Philadelphia Front Page News PRESS -National Magazine

Philadelphia Front Page News PRESS -National Magazine
LETTERS/COLUMNS: Send letters to the editor for publishing to frontpagenews1@yahoo.com. Please include day/evening phone and home and email address. APEARANCE REQUESTS: All writers are available to speak on radio, television, and in print. They are also available to speak or appear at your next event. Contact Van Stone frontpagenews1@yahoo.com or (267) 293-9201 to submit a request for any writer. Do not contact the writer directly! All appearance requests go through the Managing Editor’s office. COPYRIGHT: The use of any submissions appearing on this site for monetary gain is strictly prohibited.

Power WVSR 1360

FPN NEWS “TAKE TIME FOR WINNERS IN ANY COMMUNITY!”

Philadelphia Front Page News www.fpnnews.us Your Top Stories Of The Day (267) 293-9201

Philadelphia Front Page News www.fpnnews.us Your Top Stories Of The Day (267) 293-9201
Newspaper Billboard: Above- 1 original lady who is a Van Stone Fashion and Beauty Collection Model. Philadelphia, County/Delaware County USA - Out On The Town Swim Gear. In the image is Nina Milano! She is Van Stone's Selected Princess Model out and about traveling the town scene showing women how to dress for the fun and fantastic occasion- whatever it is. Follow the beautiful women of Color as she share with you the Van Stone look- From Bold Colors and Prints to Cool Jewels! Apparel, Accessories & Jewelry Trends. Also, look for her on the Power WVSR 1360.us Radio Station Webpage. Show Your Care By Listening To The Internet Radio Station. It's Philly Internet Radio.

Click on logo to listen to Power WVSR 1360 Internet Radio Station And Visit The Webpage.

"PROMOTE YOURSELF. DO IT YOURSELF".

VAN STONE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC & USA:

Van Stone Dominican Republic & USA: Fashion and Beauty Collection

Van Stone Dominican Republic & USA: Fashion and Beauty Collection
If you are interested in wear and style by Van Stone or wish to promote your own brand or logo click on the Van Stone Logo to go the VSP member page. We can make a simple logo of your name for you. Thanks.

POWER WVSR: POPULAR HITS PLAYED BY DJ VAN STONE


Enjoy The Interactive Radio Station

Enjoy The Interactive Radio Station
Become a guest at the Power WVSR 1360.US Internet Radio Station. Click on the image to go to the radio station sign up membership page.

FPN News -Woman, Man, Teen/Kid Of The Year: Send Us Your Best Of The Year Shots

Share your women, man, teen/kid photos and help FPN promote the best of people to radio, entertainment, car shows, school, parents, and the general public. The magazine cover images are just below for news readers and music listeners to view.

FPN will be promoting the benefits of being a winner to radio, entertainment, car shows, school, parents, and the general public through this year’s theme, "Take Time for Winners in Any Community."

We would like to feature pictures of real, awesome women, men, teens/kids from across the country and beyond and need your help –and your donation for the photo.

Please consider sending your high-resolution, quality photos of your best person to FPN. Click on any of the magazine cover images to go to the VSP form submit page. Please complete the form and include the name of the individual for your image. Someone will return your submission to your email requesting that you complete the submission by emailing your picture and donation amount. Thank you for supporting the best of the year shots.

Potencia WVSR 1360.us.

Potencia WVSR 1360.us.
Haga clic en el logo para escuchar Poder WVSR 1360 la estación de radio por Internet y visitar la página web.

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images-Nina Milano -Beautiful World Imágenes- Nina Milano Van Stones

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images-Nina Milano -Beautiful World Imágenes- Nina Milano Van Stones
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images - South Asia, Latinamerica, and USA Fashion and Beauty Images.

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images - South Asia, Latinamerica, and USA Fashion and Beauty Images.
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia. Click on the image to complete the membership form.

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images -Hermosas World Images Van Stones

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images -Hermosas World Images Van Stones
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

Van Stones' Beautiful World Child Images-JONAE- Van Stones Hermosas Imágenes Mundial de Niños

Van Stones' Beautiful World Child Images-JONAE- Van Stones Hermosas Imágenes Mundial de Niños
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

WE'RE #1

WE'RE #1

Van Stones' Beautiful Tween Images-Hermosas Imágenes Tween Van Stones

Van Stones' Beautiful Tween Images-Hermosas Imágenes Tween Van Stones
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

WE'RE NO 1

WE'RE NO 1

Van Stones' Beautiful Youth Images -Van Stones imágenes hermosas de la Juventud

Van Stones' Beautiful Youth Images -Van Stones imágenes hermosas de la Juventud
Family Modeling -Modelado de la familia

Van Stones' Beautiful Child Images -Van Stones Niño hermoso Imágenes

Van Stones' Beautiful Child Images -Van Stones Niño hermoso Imágenes
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia
CHILD OF THE YEAR

WE'RE #1

WE'RE #1

Van Stones’ Beautiful Woman Images -Van Stones Imágenes hermosas de la mujer

Van Stones’ Beautiful Woman Images -Van Stones Imágenes hermosas de la mujer
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE WITH VAN STONE: (ESL) ENGLISH SECOND LANGUANGE TRAINING.

Click on the subscribe to FPN Magazine image above. Look for it at the left hand column of the page to fill out a request form.

New: LiveTV Weather Channel from Berks County, Pa

New: LiveTV Weather Channel from Berks County, Pa
WFMZ Weather TV Live

Like us On Facebook

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sixers Hold Off Cavs For Fourth Straight Win

Sixers Hold Off Cavs For Fourth Straight Win

sixers2

CLEVELAND (AP) — Back when the Philadelphia 76ers were 3-13, close games often went the other way.

Winning teams find ways to pull them out, and that’s what the 76ers are now.

The 76ers moved above .500 for the first time this season with a 95-91 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Halladay Pitches 2 Shutout Innings Vs Blue Jays

Halladay Pitches 2 Shutout Innings Vs Blue Jays

Roy Halladay

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — Roy Halladay pitched two shutout innings against his former team in his first start of spring training, leading the Philadelphia Phillies over the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 Monday.

Halladay allowed two hits, struck out one and walked one. He pitched for the Blue Jays from 1998-09, then was traded to the Phillies.

“Just being in the game again is fun,” said Halladay, who led the NL with 21 wins last season. “You can throw as many bullpens and you want but it’s always different once you get out there. It’s always fun getting back out there.”

Halladay limited the Blue Jays to two singles, striking out one and issuing one walk.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Philadelphia Archdiocese Closing Seven Area Catholic Grade Schools

Philadelphia Archdiocese Closing Seven Area Catholic Grade Schools

(St. Thomas Aquinas School in Croydon, Pa., one of seven slated to close at the end of this academic year.  Photo provided)

(St. Thomas Aquinas School in Croydon, Pa., one of seven slated to close at the end of this academic year.)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that it would be closing seven Catholic grade schools in the Philadelphia area at the end of this school year due to low enrollment.

For the past five years Paul Townes has waited at the corner of “G” and Westmoreland Streets to walk his 10-year-old daughter Nyderah home from school.

But where Paul waits for his daughter is about to change because Ascension of Our Lord Parish School in Kennsington is closing.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Two Students Arrested In Connection To Theft Of 60 Laptops

Two Students Arrested In Connection To Theft Of 60 Laptops

laptops

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two high school students are under arrest, accused of stealing dozens of computers from West Philadelphia High School.

Eyewitness News first reported last Wednesday, 60 computers were swiped from West Philadelphia High School. On Thursday, police say they heard from a man who called to report that he had just bought a new Mac laptop for much less than what it’s worth.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Jane Russell, star of '40s and '50s films, dies

Jane Russell, star of '40s and '50s films, dies

AP Photo
FILE - In this file handout photo, Jane Russell is shown in a scene from the movie "The Outlaw." A family member on Monday, Feb. 28, 2011 said Russell, stunning star of 1940s and 1950s films, has died at age 89.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jane Russell, the busty brunette who shot to fame as the sexy star of Howard Hughes' 1941 Western "The Outlaw," died Monday of respiratory failure, her family said. She was 89.

Although Russell largely retired from Hollywood after her final film, 1970's "Darker Than Amber," she had remained active in her church, with charitable organizations and with a local singing group until her health began to decline just a couple weeks ago, said her daughter-in-law, Etta Waterfield. She died at her home in Santa Maria.

"She always said I'm going to die in the saddle, I'm not going to sit at home and become an old woman," Waterfield told The Associated Press. "And that's exactly what she did, she died in the saddle."

Hughes, the eccentric billionaire, put her onto the path to stardom when he cast her in "The Outlaw," a film he fought with censors for nearly a decade to get into wide release.

With her sultry look and glowing sexuality, Russell became a star before she was ever seen by a wide movie audience. The Hughes publicity mill ground out photos of the beauty in low-cut costumes and swim suits, and she became famous, especially as a pinup for World War II GIs.

Then in 1948 she starred opposite Bob Hope in the box-office hit, "The Paleface," a comedy-western in which Russell was tough-but-sexy Calamity Jane to Hope's cowardly dentist.

Although her look and her hourglass figure made her the subject of numerous nightclub jokes, unlike Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth and other pinup queens of the era, Russell was untouched by scandal in her personal life. During her Hollywood career she was married to star UCLA and pro football quarterback Bob Waterfield.

"The Outlaw," although it established her reputation, was beset with trouble from the beginning. Director Howard Hawks, one of Hollywood's most eminent and autocratic filmmakers, rankled under producer Hughes' constant suggestions and finally walked out.

"Hughes directed the whole picture - for nine bloody months!" Russell said in 1999.

The film's rambling, fictional plot featured Russell as a friend of Billy the Kid as he tussles with Doc Holliday and Sheriff Pat Garrett.

It had scattered brief runs in the 1940s, earning scathing reviews. The Los Angeles Times called it "one of the weirdest Western pictures that ever unreeled before the public."

But Hughes made sure no one overlooked his No. 1 star. The designer of the famous "Spruce Goose" airplane used his engineering skills to make Russell a special bra (which she said she never wore) and he bought the ailing RKO film studio to turn it into a vehicle for her.

Wisely, he also loaned her to Paramount to make "The Paleface," because at RKO she starred in a series of potboilers such as "His Kind of Woman" (with Robert Mitchum), "Double Dynamite" (Frank Sinatra, Groucho Marx), "The Las Vegas Story" (Victor Mature) and "Macao" (Mitchum again).

Hughes had rewarded her with a unique 20-year contract paying $1,000 a week, then he sold RKO and quit making movies. Russell continued receiving the weekly fee, but never made another film for Hughes.

Her only other notable film was "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," a 1953 musical based on the novel by Anita Loos. She and Monroe teamed up to sing "Two Little Girls From Little Rock" and seek romance in Paris.

At a 2001 film festival appearance, Russell noted that Monroe was five years younger, saying, "It was like working with a little sister."

She followed that up with the 1954 musical "The French Line," which like "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" had her cavorting on an ocean liner. The film was shot in 3-D, and the promotional campaign for it proclaimed "J.R. in 3D. Need we say more?"

In 1955, she made the sequel "Gentlemen Marry Brunettes" (without Monroe) and starred in the Westerns "The Tall Men," with Clark Gable, and "Foxfire," with Jeff Chandler. But by the 1960s, her film career had faded.

"Why did I quit movies?" she remarked in 1999. "Because I was getting too old! You couldn't go on acting in those years if you were an actress over 30."

She continued to appear in nightclubs, television and musical theater, including a stint on Broadway in Stephen Sondheim's "Company." She formed a singing group with Connie Haines and Beryl Davis, and they made records of gospel songs.

For many years she served as TV spokeswoman for Playtex bras, and in the 1980s she made a few guest appearances in the TV series "The Yellow Rose."

She was born Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell on June 21, 1921, in Bemidji, Minn., and the family later moved to the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. Her mother was a lay preacher, and she encouraged the family to build a chapel in their back yard.

Despite her mother's Christian preachings, young Jane had a wild side. She wrote in her 1985 autobiography, "My Paths and Detours," that during high school she had a back-alley abortion, which may have rendered her unable to bear children.

Her early ambition was to design clothes and houses, but that was postponed until her later years. While working as a receptionist, she was spotted by a movie agent who submitted her photos to Hughes, and she was summoned for a test with Hawks, who was to direct "The Outlaw."

"There were a lot of other unknowns who were being tested that day," she recalled in a 1999 Associated Press interview. "I figured Jack Beutel was going to be chosen to play Billy the Kid, so I insisted on being tested with him."

Both were cast, and three months would pass before she met Hughes. The producer was famous for dating his discoveries as well as numerous Hollywood actresses, but his contract with Russell remained strictly business. Her engagement and 1943 marriage to Waterfield assured that.

She was the leader of the Hollywood Christian Group, a cluster of film people who gathered for Bible study and good works. After experiencing problems in adopting her three children, she founded World Adoption International Agency, which has helped facilitate adoptions of more than 40,000 children from overseas.

She made hundreds of appearances for WAIF and served on the board for 40 years.

As she related in "My Path and Detours," her life was marked by heartache. Her 24-year marriage to Waterfield ended in bitter divorce in 1968. They had adopted two boys and a girl.

That year she married actor Roger Barrett; three months later he died of a heart attack. In 1978 she married developer John Peoples, and they lived in Sedona, Ariz., and later, Santa Barbara. He died in 1999 of heart failure.

Over the years Russell was also beset by alcoholism.

Always she was able to rebound from troubles by relying on lessons she learned from her Bible-preaching mother.

"Without faith, I never would have made it," she commented a few months after her third husband's death. "I don't know how people can survive all the disasters in their lives if they don't have any faith, if they don't know the Lord loves them and cares about them and has another plan."

Survivors include her children, Thomas K. Waterfield, Tracy Foundas and Robert "Buck" Waterfield, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

A public funeral is scheduled March 12 at 11 a.m. at Pacific Christian Church in Santa Maria.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made in her name to either the Care Net Pregnancy and Resource Center of Santa Maria or the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Santa Barbara County.

Authorities: Man persuaded moms to abuse kids

Authorities: Man persuaded moms to abuse kids

AP Photo
In this undated photo released by the U.S. Marshals Service, Steven Demink, 41, of Redford Township, Mich., is shown. Demink appeared in federal court in Detroit, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011 to enter his plea on six charges related to the sexual exploitation of children. Seven charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. Demink posed as a psychologist and persuaded mothers across the country to sexually assault their children as a form of therapy, then send him the images of the attacks, authorities said Monday. Demink faces 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced in June.

DETROIT (AP) -- A Michigan man built an online profile posing as a good-looking single dad and caring psychologist and persuaded mothers across the country to sexually assault their children as a form of therapy, then send him the images of the attacks, authorities said Monday.

Since authorities arrested him in October, seven children were rescued and at least three mothers have been arrested. Prosecutors say all of the children are now safe.

Steven Demink, 41, of Redford Township, Mich., appeared in federal court in Detroit to enter his plea on six charges related to the sexual exploitation of children. Seven charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. He faces 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced in June.

Court documents paint a picture of a man who targeted single mothers, and in some cases, promised them a date if they followed through with his directions. He would identify himself in conversations as Dalton St. Clair, a single father of a 14-year-old girl, prosecutors said, and posted pictures of male models as his headshots.

He connected with mothers in New Hampshire, Idaho, Florida and elsewhere from April 2009 until September 2010, authorities say, and got them to engage in sexual acts with their children and send images via e-mail or through a live web stream. The children ranged in age from 3 to 15.

In one case, Demink started online chats with an Oregon woman about the sexual development of her eight-year-old autistic son, according to a plea agreement. He told her to engage in sexually explicit conduct with her son as a way to teach him about sex, and she did so while Demink watched on a web camera, prosecutors say.

"Demink intimated to these women that the result of the therapy would be healthier children," the document said.

Federal agents were tipped off to his operation by the Teton County Sheriff's Office in Idaho, said Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations, which led the probe. The mother of a woman who had been chatting with him called sheriff's officials in late 2009.

The woman's mother, Eileen Schwab, said she knows little of how Demink convinced her daughter to follow his orders, but knows she "met him on the Internet and he promised her the world." Schwab said her daughter was "depressed and lonesome" after her divorce. Her daughter pleaded guilty to lewd conduct with a child under 16 in May of last year, and is currently in prison.

"I don't know how he wrangled her in," Schwab said. "She could have turned off the computer and gone the other way. He must have had a power over her."

The arrested mothers also include a woman who lived in New Hampshire when prosecutors say the crimes occurred. She pleaded guilty in December to producing child pornography, which carries a possible sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced in March. The Associated Press left a message seeking comment from Larry Dash, a federal defender representing her.

A woman from Lee County, Fla., also has pleaded not guilty to five counts and was being held without bond in Florida and faces a May trial in federal court in Fort Myers, federal defender Martin DerOvanesian said. Prosecutors say Demink also is linked to four other mothers in Indiana, Georgia, Illinois and Oregon but has not been charged with crimes related to those communications. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mulcahy said those cases are not part of the indictment but can be considered during sentencing.

The Associated Press is not naming the women to protect the identity of the children. The AP generally does not identify victims of sexual abuse.

In court on Monday, Demink told U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen he understood the charges and that he was giving up his right to a trial by pleading guilty. When Rosen asked how Demink was feeling, he said, "Nervous, your honor."

Demink told Rosen that before his arrest, he worked as a car salesman for about six months and before that for about five years at a local bank. He said he completed a U.S. Customs and Border Protection training program in 2002 and worked for the Immigration and Naturalization Service for about a year.

Demink's attorney, Timothy Dinan, said his client "has expressed a lot of remorse" for what he did and has taken responsibility by pleading guilty. Dinan said Demink's parents, who were in court but declined to be interviewed, are praying for their son as well as the victims and their families.

"It's a shame he couldn't ask for help," Dinan said.

Pro-Gadhafi forces fight rebels in 2 cities

Pro-Gadhafi forces fight rebels in 2 cities

AP Photo
Libyan anti-government fighters celebrate as they control a checkpoint on the outskirts of the southwestern town of Nalut, Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. The town is currently in control of the Libyan anti-government forces.

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- International pressure on Moammar Gadhafi to end a crackdown on opponents escalated Monday as his loyalists fought rebels holding the two cities closest to the capital and his warplanes bombed an ammunition depot in the east. The U.S. moved naval and air forces closer to Libya and said all options were open, including patrols of the North African nation's skies to protect its citizens from their ruler.

France said it would fly aid to the opposition-controlled eastern half of the country. The European Union imposed an arms embargo and other sanctions, following the lead of the U.S. and the U.N. The EU was also considering the creation of a no-fly zone over Libya. And the U.S. and Europe were freezing billions in Libya's foreign assets.

"Gadhafi has lost the legitimacy to govern, and it is time for him to go without further violence or delay," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said. "No option is off the table. That of course includes a no-fly zone," she added. British Prime Minister David Cameron told lawmakers: "We do not in any way rule out the use of military assets" to deal with Gadhafi's regime.

Gadhafi, who in the past two weeks has launched the most brutal crackdown of any Arab regime facing a wave of popular uprisings, laughed off a question from ABC News about whether he would step down as the Obama administration demands.

"My people love me. They would die for me," he said. ABC reported that Gadhafi invited the United Nations or any other organization to Libya on a fact-finding mission.

Gadhafi's remarks were met with derision in Washington. "It sounds, just frankly, delusional," said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice. She added that Gadhafi's behavior, including laughing on camera in TV interviews amid the chaos, "underscores how unfit he is to lead and how disconnected he is from reality."

The turmoil in the oil-rich nation roiled markets for another day. Libya's oil chief said production had been cut by around 50 percent, denting supplies that go primarily to Europe. The country provides 2 percent of the world's oil, but concerns the unrest will spread to other oil-rich nations has sent oil prices rising worldwide.

The uprising that began Feb. 15 has posed the most serious challenge to Gadhafi in his more than four decades in power. His bloody crackdown has left hundreds, and perhaps thousands, dead. But clashes appear to have eased considerably in the past few days after planeloads of foreign journalists arrived in the capital at the government's invitation.

The two sides are entrenched, and the direction the uprising takes next could depend on which can hold out longest. Gadhafi is dug in in Tripoli and nearby cities, backed by his elite security forces and militiamen who are generally better armed than the military. His opponents, holding the east and much of the country's oil infrastructure, also control pockets in western Libya near Tripoli. They are backed by mutinous army units, but those forces appear to have limited supplies of ammunition and weapons.

Gadhafi opponents have moved to consolidate their hold in the east, centered on Benghazi - Libya's second- largest city, where the uprising began. Politicians there on Sunday set up their first leadership council to manage day-to-day affairs, taking a step toward forming what could be an alternative to Gadhafi's regime.

The opposition is backed by numerous units of the military in the east that joined the uprising, and they hold several bases and Benghazi's airport. But so far, the units do not appear to have melded into a unified fighting force. Gadhafi long kept the military weak, fearing a challenge to his rule, so many units are plagued by shortages of supplies and ammunition.

On Monday, pro-Gadhafi forces retook control of the western border crossings with Tunisia that had fallen under opposition control and they bombed an ammunition depot in the rebel-held east, residents in the area said. The Libyan Defense Ministry denied the bombing.

Regime forces also moved to tighten their ring around two opposition-controlled cities closest to the capital Tripoli - Zawiya and Misrata - where the two sides are locked in standoffs.

An Associated Press reporter saw a large, pro-Gadhafi force massed on the western edge of Zawiya, some 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli, with about a dozen armored vehicles along with tanks and jeeps mounted with anti-aircraft guns. An officer said they were from the elite Khamis Brigade, named after one of Gadhafi's sons who commands it. U.S. diplomats have said the brigade is the best-equipped force in Libya.

A resident of Zawiya said by telephone that fighting started in the evening and intensified after sundown when troops loyal to Gadhafi attacked the city from the west and east.

"We were able to repulse the attack. We damaged a tank with an RPG. The mercenaries fled after that," said the resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisals.

He said Gadhafi called Zawiya's influential tribal leader Mohammed al-Maktouf and warned him that if the rebels don't leave the city's main square by early Tuesday, they will be hit by warplanes. "We are expecting a major battle," the resident said, added that the rebels killed eight soldiers and mercenaries Monday.

Another resident of Zawiya said he heard gunfire well into the night on the outskirts of town.

In Misrata, Libya's third-largest city 125 miles (200 kilometers) east of Tripoli, pro-Gadhafi troops who control part of an air base on the outskirts tried to advance Monday. But they were repulsed by opposition forces, who included residents with automatic weapons and defected army units allied with them, one of the opposition fighters said.

No casualties were reported and the fighter claimed that his side had captured eight soldiers, including a senior officer.

The opposition controls most of the air base, and the fighter said dozens of anti-Gadhafi gunmen have arrived from farther east in recent days as reinforcements.

Several residents of the eastern city of Ajdabiya said Gadhafi's air force also bombed an ammunition depot nearby held by rebels. One resident, 17-year-old Abdel-Bari Zwei, reported intermittent explosions and a fire, and another, Faraj al-Maghrabi, said the facility was partially damaged. The site contains bombs, missiles and ammunition - key for the undersupplied opposition military forces.

State TV carried a statement by Libya's Defense Ministry denying any attempt to bomb the depot. Ajdabiya is about 450 miles (750 kilometers) east of Tripoli along the Mediterranean coast.

Gadhafi supporters said they were in control of the city of Sabratha, west of Tripoli, which has seemed to go back and forth between the two camps in the past week. Several residents told the AP that protesters set fire to a police station, but then were dispersed. Anti-Gadhafi graffiti - "Down with the enemy of freedom" and "Libya is free, Gadhafi must leave" - were scrawled on some walls, but residents were painting them over.

There were signs of economic distress in the country, with prices skyrocketing and long lines forming for bread and gasoline.

Global efforts to halt Gadhafi's crackdown escalated Monday.

In Washington, the Pentagon said it was moving some naval and air forces closer to Libya in case they are needed. The U.S. has a regular military presence in the Mediterranean and farther to the south has two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf area.

The U.S. Treasury Department said that at least $30 billion in Libyan assets have been frozen since President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Libya last week.

France promised to send two planes with humanitarian aid the eastern opposition stronghold city of Benghazi, hoping to give it the momentum to oust Gadhafi. The aid to included medicine and doctors, would be the first direct Western help for the uprising that has taken control of the entire eastern half of Libya. French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said it was the start of a "massive operation of humanitarian support" for the east and that Paris was studying "all solutions" - including military options.

The EU slapped its own arms embargo, visa ban and other sanctions on Gadhafi's regime, following sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the U.N. in the past week. And Europe was also considering the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent any air attacks by the regime on rebellious citizens.

Clinton met in Geneva with foreign ministers from Britain, France, Germany and Italy to press for tough sanctions on the Libyan government.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Boondocks At Philadelphia Front Page News

Boondocks At Philadelphia Front Page News

...


Robert Branch Portrays Octavius Catto For Historic Philadelphia Event

Robert Branch Portrays Octavius Catto For Historic Philadelphia Event

(Robert Branch On Stage Playing Octavius Catto Credit: Karin Phillips)

(Robert Branch On Stage Playing Octavius Catto Credit: Karin Phillips)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Historic Philadelphia has a new history maker on its books, thanks, in large part, to the zeal of the actor for the part.

It all started when 57-year-old Robert Branch (photo), engineer by trade but historic storyteller for fun, told the story of Octavius Catto, the 19th Century civil rights activist, educator, soldier and baseball player.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

AP IMPACT: Past medical testing on humans revealed

AP IMPACT: Past medical testing on humans revealed

AP Photo
FILE - In this June 25, 1945 picture, army doctors expose patients to malaria-carrying mosquitoes in the malaria ward at Stateville Penitentiary in Crest Hill, Ill. Around the time of World War II, prisoners were enlisted to help the war effort by participating in studies that could help the troops. A series of malaria studies at Stateville Penitentiary in Illinois and two other penitentiaries were designed to test antimalarial drugs that could help soldiers fighting in the Pacific. Shocking as it may seem, government doctors once thought it was fine to experiment on disabled people and prison inmates.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Shocking as it may seem, U.S. government doctors once thought it was fine to experiment on disabled people and prison inmates. Such experiments included giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland, and injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital.

Much of this horrific history is 40 to 80 years old, but it is the backdrop for a meeting in Washington this week by a presidential bioethics commission. The meeting was triggered by the government's apology last fall for federal doctors infecting prisoners and mental patients in Guatemala with syphilis 65 years ago.

U.S. officials also acknowledged there had been dozens of similar experiments in the United States - studies that often involved making healthy people sick.

An exhaustive review by The Associated Press of medical journal reports and decades-old press clippings found more than 40 such studies. At best, these were a search for lifesaving treatments; at worst, some amounted to curiosity-satisfying experiments that hurt people but provided no useful results.

Inevitably, they will be compared to the well-known Tuskegee syphilis study. In that episode, U.S. health officials tracked 600 black men in Alabama who already had syphilis but didn't give them adequate treatment even after penicillin became available.

These studies were worse in at least one respect - they violated the concept of "first do no harm," a fundamental medical principle that stretches back centuries.

"When you give somebody a disease - even by the standards of their time - you really cross the key ethical norm of the profession," said Arthur Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics.

Some of these studies, mostly from the 1940s to the '60s, apparently were never covered by news media. Others were reported at the time, but the focus was on the promise of enduring new cures, while glossing over how test subjects were treated.

Attitudes about medical research were different then. Infectious diseases killed many more people years ago, and doctors worked urgently to invent and test cures. Many prominent researchers felt it was legitimate to experiment on people who did not have full rights in society - people like prisoners, mental patients, poor blacks. It was an attitude in some ways similar to that of Nazi doctors experimenting on Jews.

"There was definitely a sense - that we don't have today - that sacrifice for the nation was important," said Laura Stark, a Wesleyan University assistant professor of science in society, who is writing a book about past federal medical experiments.

The AP review of past research found:

-A federally funded study begun in 1942 injected experimental flu vaccine in male patients at a state insane asylum in Ypsilanti, Mich., then exposed them to flu several months later. It was co-authored by Dr. Jonas Salk, who a decade later would become famous as inventor of the polio vaccine.

Some of the men weren't able to describe their symptoms, raising serious questions about how well they understood what was being done to them. One newspaper account mentioned the test subjects were "senile and debilitated." Then it quickly moved on to the promising results.

-In federally funded studies in the 1940s, noted researcher Dr. W. Paul Havens Jr. exposed men to hepatitis in a series of experiments, including one using patients from mental institutions in Middletown and Norwich, Conn. Havens, a World Health Organization expert on viral diseases, was one of the first scientists to differentiate types of hepatitis and their causes.

A search of various news archives found no mention of the mental patients study, which made eight healthy men ill but broke no new ground in understanding the disease.

-Researchers in the mid-1940s studied the transmission of a deadly stomach bug by having young men swallow unfiltered stool suspension. The study was conducted at the New York State Vocational Institution, a reformatory prison in West Coxsackie. The point was to see how well the disease spread that way as compared to spraying the germs and having test subjects breathe it. Swallowing it was a more effective way to spread the disease, the researchers concluded. The study doesn't explain if the men were rewarded for this awful task.

-A University of Minnesota study in the late 1940s injected 11 public service employee volunteers with malaria, then starved them for five days. Some were also subjected to hard labor, and those men lost an average of 14 pounds. They were treated for malarial fevers with quinine sulfate. One of the authors was Ancel Keys, a noted dietary scientist who developed K-rations for the military and the Mediterranean diet for the public. But a search of various news archives found no mention of the study.

-For a study in 1957, when the Asian flu pandemic was spreading, federal researchers sprayed the virus in the noses of 23 inmates at Patuxent prison in Jessup, Md., to compare their reactions to those of 32 virus-exposed inmates who had been given a new vaccine.

-Government researchers in the 1950s tried to infect about two dozen volunteering prison inmates with gonorrhea using two different methods in an experiment at a federal penitentiary in Atlanta. The bacteria was pumped directly into the urinary tract through the penis, according to their paper.

The men quickly developed the disease, but the researchers noted this method wasn't comparable to how men normally got infected - by having sex with an infected partner. The men were later treated with antibiotics. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, but there was no mention of it in various news archives.

Though people in the studies were usually described as volunteers, historians and ethicists have questioned how well these people understood what was to be done to them and why, or whether they were coerced.

Prisoners have long been victimized for the sake of science. In 1915, the U.S. government's Dr. Joseph Goldberger - today remembered as a public health hero - recruited Mississippi inmates to go on special rations to prove his theory that the painful illness pellagra was caused by a dietary deficiency. (The men were offered pardons for their participation.)

But studies using prisoners were uncommon in the first few decades of the 20th century, and usually performed by researchers considered eccentric even by the standards of the day. One was Dr. L.L. Stanley, resident physician at San Quentin prison in California, who around 1920 attempted to treat older, "devitalized men" by implanting in them testicles from livestock and from recently executed convicts.

Newspapers wrote about Stanley's experiments, but the lack of outrage is striking.

"Enter San Quentin penitentiary in the role of the Fountain of Youth - an institution where the years are made to roll back for men of failing mentality and vitality and where the spring is restored to the step, wit to the brain, vigor to the muscles and ambition to the spirit. All this has been done, is being done ... by a surgeon with a scalpel," began one rosy report published in November 1919 in The Washington Post.

Around the time of World War II, prisoners were enlisted to help the war effort by taking part in studies that could help the troops. For example, a series of malaria studies at Stateville Penitentiary in Illinois and two other prisons was designed to test antimalarial drugs that could help soldiers fighting in the Pacific.

It was at about this time that prosecution of Nazi doctors in 1947 led to the "Nuremberg Code," a set of international rules to protect human test subjects. Many U.S. doctors essentially ignored them, arguing that they applied to Nazi atrocities - not to American medicine.

The late 1940s and 1950s saw huge growth in the U.S. pharmaceutical and health care industries, accompanied by a boom in prisoner experiments funded by both the government and corporations. By the 1960s, at least half the states allowed prisoners to be used as medical guinea pigs.

But two studies in the 1960s proved to be turning points in the public's attitude toward the way test subjects were treated.

The first came to light in 1963. Researchers injected cancer cells into 19 old and debilitated patients at a Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital in the New York borough of Brooklyn to see if their bodies would reject them.

The hospital director said the patients were not told they were being injected with cancer cells because there was no need - the cells were deemed harmless. But the experiment upset a lawyer named William Hyman who sat on the hospital's board of directors. The state investigated, and the hospital ultimately said any such experiments would require the patient's written consent.

At nearby Staten Island, from 1963 to 1966, a controversial medical study was conducted at the Willowbrook State School for children with mental retardation. The children were intentionally given hepatitis orally and by injection to see if they could then be cured with gamma globulin.

Those two studies - along with the Tuskegee experiment revealed in 1972 - proved to be a "holy trinity" that sparked extensive and critical media coverage and public disgust, said Susan Reverby, the Wellesley College historian who first discovered records of the syphilis study in Guatemala.

By the early 1970s, even experiments involving prisoners were considered scandalous. In widely covered congressional hearings in 1973, pharmaceutical industry officials acknowledged they were using prisoners for testing because they were cheaper than chimpanzees.

Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia made extensive use of inmates for medical experiments. Some of the victims are still around to talk about it. Edward "Yusef" Anthony, featured in a book about the studies, says he agreed to have a layer of skin peeled off his back, which was coated with searing chemicals to test a drug. He did that for money to buy cigarettes in prison.

"I said 'Oh my God, my back is on fire! Take this ... off me!'" Anthony said in an interview with The Associated Press, as he recalled the beginning of weeks of intense itching and agonizing pain.

The government responded with reforms. Among them: The U.S. Bureau of Prisons in the mid-1970s effectively excluded all research by drug companies and other outside agencies within federal prisons.

As the supply of prisoners and mental patients dried up, researchers looked to other countries.

It made sense. Clinical trials could be done more cheaply and with fewer rules. And it was easy to find patients who were taking no medication, a factor that can complicate tests of other drugs.

Additional sets of ethical guidelines have been enacted, and few believe that another Guatemala study could happen today. "It's not that we're out infecting anybody with things," Caplan said.

Still, in the last 15 years, two international studies sparked outrage.

One was likened to Tuskegee. U.S.-funded doctors failed to give the AIDS drug AZT to all the HIV-infected pregnant women in a study in Uganda even though it would have protected their newborns. U.S. health officials argued the study would answer questions about AZT's use in the developing world.

The other study, by Pfizer Inc., gave an antibiotic named Trovan to children with meningitis in Nigeria, although there were doubts about its effectiveness for that disease. Critics blamed the experiment for the deaths of 11 children and the disabling of scores of others. Pfizer settled a lawsuit with Nigerian officials for $75 million but admitted no wrongdoing.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general reported that between 40 and 65 percent of clinical studies of federally regulated medical products were done in other countries in 2008, and that proportion probably has grown. The report also noted that U.S. regulators inspected fewer than 1 percent of foreign clinical trial sites.

Monitoring research is complicated, and rules that are too rigid could slow new drug development. But it's often hard to get information on international trials, sometimes because of missing records and a paucity of audits, said Dr. Kevin Schulman, a Duke University professor of medicine who has written on the ethics of international studies.

These issues were still being debated when, last October, the Guatemala study came to light.

In the 1946-48 study, American scientists infected prisoners and patients in a mental hospital in Guatemala with syphilis, apparently to test whether penicillin could prevent some sexually transmitted disease. The study came up with no useful information and was hidden for decades.

The Guatemala study nauseated ethicists on multiple levels. Beyond infecting patients with a terrible illness, it was clear that people in the study did not understand what was being done to them or were not able to give their consent. Indeed, though it happened at a time when scientists were quick to publish research that showed frank disinterest in the rights of study participants, this study was buried in file drawers.

"It was unusually unethical, even at the time," said Stark, the Wesleyan researcher.

"When the president was briefed on the details of the Guatemalan episode, one of his first questions was whether this sort of thing could still happen today," said Rick Weiss, a spokesman for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

That it occurred overseas was an opening for the Obama administration to have the bioethics panel seek a new evaluation of international medical studies. The president also asked the Institute of Medicine to further probe the Guatemala study, but the IOM relinquished the assignment in November, after reporting its own conflict of interest: In the 1940s, five members of one of the IOM's sister organizations played prominent roles in federal syphilis research and had links to the Guatemala study.

So the bioethics commission gets both tasks. To focus on federally funded international studies, the commission has formed an international panel of about a dozen experts in ethics, science and clinical research. Regarding the look at the Guatemala study, the commission has hired 15 staff investigators and is working with additional historians and other consulting experts.

The panel is to send a report to Obama by September. Any further steps would be up to the administration.

Some experts say that given such a tight deadline, it would be a surprise if the commission produced substantive new information about past studies. "They face a really tough challenge," Caplan said.

Libya rebels gird for fight in city near capital

Libya rebels gird for fight in city near capital

AP Photo
CORRECTS SPELLING OF GADHAFI IN FIRST REFERENCE AND LIBYAN Anti-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi gunmen celebrate the freedom of the Libyan city of Benghazi, Libya, on Sunday Feb. 27, 2011. US President Barack Obama has called on Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to leave power immediately, saying he has lost the legitimacy to rule with his violent crackdown on his own people.

ZAWIYA, Libya (AP) -- Hundreds of armed anti-government forces backed by military defectors who control the city closest to the capital Tripoli prepared Sunday to repel an expected offensive by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi surrounding Zawiya.

Two prominent U.S. Senators said Washington should recognize and arm a provisional government in rebel-held areas of eastern Libya and impose a no-fly zone over the area - enforced by U.S. warplanes - to stop attacks by the regime. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton echoed President Barack Obama's demand for Gadhafi to relinquish power.

"We want him to leave," she told reporters traveling with her Sunday to a U.N. meeting on Libya planned for Monday. "We want him to end his regime and call off the mercenaries and forces loyal to him. How he manages that is up to him."

Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, claimed again that the country was calm and denied the regime used force or airstrikes against its own people. But human rights groups and European officials have put the death toll since unrest began in Libya nearly two weeks ago at hundreds, or perhaps thousands, though it has been virtually impossible to verify the numbers.

There were no reports of violence or clashes on Sunday.

Gadhafi has launched by far the bloodiest crackdown in a wave of anti-regime uprisings sweeping the Arab world. The United States, Britain and the U.N. Security Council all imposed sanctions on Libya over the weekend. And President Barack Obama said it is time for Gadhafi to go.

The regime, eager to show foreign reporters that the country is calm and under their control, took visiting journalists to Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli on Sunday. However, the tour confirmed the anti-government rebels are in control of the center of the city of 200,000. They have army tanks and anti-aircraft guns mounted on pickup trucks deployed.

On the outskirts of the city, they are surrounded by pro-Gadhafi forces, also backed by tanks and anti-aircraft guns.

There were at least six checkpoints controlled by troops loyal to Gadhafi on the road from Tripoli to Zawiya. Each checkpoint was reinforced by at least one tank, and the troops concealed their faces with scarves.

"To us, Gadhafi is the Dracula of Libya," said Wael al-Oraibi, an army officer at Zawiya who joined the rebels. He said his decision to defect was prompted in large part by the Libyan leader's use of mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa against the people of Zawiya.

A key city close to an oil port and refineries, Zawiya is the nearest population center to Tripoli to fall into the opposition hands. Police stations and government offices inside the city have been torched and anti-Gadhafi graffiti was everywhere. Many buildings are pockmarked by bullets.

The mood in the city was generally upbeat, but the anticipation of a renewed attempt to retake the city was causing some anxiety among the rebels.

Meanwhile, in eastern Libya, the cities under the control of the rebels announced the formation of a new National Transitional Council to govern their affairs, shooting down an earlier bid by former Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil to form his own provisional government with himself as the head.

U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, speaking on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, said Washington should arm the provisional government in rebel-held areas of eastern Libya "to fight on behalf of the people of Libya against a really cruel dictator." Lieberman, an independent, also proposed imposing a no-fly zone over the east to stop forces loyal to Gadhafi from attacking.

Speaking on the same program, Republican Senator John McCain suggested that U.S. warplanes are used to enforce the no-fly zone and that Washington recognizes the government in eastern Libya.

Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam denied in a TV interview that his father's regime used force or airstrikes against its own people.

"Show me a single attack. Show me a single bomb," he told ABC's "This Week," according to a transcript. "The Libyan air force destroyed just the ammunition sites. That's it."

Seif al-Islam is the most visible of Gadhafi's children and has since the anti-government protests broke out nearly two weeks ago been acting as a spokesman for the regime.

"The whole south is calm. The west is calm. The middle is calm. Even part of the east," he said.

Asked about Obama's call for his father to step down, he said: "It's not an American business, that's No. 1. Second, do they think this is a solution? Of course not."

As for the U.S. freeze of Libyan assets, he said: "First of all, we don't have money outside. We are a very modest family and everybody knows that."

"Gadhafi Out," chanted hundreds in Zawiya's city center on Sunday. The charred skeletons of many cars littered the city and most streets were blocked by palm tree trunks or metal barricades. "Free, Free Libya," chanted members of the anti-government forces at the city center.

"Down with Gadhafi, the mass murderer," read graffiti scrawled in the city. An effigy of Gadhafi hung from a light pole in the city's main square. On its chest the words "Execute Gadhafi" were emblazoned.

The square has now become the burial place of six of 11 rebels killed by pro-Gadhafi forces Thursday when they attacked the area to try and dislodge them. Residents reported several skirmishes between the two sides since Thursday.

"We are all wanted," said one rebel at the square who did not want to give his name for fear of reprisals. "Zawiya in our hands is a direct threat to Tripoli."

Rebels from the town and army forces who defected from the regime to join them largely consolidated control of the town on Feb. 24, after an army unit that remained loyal to Gadhafi opened fire on a mosque where residents - some armed with hunting rifles for protection - had been holding a sit-in.

About 20 miles (30 Kilometers) west of Zawiya, some 3,000 pro-Gadhafi demonstrators gathered on the coastal highway, chanting slogans in support of the Libyan leader.

Before Zawiya fell to rebel forces, Gadhafi scolded the city residents on Thursday.

"Shame on you, people of Zawiya. Control your children," he said. "They are loyal to bin Laden," he said of those involved in the uprising. "What do you have to do with bin Laden, people of Zawiya? They are exploiting young people ... I insist it is bin Laden."

On Feb. 24, local forces repelled an attempt by militiamen and pro-Gadhafi troops to take back the town.

Later, Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, acknowledged to foreign journalists in Tripoli that there were "two minor problems" in Misrata and Zawiya. There, he said, "we are dealing with terrorist people," but he hoped to reach a peaceful settlement with them.

Gadhafi loyalists remain in control of nearby Tripoli, which was reported to be quiet Sunday, with most stores closed and long lines outside the few banks open for business.

City residents thronged the banks after state TV and SMS messages announced in the past few days that each family would receive 500 Libyan dinars (about $400), plus the equivalent of about $100 credit for phone service. State TV said families also will be entitled to 60,000 Libyan dinars (about $49,000) in interest-free loans to buy apartments.

But one resident said Tripoli's calm may be deceptive.

"The situation is being constructed to look natural, but it is not," said a 40-year-old Tripoli businessman who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals. "People are scared and they are waiting for the fall of the regime. People are scared to go out or to gather because some areas have been taken over by armed groups loyal to the regime."

Another Tripoli resident, a 21-year-old Libyan-American who only wanted to be identified by her first name, Rahma, said the city was deserted on Sunday. "No one is driving around, no one is out in the streets."

Her aunt, she said, went to a funeral Sunday and came back to tell the rest of the family that there were checkpoints run by pro-regime forces across the city.

A doctor in Libya's third-largest city Misrata, 125 miles (200 kilometers) east of Tripoli, said residents retrieved two more bodies of those killed during fighting with pro-Gadhafi forces near the city's air base on Friday.

The two bodies raise to 27 the death toll from the fighting. About 30 residents who took part in the battle remain unaccounted for, said the doctor who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisals.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Holy Family Coach Resigns

Holy Family Coach Resigns

Holy Family

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The embattled basketball coach at Holy Family University, who came under fire after a videotaped incident at practice, has resigned.

John O’Connor met with his players Thursday night and told them he was stepping down.

This action followed a whirlwind day Thursday in which the coach and sophomore Matt Kravchuk appeared on Good Morning America.

The coach apologized for knocking Kravchuk to the floor during a January 25th practice, bloodying his nose. Kravchuk refused to accept the apology.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

76ers Top Pistons 110-94 To Reach .500

76ers Top Pistons 110-94 To Reach .500

Detroit Pistons v Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Elton Brand had 20 points and 17 rebounds, and the Philadelphia 76ers reached .500 for the first time this season in a 110-94 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Led by a resurgent Brand, the Sixers have rebounded from a 3-13 start to get to 29-29. Coach Doug Collins had already in his first season led the Sixers to more wins than they had a year ago. The Sixers have won 12 of 16 and are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

As Wis. impasse continues, schools eye layoffs

As Wis. impasse continues, schools eye layoffs

AP Photo
Union worker Dan Burke, center, of Janesville, Wis., uses a bucket to drum after loosing his voice during protests at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Friday, Feb. 25, 2011, over the governor's proposed budget. Protests to the governor's bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers are in their 11th day at the Capitol.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin school districts are warning teachers that their contracts might not be renewed as Gov. Scott Walker's plan to cut nearly all public employees' collective bargaining rights remains in limbo.

The proposal took a concrete step forward Friday when Republicans in the state Assembly abruptly approved the bill and sent it to the Senate after three straight days of debate and amid confusion among Democrats. But with all 14 Democratic state senators still out of state, another stalemate awaits the measure that Walker insists will help solve budget deficits and avoid mass layoffs.

The legislative gridlock prompted the Wisconsin Association of Schools Boards to warn districts that they have until Monday to warn teachers of possible nonrenewal of contracts. That's because if Walker's bill becomes law, it would void current teacher collective bargaining agreements that lay out protocol and deadlines for conducting layoffs.

New London district administrator Bill Fitzpatrick said he had been authorized by his school board to issue nonrenewal notices to all 180 district teachers, but was negotiating a deadline extension with local teachers union officials to avoid sending the notices en masse.

"It's like going to the doctor and being told you might have some kind of disease but that's the only thing they can tell you," Fitzpatrick said Friday. "This fear of the unknown, of not knowing the future of your livelihood - that's what the people in this building are worried about right now."

Despite the uncertainty created by the absence of the Senate Democrats, who fled more than a week ago to block a vote on Walker's bill, Marshfield kindergarten teacher Jane Cooper said she blames Republicans.

"They are trying to bust our union," Cooper said. "That is huge."

The flashpoint in Walker's proposal is language that would require public workers to contribute more to their pensions and health insurance and strip them of their right to collectively bargain benefits and work conditions.

It contains a number of provisions he says are designed to fill the state's $137 million deficit and lay the groundwork for fixing a projected $3.6 billion shortfall in the upcoming 2011-13 budget.

Democrats and unions see the measure as an attack on workers' rights and an attempt to cripple union support for Democrats. Union leaders say they would make pension and health care concessions if they can keep their bargaining rights, but Walker has refused to compromise.

None of the nearly 8,000 members of the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association had received notices as of Friday, although president Mike Langyel said they expected some by early next week. Third-grade teacher Alaura Cook said teachers remained united against Walker's bill, despite his insistence it would save at least 1,500 jobs.

"It's never good when anybody loses their job," Cook said. "But we know in the long run if we keep our rights they could somehow find the money to hire those teachers back."

Among those who already have received nonrenewal notices is the wife of Senate Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a key Walker ally. Lisa Fitzgerald is a counselor in the Hustiford school district, where all 34 teachers have gotten the warnings.

"The layoffs are real," Scott Fitzgerald said Friday. "I don't know if the Democrats understand that. This isn't some game of chicken."

Several Democratic senators said the layoffs threat wasn't enough to bring them back to Madison. Sen. Chris Larson stopped short of calling it a bluff, but said he believes Walker hoped to pit middle-class workers against one another.

"It's quite despicable that he would use layoffs as a political tool," Larson said. "A lot of his tactics are veiled threats. We can see right through them."

Milwaukee elementary school teacher Kelly McMahon agreed.

"There's no reason for him to take my rights away," she said of Walker. "There's no reason for layoffs. He's being more stubborn than some of my kindergartners are."

Walker wasn't backing off Friday. He traveled to Kenosha, Green Bay and Rhinelander - three cities home to Democratic senators - to encourage the missing lawmakers to return and to stress that Republicans have no intention of backing off the main tenets of his bill.

Walker said he didn't want to see layoffs, but insisted that if the bill is not passed by the end of next week, his administration would have to start preparing layoff notices for as many as 1,500 state employees.

Tens of thousands of people have jammed the Capitol since last week to protest the measure, pounding on drums and chanting so loudly that police providing security have resorted to ear plugs. Hundreds took to sleeping in the building overnight, dragging in air mattresses and blankets.

Lawmakers have spent multiple nights as well.

The Assembly debate had reached 60 hours, with 15 Democrats still waiting to speak, when the vote started around 1 a.m. Friday. The voting roll opened and closed within seconds. Democrats looked around, bewildered. Only 13 of the 38 Democratic members managed to vote in time.

Republicans marched out of the chamber silently. Democrats rushed at them, pumping their fists and shouting "Shame!" and "Cowards!"

Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca called the tactic an underhanded trick later Friday. He said his staff was exploring whether the vote was legal but that it was too early to say whether Democrats could challenge the result.

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) -- Protesters demanding Moammar Gadhafi's ouster came under a hail of bullets Friday when pro-regime militiamen opened fire to st

US closes Libya embassy, freezes Gadhafi assets

AP Photo
Libyan American demonstrators raise a pre-Gadhafi era Libyan flag at the Libyan ambassador's residence in Washington, Friday, Feb. 25, 2011.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration on Friday shuttered the U.S. Embassy in Libya and froze all assets held in the United States by the Libyan government, Moammar Gadhafi and four of his children, ending days of cautious condemnation by all but calling for the unpredictable leader's immediate ouster.

President Barack Obama said the sanctions were justified by Libya's "continued violation of human rights, brutalization of its people and outrageous threats" that have drawn condemnation from the world.

"By any measure, Moammar Gadhafi's government has violated international norms and common decency and must be held accountable," Obama said in a statement announcing the penalties.

He said the sanctions were designed to target Gadhafi's government and protecting the assets of Libya's people from being looted by the regime.

In an executive order detailing the sanctions and signed by Obama, the president said the instability in Libya constituted an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to U.S. national security and foreign policy.

The sharper U.S. tone and pledges of tough action came after American diplomatic personnel were evacuated from the capital of Tripoli aboard a chartered ferry and a chartered airplane, escorting them away from the violence to Malta and Turkey. As they left, fighting raged on in Tripoli and elsewhere in Libya as Gadhafi vowed to crush the rebellion that now controls large parts of the country.

With U.S. diplomats and others out of harm's way, the administration moved swiftly. Shortly after the chartered plane left Libyan airspace, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. had been constrained in moving against Gadhafi and his loyalists due to concerns over the safety of Americans but was now ready to bring more pressure on the government to halt its attacks on opponents.

"It's clear that Colonel Gadhafi has lost the confidence of his people," Carney told reporters. "He is overseeing the brutal treatment of his people, the fatal violence against his own people and his legitimacy has been reduced to zero in the eyes of his people."

The U.S. put an immediate freeze on all assets of Gadhafi's regime and the Libyan government held in American banks and other U.S. institutions.

The sanctions apply also apply to assets held in the U.S. by Gadhafi and three sons - heir apparent Seif al-Islam, Khamis and Muatassim - and a daughter, Aisha. The order also directs the secretaries of state and treasury to identify other individuals who are senior officials of the Libyan government, children of Gadhafi and others involved in the violence.

Stuart Levey, undersecretary for terrorism at the Treasury Department, said officials believe "substantial sums of money" will be frozen under the order. He declined to give an estimate.

Carney said sanctions would "make it clear that the regime has to stop its abuses, it has to stop the bloodshed." International officials say thousands may be dead.

But the hesitancy to outline the full range of U.S. punishments reflected in part the administration's skepticism that it had many options to influence Gadhafi. The 68-year-old has had a rocky relationship with the West, and American officials are worried about his unpredictability as he desperately seeks to maintain his four-decade grip on power.

U.S. military action is considered unlikely, although the Obama administration has not ruled out participation in an internationally administered protective no-fly zone.

Carney said some sanctions would be unilateral, and others would be coordinated with international allies and the United Nations, whose chief, Ban Ki-moon, was invited to Washington for Monday talks with Obama. Carney cited U.N. negotiations on a possible weapons embargo.

The Treasury Department had already ordered American banks to scrutinize accounts linked to senior Libyan officials and inform authorities of any attempts to misappropriate or divert public funds.

The U.S. suspended operations at its Tripoli embassy after a chartered flight took the last embassy staff out of the country at 1:49 p.m. EST. That followed a ferry that departed earlier Friday and arrived in Malta with nearly 338 passengers aboard, including 183 Americans.

The U.S., however, did not break diplomatic relations with Libya because it wants to retain the ability to communicate directly with Libyan officials to appeal for restraint and an end to the violence, State Department officials said. The embassy will be re-opened once security conditions permit, they said.

The administration stressed that the U.S. pressure was part of a broader movement to bring peace to Libya, with several officials saying the international community was speaking with a single voice on the matter. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is headed to Switzerland on Sunday to meet foreign policy chiefs from key allies. Officials said she might announce specifics of the U.S. sanctions on Monday.

But whereas French President Nicolas Sarkozy told Gadhafi to step down, the U.S. refrained - just barely - from a similar declaration.

"The status quo is simply neither tenable nor acceptable," Carney said. "The Libyan people deserve a government now that protects the safety of its citizens, is responsive to their aspirations and is broadly representative."

Obama was briefing world leaders on U.S. plans and coordinating the international pressure on Gadhafi's government. He spoke Friday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and they discussed measures to hold Libya's government accountable for its "unacceptable" violence. That followed Thursday's discussions with leaders from Britain, France and Italy.

The U.S. maintained a stiff embargo against Libya for years, calling it a terrorist sponsor. Washington eased restrictions over the past several years in recognition of Gadhafi's decision to renounce his nuclear weapons program and his cooperation in anti-terror operations. Carney said the U.S. would suspend the limited military cooperation it had with the country.

Libya ranks among the world's most corrupt countries and has enormous assets to plunder. Confidential State Department cables suggest that U.S. banks manage hundreds of millions in Libyan assets and the government has built a multibillion-dollar wealth fund from oil sales.

In Geneva, U.S. diplomats joined a unanimous condemnation of Libya at the U.N. Human Rights Council, which launched an investigation into possible crimes against humanity by Gadhafi's regime and recommended Libya's suspension from the body.

The U.N. Security Council in New York was discussing action simultaneously Friday, and NATO was talking about deploying ships and surveillance aircraft to the Mediterranean Sea.

Carney insisted the sanctions could work.

"Sanctions that affect the senior political leadership of a regime like Libya have been shown to have an effect," he said. We are also ... pursuing actions that will ensure that the perpetrators of violations of human rights are held accountable."

Protesters hit by hail of gunfire in Libya march

Protesters hit by hail of gunfire in Libya march

AP Photo
Libyan gunmen flash the V sign as they stand on a military vehicle driving the streets, in Benghazi, Libya, on Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Several tens of thousands held a rally in support of the Tripoli protesters in the main square of Libya's second-largest city, Benghazi, where the revolt began, about 580 miles (940 kilometers) east of the capital along the Mediterranean coast.

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) -- Protesters demanding Moammar Gadhafi's ouster came under a hail of bullets Friday when pro-regime militiamen opened fire to stop the first significant anti-government marches in days in the Libyan capital. The Libyan leader, speaking from the ramparts of a historic Tripoli fort, told supporters to prepare to defend the nation.

Witnesses reported multiple deaths from gunmen on rooftops and in the streets shooting at crowds with automatic weapons and even an anti-aircraft gun.

"It was really like we are dogs," one man who was marching from Tripoli's eastern Tajoura district told The Associated Press. He added that many people were shot in the head, with seven people within 10 yards (meters) of him cut down in the first wave.

Also Friday evening, troops loyal to Gadhafi attacked a major air base east of Tripoli that had fallen into rebel hands.

A force of tanks attacked the Misrata Air Base, succeeding in retaking part of it in battles with residents and army units who had joined the anti-Gadhafi uprising, said a doctor and one resident wounded in the battle on the edge of opposition-held Misrata, Libya's third-largest city, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) from the capital.

The opposition captured two fighters, including a senior officer, and still held part of the large base, they said. Shooting could still be heard from the area after midnight. The doctor said 22 people were killed in two days of fighting at the air base and an adjacent civilian airport.

In Washington, President Barack Obama signed an executive order Friday freezing assets held by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and four of his children in the United States. The Treasury Department said the sanctions against Gadhafi, three of his sons and a daughter also apply to the Libyan government.

Obama said the U.S. is imposing unilateral sanctions on Libya because continued violence there poses an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to America's national security and foreign policy.

A White House spokesman said it is clear that Gadhafi's legitimacy has been "reduced to zero" - the Obama administration's sharpest words yet. The U.S. also temporarily abandoned its embassy in Tripoli as a final flight carrying American citizens departed from the capital.

The U.N. Security Council met to consider possible sanctions against Gadhafi's regime, including trade sanctions and an arms embargo. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged it take "concrete action" to protect civilians in Libya, saying "the violence must stop" and those responsible for "so brutally shedding blood" must be punished.

But Gadhafi vowed to fight on. In the evening, he appeared before a crowd of more than 1,000 supporters in Green Square and called on them to fight back and "defend the nation."

"Retaliate against them, retaliate against them," Gadhafi said, speaking by microphone from the ramparts of the Red Castle, a Crusader fort overlooking the square. Wearing a fur cap, he shook his fist, telling the crowd: "Dance, sing and prepare. Prepare to defend Libya, to defend the oil, dignity and independence."

He warned, "At the suitable time, we will open the arms depot so all Libyans and tribes become armed, so that Libya becomes red with fire."

The crowd waved pictures of the leader and green flags as he said, "I am in the middle of the people in the Green Square. ... This is the people that loves Moammar Gadhafi. If the people of Libya and the Arabs and Africans don't love Moammar Gadhafi then Moammar Gadhafi does not deserve to live."

Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, told foreign journalists invited by the government to Tripoli that there were no casualties in Tripoli and that the capital was "calm ... Everything is peaceful. Peace is coming back to our country."

He said the regime wants negotiations with the opposition and said there were "two minor problems" in Misrata and Zawiya, another city near the capital held by the opposition.

There, he said, "we are dealing with terrorist people." But he said he hoped to reach a peaceful settlement with them "and I think by tomorrow we will solve it."

Earlier Seif was asked in an interview with CNN-Turk about the options in the face of the unrest. "Plan A is to live and die in Libya, Plan B is to live and die in Libya, Plan C is to live and die in Libya," he replied.

The marches in the capital were the first major attempt by protesters to break a clampdown that pro-Gadhafi militiamen have imposed on Tripoli since the beginning of the week, when dozens were killed by gunmen roaming the street, shooting people on sight.

In the morning and night before, text messages were sent around urging protesters to stream out of mosques after noon prayers, saying, "Let us make this Friday the Friday of liberation," residents said. The residents and witnesses all spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

In response, militiamen set up heavy security around many mosques in the city, trying to prevent any opposition gatherings. Armed young men with green armbands to show their support for Gadhafi set up checkpoints on many streets, stopping cars and searching them. Tanks and checkpoints lined the road to Tripoli's airport, witnesses said.

After prayers, protesters flowed out of mosques, converging into marches from several neighborhoods, heading toward Green Square. But they were hit almost immediately by militiamen, a mix of Libyans and foreign mercenaries.

"We can't see where it is coming from," another protester from Tajoura district - several miles (kilometers) from Green Square - said of the gunfire. "They don't want to stop." He said a man next to him was shot in the neck.

In the nearby Souq al-Jomaa district, witnesses reported four killed as gunmen fired from rooftops. "There are all kind of bullets," said one man in the crowd, screaming in a telephone call to the AP, with the rattle of gunfire audible in the background. Another protester was reported killed in the Fashloum district. The reports could not be independently confirmed.

After nightfall, protesters dispersed, and regime supporters prowled the streets, a resident said. As they have on past nights this week, many blockaded streets into their neighborhoods to prevent militiamen and strangers from entering.

Tripoli, home to about a third of Libya's population of 6 million, is the center of the eroding territory that Gadhafi still controls. The opposition holds a long sweep of about half of Libya's 1,000-mile (1,600- kilometer) Mediterranean coastline where most of the population lives.

Even in the Gadhafi-held pocket of northwestern Libya around Tripoli, several cities have also fallen to the rebellion. Militiamen and pro-Gadhafi troops were repelled Thursday when they launched attacks trying to take back opposition-held territory in Zawiya and Misrata in fighting that killed at least 30 people.

In an apparent bid to win public favor, parliament speaker Mohammed Abul-Qassim al-Zwai announced that the government would increase salaries and offer the unemployed a monthly salary. State TV reported the unemployed would get the equivalent of $117 a month and salaries would be raised 50 to 150 percent.

Support for Gadhafi continued to fray within a regime where he long commanded unquestioned loyalty.

Libya's delegation to the United Nations in Geneva announced Friday it was defecting to the opposition - and it was given a standing ovation at a gathering of the U.N. Human Rights Council. They join a string of Libyan ambassadors and diplomats around the world who abandoned the regime, as have the justice and interior ministers at home, and one of Gadhafi's cousins and closest aides, Ahmed Gadhaf al-Dam, who sought refuge in Egypt.

Libya's 11-member Arab League mission also announced its resignation in protest at the crackdown

On a visit to Turkey, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the violence by pro-Gadhafi forces is unacceptable and should not go unpunished.

"Mr. Gadhafi must go," he said.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch has put the death toll in Libya at nearly 300, according to a partial count from several days ago. Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said estimates of some 1,000 people killed were "credible."

The upheaval in the OPEC nation has taken most of Libya's oil production of 1.6 million barrels a day off the market. Oil prices hovered above $98 a barrel Friday in Asia, backing away from a spike to $103 the day before amid signs the crisis in Libya may have cut crude supplies less than previously estimated.

The opposition camp says it is in control of two of Libya's major oil ports - Breqa and Ras Lanouf - on the Gulf of Sidra. A resident of Ras Lanouf said Friday that the security force guarding that port had joined the rebellion and were helping guard it, along with residents of the area.

Several tens of thousands held a rally in support of the Tripoli protesters in the main square of Libya's second-largest city, Benghazi, where the revolt began, about 580 miles (940 kilometers) east of the capital along the Mediterranean coast.

Tents were set up and residents served breakfast to people, many carrying signs in Arabic and Italian. Others climbed on a few tanks parked nearby, belonging to army units in the city that allied with the rebellion.

"We will not stop this rally until Tripoli is the capital again," said Omar Moussa, a demonstrator. "Libyans are all united. ... Tripoli is our capital. Tripoli is in our hearts."

Muslim cleric Sameh Jaber led prayers in the square, telling worshippers that Libyans "have revolted against injustice."

"God take revenge from Moammar Gadhafi because of what he did to the Libyan people," the cleric, wearing traditional Libyan white uniform and a red cap, said in remarks carried by Al-Jazeera TV. "God accept our martyrs and make their mothers, fathers and families patient."

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said the bloc needs to consider sanctions such as travel restrictions and an asset freeze against Libya to halt to the violence and move toward democracy.

NATO's main decision-making body met in emergency session to consider the deteriorating situation. It said it would continue to monitor the crisis, but that it will not intervene. Participants at the NATO meeting decided it would be premature to discuss deployments or a no-fly zone over Libya, said a diplomat familiar with the discussions.

The U.N.'s top human rights official, Navi Pillay said reports of mass killings in Libya should spur the international community to "step in vigorously" to end the crackdown against anti-government protesters.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hoopgurlz At Phila. Front Page News

Hoopgurlz At Phila. Front Page News

Reflections
Before you sign up to take the court for a program, look carefully at the team's schedule.

As the regular season schedule wraps up and the annual barrage of conference tournaments looms, now is a good time to take a closer look at the schedule and results of the programs that you might be considering. It's important to see beyond just the number of wins and losses and focus on exactly when and specifically whom those victories or defeats came against. Additionally it's imperative that you define for yourself just how important a program's success or struggles are going to be in your decision.

Realistically, there aren't too many recruits out there looking for the opportunity to be the catalyst behind a rebuilding project. More often than not, an athlete's first choice is to hitch their wagon to someone else's star and be part of something rather than the start of something else. Who can blame them? There aren't too many one-year turnarounds in women's basketball and the growing pains of advancing a program can be challenging athletically, mentally and emotionally.

At the same time, there's a misperception out there concerning wins, their role in the recruiting process and just how much impact each W should have in the grand scheme of things. Wins can be a deceiving basis for the inclusion or exclusion of a program as you evaluate those interested in your future. Prosperity and failure are often only a season apart in college athletics and if you're going to give weight to a team's record as you narrow the scope of your choices, you'll need to look deeper into and beyond the immediate season in front of you.

It's worth giving consideration to the past couple of seasons to see if there has been any consistency to what a team has and has not been accomplishing on the floor. If its recent success is the culmination of strides taken over the last few years, you may be looking at a growing program with a sound foundation rather than a senior-laden flash in the pan. But before you pat them on the back and say, "Tell me more," take a look ahead as well. Scan the roster and stats and see what players are returning next season and what their contributions have been over the course of the current schedule. Finding value in the winning percentage of a program means you've got to have the peripheral vision of Sue Bird and see everything to ultimately give it proper perspective.

If you're going to put that kind of stock in a "winning program," then make sure those wins are more than just numbers in a column. Be sure that a team is competing with the caliber of competition that you're interested in playing against and that its success in not an illusion of soft wins and strategic scheduling.

Coaches, depending on what conference their school is a member of, have control over a specific number of nonconference games each season. Each one has a strategy as to what they want to accomplish with those games and often there's more to it than just looking for challenges to get their team ready for conference play.

While it's a given that everyone wants to win them all from a competitive standpoint, sometimes there are other influences that lead to coaches scheduling for wins. Job security can, and often does, comes into play. If the pressure is on and their administration is demanding some improvement, it's not unusual for a coach to soften up the nonconference schedule to create some breathing room.

That mythical 20-win standard to make the NCAA tournament can influence who's going to find a place on the schedule. Often coaches in conferences that annually get multiple bids to the tournament tend to feel they'll get beat up in conference play so they look to stockpile nonconference wins early in the year. Fortunately, the tournament selection committee has done a good job in recent years of discounting 20-win teams that have not achieved those victories against quality competition.

Conversely, a program that is dominant in a mid-major conference and is generally a lock to get its share of wins would be one you would hope to see loading up the front end of the schedule. However, not all take that approach. Some are worried if they slip up in conference play or get upset in their conference tournament that they'll need the wins to get any at-large consideration at all. Again the committee, for the most part, hasn't been investing at-large bids in programs, taking the Bernie Madoff approach to scheduling.

The five top-ranked teams in the current AP poll average only five nonconference games against schools from mid-major or conferences whose strength and depth might be perceived to be weaker than their own. This isn't in any way meant to demean or downplay those particular conferences, but it's obvious that programs challenging for the national championship are looking for the competition as well as the wins.

Often rebuilding programs will soften up the schedule to get some wins and build a winning mentality before they enter into conference play that may not be quite so friendly to them. That approach at times also has a basis in recruiting. Having spent a large majority of my coaching career helping rebuild programs, I've heard time and again from athletes that we weren't being considered an option because we weren't a "winning program." Often that statement came from someone who hadn't looked at anything beyond our record and may well have found a great fit and opportunity if we had a few more wins on the board.

Look closely at the record and schedule of the programs you're considering. You can see all conference standings as well as each individual Division I team's game-by-game results by following this link:

Women's College Basketball Standings

No scheduling strategy is gospel. Any victory feels good to coaches and players, but not all wins are created equal. A competitive loss to a top-25 program often says much more than a 30-point win over a program that hasn't had a winning season since Nixon was in office. From a recruiting standpoint it's important to know how to interpret a program's competition and success as well as identify just what it might mean to you and your future.

Basketball: Big 5 Women’s Title To Be Decided Tonight

Basketball: Big 5 Women’s Title To Be Decided Tonight

(Temple beat St. Joe's, 53-43, at the Liacouras Center on January 19th.)

(Temple beat St. Joe’s, 53-43, at the Liacouras Center on January 19th.)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The top two women’s basketball teams in the city will meet up tonight to decide the Big 5 title.

St. Joe’s and Temple have already met once this season — in an Atlantic 10 game but not a Big 5 match-up — and the Owls won 53-43 back on January 19th. Temple head coach Tonya Cardoza says the Hawks are playing better now than they were then.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Upper Darby Parents Charged With Endangering The Welfare Of Three Young Children

Upper Darby Parents Charged With Endangering The Welfare Of Three Young Children

Upper Darby Parents

UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS) – An Upper Darby man and woman have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child after police found a 7-year-old boy and two five years olds, a boy and a girl, home alone in a house described by Upper Darby Police Chief Michael Chitwood as ‘deplorable.’

“The place was labeled unfit for human habitation due to the dirty structure, the holes in the wall, electrical wires, plumbing that wasn’t working, a hot water heater that wasn’t working,” Chitwood said in a press conference.

Police searched the house after receiving a 9-1-1 call at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. When the 9-1-1 dispatcher called back, a child picked up the phone and said he was 16-years-old, but police were suspicious.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Government drops defense of anti-gay-marriage law

Government drops defense of anti-gay-marriage law

AP Photo
FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2011 file photo, Attorney General Eric Holder speaks in Indianapolis. In a major policy reversal, the Obama administration said Wednesday it will no longer defend the constitutionality of a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama ordered his administration on Wednesday to stop defending the constitutionality of a federal law that bans recognition of gay marriage, a policy reversal that could have major implications for the rights and benefits of gay couples and reignite an emotional debate for the 2012 presidential campaign.

Obama still is "grappling" with his personal views on whether gays should be allowed to marry but has long opposed the federal law as unnecessary and unfair, said spokesman Jay Carney.

First word of the change came not from the White House but from the Justice Department. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Obama had concluded the 15-year-old Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was legally indefensible.

The decision was immediately welcomed by gay rights organizations and vilified by those on the other side. Some Democrats in Congress praised the decision, while it drew criticism from some Republicans and the office of their leader, House Speaker John Boehner, all surely a preview of coming political debate over the latest development in the long-running national conversation about gay rights.

The outcome of that debate could have enormous impact because federal laws and regulations confer more than a thousand rights or benefits on those who are married, most involving taxpayer money - Social Security survivors' benefits, family and medical leave, equal compensation as federal employees and immigration rights.

"Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed DOMA," Holder said in a statement explaining the decision.

As well, the social landscape has changed.

Since the law was passed in 1996, five states and the District of Columbia have approved gay marriage, and others allow civil unions. An Associated Press-National Constitution Center Poll conducted last August found 52 percent of Americans saying the federal government should give legal recognition to marriages between couples of the same sex.

Thirty states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C.

The White House framed Obama's decision as one brought on by a legal deadline in one of several federal court cases challenging the constitutionality of the law which defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.

But Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., speculated Obama's decision was motivated more by political considerations: "It's only in the run-up to re-election that he's suddenly changed his mind."

Obama's reversal on this law had long been sought by gays, who overwhelmingly voted

for his election in 2008.

The Justice Department had defended the act in court until now. But Holder said Obama concluded the law fails to meet a rigorous standard under which courts view with suspicion any laws targeting minority groups, such as gays, who have suffered a history of discrimination - a stricter standard of scrutiny than the department has applied in the past.

Looking back to Congress' debate on the legislation, Holder said it was clear that there were "numerous expressions reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships - precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking and animus the (Constitution's) Equal Protection Clause is designed to guard against."

Gay rights activists noted that the president's move came just two months after Congress, urged on by the administration, voted to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prevented gays from serving openly in the military.

"This major turn should be a final nail in the coffin for the different treatment of gay and non-gay people by the federal government," said law professor Suzanne Goldberg, director of Columbia University's Center for Gender and Sexuality Law.

Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, called the change "a tremendous step toward recognizing our common humanity and ending an egregious injustice against thousands of loving, committed couples who simply want the protections, rights and responsibilities afforded other married couples."

On the other side of the debate, reaction was vehement.

"On the one hand this is a truly shocking extra-constitutional power grab in declaring gay people are a protected class," said Maggie Gallagher of the conservative National Organization for Marriage. "The good news is this now clears the way for the House to intervene and to get lawyers in the courtroom who actually want to defend the law, and not please their powerful political special interests."

Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, issued a statement faulting Obama for stirring up the issue "while Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending."

For now the law remains on the books, while challenges work through the courts. But Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., announced plans to introduce legislation to repeal it.

"My own belief is that when two people love each other and enter the contract of marriage, the federal government should honor that," she said.

At a December news conference, Obama said that his position on gay marriage was "constantly evolving." He has opposed such marriages and supported instead civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. The president said such civil unions are his baseline - at this point, as he put it.

"This is something that we're going to continue to debate, and I personally am going to continue to wrestle with going forward," he said

Marriage law in the U.S. historically has been a matter left to the states, but the federal law bars recognition of them by the federal government.

Thus a same-sex married couple in Vermont could file a joint state tax return but had to file their U.S. tax forms separately. Similarly, legally married same-sex spouses might be ordered to proceed separately though customs and immigrations checkpoints when returning to the U.S. from abroad, and a gay American married to a foreigner could not be sure that the spouse would be allowed to immigrate.

Among those affected by DOMA were a lesbian couple from New York City - Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer. After four decades together, they married in Canada in 2007, and that marriage was recognized in New York.

However, it was not recognized by the federal government. One result, according to lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, was a $350,000 federal tax on Spyer's estate when she died in 2009 that Windsor would not have had to pay if she were in a heterosexual marriage.

Windsor said she was elated by the Justice Department announcement.

"My only regret is that my beloved late spouse ... isn't here today to share in this historic moment," she said. "But in my heart, I feel that she knows."

The attorney general said the department will immediately bring the policy change to the attention of the federal courts now hearing Windsor's challenge in New York City and another case in Connecticut that challenges the federal government's denial of marriage-related protections for federal Family Medical Leave Act benefits, federal laws for private pension plans and federal laws concerning state pension plans.

Those two courts are in the nation's 2nd judicial circuit, where the circuit court has not ruled on the standard for judging this law. In Massachusetts, where the U.S. 1st Circuit Court has accepted the lower standard of scrutiny, which requires only a "rational basis" for the law, a federal district judge found the act to be unconstitutional. On appeal last month, the Justice Department argued in court papers that the Defense of Marriage Act was Congress' reasonable response to a debate among the states on same-sex marriage.

Jerry Savoy, a Connecticut man in a same-sex marriage who is among those challenging the law, welcomed Obama's action, saying he and his spouse were "no different than any other family living on our street." Savoy, a lawyer for a federal agency, said that because of the law he cannot include his spouse on his employer-provided health insurance.

Blog Archive

Internet Weekly Newspaper, the “Front Page News” on-line blogs and more!

No newspaper carrier is involved

Ask about donation to our community newspaper online


Subscriptions:
Philadelphia, PA
Delaware County, PA
Wilmington, DE
New Jersey
News, and more about:

Youth, Education, Political analyst, Schools, Anti-violence, Social Justice, Grass roots

Health N Wellness,

Democracy, Ecological Protection, Seniors, Historic Preservation & Restoration, (Black, Latinos, Asian, Pakistani, Italian, and other) Religious Studies,(Judaism, Christian Ministry, Islamic Study), Arts, Books, Super Heroes & Trading Cards, College, and Pro Sports, Non-profits and Real-estate.

Visit FPN Advertisers

Support The Philadelphia Front Page News

Daily Publishing/Readership Online 190,000

Inquire About FPN

ADS/Gifts

Creative Services

Marketing/Entertainment News

Action Groups

Volunteers


BY PHONE:

267-293-9201


In Delaware

County, PA & Philadelphia County, PA

Van Stone

267-293-9201

Frontpagenews1@yahoo.com


In Philadelphia County, PA

James Sullivan

215-416-0862

In Haverford Township, PA

Joel Perlish

610-789 -7673


By EMAIL:

frontpagenews1@yahoo.com

phillygeek74@yahoo.com

joelperlish@aol.com

sullivancoach@yahoo.com

vspfoundation@yahoo.com

wvsr1360@yahoo.com


FPN Contact Address

Phila. Front Page News

P.O. Box 395

E. Lansdowne, PA 19050


VSP/FPN

Editorial Board

Van Stone,

Volunteer Editor

James Sullivan, Volunteer Editor and Publisher

Joel Perlish, Volunteer Proofing

Diane White,

Volunteer Editor

BY FAX:

To Van Stone Editor

215-474-5155

FRONT PAGE NEWS

PRINT DEADLINES:

Daily

7PM Monday to Friday

(Space and Published)

4PM Saturday to

Sunday

(Space and Published)

All materials published at least 2 days or less after submission

We accept All donation transactions

money order; company check

(no personal check) Please donate at the Donate Button

We accept Credit Card/Debit Card

with symbol Mastercard, Visa,

American Express and Discover.


About Us

  • FPN can reach out to Representatives from your side of: The Village, The Township, or The City

  • FPN Features:

    Sports
    Radio Control Race Models (Cars & Monster Trucks)
    Skateboarding

    Classified
    Radio Broadcasts
    Cars


    Community

    Family Entertainment
    Neighborhood News
    Scholastic News
    Regional News
    National News
    Citywide News
    Legal News
    Alternative Green Energy Education News
    Superhero & Comic Strip News
  • Teen Stars
  • Humanitarian/Ministers/Political
  • Community Services
  • Women & Men & Kids

  • You acknowledge and agree that you may not copy, distribute, sell, resell or exploit for any commercial purposes, any portion of the Newspaper or Services.
    Unless otherwise expressly provided in our Newspaper, you may not copy, display or use any trademark without prior written permission of the trademark owner.

    FPN/VSP® is in no way responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be listed on our Website and/or linked to our Website via hyperlink. VSP/FPN® makes no judgment or warranty with respect to the accuracy, timeliness or suitability of the content of any site to which the Website may refer and/or link, and FPN/VSP® takes no responsibility therefor. By providing access to other websites, FPN/VSP® is not endorsing the goods or services provided by any such websites or their sponsoring organizations, nor does such reference or link mean that any third party websites or their owners are endorsing FPN/VSP® or any of the Services. Such references and links are for informational purposes only and as a convenience to you.

    FPN/VSP® reserves the right at any time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the Website and/or Services (or any part thereof) with or without notice to you. You agree that neither FPN/VSP® nor its affiliates shall be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of the Website and/or Services.

    You agree to indemnify and hold harmless FPN/VSP®, its subsidiaries, and affiliates, and their respective officers, directors, employees, shareholders, legal representatives, agents, successors and assigns, from and against any and all claims, actions, demands, causes of action and other proceedings arising from or concerning your use of the Services (collectively, "Claims") and to reimburse them on demand for any losses, costs, judgments, fees, fines and other expenses they incur (including attorneys' fees and litigation costs) as a result of any Claims.

    The Website is © 2009 by VSP®, or its designers. All rights reserved. Your rights with respect to use of the Website and Services are governed by the Terms and all applicable laws, including but not limited to intellectual property laws.

    Any contact information for troops overseas and/or soldiers at home provided to you by FPN/VSP® is specifically and solely for your individual use in connection with the services provide by Van Stone Productions Foundation VSP.

    FPN/VSP® soldiers contact information for any other purpose whatsoever, including, but not limited to, copying and/or storing by any means (manually, electronically, mechanically, or otherwise) not expressly authorized by FPN/VSP is strictly prohibited. Additionally, use of FPN/VSP® contact information for any solicitation or recruiting purpose, or any other private, commercial, political, or religious mailing, or any other form of communication not expressly authorized by FPN/VSP® is strictly prohibited.