Friday, December 11, 2009

CORRECTED: Detroit house auction flops for urban wasteland

Sun Oct 25, 2:52 PM

(Corrects to show properties for sale were about the area of Central Park, while total vacant land is nearly the size of Boston)

By Kevin Krolicki

DETROIT (Reuters) - In a crowded ballroom next to a bankrupt casino, what remains of the Detroit property market was being picked over by speculators and mostly discarded.

After five hours of calling out a drumbeat of "no bid" for properties listed in an auction book as thick as a city phone directory, the energy of the county auctioneer began to flag.

"OK," he said. "We only have 300 more pages to go."

There was tired laughter from investors ready to roll the dice on a city that has become a symbol of the collapse of the U.S. auto industry, pressures on the industrial middle-class and intractable problems for the urban poor.

On the auction block in Detroit: almost 9,000 homes and lots in various states of abandonment and decay from the tidy owner-occupied to the burned-out shell claimed by squatters.

Taken together, the properties seized by tax collectors for arrears and put up for sale last week represented an area the size of New York's Central Park. Total vacant land in Detroit now occupies an area almost the size of Boston, according to a Detroit Free Press estimate.

The tax foreclosure auction by Wayne County authorities also stood as one of the most ambitious one-stop attempts to sell off urban property since the real-estate market collapse.

Despite a minimum bid of $500, less than a fifth of the Detroit land was sold after four days.

The county had no estimate of how much was raised by the auction, a second attempt to sell property that had failed to find buyers for the full amount of back taxes in September.

The unsold parcels add to an expanding ghost town within the once-vibrant town known worldwide as the Motor City.

Critics say the poor showing at the auction underscores the limits of using a market-based system to clean up property tax problems. They say the system has enriched a few but failed to deliver a way for Detroit to staunch its dwindling population and could worsen the vacancy crisis.

One proposed alternative would have officials take control of the tax foreclosure process through a land bank program of the kind being used to revitalize the nearby city of Flint.

The stakes in the debate are rising.

The number of Detroit properties in tax foreclosure has more than tripled since 2007 and seems certain to rise further. The lots for sale last week represented arrears from only 2006, well before the worst of the downturn for U.S. automakers.

"We have to keep in mind that GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy this year," said Terrance Keith, chief deputy treasurer of Wayne County. "Some people are going to be totally tapped out next year."

Detroit, already stuck with a $300 million budget deficit, is responsible in the meantime for cutting the weeds and responding to fire calls for thousands more abandoned lots.


Many potential homeowners that Detroit desperately needs said they felt penalized by the auction process.

They mostly found themselves outbid by deeper-pocketed investors from California and New York who were in a race to claim the auction book's relatively few livable properties.

Dozens of potential bidders, mostly local residents, were turned away on the first day of the auction by deputies after they failed to meet the morning deadline for registration.

Ross Wallace, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, turned in his check for $500 and waited on the auction floor in full dress uniform for a chance to buy a Detroit house on the cheap.

Wallace, 27, said he did not want to leave his fiancee and two children with a mortgage before shipping out to Iraq later this year.

"I still have student loans and I'm trying to be responsible. I don't want to leave debt," he said.

Wallace waited for the auction to roll around to Detroit's Boston-Edison district, a once stately area that was home to boxing legend Joe Louis and Motown founder Berry Gordy.

But he was quickly outbid. An unidentified investor at the front of the room who had scooped up several dozen properties took the home Wallace wanted for about $15,000.

"Why am I competing against a bank?" he said later. "It would be common sense to have a separate process for people who want to move back to the city or it's going to stay empty."

Nearby, a Dutch-born local woman, Riet Schumack, 54, knitted patiently through the auction for a chance to bid on a lot in Brightmoor, one of the most blighted neighborhoods.

Schumack, who runs a community garden near her home that employs 14 neighborhood children, said she had been battling through a maze of bureaucracy for years to try to buy an abandoned lot nearby to expand and plant fruit trees.

She learned the lot had been taken back from its previous owner -- an absentee investor with more than 100 abandoned lots in Brightmoor -- only because of her constant calls to city and county officials, she said.

When officials told her she would have to wait for a fourth day to bid on the property, Schumack broke down into tears.

"Anybody with a job is not able to sit here for days. So you are left with the sharks," she said.

Opinions were divided on whether the investors buying lots and homes by the dozen were a sign of better times ahead.

"They weren't here two years ago. So why are they here now? Unless, as speculators, they believe this is the bottom," said Keith of the Wayne County treasurer's office.

Bill Frank, a Detroit realtor trying to buy a small house for a just-married friend, found himself repeatedly outbid.

"Speculators are often not good for a city and, from my experience, they are going to lose a fortune," he said. "But there are no easy answers. It's a declining city."

(Editing by Peter Bohan and John O'Callaghan)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

LIMON,CO(IFS)- The Documentary Channel for the past several nights have been reviewing the Congressional Investigation of the Branch Davidian Massacre. Minute after minute, you find the ATF Directors, along with Janet Reno saying one thing, and the video evidence shows something else completely different. These people then lied to Congress under oath, and what we find, nothing was done to these agents.

Ruby Ridge is another hot point of contention, as we see that certain people are above the law.

For 51 days, the ATF and the FBI held these people hostage, and then lied to Congress. I just want to let everyone know that I too, remember these Americans, these little children and old people that Janet Reno had gunned down, mutilated and burnt in the name of justice. I remember that one male report, who would come to the microphone and TV camera, and report that - there was no food for the children, or the next time, the kids were being molested, or the very next time, the kids were being held as hostages, etc. I wonder how his career is during these days. America will never forget Janet Reno and her friends that kill children, mothers and old people. I know she will live a long fruitful life. After all one day she will meet each and everyone of those victims again. And at that time, there are no laws, police and anything thing else that will save her from the raft of hell.

God Bless you Janet Reno - you Child killer!!

Branch Davidian Victims

Died February 28, 1993 in initial BATF assault on Mount Carmel
Winston Blake 28 British
Peter Gent 24 Australian
Peter Hipsman 28 American
Perry Jones 64 American
Michael Schroeder 29 American
Jaydean Wendell 34 Hawaiian American

Died April 19, 1993
burnt or shot to death during FBI assault

Katherine Andrade 24 American
Chanel Andrade 1 American
Jennifer Andrade 19 American
George Bennett 35 British
Susan Benta 31 British
Mary Jean Borst 49 American
Pablo Cohen 38 Israeli
Abedowalo Davies 30 British
Shari Doyle 18 American
Beverly Elliot 30 British
Yvette Fagan 32 British
Doris Fagan 51 British
Lisa Marie Farris 24 American
Raymond Friesen 76 Canadian
Sandra Hardial 27 British
Zilla Henry 55 British
Vanessa Henry 19 British
Phillip Henry 22 British
Paulina Henry 24 British
Stephen Henry 26 British
Diana Henry 28 British
Novellette Hipsman 36 Canadian
Floyd Houtman 61 American
Sherri Jewell 43 Asian American
David M. Jones 38 American
David Koresh 33 American
Rachel Koresh 24 American
Cyrus Koresh 8 American
Star Koresh 6 American
Bobbie Lane Koresh 2 American
Jeffery Little 32 American
Nicole Gent Little
and unborn child 24 Australian
Dayland Gent 3 American
Page Gent 1 American
Livingston Malcolm 26 British
Diane Martin 41 British
Wayne Martin, Sr. 42 American
Lisa Martin 13 American
Sheila Martin, Jr. 15 American
Anita Martin 18 American
Wayne Martin, Jr. 20 American
Julliete Martinez 30 Mexican American
Crystal Martinez 3 Mexican American
Isaiah Martinez 4 Mexican American
Joseph Martinez 8 Mexican American
Abigail Martinez 11 Mexican American
Audrey Martinez 13 Mexican American
John-Mark McBean 27 British
Bernadette Monbelly 31 British
Rosemary Morrison 29 British
Melissa Morrison 6 British
Sonia Murray 29 American
Theresa Nobrega 48 British
James Riddle 32 American
Rebecca Saipaia 24 Asian British
Steve Schneider 43 American
Judy Schneider 41 American
Mayanah Schneider 2 American
Clifford Sellors 33 British
Scott Kojiro Sonobe 35 Asian American
Floracita Sonobe 34 Philipino
Gregory Summers 28 American
Aisha Gyrfas Summers
and unborn child 17 Australian
Startle Summers 1 American
Lorraine Sylvia 40 American
Rachel Sylvia 12 American
Hollywood Sylvia 1 American
Michelle Jones Thibodeau 18 American
Serenity Jones 4 American
Chica Jones 2 American
Little One Jones 2 American
Neal Vaega 38 Asian New Zealander
Margarida Vaega 47 Asian New Zealander
Mark H. Wendell 40 Asian American

Renos Avraam 31 British 40 years
Brad Branch 35 American 40 years
Jaime Castillo 24 American 40 years
Graeme Craddock 31 Australian 20 years
Livingstone Fagan 35 British 40 years
Paul Fatta 35 American 15 years
Ruth Riddle 31 Canadian 5 years
Kathryn Schroeder 35 American 3 years
Kevin Whitecliff 33 American 40 years

Friday, December 04, 2009

LIMON (IFS) - Well what does one expect from a country that joined Hitler, and believed he was right. It's not hard to believe that a person can be convicted on all counts of very bad police investigations and mishandling of this case. It is sad for the victim, but even worst for justice. A very weak case, very bad ruling by the Judges, and contaminated evidence by the police. The justice in Italy convicted Ms. Knox on personal effects, like her life style, condoms, she smoked weed, her sex life, etc. This would not have been an issue in any country. The Justice system in Italy is very corrupt and double faced. They changed the course of the trial from many angles, and never proved anything -- to just get a conviction. They had it in for Ms. Knox from the beginning. She was never going to get a fair trial. When you are threaten by the police that keep you in jail and beat you up, heck I would say anything to keep them off me. None of this had nothing to do with the case. I totally endorse the boycotting of all Italian products, but justice must be done. Justice was not served at all.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I believe that Mrs. Woods heard about the affair from the papers, and she and Mr. Woods had a difference of opinions, as she was beating him with a golf club during the argument. Tiger made a break for the car, with Mrs. Woods in hot pursuit behind him with club in hand. He drove off in the SUV with Mrs. Woods chasing him on foot. She smashed out his window and he lost control of car trying to drive to fast in a small area. The glass in the driveway always tell a story. Those little pieces always show up, even years later. The computer generation says something very different. Mrs. Woods is not telling the truth. She could be charged with domestic violence and abuse. It's to bad -- but it’s to late now.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Let the Adventure Begin

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Monday, November 16, 2009

LIMON, CO (IFS) - As one of the many first cousins to Shirley Ann Ward, the unanswered questions in regards to her untimely death raises more questions from this officer's handling of her case, as to the many many other cases that have began to arise in Madera County, California. This is a pattern of abuse and neglect from this county and it gives rise to a United States Attorney General's investigation of this officer and his department.

Sheriff John is not telling the true, and his department is covering up vital information. How come it took over three (3) months to notify the next of kind, and they had performed an autopsy without any permission from any family member. Sheriff John you suck!! And there are many more of us in Shirley's family then you have cops in your control. Our family have US Marshalls, US Judges, US Attorneys, police and sheriffs in our own family members. You are not untouchable, Sir. We are going to bring you down -- KHS.

Begin letter regarding the death of Shirley Ward and cruel treatment to family members.

Dear Rev. Bird:

My sister, Shirley Ward, W-65118 an inmate at Chowchilla Prison allegedly died of "natural causes" while in the custody of this institution. A Chief Deputy of Madera Sheriff´s Dept notified me the day after Christmas, December 26, 2008. His words were unemotional and right to the point, "Your sister, Shirley died."

He went on to say that he was also the Coroner who had performed an autopsy on her and that she had passed away on the 16th of December of a "seizure" and what he considered "natural causes".

Why did he perform an autopsy before we were notified? Why the long time span? The prison warden Mary Laptimore, administrators, doctors or other employees did not contact us at all to notify us that Shirley had died or that she was even sick. My family members and I were all given conflicting stories surrounding my sister´s alleged "natural" death. The people at the Neptune Society were putting a rush on us to have the body cremated.

When I called the prison no one seemed to know anything. Most of those idiots were arrogant and sarcastic or maybe it was downright ignorance. I just wanted to know what happened to my sister and they all acted like I was accusing him or her of murder. (I have a list of all the characters I had contact with and details on their cruel remarks and indifference).

My sister was supposed to be released the following month, January 20, 2009. I was receiving telephone calls and letters from her and last spoke to her in the week of her alleged "natural" death. She had had some dental work done in November (dentures). She was excited and looking forward to getting out of there. She did not have a history of seizures.

I spoke with the medical team who reacted very strangely to my questions by telling me they would call me back or have someone else return my call. That never happened. I kept calling the prison until one day in the middle of January I received a phone call from the warden, Mary Latpimore, and a few other characters telling me the same rehearsed story that my sister refused medical help the first time and later was taken to the Madera Hospital where she allegedly died a "natural death".

They will not release a copy of her medical records or a copy of the autopsy. I would like a copy of them both.

My family and I would also like the people (doctors/dentists) whomever to take responsibility and be held accountable for whatever triggered my sister´s death. I fear for the safety of other prisoners if these monsters are allowed to exercise their above-the-law practices at the expense of others. If this is a case of negligence, these people involved are the real criminals and should be punished for the crimes that they commit and have committed in the past in the name of Law and Justice and even the name of God. This entire establishment needs to be investigated not only for the sake of my sister but also for all humanity.

Shirley Ann Ward, my baby sister, had a lot of personal issues. She was an addict but she never killed anyone and she did not deserve to die such a terrible death. She and I were both coming to terms with our mother´s death. I love my sister and I pray that justice will be served.

Anyone with information, please contact the UNION Director, Rev. B. Cayenne Bird, P.O. Box 340371, Sacramento, Ca. 95834, email: web:

Madera County Sheriff's Headquarters
14143 Rd 28
Madera, CA 93638
Emergencies - 24 Hours: Call 911
Non-Emergency Services: (559) 675-7770
Map this location for me

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tampa police: Marine reservist attacked Greek priest he mistook for
By Jamal Thalji, Times Staff Writer
Published Tuesday, November 10, 2009

TAMPA - A Marine reservist armed with a tire iron beat and chased a man
he thought was an Arab terrorist and even called 911 to say he was
detaining the man, police said.

But the man he assaulted was actually a Greek Orthodox priest visiting
from overseas who spoke limited English, police said.

That's why police arrested reservist Jasen D. Bruce on a charge of
aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Police said they're also investigating whether Bruce, 28, committed a
hate crime.

The incident took place around 6:35 p.m. Monday, police said. The
priest, Alexios Marakis, 29, is from Crete, Greece. He is visiting St.
Nicholas Greek Cathedral at 17 E Tarpon Ave. but police said he was in
the Westshore area to bless another retired Greek priest.

But Marakis apparently got lost and exited northbound Interstate 275
into downtown Tampa, police said.

The priest followed several cars into the Seaport Channelside Apartments
on Twiggs Street. He got out of his car and asked Bruce for help.

Instead of offering help, Bruce struck the priest on the head with a
tire iron, police said.

He then chased the priest for three blocks to the Madison Avenue and
Meridian Avenue, police said, and even called 911 to say that an Arabic
man tried to rob him.

Bruce said he was going to take the Arab into custody. When police
arrived, Bruce told them the victim was a terrorist.

The priest was taken to Tampa General Hospital. There, a translator
helped Marakis speak to police.

Then officers went to Bruce's apartment to speak to the reservist again.
But he already had an attorney with him and refused to speak, police

The priest was treated and released from the hospital.

Records show Bruce was released from the Hillsborough County jail at 8
a.m. Tuesday on $7,500 bond. His occupation is listed as sales manager
of a Palm Harbor pharmacy.

© 2009 . All Rights Reserved . St. Petersburg Times

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Columbia Broadcasting System - The Early years

CBS can trace its origins to the creation, on January 27, 1927, of the "United Independent Broadcasters" network. Established by New York talent agent Arthur Judson, United soon looked for additional investors; the Columbia Phonographic Manufacturing Company (also owners of Columbia Records), rescued the company in April 1927, and as a result, the network was renamed "Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System." Columbia Phonographic went on the air on September 18, 1927, from flagship station WOR in Newark, New Jersey, and 15 affiliates.

Unable to sell enough air time to advertisers, on September 25, 1927, Columbia sold the network for $500,000 to William S. Paley, son of a Philadelphia cigar manufacturer. With Columbia Phonographic's removal, Paley streamlined the corporate name to "Columbia Broadcasting System". Paley believed in the power of radio advertising; his family's company had seen their "La Palina" cigar become a best-seller after young William convinced his elders to advertise it on Philadelphia station WCAU.

In November 1927, Columbia paid $410,000 to A.H. Grebe's Atlantic Broadcasting Company for a small Brooklyn station, WABC, which would become the network's flagship station.WCBS WABC was quickly upgraded, and the signal relocated to a stronger frequency, 860kHz. (In 1946, WABC was re-named WCBS; the station moved to a new frequency, 880 kHz, in the FCC's 1941 reassignment of stations.) It was where much of CBS's programming originated; other owned-and-operated stations were KNX Los Angeles, KCBS San Francisco (originally KQW), WBBM Chicago, WJSV Washington, DC (later WTOP, which moved to the FM dial in 2005; the AM facility today is WTWP, also a CBS Radio affiliate), KMOX St. Louis, and WCCO Minneapolis. These remain the core affiliates of the CBS Radio Network today, with WCBS still the flagship, and all but WTOP/WTWP (both Bonneville Broadcasting properties) owned by CBS Radio.

Later in 1928, another investor, Paramount Pictures (who ironically would eventually be co-owned with CBS, see below), bought Columbia stock, and for a time it was thought the network would be renamed "Paramount Radio". Any chance of further Paramount involvement ended with the 1929 stock market crash; the near-bankrupt studio sold its shares back to CBS in 1932.

As the third national network, CBS soon had more affiliates than either of NBC's two, in part because of a more generous rate of payment to affiliates. NBC's owner and founder of RCA, David Sarnoff, believed in technology, so NBC's affiliates had the latest RCA equipment, and were often the best-established stations, or were on "clear channel" frequencies. Paley believed in the power of programming, and CBS quickly established itself as the home of many popular musical and comedy stars, among them Bing Crosby, Al Jolson, George Burns & Gracie Allen, and Kate Smith. In 1938, NBC and CBS each opened studios in Hollywood to attract movieland's top talent to their networks — NBC at Radio City on Sunset and Vine, CBS two blocks away at Columbia Square.

In the hard times of the early 1930s, CBS radio broadened its offerings; having refused an AP franchise for news, Paley launched an independent news division, shaped in its first years by Paley's vice-president, former New York Times man Ed Klauber, and news director Paul White. Another early hire, in 1935, was Edward R. Murrow, brought in as "Director of Talks." It was Murrow's reports, particularly during the dark days of the London Blitz, which contributed to CBS News' image for on-the-spot coverage. As European news chief and later head of the news division, Murrow assembled a team of reporters and editors that propelled CBS News to the forefront of the industry.

On October 30, 1938, CBS gained a taste of infamy when Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre broadcast an adaptation of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. Its unique format, a contemporary version of the story in the form of faux news broadcasts, had many CBS listeners panicked into believing invaders from Mars were actually devastating Grovers Mill, New Jersey, despite three disclaimers during the broadcast it was a work of fiction. CBS would later revive the format for television in the 1990s for Without Warning, which told the story of asteroids crashing to Earth, but the television format allowed for disclaimers to air at every commercial break, avoiding a replay of what happened in 1938.

Also in 1938, CBS bought American Record Corporation, the parent of its former investor Columbia Records.

Prior to the onset of World War II, CBS recruited Edmund A. Chester from his position as Bureau Chief for Latin America at Associated Press to serve as Director of Latin American Relations and Director of Short Wave Broadcasts for the CBS radio network (1940). In this capacity, Mr. Chester coordinated the development of the Network of the Americas (La Cadena de las Americas) with the Department of State, the Office for Inter-American Affairs (as chaired by Nelson Rockefeller) and Voice of America. This network provided vital news and cultural programming throughout South America and Central America during the crucial World War II era and fostered benevolent diplomatic relations between the United States of America and the less developed nations of the continent. It featured such popular radio broadcasts as Viva America [1] which showcased leading musical talent from both North and South America.

As long as radio was the dominant advertising medium, CBS dominated broadcasting. All through the 1950s and 1960s, CBS programs were often the highest-rated. A much-publicized "talent raid" on NBC in the mid-1940s brought Jack Benny, Edgar Bergen and Amos 'n' Andy into the CBS fold. Paley also was an innovator in creating original programming; since broadcasting's earliest days, time had been sold to advertising agencies in half- or full-hour blocks. The ad agencies, not the networks, would then create the program to fill the time, thus it was " 'The Johnson's Wax Program', with Fibber McGee & Molly", or " 'The Pepsodent Show', with Bob Hope." At Paley's urging, beginning in the mid-1940s, CBS began creating its own programs; among the long-running shows that came from this project were You Are There (born as CBS Was There), My Favorite Husband (starring Lucille Ball; the show proved a kind of blueprint for her big CBS television hit I Love Lucy), Our Miss Brooks (whose star, Eve Arden, was encouraged personally by Paley to try out for the title role), Gunsmoke and The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. In time this idea was carried further, selling ad time by the minute, so ad agencies no longer had complete control over what went out over "Paley's air".

CBS moved at a deliberate pace into television; as late as 1950 it owned only one station; radio continued to be the backbone of the company. Gradually, as the television network took shape, big radio stars began to drift to television. The radio soap opera The Guiding Light moved to television in 1952 and still airs today; Burns & Allen made the move in 1950; Lucille Ball a year later; Our Miss Brooks in 1952 (though it continued simultaneously on radio for its full television life). The high-rated Jack Benny radio show ended in 1955, and Edgar Bergen's Sunday-night show went off the air in 1957. When CBS announced in 1956 that its radio operations had lost money, while the television network had made money, it was clear where the future lie. When the soap opera Ma Perkins went off the air November 25, 1960 only eight, relatively minor series remained. Prime-time radio ended on September 30, 1962 when, the legendary Suspense, aired for the final time.

After the retirement of talk-show pioneer Arthur Godfrey in 1972, CBS radio programming consisted of hourly news broadcast and an extensive schedule of news features, known in the 1970s as Dimension, and commentaries, including the well received Spectrum series of commentaries which evolved into the Point/Counterpoint feature on the television network's 60 Minutes and First Line Report, a well-regarded news and analysis feature delivered by CBS correspondents and offered to the CBS radio stations. The network also continued to offer traditional radio programming through its nightly "CBS Mystery Theater", the lone holdout of old-style programming. The CBS Radio Network continues to this day, but offers primarily its well-regarded newscasts, including its centerpiece World News Roundup in the morning and evening and news-related features like "The Osgood File" and "Harry Smith Reporting" as well as other talk properties like "Opie and Anthony"
The television years: expansion and growth
CBS's first television broadcasts were experimental, often only for one hour a day, and reaching a limited area in and around New York City (over station W2XAB channel 2, later called WCBW and finally WCBS-TV). To catch up with rival RCA, CBS bought Hytron Laboratories in 1939, and immediately moved into set production and color broadcasting. Though there were many competing patents and systems, RCA dictated the content of the FCC's technical standards, and grabbed the spotlight from CBS, DuMont and others by introducing television to the general public at the 1939 New York World's Fair. The FCC began licensing commercial television stations on July 1, 1941; the first license went to RCA and NBC's WNBT (now WNBC); the second license, issued that same day, was to WCBW, (now WCBS). CBS-Hytron offered a practical color system in 1941, but it was not compatible with the black-and-white standards set down by RCA. In time, and after considerable dithering, the FCC rejected CBS's technology in favor of that backed by RCA.

During the World War II years, commercial television broadcasting was reduced dramatically. Toward the end of the war, commercial television began to ramp up again, with an increased level of programming evident in the 1945-1947 period on the three New York television stations which operated in those years (the local stations of NBC, CBS and DuMont) But as RCA and DuMont raced to establish networks and offer upgraded programming, CBS lagged, advocating an industry-wide shift and re-start to UHF for their incompatible (with black and white) color system. Only in 1950, when NBC was dominant in television and black and white transmission was widespread, did CBS begin to buy or build their own stations (outside of New York) in Los Angeles, Chicago and other major cities. Up to that point, CBS programming was seen on such stations as KTTV Channel 11 in Los Angeles, which CBS--as a bit of insurance and to guarantee program clearance in Los Angeles--quickly purchased a 50% interest in. CBS then sold their interest in KTTV and purchased outright Los Angeles pioneer station KTSL (Channel 2) in 1950, renaming it KNXT (after sister CBS radio station KNX), later to become KCBS. The "talent raid" on NBC of the mid-forties had brought over established radio stars; they now became stars of CBS television as well. One reluctant CBS star refused to bring her radio show, "My Favorite Husband," to television unless the network would re-cast the show with her real-life husband in the lead. Paley and network president Frank Stanton had so little faith in the future of Lucille Ball's series, re-dubbed I Love Lucy, that they granted her wish and allowed the husband, Desi Arnaz, to take financial control of the production. This was the making of the Ball-Arnaz Desilu empire, and became the template for series production to this day.

In the late 1940s, CBS offered imaginative and historic live television coverage of the proceedings United Nations General Assembly(1949). This journalist tour-de-force was under the direction of Edmund A. Chester, who was appointed to the post of Director for News, Special Events and Sports at CBS Television in 1948. The broadcast clearly underscored CBS's long term commitment to excellence in broadcast journalism in the post World War II era.

As television came to the forefront of American entertainment and information, CBS dominated television as it once had radio. By the late 1950s, the network often controlled seven or eight of the slots on the "top ten" ratings list. This would continue for many years, with CBS bumped from first place only by the rise of ABC in the mid-1970s. Perhaps because of its status as the top-rated network, during the late 1960s and early 1970s CBS felt freer to gamble with controversial properties like the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and All in the Family and its many spinoffs during this period.

CBS "Eye" Logo in 1966.William Paley was a buyer of art, and a backer of New York's Museum of Modern Art. CBS offices were filled with original works. Paley shared this interest with Frank Stanton (1908-2006), CBS President (1946-1971), who carried this belief over into the design elements surrounding the network. When CBS bought Los Angeles station KNX in 1936 for a west-coast production headquarters, Frank Stanton demanded that architect William Lescaze be hired to create Columbia Square, a distinctive, modern broadcasting center on Sunset Boulevard. Similarly, when CBS commissioned Eero Saarinen to design a new corporate center in New York in the 1960s, Stanton supervised every aspect of the project, even dictating what could be displayed in employee offices and on desktops. This belief in art, graphics and branding carried over to such things as the CBS Television's logo, the unblinking eye logo (designed by William Golden and introduced in 1951). An example of CBS's graphic-design particularity: on all official CBS letterhead, a tiny dot (at most a point in diameter) was pre-printed to indicate to a secretary where the typewriter carriage should be positioned for the salutation of a letter.
Color Telecasts
Although CBS-TV was the first with a working color television system, they lost out to RCA in 1953, due in part because the CBS color system was incompatible with existing black-and-white sets. Although RCA made its color system available to the CBS, the network only televised a few specials in color for the rest of the decade. The specials included such their 1957 telecast of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, Cole Porter's Aladdin, their annual telecasts of The Wizard of Oz, and Playhouse 90's only color broadcast, the 1958 production of The Nutcracker.

By the early 1960s, CBS-TV was void of transmitting anything in color - save for a few specials and only if the sponsor would pay for it. Red Skelton was the first CBS host to telecast his weekly programs in color, using a converted movie studio, in the early 1960s; he tried unusuccessfully to persuade the network to use his facility for other programs, then was forced to sell it. Color was being pushed hard by rival NBC. Even ABC-TV had several color programs in 1962. One famous CBS-TV special made during this era was the tour of the White House with First Lady Jackie Kennedy. It was, however, shown in black-and-white. This would all change by the mid-1960s, when market pressure forced CBS-TV to add color programs to the regular schedule for the 1965-66 season. By 1969, all of CBS's TV programs were being shown in color, as they were on NBC and ABC.
The conglomerate
During the 1960s, CBS began an effort to diversify, and looked for suitable investments. In 1965 it acquired electric guitar maker Fender from Leo Fender, who agreed to sell his company due to health problems (The purchase also included that of Rhodes electric pianos, which had already been acquired by Fender). This and other acquisitions led to a restructuring of the corporation into various operating groups and divisions.

In other diversification attempts, CBS would buy (and later sell) sports teams (especially the New York Yankees baseball club), book and magazine publishers (Fawcett Publications including Woman's Day, and Holt, Rinehart and Winston), map-makers, toy manufacturers (Gabriel Toys, Child Guidance, Wonder Products), and other properties.

As William Paley aged, he tried to find the one person who could follow in his footsteps. Over the years any number of accomplished, successful businessmen were recruited, loudly praised to the press, only later to be summarily dismissed.

By the mid-1980s, the investor Laurence Tisch had begun to acquire substantial holdings in CBS. Eventually he gained Paley's confidence, and then his blessing, taking control of CBS in 1986. But Tisch had no dreams of quality or of "Tiffany" networks; he expected a return on his investment.

When CBS faltered, under-performing units were given the axe. Among the first properties to go, and among the most prestigious, was the CBS Records group, which had been part of the company since 1938. Tisch also shut down in 1986 the CBS Technology Center in Stamford, CT, which had started in New York City in the 1930s as CBS Laboratories and evolved to be the company's technology R&D unit.
CBS Records group
CBS Records was a record label group (as Columbia Records in the US and Canada) owned by CBS since 1938. CBS sold CBS Records to Sony in 1988 and the record label company was re-christened Sony Music Entertainment in 1991, as Sony had a short term license on the CBS name. Eventually the entity known as Sony Music Entertainment would become Sony BMG Music Entertainment when Sony and BMG merged in 2004.

Sony purchased from EMI its rights to the Columbia Records name outside the US, Canada and Japan. Sony BMG now uses Columbia Records as a label name in all countries except Japan.

CBS Corporation revived CBS Records in 2006.
CBS Musical Instruments division
Forming the CBS Musical Instruments division, the company also acquired Steinway pianos, Gemeinhardt flutes, Lyon & Healy harps, Rodgers (institutional) organs, Gulbransen home organs, Electro-Music Inc. (Leslie speakers), and Rogers drums. The last musical purchase was the 1981 acquisition of the assets of then-bankrupt Arp Instruments, developer of electronic synthesizers.

Between 1965 and 1985 the quality of Fender guitars and amplifiers declined significantly. Encouraged by outraged Fender fans, CBS Musical Instruments division executives executed a leveraged buyout in 1985 and created FMIC, the Fender Musical Instrument Corporation. At the same time, CBS divested itself of Rodgers, along with Steinway and Gemeinhardt, all of which were purchased by Steinway Musical Properties. The other musical instruments properties were also liquidated.
Film production
It made a brief, unsuccessful move into film production in the late 1960s, creating Cinema Center Films. This profit-free unit was shut down in 1972, today the distribution rights to the Cinema Center library rest with Paramount Pictures for home video (via CBS DVD) and theatrical release, and with CBS Paramount Television for TV distribution (most other ancillary rights remain with CBS).

Yet ten years later, CBS was talked into another try at Hollywood, in a joint venture with Columbia Pictures and HBO called Tri-Star Pictures.
Home video
CBS entered into the home video market, when joined with MGM to form MGM/CBS Home Video in 1978, but the joint venture was broken by 1983. CBS joined another studio: 20th Century Fox, to form CBS/Fox Video. CBS's duty was to release some of the movies by Tri-Star under the CBS-FOX Home Video label.
Gabriel Toys
CBS entered the video game market briefly, through its acquisition of Gabriel Toys (renamed CBS Toys), publishing several arcade adaptations and original titles under the name CBS Electronics for the Atari 2600 and other consoles and computers. CBS Electronics also distributed all Coleco-related video game products in Canada, including the ColecoVision. CBS later sold Gabriel Toys to View-Master.
New owners
By the early 1990s, profits had fallen as a result of competition from cable companies, video rentals, and the high cost of programming. CBS ratings were acceptable, but the network struggled with an image of stodginess. Laurence Tisch lost interest and sought a new buyer.
CBS's Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan, home to the Late Show with David Letterman.Westinghouse Electric Corporation
In 1995, Westinghouse Electric Corporation acquired CBS for $5.4 billion. As one of the major broadcasting group owners of commercial radio and television stations (as Group W) since 1920, Westinghouse sought to transition from a station operator into a major media company with its purchase of CBS. This was followed in 1997 with the $4.9-billion purchase of Infinity Broadcasting Corporation, owner of more than 150 radio stations. Also that year, Westinghouse acquired two cable channels, Gaylord's The Nashville Network (TNN), (now Spike TV), and Country Music Television (CMT). Following the Infinity purchase, the remains of the CBS Radio network was handed to Infinity 's Westwood One subsidiary. CBS also owned CBS Telenoticias, a Spanish-language news network.

Still more activity in the busy year of 1997: Westinghouse changed its name to CBS Corporation, and corporate headquarters were moved from Pittsburgh to New York. And to underline the change in emphasis, all non-entertainment assets were put up for sale. Another 90 radio stations were added to Infinity's portfolio in 1998 with the acquisition of American Radio Systems Corporation for $2.6 billion.

A year later CBS paid $2.5 billion to acquire King World Productions, a television syndication company whose programs include The Oprah Winfrey Show and Wheel of Fortune. By 1999, all pre-CBS elements of Westinghouse's industrial past were gone.
CBS had become a broadcasting giant and in 1999, entertainment conglomerate Viacom, a company long-before created to syndicate old CBS series, announced its was taking over CBS in a deal valued at $37 billion. Following completion of this effort in 2000, Viacom was ranked as the second-largest entertainment company in the world.
CBS Corporation and CBS Studios
Having assembled all the elements of a communications empire, Viacom found that the promised synergy was not there, and at the end of 2005 it split itself in two. CBS became the center of a new company, CBS Corporation, which included the broadcasting elements, Paramount Television's production operations (renamed CBS Paramount Television), Viacom Outdoor advertising (renamed CBS Outdoor), Showtime, Simon & Schuster, and Paramount Parks, which the company sold in May 2006.

The second company, keeping the Viacom name, kept Paramount Pictures (ironically a former share holder in CBS, see above, also owned a stake in the DuMont Television Network, whose Pittsburgh O&O is now CBS-owned KDKA-TV), assorted MTV Networks, BET, and, until May 2007, Famous Music, which was sold to Sony-ATV Music Publishing.

As a result of the aforementioned Viacom/CBS corporate split, as well as other acquisitions over recent years, CBS (under the moniker CBS Studios) owns a massive television library spanning over six decades, including I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, The Honeymooners, Hawaii Five-O, Gunsmoke, The Fugitive, Little House on the Prairie, Star Trek, The Brady Bunch, and , among others.

Both CBS Corporation and the new Viacom are still owned by Sumner Redstone's company, National Amusements. Corporate tidbitsA.C. Nielsen estimated in 2003 that CBS can be seen in 96.98% of all American households, reaching 103,421,270 homes in the United States. CBS has 204 VHF and UHF affiliated stations in the U.S. and U.S. possessions. CBS is currently the most watched television network in the United States, with the prime draws being the and Survivor franchises. Logos

CBS unveiled its Eye Device logo on October 17, 1951. Prior to that, from the 1940s through 1951, CBS Television used an oval spotlight on the block letters C-B-S. See an illustration of this early logo at [2] The Eye device was conceived by William Golden based on a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign as well as a Shaker drawing. Possibly designed by Graphic Designer Georg Olden it made its broadcasting debut on October 20, 1951. The following season, as Golden prepared a new ident, CBS President Frank Stanton insisted on keeping the Eye device and using it as much as possible.

CBS' older logo, with Times New Roman-like font letteringAn example of CBS Television Network's imaging (and the distinction between the television and radio networks) may be seen in a video of the Jack Benny Program (undated) which aired on the television network. The video appears to be converted from kinescope, and "unscoped" or unedited. One sees the program as very nearly one would have seen it on live television. Don Wilson is the program announcer, but also voices a promo for "Private Secretary", which alternated weekly with Jack Benny on the television network schedule. Benny continued to appear on CBS radio and television at that time, and Wilson makes a promo announcement at the end of the broadcast for Benny's radio program on the CBS Radio Network. The program closes with the "CBS Television Network" ID slide (the "CBS eye" over a field of clouds with the words "CBS Television Network" superimposed over the eye). There is, however, no voiceover accompanying the ID slide. It is unclear whether it was simply absent from the recording or never originally broadcast. See the video at The Jack Benny Program

The CBS eye is now an American icon. While the symbol's settings have changed, the Eye device itself has not been redesigned in its entire history. It has frequently been copied or borrowed by television networks around the world, notable examples being the Austrian Broadcasting System (Österreichischer Rundfunk) which uses a red version of the eye logo and Associated TeleVision in the United Kingdom. The logo is alternately known as the Eyemark, which was also the name of CBS's domestic and international syndication divisions in the mid to late 90s before the King World acquisition and Viacom merger. ProgrammingCBS presently operates on an 87½-hour regular network programming schedule. It provides 22 hours of prime time programming to affiliated stations: 8-11pm Monday to Saturday (all times ET/PT) and 7-11pm on Sundays. Programming will also be provided 11am-4pm weekdays (The Price Is Right and soaps The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, As the World Turns and Guiding Light); 7-9am weekdays and Saturdays (The Early Show); CBS News Sunday Morning, nightly editions of the CBS Evening News, the Sunday political talk show Face the Nation, a 2½-hour early morning news program Up to the Minute and CBS Morning News; the late night talk shows Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson; and a three-hour Saturday morning live-action/animation block under the name KOL Secret Slumber Party on CBS.

In addition, sports programming routinely appears on the weekends, although with a somewhat unpredictable schedule (mostly between noon and 7 p.m. ET).
Prime time
Further information: List of programs broadcast by CBS
Taking showers 'can make you ill'
Showering may be bad for your health, say US scientists, who have shown that dirty shower heads can deliver a face full of harmful bacteria.

Tests revealed nearly a third of devices harbour significant levels of a bug that causes lung disease.

Levels of Mycobacterium avium were 100 times higher than those found in typical household water supplies.

M. avium forms a biofilm that clings to the inside of the shower head, reports the National Academy of Science.

“ If you are getting a face full of water when you first turn your shower on, that means you are probably getting a particularly high load of Mycobacterium avium, which may not be too healthy ”
Researcher Professor Norman Pace
In the Proceedings journal, the study authors say their findings might explain why there have been more cases of these lung infections in recent years, linked with people tending to take more showers and fewer baths.

Water spurting from shower heads can distribute bacteria-filled droplets that suspend themselves in the air and can easily be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs, say the scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Potential threat

Lead researcher Professor Norman Pace, said: "If you are getting a face full of water when you first turn your shower on, that means you are probably getting a particularly high load of Mycobacterium avium, which may not be too healthy."

While it is rarely a problem for most healthy people, those with weakened immune systems, like the elderly, pregnant women or those who are fighting off other diseases, can be susceptible to infection.

They may develop lung infection with M. avium and experience symptoms including tiredness, a persistent, dry cough, shortness of breath and weakness, and generally feel unwell.

When the researchers swabbed and tested 50 shower heads from nine cities in seven different states in the US, including New York City and Denver, they found 30% of the devices posed a potential risk.

Since plastic shower heads appear to "load up" with more bacteria-rich biofilms, metal shower heads may be a good alternative, said Professor Pace.

Showers have also been identified as a route for spreading other infectious diseases, including a type of pneumonia called Legionnaires' disease and chest infections with a bacterium called Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Hot tubs and spa pools carry a similar infection risk, according to the Health Protection Agency.

A HPA spokesperson said: "This is an interesting paper which provides further information about the occurrence of opportunist organisms - germs which do not usually cause infections in humans - in the environment.

"These bacteria, which belong to the same family as TB, can be found in the environment and occasionally in water supplies but rarely cause disease in healthy people.

"Further work will need to look at whether finding these organisms is associated with any increased risk of infection."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/09/14 23:06:26 GMT


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Denver (IFS) - Gov. Palin, I love you too. But you still can't have my beer!!" - KHS

Palin doubles down on 'death panels'

Former Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin defended her claim that the Democratic health care proposal would create “death panels” in a statement Wednesday night slamming President Barack Obama.

“Yesterday President Obama responded to my statement that Democratic health care proposals would lead to rationed care; that the sick, the elderly and the disabled would suffer the most under such rationing; and that under such a system, these ‘unproductive’ members of society could face the prospect of government bureaucrats determining whether they deserve health care,” Palin wrote in a note on her Facebook page.

“The provision that President Obama refers to is Section 1233 of HR 3200, entitled ‘Advance Care Planning Consultation.’ With all due respect, it’s misleading for the president to describe this section as an entirely voluntary provision that simply increases the information offered to Medicare recipients,” she continued.

“Section 1233 authorizes advanced care planning consultations for senior citizens on Medicare every five years, and more often ‘if there is a significant change in the health condition of the individual ... or upon admission to a skilled nursing facility, a long-term care facility... or a hospice program.’"

The White House and Democratic lawmakers have blasted Palin in recent days for suggesting that her own son, Trig, would have had to face a bureaucratic panel to get access to health care under the provision in the House health care proposal because he was born with Down syndrome.

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil,” Palin wrote last week.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs identified Palin on Wednesday as one of the GOP leaders he says is spreading “wrong” information about the health care debate.

Additionally, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is using Palin’s “death panels” claim in a fundraising plea to supporters, calling the former governor’s statement “disgusting” and “outrageous.”

But Palin seemed undeterred in her latest statement, pointing to columns by The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson and others to support her suggestion last week that the Democratic proposal is “Orwellian.”

“President Obama can try to gloss over the effects of government authorized end-of-life consultations, but the views of one of his top health care advisers are clear enough,” Palin wrote. “It’s all just more evidence that the Democratic legislative proposals will lead to health care rationing, and more evidence that the top-down plans of government bureaucrats will never result in real health care reform.”

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Char Brozovich - The taking of a child in the name of CPS

LAKEWOOD, CO - (IFS) The year was 2004, when then Child Protective Services agent Charmaine Brozovich decided that it was in the best interest of Jefferson County to take the twin daughters of Donna Demok, because alledgedly the children were being abused and neglected by the mother. After the twins were taken away, more lies by Agent Brozovich to the little children that their mother had committed a bank robbery and was in prison for fifteen years.

This was the story that the children got from Jefferson County. In 2007, after several years, the twins were offically adopted by a family called Smith in Conifer, Colorado. The mother was never charged with anything that the Agent Brozovich claimed that Ms. Demok did. She legally kidnapped the twins.

Now that it's 2009, the kids wants to get back with their real family members, and they have very negative feelings for Jefferson County CPS units along with Agent Brozovich who instigated this action.

The twins, in the hands of Jeffco County have been arrested three times, got lots of tattooes, piercings, takes a variety of drugs and have dropped out of school. Brozovich managed to turn two lovely young women into whores and sweet walkers--all in the name of Jefferson County CPS units.

The kids are now having contact with their real family members and they have tails of horrible stories at the hands of Jeffco CPS. They now want to come back home -- but they are still at the ages of 17 years old, legally adopted to another family, but one of the twins is talking and have little if any good words for the CPS and Agent Brozovich who lied right from the start to take the kids.

And the kids played right into their hands with lies and false stories that were transplanted into their little heads by CPS. As for Charmaine Brozovich, I pray that she will burn in hell. She currently works for Creative Adoptive Services in Littleton, Colorado. I wonder why she left CPS in Jefferson County?

It will be very hard for these young ladies to ever believe in authority again, and they have little trust in the system. These kids will be rebels with a cause for the rest of their lives, thanks to Charmaine Brozovich --- how many childrens' lives have you ruined this year?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

'Charlie's Angel' Farrah Fawcett dies at 62
Thu Jun 25, 1:29 PM EDT

Farrah Fawcett, the "Charlie's Angels" star whose feathered blond hair and dazzling smile made her one of the biggest sex symbols of the 1970s, died Thursday after battling cancer. She was 62.
The pop icon, who in the 1980s set aside the fantasy girl image to tackle serious roles, died shortly before 9:30 a.m. in a Santa Monica hospital, spokesman Paul Bloch said.
Ryan O'Neal, the longtime companion who had reunited with Fawcett as she fought anal cancer, was at her side, along with close friend Alana Stewart, Bloch said.
"After a long and brave battle with cancer, our beloved Farrah has passed away," O'Neal said. "Although this is an extremely difficult time for her family and friends, we take comfort in the beautiful times that we shared with Farrah over the years and the knowledge that her life brought joy to so many people around the world."
She burst on the scene in 1976 as one-third of the crime-fighting trio in TV's "Charlie's Angels." A poster of her in a clingy swimsuit sold in the millions.
She left the show after one season but had a flop on the big screen with "Somebody Killed Her Husband." She turned to more serious roles in the 1980s and 1990s, winning praise playing an abused wife in "The Burning Bed."
She had been diagnosed with cancer in 2006. As she underwent treatment, she enlisted the help of O'Neal, who was the father of her now 24-year-old son, Redmond.
This month, O'Neal said he asked Fawcett to marry him and she agreed. They would wed "as soon as she can say yes," he said.
Her struggle with painful treatments and dispiriting setbacks was recorded in the television documentary "Farrah's Story." Fawcett sought cures in Germany as well as the United States, battling the disease with iron determination even as her body weakened.
"Her big message to people is don't give up, no matter what they say to you, keep fighting," her friend Stewart said. NBC estimated the May 15, 2009, broadcast drew nearly 9 million viewers.
In the documentary, Fawcett was seen shaving off most of her trademark locks before chemotherapy could claim them. Toward the end, she's seen huddled in bed, barely responding to a visit from her son.
Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith made up the original "Angels," the sexy, police-trained trio of martial arts experts who took their assignments from a rich, mysterious boss named Charlie (John Forsythe, who was never seen on camera but whose distinctive voice was heard on speaker phone.)
The program debuted in September 1976, the height of what some critics derisively referred to as television's "jiggle show" era, and it gave each of the actresses ample opportunity to show off their figures as they disguised themselves in bathing suits and as hookers and strippers to solve crimes.
Backed by a clever publicity campaign, Fawcett — then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors because of her marriage to "The Six Million Dollar Man" star Lee Majors — quickly became the most popular Angel of all.
Her face helped sell T-shirts, lunch boxes, shampoo, wigs and even a novelty plumbing device called Farrah's faucet. Her flowing blond hair, pearly white smile and trim, shapely body made her a favorite with male viewers in particular.
A poster of her in a dampened red swimsuit sold millions of copies and became a ubiquitous wall decoration in teenagers' rooms.
Thus the public and the show's producer, Spelling-Goldberg, were shocked when she announced after the series' first season that she was leaving television's No. 5-rated series to star in feature films. (Cheryl Ladd became the new "Angel" on the series.)
But the movies turned out to be a platform where Fawcett was never able to duplicate her TV success. Her first star vehicle, the comedy-mystery "Somebody Killed Her Husband," flopped and Hollywood cynics cracked that it should have been titled "Somebody Killed Her Career."
The actress had also been in line to star in "Foul Play" for Columbia Pictures. But the studio opted for Goldie Hawn instead. "Spelling-Goldberg warned all the studios that that they would be sued for damages if they employed me," Fawcett told The Associated Press in 1979. "The studios wouldn't touch me."
She finally reached an agreement to appear in three episodes of "Charlie's Angels" a season, an experience she called "painful."
She returned to making movies, including the futuristic thriller "Logan's Run," the comedy-thriller "Sunburn" and the strange sci-fi tale "Saturn 3," but none clicked with the public.
Fawcett fared better with television movies such as "Murder in Texas," "Poor Little Rich Girl" and especially as an abused wife in 1984's "The Burning Bed." The last earned her an Emmy nomination and the long-denied admission from critics that she really could act.
As further proof of her acting credentials, Fawcett appeared off-Broadway in "Extremities" as a woman who is raped in her own home. She repeated the role in the 1986 film version.
Not content to continue playing victims, she switched type. She played a murderous mother in the 1989 true-crime story "Small Sacrifices" and a tough lawyer on the trail of a thief in 1992's "Criminal Behavior."
She also starred in biographies of Nazi-hunter Beate Klarsfeld and photographer Margaret Bourke-White.
"I felt that I was doing a disservice to ourselves by portraying only women as victims," she commented in a 1992 interview.
In 1995, at age 50, Fawcett posed partly nude for Playboy magazine. The following year, she starred in a Playboy video, "All of Me," in which she was equally unclothed while she sculpted and painted.
She told an interviewer she considered the experience "a renaissance," adding, "I no longer feel ... restrictions emotionally, artistically, creatively or in my everyday life. I don't feel those borders anymore."
Fawcett's most unfortunate career moment may have been a 1997 appearance on David Letterman's show, when her disjointed, rambling answers led many to speculate that she was on drugs. She denied that, blaming her strange behavior on questionable advice from her mother to be playful and have a good time.
In September 2006, Fawcett, who at 59 still maintained a strict regimen of tennis and paddleball, began to feel strangely exhausted. She underwent two weeks of tests and was told the devastating news: She had anal cancer.
O'Neal, with whom she had a 17-year relationship, again became her constant companion, escorting her to the hospital for chemotherapy.
"She's so strong," the actor told a reporter. "I love her. I love her all over again."
She struggled to maintain her privacy, but a UCLA Medical Center employee pleaded guilty in late 2008 to violating federal medical privacy law for commercial purposes for selling records of Fawcett and other celebrities to the National Enquirer.
"It's much easier to go through something and deal with it without being under a microscope," she told the Los Angeles Times in an interview in which she also revealed that she helped set up a sting that led to the hospital worker's arrest.
Her decision to tell her own story through the NBC documentary was meant as an inspiration to others, friends said. The segments showing her cancer treatment, including a trip to Germany for procedures there, were originally shot for a personal, family record, they said. And although weak, she continued to show flashes of grit and good humor in the documentary.
"I do not want to die of this disease. So I say to God, `It is seriously time for a miracle,'" she said at one point.
Born Feb. 2, 1947, in Corpus Christi, Texas, she was named Mary Farrah Leni Fawcett by her mother, who said she added the Farrah because it sounded good with Fawcett. She was less than a month old when she underwent surgery to remove a digestive tract tumor with which she was born.
After attending Roman Catholic grade school and W.B. Ray High School, Fawcett enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin. Fellow students voted her one of the 10 most beautiful people on the campus and her photos were eventually spotted by movie publicist David Mirisch, who suggested she pursue a film career. After overcoming her parents' objections, she agreed.
Soon she was appearing in such TV shows as "That Girl," "The Flying Nun," "I Dream of Jeannie" and "The Partridge Family."
Majors became both her boyfriend and her adviser on career matters, and they married in 1973. She dropped his last name from hers after they divorced in 1982.
By then she had already begun her long relationship with O'Neal. Both Redmond and Ryan O'Neal have grappled with drug and legal problems in recent years.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Discount Laptop Batteries: The "Refurbished" Laptop Battery Myth

DENVER (IFS) - If you have to purchase a battery for any of your devices, please read this. - KHS

Some laptop battery vendors offer refurbished discount laptop batteries for sale, claiming that most or all of the useful life of the laptop battery has been restored. Why would customers take the risk? Price. Refurbished items are generally cheap laptop batteries that are sold at a fraction of the cost of a new laptop battery.Unfortunately, their true worth is essentially zero. The reality is that refurbished, cheap laptop batteries don't exist. Though technically possible, the process of refurbishing a laptop battery costs more than manufacturing a new one. The internal impedance of each lithium ion cell in a laptop battery pack must be matched precisely, and there are only a few manufacturers (mostly in Japan) who have the technical expertise required. By the time a skilled technician disassembles, tests, and reassembles a laptop battery, the cost is prohibitive - and that's before the laptop battery is shipped across the Pacific and back.So what are these so-called "refurbished" discount laptop batteries? They're simply used laptop batteries that have been pulled from older laptops. The problem with old, cheap laptop batteries is that you don't know how much life they have left. All Lithium ion cells offer a maximum of 600 to 800 charge/discharge cycles over 1½ to 3 years of useful life. It's impossible to know how many cycles - and months - have passed since a particular used laptop battery was built, but one should probably assume the worst. In fact, that's just what the sellers of refurbished, cheap laptop batteries do - they generally warranty their discount laptop batteries for just three months.Sadly, we've heard stories from customers who don't even get that level of warranty protection. It seems that some refurbished laptop battery vendors have such low margins and order volumes that they can't afford to handle warranty replacements. For that reason, we strongly advise all consumers to buy new discount laptop batteries - even if it's not from us!If you do choose to buy a used laptop battery, at the very least make sure that your vendor is a member of the Better Business Bureau or some other organization that enforces honest business practices among its members. If you're thinking of buying a laptop battery from a private party on an online auction site such as eBay, make sure you review any available feedback to see how other customers fared.Over time, we expect that consumer awareness will grow to the point that the market for "refurbished", cheap laptop batteries will die off.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Denver (IFS) - Karen Parker, Pine Hill School District's high school counselor, was so excited when she got a call from AJ's mother telling her that AJ was drafted by MLB again. The look in Ms. Parker's face was worth more than words could ever say, as one of her students made that "big league". It's as if, only yesterday that I saw several of my high school friends drafted to the majors when I was a kid. I remember Mike Bergen, then a Senior getting drafted number #1 by the New York Mets and his contract for for $100,000 (big money in the 1960's). Or Jimmy Johnson and Reggie Graves from Rosamond High School in California to the Houston Astros and better yet, Jim Slaton from Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California who played for many years with the Brewers, or Dwight and Dewayne Murphy to the Oakland A's and the Detroit Tigers. As for myself, I only got a chance to tryout for the Denver Broncos as a special teams player and I didn't even make the team -- only for nine weeks -- that was my career in pro sports, and it was very exciting back in those days. Oh well those were my days as a kid. But these days, the talent is spread across many areas and schools. Karen Parker, school counselor at Overbrook Senior High School in Pine Hill, New Jersey who was AJ's biggest fan and his counselor -- just got the news from AJ's mother by phone, that AJ was drafted to the Chicago White Sox from the University of Maryland. This is the second time that AJ has been picked by the majors, and this time, he's headed to MLB camp with the pros. Talking to Ms. Parker, she was so excited for AJ as he was a very good student and a very hard worker over the years to get to this point. AJ sacrificed many hours -- right along with his parents that got him to many try-outs and contests over the years. Ms. Parker would tell me of the times that she would run "administrative roadblocks" to help AJ and his family get to these important events, when know one else believed he even had a chance. He is a great inspiration to his old high school for kids to follow for years to come. More than that AJ is a wonderful, warm and caring person and a good citizen. I am so glad that I got a chance to witness this wonderful day for him and see him in several games his first year at Maryland, as I would drive Ms. Parker to Maryland to see his home games there. Way to go AJ. - KHS

Baseball: Casario to White Sox
Posted By Kevin Minnick On June 11, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

A.J. Casario, an Overbrook graduate who just wrapped up his junior year at the University of Maryland, was taken by the Chicago White Sox in the 38th round of Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft. He was the 1,153rd overall pick. Casario, who was drafted in the 27th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2006 draft our of high school.

The spring, the outfielder batted .319 for the Terps with 10 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs and a team-leading 45 RBIs. He posted a .522 slugging percentage, a .409 on-base percentage and stole 12 of 15 bases.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cover Story May 28, 2009, 5:00PM EST

Ursula Burns: An Historic Succession at Xerox

One female CEO will hand over the reins to another—a first for a major company. But Burns has her work cut out for her

Ursula M. Burns isn't one to savor victory—even if it's being the first African American woman to lead a major U.S. corporation and the first female CEO to take the reins from another woman. Within days of being named chief executive of Xerox (XRX) she was on a plane to Europe. The mission: a 30-day tour to meet with staff outside the U.S., where Xerox has almost half its sales, and discuss ways to get customers buying again. "I think the celebration of her announcement ended about 60 seconds after the e-mail went out," says Clarke Murphy, a recruiter at Russell Reynolds.

Burns, 50, has a war to fight. Xerox, a brand so synonymous with copying that its name long ago became a verb, faces a brutal business outlook. Customers are buying less equipment. Prices keep dropping. Managers are curbing paper use for cost-saving and environmental reasons. While departing CEO Anne M. Mulcahy, 56, pulled the $17.6 billion-a-year copier giant from the brink of bankruptcy and restored profitability, her successor has much to do. Burns will find herself battling competitors with stronger balance sheets and more heft as the industry consolidates. The Norwalk (Conn.) company's sales dropped 18% in the first quarter, to $3.6 billion, producing a profit of only $49 million. The stock, trading at more than 14 a share in September, is now less than half that.

And yet expectations are high as Burns ascends to the CEO post. Executives inside and outside the company speak of her deep industry knowledge and technical prowess, as well as her frankness, sharp humor, and willingness to take risks. For many working mothers, it's inspiring to see Mulcahy, a mother of two grown sons, step down in favor of a woman who has a 16-year-old daughter and 20-year-old stepson—and was herself raised by a single mother in a New York City housing project. "This is a bases-loaded home run," says Noel M. Tichy, a professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. "We now have something to share with our MBA females that we've never had." Adds Robert A. McDonald, chief operating officer of Procter & Gamble (PG) and a Xerox board member since 2005: "Ursula is a strong leader who has an unusual ability to understand the power of technology and innovation."

The excitement is understandable. Three decades after women flooded into professional jobs, the C-suite continues to be dominated by men. While women now make up 59.6% of the U.S. labor force, fewer than 16% of top corporate officers are female, according to Catalyst, an advocacy group that tracks women's advancement in the workplace. For minorities, the figures are even worse. Avon (AVP) CEO Andrea Jung became the first nonwhite woman to lead a major company in 1999. Frank D. Raines, former chief of Fannie Mae (FNM), became the first African American CEO of a top company the same year, though he later left amid an accounting scandal. By 2007, there were seven black men running major corporations. Since then, three have left. While other black women have run major divisions, Burns is the first to lead a large public company.


A mechanical engineer by training, Burns has a strong understanding of the business and its challenges. Like Mulcahy, she's a Xerox veteran. She came to the company as a summer intern in 1980, joining full-time a year later after completing her master's degree in engineering at Columbia University. Xerox was drifting at the time, having largely ignored the threat posed by Japanese copiers and new office printers, while failing to get innovative products to market. She took on roles of increasing responsibility, distinguishing herself as a quick study who could handle multiple tasks at once and wasn't afraid to flag a problem. "Ursula is your classic New Yorker," says Christa Carone, Xerox's vice-president for marketing and communications. "She's known for being very frank."

Reginald L. Brown Jr., CEO of consultancy Brown Technology Group, says many colleagues saw her as CEO material almost two decades ago. Brown began working with Burns in the late 1980s in Xerox's custom systems division, which helped clients switch from standard copier machines to ones that could be integrated with computer networks. When Burns was appointed special assistant to Wayland Hicks, then president of marketing and customer operations, in 1990, everyone knew she was on the fast track. "These were jobs in the company that division presidents put their best people in," says Brown. "Most of them were white males, so to have an African American female in such a position of power, you knew early on she had great potential." She later took on a similar role with then-CEO Paul A. Allaire. Appointed general manager in 1997 and vice-president for worldwide manufacturing two years later, Burns helped lead a push into color copying.

But the overall business continued to struggle. By the time Mulcahy took over as CEO in 2001, Xerox was in deep trouble. Customers had migrated from Xerox's stand-alone copiers to using cheaper desktop printers to get multiple copies of documents. Rivals such as Canon and Hewlett-Packard had stolen the lead in key product areas, and the company had pulled down almost its entire credit line as the business hemorrhaged money.

Early in Mulcahy's tenure, she forged a partnership with Burns. Over time, she entrusted her lieutenant with much of the day-to-day operations while she focused on improving customer service and Xerox's financial health. Mulcahy oversaw major moves such as shedding the desktop printer business while trying to get the balance sheet in shape.

All the while, Tichy observes, Burns was the one who was "clearly running the majority of the business." With the company in crisis, she helped downsize the workforce by close to 40%, to 57,100 from 94,600. She spearheaded Xerox's move out of manufacturing, with Flextronics (FLEX) now making most of the actual copiers. Burns, who was named president in 2007, also identified some gaps in its offerings, filling them with lower-end products from Xerox or partners. That has given the company its largest product portfolio in history and allowed it to be more competitive in selling to small and midsize businesses. And she has proven adept at garnering the support of the board. "She understands the technology and can communicate it in a way that a director can understand it," says P&G's McDonald.

Another factor in Burns' rise has been the strength and depth of Xerox's commitment to diversity. One-third of Xerox's 3,819 executives are women and 22% are minorities. Employee affinity networks first sprang up in the late 1960s, and senior executives have long had responsibility for sponsoring them. Burns was a liaison to the Hispanic employees' caucus. "It was a system that allowed you to be recognized" at a time when women and minorities often weren't, notes Nina Smith, who moved up the ranks at Xerox at much the same time as Burns, eventually becoming chief marketing officer. She's now a senior vice-president at IT consultant Mitchell International.

Much of what Xerox does is now replicated in other companies: an Executive Diversity Council, leadership programs, and performance reviews that rate managers on their ability to recruit, mentor, and promote underrepresented groups. (If they don't hit the mark, their review, pay, and chances at promotion get dinged.) What has distinguished Xerox is less the outline of its programs than the actual makeup of its senior ranks. As Harvard Business School professor David A. Thomas observes: "You have a culture where having women and people of color as candidates for powerful jobs has been going on for two decades."

Now, Burns' toughest job will be restoring the company's top-line growth. Equipment sales were down 30% in the first quarter. And once fast-growing developing markets, which make up 15% of sales, have slowed to a crawl with demand in countries such as Russia off 33%. While analyst Richard Gardner of Citigroup Global Markets argues that the company's strength in color printing and recent acquisitions should help it rebuild, he expects a steep dip in sales this year, to $14.7 billion.

Xerox says its investment in innovative products will help it emerge from the recession stronger. But Gartner Group says it expects corporate purchases of copiers, printers, and other hardware to remain flat through 2012 while prices will continue to slide. And Fitch Ratings put Xerox's $9 billion in BBB-rated debt on a negative outlook after the first-quarter numbers came in. "Will they be able to make acquisitions?" asks Fitch analyst Nick N. Nilarp. "Or will they just continue very slow growth, if at all?"

In the short term, analysts hope Burns will focus on reviving sales in emerging markets while continuing to expand into higher-margin services at home. And Xerox needs to be more efficient to compete against aggressive and deep-pocketed competitors.

While Burns has much to do to rebuild Xerox's strength, she's aware of the significance of what she has already achieved. As president, she once told an audience at the YWCA in Cleveland: "I'm in this job because I believe I earned it through hard work and high performance. Did I get some opportunities early in my career because of my race and gender? Probably. ... I went to work for a company that was openly seeking to diversify its workforce. So, I imagine race and gender got the hiring guys' attention. And then the rest was really up to me."

With Jena McGregor

Byrnes is a senior writer for BusinessWeek in New York. Crockett is deputy manager of BusinessWeek's Chicago bureau.