces years in prison after he bought a few ounces of leaves on eBay. Kenneth Rau, a bottling plant worker with an interest in herbalism, altered states, and religion and spirituality, was arrested by Bismarck police on April 9 when they searched his home looking for his adult son, who was on probation for drug charges.

Police found a marijuana pipe, eight ounces of salvia leaf, a quantity of amanita muscaria mushrooms, and a number of other herbal products. Rau now faces multiple charges, said Burleigh County States Attorney Cynthia Feland.

"He is being charged with possession of salvia with intent to deliver, as well as possession of psilocybin with intent, and possession of marijuana," she said. Although Rau told the Chronicle he thought he would be charged with a school zone violation as well, which would have made his intent offenses Class A felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison, that is not the case, said Feland. "He is not being charged with a school zone violation," she affirmed.

(The psilocybin charges could go up in smoke. The amanita muscaria mushrooms that he possessed are not controlled substances under federal law and, while hallucinogenic, do not contain psilocybin. The active ingredient in amanita muscaria mushrooms is muscimole.)

Rau was being charged with possession with intent because of the weight of the leaves, she said. "We look at the typical use quantity," she said, "and it is similar to marijuana, with a typical use dose of .25 grams to .5 grams, and he had significantly more than that," she said.

Salvia divinorum, a member of the Mexican mint family, has been used by Mazatec shamans for hundreds of years. Smoking or chewing the leaves, or more commonly, concentrated extracts, can produce intense, albeit short-lived hallucinogenic experiences. While the plant has become notorious through YouTube videos of young people smoking it and behaving strangely, it is also of interest to "psychonauts," or people attempting to explore consciousness through herbal means.

Researchers say that while salvia's effects on consciousness may be disquieting, the plant has not been shown to be toxic to humans, its effects are so potent it is unlikely to be used repeatedly, and its active property, salvinorin A, could assist in the development of medicines for mood disorders.

There are hazards to messing with hallucinogens, one expert was quick to point out. "It's an hallucinogen, and while its hallucinogenic actions are different from those induced by LSD and other hallucinogens, it has the liabilities that hallucinogens do," Bryan Roth, a professor of pharmacology at University of North Carolina's School of Medicine, the man who isolated salvinorin A, told Drug War Chronicle last month. "When people take it, they are disoriented. If you don't know where you are and you're driving a car, that would be a bad experience."

Still, said Roth, while it may make you freak out, it isn't going to kill you. "There is no evidence of any overt toxicity, there are no reports in the medical literature that anyone has died from it. The caveat is that there have been no formal studies done on humans, but the animal data suggests that it doesn't kill animals given massive doses, and that's usually -- but not always -- predictive for human pharmacology."

The DEA considers salvia a drug of interest, but has yet to move to place it under the Controlled Substances Act. A DEA spokesman told the Chronicle recently that the plant is being reviewed to see if it meets the criteria for inclusion on the list of controlled substances.

But driven by little more than the YouTube videos and the story of one Delaware youth whose parents blamed his suicide on salvia, state legislators have not waited for the DEA's measured considerations to act. Since Delaware became the first state to ban salvia, a handful of others, including North Dakota, followed suit. Moves are currently afoot in a number of other states to join the club.

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Salvia became illegal in North Dakota on August 1, after a bill sponsored by three Republican lawmakers, state Sens. Dave Oelke and Randel Christmann and state Rep. Brenda Heller sailed through the legislature earlier this year. None of the three legislators responded to Chronicle requests for comment this week.

After Rau was arrested earlier this month, Bismarck police warned that it could be only the beginning in the fight against the member of the mint family. "It sure looks like there could be a market, based on the amount he had, Lt. Bob Hass told reporters. "This is the first we've seen of it." Hass did not return Chronicle calls for comment this week.

While salvia information web sites like Salvia.Net do place a single dose of salvia leaf at between .25 gram and one gram, similar to County Attorney Feland's estimate, intent to deliver still seems a stretch. "I bought eight ounces of leaf on eBay by bidding $32 for it," said Rau. "Now they're charging me with possession with intent. That's silly. Nobody wants leaves. Everyone is buying those 10X and 20X and 30X extracts." [Ed: Not to mention that on eBay one buys what is being offered a sale, not half or a tenth or twentieth of it.]

Rau was also not impressed by the prosecutor's dosage estimates. "This is a clear ploy to exaggerate the number of saleable units," he complained. "These drug warriors have long used this ploy to make dealers out of everyone. Accepting those figures, an ounce of Salvia Divinorum would give 120 doses and make anyone holding an ounce of it a dealer. This is ridiculous since an ounce is clearly the standard saleable unit for leaf. Applying the prosecutor's standard marijuana dosage and saleable quantity would be the amount that would fit in the end of a pinch hitter. This standard would make anyone holding even an eighth ounce of marijuana a dealer."

Rau also scoffed at the notion that anyone is going to be buying fractions of an ounce of salvia leaf. "You can buy an ounce online for as little as $10," he pointed out. "Who is going to split that up into smaller quantities? Hell, you would probably end up spending more on baggies that you did on the leaf," he said.

"This is ridiculous legislative overreaching," said Rau of the new law. "They only based it on those wacky YouTube videos, and even on those, you see people trying to abuse the stuff as much as possible and ham it up, and it still doesn't hurt them. And why jump from selling it in stores to making it a felony," he asked, "don't they do misdemeanors anymore? I didn't even know it was illegal here, and with their first prosecution they go for the max."

The local TV station's web site has inadvertently supported Rau's point. At the time of this writing, an online version of the news report about Rau's arrest was still pulling up salvia ads by Google. Rau emailed the link to Drug War Chronicle, proving that the salvia ads are showing up on computers in North Dakota.

A mild-mannered 46-year-old, Rau's interest in salvia derived from a broader interest in herbalism, religion and spirituality, as well as efforts to deal with his own inner demons. "I read that salvia facilitates lucid dreaming, so I tried chewing some leaves before bed time, and it was interesting because I would see faces and remember names I had long forgotten."

He also tried salvia as a cure for depression. "I have some childhood issues to deal with. They had me on Paxil," he said. "They want you to take their pharmaceuticals, but if you want to take an herbal remedy, they want to throw you in prison. Are they going to save me from myself by throwing me in prison for years?"

Now, Rau is fighting for his freedom, but there aren't many resources in North Dakota, and he doesn't even have a lawyer yet. "The ACLU doesn't even list anyone in the state," he said. "I've emailed the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project, but I haven't heard back from them yet."

Still, he said, his arrest has motivated him. "Maybe this is an opportunity for me to join the fight," he said. "I've never been a drug user, never been arrested. I started experimenting with this stuff because I thought it was legal. I didn't want to get into trouble, but now they're treating me just like some meth dealer."

Evidence of Inbreeding and Fumarase Deficiency found in Texas Polygamists

Texas social workers will begin conducting DNA tests today to identify the 416 children taken into custody from the fundamentalist Mormon ranch near Eldorado since April 3. A district court judge granted the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) permission to test the children last Friday, as the agency's custody workers continued to struggle with the serious, complicated task of determining which children belong to whom — a task further clouded by the fact that children and mothers gave evasive, shifting answers during interviews.

Genetic testing could be completed in as little as a few days, according to Howard Coleman, CEO of Genelex, a Seattle-based commercial genetics lab, which is not involved with the Texas case. It could take several weeks longer, however, to construct a family tree from the results. Once they are traced, however, the children's origins may offer a fascinating look at the family structure of the secretive polygamist sect, as well as insight into the emergence of a tragic birth defect that has plagued the community.

At the heart of the identity problem are the group's commitment to "celestial marriage" — polygamy — and its custom of allowing first cousins to marry. "Your family tree shouldn't be a wreath," says Randy Mankin, editor of the El Dorado Success newspaper, which unearthed the sect's Utah roots four years ago, when its first members, posing as businessmen, arrived in Eldorado under the pretense of building a hunting and game preserve. But the legal notices published in Mankin's paper listing the custody suits brought by the state against the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ (FLDS) illustrate just how circular relationships are. Four surnames dominate the list: Jeffs (relatives of Warren Jeffs, the sect's imprisoned leader and "prophet"), Jessop, Barlow and Steed.

In the 1930s, two families, the Jessops and the Barlows, settled the area around Hildale, Utah, along the border with Arizona, where they founded the FDLS — and began handing down to their descendants a recessive gene for a severe form of mental retardation called Fumarase Deficiency. The birth defect has become increasingly prevalent within the FLDS community since 1990 when it was first identified by Dr. Theodore Tarby, an Arizona pediatric neurologist, now retired but formerly with the Children's Rehabilitative Services in Phoenix. He saw his first case when an FLDS mother brought her severely retarded son to see him. Tarby asked the mother whether any of her other children had problems, and she mentioned a daughter with cerebral palsy — testing proved that she, too, had Fumarase Deficiency syndrome.

The birth defect — an enzyme deficiency — causes severe mental retardation, epilepsy and disfigurement of features. "The retardation is in the severe range — an IQ around 25," Dr. Tarby says. Afflicted children are missing portions of their brain, often cannot sit or stand, and suffer grand mal seizures and encephalitis. Language skills are nonexistent or minimal. "I remember one little girl has a fascination with coins and the only word she could say was 'money,'" the doctor said. Families whose children are affected often avail themselves of state-funded medical care, consistent with the FLDS philosophy of seeking government aid — despite their suspicion of government — which they call "bleeding the Beast."

Until 1990 Tarby says he knew of only 13 cases of Fumarase Deficiency worldwide. Since, it has taken hold in the FLDS community because of intermarriage. "If you have two parents with the gene," Tarby says, "you are going to have a one-in-four chance of having a child afflicted with it." Depending on the severity of the disorder, children may die in childhood or may survive into early adulthood; if a person who has developed the disorder goes on to have a child, his or her chances of passing it on are one in two. But diagnosing the condition is difficult and requires extremely careful testing, the doctor says. His research, published in 2006, identified 20 cases within the Hildale-Colorado City enclave. "I would expect there are going to be Fumarase Deficiency cases there in Texas," he said.

State officials will not release any medical information about the 416 children in their custody, but one mother, giving her name simply as Sally on CNN's Larry King Live, described her son as "handicapped" and needing hourly care. "One of the mothers raised concerns about her child who had Down Syndrome," TDFPS spokesman Greg Cunningham told TIME in an e-mail. "That child has had a medical evaluation and has had one-on-one care." Cunningham says that the children in custody at the Pavilion, part of the city's civic center complex, have one caregiver for every three children. A small number of older boys have been moved to the Cal Farley Boy's Ranch in Amarillo, a privately funded home for needy children.

The FLDS community, by and large, rejects the idea that Fumarase Deficiency is caused by genes, according to Tarby. "They have their mythology about the condition. They think it's something in the water, or something in the air," he says. Before Tarby retired in 2007, FLDS leaders invited him to address the community about the disorder and how to prevent it. He told them that prevention would involve barring marriages between people with the recessive gene, or asking those couples to forgo children. He suggested that families discontinue having children once the disorder presents itself, or test for the gene during pregnancy and selectively abort pregnancies with the deficiency. All were approaches rejected by the FLDS. "It's not something they are willing to do," Tarby says.

For More news on the Texas Polygamist Ranch

Saturday, April 26, 2008

David Beckham jersey ignites a feud between families of two boys in Hawaii

It started with a generous gesture by David Beckham, who handed over his game-used soccer jersey to two young boys after a game at Aloha Stadium.

Now a squabble over the sweaty souvenir has devolved into a nasty fight with threats of legal action that has left the general manager of the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team in "utter disbelief."

The youngsters from Honolulu used to be close friends and teammates on a soccer team.

Then a shirtless Beckham approached the boys Feb. 20, after the Galaxy's exhibition loss to Japan's Gamba Osaka in the Pan-Pacific Championship, and reached over a sign with his right hand and gave away his white jersey.

Eric and Yoshika Kerr said it was their 10-year-old son that held a sign all game and eventually lured Beckham over. The jersey, they say, was intended for their son because the soccer star pointed to him.

Wilfred and Yoshika Ho said their nine-year-old son had possession first and that a police officer stepped in during a scrum for the jersey and resolved the issue by handing it to their son.

"My son got the shirt, their kid started trying to pry it away," said Wilfred Ho, who considers a front-page photo in Thursday's edition of The Honolulu Advertiser proof.

The photo shows Ho's son in an emotional tug-of-war with two other youngsters. The Kerr boy is standing behind Ho's son, holding a sign, not involved in the tussle.

The Kerrs told the Advertiser they never wanted sole possession of the jersey but wanted to share. They even suggested a joint-custody deal where they would rotate possession.

"(Beckham) pointed out that he wanted our son to have it. How do you explain this to a 10-year-old?" Eric Kerr said. "It's been really hard on him. Why not let the kids share? He's such a big star and it's one heck of an experience for the boys. We just want (the Hos) to keep their end of the bargain."

Wilfred Ho said "we tried to clarify we were the owner and they proceeded to get upset so we never let them borrow it."

On April 10, the Hos received a letter from the Kerrs' attorney, demanding the return of the Beckham jersey or possible legal action. The Hos' attorney responded in a letter last week, stating that the Hos are the rightful owners.

The Kerrs' attorney, Max Hannemann, declined comment Thursday. Messages left for the Hos' attorney, Thomas Otake, were not returned.

Alexi Lalas, the Galaxy's general manager, told the Advertiser that Beckham and the team never intended for the situation to happen.

"My suggestion is that the judge get a pair of scissors, cut the thing in half and give half to each," he said.

Reno Nevada - Earthquake Centrl with over 100 Earthquakes on Friday

Another earthquake in the Reno area has dumped cans off shelves, knocked pictures off walls and sent rocks off hillsides.

The temblor came late Friday night, a day after a quake caused high-rise casinos to sway and put visitors and residents on edge. There were no immediate reports early Saturday of injuries or major property damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 4.7 magnitude temblor at 11:40 p.m. was centered six miles west of Reno near Mogul. That's where a swarm of more than 100 quakes rattled the area on Thursday. The biggest was a 4.2 event.

A 3.5 aftershock followed at 12:29 a.m. Saturday, the USGS said.

The initial quake was felt 30 miles north in Portola, Calif., and at least 45 miles south near Stateline, Nev.

Earlier report

The growing magnitude and frequency of recent earthquakes in the Reno area make it hard for some experts to predict upcoming temblors, officials said Friday.

"We're not in the position to tell the future on this one," Glenn Biasi, a research associate professor at the University of Nevada, Reno Seismological Laboratory. "We were thinking that it would die down ... but to have those two earthquakes (Thursday) kind of put that exclamation point on it. We might not be done with it."

Biasi said large earthquakes usually are followed by smaller aftershocks. The Reno-area earthquakes in the past month reversed the pattern because they grew in magnitude over time.

"I think the message here is to be prepared," said Ken Smith, a research associate professor at UNR's Seismological Laboratory, who was among emergency management officials at a press conference Friday about preparedness. "Because we can't predict (earthquakes) and we can't prevent them."

On Friday, almost 100 earthquakes -- most under a 3.0 magnitude, were reported in the Reno area. The strongest temblor, a 3.6 magnitude, came about 6:15 p.m. Friday and rattled Northwest Reno.

In the past month, Smith cited several earthquakes that were between a magnitude 3 and 3.6. The strongest earthquake, at 4.2 magnitude, hit at 3:55 p.m. Thursday and was centered about four miles northwest of Reno, the U.S. Geological Survey said. At 3:47 p.m. Thursday, there was a 4.1 quake.

"If anything else, these earthquakes we've had just serve as a reminder that now is a good time to get (prepared)," said Aaron Kenneston, emergency manager of Washoe County.

Smith said he would call these recent quakes a "swarm." If these tremors were to lead to a larger earthquake, the set of rumbles would then be classified a "foreshock."

To prepare for any future quakes, Kenneston said residents should store in their homes items such as food, batteries, flashlights, first aid supplies and at least a gallon of water per family member. He said these items are useful in the event of any hazard.

"We found it makes a lot more sense to prepare for all hazards than it is to prepare just for an earthquake," Kenneston said.

Gary Derks, the operations officer for the Nevada Division of Emergency Management, said the state is ready to help Washoe County in the event of any catastrophe.

"If something were to occur, there is absolutely no doubt that the Division of Emergency Management is prepared to give assistance to local governments," Derks said.

Derks said the state has worked with various county and state entities to discuss a response plan. For example, in case of an earthquake, the Nevada Highway Patrol and the Nevada Department of Transportation would help check freeways and bridges for damage.

Washoe County and its cities and towns are constantly preparing for 13 types of disasters, from earthquakes and bio-infectious agents to hazardous materials accidents, Kenneston said.

Plans include participation with other local agencies and a chain-of-command so the agencies are working as a single unit.

District schools also are prepared for an earthquake, officials said.

Dale Sanderson, capital projects and facilities management administrator, said all district schools except one have a steel-reinforced wall system, "which is what you need in an earthquake."

Robert Mitchell Elementary School's roof is supported by an additional structural system made of wood. The school is the most vulnerable to an earthquake, but the reinforced system would help avoid a "catastrophic collapse of the building," Sanderson said.

The district has $100 million coverage for earthquake damage, and students also practice evacuation procedures each month. Some schools practice drills in class and ask students to seek shelter under their desks, said Chris Smith, district emergency management director.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Miley Ray Cyrus - The German Vanity Fair Interview with Translation

For more on Miley the Skank in the making

Today, there was an article in the German Vanity Fair on Miley Ray Cyrus. For those of you who can read German, I have included the original German Version. For those who can't, I ran the text through Bablefish and came up with a VERY ROUGH translation. I started to go through the article to fix the errors, and will continue to do so as the days go by and I have more time. For the time being, I have included the Rough English with continuing edits below the Original Version.


Sie ist eine der populärsten Teenie-Stars Amerikas: Die 15-jährige Miley Cyrus, die in der Disney Channel-Erfolgsserie "Hannah Montana" ein aufregendes Doppelleben führt. Tagsüber geht sie als Miley Stewart auf eine Highschool, abends erobert sie als Hannah Montana die Konzertbühnen der Welt und Herzen ihrer Fans. Nur ihre Familie und enge Freunde wissen von ihrer geheimnisvollen zweiten Identität. So ist der Plot, in dem die junge Miley Cyrus die Hauptrolle spielt. Mit VANITY FAIR ONLINE sprach sie über Ruhm, ihre Familie und ihr Vorbild.

Vanity Fair Online
Am 10. April startet Ihr 3-D Konzertfilm "Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert". Einige Länder haben eigens dafür ein 3-D Kino gebaut…
Miley Cyrus
Ich bin gerade mal 15 Jahre alt und werde als legendär bezeichnet. Das ist schon seltsam. Auf der anderen Seite möchte ich Geschichte schreiben! Deshalb finde ich es toll, wenn ich selbst in meinem jungen Alter schon soviel bewegen kann.

VF Bald fangen die Dreharbeiten zum Film "Hannah Montana" an. Sind Sie schon aufgeregt?

M.C. Ja, sehr. Wir drehen in Nashville, wo ich aufgewachsen bin. Vielleicht spielen Dolly Parton und Brooke Shields mit, das ist aber noch nicht sicher.
VF Sind denn keine Jungs dabei?
M.C. Ich glaube schon, ich weiß nur noch nicht wer. Orlando Bloom wäre toll. Der kann gerne meinen Freund im Film spielen! VF Können Sie Hannah Montana und Miley Cyrus noch auseinander halten? Oder seit Ihr bereits eine Person?
M.C. Manchmal ist das schon schwer, denn wenn ich Hannah spiele, kann ich nicht ich selbst sein. Aber ich habe gelernt, der Kunstfigur Hannah Montana in meinem Leben einen Platz zu geben, ohne mich dabei selbst zu verlieren. Selbst wenn oftmals viele Menschen um mich herum sind, weiß ich genau, was für mich, Miley, richtig ist.
VF Trotzdem sind Sie das Produkt einer gigantischen Unterhaltungsindustrie...
M.C. Sicherlich ist es schwer, die Brücke zwischen Hannah und Miley zu schlagen. Erleichternd ist jedoch, dass Hannah keine Figur ist, die ich erschaffen habe. Ich fülle sie lediglich mit Leben, schauspielere sie, verleihe ihr Tiefgang. Das ist meine Aufgabe als Schauspielerin und Sängerin. Ich vergleiche es mit einem Stück Papier: Jeder malt etwas anderes drauf.
VF Wann haben Sie Ihr musikalisches Talent entdeckt?
M.C. Sehr früh, ich glaube ich war drei Jahre alt, als ich anfing zu singen. Mit zehn Jahren nahm ich in Kanada Gesangsunterricht, ein Jahr später sprach ich für die Rolle von Hannah Montana vor. Doch erst mit 13 wurde ich für die erste Episode gecastet.
VF Sie sind also sehr ehrgeizig und lassen nicht locker?
M.C. Sagen wir es mal so, ich habe keine Angst vor Herausforderungen. Ich gehe Problemen nicht aus dem Weg, sondern finde Lösungen.
VF Was glauben Sie, bewirkt Ihre Musik?
M.C. Ich hoffe, dass meine positive Haltung möglichst viele Menschen ansteckt. Wenn jemand einen schlechten Tag erwischt hat, hört er sich meine Musik an und alles wird gut. So stelle ich mir das vor. Ich war schon immer ein durchaus positiver Mensch. VF Schreiben Sie Ihre Songs selber?
M.C. Ja, klar! Aber nicht für die Hannah-Montana-Serie, das macht Disney alles selbst.

VF Was oder wer inspiriert Sie?
M.C. Neben Familie und Freunden, sind es Menschen, die einen ähnlichen Lebensweg haben. Hillary Duff zum Beispiel, sie schauspielert und singt, genau wie ich. Oder Hillary Swank, ich mag ihren einfachen Stil. Und Jodie Foster. Sie hat als Teenager angefangen und ich bewundere, was aus ihr geworden ist. Ihre Ratschläge über das Erwachsenwerden verstehe ich heute umso besser.
VF Nun sind Sie für viele ein Vorbild. Wie kommen Sie damit zurecht?
M.C. Das ist manchmal ganz schön schwer. Jedesmal, wenn ich einen Fehler mache, denke ich 'Oh Gott, was nun?‘
VF Sie meinen, als Sie unangeschnallt Auto gefahren sind? M.C. Ja, genau! Da gab es eine riesen Schelte von allen Seiten. Aber ich bin eben nicht perfekt, dazu stehe ich. Deshalb habe ich den Song "Nobody’s perfect" geschrieben. In Zukunft werde ich eben besser aufpassen, so dass es mir nicht wieder passieren wird.
VF Wie schützen Sie sich vor dem ganzem Ruhm, damit Sie nicht abgleiten wie so manche andere junge Kollegen in der Unterhaltungsindustrie?
M.C. Für mich ist wichtig, Körper, Seele und Geist im Einklang zu halten. Aufpassen, dass ich mich nicht missbrauche. An seine körperliche Grenze zu gehen, ist gefährlich. Deshalb sind Pausen sehr wichtig. Sich einfach zuruecknehmen, beobachten, wo man steht, gesund zu bleiben, damit man sich wohl fühlt, um weiter machen zu können. Nur wenn man ruhig und gelassen ist, kann man für andere Menschen auch zugänglich sein. Am aller wichtigsten ist aber die Liebe von meinen Eltern und der enge Kontakt zu meinen Freunden.
VF Sie waren zum ersten Mal bei den Academy Awards dabei. Wie war das?
M.C. Unheimlich aufregend! Ich bin ein großer Fan von Jennifer Garner. Auf dem roten Teppich kam sie zu mir, und sagte, dass sie gerne gerne mal mit mir zusammen arbeiten wuerde. Das war echt total verrückt. Danach traf ich Barbara Walters zum Interview, und sass gleich neben Cameron Diaz und John Travolta auf der Couch. Was für ein Traum!
VF Gibt es etwas, was Sie an Stars nicht mögen, wenn Sie sie zum ersten Mal treffen? M.C. Menschen, die so abgeklärt daher kommen, finde ich einfach abscheulich. Viele können es nicht mehr schätzen, dass sie zu den Grammys, Oscars oder zu Filmpremieren eingeladen werden. Selbst wenn ich zum x-ten Mal dabei bin, möchte ich alles erleben, eben wie am ersten Tag.

VF Sie sind im ländlichen Tenesse bei Nashville aufgewachsen. War Los Angeles ein Kulturschock?
M.C. Und wie! Unser Grundstück war über 200 Hektar groß, hier in Los Angeles lebe ich mit meiner Familie gerade mal auf einem. Außerdem habe ich meine Tiere so sehr vermisst, dass ich sie alle nachkommen ließ. Nun müssen 14 Pferde, Kühe, Hühner, fünf Hunde, sechs Vögel und Fische mit dem kleinen Platz auskommen. Ein paar Pferde musste ich sogar zurücklassen, weil der Platz einfach nicht reicht. Bei mir zuhause ist es wie im Zoo.
VF Das hört sich an, als wenn Sie im Schlaraffenland wohnen. Haben Sie Angst, dass es alles einmal vorbei sein könnte?
M.C. Nein, solange ich diese Art von Leben führen kann, genieße ich jeden Moment. Ich bin mir natürlich bewusst, dass Ruhm zeitweilig ist, doch solange er da ist, lebe ich ihn so gut, wie es geht. Sehen Sie den Glitter auf meiner Wange? Mein Vater scherzte, dass ich wie Cinderella bin. Manchmal fühle ich mich wirklich wie eine Disney Prinzessin, es ist alles wie in einem Märchen. Wunderschön.
VF Wird Ihnen Ihr Leben nicht manchmal zuviel?

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M.C. Ich passe auf, dass ich mich nicht übernehme, denn der Körper kann nur eine bestimmte Leistung bringen. Man kann sich nur bis zu einem gewissen Grad pushen. Wenn ich mich müde fühle, dann nehme ich mir soviele Pausen, wie ich brauche, damit ich mich wieder fit fühle.
VF Lesen Sie eigentlich, was über Sie berichtet wird?
M.C. Nicht mehr so oft. Anfänglich habe ich mich gegoogelt, doch inzwischen habe ich keine Zeit mehr dazu.
VF Welche Gerüchte haben Sie über sich gelesen?
M.C. Oh, mein Gott, so viele und alle sind sie unwahr. Zum Beispiel, dass ich schwanger sei, verheiratet, und würde ohne meine Familie nach Las Vegas ziehen. So ein Quatsch! Aber von manchen Gerüchten hoffe ich auch, dass sie einmal wahr werden. VF Was für eine Beziehung haben Sie zu Ihren Eltern?
M.C. Meine Eltern sind total cool. Die Besten, die es gibt. Sie beschützen mich und wollen nur das Beste für mich. Das findet man nur bei Eltern, dass jemand 100 Prozent für Dich da ist, egal, was einer anstellt.
VF Was passiert, wenn Sie sich mit den Eltern streiten?

M.C. Dann gehe ich erstmal in mein Zimmer, ziehe mich zurück und lasse alles zur Ruhe kommen. Ich habe da so eine Hippie Mentalität, ich gehe Streitereien eher aus dem Weg und verhalte mich friedfertig.
VF Aber Sie sind doch sicherlich auch mal wütend?
M.C. Ja klar, das gehört zum Leben dazu und ist nicht weiter schlimm. Nur wenn sich aus Wut eine Diskussion entwickelt, wird diese nicht fruchtbar sein. Ich verstehe sowieso nicht, warum Menschen sich gegenseitig klein machen. Damit verletzt jemand doch nur den anderen. Da gehe ich lieber in mich, werde ruhig und bleibe geistig gesund.
VF Wie sieht Ihre Zukunft aus?
M.C. Ich würde gerne reisen, die Welt fotografieren und mal in einem anderen Land wohnen, das wäre eine große Lernerfahrung. Filme drehen oder auch einige schreiben, wäre toll. Aber da werden noch einige andere Herausforderungen und Entscheidungen auf mich zukommen. Nun muss ich erstmal sehen, ob ich weiter zur Schule gehe oder später meinen Abschluss mache.


She is the most popular teen Star in America: The 15-year old Miley Cyrus, which leads an exciting double life in the Disney Channel series "Hannah Montana". During the day she goes to High School as Miley Stewart, in the evening she conquors the hearts and concert stages of the world as Hannah Montana. Only her family and close friends know her mysterious second identity. Like that is the Plot, in which the young Miley Cyrus plays the main role. With VANITY FAIR ON-LINE ONE spoke to Miley about fame and her family

Vanity fair on-line one
On 10 April its 3-D concert film "Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus starts: Best OF Both Worlds Concert ". Some countries have built a 3-d Ciniman just for it

This is where my repair stop for today. Tune back later for a continued repair of the Bablefish translation

Miley Cyrus
I am straight times 15 years old and as legendary am designated. That is already strange. On the other side I would like to write history! Therefore I find it mad, if I can move at my recent age already as much.

VF soon begin the turning work to the film "Hannah Montana". Are you already excited?
M.C. Yes, very much. We turn in Nashville, where I grew up. Perhaps Dolly Parton and Brooke Shields play also, that are however not yet safe.
VF participate none young?
M.C. I believe already, I white only not who. Orlando Bloom would be mad. That can play gladly mine friend in the film! VF ability you Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus hold still apart? Or since you already a person?
M.C. Sometimes that is already heavy, because if I play Hannah, I cannot be I. But I learned to give the art figure Hannah Montana in my life a place without losing me thereby. Even if often many humans are around me, I know exactly, what for me, Miley is correct.

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VF nevertheless are you the product of a gigantic unterhaltungsindustrie...
M.C. Surely it is heavy to strike the bridge between Hannah and Miley. Facilitating it is however that Hannah is not a figure, which I create has. I fill it only with lives, schauspielere her, lend their depth. That is my task as actress and a singer. I compare it with a piece paper: Everyone paints something else drauf.
VF when discovered you your musical talent?

M.C. Very early, I believe I was three years old, as I began to sing. With ten years I took one year in Canada singing instruction, later called I for the role of Hannah Montana. But with 13 I was only gecastet for the first episode.
VF you are thus very ambitious and do not relent not?
M.C. We do not say it times in such a way, I have a fear of challenges. I go to problems not out of the way, but find solutions.
VF which believe you, cause your music?
M.C. I hope that my positive attitude sticks on as much as possible humans. If someone got a bad day, he sounds himself my music and everything becomes good. Thus I introduce myself. I was always quite positive humans. VF letter it its Songs?
M.C. Yes, clearly! But not for the Hannah Montana series, Disney makes everything.
VF which or who inspires you?

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M.C. Beside family and friends, there is humans, who have a similar life way. Hillary Duff for example, it schauspielert and sings, exactly like I. Or Hillary Swank, I likes its simple style. And Jodie Foster. It began as a dte rodent and I admires, what from it became. I understand their pieces of advice over today the better.
VF now are you for many a model. How do you get along with it?
M.C. That is sometimes completely beautifully heavy. Each time, if I make an error, I think ' Oh God, what nun?‘
VF you mean, when you unangeschnallt car drove? M.C. Yes, exactly! There it gave giants scolds from all sides. But I am evenly not perfect, in addition I stand. Therefore I wrote the Song "Nobody’s perfect". In the future I will evenly better watch out, so that it will not again happen to me.
VF as protect themselves you against that whole fame, so that you do not glide like so some other young colleagues in the unterhaltungsindustrie?
M.C. For me, body is important, to hold soul and spirit in the agreement. Watch out that I do not abuse myself. To his physical border to go, is dangerous. Therefore tracing is very important. Simply take themselves back to remain healthy observe, where one stands, so that one feels well, in order to be able to make further. Only if one is calm and left, one can be also accessible for other humans. At the all most important are however the love of my parents and the close contact for my friends.

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VF you participated for the first time with the Academy Awards. How was that?
M.C. Terribly exciting! I am a large fan of Jennifer Garner. On the red carpet she came to me, and said that she would work gladly gladly times with me together. That was genuinly totally moved. Afterwards I met Barbara of walter to the interview, and sat directly beside Cameron Diaz and John Travolta on the couch. Which for a dream!
VF gives it somewhat, what you do not like on star, if you meet them for the first time? M.C. I find humans, who come so clarified therefore, simply horrible. Many cannot estimate it any longer that they are invited to the Grammys, Oscars or to film premieres. Even if I to x-ten mark thereby am, I would like to experience everything, evenly as on the first day.
VF you grew up in the rural Tenesse with Nashville. Of Los Angeles a culture shock?
M.C. And how! Our property was over 200 hectares largely, here in Los Angeles lives I with my family straight times on one. In addition has I mean animals missed so much that I let her all follow. Now must get along 14 horses, cows, chickens, five dogs, six birds and fish with the small place. A few horses had I to even leave, because the place is not enough simply. With me at home it is as in the zoo.
VF sounds itself, as if you live in the paradise. Do you have fear that it could be everything once past?
M.C. No, as long as I can lead this kind of lives, I enjoy each moment. I am naturally conscious to me that fame is temporary, but as long as it is there, I live it so well, as it goes. Do you see to the Glitter on my cheek? My father joked that I am like Cinderella. Sometimes I feel really like a Disney princess, it am everything as in a fairy tale. Beautifully.
VF becomes you your life not sometimes too much?
M.C. I watch out that I do not take over myself, because the body can bring only a certain achievement. One can pushen oneself only up to a certain degree. If I feel tired, then I take myself as many tracing, as I need, so that I feel again fit.
VF vintages it actually, which is reported on you?
M.C. No longer so often. Initially I gegoogelt myself, but in the meantime I have no more time in addition.
VF which rumors read you over itself?
M.C. Oh, my God, so many and all are untrue them. For example that I am more schwanger, married, and will without my family after read Vegas to pull. Such a rubbish! But of some rumors I hope also that they become once true. VF which for a relationship have you to your parents?
M.C. My parents are totally cool. The best ones, which gives it. They protect me and want only the best for me. One finds that no matter only with parents that someone is 100 per cent for you there, which employs one.
VF which passes, if you argue with parents?
M.C. Then I go first times into my room, withdraw me and let everything to the peace come. I have there so a Hippie mentality, I go to quarrels rather out of the way and behave friedfertig.

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VF however you are nevertheless surely also times furious?
M.C. Clearly, belonged to the life to it and continues to be not bad. Only if from rage a discussion develops, this will not be fruitful. I do not understand anyway, why humans make themselves mutually small. Thus someone hurts nevertheless only the other one. There I rather go into me, become calm and remain mentally healthy.
VF as looks your future?
M.C. I would travel gladly, the world photograph and times in another country live, that would be a large learning experience. Films turn or also some write, would be mad. But still some other challenges and decisions will come there to me. Now I must see first times whether I continue to go to conclusion to the school or make for mine later.