Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pete Wentz...and Adam Gontier

Fall Out Boy's Wentz sued for alleged post-concert beatdown
Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz was slapped with a lawsuit Wednesday for the alleged beating of a man last summer at a North Side bar and music venue.
Andy Kallas was at Schuba's Tavern, 3159 N. Southport Ave., for a Fall Out Boy show in the "early morning hours" of July 12, 2007, when Wentz "without authorization or provocation" attacked Kallas, according to a suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court Wednesday.
Wentz, a native of north suburban Wilmette, along with ten members of his “security personnel and/or entourage” struck, kicked and beat Kallas for several minutes causing “serious injuries to his head, mouth and face,” the suit alleges.
Reports last summer stated that the fight began when a man was taunting Wentz, making fun of his hooded sweatshirt and his relationship with pop-star Ashlee Simpson. However, the suit claims Kallas did not provoke the rock star.
Wentz and his posse of ten “John Does” are accused of one count of assault and battery and one count of false imprisonment for surrounding Kallas and refusing to allow him to leave, the suit claims.
Wentz was negligent for failing to “properly instruct and train his security personnel” and failing to protect Kallas from his security personnel, the suit alleges.
Kallas "was deprived of his liberty during which time he was kicked and beaten,” causing him “emotional injury and anxiety,” the suit said.
The suit also accuses Schuba's Tavern of negligence for failing to protect Kallas from “violent activities.”
Kallas is seeking more than $200,000 in damages from the alleged incident for his pain, medical bills, mental anguish, loss of normal life and disability to his body and mind.
Ashlee & Pete: Newlyweds 2.0?
Get yourself ready for the return of MTV’s Newlyweds — with a twist! Instead of Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, it's Simpson version 2.0 is coming your way, with Jessica’s little sister, Ashlee Simpson, 23, and fiancĂ©, Pete Wentz, 28, set to appear as the couple in the hit MTV format — at least if Joe Simpson gets his way!
Never one to miss a money-making opportunity, Ashlee’s dad and manager Joe seems determined to turn this idea into a reality. “He knows that no one cared about Jessica before her reality show, and he’s hoping a show for Ashlee will have the same effect,” a source close to the singer tells OK!.
With a wedding on the horizon, a baby on the way and a famous rocker fiancĂ©, Ashlee’s life has all the ingredients for a reality show. (Ashlee and Pete’s publicist tells OK! they are not set to appear in Newlyweds.) If the program comes off, let’s hope the Bittersweet World singer’s love story doesn’t end the same way as her sister’s failed marriage.
ASHLEE SIMPSON has hit out at reports she and fiance PETE WENTZ are planning to follow in the footsteps of her sister JESSICA and star in a spin-off of U.S.reality TV show NEWLYWEDS.
The 23-year-old Boyfriend hitmaker's father/manager Joe Simpson is reportedly in talks with MTV to create a copycat show for his younger daughter, to cash in on the pair's upcoming nuptials.
Jessica Simpson's 2003 show Newlyweds was a huge ratings winner - credited with reigniting the singer's flailing music career and prompting the demise of her marriage to former husband Nick Lachey.
A source tells U.S. magazine OK!, "Joe (Simpson) knows that no one cared about Jessica before her reality show, and he's hoping a show for Ashlee will have the same effect." But a representative for Ashlee Simpson - who is busy denying rumours she is pregnant with Wentz' child - insist she has no intention of starring in a reality show.
And now to unrelated news!
Grace gives back!
Congratulations to the musicians from Three Days Grace for helping the old hometown.
The band, one of the most successful rock acts in North America, made time to play a fundraising concert to help the Norwood Lions Club meet its promise to donate $325,000 toward the Asphodel-Norwood Community Centre.
Building a $4-million arena and recreation centre in a community of 4,000 residents was a big commitment. However it got done, and the centre has been open for four years now.
Making a $325,000 pledge might have been an even bigger commitment for a village service club.
Without the help of Three Days Grace - members Adam Gontier and Brad Walst grew up in Norwood, Neil Sanderson is from Peterborough and Barry Stock is a draftee from Toronto - the Lions Club's work would still be dragging on.
As it is, Saturday's sold-out concert raised something in the order of $90,000 to put the campaign over the top.
It's great to see the young men of Three Days Grace add their names to the list of successful people who developed their talents here and are happy to give something back.

sports news

A few losses to the Hawks could be just what the No. 1 Celtics needed
The Celtics aren't good enough to win the championship.
At this moment, that is. Losing two games in Atlanta to the league's worst playoff team while blowing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead in Game 4 serves as proof the NBA's top seed must raise its play.
Two outcomes pend the Celtics' response as they return home Wednesday for Game 5 of this suddenly even series. One less than likely possibility is that they lose in this first round to the No. 8 seed Hawks (in what would become the biggest upset the league has seen, far more shocking than No. 1 Dallas losing to No. 8 Golden State last year) or in the second round to the Cavaliers. Then the Celtics will look back on their long weekend in Atlanta realizing it revealed a flaw they were unable to fix.
The other possibility is that the Celtics learn from these two losses that they need to play at a much higher level, with more defensive effort and more offensive discipline. Call this the consultant theory: If the Celtics learn their lessons and take bloom throughout the remainder of the playoffs, they will look back on the Hawks as a kind of postseason adviser brought in to analyze and reveal where Boston needs to improve.
By blocking 12 shots over the last two games, the Hawks demonstrated that the Celtics are playing too fast or too loose offensively, that they need to precisely execute sets that will force the long, athletic defenders away from the basket.
By exploding for 20 fourth-quarter points in Game 4, Joe Johnson proved that the Celtics are far from ready to deal with the likes of Rip Hamilton, Manu Ginobili or -- gasp -- Kobe Bryant in future rounds.
The one similarity between this series and the Mavericks' loss to the Warriors a year ago is that Boston -- like that unfortunate 67-win Dallas team -- hasn't played a meaningful game in weeks. The Celtics won an impressive three-game swing through Texas concluding March 20, followed by a couple of home games the next week against Phoenix and New Orleans, and since then they've been trying to inspire themselves artificially. As Dirk Nowitzki can tell them, nothing prepares a contender like real competition.
The Pistons provide another, and more promising, example. They were making fools of themselves while committing a season-high 25 turnovers in a Game 3 blowout at Philadelphia to trail the No. 7 seed 2-1 last weekend. But Detroit recovered its sensibilities, slowed the tempo and has outscored the 76ers by 36 points over the last three halves.
While the 76ers were using their quickness to force Detroit turnovers on the perimeter, the Hawks have been applying their length and athleticism to protect the rim and turn the Celtics into a jump-shooting team that is converting only 43.5 percent against an Atlanta defense that ranked 21st in that category during the season, when it yielded a lenient 46.3 percent.
The Hawks collapsed during their opening losses in Boston, and had that trend continued in Atlanta, what good would it have done for a Celtics team that hopes to convert its league-leading 66-16 season into a 17th championship? Because it's clear now that the Celtics haven't been sharp enough to go far. Game 5 (and even more so Game 6) will serve as a referendum on whether they have it in them to raise their game to the high level shown so far by the Lakers, Spurs and Hornets.
If it turns out that the exhaustive regular season took something out of them, then the Celtics can blame no one but themselves. But if they use this series as a source of improvement and newfound intensity, then the Celtics will look back and thank Atlanta for its unfriendly opposition. By embarrassing them over the past two games, the Hawks have done the Celtics an enormous favor.
Sean Avery out for season with spleen injury
New York Rangers forward Sean Avery lacerated his spleen in Tuesday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and will miss the rest of the season, a Rangers spokeswoman said on Wednesday.The 28-year-old was rushed to a Manhattan hospital several hours after the Rangers lost a Stanley Cup playoff game against the Penguins at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers said it was not immediately clear what caused the injury but Avery's mother told the Toronto Sun he was hurt in the first period when colliding with a Penguins defenseman.Avery "will be sidelined for the remainder of the season", the team said in a statement. "He is expected to make a full recovery during the off-season."
The New York Daily News said Avery's team mates were expected to visit him in the hospital on Wednesday.During the 2005-2006 season, the Canadian-born player led the league in penalty minutes.
Mavericks Fire Johnson After Early Playoff Exit
Avery Johnson was fired by the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, and Mike D’Antoni clung loosely to his job in Phoenix — their fates underscoring that success is no guarantee of security for N.B.A. head coaches.
The Mavericks fired Johnson a day after his team was eliminated from the playoffs by the New Orleans Hornets. The Suns also lost their first-round series, to the San Antonio Spurs, amid widespread reports that D’Antoni would be replaced.
Johnson guided the Mavericks to the finals two years ago and compiled a 194-70 record (.735) in three-plus seasons. D’Antoni has a 232-96 record (.707) with the Suns, who advanced to the Western Conference finals in 2005 and 2006.
The dismissal of Johnson and the probable departure of D’Antoni could make this one of the most tumultuous years ever for N.B.A. coaches. Four others have been fired: Scott Skiles in Chicago, Larry Krystkowiak in Milwaukee, Isiah Thomas in New York and Sam Vincent in Charlotte. In addition, Pat Riley stepped down in Miami and handed the reins to Eric Spoelstra.

entertainment news

Miley Still Working for the Mouse
Miley Cyrus is ready for another, more age-appropriate close-up.
Just a few days after her Vanity Fair photo flap exploded to epic proportions—and a few days after rumors swirled that Disney would be keeping a closer watch over the Mouse House moneymaker—the tween queen is getting ready to return to the spotlight, prepping to make her first postscandal public appearance at a concert this weekend.
E! News has confirmed that the 15-year-old, who has been working in Nashville this week on her upcoming Hannah Montana movie, will go forward as planned with a special concert set to take place at (where else?) the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando on Saturday.
Cyrus was definitely not in a chatty mood when she was corned by a camera crew in a Target parking lot.
Asked how she was holding up, Cyrus simply said, "Good, thank you."
When the questions turned to her Annie Leibovitz snaps, however, Cyrus issued a "no comment."
Meanwhile, though the concert is getting filmed this weekend, the singing spot won't be televised until this summer, when it will air as part of the cable network's Disney Channel Games, a competition series which, in addition to Cyrus, will feature appearances from fellow homegrown network talent the Jonas Brothers, the Cheetah Girls' Sabrina Bryan, Adrienne Bailon and Kiely Williams and Dylan and Cole Sprouse.
As far as Cyrus' participation continuing as scheduled, Disney spokeswoman Brenda Kelly Grant told E! News that "nothing has changed on our production."
The weekend concert will also help to ease Cyrus back into a bigger spotlight, which she will no doubt feel when she returns to an even bigger stage May 10, when she is scheduled to perform at KIIS-FM's annual Wango Tango concert in Orange County.
David Blaine Sets Breath-Holding Record
David Blaine broke the Guinness world record for breath-holding today by staying underwater for 17 minutes and 4 seconds on “The Oprah Winfrey Program.”
It was quite a feat, particularly considering what “Oprah” did to his heart. When I watched him train in a swimming pool on Grand Cayman Island by doing a 16:09 breath hold, starting w his heart rate went down to 46 beats per minute right away and then stayed fairly low (sometimes up to the 60s) throughout. But he told me was concerned he’d have a tougher time slowing his heart on television, and sure enough, he did.
After he filled his lungs with pure oxygen, his heart rate remained at 130 during the second minute of the breath-hold and then stayed above 100 for much of the time. It was 124 in the 15th minute. The higher the heart rate, the more quickly oxygen is consumed, and the more painful the carbon dioxide buildup. But apparently his CO2 tolerance training (repeated breath holds every morning) was just enough to compensate. In the last minute his heart rate became erratic and he got concerned enough to start rising from the bottom of the water-filled sphere, but he kept his head underewater more than a half minute longer than the old record of 16:32.
“I really thought I was not going to make it,” he told me afterwards. “At minute 12 I felt the pain coming, and by minute 14 it was overwhelming. This was a whole other level of pain. I still feel as if somebody hit me in the stomach with the hardest punch they could.”
Besides the pressure of performing on television, he explained, there were a couple of other unexpected distractions working in the sphere: A heart-rate monitor happened to be close enough to his so that he heard its beeping, and he had to keep his feet locked in holds at the bottom of the sphere — instead of just floating freely, as he’d done in the pool on Grand Cayman. Back then he’d said he was so relaxed he “wasn’t even there” during most of the breath-hold. But when he emerged from the sphere today, he told Ms. Winfrey, “I was pretty much here the whole time.”
When she asked him what he’d been thinking about, he replied, “You.”
Mr. Blaine asked me to send his thanks to the Lab readers who encouraged him. And before today’s breath-hold, he offered an answer to readers’ questions about how and why he set out to break the world record:.
I have been fascinated by the idea of long breath-holds since I was just 5 years old. Houdini claiming to be so tough underwaterand living up to his claim inspired me as well. As a boy on the YMCA swim team in Park Slope in Brooklyn at age 5, I would win by not breathing across the length of the pool. At age 11 I was up to 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Back then I would fight to hold my breath for so long.
It wasn’t until I met Kirk Krack, my freediving coach, that taught me to relax into it. The stillness changes everything. It is much easier to go further when the condition is accepted instead of opposed. My next challenge was to control the heart rate. I found out that by doing good cardio training and not eating foods for the sake of indulgence but rather for the nutritional value the body functions like a well maintained machine.
I also use breathing techniques to control feelings, but the absence is the exact opposite. In order to go without breathing for extended periods, it is important to remove all thought as much as possible. That feeling cannot be described very well, other than I try to imagine going into the abyss of the ocean as I begin the breath hold and then everything fades slowly away.
Well, that wasn’t so easy to do today, but Mr. Blaine told me was more than satisfied with the results: “It’s better when you have to fight, anyway.”

Lose 10 pounds in a week!

Two things that make people feel sick -- toxicity and inflammation -- also make us fat.
Eliminate Toxins and Stress
There is a connection between what you eat, how you live life and how you feel. For example, our immune system fights stress and toxins created by our environment and diet. When this system is overwhelmed, it can damage our metabolism and lead to weight gain and certain diseases.
Get Rid of Bad Foods
Cool inflammation by quitting toxic foods and eating an allergy-free diet for just seven days. Avoid foods with refined sugar and flour, trans fats, hormones and pesticides, as well as gluten, dairy, eggs, corn and yeast.
Add Good Foods
Your body thrives on whole foods -- fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains and beans, nuts and seeds and lean animal proteins. It's that simple! Organics have higher levels of nutrients along with weight- and disease-fighting chemicals called phytonutrients.
The phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals in vegetable broth will help keep your body pH balanced, and boost detoxification. Flax seeds, fiber, magnesium citrate and vitamin C can keep your bowels clear and prevent toxins from getting absorbed back into your body.
Cool Inflammation
Reduce inflammation with a low allergy protein shake made with berries and omega-3 fat-containing flax and borage oil. For the protein powder, go to your local health food store and ask for one with rice protein.
While you can't entirely eliminate stress, you can try a wonderful antidote. Draw a hot bath and sprinkle in Epsom salt, baking soda and lavender oil to help lower stress hormone levels. Soak for 20 minutes before bed.
Take time each day to reflect on what works and what doesn't in your life. Notice how changing your diet and lifestyle for just one week makes you feel. Now write it down and connect the dots between your diet, your behavior and how you feel.
Enhance Your Success
Adding a few supplements daily can boost your results. Seek out a good multivitamin, omega-3 fish oil capsule, calcium/magnesium/vitamin D3 combo and a probiotic. Combine that with 30 minutes of walking or some simple relaxation exercises.
Make the Changes Permanent
Continue eating whole foods, avoid processed foods and other toxins, and make a habit out of relaxing and reflecting. You can gradually add gluten, dairy, yeast, eggs and corn, but pay attention to which foods cause you problems and avoid them for good.
Top Health Food Shockers
Most granola bars are simply candy bars in disguise, with very little fiber, lots of processed carbs, and a ton of sugar. You're better off making your own healthier version from raw oats, chopped almonds, coconut flakes, raisins and a dollop of raw organic honey.
Egg-White Omelettes
No yolks in your omelettes? That's just utterly unnecessary. The yolk contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are crucial for eye health. Egg yolks are also an important source of phosphatidylcholine, a nutrient that boosts brain health. Worried about your cholesterol levels? Consider this: Half the fat in the yolk isn't even saturated.
Farm-Raised Salmon
You'd think eating penned salmon would be the healthier way to go, but the farm-raised fish are pumped full of antibiotics and are lower in nutritional value than their wild relatives. In addition, wild salmon get their red color from an antioxidant in their natural food source, krill. Farmed salmon get their color from dye.
Supermarket Cereal
Most supermarket cereals are fiber lightweights and are also loaded with sugar. The best cereals are old-fashioned oatmeal, and a few standouts like Fiber One and All-Bran. Check the labels and choose cereals that have fewer than 5 grams of sugar and more than 5 grams of fiber per serving.
Frozen Yogurt
The only thing fro-yo has in common with real yogurt (the plain, non-frozen kind) is that they're both white. The frozen stuff doesn't have live cultures, which help maintain digestive health and the nonfat varieties are a mix of chemicals and artificial sweeteners. You're better off with a serving of organic ice cream.
Canola Oil
Along with olive oil, canola oil seems like a healthy standout. But conventional canola oil goes through a caustic refining process that creates some trans fats. Unless it's cold-pressed and organic, stay away.
Apple Juice
It's sweet, refreshing and a favorite among kids. But most apple juice is nothing more than sugar water with apple flavoring. One cup of apple juice has no fiber, 117 calories and 27 grams of sugar. And most people consume way more than a cup at a time. Stick to fiber-rich apples and skip the juice.

Officials Say Sect Kids Had Broken Bones

Texas officials told legislators Wednesday that they're investigating the possible sexual abuse of some young boys taken from a polygamist sect's ranch, as well as broken bones among other children.
The disclosures are the first suggestions that anyone other than teenage girls may have been sexually or physically abused at the ranch run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a renegade Mormon sect.
In written and oral testimony provided to lawmakers Wednesday, officials with the state Department of Family and Protective Services said interviews and journal entries suggested that boys may have been sexually abused.
Earlier, the department's commissioner, Carey Cockerell, told lawmakers that at least 41 children, some of them "very young," have evidence of broken bones.
The state has custody of 464 children from the Yearning For Zion Ranch in the west Texas prairie town of Eldorado, including a baby born to a teen mother Tuesday.
Although Cockerell didn't elaborate on the broken bones, a report by his department's Child Protective Services division said medical exams and interviews indicated "that at least 41 children have had broken bones in the past."
"We do not have X-rays or complete medical information on many children so it is too early to draw any conclusions based on this information, but it is cause for concern and something we'll continue to examine," the CPS report said.
The state Senate Health and Human Services Committee's hearing on Texas' foster care system had been planned for Wednesday before the April 3 raid on the ranch. But for the morning part of the hearing, the polygamous sect took center stage.
The state has been criticized for taking all the children from the ranch, including infants and boys, on the theory that the girls may be abused when they are teens.
State authorities raided the ranch in search of evidence of underage girls being forced into polygamous marriages. Since then, the state won temporary custody of the children, now scattered around the state in group foster-care facilities.
FLDS spokesman Rod Parker called Cockerell's testimony "a deliberate effort to mislead the public."
Although the ranch has a small medical facility, Parker said any broken bones would have been treated away from the ranch and that doctors are required to report suspected abuse.
Parker said state officials were "trying to politically inoculate themselves from the consequences of this horrible tragedy."
Cockerell told a legislative committee the investigation has been difficult because members of the church have refused to cooperate.
Mothers who stayed with their children for two weeks after the raid launched a coordinated effort to stymie investigators, coaching their children to not answer questions, Cockerell said.
He said the women and children would gather into apparent family units, with the children referring to several women as their mother, then the "women switched children in these family units ... making it difficult."
"When asked, women and children would change their names and ages," he said.
The CPS report also said authorities "tried to use bracelets to identify children, but the women and children removed the bracelets or rubbed the wording off them."
The report also said mothers at first refused to let the children undergo basic health screenings and that "many" teen girls declined to take pregnancy tests.
On Monday, CPS announced that almost 60 percent of the underage girls living on the Eldorado ranch are pregnant or already have children.
Under Texas law, children under the age of 17 generally cannot consent to sex with an adult. A girl can get married with parental permission at 16, but none of the sect's girls is believed to have had a legal marriage under state law.
Church officials have denied that any children were abused at the ranch and say the state's actions are a form of religious persecution. They also dispute the count of teen mothers, saying at least some are likely adults.

Islanders File Suit Over Term 'Lesbian'
A Greek court has been asked to draw the line between the natives of the Aegean Sea island of Lesbos and the world's gay women.
Three islanders from Lesbos - home of the ancient poet Sappho, who praised love between women - have taken a gay rights group to court for using the word lesbian in its name.
One of the plaintiffs said Wednesday that the name of the association, Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece, "insults the identity" of the people of Lesbos, who are also known as Lesbians.
"My sister can't say she is a Lesbian," said Dimitris Lambrou. "Our geographical designation has been usurped by certain ladies who have no connection whatsoever with Lesbos," he said.
The three plaintiffs are seeking to have the group barred from using "lesbian" in its name and filed a lawsuit on April 10. The other two plaintiffs are women.
Also called Mytilene, after its capital, Lesbos is famed as the birthplace of Sappho. The island is a favored holiday destination for gay women, particularly the lyric poet's reputed home town of Eressos.
"This is not an aggressive act against gay women," Lambrou said. "Let them visit Lesbos and get married and whatever they like. We just want (the group) to remove the word lesbian from their title."
He said the plaintiffs targeted the group because it is the only officially registered gay group in Greece to use the word lesbian in its name. The case will be heard in an Athens court on June 10.
Sappho lived from the late 7th to the early 6th century B.C. and is considered one of the greatest poets of antiquity. Many of her poems, written in the first person and intended to be accompanied by music, contain passionate references to love for other women.
Lambrou said the word lesbian has only been linked with gay women in the past few decades. "But we have been Lesbians for thousands of years," said Lambrou, who publishes a small magazine on ancient Greek religion and technology that frequently criticizes the Christian Church.
Very little is known of Sappho's life. According to some ancient accounts, she was an aristocrat who married a rich merchant and had a daughter with him. One tradition says that she killed herself by jumping off a cliff over an unhappy love affair.
Lambrou says Sappho was not gay. "But even if we assume she was, how can 250,000 people of Lesbian descent - including women - be considered homosexual?"
The Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece could not be reached for comment.

Monday, April 28, 2008

From Phoenix to foul play, lots of playoff surprises so far

Discord in Denver ... among the Lakers, too
We'll start with the one series that still could be a sweep. The surprise came after Denver's 102-84 loss to the Lakers in Saturday's Game 3, when a dejected Carmelo Anthony accused coach George Karl of quitting. That set talk radio and bloggers across Colorado buzzing, but Sunday at the Nuggets' practice all we got was another weather event -- the blizzard of "no comments" from Denver's players on Melo's mutterings.
However, the low-level feud between Anthony and Karl points out an odd similarity between the opposing coaches in this series. They're probably the two coaches in the league who are most comfortable with, shall we say, creative tension on the set. At times, they seem to thrive on it. For instance, as well as the Lakers are playing, Jackson used Sunday's media session as an opportunity to call out forward Vladimir Radmanovic for a second straight day.
Before Game 3, Jackson responded to a question about Luke Walton by throwing in the line, "I think Vlade needs to improve on his defense."
It was classic Jackson -- chipping in a completely unsolicited critique of a player with whom he's upset. Last year he did it before a game in Atlanta, when he tore apart Andrew Bynum for what he considered a poor work ethic; based on what happened afterward, it appears he got Bynum's attention.
Anyway, Jackson was at it again after Radmanovic shot 2-for-9 and had five points in 24 impact-free minutes Saturday.
"I told him after the game that as a coach you hate to see talented players not play up to their ability, and it's my job to try and get you to play up to your ability. And Vlade, in his normal way, said, 'We'll talk about it in our exit meetings at the end of the season.'
"Which just tells me where his head is a lot of the time. But he does know he can play better and has an opportunity to play better. Right now Luke [Walton]'s playing so well that it hasn't hurt us."
Indeed, with the obvious exception of Kobe Bryant, Walton has been the Lakers' best player in this series. He's averaging 16.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the three games while shooting a sizzling 73.1 percent and playing commendable defense on Anthony.
Riddled with foot and ankle problems for much of the year, Walton had a rough regular season and lost his starting spot to Radmanovic. He said he started feeling better after the All-Star break, and that the greater time between games in the postseason has further aided him.
"He gives up some pounds and some weight, but he's done a good job on [Anthony]," said Jackson. "His foot [and] his ankle that have bothered him in the past are much better. He's got lift, he's popping right up on his shot, which is important."
But if you're looking for Walton to take over for Radmanovic, it's not in Jackson's plans.
"Luke's done a great job giving us a lift we need off the bench, and I think that's important," said Jackson. "[But] Vlade, when he plays the level that he's capable of playing, he can be a decision-maker in the ballgame; he can deliver knockout blows."
So chalk that up as another surprise -- that the Lakers aren't eyeing a lineup change even with Walton significantly outperforming the starter.
The Hawks Won a Game … And There Were Witnesses!
When you're talking about playoff surprises, Atlanta's handling Boston so easily in Game 3 certainly cracks the list. Only a few people I know picked the Hawks to make it even a five-game series, much less get their win in such easy fashion against a team that won 29 more games and beat them by double figures in all three regular-season meetings.
Even better, the environment at Philips Arena actually resembled a genuine home-court advantage -- you know, just like all the other teams have. My spies in the ATL confirmed what I suspected on TV: It was the Hawks' most raucous crowd all season. Let's see if they can give an encore performance tonight.
On the court, the key in Game 3 was that Good Josh showed up. When he's engaged in the game and getting opportunities in transition, Josh Smith is hell on wheels. When he's forced into a dull half-court game, his concentration tends to wander, and he forces long jumpers.
As we saw, he got plenty of chances to run on Saturday and put some crazy exclamation points on a couple of them. Few power forwards are better at taking their own board and pushing it up to create chances for themselves or others. (He had six assists.)
But on the other side, Boston didn't defend with nearly the intensity to which we've become accustomed. One expects that will be rectified on Monday night, and that the Celtics will take care of business in five.
While we're talking about the Hawks, let's also mention the least surprising event of the first round so far: The shot-clock problems in Philips Arena during Game 3. In the hands of a less experienced PA announcer, having him call out the shot clock during the second half of a playoff game might result in disaster. But fortunately, Ryan Cameron gets to practice his technique multiple times every year during the arena's myriad clock malfunctions.
The disappearance of Josh Howard
When I looked at these teams before the series, it seemed as close as you could get to a dead-even matchup, and the Hornets' home-court advantage was the main reason I picked them in seven.
It hasn't worked out that way, even though Dirk Nowitzki has had a very strong series. But he isn't getting enough help, thanks mainly to Josh Howard's complete and total implosion at the offensive end. Forget this week's controversy about his confession that he smoked marijuana in the offseason -- it's his game that's gone to pot.
In the series, he's mustered just 12.8 points and 6.5 boards while shooting a dismal 15-for-58 (25.9 percent). By Sunday night's Game 4, the Hornets were leaving him wide open for jumpers throughout the second half, but he clanked all of them.
It's not like he's got Michael Cooper on him either. His primary defenders have been Peja Stojakovic and Bonzi Wells, neither of whom is known for putting the clamps on opponents. While Peja's D probably is a little underrated, Howard faced plenty of good defenders this season and averaged 19.9 points and 7.0 boards on 45.5 percent shooting.
As a result of his struggles, a position where Dallas expected to have a sizable advantage has become a surprising plus for the Hornets. And not surprisingly, the unexpected minus at the small forward spot also has put the Mavs at a minus in the games department, 3-1.

Cyrus Apologizes for Vanity Fair Photos

Teen sensation Miley Cyrus has issued an apology after Vanity Fair put a semi-naked photo of the star on its front cover, insisting she is "embarrassed" by the images.
The 15-year-old posed for the Vanity Fair magazine shoot wearing nothing but a blanket wrapped around her chest.
But the pictures, taken by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz, have caused outrage, just a week after candid snaps of the singer/actress posing provocatively in lingerie were leaked on the Internet.
And Cyrus now admits she regrets going ahead with the magazine shoot.
She says, "For Vanity Fair, I was so honored and thrilled to work with Annie. I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be 'artistic' and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed.
"I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about."
Speaking about the other set of photographs which ended up on the Web, she says, "The pictures of me on the Internet were silly, inappropriate shots.
"I hope (my fans) understand that along the way I am going to make mistakes and I am not perfect. I never intended for any of this to happen and I am truly sorry if I have disappointed anyone.
"Most of all, I have let myself down."
Disney Channel bosses have also condemned the Vanity Fair images, accusing the publication of creating "a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines."
But Vanity Fair has defended the shoot, insisting the images were given the green light by the star, her parents and her management.
A spokesman tells Us Weekly magazine, "Miley's parents and/or minders were on the set all day.
"Since the photo was taken digitally, they saw it on the shoot and everyone thought it was a beautiful and natural portrait of Miley."

Spitzer prostitute sues 'Girls Gone Wild' for $10 million
The call girl who triggered the downfall of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer sued the founder of the racy "Girls Gone Wild" videos today for $10 million, claiming her image and name are being exploited.
Ashley Alexandra Dupre also contended in the lawsuit that she was only 17 -- too young to sign legally binding contracts -- and drunk on spring break in 2003 when she agreed to be filmed for "Girls Gone Wild" in Miami Beach.
Dupre "did not understand the magnitude of her actions, nor that her image and likeness would be displayed in videos and DVDs," says the lawsuit filed by Miami attorney Richard C. Wolfe.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Miami names as defendants "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis, two of his companies and a man purportedly involved in creation of two Internet sites the lawsuit contends improperly use Dupre to sell DVDs and other products.
Francis, 35, has built a soft porn empire filming and marketing videos of young women exposing their breasts and being shown in other sexually provocative situations often at public events such as Mardi Gras or beach spring break locales.
Dupre, who lived in Beachwood, N.J., while growing up, got famous in March as the high-priced call girl named "Kristen" who was hired by Spitzer for at least one tryst at a posh Washington hotel. Spitzer, known as "Client 9" in court documents, resigned as New York governor a few days after the scandal broke.
Francis made a public $1 million offer for Dupre to appear in a "Girls Gone Wild" video and go on a promotional tour, then rescinded the offer after her archival footage from 2003 surfaced. Dupre's lawyer also warned she was only 17 when the video was shot, not 18 as Francis claimed.
Francis said in March that Dupre spent a week on a "Girls Gone Wild" bus and made seven full-length tapes after signing release papers. He also said he bought her a bus ticket home to North Carolina.
A spokesman for Francis had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims Dupre is the victim of unfair trade practices, false advertising and unauthorized use of her likeness.
Francis is no stranger to legal problems in Florida. He spent a year in jail and was released in March after pleading no contest to charges of child abuse and prostitution charges for filming underage girls in the Panhandle beach town of Panama City. Four women who claim they were 17 or under when filmed have filed civil lawsuits there against Francis.
Francis also faces federal tax evasion charges in California. Prosecutors say companies controlled by Francis claimed more than $20 million in phony deductions in 2002 and 2003 and that Francis used offshore accounts to conceal income.
Bomb scare at Bon Jovi gig
Bon Jovi was forced to delay a concert in Florida on Saturday (April 26) by three hours because of a bomb scare.
Local police received a telephoned bomb threat shortly before the concert was due to begin at the BankAtlantic Centerin Sunrise.
According to authorities, the caller claimed that two bombs would go off during the band’s show.
The building was immediately evacuated to allow police sniffer dogs to search the venue for signs of anything suspicious.
Concertgoers were eventually allowed back in to the venue shortly before 9pm after police had given the all-clear.

Brand Names: Bet you didn't know...

How Converse Got Its Name
In 1908, while in his late 30s, Marquis M. Converse fell down a flight of steps in Malden, Massachusetts. The incident gave him the idea of rubber soled shoes, to prevent one from slipping. A year later, Marquis founded Converse and began producing rubbed-soled footwear for men, women, and children.
How Arby's Got Its Name
When foodservice veterans Leroy and Forrest Raffel opened the first Arby’s in Boardman, Ohio on July 23, 1964, customers enjoyed roast beef sandwiches, potato chips, and Texas-sized iced teas. To name their new venture, the brothers decided on Arby’s, which stands for R.B., the initials of the Raffel Brothers -- although many suspect the R.B. stands for roast beef.
How Taco Bell Got Its Name
Glen Bell was 23 when he left the Marine Corps. in 1946 and came home to San Bernardino, Calif. He would own a hot dog stand, three Taco Tia stands and several El Tacos restaurants, before building the first Taco Bell in Downey, Calif. in 1962.
The Baskin-Robbins Name
As a teen, Irvine Robbins worked in his father's ice cream store. During World War II, Burton Baskin, was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and produced ice cream for his fellow troops. When the war was over, they started out in separate ventures and by 1948, they had six store between them. In 1953, their combined ice cream chain dropped their separate identities and became Baskin-Robbins.
How Folgers Got Its Name
In 1850, an entrepreneur was looking for a carpenter to build his first mill in San Francisco, which he called The Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills. James A. Folger, only 16-years-old, but skilled in the trade of carpentry, was hired. In 1865, James became a full partner of The Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills. In 1872, James bought out the other partners, renaming the company J. A. Folger & Co.
How adidas Got Its Name
Adolf "Adi" Dassler was the man who gave adidas its name. Inspired by a single idea when he made his first shoes in 1920, at the age of just 20. His vision was to provide every athlete with the best footwear for his respective discipline. In 1948 he introduced adidas as the company name, a combination of his own first and last name. One year later he registered the ... unmistakable Three Stripes.
How Heineken Got Its Name
Gerard Adriaan Heineken was only 22 in 1864 when he bought the largest regional brewery, "The Haystack." His innovation was to change from traditional top fermentation to bottom fermentation, producing a clearer, purer brew. He changed the name to Heineken in 1873. But it wasn't until 1971 that Alfred "Freddy" Heineken inherited the company and took the Dutch market leader international, soon becoming one of the world's best-known brands of beer.
The MAX Factor Name
MAX Factor & Co. was founded by Max Factor, Sr., who began as a makeup man for the Royal Ballet in Czarist Russia. As a young man in 1904, he emigrated from his native country to New York. Later that same year, he moved to St. Louis, Mo., where he opened a small perfume, makeup and hair goods concession at the St. Louis World's Fair. Four years later, the family moved to Los Angeles, Calif., where Max Factor opened his first store in the center of the city's theatrical district.
How Keebler Got Its Name
It all began when Godfrey Keebler opened a neighborhood bakery in Philadelphia in 1853. After lots of success, Keebler became a part of the United Biscuit Company of America in 1926 and in 1966, Keebler Company became the official corporate name and Keebler the single brand name for all products. Once the Keebler brand was formed, company icons soon followed. Ernie Keebler and the Elves became company symbols and represented snacks baked in the Hollow Tree.
How Macy's Got Its Name
After several failed retail ventures, Rowland Hussey Macy's, determination and ingenuity paid off at the age of 36, with the launch of R.H. Macy & Co. Founded in 1877, Macy’s was a dry good store in New York City. Macy adopted a red star as his symbol of success, dating back to his days as a sailor.
The Auntie Anne's Name
Anne Beiler began twisting pretzels in 1987 at a Maryland farmer's market, to support her husband Jonas' vision to open a free community counseling. The following February, Anne and Jonas purchased their own stand at another farmer's market in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, where they sold a variety of snacks, including hand-rolled soft pretzels. The following year, Anne launched Auntie Anne's, Inc.
How Chevrolet Got Its Name
In the early 20th century, new automobile companies set up shop by the dozens, often on a wing (or a wheel) and a prayer. One of these was founded in 1911 by William C. Durant and took its name from famed Buick racing driver Louis Chevrolet. When Durant became the president of General Motors in 1916, it wasn't long before he started bringing Chevrolet assets on board, and by 1918, the entire company was part of GM, and would go on to become one of its flagship brands.
How LACOSTE Got Its Name
Rene Lacoste became a tennis legend when he and his teammates, stole the Davis Cup away from the Americans for the first time, in 1921. Lacoste became nicknamed "The Alligator" after news got out about a bet he'd made with his team captain over an alligator-skin suitcase. Taking the name to heart, Lacoste began wearing an embroidered crocodile on the blazer he wore on tennis courts. He later founded a company to manufacture the shirt, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Maybelline Name
In 1915, T.L. Williams created the Maybelline Company, a family-owned business. The company was named after his sister Maybel, from whom he originally received the idea of producing and selling an easy-to-use product to darken eyelashes.
The Mary Kay Name
After 25 years in direct sales, Mary Kay Ash resigned her position as a national training director when a man she had trained was promoted above her. In 1963, with nothing but her business plan, her experience, and $5,000 in savings, she founded Beauty by Mary Kay. It was founded not on the competitive rule but on the Golden Rule. It was a company, as Mary Kay Ash often said, "with heart."
The Tiffany & Co. Name
In 1837, Charles Lewis Tiffany and schoolmate John Young traveled to New York City with a dream of opening a store that would sell one-of-a-kind objects to the city's wealthiest citizens. While first day sales brought in four dollars and 98 cents, Tiffany's passion for elegant design and luxury goods eventually brought success and acclaim. Managing to obtain some of the French crown jewels for sale in 1887 also helped.
The Rolls-Royce Name
In 1884 Henry Royce's company, Royce Limited, was producing high quality electrical machines. After much success, Royce decided to move into the motorcar production business. In contrast, Charles Stuart Rolls was learning engineering at Cambridge and loved everything mechanical. Years later, these two entrepreneurs met and in December 1904, the two agreed to create the first Rolls-Royce motorcars.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

As income gap widens, recession fears grow

Incomes fell for poor and stagnated for middle-class families since late 1990s, making it tougher for them to weather economic downturn.
Poor and middle-class families are entering the recession in a precarious situation due in part to declining or stagnant income growth, a study released Wednesday has found.
Incomes, on average, have declined by 2.5% among the bottom fifth of families since the late 1990s, while inching up by just 1.3% for those in the middle fifth of households, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute, two liberal think tanks.
The wealthiest slice of Americans, however, saw their incomes rise by 9 percent.
The average income of the bottom fifth of families was $18,116; the middle fifth, $50,434; and the wealthiest fifth, $132,131.
Unlike what happened during the economic boom of the 1990s, lower- and middle-class families did not share in the prosperity of recent years, the report found. In fact, the United States hashad its longest jobless recovery and slowest rate of payroll growth during this decade.
"We're worried about the impact of the downturn on the families whose incomes haven't recovered from the last recession," said Jared Bernstein, Economic Policy Institute senior economist and co-author of the report.
Wages have not kept up with inflation, families have loaded up on debt and homeowners have seen the value of their largest asset decline, he said. The situation will only get worse during the economic downturn.
"Families are uniquely economically exposed to the costs of recession," he continued. "As we head into a recession, their incomes will take a further hit."
The income gap between the rich and the rest of the population is widening. In 22 states, the top fifth of families made more than seven times what the poorest fifth took home, according to the report. In the late 1980s, only one state - Louisiana - had such a spread. Meanwhile, in more than two-thirds of the country, the wealthiest saw their income grow more than twice as fast as the middle-class over the past two decades.
State governments, however, can step in and help mitigate this growing inequality and insecurity, said Elizabeth McNichol, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the report's co-author. For instance, they can extend the amount of time workers receive benefits during an economic downturn. Also, they can offer or improve support services, such as child care, health insurance and transportation services.
Governments can also put resources into public services and infrastructure projects, which will help create jobs and stimulate the economy, said James Galbraith, professor at the University of Texas at Austin and income gap specialist. The federal government may also have to funnel more money to the states so they can maintain services at a time when tax revenues may decline.
The study is based on U.S. Census Bureau income data that have been adjusted for inflation, the impact of federal taxes and cash value of government subsidies. It does not factor in capital gains or losses. It compares data from 2004 to 2006 with that of 1987 to 1989 and 1998 to 2000.

In unrelated news:
T.I. Banned From Speaking at Atlanta Schools
Looks like T.I. might have a harder time serving his community than expected. The rap star has been barred from speaking at two Atlanta area school districts due to recent gang activity.
The Grammy award-winning rapper entered a guilty plea to three weapons charges last month and must perform 1000-1500 hours of community service, which includes speaking to youth about the dangers of gangs and guns.
Cobb County officials insist the rapper has not been permanently banned, but admit that recent troubles within the schools make T.I.'s appearance untimely. On the other hand, Fulton County schools said T.I.'s ban is a direct result of his gun conviction.
Beyonce, Jay-Z File Marriage License
Beyonce and Jay-Z have yet to confirm their union, but reports claim the pair filed the marriage license obtained on April 1. According to Scarsdale Town Clerk Donna Conkling, the signed license was received on Friday and confirms that the couple tied the knot on April 4.
The law requires that a couple file their marriage license no more than five days after the actual wedding date, but Conkling said the license is expected to be processed with the state without any penalty.
The couple have remained silent about their nuptials while those around them spilled the beans. Mary J. Blige congratulated the newlyweds during her set at the Greensboro, North Carolina, stop of the Heart of the City tour. Pop sensation Rihanna later admitted to be "shocked" by news of the private affair.
McCain Calls Obama Insensitive to Poor
Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Sunday called Democratic rival Barack Obama insensitive to poor people and out of touch on economic issues.
The GOP nominee-in-waiting rapped his Democratic rival for opposing his idea to suspend the tax on fuel during the summer, a proposal that McCain believes will particularly help low-income people who usually have older cars that guzzle more gas.
"I noticed again today that Sen. Obama repeated his opposition to giving low-income Americans a tax break, a little bit of relief so they can travel a little further and a little longer, and maybe have a little bit of money left over to enjoy some other things in their lives," McCain said. "Obviously Sen. Obama does not understand that this would be a nice thing for Americans, and the special interests should not be dictating this policy."
The Arizona senator deflected questions about his record on the Bush administration's tax cuts — he initially opposed them but now supports extending them — by again criticizing Obama.
"Sen. Obama wants to raise the capital gains tax, which would have a direct effect on 100 million Americans," McCain said. "That means he has no understanding of the economy and that he is totally insensitive to the hopes and dreams and ambitions of 100 million Americans who will be affected by his almost doubling of the capital gains tax."
In an interview with "Fox News Sunday," Obama said McCain "not only wants to continue some of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and corporations, he actually wants to extend them, and he hasn't told us really how he's going to pay for them. It is irresponsible. And the irony is he said it was irresponsible."
Obama also said he would not raise the capital gains tax higher than it was under President Reagan and added, "I'm mindful that we've got to keep our capital gains tax to a point where we can actually get more revenue."

A Topless Photo Threatens a Major Disney Franchise

Fifteen years old, topless and wrapped in what appears to be a satin bedsheet in the June issue of Vanity Fair. Did Miley Cyrus, with the help of a controversy-courting magazine, just deliver a blow to the Walt Disney Company’s billion-dollar “Hannah Montana” franchise?
Some parents reacted with outrage over the weekend when the television program “Entertainment Tonight” began showing commercials promoting a scoop: Ms. Cyrus, the star of the wholesome Disney Channel blockbuster “Hannah Montana,” had posed topless, albeit with her chest covered, for the Vanity Fair photographer, Annie Leibovitz.
Screen grabs of the photo quickly popped up online, sparking a blogosphere debate. “Bonfire anyone?” wrote Lin Burress on her marriage and parenting blog, Telling It Like It Is, referring to the mountain of Hannah Montana retail items — makeup, shoes, clothes — in the marketplace. “Parents should be extremely concerned,” Ms. Burress said in an interview. “Very young girls look up to Miley Cyrus as a role model.”
It is doubtful that one photograph — especially one that is tame in the context of an Internet awash in nude photographs of other starlets — could dent the Hannah Montana machine, said several Wall Street analysts. Retail sales for the franchise are expected to total about $1 billion in 2008. A motion picture is in the works for 2009 and Ms. Cyrus signed a seven-figure book deal with the Disney Book Group last week.
But keeping a teenage entertainment franchise on track in an age when stars are monitored around the clock by bloggers and paparazzi is extremely difficult, even for a company with the experience of Disney. Executives are constantly battling to keep minor slipups from growing into full-blown controversies.
Last week, the public relations problem du jour was a green bra; photos online showing Ms. Cyrus pulling away her tank top to flash her underwear.
Ms. Cyrus and the “Hannah Montana” series have been championed as one of the few entertainment sanctuaries for children, complicating matters. Last month, Ms. Cyrus was chosen favorite television actress at Nickelodeon’s “Kids’ Choice Awards.”
More than 3 million viewers regularly watch “Hannah Montana,” most of them age 6 to 14.
Media outlets, in particular the rabid celebrity-focused tabloids, have been pushing to capture new angles of the ubiquitous Ms. Cyrus. After popping up everywhere from the Academy Awards to “American Idol” in recent months, the only photos of her that are assured of selling are controversial ones.
A Disney spokeswoman, Patti McTeague, faulted Vanity Fair for the photo. “Unfortunately, as the article suggests, a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines,” she said.
The article, written by Bruce Handy, seems to support that claim, quoting Ms. Cyrus as saying, “Annie took, like, a beautiful shot, and I thought it was really cool. That’s what she wanted me to do, and you can’t say no to Annie.” She also said of the photo, “I think it’s really artsy. It wasn’t in a skanky way.”
Ms. Cyrus had a different view in a prepared statement released on Sunday:
“I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.”
Beth Kseniak, a spokeswoman for both Vanity Fair magazine and Ms. Leibovitz said, “Miley’s parents and/or minders were on the set all day. Since the photo was taken digitally, they saw it on the shoot and everyone thought it was a beautiful and natural portrait of Miley.”
At the very least, Ms. Cyrus and her advisers do not seem to be on the same page as Disney. The company learned of the photo only when “Entertainment Tonight” started showing its promos.
Last week, Gary Marsh, the president of entertainment for Disney Channel Worldwide, was quoted in Portfolio magazine saying, “For Miley Cyrus to be a ‘good girl’ is now a business decision for her. Parents have invested in her a godliness. If she violates that trust, she won’t get it back.”

Wesley Snipes Gets 3 Years for Not Filing Tax Returns
A federal judge on Thursday sentenced the actor Wesley Snipes to three years in prison for willfully failing to file tax returns.
Mr. Snipes, who was convicted in February, received one year for each count, to be served consecutively, and an additional year of probation. The sentence was handed down by Judge William Terrell Hodges of Federal District Court.
Mr. Snipes, who apologized for his actions before the sentence was announced, showed no immediate reaction to the verdict.
Judge Hodges allowed Mr. Snipes and a co-defendant, Douglas Rosile, to remain free on bond until they were summoned by either the United States Marshals Service or the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The sentencing came at the end of a daylong hearing in which lawyers for Mr. Snipes argued for leniency while federal prosecutors sought the maximum penalty possible.
The case was the most prominent tax prosecution since the billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley was convicted of tax fraud in 1989. Mr. Snipes, who has built a worldwide following acting in films like the “Blade” vampire trilogy, must pay up to $17 million in back taxes plus penalties and interest.
In a prepared statement, Mr. Snipes said: “I’m very sorry for my mistakes. I acknowledge that I have failed myself and others.” But in the statement, which ran to nearly 10 minutes, Mr. Snipes never mentioned the words “tax” or “taxes.”
“He never stated he didn’t pay his taxes or show any remorse for it,” said Robert O’Neill, the acting United States attorney for the Middle District of Florida, the lead prosecutor on the case.
Mr. Snipes even tried to make a down payment on his taxes before sentencing; his legal team offered Judge Hodges three checks totaling $5 million.
Judge Hodges refused the checks, saying he did not have the authority to accept them. Prosecutors also declined to accept the checks. An Internal Revenue Service employee eventually accepted the checks on behalf of the Treasury Department.
Mr. Snipes’s legal team also questioned the validity of federal sentencing guidelines. At one point, one of his lawyers, Carmen Hernandez, described herself as “an expert on sentencing.”
Judge Hodges replied, “If I may be so bold, I’ve also had some experience with that.”
A jury found Mr. Snipes guilty on Feb. 1 of three misdemeanor counts of willfully failing to file tax returns, but acquitted him of felony conspiracy and tax fraud charges and three additional counts of failure to file.
The jury also convicted two co-defendants, Eddie Ray Kahn and Mr. Rosile, on felony charges.
Mr. Snipes was a member of American Rights Litigators, an organization founded by Mr. Kahn. Prosecutors have described that organization and its successor company, Guiding Light of God Ministries, as illegal tax-evasion schemes.
Mr. Rosile, a certified public accountant, prepared some tax returns, including Mr. Snipes’s, for the organization.
Judge Hodges sentenced Mr. Kahn to 10 years and Mr. Rosile to four and a half years.
Mr. Kahn, who represented himself throughout the trial and has consistently refused to recognize Judge Hodges’s authority, was defiant to the end.
“For the record, your honor, I don’t accept that,” Mr. Kahn said.
The judge responded, “You may not accept it, Mr. Kahn, but you will serve it.”
Mr. Rosile declined to comment after the sentencing. His lawyer, David Wilson, however, said the sentence was fair.
A member of Mr. Snipes’s legal team said they would appeal. “We were hoping for a complete acquittal,” the lawyer, Linda Moreno, said. “I have faith in the process, and I have faith in the jury system. We will appeal.”

Fleury shut outs Rangers as Penguins take 2-0 series lead

Jaromir Jagr hit the nail on the head.
"This was more our game than Game 1, but we still didn't win it," the New York Rangers star said after Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Indeed, the Rangers got the kind of game they wanted, slowing down the tempo and limiting the scoring chances against the high-flying Penguins. But they still lost. And that's got to be more than a little deflating for a Rangers team that usually comes out on top in these types of games.
"You know, we were better in terms of chances against ... but I think to a man they can still suggest to you they can play better and obviously we know we need to," said Rangers head coach Tom Renney.
"As much as it might have been a bit of an improvement tonight, our game is not where it needs to be in order to win the series."
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots for his second career playoff shutout as the Penguins took a 2-0 series lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Two days after staging one of the most entertaining games in the NHL playoffs this spring, a 5-4 win by the Penguins, Game 2 was a low-risk affair and some would say a bit of a yawner.
Jordan Staal scored on the power play in the second period and Adam Hall added the other into an empty net with 16.7 seconds remaining as the Pens prevailed despite playing in the kind of tight-checking affair the Rangers prefer.
"We take pride in our defensive side of the game as well," said Staal, who excelled once again on the penalty kill. "We can play on both sides of the puck. We know what it takes to win. If it's a tight game we'll play a tight game, and if it's an open it up game we can open it up as well."
Henrik Lundqvist was terrific in goal for the Rangers, stopping 30 shots, but what he can't do is score goals. The Rangers had two late-game power plays but still couldn't score.
"It was crazy," Staal said of killing off the last two power plays. "We just tried to win every battle we could and just tried to get it out. Great job by Flower, he played unbelievable. And our penalty kill has been pretty good so far and we want to keep doing it."
Game 3 goes Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden (CBC, 7 p.m. ET).
"We just have to go back home, and still feel confident that we can beat this team," said Lundqvist, whose team was 4-0-0 against Pittsburgh at home this season. "Go back to New York, worry about ourselves, get two wins."
It might a physical first period Tuesday night. Things got a little nasty at the buzzer Sunday, Rangers agitator Sean Avery trading punches with Penguins defenceman Hal Gill.
"He whacked Flower at the end of the game," Gill said.
Fleury shrugged off Avery's antics.
"I just got a couple of whacks behind my legs," said Fleury. "And then my defence came in and took care of him pretty good. It's no big deal, it's part of playoff hockey."
Jagr also did some verbal jousting with Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby in the first period.
"I'm not going to tell you what I said," said Jagr, before later adding, "I wished him good luck."
Crosby also didn't want to get shed light on it.
"Just ask him," said Crosby. "I wasn't the one talking."
Lundqvist, meanwhile, was the reason the game was scoreless in the first half of the game, stopping Marian Hossa on a breakaway in the first period and making a series of saves on the second period on Ryan Malone and Hossa. Pittsburgh finally broke through on a power play at 13:55, Staal taking a pass in front from Evgeni Malkin and deftly lifting a shot under the crossbar. Mellon Arena was rocking.
The Penguins shut it down defensively in the third, clogging up the neutral zone and limiting New York's chances.
"That's one thing about our team, we can do it both ways," said Staal. "We're great defensively, we're solid on both sides of the puck. This team really seems to find ways to win and that's what we did today."
Rangers forward Martin Straka thought he had the game tied with 4:14 remaining in the third, poking the puck under Fleury. But the whistle had gone before the puck went in and it was disallowed.
"I knew I had it underneath my pads and the guy kept swinging at my pads," said Fleury. "I was glad when the ref finally blew it."
The Rangers didn't argue the decision.
"I thought it was an accurate call," said Renney. "I don't know if it was a quick whistle or what. But if his intention was to blow the whistle and it hasn't crossed the goal line, that seems like that's fair."
Both teams complained loudly about the quality of the ice after Game 1. It was better in Game 2, thanks to the arrival Saturday of NHL ice guru Dan Craig.
"It was good," said Penguins head coach Michel Therrien.
"Yes it was a bit better," added Crosby. "As the game goes on it's probably tougher to maintain ... but I thought definitely for the first half there was definite improvement there."
Colorado Avalanche have question marks in net going into Game 3
Just two weeks ago, Jose Theodore sheepishly was fending off comparisons to Hall of Famer Patrick Roy that were coming at him fast and furious like so many shots from the Minnesota Wild.
Now, he's sick and the Colorado Avalanche are ailing.
Theodore has been pulled in each of the Avs' two losses in the Western Conference semifinal series at Detroit, where he surrendered eight goals in less than four periods.
Peter Budaj has stopped 19 of 20 shots in his place, leading to speculation that he'll get the start in Game 3 when the series shifts to Denver on Monday night.
"We'll talk about everything," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "But Jose has been our guy. Coming off what he went through is not easy. Budaj did a nice job in relief."
The Red Wings successfully switched their goaltenders midway through the first round of the playoffs, benching Dominik Hasek in Game 4 while losing their second straight in Nashville, and Chris Osgood has won all four starts since.
Avs forward Ian Laperriere suggested the solution in Colorado might not have anything to do with who's minding the net.
"I think we need to play better in front of our goalie," Laperriere said. "We're not playing as strong as we did in front of our goalie as we did in the first series."
Theodore said he'll be ready to start Game 3, "but it's not my call."
The banged-up Avalanche have more concerns than just their goaltender. Peter Forsberg didn't play in either of the first two games after the team said he aggravated a strained groin in the skatearound before Game 1.
"He knows his body and he said he was unable to go," Quenneville said after Game 2. "He's made a real impact since he's been there. He gives the opposition a lot to think about. We think he's pretty close."
Detroit coach Mike Babcock is counting on Colorado coming back at full strength in Denver.
"Forsberg will be back. Theodore is sick. He'll be back, and he'll be better," Babcock said.
That's part of his message about not relaxing with a 2-0 lead like the Red Wings did in the first round.
"All we have to do is go back to the last series. We were in the same scenario, and we went to Nashville and didn't win a game (until Game 6)," Babcock said.
With Forsberg out and watching and Theodore sick and struggling, nobody has capitalized more than Johan Franzen, who had two goals in Detroit's series-opening 4-3 win and scored three times in the Red Wings' 5-1 victory Saturday night.
To get back into this series, the Avalanche are going to have to figure out a way to stop the "Mule."
"He's got a hot stick right now," Quenneville said. "Everything he touches seems to be going in. We have to be a little more tighter to him."
A return to stellar play in net, be it from Theodore or Budaj, along with Forsberg's return to the ice would help the Avalanche make a series of it.
"I'm pretty sure that, unless Forsberg's leg's gonna fall off, he'll probably be in there for Game 3," Detroit enforcer Darren McCarty said. "And they're a veteran team. They're well-coached and they've got guys that have been in different situations like this before. It's not like they're a young team, so they can draw on a lot of experience.
"And we have to draw on the experience of being in this position in the last round. We've been in this position against Colorado before, a lot of us."
Colorado trailed Detroit 2-0 in 1999 before winning four straight.

Woman Says Father Put Her in Dungeon

An Austrian man has been arrested after a woman said she was abused and kept prisoner by her father for 24 years, bearing him seven children, Austrian police said on Sunday.
Police, who were still trying to piece together details of the case, identified the woman as 42-year-old Elisabeth F.
They said she told authorities her father Josef, who had abused her since she was 11, had lured her into the basement of the block where the family lived in Amstetten in 1984, and drugged and handcuffed her before locking her up in a windowless dungeon.
It was assumed she had disappeared voluntarily when her parents received a letter from her saying they should not search for her.
Police said Josef was in custody but refused to speak about the allegations. His wife Rosemarie had been unaware of what had happened.
Elisabeth gave birth to seven children, one of whom died shortly after being born, according to police.
They said three of her younger children were each left in the house, the first accompanied by a letter saying Elisabeth was unable to care for the baby herself. All were taken in by Josef and his wife as foster or adopted children.
"She had been abused continuously during the 24-year-long imprisonment," the statement said. "This led to six children."
The two oldest children, aged 18 and 19, as well as the youngest aged 5 had been locked up with their mother since birth and had never seen sunlight or received any education, police said at a news conference on Sunday.
The case only came to light when the oldest child became seriously ill and was taken to hospital in Amstetten.
"A 19-year-old girl was dropped off at the Amstetten hospital last weekend," a police spokesman said. "The girl is seriously ill and is fighting for her life."
Doctors appealed the girl's mother, who at that time was believed to have disappeared, to come forward to provide more details about the daughter's medical history.
Josef then brought Elisabeth and her remaining two children out of the dungeon, telling his wife that their "missing" daughter had chosen to return home, police said.
After questioning and assurances that she would have no further contact with her father, Elisabeth agreed to make a "comprehensive statement,"" they added.
Rosemarie, as well as Elisabeth and her children were receiving psychological counseling.
DNA samples of all those involved were taken and would be analyzed, police added.
The case is reminiscent of that of Austrian Natascha Kampusch, who spent eight year locked up in a windowless cell before dashing to freedom in August 2006.

Crash Lands F1 Driver in Hospital
McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen was taken to the hospital by helicopter after a high-speed crash at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.
McLaren said Kovalainen complained of neck and head pain but was in stable condition.
Kovalainen's front-left tire exploded and he crashed into a wall of tires on a bend during the 22nd lap of the Formula One race.
Stewards worked for about 10 minutes to free Kovalainen, who was initially taken to the track's medical center wearing a neck brace. He gave a thumbs-up sign to spectators.
A likely wheel rim failure caused the Finnish driver's tire to explode and his car to fly into the side wall at 150 mph.
Nearly the entire front end of Kovalainen's car was missing after the crash.
Teammate Lewis Hamilton said he didn't know who had crashed until team principal Ron Dennis came on the radio.
"I was a bit terrified for whoever it was. Ron came on the radio halfway through and said (Kovalainen) was OK, slightly concussed," said Hamilton, who finished third.
Hamilton wasn't rattled, despite having experienced a similar accident at Nurburgring last year.
"If you let those things get to your mind, then you're in trouble. It never crossed my mind once," he said.
Kimi Raikkonen wound up finishing first in the Spanish Grand Prix, leading Ferrari to a third straight Formula One win.
Raikkonen, the defending world champion, captured his 17th race after starting from the pole position. Teammate Felipe Massa, who was coming off a win at Bahrain three weeks ago, came second, 3.228 seconds behind.
"We didn't have the perfect start, but it was good enough to stay in front," Raikkonen said.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Remains of 11 WWII Airmen Identified

The remains of 11 airmen whose bomber disappeared during a World War II mission over the southwestern Pacific have been identified and are being returned for burial with military honors, Pentagon officials said Friday.
The men were members of the Army Air Forces 43rd Bomber Group, 63rd Bomber Squadron. They were listed as missing after their B-24 Liberator, the Swan, failed to return from a mission on Dec. 3, 1943.
The crew had departed from New Guinea on a reconnaissance mission over New Hanover Island in the Bismarck Sea. They reported dropping their bombs on target but, despite several radio contacts with their base, never returned.
The remains were recovered between 2004 and 2007 after members of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command located and excavated a site on New Guinea where wreckage had been spotted by native hunters four years earlier.
Scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA and dental records to positively identify some of the remains, the military said. Some of the crewmen were also identified through circumstantial evidence, including identification tags.
Kathleen Lund - sister of 2nd Lt. Ronald F. Ward of Cambridge, Mass. - said searchers found two of his rings at the crash site, including Ward's high school graduation ring.
"This is going to be such a closure for my family," said Lund, who lives near Boston.
The pilot, Capt. Robert Coleman, was an athletic instructor from Wilmington, Del., who enlisted in September 1941. Military officials said Coleman's family did not wish to comment.
In addition to Ward and Coleman, the airmen have been identified as 1st Lt. George E. Wallinder of San Antonio; 2nd Lt. Kenneth L. Cassidy of Worcester, Mass.; 2nd Lt. Irving Schechner of New York; Tech. Sgt. William L. Fraser of Maplewood, Mo.; Tech. Sgt. Paul Miecias of Piscataway, N.J.; Tech. Sgt. Robert C. Morgan of Flint, Mich.; Staff Sgt. Albert J. Caruso of Kearny, N.J.; Staff Sgt. Robert E. Frank of Plainfield, N.J.; and Pvt. Joseph Thompson of Compton, Calif.
A funeral for Morgan was held Thursday in Holly, Mich., followed by burial at Great Lakes National Cemetery.
Donald Morgan of Flushing, Mich., who was 11 when his brother died, described him as "a great guy" who wanted to go to college and study engineering.
Morgan said his brother's remains were identified through analysis of a piece of bone less than an inch long.
A group casket will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and be marked by a headstone with all 11 names, said Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office.
"In a larger group like this, there is always hundreds of skeletal fragments that could not be individually identified. Those are collected in a group and placed in a single casket," he said.

WWII Mysteries Solved
Scientists used DNA, dental records and other evidence like identification tags to identify the remains of a WWII bombing squadron that vanished over the Bismarck Sea in 1943. The remains were uncovered from 2004 through 2007 in wreckage found by hunters in New Guinea.
Hikers found this parachute wedged between rocks Aug. 15 in Kings Canyon National Park in California. With it were the remains of an airman who had been missing since late 1942. Last month, the military identified the remains as those of Ernest G. Munn, 23, of St. Clairsville, Ohio.
Munn was taking part in a training flight that vanished over this area of the Sierra Nevada mountain range near Fresno on Nov. 18, 1942. He was with two other cadets and a lieutenant in an AT-7 Navigator aircraft. Authorities searched for a men for a month after their disappearance but came up empty. In 1947, hikers found some of the plane's wreckage.
In October 2005, hikers found the first set of human remains associated with the flight. One of the bodies found was identified as that of Leo M. Mustonen.
There are some of the personal effects that recovered with Mustonen's body. They include clothing, coins and paper. The bodies of the two others on the flight have yet to be found, but search efforts are continuing.
Mustonen holds niece Mary Ruth Mustonen in an undated family photo. Another niece, Leane Mustonen Ross, said the family felt "absolute elation and joy," after his remains were identified. He was buried in his hometown of Brainerd, Minn.
In other news...Kelly Clarkson Shares Naked Tendencies
Kelly Clarkson has undergone several transformations in her relatively short career. Among them: Her hair, her clothing style and not to mention her musical style, as evidenced on her self-professed "edgier" sophomore album. Most recently, it seems Clarkson is ramping up her ongoing quest to shake her "good girl" image.
Us Weekly reports that the 26-year-old Grammy-winning singer loves to walk around her house naked. The kicker? It's not just an alone habit, like plucking your eyebrows or doing an facial mask. A source told the gossip rag that Clarkson prances around in the buff even when her home is "filled with strangers for photo shoots or fittings."
Kelly! That is just nasty!
Come on! At least keep some of your dignity!
Frustrated Fliers Turn Woe Into Web Hit
Pop songwriters tend to take on the epic subjects -- love and death and cosmic befuddlement. But it's the little things, the daily chores and tribulations, that take up most of our time and energy.
No one's writing songs about the rising cost of gas or commuter traffic. In London, however, headaches over the rampant problems at Heathrow Airport's new Terminal 5 have inspired two sufferers to address the issue in rhyme.
Tens of thousands of ordinary people have endured mass tedium at Heathrow, where the ballyhooed opening of British Airways' supposedly state-of-the-art Terminal 5 has been marked by a colossal failure of a sophisticated baggage-claim system, hundreds of canceled flights and excruciating delays.
Two transplanted New Zealanders saw the occasion as a ripe opportunity for comedy. 'The Terminal 5 Song,' their acoustic rap on the woeful debacle, has become a surprise web hit and may soon be released as a single. When Andy Baynes flew to Italy on British Airways for his wedding, the airline lost his suit and his bride's gown. Baynes, a better man than most, channeled his frustration into creativity.
The video he made with partner Tim Soong features the singer lamenting the loss of his bags, shaving in the terminal bathroom and parading around in his boxer-briefs and black socks. Fifteen hours in line, stuck in an elevator with an anonymous groper, and all he can get out of airline officials is a weak cheerio about the fact that the Queen herself cut the ribbon on the terminal.
"They needed a bit of a ribbing," Baynes said, "and we were happy to oblige."
Now if we can only get him to turn his attention to those impossible-to-open little bags of peanuts.
No. There should not be a song about the peanuts. It's a stupid idea.
Losing your posessions is important. Someone not being able to open a bag of peanuts on a plane is not an important matter. I am sorry. Get over it. And who is so bored and pathetic enough to even consider writing a song about airplane peanuts? Gosh! What has the world come to?!?! This is so stupid. And I might just rant about how stupid it is. But I will not. Why? Because I do not feel like it right now. So ha!
But what disturbs me is the thing with Kelly.
She should know that you don't just flaunt everything you've got to everyone you see. Like I said, keep some dignity! I doubt that she even has much dignity left. I mean, look at her. Who would want to be like...that? I definitely wouldn't. She is jsut messed. And she was on American Idol. I don't hate the show...well actually, i do. But anyways, the show is trash and who cares that she won? So does that make her queen of all low level trash? Yes. Because she was on the same show as Paula Abdul. And Paula is one crazy mess. I swear. She must be smoking something backstage. Her behavior is just not right. I am sure you know what I mean. I am bored of this right now. Uh...come back again!

Spurs on brink of NBA series win

Tony Parker, San Antonio guard, scored a career-high 41 points to guide his team to a 115-99 win over the Phoenix Suns, giving the Spurs a commanding 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven NBA Western Conference series.
San Antonio, defending NBA champions, can wrap up the series with victory in Game four in Phoenix on Sunday, and history shows that no NBA team has won a best-of-seven series after trailing 0-3.
"We possibly played our best game of the year," Gregg Popovich, Spurs coach, told reporters.
"Tony [Parker] looked aggressive and did a great job at both ends of the floor. He's just been phenomenal."
Tim Duncan added 23 points and 10 rebounds and Manu Ginobili scored 20 points for the Spurs, giving them their ninth post-season win in a row.
For the Suns, Shaquille O'Neal had 19 points and Steve Nash was held to seven as Phoenix fans booed the team at the end of the game.
"Whatever we tried to do they seemed like they had an answer and Tony Parker obviously was terrific," Mike D'Antoni, Suns coach, said.
Parker said a four-game sweep would be difficult.
"We're going to try our best," the Frenchman told reporters.
"But they will play like they have nothing to lose and we just have to give at least a good effort and play good basketball."
Also on Friday the Dallas Mavericks beat the New Orleans Hornets 97-87 largely thanks to Dirk Nowitzki's 36 points, 19 rebounds and six assists for their first win after back-to-back losses in the opening games of their series.
The Philadelphia 76ers crushed the Detroit Pistons 95-75 to open a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference series.

Celtics look to dodge road kill vs. Atlanta
Rajon Rondo was onto something three days ago when he said the playoffs don’t start until the first road game.
As Cleveland and Orlando discovered Thursday night, a 2-0 series lead carries the weight of paper when put to a road test.
The Celtics are confident they don’t need to make the same discovery tonight at Philips Arena against a Hawks team that desperately needs a Game 3 win to remain alive in this first-round series.
The Wizards and Raptors - albeit of higher-quality timber than Atlanta - were able to convert on their desperate energy.
“Everybody lost the first road game (Thursday),” Paul Pierce said after yesterday’s practice. “Well, we want to be the team that goes on the road and takes care of business.”
Though Doc Rivers was emphatic in his assertion that he hasn’t thought a nanosecond about either Cleveland or Washington - the Celts’ potential second-round opponents - that doesn’t mean he hasn’t watched other playoff games.
Thursday indeed made an impression on the C’s coach.
“It’s interesting that all of the teams that were up 2-0 lost their games,” Rivers said. “I liked something that (Cleveland’s) LeBron (James) said: ‘Our focus was off, just a little off.’
“So it didn’t take much. There can be a lot of pats on the back after winning two games, with guys taking their eyes off what they have to do.”
The Celtics, of course, simply have to follow the blueprint they used all season en route to becoming the best road team in the NBA.
“I’ve seen this team all year, and we’ve had great practices all year,” Pierce said. “But today was one of our best practices of the season. It was like we were getting ready to play Game 1.”
Pierce feeling OK
Though Pierce woke up with a stiff back Thursday morning as the result of Josh Smith’s hard foul in Game 2 on Wednesday night, the Celtics captain was able to run through a full practice yesterday without any trouble.
A long rubdown from team massage therapist Vladimir Shulman appeared to do the trick.
But nagging aches never have been a problem for Pierce, who, save for last season’s 24-game absence with a stress reaction in his left foot, has been one of the NBA’s more durable players.
“He’s fine,” Rivers said. “We have no injuries right now - at least none that I care to know about.”
He won’t be getting any updates from Pierce, then.
“I’m feeling pretty good, actually,” Pierce said. “You want to see where you are as far as injuries go, but I didn’t feel any complications from it.
“I was a little stiff after it happened. I had trouble moving. But it’s all part of the game.”
Pierce said he doesn’t harbor any ill will toward Smith because of the hit.
Take out the trash
This marks Tony Allen’s first playoff experience since his rookie year, when he came away from his battle against Indiana’s Reggie Miller in 2005 with a lasting lesson.
“Reggie Miller - that’s all I can remember, Reggie Miller,” he said. “I was talking trash to him, and he didn’t play good, and then in the next game, he scored 34 points. He told me, ‘It backfired on you, didn’t it?’
“He was a great trash-talker, but I learned my lesson back then: No trash talk.”

NFL draft crash-and-burns

First-round picks in the NFL draft are supposed to have excellent careers. Many of them, like Lawrence Taylor, do just that, or at least get off to a promising start, only to later endure a shocking fall.
Bill Maas
Drafted: Fifth overall, 1984, Chiefs
High Point: Twice named All-Pro, went on to become Fox NFL analyst.
Shocking Fall: Arrested last year at a traffic stop after cops found drugs and a loaded gun in his car, then was promptly fired by Fox.
David Overstreet
Drafted: 13th overall, 1981, Dolphins
High Point: Averaged 4.6 yards per carry in first season with Miami.
Shocking Fall: Died at 25 when his car went off a highway, smashed into gas pumps and exploded.
Ross Verba
Drafted: 30th overall, 1997, Packers
High Point: Was first rookie to ever start at left tackle in a Super Bowl.
Shocking Fall: Gambling debts led him to write bad checks to a Las Vegas casino, for which he was arrested last year.
Percy Snow
Drafted: 13th overall, 1990, Chiefs
High Point: Started at linebacker as a rookie.
Shocking Fall: Moped mishap during 1991 training camp ruined his knee and cut short his promising career.
James Brooks
Drafted: 24th overall, 1981, Chargers
High Point: Retired as Bengals' all-time leading rusher.
Shocking Fall: Was arrested in '99 for failing to pay more than $100,000 in child support. Claimed his illiteracy kept him from holding a job.
Joe Don Looney
Drafted: 12th overall, 1964, Giants
High Point: Scored five TDs one season with Detroit.
Shocking Fall: Was allegedly an enforcer for leader of Siddha Yoga movement. Died at 45 when he crashed his motorcycle into a fence.
John Matuszak
Drafted: First overall, 1973, Oilers
High Point: Won two Super Bowls with Raiders.
Shocking Fall: Died at 38. Constant drug use, which might have included steroids, is often blamed for his early demise.
Wayne Simmons
Drafted: 15th overall, 1993, Packers
High Point: Won Super Bowl with Green Bay in 1996.
Shocking Fall: Crashed Mercedes in 2002 after speeding and weaving through traffic. Car burst into flames and Simmons died at 32.
Billy Sims
Drafted: First overall, 1980, Lions
High Point: Chosen for Pro Bowl in first three seasons.
Shocking Fall: Has had many legal issues, including bankruptcy, assault conviction and jail stint for failing to pay child support.
Don Rogers
Drafted: 18th overall, 1984, Browns
High Point: Named AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Shocking Fall: Died in 1986 of cocaine poisoning at his mother's house.
Darrell Russell
Drafted: Second overall, 1997, Raiders
High Point: Two-time All-Pro selection.
Shocking Fall: Suspended often for violating NFL's drug policy. Died at 29 as passenger in car that crashed into tree, fire hydrant and bus.
Jerome Brown
Drafted: Ninth overall, 1987, Eagles
High Point: Twice chosen for Pro Bowl team.
Shocking Fall: He and nephew died in 1992 when Brown lost control of his Corvette while speeding and crashed.
Art Schlichter
Drafted: Fourth overall, 1982, Colts
High Point: Started six NFL games and threw three TD passes.
Shocking Fall: Gambling addiction ruined his life. Spent 10 years in prison on various charges. By his own estimate he stole $1.5 million to support his addiction.
Derrick Thomas
Drafted: Fourth overall, 1989, Chiefs
High Point: Nine-time Pro Bowl pick. Once had seven sacks in one game.
Shocking Fall: Fathered seven illegitimate children. Was ejected from SUV in 2000 crash and died shortly after.
Todd Marinovich
Drafted: 24th overall, 1991, Raiders
High Point: Threw three touchdown passes in his first NFL start.
Shocking Fall: One-time "Robo QB" has been arrested numerous times, mostly on drug charges. Once fled from police on a kid's bike.
Pacman Jones
Drafted: Sixth overall, 2005, Titans
High Point: Returned three punts for TDs in 2006.
Shocking Fall: Shooting incident at Las Vegas strip club in 2007 was last straw for Jones. NFL suspended Pacman for '07 season and still hasn't reinstated him.
Rae Carruth
Drafted: 27th overall, 1997, Panthers
High Point: Named to All-Rookie team at wide receiver.
Shocking Fall: Serving at least 18 years in prison for his involvement in the murder of pregnant girlfriend Cherica Adams in 1999.
Lawrence Taylor
Drafted: Second overall, 1981, Giants
High Point: 1986 NFL MVP and Hall of Fame selection.
Shocking Fall: Regularly abused drugs during and after career. Busted twice for trying to buy cocaine from undercover cops.
Michael Vick
Drafted: First overall, 2001, Falcons
High Point: Only quarterback to run for 1,000 yards in a season.
Shocking Fall: Was arrested last year and sentenced to 23 months in federal prison for his involvement in dogfighting. Has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL.
O.J. Simpson
Drafted: First overall, 1969, Bills
High Point: First player to run for 2,000 yards in a season.
Shocking Fall: Found liable for the deaths of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Arrested last year for role in alleged armed robbery in Las Vegas.
Ah, yes. Saving the best for last.
Notice that most of them did drugs or died in car accidents. This is a scary world.