Tuesday, March 25, 2008
TOKYO (AP) -- Daisuke Matsuzaka got the Tokyo Dome fans revved up, and Manny Ramirez struck the winning pose. In the earliest major league opener, the Boston Red Sox got off to a winning start in their World Series title defense.
Ramirez hit his second two-run double in the 10th inning -- admiring his drive from the batter's box, thinking it was a three-run homer -- and Red Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 on Tuesday night."Ultimately, it was a great ballgame," Matsuzaka said through a translator. "I hope people got a chance to enjoy it live."A crowd of 44,628, including fans from Boston, cheered at the Tokyo Dome, which hosted baseball's opener for the third time in nine years. It was 6:10 a.m. back in Boston when the season began, and the organizers tried to make it feel like Fenway Park by playing "Sweet Caroline" after the last out.Ramirez, starting the final guaranteed season of his eight-year contract, hit a game-tying, two-run double in the sixth inning, and rookie Brandon Moss hit an RBI single that gave Boston a 3-2 lead and chased Oakland starter Joe Blanton.
Matsuzaka left after five wild innings and 95 pitches, and Jack Hannahan's two-run homer off Kyle Snyder put Oakland ahead 4-3 in the sixth. Moss, playing because J.D. Drew hurt his back in batting practice, hit a solo homer in the ninth off Huston Street (0-1)Then, in the 10th, Julio Lugo reached on an infield single leading off, Dustin Pedroia sacrificed and David Ortiz was intentionally walked with two outs.
Ramirez hit a drive to deep center and was sure it would be a home run. It wasn't.Just Manny being Manny.He learned when he got to the ballpark that he couldn't use the red-barreled bat he planned on using because it would distract pitchers. So he got some new bats in Tokyo.
"Maybe if I used my American bat that ball maybe would have gone," he said. "I thought I hit it good. I couldn't use my bat because it wasn't legal. Thank God I got some Japanese wood that I could use."Oakland manager Bob Geren made the key decision to walk Ortiz."They're both great hitters and you have to pick one or the other," Geren said. "He got 0-2 and then got a pitch over the plate and Ramirez took it deep."Jonathan Papelbon took the mound to his "Wild Thing" theme in the bottom half, but was hardly intimidating. He walked Daric Barton leading off and gave up a one-out RBI double to Emil Brown, who was tagged out in a rundown between second and third.After a pair of singles, Kurt Suzuki hit a game-ending groundout, giving Papelbon the save and sealing the win for Hideki Okajima (1-0), who used to pitch in the Tokyo Dome for the Yomiuri Giants."I'm glad things ended well for the team," Matsuzaka said, "but, of course, I'm not happy with my own results."Matsuzaka allowed a pair of first-inning runs, one on a homer by Mark Ellis. Dice-K struck out six and walked five in five innings but allowed only two hits."Given the opportunity to start on Opening Day, I did feel a little nervous and a little excited and that might have shown," said Matsuzaka, who signed a $52 million, six-year contract with Boston before last season after eight years with the Seibu Lions. "I'd like to apologize to all the fans who turned out and wanted to see me go deep in the game."The atmosphere was loud, but not nearly as loud as the regular noise level at Fenway. Fans pounded drums, flashed cameras and gawked at his wildness."I was shocked," Moss said, who didn't find out until shortly before the game that he'd be playing. "I saw J.D.'s batting practice and he looked great. I didn't know anything was going on. I was just sitting there talking. They were like, 'You might be starting,' I was like 'Oh, OK.'
Friday, March 21, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Mike Lowell has told The Boston Globe the team voted unanimously not to take the field for their final spring training game or to board the plane later Wednesday for the Japan trip.
Manager Terry Francona and his players are upset after learning coaches and other staff are not going to get a $40,000 stipend that the players are receiving. Francona had told his coaches they would be paid.
The defending World Series champions are scheduled to open their season against Oakland with two games in Japan. - Associated Press
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
ComingSoon.net - George Lucas is clearly one of the few filmmakers who needs very little to no introduction. To some, he's revered as a God, and maybe rightfully so, because let's face it, few of us would be such big movie fans if not for the "Star Wars" saga and its geek-level of fandom has spilled over into other realms while growing by leaps and bounds due to the internet. If not for the work done by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) to bring Mr. Lucas' vision to life in the six "Star Wars" movies, filmmakers like Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson would never had been able to bring their own creatures and characters to the screen in such a realistic manner. There would never have been movies like Robert Rodriguez's Sin City and Zack Snyder's 300 if not for the way Mr. Lucas pioneered the use of computer-generated background environments for films made on green screen.
Yes, a world without George Lucas and "Star Wars" would be a grey and dismal place for fans of science fiction, action and effects movies, because over thirty years after the big screen debut of the first Star Wars, the characters and worlds created by Lucas continue to find new and younger fans, all of whom will be happy to see him continuing the "Star Wars" saga using the latest technology for many years to come… only this time, on television.
Mere weeks after the announcement that Warner Bros. would be releasing the feature film Star Wars: The Clone Wars in theaters this summer, Mr. Lucas was on hand in Las Vegas at the annual ShoWest Convention to present an extended clip from the movie at the studio's "The Big Picture" presentation. The feature film and animated series fill the gaps between Episodes II and III, but it will also be the first "Star Wars" movie to appear on the big screen in three years. While the feature film looks to be very much in line with the recent movies, the animated series promises to introduce new characters we haven't seen in the previous films and cartoons with stories that will be short episodic mini-movies.
Flanked by six Clone Troopers from the 501st Legion, Lucas introduced the extended clip, which begins with two Jedi carriers departing from a larger Republic starship. Inside one of them, Anakin briefs his young liege Ahsoka on the upcoming battle, telling his young apprentice to stay close because it isn't practice although she's very cocky and self-assured, snapping back that she'll try not get him killed. The battle scene is quite impressive as we get to see Ahsoka in action against a large armored vehicle that's able to climb up a vertical cliff-face, followed by a scene of Count Dooku relaying his plans to his own dark apprentice Asajj Ventress via the normal Jedi hologram communication, their plans interrupted by the entrance of Ben Kenobi, leading to a short lightsaber fight between them, Ventress disarming Kenobi with her advantage of two lightsabers to his one. The animation looked somewhat primitive compared to what else is out there with the characters not being as detailed as some might like, but the battle sequences are still very exciting and impressive.
ComingSoon.net had the rare opportunity to talk to Mr. Lucas briefly before the presentation and then we had more time to sit down with him in a more casual atmosphere afterwards. While there are millions if not billions of bigger "Star Wars" fans, being one of the few online writers who was actually old enough to have seen the original Star Wars when it first played in theaters in the '70s, it was nice to finally meet and talk to such an influential filmmaker.
ComingSoon.net: How much overlap will there be between Genndy's "Clone Wars" animated series and the new feature film and television series?
George Lucas: Well, the Genndy show was an experiment that we did with Cartoon Network that was 5 minutes each, they went sort of where commercials normally go, and it was an experiment, not only in doing five-minute shows, but it was an experiment in trying to translate "Star Wars" into an animated medium, and we felt very good about that. We thought it turned out really well, and we then took it to the next level, which was to do a full-out animated series of "The Clone Wars." There's not much overlap. Genndy did most of the animation and most of the stories for the first experimental series, and this one I'm pretty much following the mythology and the rules of the features, so it's a little bit different, but it's very much like the features except it's in animation. We decided to do it in a slightly different style than Genndy did, still in the anime genre, but we took it a little differently.
CS: Do you see the show going on for a long time? It obviously takes a long time to produce computer animation.
Lucas: We've been doing this for three years. We have one year finished, we're in the middle of the second year. I've written the third year. We expect this to go on for at least five or six years.
CS: And the live action show will go on at the same time?
Lucas: The live action show probably won't start until 2010. We're working on it now, doing the scripts and everything, but it takes too long to get it up and organized, but I think this is a chance for the fans to see the animated series on the big screen. It works great on the big screen and it's kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see it big.
CS: Since the feature is being done specifically for the big screen, where is the movie going to end and the series begin?
Lucas: It's not that episodic. This is a movie but we started doing the episodes and some of the episodes are stand-alone and some are two, some are three, some are four, and there's no cliffhangers. It's not like the current vogue of "24" and "The Wire" and stuff where you actually have to watch the entire series in order to understand what's going on. This is an old-fashioned episodic show. We looked at it on the big screen and it looked so beautiful and great that we said, "Gee, we can make a feature just like this." So we did and got all the people, got all the stuff and said, "Let's make a feature." So we did.
CS: There won't be a "To Be Continued" at the end of the movie teasing those who see it to watch the television show?
Lucas: Well, no, but the show starts in October... October 1st... no, in the fall. They haven't decided yet. We just made our deal.
CS: That's pretty tight for a show starting in the fall.
CS: I assume the series will continue the same kind of scope and scale that we see on the big screen like the clip you showed earlier?
Lucas: Yeah, and it's still in widescreen even on television. It's got the same production value, it looks the same. Everything is exactly the same.
CS: You've always been such a big proponent of doing things in movies, so why did you decide to enter the TV world after all this time?
Lucas: Well, I love TV. "Young Indiana Jones" was one of the happiest times I ever had, so I love television. It's great to be able to do a lot of work. There's not as much pressure as there is on film. Film is a very tight little box. If you don't fit in that box, you're gone. Television, there's more room to move around. There's certain issues that if you don't fit in the box, you don't get on certain networks, but eventually, you can always find a place, whereas a movie, it's much harder.
CS: But there's also an issue with television where the networks are always looking at the ratings before deciding whether to keep a show on the air. You're already doing so much work towards the future of the show...
Lucas: Yeah, well I'm going to do a hundred shows. I'm going to do it no matter what they do, so obviously, I want it to stay on the air a long time.
CS: I know Anthony Daniels is returning to voice C3PO, but might there be anyone else from the movies that might voice their characters in the animated movie or show? I know that everyone loves Frank Oz as Yoda. Will we see some of them?
Lucas: No, no. I mean, because it's a TV show, it's something that goes on and on and on and on, so it's not really designed to have a lot of the old actors back.
CS: It's harder for scheduling.
Lucas: Yeah, it's impossible, 'cause TV, it's very hard. You have to basically be on-call every day.
CS: There's been a lot of talk about where this animated film and series fit in to the "Star Wars" mythos. We know that "The Clone Wars" takes place between "Episode II" and "Episode III" but there's only a certain amount of time that can be fit in there. Do you know how many years this war takes place?
Lucas: I don't know. I'm not the expert in that field, but a couple years, two or three years, so it's not... if we did every minute of every day, we would be able to go on for a hundred years. (He then laughs heartily at that idea.)
CS: That would be fun to keep it going for that long.
Lucas: No, I think we got plenty of stories. It's an indefinite amount of time. I mean, we know what the time is. We got "(Episode) II" and we got "(Episode) III" so we saw the start of the war, we saw the end of the war, but you don't know all the adventures that went on in between.
CS: What are your plans for theatrical films in the future? You have "Indiana Jones" with Steven, but are you going to continue making movies, even if you're producing other directors?
Lucas: Probably. I mean, what I'm doing is I'm doing a film called "Red Tails" I've been working on for years, and then I'm working on a live action "Star Wars" TV series, and we're in the script stage. That probably won't come out for a couple of years, then I'm going to do my own films. I'm basically... you might say "retire" and just work on "hobby movies" after that.
CS: It's funny you should mention that because it leads to a question I've always wanted to ask you. Anyone who works at the same job for thirty years must wake up somedays and think, "You know what? I don't want to do this job today." You've been so invested in "Star Wars," creating so many worlds and characters, but you must wake up some days and say "I want to do something else today."
Lucas: Yeah, well that happened actually right after I finished the first trilogy. I said, "Look, I expected to do one movie and it turned into three and I expected to be done in a year and it ended up being ten, so I'm ready to move on now." It was later when I realized that it was so big that no matter what I did, it was going to be linked to me and that was basically what I am no matter what I do, so that's when I said, "Okay, I'll finish the whole saga" and then once I came to that, I said, "Well, gee, it would be fun to do an animated film." I love animation. The idea of CG anime is something I've been interested in for a long time, and it's a chance to explore other things and then train a lot of people and let them take off and use their imaginations.
CS: Do you think you'd have other people continue the "Star Wars" saga past "Episode VI" or turn some of the other material into films?
Lucas: But there's no story past "Episode VI", there's just no story. It's a certain story about Anakin Skywalker and once Anakin Skywalker dies, that's kind of the end of the story. There is no story about Luke Skywalker, I mean apart from the books. But there's three worlds: There's my world that I made up, there's the licensing world that's the books, the comics, all that kind of stuff, the games, which is their world, and then there's the fans' world, which is also very rich in imagination, but they don't always mesh. All I'm in charge of is my world. I can't be in charge of those other people's world, because I can't keep up with it.
CS: What's going on with "Red Tails"? Is that something you're going to be working on soon?
Lucas: Well, as a matter of fact, I'm working on it tomorrow. We're getting toward a script, and probably start shooting before the end of the year, and it should come out next year maybe.
CS: So the TV stuff isn't taking away from you making movies.
Lucas: Well, that's probably going to be the last movie I do just because... I mean, apart from my own movies, but my own movies are going to be more esoteric and probably will come and go in a week and be in one or two arthouses here and there. You can get the DVD.
CS: Kind of what Francis Ford Coppola has been doing in recent years?
Lucas: Yeah, it's basically the same as what Francis is doing.
CS: Kind of what Francis Ford Coppola has been doing in recent years?
Lucas: Yeah, it's basically the same as what Francis is doing.
(At this point, Bonnie Burton from StarWars.com, who had been sitting in on the interview, jumped in with a couple questions of her own.)
StarWars.com: A lot of new fans will be watching this new animated series and seeing "Star Wars" for the first time, so what do you think of this new generation of kids that are going to be introduced to the "Star Wars" saga.
Lucas: What do I think of them? The poor kids have to grow up in this crazy world that's been created! Gosh!
SW: It's obviously a different tone but still has the drama and the characters.
Lucas: The TV series is exactly like the movies, exactly. I mean, you can see it in the clip. It's basically just the movies only with cartoon characters. It's basically a dramatic series, there's a lot of action, a bit of humor. It runs along at the same level. It's unusual for an animated film, because it's not really hardcore like say "Beowulf" and it's not a Pixar movie, so it kind of falls in between in this funny world where "Star Wars" is, which is kind of hard-edged but not really, sort of on the verge of PG-13, flips over once in a while, but sort of the high end of PG.
SW: It also seems to show a little bit more of the clone characters as well.
Lucas: Yeah, now we get introduced to the clones, which we didn't get in the movies. Now, they're like main characters and they really are central to the whole thing, and you can identify them and know who they are, and it's sort of like "Band of Brothers" only with Jedi. (laughs)
As we wrapped up, we asked Mr. Lucas about the plans for "Star Wars Saga" on Blu-ray Disc as I took the picture above, but we got sidetracked by that and never got a response about a timeframe.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars opens theatrically on August 15 with the animated show due sometime in the fall.
Demobstrators on both sides chanted and waved placards outside the high court as they waited for arguments to begin. But the hubbub was only a fraction of what took place during court challenges to same-sex marriage in 2004 after San Fransisco Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered his clerk to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses, triggering the current legal battle.
"In just four years, we have become numb" to the idea of same-sex marriage, said Advocates of Faith and Freedom general counsel Robert Tyler, who attended the March 4 argument.
"It's nothing now."
Inside the courtroom, some seemed to agree. Chief Justice Ronald George cited Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down sodomy bans. He also repeatedly invoked the 1946 California high court ruling that outlawed a ban on interracial marriage, focusing on a phrase that says marriage is the right to web "a person of one's choice." without reference to gender.
San Francisco city attorney Terry Stewart told the court that "the sense of equality in California is ahead of the rest of the country," and that it was time for "this court to bring equality." Justice Carol Corrigan wasn't so sure. She wondered sloud whose role it is to mediate changing societal views on marriage the courts or the people. In 2000, nearly two-thirds of California voters passed Prop22, an initiative that recognized marriage as between a man and a woman. A 2006 state appeals court ruling upheld the measure.
"It's going to be a very close decision," said Tyler, echoing other observers who said traditional marriage in California will either stand or fall by one vote. The court must rule within 90 days.
There is only one thing I have to say about this. Is that the Bible says that Marriage is suppose to be like Christ and the church.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become on flesh. The mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
So thats what God says about marriage. It's simple!
Iowa state prison officials are closing a Bible-based treatment program run by Prison Fellowship Ministries after a Five-year federal court battle. The Inner Change Freedom Initiative will be terminated prison spokesman Fred Scaletta said, following a circuit court decision last December that prohibits taxpayers funding of such programs. The eight year-old Newton program has operated solely on donations sense last July 1. Prison Fellowship had a three-year state contract that ends in June but can be terminated when enrollment falls below 60 inmates. Prison Fellowship will still be welcome to minister to inmates at the Newton prison, Scaletta told the Des Moines Register"on a volunteer basis. There will be no funds allocated or applied in any way."
Sunday, March 16, 2008
What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believe, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God , God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.
Let no man deceives himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS"; and again, "THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS." So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world of life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.
What are you building your foundation on? Are you building it upon worldly things, things that will not stand the fire? Or are you building your foundation on Christ?
Friday, March 14, 2008
LAS VEGAS (AP) - entertainmentminute This time out, there's no vat of chemicals to explain how Batman's greatest enemy came to be the twisted sociopath known as the Joker.
Heath Ledger's Joker springs full-blown in this summer's "The Dark Knight," the sequel to 2005's "Batman Begins" that was previewed for theater owners Thursday with a clip showing the new movie's opening sequence.
Unlike 1989's "Batman," in which the deranged, disfigured clown appearance of Jack Nicholson's Joker resulted from a dip in chemical goo, "The Dark Knight" starts right in with the bad guy in all his psychopathic glory.
"I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you stranger," Ledger's depraved Joker cryptically tells an accomplice in the opening scenes, in which he pulls off a daring bank robbery.
In an interview at ShoWest, a theater-owners convention where distributor Warner Bros. showed off footage of "The Dark Knight" and the rest of its summer lineup, director Christopher Nolan said it was almost inevitable that the sequel would pit Christian Bale's Batman against the Joker.
"The psychopathic clown, that's an icon to stand with the guy with the ears and cape," Nolan said. "It's just a wonderful visual relationship, and it's a terrifying image."
Long before Ledger's death of an accidental prescription drug overdose in January, the marketing of the movie had focused on the villain's rise to power and his creepy appearance.
There had been speculation among critics and fans that the studio and filmmakers might take a different approach to selling the film in light of Ledger's death, but the marketing has gone on as originally planned.
"I think he'd be very pleased to see we're just moving ahead as is," Nolan said. "If you try to honor somebody, you honor them by respecting their work and putting it out there for as many people to see. He was immensely proud of the work he did on the film. I feel a great burden to present that in an undistorted form."
"The Dark Knight" is due in theaters July 18.
The last time producer Charles Roven saw Ledger was when he showed the actor the very footage that was screened at ShoWest.
Fans have been buzzing over the anarchic style Ledger brings to the role in the movie's trailer, but the actor himself was utterly taken by what he saw of himself on screen, Roven said.
"He was just blown away by his own performance," Roven said. "He said, `Can I see it again?' So he was really, really thrilled."
Bale—reprising his role as the wealthy Bruce Wayne, who moonlights as the emotionally tormented crimefighter—said he watched the footage Thursday with a heaviness of heart over Ledger. But Bale said he hopes the movie will serve as a testament.
"I hope that this can be seen as a celebration of his work," Bale said. "He did a phenomenal job. It was a real joy working with the man. It was a joy knowing him, as well. I liked him a great deal, and I liked also how seriously he took his work."I am a big movie buff! I grew up watching the original Batman movies and I think this new Batman movie series is a lot better a lot darker than the old movies. At first I didn't think it was a good idea having Heath Ledger play the Joker. But when I seen the trailer with ledger playing the Sociopath Joker. I was sold! For me this is the most highly anticipated film of the summer. You will find me at the midnight showing, with a big smile on my face! :)
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I'm getting a little tired of talking politics right now. For one I am tired of it. Two it's getting kind of boring hearing the Demarcates bicker about who should be the nominee! We won't even find out for another couple of months who will get the nomination! Don't get me wrong it is funny seeing the Liberals get in a fight and waste all there money. So when the democratic nominee faces off against McCain he or she is broke. Anyways I am taking a break from politics and post things that comes to my mind that is none political or just personal stuff that I find interesting.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
This is a great e-mail my father sent me from work.
The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying..."Hey old man, have you ever danced?"
The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, "No,I never did dance. I just never wanted to."
A crowd had gathered by then and the gunslinger said, "Well, you old fool, you're gonna' dance now," and started shooting at the old man's feet. The old prospector was hopping a round and everybody was laughing.
When the gunslinger fired his last bullet, he holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon. The old man reached up on the mule, drew his shotgun,and pulled both hammers back making a double clicking sound. The gunslinger heard the sound and everything got
quiet. The crowd watched as the gunslinger slowly turned around looking down both barrels of the shotgun.
The old man asked, "Did you ever kiss a mule square on the ass?" The gunslinger swallowed hard and said......."No But I've always wanted to."
The lessons from this story are:
1. Don't waste ammunition.
2. Don't mess with old guys.
Production was delayed due to the WGA strike but now director Mike Newell, who also lensed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is free to begin filming in Morocco in June, with things then switching to Britain's Pinewood Studios.
Disney and Bruckheimer have high hopes for the film, with the producer eager to turn this tale of magic, swashbuckling and baggy pants into a mega-franchise - like his Pirates of the Caribbean.
The movie is set for a June 16 2009 release. The only spanner in the works might be more industrial action, this time courtesy of the SAG, who are still considering a strike of their own.
At present, no cast has been announced, but with the movie now up-and-running, who would you like to see play the titular middle-eastern royal?
I'm very excited about this movie! It's going to be awesome! Ever sense I played the first game I always thought it would be a good movie! The only thing I am concerned about is the director they chose. I think that Gore Verbinski, Director of Pirates of the Caribbean should direct this movie. Either way it should be good because Jerry Bruckheimer's name is on it and you know it's going to be good.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Full Account | New York City police officers and firefighters cordoned off much of Times Square for more than two hours after a small explosion — set off, the authorities said, by an “improvised explosive device” — damaged the front of the Armed Forces Career Center on the traffic island bounded by 43rd and 44th Streets, Seventh Avenue and Broadway at 3:43 a.m., officials said. No one was injured, and after a temporary interruption, subway service was restored.
Most traffic around Times Square was allowed to pass by 6:45 a.m., after vehicles had been diverted for more than two hours. City officials confirmed that police had initially blocked off the area as a precaution to ensure that there was no secondary device or other threat; the officials emphasized that they did not believe anyone was in danger.
Police officers at the scene said the explosion blew a hole through the front door of the recruiting station, which is at the northern end of the structure.
Members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the large Police Department and F.B.I. unit that investigates terrorism, were at the scene of the blast, supporting the Police Department’s Bomb Squad, which along with other police detectives likely will take the lead role in investigating the incident, an F.B.I. official said. The official said that in today’s attack, a man in a gray hooded sweatshirt was seen leaving the scene on a bicycle.
The authorities were looking into whether the explosion was connected to two earlier blasts that were similar in method and timing, the official said. At about 3:40 a.m. on Oct. 26, 2007, two dummy hand grenades that had been fashioned into crude bombs exploded outside the Mexican Consulate at 27 East 39th Street in Murray Hill, shattering windows. The building was not occupied and no one was hurt. At 3:55 a.m. on May 5, 2005, two crude but powerful explosive devices detonated outside the British Consulate at 845 Third Avenue in East Midtown, shattering windows and damaging a planter.
Mr. Kelly spoke with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a news conference at 9:30 a.m. in Times Square. Later, at a second news conference, Mr. Kelly said the explosive material used today “was not particularly powerful,” and that the explosion was “roughly similar” to the earlier consular bombings. Material from the two earlier explosions has been sent to the F.B.I. crime lab in Quantico, Va., and material from today’s explosion will be taken there for analysis as well, Mr. Kelly said.
A witness who was buying a newspaper told police that he saw a man wearing a gray-hooded sweatshirt biking around the recruiting center moments before the bombing. After the bombing, at about 7 a.m., a building superintendent notified the police that a 10-speed bicycle in good condition had been abandoned at Madison Avenue and 38th Street. The police are looking into the possibility that the bicycle had been used by the attacker.
From the writing on the side of the ammunition box found at the site of the explosion, it appeared that the box had once contained belt-mounted machine-gun ammunition. The box was 4 inches wide, 10 inches long and 10 inches deep, Mr. Kelly said.
In the two earlier incidents, the police said the improvised explosive devices were virtually identical. Both contained explosive powder. Both attacks occurred before dawn when there were few people on the street. And in both cases the devices were thrown against building facades.
Both of those attacks were captured on video surveillance. The arc of the device — with its lighted fuse – was visible on the videotape. In the 2007 attack, a witness told police that a man in his 20s on a bicycle pedaled quickly away and turned south onto Park Avenue, the authorities said at the time. The bicyclist was wearing a hooded gray jacket and his face was partly covered, but the police could not say for certain that he threw the grenades. At the time of the Mexican consulate attack, Mr. Kelly, the police commissioner, described the two improvised explosives. He said they were training, or dummy, grenades — perhaps purchased from a novelty shop — that had been hollowed out and stuffed with gunpowder, possibly black powder, and equipped with pyrotechnic fuses. One had a smooth surface, modeled after the “lemon” type used in the Vietnam War, and the other was scored like the rough “pineapple” type used during World War II.
Although the damage today was relatively minor, the prominent location of the blast at a time of heightened concerns about terrorism attracted national attention.
In Washington, a spokeswoman for the United States Department of Homeland Security said it was monitoring and investigating the explosion, Reuters reported. Asked if there was a link to terrorism, the spokeswoman, Laura Keehner, said, “At this time we’re still investigating.”
In West Palm Beach, Fla., Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, who was campaigning with Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, said, “My friends, a bad thing happened in Times Square this morning, and that is some idiot tried to harm a recruiting station there in Times Square where we recruit men and women who serve in the military,’’ he said. “We have to track down and prosecute and put in jail people that commit acts of that nature.”
The office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York issued this statement this afternoon:
I am deeply concerned by the detonation of a small bomb at the military recruiting office in Times Square. While we should be grateful that there were no injuries and minimal damage, there is an ongoing investigation into whether the attack is linked to foreign terrorist groups, and federal, state, and city authorities should be given every resource and every tool to swiftly complete that investigation. Having worked with and supported our law enforcement and national security authorities in New York, I am confident that they will get the job done.
Whatever else we learn about this attack, it is a reminder of the threats we continue to face at home and the importance of remaining vigilant. I will continue to work to provide all levels of law enforcement with the tools they need to continue to protect us here at home.
Capt. Charles V. Jaquillard, the Army Recruiting Command’s company commander for New York City, said in a phone interview that he was informed of the explosion around 5 a.m. “If it were something directed toward the individuals working at that station, then obviously it’s very unfortunate and of great concern, because there’s nothing more important to us than the safety of our troops,” he said.
The explosion briefly disrupted the vital transit node at Times Square, but full subway service had been restored as of 5:39 a.m. A dozen subway lines — the A, C, E, N, Q, R, W, S and Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 7 — run through Times Square. Subway service on those lines — along with the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 lines, which run through Grand Central Terminal — had been suspended at 4:24 a.m., with some lines restored soon after. The recruiting station sits almost directly atop the western terminus of the S, also known as the 42nd Street shuttle, which connects Times Square with Grand Central Terminal.
“I was getting ready to set up the cart, and then I heard a very loud explosion,” said Bashir Saleh, 51, who was preparing to open his coffee cart at the corner of 43rd Street and Seventh Avenue. “Very, very loud. It was the first time I ever heard such a thing. I thought it was some problem with the cart. I got a gas tank here. I thought it might have exploded, that’s how loud it was. Then I ran out towards the source of the noise. I saw a cloud of smoke, then I saw the police rushing towards it. In a matter of minutes there were 10 to 15 police cars. It was a scary experience for me.”
David Hassan, 41, whose coffee cart is on the southwest corner of the same intersection, across the street from Mr. Saleh’s and was also setting up his cart when the blast occurred, said, “It was the biggest, loudest noise you ever heard. I just turned around, and I saw lots of smoke. It sounded like a bomb. It was scary, very scary. I’m still shaking.”
Other workers nearby offered similar descriptions.
“I just heard a boom,” said Deon Halliday, 43, a maintenance-security worker at Silverstein Properties at 570 Seventh Avenue who was standing on the avenue, examining the scene, at 6 a.m. “I thought it was a garbage truck. It happened around 4 o’clock. I stayed in the building because I didn’t know what it was. I had to secure the building.” He added, “I came out later and I was looking at the street and no cars are coming by. I saw all the helicopters.”
As the sun came up, at least three helicopters flew overhead, but it was not clear whether the helicopters were operated by the police.
Mohammed Hossain, 39, whose coffee cart, is at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 44th Street, said he heard the explosion before 4 a.m. “I heard a loud noise and I turned around and saw smoke,” he said. “And then the cops were everywhere, within minutes.” Mr. Hossain, who has operated the cart for 15 years, said police asked him to close up until about 7:15.
Guests at the New York Marriott Marquis, one of the city’s largest hotels, felt the force of the blast. “I felt the building shaking, and then a second after, I heard the explosion,” said Mercy Sepulveda, who was visiting on business from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and was staying on the 10th floor of the hotel. “It sounded like a gas tank exploding. And that was it. Ten minutes later I heard the police. After that I kept waking up every 15 minutes or so. But I thought if it was something really big, like a terrorist attack, there would have been more sirens.”
Maggie Shannon, a real estate agent from Washington, who was staying on the hotel’s 29th floor, said: “I thought it was thunder at first, just one single huge bang. So I got up to look out the window, saw nothing, then spent the rest of the night worrying what it was. I thought it couldn’t be a terrorist attack in the middle of the night, right? But I was concerned.”
Just after 6:45 a.m., a handful of law enforcement officers knelt at the foundation of the recruiting station, smashing the carpet of glass shards with long-handled mallets. Two men in hazardous-materials suits stood above them, among more than a dozen investigators from the city’s Police and Fire Departments, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Police vans and squad cars ringed the scene, with clusters of detectives on street corners, paging through notebooks and talking on cellphones.
For about two hours after the explosion, police officers at the scene said Times Square was closed, and they turned people and cars back. A large police van and a police vehicle with lights flashing were parked at 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue by 5:30 a.m. Police had cordoned off much of 41st Street, Seventh Avenue and the subway station entrances. Police officers turned pedestrians away, including a woman who was trying to jog through. Workers already in their buildings in the cordoned off area were not being allowed out, police officers at the scene said. Employees of Reuters were being turned back at the police tape, and officers were telling them to take the day off.
“It happened two hours ago,” one officer said at the scene, describing the situation as “very fluid.”
Traffic was diverted for a time even to the west, at Eighth Avenue and 41st Street, where a large police vehicle blocked the avenue and traffic was being diverted through the Port Authority bus terminal. Cars were backed up on Eighth Avenue, with some drivers honking angrily. By 6:30 a.m., traffic was moving more easily up Eighth Avenue.
The recruiting station — the third that has stood on the site since 1946 — has been the site of regular antiwar protests since the start of the Iraq war in 2003, although until today, the only major threat to the station seemed to come from pigeons.
The station reopened in September 1999 after a $1 million redesign by Stephen Cassell and Adam Yarinsky of the Architecture Research Office, a Manhattan-based architecture firm. The 520-square-foot building is decorated with 33-by-14-foot flags rendered in fluorescent lights and a giant, nine-panel television screen. The interior contains space for Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine recruiters and one bathroom.
The previous recruiting station, often known simply as the booth, opened in 1950. Built of stainless steel, with smoked-glass windows, the 400-square-foot station was an instantly recognizable landmark of Times Square. “It was the only outpost to house recruiters from all four military branches,” Paul von Zielbauer wrote in The Times in February 1999, when the old station was demolished to make way for the redesigned one. “It was the only station that could reject far more recruits than it enlisted — more than 200 a year signed up — and still claim top honors in recruiting circles. And it was the only recruiting station in the country without a bathroom.” - New York Times
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming
Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile — the list goes on and on.No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA’s GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.A compiled list of all the sources can be seen here. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C — a value large enough to wipe out nearly all the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year’s time. For all four sources, it’s the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down.
Scientists quoted in a past DailyTech article link the cooling to reduced solar activity which they claim is a much larger driver of climate change than man-made greenhouse gases. The dramatic cooling seen in just 12 months time seems to bear that out. While the data doesn’t itself disprove that carbon dioxide is acting to warm the planet, it does demonstrate clearly that more powerful factors are now cooling it. - Dailytech.com
It seems more and more evidence is starting to surface out that debunks the Global Warming hoax!
So Hilary Clinton beat Obama in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island. Sigh..... I was hoping this would be the last time we would here from a Clinton. Dang it!
As for the Republican side John McCain won.......that should be no surprise. I believe its good that the conservative side has picked there presidential candidate before the Libs do because it give McCain plenty of time to Campaign for the Presidency giving him the upper hand while the Dem's spend time bickering and fighting just to get the nomination.
In other words......
To Be Continued..........
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
This is a true fact! More votes were cast for American Idol than for the 2004 presidetial election. More than double.
That's kind of disturbing. More disturbing than that is the response of Underwood when asked, "How does it feel to know that Americans have cast more votes for you than for the President of the United States?" To which she replied something to the effect of, "It feels great, I hope they all buy my album when it's done."
Carrie, if you were truly someone to be idolized, then your response would have been, "I think it's sad that this country cares more about my singing voice and pretty face than the economy, security, and education of its own people."
Nothing like getting into a position to make a difference and then being brain dead.
In all there were 370 Democratic delegates at stake in Rhode Island, Vermont, Ohio and Texas, which uses an unusual primary-caucus system.
After 11 straight victories, Obama had the momentum and the lead in the delegate chase in The Associated Press count, 1,386-1,276.
His margin was larger 1,187-1,035 among pledged delegates chose in primaries and caucuses. The former first lady had an advantage among party leaders known as superdelegates, 241-199.
That left Clinton in desperate need of a comeback with time running out _ if it hadn't already.
Some of her supporters, her husband, the former president among them, said she needed to outpoll Obama in both Texas and Ohio to sustain her candidacy.
Without conceding anything, Obama's allies said even that wouldn't be enough, given his lead in the delegate count and party rules that virtually assure primary losers a significant share of the spoils.
Nevertheless in appearances Tuesday, Clinton sounded like she might continue her campaign if she only won Ohio, and Obama sounded almost resigned to an extension of the nomination battle.
"You don't get to the White House as a Democrat without winning Ohio," Clinton said in Houston.
"My husband didn't get the nomination wrapped up until June (in 1992). That has been the tradition," she added, without mentioning that this year most primaries were held much earlier than in 1992. "This is a very close race."
In San Antonio, Obama called Clinton "a tenacious and determined candidate" and predicted little shift in his delegate lead no matter who won Texas and Ohio, "which means that either way, we'll go on through Mississippi and Wyoming next week." Pennsylvania, the biggest single prize left, follows on April 22.
"All those states coming up are going to make a difference," he said. "What we want to do is make sure we're competing in every single state."
It takes 2,025 delegates to win the Democratic nomination, and slightly more than 600 remained to be picked in the 10 states that vote after Tuesday.
The Democratic marathon was in contrast to a Republican race that was fierce while it lasted, but long since settled.
McCain, the Arizona senator, began the night with 1,014 delegates, out of 1,191 needed for the nomination at the party convention next summer in St. Paul, Minn. There were 256 Republican delegates at stake in the four states on the night's ballot.
McCain's sole major remaining rival, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, had 257 delegates, and posed no threat.
It was McCain's second run at the nomination, after his loss to George W. Bush in 2000. Once the front-runner, his campaign nearly imploded last summer. But he regrouped, reassuming the underdog role that he relishes, and methodically dispatched one rival after another in a string of primaries in January and early February.
In the other half of the most wide-open presidential campaign in a half-century, Obama looked for the knockout blow, while Clinton sought a revival.
As before, he outspent her in television commercials, an advantage padded by unions working in his behalf.
hode Island and Vermont received little attention from either of the candidates, who devoted most of their time to Ohio and Texas. They debated once in each big state, and stressed issues that varied from one to the other.
Thus, NAFTA was a focus of the Ohio race.
Obama sent out mass mailings that said Clinton had supported the free trade agreement when it was passed during her husband's administration, and that he had opposed it. She angrily accused him of distorting her record.
But roles were reversed in the campaign's final hours after a memo surfaced in which a Canadian official described a meeting in which Obama's senior economic adviser said the Illinois senator's criticisms of the trade agreement were political positioning.
Clinton said Obama had given a "wink-wink" to Canada on the issue.
Obama said, "Nobody reached out to the Canadians to try to assure them of anything."
The Texas campaign revolved more around readiness to serve as commander in chief.
Clinton aired a television commercial that showed children asleep in their beds. "It's 3 a.m. and your children are safely asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?" the announcer said.
Obama wasn't mentioned, but responded quickly.
He told reporters that Clinton had already had her "red phone moment," _ and voted for the Iraq war.
He launched his own ad, with sleeping children and a telephone ringing ominously.
"In a dangerous world, it's judgment that matters," the announcer said. - Townhall.com
If you live in Ohio or Texas go VOTE!
The team did not immediately confirm or deny the report. An assistant to Packers general manager Ted Thompson said he was in meetings all day but would release a statement later Tuesday morning.
The news was a surprise to at least one of Favre's teammates. Most players expected Favre to return after a successful 2007 season.
"I just saw it come across the TV," Packers wide receiver Koren Robinson said, when reached on his cell phone by The Associated Press.
The 38-year-old Favre, a three-time NFL MVP and one of the NFL's grittiest players, has made his annual flirtation with retirement a winter tradition in Wisconsin. He has taken weeks and even months to make his decision after recent seasons, with Cheeseheads hanging on his every word.
But unlike the final game of the 2006 season—when Favre provided a cliffhanger by getting choked up in a television interview as he walked off the field in Chicago, only to return once again—nearly everyone assumed he would be back this time. They were wrong.
Only two years removed from perhaps his worst season, Favre had a resurgence in 2007. He broke several career records. Among them was Dan Marino's career mark for career touchdown passes. He powered the Packers to an NFC North title and a 13-3 regular-season record and earned his ninth Pro Bowl spot.
Surrounded by an underrated group of wide receivers who proved hard to tackle after the catch, Favre had a career-high completion percentage of 66.5. He threw for 4,155 yards, 28 touchdowns and only 15 interceptions.
It was a remarkable turnaround from 2005, Favre's final season under former head coach Mike Sherman, when he threw a career-worst 29 interceptions as the Packers went 4-12.
Given Favre's career resurgence, it was widely assumed that he was leaning toward returning for the 2008 season.
He even said as much just before the Packers' Jan. 12 divisional playoff game against Seattle, telling his hometown newspaper that he wasn't approaching the game as if it would be his last and was more optimistic than in years past about returning.
"For the first time in three years, I haven't thought this could be my last game," Favre told the Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Herald. "I would like to continue longer."
Those comments sent premature shock waves across the state—all the way up to the governor's office, where the political version of a false start was committed.
"Like all Packer fans, I am thrilled that Brett Favre will return to action next year for the green and gold," Gov. Jim Doyle said in a statement. "Brett Favre's tremendous work ethic and willingness to go out and play hard every day represent the true spirit of Wisconsin. I am hopeful that with this announcement behind us, Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers can focus on the task at hand: defeating the Seattle Seahawks."
The governor's office later amended the statement to say Doyle was "excited to hear Brett Favre talking about returning to action next year."
It was another example of the state's fascination with the future of its favorite quarterback.
Favre then finished the season on a sour note, suddenly showing his age in the Packers' 23-20 overtime loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game.
Favre struggled in subzero temperatures, throwing an interception on the Packers' second play from scrimmage in overtime to set up the Giants' game-winning field goal.
After that game, Favre was noncommittal on his future. McCarthy said he wanted Favre to take a step back from the season before making a decision. But it was widely assumed he would be back.
"I think he's going to come back," Packers receiver Donald Driver said in early January. "I wouldn't be surprised if he comes back. He's having a great year, so it'd be great to see him come back if he decides to."
Retiring Packers chairman Bob Harlan figured Favre would be back, too.
"Yeah, I think he'll be back," Harlan said, on his final official day as the Packers' top executive. "And I felt that way the last couple years, when we've had these long debates about it. I just think he's such a competitor that as long as he feels he can compete, he's going to keep coming back."
Still, in the week leading to the playoff game against Seattle, Favre said his injuries were starting to linger.
"I'm not getting any younger," Favre said. "I wake up some days and think I can't even touch my toes. I think about that. I think, well, next year is not going to be like some refreshing, awakening season where all of a sudden you're going to feel great. That's not going to happen.
"I carry some of these things with me that maybe you wouldn't see. I tend to dwell on them, at least internally, more than I used to. I don't write them off as quickly as I used to." - AP
Wow! I don't know what I think about this. I love Brett Farvre and I grew up watching him play. This saddens me. I would have loved to see him hang in there another season sense there last season was pretty good.