Friday, January 26, 2007

Arab groups protest Beck's hiring

Arab groups protest Beck's hiring

Fri Jan 26, 8:48 AM ET

NEW YORK - Three groups are urging ABC News not to keep CNN Headline News personality Glenn Beck on as a "Good Morning America" commentator because they believe he's biased against Arabs.

The Arab American Institute, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Muslim Public Affairs Council all said Thursday they had written to ABC News President David Westin about Beck.

"Good Morning America" executive producer Jim Murphy has spoken to a representative of the groups and has invited them on the air to talk about their grievances, said ABC News spokeswoman Jeffrey Schneider. Beck has appeared twice on the show, once together with a Muslim religious leader.

The groups said that Beck _ who's drawing strong ratings with his evening show on CNN Headline News _ has stated on his show that Arab and Muslim Americans are apathetic to terrorism. During an interview in November with Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (news, bio, voting record), the first Muslim member of Congress, Beck asked him to "prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."

"That blatant anti-Arab, anti-Muslim bias has been given credibility on a larger news show is something that concerns us," said Arab American Institute spokeswoman Jennifer Kauffman.

Beck has said that his question to Ellison was poorly worded.

"My message is clear: Islam is a peaceful religion for over 90 percent of the world's Muslims," he said. "I have urged viewers repeatedly to understand this, while asking all of the proud, peaceful Muslims here in America to take a more visible role in our fight against those who make a mockery of the Quran. I also make airtime available, at any time, to any Muslim organization to help reinforce this realistic, peaceful view of Islam."

Unser Jr. Charged With DUI After Crash

Unser Jr. Charged With DUI After Crash

By KEN RITTER, Associated Press Writer
2 hours ago

LAS VEGAS - Al Unser Jr. faces a charge of driving under the influence after leaving the scene of a crash on a Nevada freeway.

The 44-year-old Unser was arrested after he was identified as the driver of a car that sideswiped another on the Las Vegas Beltway shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Kevin Honea said.

Unser's vehicle had little damage, but the other car crashed into a cement center median. The driver reported no injuries at the scene, Honea said Friday.

Honea said Unser failed several field sobriety tests before being taken into custody. Unser was charged with driving under the influence, misdemeanor hit and run, failure to render aid in an accident and failure to report an accident.

Andrew Leavitt, a lawyer representing Unser, did not immediately respond Friday to a message seeking comment.

Unser is the son of Indianapolis 500 racing legend Al Unser and nephew of three-time Indy winner Bobby Unser. He won the Indy 500 in 1992 and 1994, and won two CART points titles and two IROC championships.

Unser also has had bouts with alcohol abuse and depression. He underwent treatment for alcohol abuse in 2002 after his girlfriend said he hit her in the face while drunk in Indianapolis. Prosecutors did not file charges against him.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Scientist Develops Caffeinated Doughnuts

Scientist Develops Caffeinated Doughnuts

Jan 26, 7:40 AM (ET)

DURHAM. N.C. (AP) - That cup of coffee just not getting it done anymore? How about a Buzz Donut or a Buzzed Bagel? That's what Doctor Robert Bohannon, a Durham, North Carolina, molecular scientist, has come up with. Bohannon says he's developed a way to add caffeine to baked goods, without the bitter taste of caffeine. Each piece of pastry is the equivalent of about two cups of coffee.

While the product is not on the market yet, Bohannon has approached some heavyweight companies, including Krispy Kreme, Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks about carrying it.

Bill's Comment: Is it bad enough that there is an obesity problem in this country? Now, let's inject caffeine into doughnuts so that more folks will be literally on the edge. That is just what I need to see on the road- a driver acting like the Tasmanian Devil behind the wheel that gets road rage due to having a cup of sweet coffee on the console, an opened pack of Jolt gum in his pocket, and three of these caffeinated doughnuts. It would make good film on the "cop cam" not only when the driver does the whole "Cornholio" routine, but also recites the entire Howard Dean scream of 2004. To hell with handcuffs- this road runner needs a straight jacket!

R.I. School Bans Talking at Lunch

R.I. School Bans Talking at Lunch

Jan 25 6:22 PM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer

WARWICK, R.I. (AP) -- Class, from now on there will be no talking at lunch.

A Roman Catholic elementary school adopted new lunchroom rules this week requiring students to remain silent while eating. The move comes after three recent choking incidents in the cafeteria.

No one was hurt, but the principal of St. Rose of Lima School explained in a letter to parents that if the lunchroom is loud, staff members cannot hear a child choking.

Christine Lamoureux, whose 12-year-old is a sixth-grader at the school, said she respects the safety issue but thinks the rule is a bad idea.

"They are silent all day," she said. "They have to get some type of release." She suggested quiet conversation be allowed during lunch.

Another mother, Thina Paone, does not mind the silent lunches, noting that the cafeteria "can be very crazy" at the suburban school south of Providence.

Principal Jeannine Fuller did not immediately return a call seeking comment, but a spokesman for the Diocese of Providence described the silence rule as a temporary safety measure.

Spokesman Michael Guilfoyle said the school does not expect complete silence but enough quiet to keep students safe.

Lori Healey, a teacher at the school who also has a son in third grade, said "silent lunch" means students can whisper.

"They know it's not for punishment," she said. "It's for safety, and they'll be the first ones to tell you."

Stacey Wildenhain, a teacher's assistant at St. Rose, said her 7-year- old son does not mind the policy. He told her: "The sooner we eat, the sooner we can get out to play," she said.

Amanda Karhuse, of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, said that students should not run wild during lunch, but that they also should not have to remain silent.

"It seems kind of ridiculous in our opinion," she said. "Kids need that social time, and they just need time to be kids at that age."

The principal's letter also spelled out other new lunch rules, including requiring students to stay in their seats and limiting them to one trip to the trash can. Any child who breaks the rules will serve detention the next day.

Paone's 6-year-old son, Joey, said he accepts the changes, but some of his classmates were having trouble obeying the rules.

Kara Casali, who also has a 6-year-old son at the school, said the rules against talking will be tough to enforce.

"I can't imagine having a silent lunch," she said.


On the Net:

St. Rose School:

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hall of Fame writer Jack Lang dead at 85

Hall of Fame writer Jack Lang dead at 85

He advised 44 ex-players of their election to Cooperstown
By Jack O'Connell /

NEW YORK -- Jack Lang, whose baseball writing career spanned half a century and included coverage of the Brooklyn Dodgers of the Jackie Robinson era, the New York Yankees of the Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris era and the New York Mets for 25 years from their inception, died Thursday at the age of 85.
Lang, who was honored in 1986 with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for "meritorious service to baseball writing," had been ill the past year from various ailments, according to his attorney, Kevin Brosnahan. Lang, who lived in Kings Park, N.Y., on Long Island, underwent triple-bypass heart surgery and hip-replacement surgery in 2005 and recently was hospitalized because of cellulitis.

"He was a man that loved baseball to the core of his soul, and he was a good friend and objective as well," Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver said from his vineyard in northern California. "I knew him through my whole career. He was a consummate professional. When you were good, he said you were good. When you stunk, he said you stunk and rightfully so."

Seaver was one of the 44 players Lang notified of their election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his capacity as secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers Association of America, an organization he served on the national and local level for more than 40 years. Lang was national secretary-treasurer from 1966-1988, secretary emeritus from 1989-1993 and assistant secretary from 1994-2001.

In that role, Lang also conducted the elections of the BBWAA's annual awards: Most Valuable Player, Cy Young Award, Rookie of the Year (named after Robinson since 1987) and Manager of the Year.

One of Lang's rules regarding elections was that he would only call the winners. He did make an exception, however, in the case of former Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella, who was paralyzed as the result of an automobile accident in 1958.

"Campy told me that in his situation he would need advance notice for him to get to New York for a press conference if he made the Hall," Lang recalled. "He was the only person I called when he didn't make it. They were tough calls because he didn't get in until his fifth year on the ballot [1969]. That was a very satisfying call."

Lang's Hall of Fame calls covered every player elected by the BBWAA from Red Ruffing in 1967 to Steve Carlton in 1994. Billy Williams, who was elected in 1987, dubbed Lang the "good news man."

And a newsman Lang was, beginning in 1946 with the Long Island Press, a Newhouse publication based in Jamaica, Queens. Lang, a Brooklyn native who served 38 months in the U.S. Army during World War II, got the opportunity to cover his favorite team, the Dodgers, during one of the most pivotal periods of baseball history -- the coming of integration with Robinson's arrival in 1947.

The famous "Boys of Summer" that included Robinson, Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Carl Erskine, Gil Hodges, Carl Furillo and Preacher Roe, among others were on a first-name basis with Lang, who kept in contact with many of them long after their careers ended. After the Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles in 1958, Lang covered the Yankees for four seasons before he was shifted to the expansion Mets in 1962, becoming reunited with manager Casey Stengel.

"Jack was always a gentleman with us," Mets owner Fred Wilpon said. "Jack loved the game. He was from an era of 16 teams and traveling on trains with the guys. There was a different relationship with the beat writers and the players at that point. A good guy, a good man. He was in the generation of Red Smith and Dick Young."

Young was the sports editor of the New York Daily News in 1977 when he hired Lang to cover the Mets that March after the L.I. Press folded. Lang remained with the News until his retirement in 1988. From 1963-1996, Lang was the New York Chapter BBWAA secretary-treasurer and oversaw the annual Baseball Writers Dinner, a major event on New York's winter social calendar. This year's dinner is Sunday night.

Lang also supervised the old BBWAA charter flights, known as "Aer Langus," during the World Series in the 1970's and '80's, which earned him the nickname "Captain Jack." The coming of frequent-flier programs in the early 1980's led to the charter's demise.

Among the books he authored were "The Fighting Southpaw" with Whitey Ford, "Baseball Basics for Teenagers" and "The New York Mets: 25 Years of Baseball Magic."

On the day he received the Spink Award in Cooperstown, Lang said, "I'm sure there are an awful lot of English teachers I had in my early years that must be whirling in their graves at the thought that I won an award for writing."

Lang is survived by his daughter Victoria and sons Randy, Brian and Craig. A Mass of the Resurrection will be at 11 a.m. Monday at St Phillip of Neri R.C. Church in Northport, N.Y. Burial will be at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Huntington, N.Y.

Jack O'Connell is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



By Ann Coulter
Wed Jan 24, 8:04 PM ET

It's nice to have a president who is not so sleazy that not a single Supreme Court justice shows up for his State of the Union address (Bill Clinton, January 1999, when eight justices stayed away to protest Clinton's disregard for the law and David Souter skipped the speech to watch "Sex and the City").

Speaking of which, the horny hick's wife finally ended the breathless anticipation by announcing that she is running for president. I studied tapes of Hillary feigning surprise at hearing about Monica to help me look surprised upon learning that she's running.

As long as we have revived the practice of celebrating multicultural milestones (briefly suspended when Condoleezza Rice became the first black female to be secretary of state), let us pause to note that Mrs. Clinton, if elected, would be the first woman to become president after her husband had sex with an intern in the Oval Office.

According to the famed "polls" -- or, as I call them, "surveys of uninformed people who think it's possible to get the answer wrong" -- Hillary is the current front-runner for the Democrats. Other than the massive case of narcolepsy her name inspires, this would cause me not the slightest distress -- except for the fact that the Republicans' current front-runners are John McCain (news, bio, voting record) and Rudy Giuliani.

Fortunately, polls at this stage are nothing but name recognition contests, so please stop asking me to comment on them. "Arsenic" and "proctologist" have sky-high name recognition going for them, too.

In January, two years before the 2000 presidential election, the leading Republican candidate in New Hampshire was ... Liddy Dole (WMUR-TV/CNN poll, Jan. 12, 1999). In the end, Liddy Dole's most successful run turned out to be a mad dash from her husband Bob after he accidentally popped two Viagras.

At this stage before the 1992 presidential election, the three leading Democratic candidates were, in order: Mario Cuomo, Jesse Jackson and Lloyd Bentsen (Public Opinion Online, Feb. 21, 1991).

Only three months before the 1988 election, William Schneider cheerfully reported in The National Journal that Michael Dukakis beat George Herbert Walker Bush in 22 of 25 polls taken since April of that year. Bush did considerably better in the poll taken on Election Day.

The average poll respondent reads the above information and immediately responds that the administrations of presidents Cuomo, Dole and Dukakis were going in "the wrong direction."

Still and all, Mrs. Clinton is probably the real front-runner based on: (1) the multiple millions of dollars she has raised, and (2) the fact that her leading Democratic opponent is named "Barack Hussein Obama." Or, as he's known at CNN, "Osama." Or, as he's known on the Clinton campaign, "The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations."

Mrs. Clinton's acolytes are floating the idea of Hillary as another Margaret Thatcher to get past the question, "Can a woman be elected president?" This is based on the many, many things Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher have in common, such as the lack of a Y chromosome and ... hmmm, you know, I think that's it.

Girl-power feminists who got where they are by marrying men with money or power -- Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record), Arianna Huffington and John Kerry -- love to complain about how hard it is for a woman to be taken seriously.

It has nothing to do with their being women. It has to do with their cheap paths to power. Kevin Federline isn't taken seriously either.

It is as easy to imagine Americans voting for someone like Margaret Thatcher or Condoleezza Rice for president as it is difficult to imagine them voting for someone like Hillary. (Or Kevin Federline.) Hillary isn't piggybacking on Thatcher because she's a woman, she's piggybacking on Thatcher because Thatcher made it on her own, which Hillary did not.

But the most urgent question surrounding Hillary's candidacy is: How will the Democrats out-macho us if Hillary is their presidential nominee? Unlike their last presidential nominee, she doesn't even have any fake Purple Hearts.

Sen. Jim Webb, who managed to give the rebuttal to President Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday night without challenging the president to a fistfight (well done, Jim!), won his election last November by portraying himself as one of the new gun-totin' Democrats.

He once opposed women in the military by calling the idea "a horny woman's dream." But -- as some of us warned you -- it appears that Webb has already been fitted for his tutu by Rahm Emanuel (news, bio, voting record).

Webb began his rebuttal by complaining that we don't have national health care and aren't spending enough on "education" (teachers unions). In other words, he talked about national issues that only are national issues because of this country's rash experiment with women's suffrage. I guess we should all be relieved that at least Webb's response did not involve putting a young boy's penis into a man's mouth, as characters in his novels are wont to do.

He then palavered on about the vast military experience of his entire family in order to better denounce the war in Iraq. As long as Democrats keep insisting that only warriors can discuss war, how about telling the chick to butt out?

Copyright © 2007 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

N.J. Warns: Don't Eat Squirrel Near Dump

N.J. Warns: Don't Eat Squirrel Near Dump

By Associated Press
3 hours ago

TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey has warned squirrel hunters near a toxic waste dump about consuming the critters because they could be contaminated with lead.

It is the first time the state has cautioned Ringwood residents _ many who are members of the Ramapough Mountain Indian tribe who hunt and fish in the area _ about their squirrel intake, said Tom Slater, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Senior Services.

A lead-contaminated squirrel was found in the area two months ago, prompting the agency, along with the state Department of Environmental Protection, to send out letters advising that adults eat squirrel no more than twice a week and even less for children and pregnant women.

Lead, which is harmful in small amounts, can damage the nervous system, red blood cell production and the kidneys.

"We've known for a long time something was wrong here, we just didn't know what it was," resident Myrtle Van Dunk said.

Residents and many environmental activists believe the lead comes from toxic waste, including paint sludge, dumped in the area by the Ford Motor Co. during the 1960s and early 1970s, from its now-closed car manufacturing plant in Mahwah.

Ford is removing thousands of tons of waste from a 500-acre former mining property in the Ringwood area. The site was recently relisted on the federal Superfund list, a ranking of the country's worst environmental dump sites, after multiple cleanups failed to remove all the sludge.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Bill's Comment: Being from New Jersey, I can just hear the jokes coming.

Time: Anne Frank Father's Letters Found

Time: Anne Frank Father's Letters Found

By Associated Press
5 hours ago

NEW YORK - Newly disclosed letters written by Anne Frank's father illustrate his desperate attempts to get his family out of Nazi-occupied Netherlands, Time magazine reported on its Web site.

The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, a New York-based institution that focuses on the history and culture of Eastern European Jews, plans to release the roughly 80 documents Feb. 14, according to A telephone message left at the institute early Thursday was not returned.

Since the English publication of "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" in 1952, and its subsequent reprintings as "The Diary of Anne Frank," millions of readers worldwide have felt connected to the girl who matured in its pages from innocent childhood into her precocious, sometimes rebellious teens.

The documents include letters that Otto Frank wrote to relatives, friends and officials between April 30, 1941, and Dec. 11, 1941, when Germany declared war on the U.S., Time said.

Written when the U.S. consulate in the Netherlands had closed, the letters show how Otto Frank investigated potential escape routes through Spain to Portugal, attempted to secure visas to Paris and tried to arrange for his family to go to the U.S. or Cuba, according to the magazine.

The family took refuge in a neighbor's Amsterdam attic in July 1942, hiding there for more than two years before being arrested. Anne Frank described the family's life in hiding in her diary, which has sold an estimated 25 million copies.

Patricia Bosboom, of the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, said officials there had heard about the discovery of the letters but had not seen them. But she said they would fit with the general picture that's known about Otto Frank's many efforts to get the family out of Europe.

"We do know about that," she said.

The letters also include correspondence from Otto Frank's U.S. relatives and a friend, Nathan Straus Jr., the son of the founder of Macy's department store, according to Time.

The letters were initially held by the New York City-based Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which gradually transferred its archives to the YIVO Institute between 1948 and 1974. A volunteer archivist at the YIVO Institute discovered Otto Frank's letters more than two years ago, but the institute has kept the find quiet while exploring copyright and other legal issues, Time said.

The disclosure came as a surprise to Bernd "Buddy" Elias, Anne Frank's cousin and the president of the Anne Frank Foundation in Basel, Switzerland. The organization, established by Otto Frank, holds the rights to Anne Frank's writings, according to its Web site.

Elias said the YIVO Institute had never asked the foundation about rights to the letters.

"We would love to have them in our archive. I mean, we are the heirs of Otto Frank," Elias told The Associated Press.

Anne Frank died of typhus at age 15 in a concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen, Germany, in 1945. Her father returned to the Netherlands to collect his daughter's notes and published them in the Netherlands in 1947. An English-language version followed in 1952.


Associated Press writers Frank Jordans in Geneva, Switzerland, and Toby Sterling in Amsterdam, Netherlands, contributed to this report.


On the Net:


YIVO Institute for Jewish Research:

Anne Frank Foundation:

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Panasonic to sponsor Marlin's No. 14 in 2007

Panasonic to sponsor Marlin's No. 14 in 2007

Team Release
January 22, 2007
10:46 AM EST (15:46 GMT)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Ginn Racing announced Monday that Panasonic Broadcast will be a primary sponsor on Sterling Marlin's No. 14 Chevrolet for 12 races during the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup season.

The agreement also calls for Panasonic to be a major associate sponsor on the No. 14 for the other 24 point races that will comprise the 36-event Nextel Cup schedule.

"To finalize a sponsorship package is always an accomplishment, but to finalize it with an outstanding and high-profiled company such as Panasonic makes it even better," said team owner Bobby Ginn. "As part of the Ginn Racing commitment, we not only want to lead on the track, but we also want to be a leader with our sponsors and make sure they are getting a valuable return on their investment. We look forward to our new partnership with Panasonic and welcome them to the Ginn family of sponsors."

Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Company, a leading supplier of broadcast and professional video products and systems, is a unit company of Panasonic Corporation of North America.

Panasonic joins Waste Management as a 12-race primary sponsor on Marlin's Chevrolet.

Marlin, a two-time Daytona 500 winner and a veteran of more than 700 career Cup starts, is in his second season with Ginn Racing. He is only one of three drivers to have scored back-to-back Daytona 500 victories (1994 & 1995). The other two were Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough. Marlin has 10 career Cup wins, 215 top 10s and prize money of more than $40 million.

"It's always a great feeling to have a new sponsor come on board," said Marlin. "And when it's a first-class company such as Panasonic it adds to the excitement. I look forward to working with the folks at Panasonic and its motorsports marketing programs."

Marlin's No. 14 Chevrolet is one of three full-time Nextel Cup cars that Ginn Racing will field in 2007. The other two are: the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet to be co-driven by Mark Martin and Regan Smith and the No. 13 Chevrolet, driven by Joe Nemechek.

Changes announced to points system and Chase

Changes announced to points system and Chase

Ten points awarded per victory; two drivers added to playoff format

Official Release
January 22, 2007
06:09 PM EST (23:09 GMT)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Race victories will become more important than ever in 2007 as a result of adjustments to the points system and the Chase for the Nextel Cup format announced Monday by NASCAR.

The adjustments are designed to establish more balance between winning and consistency, but there is a new emphasis on the former.

• 400-point cutoff eliminated
• Top-12 drivers qualify
• Point totals adjusted to 5,000
• Drivers "seeded" by wins
• 10-point bonus for each win

'06 RACE MAXIMUM -- 190
• Race win = 180 points
• Lead a lap = 5 points
• Most laps led = 5 points

'07 RACE MAXIMUM -- 195
• Race win = 185 points
• Lead a lap = 5 points
• Most laps led = 5 points

"The adjustments taken [Monday] put a greater emphasis on winning races," NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said. "Winning is what this sport is all about. Nobody likes to see drivers content to finish in the top 10. We want our sport -- especially during the Chase -- to be more about winning."

The Chase -- consisting of the season's last 10 races -- will further reflect the importance of racing to win, via a variety of adjustments.

During the format's first three years, the top-10 drivers in points after the 26th race of the season qualified for the Chase; in addition, any other driver outside the top 10 but within 400 points of the standings' leader also was eligible.

Starting this season, the 400-point cutoff is eliminated and the top 12 drivers in the points after Race 26 will qualify for the Chase.

All 12 drivers will have their point totals re-set to 5,000; each will then receive a 10-point bonus for each race victory they had during the first 26 races.

The Chase drivers will be "seeded" to start the Chase based on the number of wins amassed during the regular season.

"I like that the points for each of the now 12 drivers in the Chase will be set at 5,000 with an additional 10 for each race win," said team owner Richard Childress, who had two drivers in the 2006 Chase.

In line with the Chase adjustments, wins throughout the season will be more valuable.

Race winners throughout the 36-race season will now receive 185 points, a five-point increase.

"I'm happy to see NASCAR increase the points for winning a race," Childress said. "It makes winning that much more important. ... After all, winning is what this sport is all about."

Counting the five-point bonuses available for leading at least one lap and leading the most laps, a race winner now can earn a maximum of 195 points, creating a possible maximum of 25 points between first- and second-place finishers.

"Will it help us at the gate? Time will only tell, but if No. 11 and No. 12 are Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon -- or in last year's case two-time series champ Tony Stewart -- obviously the answer is a definite 'yes,' " said Eddie Gossage, president of Texas Motor Speedway. "This is a good move by NASCAR for the speedways hosting the 10 races in the Chase.

"Long term, NASCAR has to make sure that they don't go too far and water down the playoff field like we have seen in other sports. Water cooler talk -- even the debate over whether this is good or not -- is important to the sport."

The 2006 season of Kasey Kahne provides a dramatic illustration of the adjusted Chase format's implications.

Kahne qualified for last year's Chase, but started it in 10th place -- despite having won a series-high five races. Under the new format, Kahne would begin the Chase in first place, with 5,050 points.

"These changes should make the Chase for the championship even more exciting for the race fans and more competitive for the teams," Childress noted.

Inside the Changes
2006 Pre-Chase "Seeded" Standings
Pos. Driver Points Wins Adjusted Points

1. Kasey Kahne 5,000 5 5,050
2. Matt Kenseth 5,000 4 5,040
3. Jimmie Johnson 5,000 4 5,040
4. Kevin Harvick 5,000 3 5,030
5. Tony Stewart 5,000 2 5,020
6. Jeff Gordon 5,000 2 5,020
7. Denny Hamlin 5,000 2 5,020
8. Kyle Busch 5,000 1 5,010
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5,000 1 5,010
10. Greg Biffle 5,000 1 5,010
11. Mark Martin 5,000 0 5,000
12. Jeff Burton 5,000 0 5,000

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ruhle passes away from cancer

Ruhle passes away from cancer

Reds coach pitched 13 years in Majors with four teams
By Mark Sheldon /

CINCINNATI -- Former Reds pitching coach Vern Ruhle, who missed the 2006 season while being treated for cancer, lost his battle and died on Saturday night.
Ruhle was five days shy of his 56th birthday. The former Major League pitcher passed away at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston of complications from a donor stem cell transplant for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete. Ruhle is survived by his wife, Sue, daughter, Rebecca, and son, Kenny.

"The baseball and Cincinnati Reds families mourn the loss of an excellent coach, wonderful husband and loving father," the club said in a statement. "In his 35 years in professional and collegiate baseball, Vern touched many people inside and outside the game. We are privileged to have been a part of his life. He will be missed."

Ruhle pitched for the Tigers, Astros, Indians and Angels from 1974-86 and was 67-88 with a 3.73 ERA. From 1997-2003, he was a pitching coach for the Astros, Phillies and Mets, and he joined the Reds organization in 2004 as a pitching coach with rookie level Billings. Ruhle was promoted to Minor League pitching coordinator before the 2005 season, and he became the Reds' big-league pitching coach when Don Gullett was dismissed that June.

For the 2007 season, Ruhle had been reassigned to work as the organization's pitching rehabilitation coordinator at its Minor League complex in Sarasota, Fla.

Last February, doctors discovered Ruhle had cancer after he underwent his annual physical at the start of Spring Training. He spent the summer splitting time between his home in Sarasota and the hospital in Houston, while bullpen coach Tom Hume assumed pitching coach duties on an interim basis.

In August, Ruhle was able to rejoin the club for some home games after he was informed by doctors during a checkup that he was showing improvement.

"It's been a fun day," Ruhle said on Aug. 18 at Great American Ball Park. "There's been a lot of smiles and visiting with the different players. A few last year and some even this year that have known about what I've gone through have given big hugs and [said], 'Great to see you' and so on."

While spending three months confined to his hospital room for treatment, it was baseball that helped keep Ruhle upbeat. He monitored games over the Internet and on television, and he regularly received phone calls and e-mails from the coaching staff, especially Hume.

"[Baseball] was something that really helped me throughout the summer in the healing process," Ruhle said. "I always had something to talk about that was very neutral in the eyes of the doctors, the nurses and the visitors. We could always talk about something other than my medical aspect of what's going on and what was and wasn't working."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.