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    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    On hulu

    I guess the studios got mad and said we can do better than you tube at their own game. We will give our customers the entire movie and in HD too. I guess in high school terms it goes as such, yahoo is to google as youtube is to hulu.

    Hulu in action, Mullholand Drive

    Well there is yet another new host for media on the web. I like humyo because it is universal, and there is the youtube, and the imeem, and the myspace and the facebook, and now there is the hulu. Behold a whole fucking movie.

    Wanted Movie Trailer HD

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    HD Baby, "Wanted" movie trailer in HD starring Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and Common

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    Mullhuland Drive Clip

    More 2 come


    Reuters - New NY gov could further Spitzer's reform agenda

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    New NY gov could further Spitzer's reform agenda

    Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 9:34PM UTC

    By Joan Gralla

    Albany, NEW YORK (Reuters) - Disgraced New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's stillborn crusade for government reform may move ahead under his successor, whose collegial style may help quell the spats that taint state politics, top officials said on Wednesday.

    Political battles, particularly a bizarre one between Spitzer and the state's top Republican, Joseph Bruno, helped doom the outgoing governor's self-described quest to introduce more fairness and transparency to state government.

    Lt. Gov. David Paterson, a longtime legislator who represents Harlem, becomes governor on Monday when Spitzer steps down amid a scandal over a high-priced prostitute.

    Paterson "can hit the ground running," said Democrat Sheldon Silver, state Assembly speaker.

    "He has the intellectual capacity, he has the ability, the humor, the charisma and the personality to be one of the finest governors New York has ever had," Silver said.

    Spitzer, who as state attorney general waged high-profile probes of alleged financial malfeasance on Wall Street that earning him wide publicity and deep resentment, was elected governor in 2006 on a vow to reform state government.

    Whether he even came close to that goal in his aborted term in office is debatable, observers say.

    "The reformer isn't the reformer we thought he was," said Republican state Sen. Betty Little, who acknowledged that Spitzer helped push through laws to help the state meet budget deadlines and force agencies to reveal more information.

    One success Silver pointed to was Spitzer's reform of the state's workers compensation program.

    Spitzer's tenure was characterized by a feud with political nemesis Bruno, the state Senate Majority leader, culminating in charges by the Republican that Spitzer used state police escorts and helicopters to spy on him.

    Dubbed "Choppergate," an investigation by the attorney general cleared Bruno of any wrongdoing in his use of state helicopters for trips but was highly critical of the conduct of Spitzer's administration in investigating Bruno's travels.

    Ironically, Bruno now assumes duties of lieutenant governor and will serve as acting governor should Paterson go out of state or become incapacitated.

    On Wednesday, Bruno extended an olive branch to the incoming governor. "It's now time for us to move forward," he said in Albany, adding, "I have an excellent relationship with David."


    Ripe for reform by the new governor are the most lax campaign finance laws in the nation and an oft-criticized method of selecting judges. Spitzer's bid to reform campaign finance was derailed by his battles with Bruno, legislators said.

    Spitzer also fumbled with a proposal to issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, which met with vast opposition. The proposal had repercussions in the U.S. presidential campaign when Hillary Clinton, a U.S. Senator from New York, was seen equivocating on whether she supported the idea.

    Soft-spoken and low profile, Paterson may accomplish more than Spitzer, often seen as a brash, arrogant grandstander.

    "His personality reaches out to others in a different way, but I think it will accomplish very much on behalf of the people of the state of New York as well," Silver said.

    Paterson, who would be the state's first black governor, was elected in 1985 as a state senator for Harlem and rose to minority leader nine years later.

    Despite his collegial style, Paterson has plenty of political fight in him, observers said.

    "You don't come up in the rough and tumble of politics in Harlem and Albany without being a tough guy," said Russ Haven of the New York Public Interest Research Group.

    (Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Philip Barbara)

    Text of Spitzer's resignation statement

    Text of Spitzer's resignation statement

    Transcript of the statement Gov. Eliot Spitzer delivered on Wednesday announcing his resignation: In the past few days I've begun to atone for my private failings with my wife, Silda, my children and my entire family. The remorse I feel will always be with me. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the love and compassion they have shown me.

    From those to whom much is given, much is expected. I have been given much - the love of my family, the faith and trust of the people of New York, and the chance to lead this state. I am deeply sorry I did not live up to what was expected of me.

    To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize. I look at my time as governor with a sense of what might have been, but I also know that as a public servant, I and the remarkable people with whom I worked have accomplished a great deal.

    There is much more to be done and I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt the people's work. Over the course of my public life I have insisted, I believe correctly, that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct.

    I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason I am resigning from the office of governor, and at Lt. Gov. David Paterson's request, the resignation will be effective on Monday, March 17, a date that he believes will permit an orderly transition.

    I go forward with the belief, as others have said, that as human beings our greatest glory consists not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.

    As I leave public life, I will first do what I need to do to help and heal myself and my family, then I will try once again, outside of politics, to serve the common good and to move toward the ideals and solutions which I believe can build a future of hope and opportunity for us and for our children.

    I hope all of New York will join my prayers for my friend, David Paterson, as he embarks on his new mission and I thank the public once again for the privilege of service. Thank you very much.

    NY Daily News: Richest man in England also a regular of prostitution ring in Spitzer scandal

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    News | 03/12/2008
    Richest man in England also a regular of prostitution ring in Spitzer scandal
    The richest man in Great Britain was a customer of the same high-end prostitution service patronized by Gov. Eliot Spitzer.


    NY Daily News: Jersey girl is revealed as 'Kristen'

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    News | 03/12/2008
    Jersey girl is revealed as 'Kristen'
    The fetching brunette whose dalliance with Gov. Spitzer led to his resignation appears to be a Jersey girl named Ashley Alexandra Dupre.


    Candy Toys

    Senator Obama

    It was 'this high'

    Reuters - Ferraro leaves Clinton campaign in flap over race

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    Ferraro leaves Clinton campaign in flap over race

    Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 10:48PM UTC

    By Caren Bohan

    CHICAGO (Reuters) - The only woman to run on a major U.S. party's White House ticket quit her role in Hillary Clinton's presidential bid on Wednesday after she ignited a controversy by saying front-runner Democrat Barack Obama was ahead because he is black.

    Geraldine Ferraro, the trailblazing 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate, was a member of Clinton's finance committee and raised funds for the New York senator and former first lady, a campaign spokesman said.

    Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president, denounced Ferraro's comments as he made a campaign appearance in Chicago on Wednesday but said he did not think they were intended to be racist.

    "I think that her comments were ridiculous. I think they were wrong-headed," Obama told a news conference after being endorsed by a group of high-ranking retired military officers.

    "The notion that it is of great advantage to me to be an African American named Barack Obama and pursue the presidency, I think, is not a view that has been commonly shared by the general public," he said.

    Obama, who has built up a strong lead in the state-by-state contests for the Democratic nomination to face Republican John McCain in November, denied Ferraro's charge that his campaign repeatedly responded to criticism by saying it was racially motivated.

    "I'm always hesitant to throw around words like racist because I don't think she intended them that way," he said.

    Ferraro ignited the flap when she told a California newspaper that "if Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position."

    "And if he was a woman he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept," she said.

    Ferraro defended her comments on Wednesday in a round of appearances on television news morning shows and rejected what she called attempts by Obama's campaign to paint her remark as racist.

    McCain told reporters on his campaign bus ride from New Hampshire to Boston that he felt bad for Ferraro, that he knows her well, and did not believe she meant to talk about race in a negative way.

    "I'm sure she doesn't mean that," he said. "I know her. She's not a person who would talk about race in any derogatory fashion, but obviously she did."


    Ferraro told CBS's "The Early Show" she thought Obama had been able to mount a strong campaign against Clinton because his was a "historic candidacy" that excited the country, as her candidacy did in 1984.

    "For his campaign to take that and spin it and attack Hillary and me as being racist, I tell you, it is just appalling," said Ferraro.

    "My comments have been taken so out of context and have been spun by the Obama campaign as racist that it's doing precisely what they don't want done -- it's going to the Democratic Party and dividing us even more," Ferraro said in another interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

    Clinton, who is married to former President Bill Clinton and would be the first woman U.S. president, rejected Ferraro's published remarks on Tuesday but her campaign did not immediately break its ties with her.

    That prompted the Obama campaign, which fired an adviser who called Clinton a "monster," to urge the former first lady to break with Ferraro to send a message about the negative tone of the campaign.

    Obama, who has run as a candidate who will change the partisan atmosphere in Washington and work to bring people together, told NBC's "Today" show that Ferraro's remarks were an attempt to divide people.

    "Part of what Geraldine Ferraro is doing, and I respect the fact that she was a trailblazer, is to participate in the kind of slice and dice politics that's about race and about gender and about this and that and that's what Americans are tired of because they recognize that when we divide ourselves in that way, we can't solve problems," he said.

    Ferraro, a former U.S. representative from New York, and her presidential running mate, Walter Mondale, lost in 1984 in a landslide to Republican Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the current president's father.

    The flap over Ferraro's remarks came ahead of the Mississippi nominating contest on Tuesday, which Obama won with heavy support from black voters. The two candidates are now concentrating on their campaigns on Pennsylvania, which votes on April 22.

    (Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Eric Beech)

    (For more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at

    Lil Bro

    Lil bro

    Ancient Brain Surgery

    Brain surgery

    USA TODAY - Skeleton evidence of ancient brain surgery

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    Greek archaeologists said Tuesday they have unearthed rare evidence of what they believe was brain surgery performed nearly 1,800 years ago on a young woman who died during or shortly after the operation.

    Although references to such delicate operations abound in ancient writings, discoveries of surgically perforated skulls are uncommon in Greece.

    Site excavator Ioannis Graikos said the woman's skeleton was found during a rescue dig last year in Veria, a town some 46 miles west of Thessaloniki.

    "We interpret the find as a case of complicated surgery which only a trained and specialized doctor could have attempted," Graikos said.

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    USA TODAY - Closing arguments underway in John Ritter death lawsuit

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    GLENDALE, Calif.
    By Linda Deutsch, AP Special Correspondent

    An attorney for John Ritter's family told jurors Wednesday that a cardiologist's failure to order a chest X-ray on the actor led to his death from a torn aorta, along with a radiologist's failure to adequately warn him two years earlier that he was in danger from an enlarged aorta.

    The claim was made in closing arguments at the trial of a wrongful-death lawsuit in which Ritter's family is seeking $67 million in damages from the two doctors, whose lawyers say the physicians did nothing wrong.

    "This is clearly a case of malpractice," said family attorney Moses Lebovits. "... It only takes common sense to know they should have taken a chest X-ray."

    Lebovits said that had Ritter been properly diagnosed, "He would have had surgery. He would have been back at work. He would have survived with his humor and good wit and been entertaining us all."

    Ritter died of an aortic dissection in 2003 at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, where he was taken after becoming ill while working on his hit TV show, "8 Simple Rules ... for Dating My Teenage Daughter."

    Eight other medical personnel and the hospital have settled lawsuits. Ritter's widow, Amy Yasbeck, and his four children received $14 million from those cases.

    Before Lebovits spoke, Superior Court Judge Laura Matz told the jury that lawyers for the radiologist, Dr. Matthew Lotysch, and the cardiologist, Dr. Joseph Lee, would claim that Ritter's death was caused by his own negligence in failing to follow instructions to seek medical assistance earlier.

    Several times during his argument Lebovits returned to what he called a commonsense decision which would have been to take a chest X-ray of Ritter before Lee treated him for what appeared to be a heart attack.

    "When we put our lives in the hands of doctors, we ask them to do one thing to do what they are taught to do. We don't ask for any heroism. ... All they had to do was one thing get the chest X-ray," Lebovits said.

    Lebovits said of Lee: "He didn't do what he was taught to do. He rushed. There was no reason to rush. He (Ritter) wasn't crashing."

    Testimony in the trial showed that a chest X-ray was ordered as soon as Ritter arrived at the emergency room but for unknown reasons it was never done. Lee was called in later in the evening after Ritter took a turn for the worse and was already diagnosed as having a heart attack.

    Expert witnesses testified to the pros and cons of what was done, with the plaintiffs' witnesses saying a decision to conduct a balloon angioplasty was wrong.

    Lebovits also argued that Lotysch should have told Ritter that he had an enlarged aorta after conducting the body scan two years before the actor's death.

    Lotysch has testified he did not judge that the aorta was enlarged. But he said he did warn the actor that he had calcification in three coronary arteries and was at risk for heart disease. He said he told Ritter to consult a cardiologist or an internist. Other witnesses said Ritter never followed up.

    Another plaintiffs lawyer, Michael Plonsker, reminded jurors of testimony from television executives about the millions Ritter could have made if his show had been renewed for seven seasons. Plonsker also said Ritter could have had additional millions in income from other theatrical appearances.

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    USA TODAY - Japan investigates iPod that throws sparks

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    By Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press

    Japan is investigating a possible defect in Apple's iPod after one of the popular digital music players reportedly shot out sparks while recharging, a government official said Wednesday.

    An official at the trade and economy ministry, which oversees product problems, said a defect is suspected in the lithium-ion battery in the iPod Nano, model number MA099J/A. He spoke on customary condition of anonymity, saying he is reiterating a ministry position.

    The problem surfaced in January in Kanagawa Prefecture southwest of Tokyo, and Apple reported the problem to the ministry in March. No one was injured, the official said. Other details weren't available.

    Apple Japan did not contest the ministry statement but declined further comment. Nano players are sold all over the world, and it was still unclear where else besides Japan the suspected model was sold, said Masayoshi Suzuki, an Apple spokesman in Tokyo.

    The ministry has instructed Apple Japan to find out the cause of what it is categorizing as a fire and report back to the government.

    The iPod was assembled in China, but it was unclear who made the lithium-ion battery, the ministry official said.

    Lithium-ion batteries have been blamed for a series of blazes in laptops recently that have resulted in massive global recalls.

    The ministry said Apple has shipped about 425,000 iPods of the same suspected model were shipped into Japan. It was unknown how many have been sold and how many might still be in stores.

    Shipments of the model began in September 2005 and were discontinued after September 2006, the ministry said.

    The iPod has been the symbol in recent years of the successful fashionable image of Apple. But its sales momentum may be gradually running out of steam.

    Apple sold 22.1 million iPods during the holiday quarter ended Dec. 31, fewer than the 25 million iPods analysts had expected it to sell. That's raising fears that the company, based in Cupertino, Calif., may suffer as it tries to convince consumers to buy higher-end iPods a key part of its strategy.

    The batteries in Apple products have had some problems in the past, largely about wearing out, not about being prone to fires.

    In 2006, Japanese electronics and entertainment maker Sony apologized for the troubles it had caused consumers through defective lithium-ion batteries that had equipped Sony laptops and products by Dell, Apple, Lenovo and other major manufacturers.

    The Tokyo-based company recalled about 10 million batteries following reports of some computers using Sony power packs overheating and bursting into flames.

    The lithium-ion battery is considered an overall good technology because of its ability to furnish power in relatively small sizes, although its suspected tendency to catch fire is a major reason Toyota Motor and other automakers are being cautious about using it in ecological cars.

    Toyota's Prius gas-electric hybrid uses a different kind of battery, and the switch in future green models to the lithium-ion battery will be seen as a considerable breakthrough.

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    USA TODAY - Robot guided by lasers with a point, click

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    By Greg Bluestein, Associated Press

    The El-E robot looks like something you'd see in a Hollywood sci-fi flick: It's got two lenses spaced together just like eyes and a slender 5 1/2-foot-tall body. It spurts out wacky catch phrases when it accomplishes its goals.

    But unlike android movie stars, the El-E isn't designed to behave like a human. Rather, its focus is interacting with us. It simply grabs stuff you point at with a laser.

    "The entire world becomes a point and click interface. Objects become buttons. And if you point at one, the robot comes to grab it," said Charlie Kemp, the director of Georgia Tech's Center for Healthcare Robotics and the robot's designer. "It creates a clickable world."

    The robot, which was unveiled Wednesday at an Amsterdam conference, will be tested this summer in a real-world setting involving patients with a degenerative disease. Its creators from Georgia Tech and Emory universities won't disclose the robot's cost, but there's hope it could be cheaper than service animals such as dogs or monkeys.

    To command the El-E, the user points a laser at something for a few seconds. The robot responds with a beep and then zeros in on the target. Once there, it lifts a mechanical arm and grabs the object. It begins the return trip when the laser is pointed at the user's feet, and it looks for a human face before handing over what it grabbed.

    Kemp said engineers are often too focused on making robots behave like people, ignoring other ways they can interact.

    "How can you make robots that are actually useful? That was bugging me," he said. "And it's a hard question to answer that's why I'm happy with this. We made technical contributions as well as something that actually helps users."

    The robot successfully fetches its target objects off the floor 90% of the time, researchers said.

    This summer's test will involve patients with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, which shuts down nerve cells responsible for movement.

    "It will give these folks at least a level of independence," said Dr. Jonathan Glass, director of the Emory ALS Center and a part of the team developing the robot. "You don't have to feed it, and you can train it to do anything you want to do."

    Other scientists have taken notice.

    "It's very impressive work," said Oliver Brock, an assistant computer science professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "It's a serious and successful attempt to build a robot that can actually coexist with humans and successfully perform a task."

    El-E works by using dozens of sensors, lasers and cameras that help it find its target item and judge the grip needed to retrieve it. A mechanical crane that can grab items from the floor or shelves dominates its slender body. It rolls around on three wheels, and it's all powered by a lone Mac mini, which sits in its base.

    Researchers hope the laser-directed robot could someday open doors, switch light panels and guide patients, but it still has a way to go.

    The robot's arm can only carry objects up to 1.2 pounds, and it has yet to be tested with sick patients. And when it does malfunction, it can be a bit disarming.

    On a recent trial run, the El-E took a winding path on its mission to pick up a coffee mug, halting several times during its short journey. When Kemp and his students finally figured out the problem was a low battery, it moved smoothly again, stuttering only a bit as it tightened its grip on the cup. It wheeled around and paused for a few seconds before detecting the user's face and delivering the mug.

    "Bob's your uncle," it blurted out.

    Mission accomplished.

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    USA TODAY - British athletes will compete in Beijing without masks

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    By Stuart Condie, The Associated Press

    British athletes will compete without pollution-protection masks at the Beijing Olympics.

    The British Olympic Association said Wednesday that the International Olympic Committee had endorsed the view that air quality in Beijing will meet required standards.

    "There is no intention to wear masks," BOA president Colin Moynihan said. "The IOC monitors air quality and is protecting the world's athletes."

    The BOA had said last month that it was considering supplying its athletes with masks to counter pollution.

    Marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia said this week he may skip the event in Beijing because of the city's poor air quality. Chinese officials responded by saying measures to cut the city's notorious smog were on course.

    Gebrselassie, who has asthma, said he fears damage to his health by running through the streets of the Chinese capital.

    Speaking after the BOA's annual general meeting, Moynihan and BOA chief executive Simon Clegg said that masks, which could particularly be useful to distance runners like Paula Radcliffe, would be unnecessary.

    Clegg said the decision was based on IOC advice rather than a politically motivated desire by the BOA, which is involved in the planning for the 2012 London Games, to spare the host city any embarrassment.

    Moynihan also said that the BOA would fight any court challenge by Dwain Chambers to overturn his Olympic ban.

    The British sprinter, who served a doping ban from 2003 to 2005 after testing positive for the steroid THG, won a silver medal in the 60 meters at last week's World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain, and is reportedly considering a challenge to Britain's lifetime Olympic ban on dope cheats.

    The move could allow him to compete at the Beijing Games, but Moynihan said the BOA would use the best lawyers it could if Chambers appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport or Britain's High Court.

    "If he wishes to challenge our bylaw, he is entitled to challenge it and we will robustly defend it," Moynihan said. "There is no room for compromise. There is a bylaw and we will stand behind it in the interest of free and fair competition."

    The BOA also still intends to field a British soccer team at the 2012 London Games despite the latest comments from FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who said he opposes the plan for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to compete as one nation.

    Blatter previously said he supported the idea, reassuring the countries' federations that combining for the games would not affect their future as separate teams, but seemed to change his mind after last weekend's meeting of soccer's International Board in Scotland.

    "Clearly there is a change in position but that does not alter our prime objective that we send men's and women's Great Britain teams to the Olympics," Moynihan said. "There'll be no bar to any footballer in this country who wants to compete."

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    CNN - Southwest grounds planes, places three on leave

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    Southwest grounds planes, places three on leave

    Southwest Airlines was inspecting 44 planes Wednesday after an "ambiguity related to required testing" was found during a review of records, the airline said.

    Earlier this week, Southwest placed three employees on administrative leave and began conducting an internal investigation into the allegations that it flew planes without proper inspections.

    The White House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee issued a statement on Southwest's decision.

    "This action by Southwest Airlines raises serious questions about whether [the Federal Aviation Administration] adequately followed up on the discovery a year ago that Southwest had failed to make required inspections," the statement said.

    The FAA should have "immediately undertaken a review of the airline's records."

    "Had such a review been conducted, FAA would have found or prevented the 'ambiguity' in Southwest's maintenance, which Southwest has discovered after its own review of its records this week," the committee statement said.

    The 44 planes included five that were already out of service for scheduled maintenance checks plus one that "was already retired," the company said in a news release Wednesday afternoon.

    Taking the other 38 planes out of service for inspection resulted in the cancellation of "approximately 4 percent of today's Southwest flights," the release said.

    "Due to good weather conditions, the decision caused minimal schedule disruptions and the airline is running more than 90 percent on time," it said.

    By midafternoon, it said, "a portion of the aircraft have been inspected, cleared, and returned to service. The airline expects to have all of these aircraft inspected by early this evening."

    It said other such service interruptions could occur in coming days because of "the ongoing internal review of Southwest's maintenance programs, policies, and procedures."

    Linda Rutherford, another Southwest spokeswoman, said the inspections take 90 minutes.

    Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said in a statement released Tuesday: "Upon learning last month of an investigation with respect to our handling of this inspection and an airworthiness directive, I immediately ordered an independent and comprehensive investigation by outside counsel."

    Southwest did not say whether the inspections were of the plane's fuselages or rudders, both of which were mentioned in a CNN exclusive investigation released last week.

    According to detailed congressional documents obtained by CNN, Southwest Airlines flew some planes in violation of mandatory safety checks.

    Last week the Federal Aviation Administration initiated actions to seek a $10.2 million civil penalty against the airline for allegedly operating 46 airplanes without conducting mandatory checks for fuselage cracking.

    The amount of the proposed penalty "reflects the serious nature of those deliberate violations," the FAA said in a statement.

    The FAA has said Southwest operated 46 Boeing 737s on nearly 60,000 flights between June 2006 and March 2007 while failing to comply with an FAA directive requiring repeated inspections of fuselage areas to detect fatigue cracking.

    The FAA also alleges that after Southwest discovered it had failed to comply, it continued to operate the same planes on an additional 1,451 flights in March 2007. The airline later found that six of the 46 planes had fatigue cracks, the FAA said.

    Documents provided to CNN show that another 70 Southwest jets were allowed to fly past the deadline for the mandatory rudder inspections. Those documents also say that 47 planes -- one more than reported by the FAA -- flew without their mandatory fuselage inspections.

    In some cases, according to the documents the FAA provided to congressional investigators, the planes flew for 30 months past government inspection deadlines and should have grounded them until the inspections could be completed.

    The documents were prepared by two FAA safety inspectors who have requested whistle-blower status from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Both inspectors have been subpoenaed to testify before the committee.

    Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minnesota, who heads the committee and who has called the situation "one of the worst safety violations" he has ever seen, is scheduled to hold a hearing April 3 to ask why the airline may have allegedly put its passengers in danger.

    The whistle-blowers say FAA managers knew about the lapse in safety at Southwest, but decided to allow the airline to conduct the safety checks on a slower schedule because taking "aircraft out of service would have disrupted Southwest Airlines' flight schedule."

    "I am concerned with some of our findings as to our controls over procedures within our maintenance airworthiness directive and regulatory compliance processes," Kelly said Tuesday. "I have insisted that we have the appropriate maintenance organizational and governance structure in place to ensure that the right decisions are being made."

    In addition to putting three employees on administrative leave, Southwest has hired a consultant to review its maintenance program controls and is working closely with the FAA on its current audit of the fleet.

    "These are important and necessary steps," Kelly said. "We have been a safe company. I believe we are a safe company. I am committed to making sure we become safer still."

    The mandatory checks for fuselage cracks were required after the cabin of an Aloha Airlines 737 tore apart in midair in 1988, killing a flight attendant. The incident was blamed on cracks in the fuselage that grew wider as the plane underwent pressure changes during flight.

    Southwest Airlines has never had a catastrophic crash.

    CNN - 'Deeply sorry,' Spitzer to step down by Monday

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    'Deeply sorry,' Spitzer to step down by Monday

    Gov. Eliot Spitzer said Wednesday that he will step down from the state's top office because he cannot allow his "private failings to disrupt the public's work."

    "I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me," he said in a brief news conference announcing his intention to resign, effective Monday. "I will try once again outside of politics to serve the common good."

    With his wife, Silda, at his side, he added, "Our greatest glory consists not in never falling but in rising every time we fall."

    The announcement came as the New York governor faces allegations -- but no charges -- that he is tied to an international prostitution ring ensnared in a federal probe.

    Spitzer's lawyers were in discussions Wednesday with the U.S. attorney's office in New York, trying to negotiate a plea deal to avoid prosecution, a source with knowledge of the discussions said.

    However, U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia in New York issued a statement saying, "There is no agreement between this office and Gov. Eliot Spitzer relating to his resignation or any other matter."

    Spitzer, a former state attorney general whose reputation as a scourge of white-collar crime propelled him to the governor's office in 2006, has faced calls for his resignation since apologizing for a personal indiscretion Monday. He has not elaborated. See a timeline of Spitzer's life

    In his Wednesday announcement, Spitzer said, "Over the course of my public life, I have insisted -- I believe correctly -- that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself." Watch Spitzer say his "failings" led him to resign

    On Monday, prosecutors unsealed an affidavit detailing a rendezvous in a Washington hotel room last month as part of a federal prostitution investigation. The affidavit refers only to "Client 9," but a source told CNN on Monday that the reference was to Spitzer. View a gallery of recent political sex scandals

    Sources said Spitzer spent more than $15,000 for several encounters with prostitutes. It was revealed Wednesday by sources familiar with the investigation that Spitzer allegedly began patronizing the prostitution outfit, known as the Emperors Club, eight months ago and had used its services on at least eight occasions.

    Both Republicans and Democrats have called for him to leave office.

    "Eliot knows he cannot hold onto his job here. He might want to, but he is absolutely aware of his predicament," a Democratic source said Tuesday.

    Paterson, 53, will become the first black governor in the state and the fourth in U.S. history. The former state Senate minority leader, who is legally blind, is the son of Basil Paterson, a longtime Democratic operative in New York City.

    In a statement following Spitzer's announcement, Paterson called the governor a friend and said he was saddened by the news surfacing this week. Watch how details of the scandal are emerging on the Web

    "My heart goes out to him and to his family at this difficult and painful time," Paterson said. "It is now time for Albany to get back to work as the people of this state expect from us."

    Though he hasn't been charged with a crime, Spitzer has begun assembling a legal team. He has chosen Michele Hirshman as his lead attorney, said Madelaine Miller, a spokeswoman for Hirshman's law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Watch Spitzer's apology

    Hirshman, who was the first deputy attorney general under Spitzer when he was attorney general, also is a former assistant U.S. attorney who "served as chief of the Public Corruption Unit, where she led major investigations and prosecutions of government fraud and political and police corruption," according to the law firm's Web site.

    Spitzer, 48, took office in January 2007 after eight years as the state's attorney general, rising to national prominence. He built his career on rooting out public corruption and became a national figure with a series of high-profile Wall Street investigations. He also prosecuted prostitution rings. Watch how Wall Street views Spitzer scandal

    Spitzer is married with three daughters.

    Sources said a federal money-laundering investigation led agents to Spitzer. According to two sources, Spitzer hit the federal radar when a bank reported to the Internal Revenue Service that a significant amount of money had been suspiciously transferred from one account to another.

    After receiving the IRS report last year, the FBI corruption squad linked the account transfers to a prostitution ring, according to various sources.

    The FBI criminal division joined the inquiry to look into the prostitution ring, while the federal corruption team continued its investigation into Spitzer. Investigators are focusing on how Spitzer paid for the sexual encounters, what he may have done to conceal the movement and source of the money, and whether he broke any laws doing it, sources said.

    The 47-page affidavit details arrangements for a nearly 2½-hour rendezvous between Client 9 and a prostitute -- identified only as "Kristen" -- at a Washington hotel in February.

    A source identified the hotel as the Mayflower. Sources said Spitzer rented two rooms, one under the name of a political donor, George Fox. There Spitzer is said to have met with the prostitute from New York. Watch breakdown of key dates in Spitzer scandal

    The affidavit alleges that Client 9 paid for the prostitute to travel from New York to Washington. The Mann Act makes it a federal offense to take someone across state lines for the purpose of prostitution.

    The Emperors Club, for which officials said the prostitute worked, charged between $1,000 and $5,500 an hour and operated in New York; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; London, England; and Paris, France, according to court papers released by prosecutors last week.

    Authorities learned more about the inner workings of the prostitution ring by using wiretaps and accessing text messages, according to the affidavit.


    Salut spitzer

    Reuters - New York Gov. Spitzer resigns amid sex scandal

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    New York Gov. Spitzer resigns amid sex scandal

    Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 4:22PM UTC

    By Daniel Trotta

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned on Wednesday amid a scandal over a $1,000-an-hour prostitute, cutting short a career built on pugnacious investigations of Wall Street crimes.

    Lt. Gov. David Paterson will replace him on Monday, Spitzer said.

    "I am resigning from the office of governor. At Lt. Gov. Paterson's request, the resignation will be effective Monday, March 17," Spitzer announced.

    Spitzer, a Democrat, had faced intense pressure to resign and impeachment threats from Republicans since the New York Times reported on Monday that he was caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a prostitute.

    Spitzer, 48 and married with three children, is a former New York state chief prosecutor who rose to prominence by investigating financial crime with a vigor that earned him the nickname Sheriff of Wall Street.

    He also broke up prostitution rings as attorney general.

    Spitzer had apologized to his family and the public on Monday for what he called a "private matter," but gave no details of what he was apologizing for and then shuttered himself in his New York City apartment for two days.

    Some 70 percent of New York voters wanted Spitzer to quit, according to a WNBC/Marist poll conducted on Tuesday.

    Spitzer, who attracted wide publicity but also resentment on Wall Street with his pursuit of financial crimes while he was the state's attorney general, became governor with nearly 70 percent of the vote in November 2006 on pledges to clean up state politics.

    The Times, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, reported on Monday that Spitzer was the man identified as "Client 9" in a federal affidavit revealing details from an investigation into a prostitution ring.

    Client 9 arranged to meet with "Kristen," a prostitute who charged $1,000 an hour, on February 13 in a Washington hotel and paid her $4,300, the court document said.

    The complaint unveiled last week charged four people with running a prostitution ring dubbed The Emperors Club.

    It was not known if Spitzer would face any charges stemming from the case.

    (Editing by Frances Kerry)

    Sen Obama

    'See, I'm not smug'

    Reuters - Clinton supporter defends Obama race remarks

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    Clinton supporter defends Obama race remarks

    Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 2:37PM UTC

    By Donna Smith

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The only woman ever to be on a major party's U.S. presidential ticket on Wednesday stood by her comment that Sen. Barack Obama is ahead in the Democratic race for the White House because he is black.

    Geraldine Ferraro, a Democrat who ran for vice president in 1984, said his campaign's reaction had backfired and divided the party. Ferraro is supporting Obama's Democratic rival, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, for the November election.

    "My comments have been taken so out of context and have been spun by the Obama campaign as racist that it's doing precisely what they don't want done -- it's going to the Democratic Party and dividing us even more," Ferraro told ABC's "Good Morning America" in an interview.

    She ignited a flap by telling a California newspaper that "if Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position."

    "And if he was a woman he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept," Ferraro said.

    Ferraro told ABC she was "absolutely not" sorry for what she said.

    "I believe that," she added.

    She said she had fought discrimination for 40 years.

    "My concern has been over how I've been treated as well and hurt, absolutely hurt by how they have taken this thing and spun it to imply that in any way, any way I am racist," she said.


    When asked about Ferraro's remarks, Obama told ABC that being an "African American man named Barack Obama" was not the quickest path to becoming U.S. president. If nominated and then elected, Obama would be the first black U.S. president.

    "Anybody who knows the history of this country I think would not take too seriously the notion that this has been a huge advantage, but I don't think it's disadvantaged either," Obama said.

    On NBC's "Today" show, Obama said: "Part of what Geraldine Ferraro is doing, and I respect the fact that she was a trailblazer, is to participate in the kind of slice and dice politics that's about race and about gender and about this and that and that's what Americans are tired of because they recognize that when we divide ourselves in that way, we can't solve problems."

    Ferraro, a former U.S. representative from New York, and her presidential running mate Walter Mondale lost in 1984 in a landslide to Republican Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the current president's father.

    Obama won a Mississippi nominating contest on Tuesday with heavy support from black voters and extended his lead over Clinton in pledged delegates to the August nominating convention.

    The Illinois senator also won on Saturday in Wyoming.

    Clinton, who would be the first woman U.S. president, said on Tuesday she disagreed with Ferraro's comments and called them "regrettable," but the Obama camp accused her of a double standard for refusing to rebuke Ferraro and remove her from her finance position with the campaign.

    An Obama foreign policy adviser resigned last week after telling a British newspaper Clinton was "a monster."

    (Editing by Howard Goller)

    The Shitzer

    Former gov of ny client 9 elliott spitzer

    USA TODAY - Fallon resigns as Mideast military chief

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    By Jim Michaels, USA TODAY

    The top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday a week after the publication of a magazine article that described him as being at odds with the Bush administration's stance toward Iran.

    In a profile in Esquire magazine, author Thomas P.M. Barnett described Adm. William Fallon as "brazenly" challenging the Bush administration and pushing back against a president "who trash-talks his way to World War III" with Iran.

    Fallon denied a difference in policy, but called the news reports a distraction. "The simple perception that there is makes it difficult for me to effectively serve America's interests," Fallon said in a statement.

    Some Democrats and defense experts say there was a clash of opinions, suggesting the administration is attempting to stifle dissent. "One of the lessons of the build up to the Iraq war is that the advice of our most senior military officers was too often ignored by the civilian leadership within the Bush administration," Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, a former Marine and Navy secretary, said in a statement.

    Fallon "has a pretty high profile," said William Cohen, President Clinton's Defense secretary and a Republican former senator. "Any time you become highly visible and highly quotable you're running certain risks."

    In a statement, President Bush praised Fallon's service. Pentagon officials insist the departure was not engineered by the White House. Gates said he approved Fallon's request with reluctance.

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who accepted Fallon's resignation, said Fallon didn't have policy differences with the administration. However, Gates said during a Pentagon news conference that he did not think the article alone was why Fallon resigned, adding that it was a "cumulative kind of thing."

    VIDEO: Gates announces the resignation

    Gates also said he and Fallon had failed to "put behind us" misperceptions that the two had serious policy differences.

    It's "ridiculous" to think Fallon's resignation would increase the chances of war with Iran, Gates said.

    The resignation leaves the command overseeing combat in Iraq and Afghanistan uncertain and comes as a crucial decision over Iraq troop levels is being resolved.

    Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, is expected in Washington next month for a key discussion about a drawdown in troop levels in Iraq.

    Both Petraeus and Gates have said they supported a temporary pause in troop withdrawals after the last of the 30,000 additional troops sent to Iraq last year depart. The pause would give time for commanders to assess if conditions change after the extra units depart.

    As head of Central Command, Fallon oversees troop commitments from eastern Africa throughout central Asia, including Afghanistan.

    Central Command's recommended troop levels for Iraq will still reflect Fallon's views, Gates said, because Fallon is not stepping down until the end of March.

    Fallon, 63, was commander of the U.S. Pacific Command before taking his current job and has had a career that spanned 41 years, including a combat tour flying jets in Vietnam.

    In appointing him to the Central Command post, Gates praised Fallon as a strategic thinker. The job had never gone to a Navy officer before.

    Army Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, currently Central Command's deputy commander, will serve as acting commander until a permanent replacement can be named.

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    USA TODAY - Bryant scores 34 as Lakers regain top spot in West

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    By John Nadel, The Associated Press

    Kobe Bryant scored 10 of his 34 points in the final 8 minutes, Lamar Odom added 20 points and nine rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Toronto Raptors 117-108 on Tuesday night to regain the top spot in the Western Conference.

    Now, they'll face a major challenge staying there, playing their next four games on the road against New Orleans, Houston, Dallas and Utah, who have a cumulative record of 168-86 including 101-26 at home.

    GAME REPORT: L.A. Lakers 117, Raptors 108

    Bryant also had seven rebounds and seven assists for the Pacific Division-leading Lakers (45-19), who have won 18 of their last 22 and lead the San Antonio Spurs by a half-game in the Western Conference race.

    Derek Fisher scored 18 points, Pau Gasol had 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Jordan Farmar added 10 points and five assists for the Lakers, who shot 53.6%.

    T.J. Ford scored all but four of his 28 points in the second half for the Raptors (34-29), who lost for the fifth time in seven games. Anthony Parker added 21 points, Rasho Nesterovic had 18 points and eight rebounds and Andrea Bargnani scored 15 for Toronto.

    Raptors star Chris Bosh, averaging 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds, missed his sixth straight game with a sore right knee. Toronto has a 4-7 record without Bosh this season.

    Sasha Vujacic's three-pointer with 7:09 remaining gave the Lakers a 97-86 lead the largest of the game for either team to that point. The Raptors weren't closer than six points after that. Fisher's three-pointer with 41 seconds left made it 113-104 and clinched the victory.

    Odom scored 13 of his team's 25 points and Parker had 11 of his team's 25 in the third quarter, which ended with the Lakers leading 83-77.

    A basket by Bryant and three-pointers by Farmar and seldom-used Coby Karl gave the Lakers a 40-35 lead, and they were on top the rest of the way. Los Angeles shot 15-of-22 in the second quarter in outscoring the Raptors 36-27 for a 58-52 halftime lead.

    The game was the second between the teams at Staples Center since Bryant scored a whopping 81 points in a 122-104 victory Jan. 22, 2006. It appeared he might be headed toward another huge game when he made three three-pointers in the first five minutes.

    Bryant had 13 points, three steals and four of his team's seven turnovers in the first quarter, which ended with the Raptors on top 25-22.

    Notes:The Lakers committed only four turnovers in the final three periods, giving them a total of 11. ... The Lakers have scored 100 or more points in 18 of their last 20 games, but have allowed 100 or more in five of their last six. ... The game was the opener of a five-game road trip for the Raptors, who play at Golden State, Denver, Sacramento and Utah in the next six nights. They hope Bosh will be available at some point during the trip. ... The Lakers have won six straight against the Raptors at Staples Center. ... The Raptors have made at least one three-pointer in a record 756 straight games dating back to February 1999. ... Bryant was called for a flagrant foul against Kris Humphries in the second quarter.

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    Reuters - New York Gov. Spitzer to resign soon: NY Times

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    New York Gov. Spitzer to resign soon: NY Times

    Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 1:43PM UTC

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is expected to resign on Wednesday morning amid the sex scandal linking him to a prostitution ring as a client, The New York Times reported on its Web site, citing unnamed staff members.

    Spitzer on Monday apologized for what he called a "private matter," saying he had violated his obligations to his family.

    The Times reported that Spitzer, 48, was caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a prostitute at a Washington hotel last month.

    (Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

    CNN - Obama wins Mississippi primary; Texas caucus win estimated

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    Obama wins Mississippi primary; Texas caucus win estimated

    Sen. Barack Obama claimed victory by a wide margin over Sen. Hillary Clinton in Mississippi's Democratic primary Tuesday.

    "What we've tried to do is steadily make sure that in each state we are making the case about the need for change in this country. Obviously the people in Mississippi responded," Obama told CNN after his win.

    Mississippi had 33 pledged delegates up for grabs, which will be allocated proportionally.

    With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Obama had 61 percent of the vote, compared with Clinton's 37 percent.

    The state's Democratic voters were sharply divided among racial lines, exit polls indicated. Watch what the results mean

    As has been the case in many primary states, Obama won overwhelming support from African-American voters. They went for him over Clinton 91-9 percent. See the results

    The state has a larger proportion of African-Americans (36 percent, according to the 2000 census) than any other state in the country. And black voters make up nearly 70 percent of registered Democrats.

    But Mississippi white voters overwhelmingly backed the New York senator, supporting her over Obama 72 percent to 21 percent.

    According to The Associated Press, only two other primary states were as racially polarized -- neighboring Alabama, and Clinton's former home state of Arkansas.

    The exit polls also indicated roughly 40 percent of Mississippi Democratic voters said race was an important factor in their vote, and 90 percent of those voters supported Obama.

    In Ohio, roughly one in five voters said race factored into their decision. About 60 percent of those voters picked Clinton over Obama.

    Clinton's campaign issued a statement congratulating Obama on his win, and said they "look forward to campaigning in Pennsylvania and around the country as this campaign continues." CNN's political team weighs in on the results

    Pennsylvania is the next battleground for the Democrats. It holds its primary April 22 and has 158 delegates at stake.

    Obama also finished first in the Texas Democratic caucuses. The caucuses were held last week, but the race was not called until Tuesday night. Watch Obama talk about his win

    Obama will get more delegates out of the state than Clinton, who won the state's primary.

    Under the Texas Democratic Party's complex delegate selection plan, Texas voters participated in both a primary and caucuses last week.

    Two-thirds of the state's 193 delegates were at stake at the primary, while the remaining third were decided by the caucuses.

    Obama leads Clinton in the overall delegate count 1,597-1,470, but neither candidate is close to the 2,025 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination.

    Between 125,000 and 150,000 voters were expected to cast ballots Tuesday, according to Pamela Weaver of the Mississippi Secretary of State's Office.

    While the number would represent a 25 to 50 percent increase in turnout from the 2004 primaries, Weaver still described the voting rate as light to moderate.

    Obama touched on the Mississippi Delta's economic struggles during a final campaign stop in Greenville, Mississippi, according to the AP.

    "We just haven't seen as much opportunity come to this area as we'd like," he told those gathered at a restaurant, the AP reported. "And one of the challenges, I think, for the next president is making sure that we're serving all communities and not just some communities."

    Obama campaigned in Mississippi on Monday and spent part of Tuesday doing the same, while rival Clinton made a swing through the state on Thursday and Friday.

    In addition, former President Bill Clinton made the rounds for his wife in Mississippi over the weekend.

    For Mississippi, it's a moment to bask in the national spotlight. And for a state with images of a strictly segregated past, the Democratic primary is a chance to alter some long held stereotypes.

    "We're seeing a contest where I think you're going to see a huge turnout of voters voting either for a woman or an African-American, and that gives us a chance to make a statement," said Marty Wiseman, a professor of political science at Mississippi State University.


    Client #9

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    If you know me then you know my name. I am The Black Rider and the world is my Flame. The rider writes, observes, creates, produces, and learns the world around him. Ride on. Ride on!

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