Thursday, March 01, 2007

Jackson to Host Pre- and Post-Game Shows

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Jackson to Host Pre- and Post-Game ShowsComcastSportsNet.comThe Phillies announced that Flyers' play-by-play man Jim Jackson has joined the broadcast team as the host of the pre- and post-game radio shows, the baseball club announced on Tuesday. Jackson will take over the role handled by Scott Franzke last season, so that the second-year Phillies’ broadcaster can work exclusively as a play-by-play announcer.“We are pleased to have a broadcaster of Jim’s caliber in our mix,” said Rob Brooks, the Phillies broadcasting manager. “He brings a lot of experience with him, and a passion for baseball that not too many people were aware of.”A 20-year veteran of hockey, including the last 14 seasons with the Flyers, Jackson has plenty of baseball experience. He did radio play-by-play for the Utica Blue Sox of the New York-Penn League from 1986 to 1993, spent the summer of 2005 broadcasting the Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League, and was the television voice of the Cal Ripken World Series on OLN in August 2006.The job with the Phillies will be Jackson’s first foray into Major League Baseball.But fear not Flyers' fans, Jackson is not giving up hockey. He’ll be working with the Flyers for the foreseeable future.

The Doors Get Star on Walk of Fame

The Doors Get Star on Walk of Fame

By Associated Press

Wed Feb 28, 8:39 PM

LOS ANGELES - Forty years ago, the Doors' Jim Morrison seduced Hollywood with his wild moves and wilder poetry. On Wednesday, the rock band cemented its legendary status with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Doors' keyboardist Ray Manzarek, 68, and guitarist Robby Krieger, 61, showed up minus drummer John Densmore for the dedication of the walk's 2,325th star.

"Jim always used to say: The West is the best!" Krieger said. "It has been an incredible 40 years, and now I'm back with Ray and we're still playing, and you know, it may never end."

The band, whose dark sound helped to define the `60s, is known for such hits as "Light My Fire" and "L.A. Woman."

"It is a great honor to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame ... a street that Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger and I traipsed up and down, going into bars, asking if they'd hire a rock band," Densmore said in a statement read by Morrison's nephew, Dylan Graham.

Densmore, 62, said he was unable to make the ceremony because of an interview commitment to a local radio station.

The hard-living Morrison died at age 27 in 1971 and the Doors dissolved a few years later.

The surviving members have sparred legally over the of the group's name.

In 2005, a judge issued a permanent injunction barring Krieger and Manzarek from calling themselves the Doors and using any likeness of Morrison to promote a renewed version of the band.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

President Bush's Crawford TX Home is Model of Environmentally Friendly Living


February 27, 2007

Posted by Marc Morano Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.Gov - February 27, 2007 4:21 pm ET

Former Vice President Al Gore has been criticized for his rather large electric bills ($30,000 a year) at his home in Tennessee. (Link) What you might not have heard about is how environmentally friendly President George Bush's home is in Crawford Texas. Below is a partial reprint from the Chicago Tribune from April 29, 2001.

Chicago Tribune
Bush loves ecology --at home
April 29, 2001
By Rob Sullivan. Rob Sullivan is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles

The 4,000-square-foot house is a model of environmental rectitude.

Geothermal heat pumps located in a central closet circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet deep in the ground where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees; the water heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. Systems such as the one in this "eco-friendly" dwelling use about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and cooling systems utilize.

A 25,000-gallon underground cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof runs; wastewater from sinks, toilets and showers goes into underground purifying tanks and is also funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is used to irrigate the landscaping surrounding the four-bedroom home. Plants and flowers native to the high prairie area blend the structure into the surrounding ecosystem.

No, this is not the home of some eccentrically wealthy eco-freak trying to shame his fellow citizens into following the pristineness of his self-righteous example. And no, it is not the wilderness retreat of the Sierra Club or the Natural Resources Defense Council, a haven where tree-huggers plot political strategy.

This is President George W. Bush's "Texas White House" outside the small town of Crawford

[EPW Note: The President’s House in Crawford was designed to be eco-friendly.]

According to David Heymann, the house's architect and associate dean of the University of Texas architecture department, Heymann designed the house so that "every room has a relationship with something in the landscape that's different from the room next door. Each of the rooms feels like a slightly different place."

In a USA Today interview, Heymann said, "There's a great grove of oak trees to the west that protects it from the late afternoon sun. Then there is a view out to the north looking at hills, and to the east out over a lake, and the view to the south . . . out to beautiful hills."

[EPW Note: I wonder if the news media will report on the President’s green way of life.]

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Slavery ties Sharpton to Thurmond

Slavery ties Sharpton to Thurmond

By ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press WriterSun Feb 25, 5:34 PM ET
The Rev. Al Sharpton is a descendant of a slave owned by relatives of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond — a discovery the civil rights activist called "shocking" on Sunday.
Sharpton learned of his connection to Thurmond, once a prominent defender of segregation, last week through the Daily News, which asked genealogists to trace his roots.
"It was probably the most shocking thing in my life," Sharpton said at a news conference Sunday, the same day the tabloid revealed the story.
Some of Thurmond's relatives said the nexus also came as a surprise to them. Doris Strom Costner, a distant cousin who said she knew the late senator all her life, said Sunday she "never heard of such a thing."
"My momma never would talk to me about nothing like that," Costner said of ancestors who owned slaves. "She only talked to me about good things."
The revelations surfaced after contacted a Daily News reporter who agreed to have his own family tree done. The intrigued reporter then turned around and asked Sharpton if he wanted to participate. Sharpton said he told the paper, "Go for it."
The genealogists, who were not paid by the newspaper, uncovered the ancestral ties using a variety of documents that included census, marriage and death records.
They found that Sharpton's great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton, was a slave owned by Julia Thurmond, whose grandfather was Strom Thurmond's great-great-grandfather. Coleman Sharpton was later freed.
Thurmond, of South Carolina, was once considered an icon of racial segregation. During his 1948 bid for president, he promised to preserve segregation and, in 1957, he filibustered for more than 24 hours against a civil rights bill.
Sharpton, who ran for president in 2004 on a ticket of racial justice, said he met Thurmond only once in 1991 when he visited Washington, D.C., with the late soul singer James Brown, who knew Thurmond. Sharpton said the meeting was "awkward."
"I was not happy to meet him because what he had done all his life," Sharpton said.
Thurmond was seen as softening his segregation stance later in his life. He died in 2003, at 100. The long-serving senator was originally a Democrat but became a Republican in 1964.
Thurmond's children have acknowledged that Thurmond fathered a biracial daughter. Essie Mae Washington-Williams' mother was a housekeeper in the home of Thurmond's parents.
Telephone message left by The Associated Press on Sunday for Strom Thurmond Jr. and an attorney who once represented Thurmond's biracial daughter, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, were not returned.
Associated Press writer Page Ivey in Columbia, S.C., contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Bill's Comment: Small world, isn't it?

Welfare state growing despite overhauls

Welfare state growing despite overhauls

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press Writer2 hours, 15 minutes ago
The welfare state is bigger than ever despite a decade of policies designed to wean poor people from public aid.
The number of families receiving cash benefits from welfare has plummeted since the government imposed time limits on the payments a decade ago. But other programs for the poor, including Medicaid, food stamps and disability benefits, are bursting with new enrollees.
The result, according to an Associated Press analysis: Nearly one in six people rely on some form of public assistance, a larger share than at any time since the government started measuring two decades ago.
Critics of the welfare overhaul say the numbers offer fresh evidence that few former recipients have become self-sufficient, even though millions have moved from welfare to work. They say the vast majority have been forced into low-paying jobs without benefits and few opportunities to advance.
"If the goal of welfare reform was to get people off the welfare rolls, bravo," said Vivyan Adair, a former welfare recipient who is now an assistant professor of women's studies at Hamilton College in upstate New York. "If the goal was to reduce poverty and give people economic and job stability, it was not a success."
Proponents of the changes in welfare say programs that once discouraged work now offer support to people in low-paying jobs. They point to expanded eligibility rules for food stamps and Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor, that enable people to keep getting benefits even after they start working.
"I don't have any problems with those programs growing, and indeed, they were intended to grow," said Ron Haskins, a former adviser to President Bush on welfare policy.
"We've taken the step of getting way more people into the labor force and they have taken a huge step toward self-sufficiency. What is the other choice?" he asked.
In the early 1990s, critics contended the welfare system encouraged unemployment and promoted single-parent families. Welfare recipients, mostly single mothers, could lose benefits if they earned too much money or if they lived with the father of their children.
Major changes in welfare were enacted in 1996, requiring most recipients to work but allowing them to continue some benefits after they started jobs. The law imposed a five-year limit on cash payments for most people in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or TANF. Some states have shorter time limits.
Nia Foster fits the pattern of dependence on government programs. She stopped getting cash welfare payments in the late 1990s and has moved from one clerical job to another. None provided medical benefits.
The 32-year-old mother of two from Cincinnati said she supports her family with help from food stamps and Medicaid.
Foster said she did not get any job training when she left welfare. She earned her high-school equivalency last year at a community college.
"If you want to get educated or want to succeed, the welfare office don't care," Foster said. "I don't think they really care what you do once the benefits are gone."
Foster now works in a tax office, a seasonal job that will end after April 15. She hopes to enroll at the University of Cincinnati this spring and would like to study accounting. She is waiting to find out if she qualifies for enough financial aid to cover tuition.
"I like data processing, something where it's a bunch of invoices and you have to key them in," Foster said. "I want to be an accountant so bad."
Shannon Stanfield took a different, less-traveled path from welfare, thanks to a generous program that offered her a chance to get a college education.
Stanfield, 36, was cleaning houses to support her two young children four years ago when she learned about a program for welfare recipients at nearby Hamilton College, a private liberal arts school in Clinton, N.Y.
"At the time I was living in a pretty run-down apartment," said Stanfield, who was getting welfare payments, Medicaid and food stamps. "It wasn't healthy."
The program, called the Access Project, accepts about 25 welfare-eligible parents a year. Hamilton waives tuition for first-year students and the program supplements financial aid in later years. Students get a host of social and career services, including help finding internships and jobs and financial assistance in times of crisis.
About 140 former welfare recipients have completed the program and none still relies on government programs for the poor, said Adair, the Hamilton professor who started the Access Project in 2001.
Stanfield, who still gets Medicaid and food stamps, plans to graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in theater. She wants to be a teacher.
"I slowly built up my confidence through education," Stanfield said. "I can't honestly tell you how much it has changed my life."
Programs such as the Access Project are not cheap, which is one reason they are rare. Tuition and fees run about $35,000 a year at Hamilton, and the program's annual budget is between $250,000 and $500,000, Adair said.
In 2005, about 5.1 million people received monthly welfare payments from TANF and similar state programs, a 60 percent drop from a decade before.
But other government programs grew, offsetting the declines.
About 44 million people — nearly one in six in the country — relied on government services for the poor in 2003, according to the most recent statistics compiled by the Census Bureau. That compares with about 39 million in 1996.
Also, the number of people getting government aid continues to increase, according to more recent enrollment figures from individual programs.
Medicaid rolls alone topped 45 million people in 2005, pushed up in part by rising health care costs and fewer employers offering benefits. Nearly 26 million people a month received food stamps that year.
Cash welfare recipients, by comparison, peaked at 14.2 million people in 1994.
There is much debate over whether those leaving welfare for work should be offered more opportunities for training and education, so they do not have to settle for low-paying jobs that keep them dependent on government programs.
"We said get a job, any job," said Rep. Jim McDermott (news, bio, voting record), chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees welfare issues. "And now we expect them to be making it on these minimum-wage jobs."
McDermott, D-Wash., said stricter work requirements enacted last year, when Congress renewed the welfare overhaul law, will make it even more difficult for welfare recipients to get sufficient training to land good-paying jobs.
But people who support the welfare changes say former recipients often fare better economically if they start working, even in low-paying jobs, before entering education programs.
"What many people on TANF need first is the confidence that they can succeed in the workplace and to develop the habits of work," said Wade Horn, the Bush administration's point man on welfare overhaul.
"Also, many TANF recipients didn't have a lot of success in the classroom," Horn said. "If you want to improve the confidence of a TANF recipient, putting them in the classroom, where they failed in the past, that is not likely to increase their confidence."
Horn noted that employment among poor single mothers is up and child poverty rates are down since the welfare changes in 1996, though the numbers have worsened since the start of the decade.
Horn, however, said he would like to see local welfare agencies provide more education and training to people who have already moved from welfare to work.
"I think more attention has to be paid to helping those families move up the income scale, increasing their independence of other government welfare programs," Horn said.
"The true goal of welfare to work programs should be self-sufficiency."
On the Net:
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: walia
Food stamp program:
Supplemental Security Income:
The Access Project:
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Bill's Comment: To begin, we can thank former President Lyndon Baines Johnson and his "Great Society". It was this concept in the 1960's that created generations to live off of the taxpayers' dime. Even though Newt Gingrich's "Contract with American" made some strides to create less dependency by revamping the welfare system, there was not enough done to curb the entitlement mentality this country has. If this country ever reverses this train of thought, there may be a glimmer of hope that this country's economic stability would be on a more solid plantation by reducing government waste; thus, less money for the politicians to blow, and more money in your pocket.