Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vick co-defendant to fully cooperate

Looks like Vick is getting in deeper as co-defendant turns “states evidence”

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - One of Michael Vick’s co-defendants pleaded guilty Monday to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges and agreed to fully cooperate with the government in its prosecution of the Atlanta Falcons star and two other men.

Tony Taylor, 34, who will be sentenced Dec. 14, said he was not promised any specific sentence in return for his cooperation.
Taylor faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but federal sentencing guidelines likely will call for less. The guideline range will be determined by the court’s probation office, and U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson can depart from that range if he finds aggravating or mitigating circumstances.

“You’re pleading guilty and taking your chances, right?” Hudson asked Taylor.

He responded, “Yes.”

Taylor had the same answer when Hudson asked: “You have agreed to cooperate fully with the United States, is that right?”

Taylor, of Hampton, entered his plea to conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities, and conspiring to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture.

Vick and two other co-defendants pleaded not guilty last week to the same charges.

The written plea agreement requires Taylor to “testify truthfully and completely at any grand juries, trials or other proceedings.” It says any truthful information provided by Taylor cannot form the basis of a stiffer sentence or additional charges.

Prosecutors already have said a superseding indictment will be issued next month, which could mean more charges against Vick and the remaining co-defendants.

Taylor and his attorney, Stephen A. Hudgins of Newport News, refused to answer reporters’ questions as they left the federal courthouse after the 15-minute hearing.

Prosecutors claimed in a July 17 indictment that Taylor found the Surry County property that Vick purchased and used as the site of “Bad Newz Kennels,” a dogfighting enterprise.

“The ‘Bad Newz Kennels’ operation and gambling moneys were almost exclusively funded by Vick,” a statement of facts supporting the plea agreement and signed by Taylor says.

The statement also lists several dogfights that Taylor claims Vick attended in Virginia and other states. The principals in the dogfighting ring split any winnings, and Taylor - who spent most of his time raising and training the pit bulls - used his share for living expenses, according to the statement.


Taylor also confirmed the indictment’s claim that he helped purchase pit bulls and killed at least two dogs that fared poorly in test fights.

According to the 18-page indictment, the dogfighting ring executed underperforming dogs by drowning, hanging and other brutal means. It alleges that the fights offered purses as high as $26,000.

Taylor left the enterprise after a falling out with co-defendant Quanis L. Phillips and others in September 2004, according to the statement of facts.

The grisly details outlined in the indictment have fueled protests and public outrage against Vick. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has banned Vick from the Falcons’ training camp while the league investigates.

Vick and Purnell A. Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach, and Phillips, 28, of Atlanta, are scheduled for trial Nov. 26. They remain free without bond.

Posted by rosevine69 on 07/31 at 06:08 AM
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Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Day in the Life of Oscar the Cat David M. Dosa, M.D., M.P.H.

Interesting cat story....

Oscar the Cat awakens from his nap, opening a single eye to survey his kingdom. From atop the desk in the doctor’s charting area, the cat peers down the two wings of the nursing home’s advanced dementia unit. All quiet on the western and eastern fronts. Slowly, he rises and extravagantly stretches his 2-year-old frame, first backward and then forward. He sits up and considers his next move.

In the distance, a resident approaches. It is Mrs. P., who has been living on the dementia unit’s third floor for 3 years now. She has long forgotten her family, even though they visit her almost daily. Moderately disheveled after eating her lunch, half of which she now wears on her shirt, Mrs. P. is taking one of her many aimless strolls to nowhere. She glides toward Oscar, pushing her walker and muttering to herself with complete disregard for her surroundings. Perturbed, Oscar watches her carefully and, as she walks by, lets out a gentle hiss, a rattlesnake-like warning that says “leave me alone.” She passes him without a glance and continues down the hallway. Oscar is relieved. It is not yet Mrs. P.’s time, and he wants nothing to do with her.

Oscar jumps down off the desk, relieved to be once more alone and in control of his domain. He takes a few moments to drink from his water bowl and grab a quick bite. Satisfied, he enjoys another stretch and sets out on his rounds. Oscar decides to head down the west wing first, along the way sidestepping Mr. S., who is slumped over on a couch in the hallway. With lips slightly pursed, he snores peacefully — perhaps blissfully unaware of where he is now living. Oscar continues down the hallway until he reaches its end and Room 310. The door is closed, so Oscar sits and waits. He has important business here.

Twenty-five minutes later, the door finally opens, and out walks a nurse’s aide carrying dirty linens. “Hello, Oscar,” she says. “Are you going inside?” Oscar lets her pass, then makes his way into the room, where there are two people. Lying in a corner bed and facing the wall, Mrs. T. is asleep in a fetal position. Her body is thin and wasted from the breast cancer that has been eating away at her organs. She is mildly jaundiced and has not spoken in several days. Sitting next to her is her daughter, who glances up from her novel to warmly greet the visitor. “Hello, Oscar. How are you today?”

Oscar takes no notice of the woman and leaps up onto the bed. He surveys Mrs. T. She is clearly in the terminal phase of illness, and her breathing is labored. Oscar’s examination is interrupted by a nurse, who walks in to ask the daughter whether Mrs. T. is uncomfortable and needs more morphine. The daughter shakes her head, and the nurse retreats. Oscar returns to his work. He sniffs the air, gives Mrs. T. one final look, then jumps off the bed and quickly leaves the room. Not today.

Making his way back up the hallway, Oscar arrives at Room 313. The door is open, and he proceeds inside. Mrs. K. is resting peacefully in her bed, her breathing steady but shallow. She is surrounded by photographs of her grandchildren and one from her wedding day. Despite these keepsakes, she is alone. Oscar jumps onto her bed and again sniffs the air. He pauses to consider the situation, and then turns around twice before curling up beside Mrs. K.

One hour passes. Oscar waits. A nurse walks into the room to check on her patient. She pauses to note Oscar’s presence. Concerned, she hurriedly leaves the room and returns to her desk. She grabs Mrs. K.’s chart off the medical-records rack and begins to make phone calls.

Within a half hour the family starts to arrive. Chairs are brought into the room, where the relatives begin their vigil. The priest is called to deliver last rites. And still, Oscar has not budged, instead purring and gently nuzzling Mrs. K. A young grandson asks his mother, “What is the cat doing here?” The mother, fighting back tears, tells him, “He is here to help Grandma get to heaven.” Thirty minutes later, Mrs. K. takes her last earthly breath. With this, Oscar sits up, looks around, then departs the room so quietly that the grieving family barely notices.

On his way back to the charting area, Oscar passes a plaque mounted on the wall. On it is engraved a commendation from a local hospice agency: “For his compassionate hospice care, this plaque is awarded to Oscar the Cat.” Oscar takes a quick drink of water and returns to his desk to curl up for a long rest. His day’s work is done. There will be no more deaths today, not in Room 310 or in any other room for that matter. After all, no one dies on the third floor unless Oscar pays a visit and stays awhile.

Note: Since he was adopted by staff members as a kitten, Oscar the Cat has had an uncanny ability to predict when residents are about to die. Thus far, he has presided over the deaths of more than 25 residents on the third floor of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island. His mere presence at the bedside is viewed by physicians and nursing home staff as an almost absolute indicator of impending death, allowing staff members to adequately notify families. Oscar has also provided companionship to those who would otherwise have died alone. For his work, he is highly regarded by the physicians and staff at Steere House and by the families of the residents whom he serves.

Source Information

Dr. Dosa is a geriatrician at Rhode Island Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University — both in Providence.

Posted by rosevine69 on 07/29 at 09:03 AM
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Whose war is it, anyway?

This posting by Digby at Salon Magazine yesterday is one of the most informative pieces I’ve ever read about Iraq.—Nuttshell

NBC’s Richard Engel has been one of the most intrepid journalists in Iraq over the past four years and has brought us some very important stories from the war zone. But this article in Nieman Reports (via Will Bunch) may be one of the best stories he has done. He explains, in simple language, who is who in the Iraq civil war(s) and what their goals actually are. It’s an invaluable little primer that puts in focus just how absurd the “freedom lovers vs. freedom haters” frame has always been. And it exposes this latest “al-Qaida in Iraq” theme as particularly absurd.

Engel takes the time to actually translate what those people are chanting in the big marches we see on television. It isn’t about democracy or Osama bin Laden. It’s about something that happened a very long time ago—and modern media brings the old hatreds right up to date:

[Seventh century Shiite] Hussein’s martyrdom, many Shi’ites claim at the hands of early Sunnis, is one of the central themes of Shi’ite Islam in Iraq and establishes a basic premise that Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, and his Shi’ite descendants are the true heirs to Islam but were defeated by Sunni “usurpers.”

But the footage on Iraqi state TV during Ashura didn’t stop there. Interwoven with the images of Hussein’s struggle and the mourning rituals was current news footage of the aftermath of car bombings in Baghdad, the Shi’ite al-Askari mosque in Samara destroyed by al-Qaida militants in February 2006, and wounded Iraqi women and children. The message was clear: the attacks on markets, Shi’ite mosques, restaurants and university campuses, mostly carried out by Sunni radicals, are a continuation of Hussein’s battle centuries ago.

As pilgrims marched by our Baghdad bureau on their way to Karbala, I could hear them chant: “Kul yom Ashura! Kul ard Karbala!” or “Every day is Ashura! All land is Karbala!” Simply put, they were saying, every day and everywhere in Iraq, Shi’ites are reliving Hussein’s battles in Karbala.

This is just one of the “wars” that are taking place in Iraq, however. There are many more, including a new umbrella group (that includes al-Qaida in Iraq) that claims it’s fighting Zionists and Persians, the militias—especially Muqtada al-Sadr, the Kurds, “Islamic Revolution in Iraq [now the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council] that wants to control southern Iraq and carve out a ministate allied with Iran,” and political factions surrounding politicians Ayad Allawi and Nouri al-Maliki. Let’s just say it’s a huge mess with ancient tribal hatreds, regional tensions, Islamic sectarianism and political maneuvering (and of course, oil) filling the caldron of hatred and violence that boiled over with our ill-conceived and poorly planned invasion of Iraq.

Engel concludes:

U.S. politicians and military commanders often complain that the Iraqi government “won’t step up and do its job.” The impression they give is that Iraqi officials are sitting around smoking hooka pipes and refusing to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, while U.S. troops are fighting and dying to “get the job done.” Perhaps the question should be, “Which job?” American soldiers often ask me when the Iraqis will “step up and fight for their own country.” They are already fighting for their country. Iraqi officials, religious leaders, militia groups, Syria, Iran and al-Qaeda are struggling and dying to get a “job done” in Iraq, though it does not appear to be the job the White House would like them to be doing.

Blaming the Iraqis for failing to come together is quickly becoming a convenient story for American politicians of both parties. And I’m sure that many Americans want to believe that those rotten Iraqis are unforgivably ungrateful, by failing to come together in peace and harmony after we liberated them and all. But all of this was predicted by virtually everyone except the Bush administration neocons, who insisted that a Jeffersonian democracy would bloom the minute the Stalinist tyrant was removed. (There were some, of course, who knew better and simply wanted to replace Saddam with their own tyrant, Ahmed Chalabi, but that was equally naive, just in a different way.)

President Bush said “al-Qaida in Iraq” 95 times in 29 minutes Tuesday. Apparently members of the administration think they will be able to convince the American people that up is down and black is white once again through sheer repetition. They may succeed in that long enough to get Bush over the finish line in 2009 still claiming that he did the right thing. But eventually reality bites, no matter what. They can lie to Americans all they want that we are engaged in some Manichean struggle with evil in Mesopotamia, but it doesn’t actually change the fact that the Iraqis are fighting several other wars that have us either caught in the crossfire or standing directly in their way.

-- Digby

Posted by Nuttshell on 07/26 at 12:54 PM
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Daniel Beaty one-man show Emergence-See!, which explores the impact of slavery on African Americans.

Daniel Beaty recites the poem “Knock Knock” during a performance of his one-man show, Emergence-See!, recorded live at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

All Things Considered, July 23, 2007 · Daniel Beaty is the star and author of a one-man play called Emergence-See! In it, a sunken slave ship from the past — with its cargo of bones and chains — magically surfaces alongside the Statue of Liberty in present-day New York Harbor.

The play portrays the response of 43 different characters — old, young, male, female, straight and gay, all of them black — to this puzzling event. Their reactions to the suddenly inescapable memory of slavery vary dramatically.

See ‘Emergence-See!’

Atlanta
July 26 – July 29
National Black Arts Festival
Alliance Theater with True Colors Theater Company

Winston-Salem, N.C.
July 31, Aug. 1
National Black Theater Festival

Edinburgh, Scotland
Aug. 3 – Aug. 27
Edinburgh Festival
Assembly Rooms

Beaty stands 5 feet 11 inches tall. But as he changes characters, he swells into a bigger man, slumps into the size of someone smaller, and shrinks into a child. He recites poems that he has written, and he sings like a trained opera singer — which he is.

Earlier this year, Beaty won an Obie — the Off-Broadway equivalent of a Tony Award — for Emergence-See!

Beaty, 31, says he thinks of his play as “a whole community on stage.”

“There are so many residual feelings and emotions and issues from the experience of slavery,” Beaty tells Robert Siegel. “[Y]ou can be wealthy, working in corporate America, or you could be living in the projects, and still have some of those issues haunting you.”

His own life was a study in contrasts. Beaty grew up in Dayton, Ohio, with a single-parent mother and a heroin-addicted father who was in and out of prison. Beaty’s brother was a crack addict.

But Beaty also recalls the wonderful role model his mother provided for him and the mentors and teachers who encouraged him — leading, ultimately, to studies at Yale University.

“There have been constant conflicts between my upbringing and who I am in the world today,” Beaty says.

Posted by SPN on 07/25 at 09:02 AM
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Sunday, July 22, 2007

You will never wina game of checkers against this computer.

Here is the link to the checkers game that is impossible to beat.

Posted by SPN on 07/22 at 10:30 AM
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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Nike suspends release of Vick signature shoe

This is good news…

ATLANTA (July 19, 2007)—Michael Vick’s legal troubles prompted Nike to suspend the release of its latest product line named after the Atlanta Falcons quarterback.

Nike has told retailers it will not release a fifth signature shoe, the Air Zoom Vick V, this summer. Nike spokesman Dean Stoyer said the four shoe products and three shirts that currently bear Vick’s name will remain in stores.

Vick will be arraigned next week in a Richmond, Va., federal courtroom on charges of sponsoring a gruesome dogfighting operation.

Stoyer said Nike still has a standing contract with Vick but declined to speculate on his future with the company.

A statement released by Nike Inc. said the company “is concerned by the serious and highly disturbing allegations made against Michael Vick, and we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and abhorrent. We do believe that Michael Vick should be afforded the same due process as any citizen; therefore, we have not terminated our relationship.

Stoyer, who declined to discuss terms of Vick’s contract, indicated the company has no commercials or documentaries planned with the three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection.

In years past, Nike has run footage and interviews with Vick on its Web site, but none of the video promotions are currently posted.

“Some of that was shown on a limited run based on rights and usage,” Stoyer said. “There’s nothing new planned.”

Vick signed his current contract with Nike in 2001, the same year Atlanta chose him as the NFL’s No. 1 overall draft pick. After leading the Falcons to the 2002 and ‘04 playoffs, Vick last year became the first quarterback in league history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.

Posted by rosevine69 on 07/19 at 05:37 PM
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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Falcons’ Vick Indicted In Dogfighting Probe

This is just sad.....All the money this guy makes and this is best “investment” he could come up with?
I will never understand what drives people to be this cruel.
I can only hope that when it’s Michael Vick and his buddies at “bad news kennels” time to depart this earth, that they die as horrible a death as those dogs, and the sooner the better as far as I am concerned.
Responsible pit bull owners in places like Denver are having to give up thier beloved pets because of scum like this....
Just one more reason I like animals better than MOST people...........

(CBS News) RICHMOND, Va. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges related to illegal dog fighting.

Vick and three others were charged with violating federal laws against competitive dog fighting, procuring and training pit bulls for fighting and conducting the enterprise across state lines.

Vick and the other defendants — Purnell A. Peace, Quanis L. Phillips and Tony Taylor — were involved in an ongoing animal fighting venture based out of Vick’s home in Smithfield, Va., from early 2001 to April 2007, according to a statement released by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Vick faces $350,000 in fines and six years in prison if convicted of the charges.

Telephone messages left at the offices and home of Vick’s attorney, Larry Woodward, were not immediately returned.

A woman who answered the phone at the home of Vick’s mother said the family knew nothing about the charges.

On July 7, federal authorities conducted a second search of the Surry, Va., property owned by Vick that is the center of the dog fighting investigation.

According to court documents filed by federal authorities earlier this month, dog fights have been sponsored by “Bad Newz Kennels” at the property since at least 2002. For the events, participants and dogs traveled from South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, New York, Texas and other states.

Fifty-four pit bulls were recovered from the property during searches in April, along with a “rape stand,” used to hold dogs in place for mating; an electric treadmill modified for dogs; and a bloodied piece of carpeting, the documents said.

During a June search of the property, investigators uncovered the graves of seven pit bulls that were killed by members of “Bad Newz Kennels” following sessions to test whether the dogs would be good fighters, the documents alleged.

Members of “Bad Newz Kennels” also sponsored and exhibited fights in other parts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and other states, according to the filings.

On Vick’s Web site, he lists his birthplace as Newport News, “a.k.a. BadNews.”

The documents said the fights usually occurred late at night or in the early morning and would last several hours.

Before fights, participating dogs of the same sex would be weighed and bathed, according to the filings. Opposing dogs would be washed to remove any poison or narcotic placed on the dog’s coat that could affect the other dog’s performance.

Sometimes, dogs weren’t fed to “make it more hungry for the other dog.”

Fights would end when one dog died or with the surrender of the losing dog, which was sometimes put to death by drowning, strangulation, hanging, gun shot, electrocution or some other method, according to the documents.

Vick initially said he had no idea the property might have been used in a criminal enterprise and blamed family members for taking advantage of his generosity.

Vick has since declined to talk about the investigation.

(© 2007 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report. )

Posted by rosevine69 on 07/18 at 05:58 AM
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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Walgreens to settle race lawsuit

America’s largest pharmacy chain, Walgreens, has agreed to pay $20m to settle a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination against black workers.

The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) - a watchdog agency - says Walgreens sent black staff to low-performing stores in black areas.

African-American employees, including pharmacists and managers, were also denied promotions, the EEOC claims.

The settlement deal must still be approved by a federal judge.

“We commend Walgreens for working cooperatively with us to reach an amicable settlement of this case without protracted litigation,” EEOC Chair Naomi Earp said in a statement.

Walgreens, which has denied the allegations throughout, said it was glad to have resolved the issue.

The EEOC launched its case after carrying out an investigation into 12 complaints filed by current and former Walgreens staff across the country.

Most of the complaints in the class action suit came from workers and former staff in St Louis, Florida, Detroit and Kansas City.

Lawyers say the $20m (£9.8m) will be split among lawyers who handled the case and the more than 7,500 employees who brought a class action against the company.

Walgreens says it is the largest US pharmacy chain by sales, with more than 5,638 stores in 48 states and Puerto Rico, and recorded sales of $47.4bn (£24.5bn) in the 2006 financial year.

Posted by SPN on 07/14 at 02:42 PM
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Friday, July 13, 2007

A SPECIAL SCREENING OF “BLACK RUSSIANS” A FILM BY KARA LYNCH

THE INTERNATIONAL BLACK FILM FESTIVAL

PRESENTS

AND SPECIAL SCREENING OF

“BLACK RUSSIANS”

A FILM BY KARA LYNCH

AT THE NEW YORK BAHA’I CENTER

LOCATED @53 EAST 11TH ST (btwn University & Broadway)

JOIN US ON SATURDAY JULY 28TH from 6-9:30PM

“ FREE SPICED LEMONADE”

FILM SCREENING, DISCUSSION, NETWORKING WITH FRIENDS

DOORS OPEN @ 6PM/FILM BEGINS PROMPTLY@7PM

DONATIONS SUPPORTS THE IBFF

*****Black Russians*****

*****Black Russians is a documentary about contemporary Afro-Russians aged 10-65 born and raised in the Soviet Union*****

*****Black Russians is a film about the ideological currents of Race and Communism after the fall of the Soviet Union*****

*****Archive images reveal rarely seen images of Black leaders in Russia*****

***** Media that Matters*****

* Film followed by a discussion. Special guest speakers TBA .

See, also, http://www.blackfilmfestival.net/events
See, also, http://www.maksimspa.com

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

EVENT SPONSORED BY MAKSIM SPA
http://www.maksimspa.com

FREE POPCORN SPONSORED BY IKE & SAMS KETTLECORN
http://www.ikeandsams.com

SUGGESTED DONATION $10. (NO ONE WILL BE TURNED AWAY)

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Posted by SPN on 07/13 at 02:30 PM
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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

In case you have forgotten, Darfur, Sudan still needs your help.

UN Peacekeepers are needed now in Darfur.  Please spread the word.

Posted by SPN on 07/10 at 07:05 PM
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