10 killed as bus, truck carrying students collide (BLOG)

A FedEx tractor-trailer crossed over a grassy median on a Northern California freeway and slammed into a bus carrying more than 40 high school students in an explosive crash that left 10 people dead, authorities said.
"We knew we were in major trouble," he said.Among the students on the trip to visit Humboldt State University was Steven Clavijo, 18, a senior at West Ranch High in Santa Clarita, who planned to enroll in the school. Just as Clavijo was trying to catch a nap Thursday afternoon, he said he felt the big vehicle begin to shake from left to right and then he heard a loud boom.
Both the bus and semi driver were among those killed in the fiery crash, authorities said.
Many of those on the bus escaped through a window that someone had kicked open, Clavijo said, running for their lives to the other side of Interstate 5 before hearing an explosion and seeing the bus burst into flame.
Two more explosions soon followed, he said, and he and other survivors looked on knowing others were still trapped in an inferno.
Massive flames could be seen devouring both vehicles just after the crash, and clouds of smoke billowed into the sky until firefighters doused the fire, leaving behind scorched black hulks of metal. Bodies were draped in blankets inside the burned-out bus.
In addition to the drivers, three adult chaperones and five teenage students were killed in the crash, according to the California Highway Patrol. Their identities were not immediately released. The bus carried between 44 and 48 students, four chaperones and the driver, the patrol said.
Eric M. Weiss, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said a multi-disciplinary team of highway crash experts left on a flight Friday morning for the crash scene.
The crash happened a little after 5:30 p.m. on the interstate near Orland, a small city about 100 miles north of Sacramento.
The bus was one of two that the admissions office at Humboldt State University had chartered to bring prospective students from Southern California to tour the Arcata campus, Humboldt's Vice President of Administrative Affairs Joyce Lopes said.
The bus was owned by Silverado Stages, a tour bus company based in San Luis Obisbo. The company said in a statement on its website Thursday night that it was assisting authorities in gathering information.
"Our top priority is making sure that the injured are being cared for," the company said.
Humboldt State President Rollin Richmond issued a statement on the school's website. "Our hearts go out to those who have been affected, and we are here to support them, and their families, in any way possible," Richmond said.
The students came from a number of Southern California high schools and Humboldt spokesman Simon Chabel said the college was working to confirm where in Southern California all the were from.
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy said late Thursday night that an unknown number of students from Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools were on the trip and possibly students from Manual Arts Senior High School, Banning High School and Augustus F. Hawkins High School. He did not know whether they were on the bus involved in the crash. District officials were headed up to the crash site Friday, said spokeswoman Gayle Pollard-Terry.
A high school senior from Alliance Renee & Meyer Luskin Academy High School in Los Angeles said she and a few of her classmates who were accepted to the university were invited to go on the tour.
Sabrina Garcia said the tour began Thursday, with buses taking students in Southern California on the ride to the campus for a three-day stay there. She said she decided to postpone the tour because she had a school project to complete.
"I was devastated when I heard about the crash, and relieved that I didn't attend," Garcia said. "I can't imagine how those kids feel. You think you're going somewhere safe with your school — and you end up in an accident."
A CHP dispatcher says the bus and truck were on opposite sides of the freeway when the truck crossed the median and slammed into the bus, causing an explosion and fire.
Investigators say the truck driver might have been trying to avoid a passenger car that was also involved in the crash, which shut down north- and south-bound traffic on the freeway.
"There was a small white sedan in front of the truck," Heitman said. "The FedEx vehicle did sideswipe the sedan before it crossed the median."
No one in the car was injured.
A first responder who helped set up a triage at the scene said 36 or 37 people received injuries ranging from minor to severe burns, broken legs and noses, and head lacerations.
"The victims were teenage kids. A lot of them were freaked out. They were shocked. They still couldn't grasp what happened," said Jason Wyman of the Orland Volunteer Fire Department.
Eleven people were taken to Enloe Medical Center in Chico, hospital officials said. Two of those patients were listed in critical condition Friday morning.
Five people were taken to Mercy Medical Center in Redding in fair condition. Two patients were taken to University of California, Davis, Medical Center in critical condition. One patient died at 10:30 p.m. Thursday bringing the death toll from nine to 10.
A nursing supervisor said three people were taken to Oroville Hospital in Oroville. She declined to describe their conditions, citing patient privacy laws.
Bonnie Kourvelas, a FedEx spokeswoman, said in a statement Thursday night: "Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the tragic accident on I-5 in California. We are cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate."
The American Red Cross set up a relief station at a Veterans Memorial Hall community center in Orland, about 5 miles from the crash site. Officer Joel Lynch said seven victims who were not hospitalized with injuries were staying the night with about 25 volunteers. A community member ordered pizza for the students.
Joseph reported from San Francisco. Associated Press Photographer Rick Pedroncelli in Orland, Associated Press Writers Lisa Leff in San Francisco and Daisy Nguyen and Tami Abdollah in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

Rick Ross Remixes Miguel's "How Many Drinks?" (BLOG, AUDIO)

Rick Ross shares some rhymes over Miguel's 2013 single "How Many Drinks?" The original included lyrics from Kendrick Lamar, who pretty much owned his part on this record. Rozay sounds right at home over the smooth production too, offering up rhymes about taking care of his new woman.

John Daly Hocking Merchandise in Hooters Parking Lot at Masters (BLOG)

The man who did his best to make golf interesting to the slovenly masses (us) is now making an effort to do the same for a Tigerless Masters Tournament. In what has become somewhat of an Augusta, Georgia tradition John Daly (who, himself, finished third place at the '93 Masters) is selling memorabilia out of his RV, signing autographs and posing for pictures. If you're anywhere near the Peach State right now, this should be a no-brainer.

The Koch's 'secret bank' takes another step out of the shadows (BLOG)

Eight months ago, Politico tagged a little-known trade association called Freedom Partners as “the Koch brothers’ secret bank.” The Arlington-Va.-based organization, founded in 2011, had been bankrolling a sprawling network of conservative advocacy groups with the assistance of billionaire businessmen Charles and David Koch.

The decision to put its name on the ads represents a massive shift in Freedom Partners’ strategy, which previously saw it quietly playing Daddy Warbucks for member groups competing for grants and financing ad campaigns through more public organizations.The conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity in recent years was the Koch's go-to vessel for attack ads, dropping $122 million on spots in 2012 and shelling out another $30 million during the current midterm election cycle. But AFP has faced a media backlash to recent ads against Obamacare in which fact checkers say include dubious claims.  This week, as the Koch brothers remain a high-profile Democratic obsession, Freedom Partners took its biggest step forward out of the shadows, announcing the first ad buy in its three-year history to bear its own name. The $3 million Freedom Partners television ad buy will target Democrats running for reelection in five states over their support of the Affordable Care Act.
The Freedom Partners ads, which will run for three weeks against Sen. Mary Landeiu in LouisianaSen. Mark Udall in ColoradoRep. Gary Peters in MichiganSen. Mark Begich in Alaska and Rep. Bruce Braley in Iowa, aim to tie Democrats who supported Obamacare to insurance companies that donate to their campaigns.
"Begich took thousands from the health insurance industry and he supported Obamacare, which gave health insurance companies billions," a female narrator says in the ad running against the Alaska Democrat. The other spots follow a similar script.
The donors who fund Freedom Partners remain secret, but the group has played a more direct role in political advocacy since last November.
During this time, Freedom Partners has undergone a period of consolidation, bringing services in-house that it had previously contracted out. In January, the polling firm Public Notice, once a Freedom Partners grant recipient, officially became part of the association’s operations. Freedom Partners has also escalated its working relationship with the data-gathering firm Themis, (publicly known as i360). And Freedom Partners launched a website that provides limited information about the group and makes public its 43-page IRS 990 tax form, which nonprofits must reveal.
All of this ads up to a major shift for the publicly taciturn trade group used to tasking other groups with actions -- with the result that it's now emerging as a standalone brand willing to put its name behind millions of dollars in ad spending.
“We’ve expanded quite a bit,” Freedom Partners spokesman James Davis told Yahoo News. “I think it’s just an evolution and growth of Freedom Partners, and we’ll continue to grow.”
Freedom Partners’ release of its first branded ads comes at a time when Democrats are leading a massive public relations effort against the Kochs, who are instrumental in facilitating the donor network that bankrolls Freedom Partners’ network of conservative groups.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has led the charge against the Kochs since February, calling them “un-American…shadowy billionaires” who “pour unlimited money into our democracy to rig the system to benefit themselves and the wealthiest one percent.” Other Democratic Party groups have followed suit with their own attacks on the billionaire brothers who run Koch Industries, the largest privately owned company in the country. The Senate Majority PAC for instance, a Democratic group with ties to Reid, is currently runningits own $3 million ad campaign that targets the Kochs.
Davis told Yahoo News that Freedom Partners is planning to play more of a role in the 2014 elections after the current ad buy finishes later this month.
Pressed for specifics, he said, “TBD.”

Obama's health secretary resigns after Obamacare launch woes (BLOG)

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning after overseeing the botched rollout of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reforms, a White House official said on Thursday.
Her departure removes a lightning rod for Republican critics as Obama and his Democrats try to retain control of the U.S. Senate in November midterm elections, where problems with Obamacare reforms will be a top issue.
The October 1 launch of the new Obamacare health insurance marketplace, which was plagued by computer problems, has been condemned by Republicans as a step toward socialized medicine.
Obama has chosen Sylvia Mathews Burwell, his budget director, to replace Sebelius, the official said. She will manage the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislation of Obama's two terms as president.
Obama was due to announce the change with Sebelius and Burwell at his side at a White House event at 10:45 a.m. EDT on Friday.
Sebelius, 65, became the public face for the problem-plagued start to the enrollment period for Obamacare, which was meant to reduce the number of Americans without health insurance and cut into massive U.S. healthcare costs.
When enrollment opened in October, a website used to shop for insurance in 36 states, HealthCare.gov, failed to work for weeks.
Even as she took responsibility for the failures, Obama stuck by Sebelius, brushing aside pressure to fire her.
"Hold me accountable for the debacle. I'm responsible," Sebelius said at an October 30 hearing.
Burwell, a former official at the Gates Foundation and Wal-Mart Foundation, helped the administration manage its response to a shutdown of the federal government brought on by a budget battle with Republicans in October. She also was a key player in talks that yielded a two-year budget agreement in December.
"The president sought a nominee with strong credentials in management, implementation and performance for this important role," the official said, noting she was confirmed unanimously to lead the budget office less than a year ago.
One of the first challenges for Burwell will be to work with health insurers in the coming months as they set prices for Obamacare plans in 2015. Industry executives have warned that many states could see double-digit increases in monthly premiums as they try to account for the higher proportion of older policyholders who often cost more to cover. Such price hikes would provide fodder for Republican opponents of the law who say it creates financial burdens for individuals and businesses.
Lamar Alexander, the top Republican on the Senate health committee, called the move "the right decision," but made it clear that the switch would not mean an end to Republican pressure on the law.
"The challenge for Ms. Burwell, or any other successor, is to help Congress find the right way to repair the damage Obamacare has done to American families," Alexander said in a statement.
Sebelius continued to bear the brunt of criticism from Congress, where she testified as recently as Thursday, giving no sign that she was about to step down.
The enrollment period was ultimately successful, surpassing the 7 million figure the Obama administration had predicted, but Sebelius, a former governor of Kansas, told Obama in early March she wanted to leave the administration, a White House official said.
"She believed that once open enrollment ended it would be the right time to transition the department to new leadership," an official said.
In an interview with the New York Times, which first reported on her resignation, Sebelius said she wished she could take "all the animosity" toward Obamacare with her when she departs.
"If that could just leave with me, and we could get to a new chapter, that would be terrific," she said.
Although she was most associated with the complex and politically divisive Obamacare changes, Sebelius faced a number of challenges in her time as health secretary.
When she took over in April 2009, after Senate Democrats brushed back opposition from some conservative Republicans over her support for abortion rights, she immediately had to oversee the response to a widespread outbreak of a new strain of flu that had killed scores of people in Mexico and sickened at least 64 in the United States.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Additional reporting by David Morgan, David Lawder and Tom Ferraro; Editing by Sandra Maler, David Storey and Lisa Shumaker)

This 7-Foot-5 High School Basketball Player Is Already Making College and Pro Coaches Salivate (BLOG, VIDEO)

Tacko Fall—aka "Taco"—is a high school basketball player who has only been playing the game for a couple years now. He also hails from Senegal, where he didn't spend much time focused on the sport as a youngster. So you wouldn't think that Taco would be a guy who would be on many colleges coaches' radars. But you would be wrong. Because, you see, Taco is different from every other high school basketball player out there. Taco is 7-foot-5.
At 7-foot-5, Taco would be the tallest player in the NBA right now, if he was in the NBA. But he's obviously not. He's just a junior at Liberty Christian Prep in Orlando, Fla. And as a result of his height, he's basically unstoppable on the high school level. Just watch him in action in the video above.
The scariest part? As we mentioned above, Taco has only been playing ball for a couple years now. So give him some time—and some actual competition—and he could be making some major noise in the near future.

Frank Ocean Is Almost Done With New Album, May Skip Coachella To Complete It (BLOG)

When artists sacrifice huge paydays for the art is when you know that artist will have longevity. Today (April 10th), Frank Ocean announced on his Tumblr page that he is nearly complete with his follow up album to Channel Orange.
The follow up to his 2012 classic debut album has been rumored to being in the works since photographer and frequent collaborator Nabil Elderkin posted a photo on his Instagram account of Ocean in the studio two weeks ago. In the photo, Elderkin captions it with “Making sophomore album game.”
Frank took it a step further and announced that he is not only nearing completion on the new album but may cancel his upcoming appearance at Coachella to finish the project. This July marks the two year anniversary of Channel Orange‘s release.
Check out Frank Ocean’s announcement on his new album below:

Chris Brown Placed In General Population Of Virginia Jail While He Awaits Court Date (BLOG)

Chris Brown will have to appear in a Washington, D.C. court on April 23rd to fight an assault case and the next two weeks could be rough. According to TMZ, Chris Brown has been placed in general population in a Virgina jail until his court date.
TMZ cites administrative source at Northern Neck Regional Jail in Virginia confirming Brown’s arrival to the jail as an inmate. Prior to arriving at the Northern Neck Regional Jail, a Los Angeles judge placed Brown in 23 hours of solitary confinement three weeks ago.
Under Brown’s original jail terms, he would only be allowed to shower once every two days and would have no television access. However, at his new jail in Virgina, Brown has regular access to showers, exercise equipment and more. 

Scientists grow viable vaginas from girls' own cells (BLOG)

 Four young women born with abnormal or missing vaginas were implanted with lab-grown versions made from their own cells, the latest success in creating replacement organs that have so far included tracheas, bladders and urethras.
Follow-up tests show the new vaginas are indistinguishable from the women's own tissue and have grown in size as the young women, who got the implants as teens, matured.
All four of the women are now sexually active and report normal vaginal function. Two of the four, who were born with a working uterus but no vagina, now menstruate normally.
It is not yet clear whether these women can bear children, but because they are menstruating, it suggests their ovaries are working, so it may be possible, said Dr Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina.
The feat, which Atala and colleagues in Mexico describe in the journal the Lancet, is the latest demonstration from the growing field of regenerative medicine, a discipline in which doctors take advantage of the body's power to regrow and replace cells.
In prior studies, Atala's team has used the approach to make replacement bladders and urine tubes or urethras in young boys.
Atala said the pilot study is the first to show that vaginal organs custom-built in the lab using patients' own cells can be successfully used in humans, offering a new option for women who need reconstructive surgeries.
All four of the women in the study were born with Mayer-Rokitansky-K├╝ster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare genetic condition in which the vagina and uterus are underdeveloped or absent. Conventional treatment generally involves the use of grafts made from intestinal tissue or from skin, but both tissues have drawbacks, says Atala, a pediatric urologic surgeon at Wake Forest.
Intestinal tissue produces an excess of mucus, which can cause problems with odor. Conventional skin, meanwhile, can collapse.
Atala said women with this condition usually seek treatment as teenagers. "They can't menstruate, especially when they have a severe defect where they don't have an opening," he said. This can cause abdominal pain as menstrual blood collects in the abdomen. "It has nowhere else to go," he added.
Girls in the study were aged 13 and 18 at the time of the surgeries, which were performed between June 2005 and October 2008.
The researchers started off by collecting a small amount of cells from genital tissue and grew two types of cells in the lab: muscle cells and epithelial cells, a type of cell that lines body cavities. About four weeks later, the team started applying layers of the cells onto a scaffold made of collagen, a material that can be absorbed by the body. They then shaped the organ to fit each patient's anatomy, and placed it in an incubator.
A week later, the team created a cavity in the body and surgically attached the vaginal implants to existing reproductive organs. Once implanted, nerves and blood vessels formed to feed the new organ, and new cells eventually replaced the scaffolding as it was absorbed by the body.
"By the six-month time point, you couldn't tell the difference between engineered organ and the normal organ," Atala said.
The team continued to monitor the young women, taking tissue biopsies, MRI scans and internal exams, for up to eight years from the initial implants.
All of these tests showed the engineered vaginas "were similar in makeup and function to native tissue," said Atlantida-Raya Rivera, director of the HIMFG Tissue Engineering Laboratory at the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City, where the surgeries were performed.
Professor Martin Birchall of UCL Ear Institute in London, who wrote a commentary in the same journal, said the findings address some important questions about tissue-engineering, including whether tissue will grow as patients grow and whether an organ as large as the vagina can develop blood vessels when implanted in the body.
(Editing by Michele Gershberg and Matthew Lewis)

DJ Premier Announces New Website & New Project Featuring Lady Of Rage (BLOG)

DJ Premier is adding another element to his media presence. The legendary Hip Hop producer has now launched his new official website PremierWuzHere.com.

The site is being described as a “one-stop shop dedicated to Hip Hop, art, culture and life; curated by the one and only DJ Premier.” PremierWuzHere will feature all things Primo including gear, hats, clothes, merchandise and original illustrations.
Premier also partnered with Serato to release a new vinyl project. The collection will include four new tracks – 2 instrumentals, a song with NYG’z, and the single “Chemical Burn” featuring Lady Of Rage.
The album can be purchased at www.PremierWuzHere.com or at www.serato.com .

The First Teaser Trailer for "Girl Meets World" Is Here (BLOG)

AHH. I'm sure you are already hyperventilating right now, but try to remain calm as you read the next few words: The first teaser for Disney's Girl Meets World is here. And, even better, it looks just as good as we all hoped!
Though brief (only 30 seconds in total) it features a look at Cory and Topanga's daughter Riley and Riley's best friend attempting to sneak out of her room through her fire escape (NYC apartments, huh?). Unfortunately for them, it doesn't work, because Cory (Ben Savage!) catches them in the act, as does Topanga (Danielle Fishel!). Holy shit. They're back. They're really, really back.
(Those are supposed to be screams of excitement, OK?)
Unfortunately, we can't embed the clip, so just head on over to E! Online to check it out.
[via E! Online]

Evian Christ Says Kanye West Wants Next Album To Have An Otis Redding & Mobb Deep Sound (BLOG)

More info about Kanye West’s forthcoming album continues to leak out.
Previously, Ye’s tour DJ Mano said the album will not be an extension of the music heard on Yeezus, and now a collaborator from the last Kanye LP provides more details about the musical direction of the next one.
Speaking with Self Titled, producer Evian Christ shares that Kanye asked him to provide a specific sound for the Yeezus follow-up.
“[Kanye] e-mailed last night. He wants something that sounds a bit like Otis Redding, a bit like Mobb Deep,” said Christ.
The Very G.O.O.D. Beats affiliate goes on to praise Kanye for his willingness to attempt musical moves that other artists will not try.
“Kanye is the one dude who’s like, ‘This is not experimental enough. This is too poppy. Make something else.’ The other guys are like, ‘We don’t get it,’” added Christ. “Kanye is a dream to work with. No one else gives you that level of creative freedom. When he wants you to work to a blueprint, the blueprint is: ‘Don’t make a rap beat. Anything but a rap beat.’”
Christ contributed to the Yeezus track “I’m In It.”

Teacher allegedly calls student a ‘sassy slut’ then receives punishment of six day paid suspension (BLOG)

A life science teacher at private Evangel Christian Academy School in Shreveport, Louisiana caused a 12-year-old student to sob after allegedly calling her a, ‘sassy slut.’
The student’s mother asked that the girl's name be withheld to protect her from potential teasing, but her parents are speaking out in disagreement over the school’s actions. As reported by KTBS 3, the incident took place last Thursday and was overheard by other students in the science class. While the circumstances surrounding the incident have not been explained, the station reports that the girl’s parents said, ”…their daughter is well-mannered and [sic] polite girl, and hasn’t had any problems until this.”
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"I'm just still numb you know, about what happened and the disciplinary action that the school had taken," said Marteen Mitchell, the girl's mother. "No, I don't think it was fair at all they initially told me that she would receive one day suspension with pay and when I made it back to my job, I received a call from the principal who stated that they were concerned and they would give her five additional days."
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Jackie Landsdale (KTBS)
Red River Teacher’s United Federation President, Jackie Landsdale, told the station that while she understands why some may equate paid leave with a vacation, she assures those people that it is indeed a punishment to teachers. “I want to tell you any teacher or school employee that I've ever dealt with, who has been put out on paid administrative leave is very upset about it, they are very upset about the fact that they have been accused of something," said Landsdale. She went on to explain that in public education there is an investigation policy where the typical course of action is, “…the employee is put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.”
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Evangel Christian Academy School in Shreveport, Louisiana (KTBS)
Ms. Mitchell said that she does not want the instructor fired, but she feels that she should have received an apology from the teacher and the school.

Principal Bud Dean had no comment when contacted by KTBS.

For One Day, Google Will Let Anyone in America Buy Google Glass. Brace Yourselves.(BLOG)

They're coming.
For one day, Google will let anyone in America purchase an Explorer edition of Google Glass. When, you ask? We're not sure yet, but it could be as soon as next week (the company set aside April 15 to make some announcements.) The Explorer Program lets people purchase Glass while the company continues to updates bugs and add new features — in other words, it's in a beta period. Google Glass is expected to officially go on sale later this year, and this isn't exactly that launch... but it's the biggest release so far. Stay tuned for an official date, but remember: Google Glass Explorer Edition runs $1,500.

"Tosh.0" Production Assistant Accidentally Shot to Death by Police (BLOG)

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that its deputies mistakenly shot and killed John Winkler, 30, who was recently hired as a temporary production assistant on Tosh.0.
Winkler had gone to a neighbor’s apartment in West Hollywood on Monday to help after a man was holding people hostage inside. However, when Winkler and one of the victims rushed out of the apartment, he was shot by officers who believed he was the assailant.
“The apartment door suddenly opened and a male victim came rushing out,” the Sherriff’s department said in a statement. “He was covered in blood and bleeding profusely from the neck. Simultaneously, victim Winkler ran out of the door, lunging at the back of the fleeing victim. Both ran directly at the deputies.”
Three deputies fired, hitting Winkler once and killing him. Winkler had just moved to Hollywood within the last year to pursue a career in entertainment, and one of his most high-profile assignments came as the temporary production assistant on Tosh.0.
Winkler’s friend, Devin Richardson, told the LA Times, “It's just a really sad story. He basically went to help some neighbors and ends up getting shot."
David Begnaud revealed a photo of Winkler on his Twitter page:

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