50 Cent's "Power" Influence Detailed By Series Creator Courtney Kemp Agboh


50 Cent’s work on Power has been detailed by the program’s actors, but Courtney Kemp Agboh, the series creator and show runner, recently opened up about how 50 Cent influenced the show’s foundation.

“He really helped me build Ghost,” Agboh says in an interview with the New York Times. “Because I am not actually a superrich, urban human. I’m kind of middle of the road.”

Power isn’t the only thing Agboh and 50 Cent bonded over.

“50 Cent and I really started to bond over our love for music,” Agboh says. “The first conversations we had were about Curtis Mayfield.”

50′s involvement with Power was recently praised by Omari Hardwick, the show’s star.

“It was pretty amazing,” Hardwick said of 50′s dedication to the show. “He’s tried… and proven in other parts of his life, as a mogul, as a Rap artist. It was really interesting for me to see him take on the executive producer hat of a show like this. He had done producing before…but to see him be active and take my phone call on the dime…If I’d call and go, ‘We really need you on the set today.’ We have an incredible cast, so it wasn’t just me, it would be me speaking for the cast and going, ‘Folks need your energy today.’ And he’d be down in like 30 minutes. He was really active…He’s great to work with.”

Recently, Starz announced that Power earned a second season.

For more on 50 Cent, view the DX Daily below.

50 Cent's "Power" Influence Detailed By Series Creator Courtney Kemp Agboh

LeBron deep-sixes number; will be No. 23 with Cavs


LeBron James will go back to wearing jersey No. 23 in his return to Cleveland.

James tweeted “23 it is! It’s only right I go back. 2 3=6 We still family 6.” The tweet included an Instagram post with photos of James holding his No. 23 Cavaliers jersey on draft night, him later in a new version of the Cavs’ jersey and a one of him in his high school jersey.

James wore No. 6 in four seasons with Miami and with the U.S. Olympic team. He used No. 23 in high school and during seven seasons in Cleveland.

About 10 days ago, James turned to social media to help him choose which number he’ll wear next season with the Cavaliers. James wrote “6 or 23….” on his Twitter account.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/27/4257816/lebron-deep-sixes-number-will.html#storylink=cpy

LeBron deep-sixes number; will be No. 23 with Cavs

Byron Scott says he will be LA Lakers' new coach


(FoxSports)LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers have waited nearly three months to hire a new coach, and they’re apparently making Byron Scott wait a few more days.

Scott said this weekend that he has been hired by the Lakers, but the club insisted Sunday that no deal has been reached.

Scott, who won three NBA titles as a shooting guard for the Lakers, told KCBS-TV he will take over the club, which hasn’t had a coach since Mike D’Antoni resigned April 30.

“It feels fantastic,” he told KCBS. “This is a dream come true. I always wanted to coach the Lakers, especially when I got to coaching. It’s so unreal. I have to thank (general manager) Mitch (Kupchak), (owners) Jeanie and Jim Buss to give me this opportunity.”

Yet Kupchak and the Buss siblings remained mum Sunday, extending their strange coach-less summer to the final days of July.

ESPN.com first reported Scott would take over the Lakers with a four-year, $17 million contract.

Scott is undoubtedly qualified for the job after stints as a head coach with New Jersey, New Orleans and Cleveland. He was Kobe Bryant’s teammate during Bryant’s rookie year with the Lakers in 1996-97, and the superstar endorsed Scott for the job earlier this month.

“He was my rookie mentor when I first came in the league, so I had to do things like get him doughnuts and run errands for him, things like that,” said Bryant, who played just six games last season. “We’ve had a tremendously close relationship throughout the years.”

Scott also spent last season as a television commentator on the Lakers’ own network, watching the franchise’s implosion up close.

Los Angeles finished 27-55 last season, compiling the most losses in the 16-time NBA champions’ history. The Lakers had their worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers’ 1957-58 season, missing the playoffs for just the third time in 38 seasons as the NBA’s most glamorous franchise was reduced to ineptitude.

Scott will be the Lakers’ fifth head coach in just over three years, starting with Phil Jackson’s departure after the 2010-11 season. D’Antoni, who replaced Mike Brown and interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff, resigned after going 67-87 in less than two seasons in charge.

Several candidates for the coaching job interviewed with the Lakers over the past three months, including Lionel Hollins and George Karl. Scott has been widely considered the front-runner for the job for several weeks, but Kupchak and Jim Buss appeared to be more focused on the NBA draft and free agency.

Los Angeles landed Kentucky power forward Julius Randle with the seventh overall pick in the draft, but struck out on every big-name free agent despite aggressively courting Carmelo Anthony and entertaining dreams of landing LeBron James.

The Lakers couldn’t even retain Pau Gasol, who spent the past seven seasons with the club. The 7-foot Spaniard, who was regularly booed by Staples Center fans last season despite his two championship rings, spurned the Lakers’ overtures for a deal with the Chicago Bulls, who are much closer to NBA title contention.

Scott could be inheriting a caretaker job with the Lakers, who are likely to struggle just for playoff contention for the next two seasons while Bryant’s two-year, $48.5 million contract eats up a huge chunk of their salary-cap space.

The Lakers emerged from the last few weeks with a reconfigured roster that now includes point guard Jeremy Lin, power forward Carlos Boozer and center Ed Davis alongside returnees Nick Young, Jordan Hill and Xavier Henry. Los Angeles also still has 40-year-old Steve Nash, who is likely to get the chance to play another season after injuries limited him to 15 games last year.

Byron Scott says he will be LA Lakers' new coach

Google and Motorola Rumored to be working on a 5.9-inch Nexus Device, Named ‘Shamu’


This will make some people happy. According to a leak that Android Police published this afternoon, it appears that Google and Motorola are working on a Nexus device. But not just that it’s a Nexus device, it’s also a 5.9-inch device. So those looking for a larger sized Nexus device will love this rumor, if it indeed becomes true. According to Android Police, this device is going to be aimed at several US carriers and some other unspecified carriers elsewhere in the world. Which kinda leads me to believe that it might be an Android Silver device, but then again Google always names their Nexus devices after sea-animals like tilapia, Hammerhead, etc. The rumor also states that it’s aimed at a November release and set to come with a fingerprint sensor, which is actually kinda surprising, to see that on a Nexus device.

It also appears that both Shamu and Volantis are running a Google-based kernel, which is typically only done on Nexus devices. Even though we can’t say for certain that this will be a Nexus device, it looks pretty likely that it will be one. Android Police also notes that this rumor was sent to them from someone with a Gmail address, and not a Google.com email address. So it could be fake, but someone would have to go a long way to get a device name entered into their AOSP issue tracker and have the issue accepted by Google.

While we aren’t sure if this is true or not, we’re definitely hoping that it is. We’ve been waiting on a Motorola Nexus for quite some time now. Heck, I’ve been asking for a Nexus Maxx for a few years. And we might just get it this year. Now it looks like a 5.9-inch device, so it may not be for everyone, and if they do go the 5.9-inch route, I think we’ll see another Nexus smartphone launched this fall.

Google and Motorola Rumored to be working on a 5.9-inch Nexus Device, Named ‘Shamu’

NYPD faces brutality complaint from new incident


The family of a man who died after a violent encounter with the NYPD on Staten Island, joined by another man shown on an amateur cellphone video getting stomped on the head during an arrest in Brooklyn, appeared at a rally Saturday led by the Rev. Al Sharpton demanding action against police brutality.

The images that emerged of Jah-miel Cuffee’s arrest shows him pinned on the pavement by other officers when the accused officer approaches and lowers his foot on Cuffee’s head. He was suspected of smoking a marijuana cigarette, police said.

A week earlier, Sharpton preached from the same pulpit at his Harlem headquarters over the July 17 death of Eric Garner, 43, an accused peddler of untaxed cigarettes in Staten Island on whom police applied a banned chokehold. That incident also was caught on amateur video.

Sharpton said he watched the video of Cuffee’s Wednesday arrest after returning Friday from a meeting with federal prosecutors to ask that they, instead of the local district attorney, consider prosecuting the chokehold officer.

“It was almost like, ‘Here we go again,’” Sharpton said.

Sharpton suggested he wants to see the de Blasio administration roll back the so-called “broken-windows theory” of policing — championed by Police Commissioner William Bratton, in which officers focus on small offenses to deter bigger crimes.

“The challenge for this mayor is that you ran on transforming the Police Department,” Sharpton said. “You have the opportunity now to show you said what you meant and you meant what you said.”

Esaw Garner, the dead man’s widow, said she wanted the officers involved in his arrest to be themselves arrested.

“He was a quiet man, but he’s making a lot of noise now,” she said.

Cuffee, 32, who has been charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and evidence tampering, had a bruise on his forehead that he says was sustained in the stomp.

“I just want it all to stop. I just want justice,” he said.

Cuffee’s sister, Rashida Rahim, said her brother was defenseless. “This has to stop,” said Rahim, 39, of Englewood, New Jersey. “We need to have justice.”

Both officers — Joel Edouard in the Cuffee case and Daniel Pantaleo in the Garner case — have been stripped of their badges and guns and put on desk duty, the NYPD said.

The officers’ union president said videos “present an isolated period of a police interaction but never the entire scenario.”

Also attending Sharpton’s rally Saturday was Nicole Bell, whose fiancé, Sean Bell, was an unarmed man shot 50 times by undercover police officers outside of a Jamaica, Queens, strip club in 2006. Bell said she felt a kinship with the Garners — “like looking in a mirror.”Sharpton said he and the Garner family are scheduled to meet Monday with Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan Jr.

NYPD faces brutality complaint from new incident

GM Adds New models to Recall list making it 30 Million Recalls in 2014


The new set of recalls would bring the company’s total worldwide recalls at a whopping record of almost 30 million this year. While most of these recalls have been conducted for older models, the latest round of recalls would involve newer vehicle models. These would include 57,242 Chevrolet Impala sedan models of 2014 which were noted to have lost their power steering.

According to GM, the move to conduct a recall was decided after vehicle-related accidents have been reported such as three crashes and two injuries. No deaths have been recorded.

The defective vehicles that needed a recall would include 414,333 of the Chevrolet Camaro (2011-2012), Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain (both from 2010-2012), Buick Regal and LaCrosse (both from 2011-2012), and Cadillac SRX models (2010-2012). These models have been found to have a loose bolt in the front seat adjuster. Moreover, the imported car from Korea dubbed as Chevrolet Spark had been recalled because of a loose lower control arm bolt.

The recall also covers 124,007 vehicles with issues on having incomplete weld on their seat hook bracket. These would include Chevrolet Caprice (2014), Chevrolet SS (2014), Chevrolet Silverado LD and HD (2014-2015), Cadillac ATS (2013-2014), Cadillac CTS (2014), Cadillac ELR (2014), Buick Encore (2013-2014), and GMC Sierra LD and HD (2014-2015).

Another 120,426 Buick Regal M.Y 2011 to 2013 and Chevrolet Malibus M.Y. 2013 are recalled due to front turn signal issues. Retaining nuts of roof carriers for 2015 model Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and Yukon Denali by GMC cause the recall of 22 units of said models.

While the carmaker did not confirm the relation between the above-mentioned accidents to the upcoming recall, it had admitted that the defect could possibly lead to a mechanical problem which could cause the steering wheel to be uncontrollable.

The latest round of recalls is part of the company’s commitment to assess their own performance when it comes to the vehicle’s safety issues. Jeff Boyer, VP in charge of global vehicle safety says, “These recalls signify how we’ve enhanced our approach to safety. We are bringing greater rigor and discipline to our analysis and decision making. If we identify an issue – large or small – that might affect the safety of our customers, we will act decisively.”

Despite the number of recalls, company sales remain steady with values for resale and trade-in showing no signs of losses. “It must be a little easier for the company to continue in this direction,” says director of residual values Eric Ibara for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com.

GM expressed in a statement that vehicle owners should have their defective vehicle models inspected by bringing them to authorized dealers. The company further assessed that it is highly likely that less than 1 percent of welds should need replacement.

GM Adds New models to Recall list making it 30 Million Recalls in 2014

Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July


Anyone eager to take Apple’s OS X Yosemite for a spin will be able to get their hands on it from 24 July, the firm has promised.

Paid-up developers have been able to test-drive the desktop operating system for the past few weeks.

The iPhone giant confirmed to The Register today that version 10.10 of OS X will, come this Thursday, be available for download by users who have signed up for the public beta program.

Earlier this week we reported that Yosemite was being prepared for an end-of-July beta release. Now it seems Apple has made good on that speculation. And yes, we’re talking July this year.

First announced at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco in June, Yosemite has been available to members of Apple’s developer network as a closed beta program.

The Yosemite release, successor to OS X Mavericks, will – according to Apple – sport improved integration with iOS gadgets as well as new versions of Safari, Mail and Spotlight, and other bits and pieces. ®

Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July

Marshawn Lynch expected to hold out of Seahawks training camp


This time, Marshawn Lynch apparently means it.

Lynch, who threatened to hold out during Seattle’s minicamp last June but then showed up anyway, is expected to be absent when the Seahawks begin training camp Friday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton.

The news was revealed by former Seahawk fullback Michael Robinson, one of Lynch’s closest friends who is now retired and working for the NFL Network.

Robinson said on the air that Lynch had just called him and told him that “he will be holding out from training camp this year with the Seahawks.”

Now, as then, the issue is his contract.

Lynch has two years remaining on a four-year deal worth up to $31 million he signed in 2012. He is due a base of $5 million this year and a $500,000 roster bonus, and a prorated signing bonus of $1.5 million. Next season he is due to earn $5.5 million in base salary with a $2 million roster bonus and a prorated signing bonus of $1.5 million.

There is much speculation, though, that the team will cut Lynch before next season.

He turned 28 in April, an age when many running backs begin to see a decline, and Seattle has prepared for a future without him, grooming 2013 second-round pick Christine Michael to take over at tailback, with third-year player Robert Turbin also in the mix.

One of Lynch’s main goals in holding out is apparently to get more money up front in case he is released after this season.

Robinson, asked what Lynch hopes to get by holding out, said “I really think he just wants his position in the organization and how they view him, he just wants that recalibrated a little bit.”

It’s thought, though, that the team has no desire to give Lynch a new contract, or even a slight alteration, not wanting to set the precedent of rewarding holdouts.

Also, Lynch’s contract remains the fifth-highest for an NFL running back, which the team thinks is fair compensation.

Lynch is at risk of being fined $30,000 per day and after five days he could partially forfeit a $6 million signing bonus.

Lynch has led the Seahawks in rushing the last three years, including 1,257 last season when Seattle won its first Super Bowl, and has been the focus of the offense since being acquired from Buffalo via trade early in the 2010 season.

After he threatened to hold out for minicamp, Robinson — in comments to some Seattle-area reporters — said Lynch wanted to be rewarded for what he has meant to the team.

“You take Marshawn Lynch off the team last year, do we win the Super Bowl? I think all of us know the answer to that,” Robinson said. “He just wants to be paid like it. He knows he has a short window left. Nobody says anything when teams cut a guy at this juncture, though. I’m all in for players getting their dollars, man, because you have a short life.”

Robinson added: “The guy has been the face of this franchise since the day he stepped in that door — it’s been Beast Mode. Just from my knowledge of it, he has been the face of the franchise, (coach) Pete (Carroll) (general manager) John (Schneider) have made no qualms about saying that. And he’s (Lynch) just like ‘I just want to be paid like it.’”

Asked then if Lynch considers his age a factor, Robinson said: “I don’t think it’s a factor for him. I think it’s a factor for them (the Seahawks) because 30 is this magic number.’’

The team had no comment on Lynch Thursday.

In June, Carroll played down a possible Lynch holdout and said he expected him to again be the “bell cow” of the offense.

Carroll also said then he didn’t expect Lynch to get much action in the preseason.

“You won’t see him get the ball a lot in the preseason,” Carroll said. “We will work all the way to the opening day and see if we can get him right there for then and that’s what’s most important.”

When that work begins, though, now is in question.


• The Seahawks Thursday signed undrafted free agent wide receiver Morrell Presley, who began his career at UCLA and finished it at NCAA Division II California University of Pennslyvania. He tried out for the team during the rookie minicamp.

• The Seahawks also waived OL Jared Smith, with an injured designation, as well as undrafted free agent tight end Chase Dixon. Smith was a seventh-round pick out of New Hampshire in 2013 who was initially cut and signed to the practice squad, and then placed on Injured Reserve with a knee injury. The moves leave the Seahawks with 88 players on their current roster, two shy of the limit.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @bcondotta.

Marshawn Lynch expected to hold out of Seahawks training camp

"Thursday Night Football" Launches on Network Television Wednesday, Sept. 10 on CBS



Special to Air Tuesday, Sept. 16 on NFL Network

Thursday Night Football launches its first-ever Network television coverage with a primetime special, UNDER THE LIGHTS, on Wednesday, Sept. 10 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET) on the CBS Television Network and also on NFL Network on Tuesday, Sept. 16 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET).

CBS Sports’ lead NFL play-by-play announcer and the voice of Thursday Night Football Jim Nantz will host the one-hour special that will celebrate some of the greatest and most memorable moments in the history of prime time football and preview the Thursday Night Football schedule.

The special will revisit classic primetime moments in NFL history and feature conversations between CBS and NFL stars including Mark Harmon, Tom Selleck, LL Cool J, Billy Gardell, Jerry Rice, Andrew Luck, Jadaveon Clowney, Ben Roethlisberger, Earl Campbell and Julio Jones as they recall their fondest and most memorable primetime moments. Campbell and Clowney talk about what it means to be a rookie in Houston, while Harmon and Luck talk Pac 10 (Pac 12) football and what it means to play in prime time.

CBS and NFL Network will begin its Network debut coverage of Thursday Night Football on September 11 with the Pittsburgh Steelers visiting the Baltimore Ravens. Nantz and Phil Simms, along with Tracy Wolfson reporting, will call the action. The full slate of 16 regular-season Thursday Night Football games will be produced by CBS with its broadcasters and production team.

* * * * *

Follow CBS Sports and NFL Network on Twitter: @NFLonCBS and @NFLNetwork

[via press release from CBS]

Read more at http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2014/07/23/thursday-night-football-launches-on-network-television-with-primetime-special-under-the-lights-on-wednesday-sept-10-on-cbs-503314/20140723cbs01/#BYUgHWlDIG1D2vYA.99

"Thursday Night Football" Launches on Network Television Wednesday, Sept. 10 on CBS

Angie Martinez - #THETRUTH With @ElliottWilson #LifeandTimes


On the latest episode of The Truth, Elliott Wilson catches up with Angie Martinez, who discusses her reasons behind leaving Hot 97 after two decades and joining competitor Power 105.1.

Sign up for our newsletter ► http://bit.ly/JZLTsignup

Facebook ► http://facebook.com/OfficialLifeandTimes

Twitter ► http://twitter.com/LifeandTimes

Google+ ► http://plus.google.com/+LifeandTimes

Instagram ► http://instagram.com/LifeandTimesOffi…

Tumblr ► http://jayzslifeandtimes.tumblr.com

Life+Times ► http://LifeandTimes.com

iTunes ► https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/ja…

Angie Martinez - #THETRUTH With @ElliottWilson #LifeandTimes

Lux on Murda Mook: "We Won't Be So Kind Next Time"


Following his rematch vs. Murda Mook on the first ever Total Slaughter battle event, Loaded Lux sat down for an exclusive interview with VladTV Battle Rap Journalist to discuss the battle.

Lux explained that he had victory in mind leading up to the battle, but admitted that his approach was a bit too respectful for a battle of this magnitude. Since he and Mook have so much personal history, Lux intended to “keep it on the stove” and simply battle Mook to see who was the better lyricist without dishing out the skeletons in their closets. This obviously wasn’t the case for Mook as he spoke on a number of more personal topics in their battle.

Lux has admitted that he lost, and doesn’t want to take away from Mook’s stellar performance; however, he also feels as though his respectful approach to the battle partially contributed to how lopsided the battle became in front of the live audience. Lux stated repeatedly that “we won’t be so kind next time,” implying that he is willing to battle Mook for a third time and that if they meet again, he won’t pull any punches.

Lux on Murda Mook: "We Won't Be So Kind Next Time"

New York Post Says Jay Z & Beyoncé Heading To Divorce


Nowadays, everyone has an opinion about the relationship of Jay Z and Beyoncé. One New York City tabloid has “sources” that say the Hip-Hop power couple is on the fast track towards divorce.

According to the New York Post, both Hova and Bey are to blame, but they made sure to mention it was more so because of the former:

While Jay Z seemingly is the one most at fault, he’s also the one doing all in his power to keep the couple together, even hiring marriage counselors who are believed to be traveling with the super duo on their tour, the source said.

“They are trying to figure out a way to split without divorcing . . . This is a huge concert tour and they’ve already gotten most of the money from the promoters up front,” the source said.

Despite the tens of millions the couple will pocket from the current tour, this will certainly be their last and the end of the tour could officially spell the end of the marriage, the source said.

“There are no rings, if you haven’t noticed,” the source said, admitting that he thought things would get better after the birth of the couple’s daughter, Blue Ivy Carter.


When have either of them worn a wedding ring, though?

“For just a split moment, things got real for them and she was even talking about adding to the family,” the source said.

“But, after a while, Jay was out doing Jay and Bey was out doing Bey. They made the classic mistake of thinking a child would change everything and help to rekindle the initial fire, and it didn’t.”

Who is this source? A former Roc-a-fella artist that feels slighted? The third cousin of Blue Ivy’s nanny?

Do you believe any of these claims, or does the Post, which has a penchant for slandering rappers, ask Kanye West, need more people? Or at least a fact checker. Chime in below in the comments.

- See more at: http://hiphopwired.com/2014/07/21/new-york-post-says-jay-z-beyonce-heading-divorce-trolling-much/#sthash.tDz7WvK3.dpuf

New York Post Says Jay Z & Beyoncé Heading To Divorce

Dogs Get Jealous, Too


Study leader Christine Harris, a psychologist at the University of California at San Diego, was playing with her parents’ border collies when she got the idea to study jealousy in dogs. (Read “Animal Minds” in National Geographic magazine.)

“I noticed that when I was paying attention to two of them at the same time, petting them and talking to them, they weren’t content to share that attention,” she said.

“One would push the other’s head out from underneath my hand so that both hands were on him. The other did the same. They each wanted exclusive affection.”

Sniffing Out Rivals

Adapting a jealousy study used on 6-month-old human babies, Harris and colleague Caroline Prouvost set up experiments with 36 dogs in their homes. The team videotaped the dogs’ reactions while their owners ignored them and instead paid attention to a stuffed animal (a realistic-looking dog that whined, barked, and wagged its tail), a jack-o-lantern pail, and a pop-up book that they read aloud.

The resulting behaviors suggest the dogs assessed each “rival” and decided whether it warranted action. If it did, they did their best to break the bond that left them out, according to the new study published July 23 in the journal PLOS ONE.

More specifically, of the 36 dogs observed—a varied lot including a Boston terrier, Yorkshire terriers, chihuahuas, a pug, and mutts—78 percent would push or touch the owner when that person was petting and sweet-talking the fake dog; 42 percent were upset over attention toward the pumpkin pail, and just 22 percent were bothered when the book was the focus. (See National Geographic’s dog pictures.)

Also telling, nearly a third of the dogs tried to place their bodies between the owner and the stuffed dog, and 25 percent snapped at the toy. (Only one dog snapped at the pail and book.) And 86 percent of the dogs sniffed the stuffed animal’s rear end as they would a real dog. It appeared, the scientists say, that the dogs saw the doglike interloper as a true threat.

That was a bit of a surprise. “We weren’t sure we would get such behaviors over a stuffed animal,” since since it lacked the animation and smells of a real dog, Harris said. (Watch video: “Reading a Dog’s Signals.”)

“I think their reactions would have been even stronger had the rival been real.” (Including real rival dogs in the experiment would have muddied the findings, as it would be difficult to control the situation and collect data evenly.)

“Our research suggests that when confronted with a rival for a loved one’s attention, dogs engage in behaviors aimed at regaining the rival’s affection and getting rid of the rival.

“These behaviors would seem to be motivated from a jealous emotional state”—though of course, she pointed out, the findings don’t speak to the subjective state of the dog’s mind.

Dogs: Just Like Us?

So do dogs go green with envy in the same way we do? Probably not.

“Humans and dogs are different in a number of ways,” Harris said. “For example, I would doubt that the dog ruminates on the transgression after the fact, whereas humans do. Humans also ask themselves all kinds of questions about the meaning of an infidelity (am I boring? unlovable?) and about the relationship (will this be the end of my relationship?). These types of thoughts are obviously going to impact the experience and feelings of jealousy.”

Instead, what she imagines is shared across both species “is the urge to stop the interaction, to engage in behaviors that reestablish the loved one’s attention. The appraisal that a loved one is interacting with a rival seems sufficient to motivate this state.” (Take National Geographic’s dog quiz.)

The findings “are another step in dispelling myths about what dogs supposedly cannot do,” said Marc Bekoff, a fellow at the Animal Behavior Society and an expert in dog behavior.

There are compelling reasons based on solid evolutionary theory that even complex emotions like envy and guilt aren’t exclusive to human beings, said Bekoff, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“And there is no reason to assume that what animals experience is any less real or deep for them than our emotions are for us.”

It’s perhaps not surprising that in the study of human infants this dog study emulated, the babies, like the dogs, were much more likely to exhibit jealous behaviors when their mothers were attending to a realistic doll than when reading a book—a nonsocial activity.

More Green-Eyed Monsters?

Not only does the study show more broadly that jealousy is not a human construct, it also suggests the emotion does not have to be based on sexual rivalry—which is the way people often think about it.

Instead, it may have its roots in the need to secure resources in all kinds of valued social relationships, be they sexual, parental, sibling, or just friendly. (See “Q&A: What Can Dog Brains Tell Us About Humans?“)

Dogs seem like the perfect species in which to look for something like envy: They are cognitively sophisticated, form bonds with humans and with each other, and will try to manipulate the way we give them attention (as the collies did). But what about other animals?

The official studies still need to be done, but Bekoff said to expect a lot more evidence showing how sophisticated the emotional lives of nonhuman creatures can be.

“We need to keep the door open on the cognitive and moral capacities of other animals.”

Follow Jennifer Holland on Twitter.

Dogs Get Jealous, Too

Doc Rivers Will Quit If Donald Sterling Remains Owner


LOS ANGELES — The interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers testified Tuesday that coach Doc Rivers told him he will quit if Donald Sterling remains the owner of the team. CEO Richard Parsons testified at a trial to determine whether Sterling’s wife, Shelly, can sell the team for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as the NBA looks to force Donald Sterling from the league over racist statements. “Doc is troubled by this maybe more so than anybody else,” Parsons said about Rivers, who is black. “If Mr. Sterling continues as owner, he does not want to continue as coach.” Parsons said he fears there would also be an exodus of key players, including team captain Chris Paul, who heads the NBA players union. The judge stopped Parsons from giving an account of his conversations with Paul when an NBA lawyer objected over privacy issues. Parsons is a former chief executive at Time Warner and Citigroup who took over leadership of the Clippers in May during the media blitz surrounding the banishment of Sterling. Under questioning by Ballmer’s lawyer, Parsons said the departure of Rivers would “accelerate the death spiral” of the Clippers. “If Doc were to leave, that would be a disaster,” Parsons said. “Doc is the father figure, the one who leads.” Parsons, who is considered an expert in the management of major corporations, said he was certain that big corporate sponsors would pull out and season ticket holders would demand their money back if Donald Sterling remains the owner. “If your coach leaves, if your players don’t want to play with you, what do you have?” Parsons asked. “If your sponsors leave and the fans leave, it’s going to spiral down and down.”

Read more at: http://nesn.com/2014/07/clippers-ceo-doc-rivers-will-quit-if-donald-sterling-remains-owner/

Doc Rivers Will Quit If Donald Sterling Remains Owner

Zoë Saldana Is Pregnant With Her First Child


Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego have a baby on the way!

The Guardians of the Galaxy actress’ publicist confirmed the pregnancy Wednesday. Saldana had been on bump watch for weeks, and she made no attempt to hide her tiny baby bump at the film’s premiere. For Monday’s L.A. event, the 36-year-old actress wore a Louis Vuitton that emphasized her new curves.

Saldana and Perego, who got married in England last summer, have yet to comment on the baby news.

The Star Trek Into Darkness star gushed about her Italian artist husband over the weekend, telling People, “We found each other, and it was that desire and not that necessity that put us together.”

Zoë Saldana Is Pregnant With Her First Child

Brooklyn Bridge White Flag Mystery Deepens: Cops Don't Know Who Did It


The mystery surrounding two white flags that appeared on top of the Brooklyn Bridge today deepened as the New York City Police Department admitted they don’t know who committed the security breach or how they accomplished it.

White flags, which are symbols of surrender, flew from poles on the stone supports atop the famed bridge that connects Brooklyn and Manhattan over the East River.

“I’m not particularly happy about the event,” said NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.

Police officials said this afternoon that they have surveillance video of a group of four or five individuals walking onto the bridge shortly after 3 a.m.

“Those people will be of particular interest in this investigation,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller, who also oversees intelligence and counter terrorism.

Authorities said that at around 3:30 a.m., the lights that illuminate the U.S. flags on either side of the bridge could be seen flickering and then going out completely. At 5:30 a.m., construction workers noticed that two seemingly-white flags had replaced the American flags, police said.

Bratton said there was a 13-minute gap between the tower lights going out and the white flags going up.

When police investigated the scene, they found that the two American flags had been apparently bleached and large aluminum tins had been tied to cover the lights that illuminate the flags.

“At this time there is no sign of any particular nexus to terrorism or even politics,” Miller said. “It could be someone’s art project or a statement, but it’s not clear what that statement is.”

Miller said they are conducting tests on the flag, joking that he was “not sure if this is Betsy Ross’ long lost nephew doing extensive work” to make two large flags.

Miller said authorities think the perpetrators may have had some experience “climbing in construction or bridgework” or have previously been up to the flag platforms on the Brooklyn Bridge.

“When [the NYPD's]Emergency Services went up this morning, the gates were still up and locked,” he said. “For someone to go around it and go up to the tower and have right size cover to put over the light, there’s some indication of pre-operational planning.”

The Brooklyn Bridge — operated by the city’s Department of Transportation — is one of the country’s oldest suspension bridges. The span, which was completed in 1883, is also a National Historic Landmark.

Brooklyn Bridge White Flag Mystery Deepens: Cops Don't Know Who Did It

Detroit Gets 15-Day Reprieve from Water Shutoff


After several weeks of strenuous community protests, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced a temporary suspension of water shutoffs. The 15-day hiatus is meant, according to the Free Press, “to give residents another chance to prove they are unable to pay their bills.”

The Monday timing of the announcement occurred as Detroit Water was required to show up in the courtroom of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes to respond to his concerns about the water controversy’s impact on the city’s bankruptcy proceedings. According to the Free Press, a citizen’s group filed a lawsuit asking Judge Rhodes to order the water restored to residential customers. A Water Department spokesperson, Bill Johnson, said he was unaware of a lawsuit.

Detroit Water’s decision follows a protest of more than 1,000 people who took to the streets on Friday. The lawsuit that Johnson said he didn’t know about was filed by the four organizations that had been in the forefront of the ongoing protests against the shutoffs and were among the leaders of the Friday protests—the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, the People’s Water Board, the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network, and a group called Moratorium Now!—along with 10 residents who had had their water turned off.

The complaint very helpfully lists some of the commercial water customers with very large bills, tens of thousands of dollars larger than the 10 residents described in the legal filing, who weren’t facing the immediate prospect of city contractors turning off their running water. Among the listed entities were two delinquent seven-figure accounts of Chrysler Group LLC, which recently made a sizable donation to Detroit’s Grand Bargain, and two delinquent accounts of the co-sponsor of the Grand Bargain with Detroit’s philanthropic sector, the state of Michigan, with one bill at almost $5 million.

As Detroit is turning off running water on residential customers, the system is plagued with leaky pipes and gushing water elsewhere in the city. Investigative journalist Steve Neavling has documented water spurting from pipes in abandoned schools, vacant fire stations, empty hospitals and factories, and even through the pavement at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo. As we have indicated in earlier coverage of the Detroit water crisis, we suspect that the unexpectedly high water bills discovered by some customers reflected water leaking out from mains and service lines.

Readers should know that Detroit’s water problems, horrendous as they are, are not of recent vintage. A detailed analysis prepared by the Michigan Poverty Law Program/Michigan Legal Services in 2005 calculated the impact of an “average” Detroit residential water customer’s bill on low-income Detroiters. According to the report, water bills alone would consume 8.1 percent of the household income of an average SSI recipient and 9.7 percent for a three-person household receiving the maximum benefit at that time. MPLP/MLS and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization at that time developed proposals for a water affordability program to help protect low-income Detroiters, but the recent water turnoff crisis demonstrates that affordability plans were never really adopted or implemented, Detroit’s water rates grew far larger than comparable cities, and until street protests, the Water Department was not doing what it could have and should have been doing for Detroit’s large numbers of poor people.—Rick Cohen

Detroit Gets 15-Day Reprieve from Water Shutoff

Jay Z, Beyonce, and Blue Ivy


If there’s any one way that’s pretty fail-safe in solidifying the public’s idea that you’re marriage is in trouble, it’s to post cutesy family photos amidst all the rumors; the end.

No, but seriously, there are lots and lots of silly rumors going around that Beyonce’s going to leave Jay-Z after their “On the Run” tour, and that it’s supposed to be this big, dramatic thing, but guys — guys. Think this through for one second: how nonsensical would it be for Jay and Bey to break up — at all, period — when their relationship (and professional partnership) is so financially and creatively lucrative? Despite your feelings about either or both of them, It’s probably just not going to happen, sorry.

And since Jay and Bey likely realize what we’ve realized, this is why we’re kind of on cute family photo overload, and don’t get us wrong: we’d much, much rather experience a constant onslaught of photos like this rather than the extraordinarily uncomfortable alternative, which is watching Beyonce pretending she actually cares about doing that whole surfboard-surfboard on stage with the man she’s with — for something like what, 14 years? — over the next eight weeks.

Come on. Quit playing games, girl, and just do the damn music. We don’t need the theatrics of simulated sex — it’s old hat — nor do we need to be constantly reminded that you guys have an adorable family. It’s a given, and god bless.

Does yours truly personally think that Beyonce and Jay-Z are going to split after “On the Run”? Well, no. But we’ll see sometime after September 13th, won’t we?

Read more: http://www.fishwrapper.com/post/2014/07/22/beyonce-jay-z-split-divorce-blue-ivy-family-pics-on-the-run-tour-photos-pictures/#ixzz38D2ydpMw

Follow us: @fishwrapped on Twitter

Jay Z, Beyonce, and Blue Ivy

A$AP Rocky Sued For Slapping Woman During Made In America Festival


A$AP Rocky’s pimp hand of days past is catching up to him and may potentially cost him a pretty penny.

During last year’s Made in America festival in Philadelphia, the A$AP Mob leader was accused of slapping a female fan as he made his way through the swarming crowd. The incident, left Rocky (born Rakim Mayers) without a spot on the festival’s lineup from that point on, because Live Nation didn’t want the scandal attached to their event.

Charges were brought against the popular Harlem rapper but subsequently dropped after a state’s witness for the defendant Lisamarie Wade, failed to show up to a May court date.

In a recent lawsuit discovered by Courthouse News, Wade is not only suing A$AP Rocky and his entourage, but Live Nation Entertainment, Roc Nation, the John Doe security employers and employees as well as the event organizers and subcontractors.

She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for civil assault and battery and alleges the slap caused her “muscle spasm, migraine headaches, intense pain that radiates from her shoulders and into her arms and fingers, and exacerbation of pre-existing conditions.”

That must have been some slap.

Rocky has remained mum on the case but he has been frequently retweeting A$AP affiliate Ian Connor, who may be subliminally referencing the case.

Check out the tweets in the gallery and decide for yourself.

- See more at: http://hiphopwired.com/2014/07/21/asap-rocky-sued-for-slapping-woman-during-made-in-america-festival/#sthash.PpGGO9hf.dpuf

A$AP Rocky Sued For Slapping Woman During Made In America Festival

Ray J Charged with 10 Crimes


The L.A. County D.A. has thrown the book at Ray J … charging him Monday with 10 CRIMES in connection with his drunken antics last May … and get this — the D.A. charged Ray J with sexual battery even though cops say no such crime was committed.

Ray J was at a bar at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel when he got rowdy, brushed up against a woman’s ass and was ordered to leave. Police told TMZ at the time it was NOT a sexual battery because the contact was “incidental” — not intentional. Apparently the D.A. begs to differ.

Ray J left the bar and then went nuts in an alcohol-fueled rampage. He was arrested, kicked out the window of a cop car and spit on an officer. Ray J told TMZ … he kicked out the window because he was claustrophobic.

In addition to the misdemeanor battery charge, Ray J was charged with 4 counts of resisting arrest, 3 counts of assault and battery and 2 counts of vandalism … all misdemeanors.

Read more: http://www.tmz.com#ixzz38B6JP2IX

Ray J Charged with 10 Crimes

Carmelo Anthony is starting a venture capital firm


Carmelo Anthony has a lot of money, and he apparently knows what to do with it.

Melo, along with former NBC executive Stuart Goldfarb, is starting a venture capital firm to invest in tech start-ups. The company is called M7 Tech Partners, which stands for Melo 7, just so you don’t forget whose money is behind it. The firm’s first investment is in Hullabalu, a children’s media company.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in technology,” Anthony said in a statement. “We are actively looking for ventures with strong leaders creating breakthrough products that resonate with consumers. I particularly have my eye on companies that are involved with wearable technology and connected devices. These will be huge areas for the future.”

Melo isn’t the first NBA player to start a venture capital firm. Steve Nash started Consigliere Capital in 2010, a firm with several multi-million dollar investments.

Carmelo signed a five-year max contract with the Knicks last week worth more than $120 million. What if the real reason he passed up smaller offers from the Bulls and Lakers was that he wanted more money to invest?

- Dan Gartland

Carmelo Anthony is starting a venture capital firm

Ex-Destiny’s Child member arrested after partying with Sapp, Bowers


COLUMBIA — A former member of the R&B group Destiny’s Child was arrested in Myrtle Beach over the weekend after a night drinking with Bamberg NFL football players Daquan Bowers and Ricky Sapp, according to authorities.

Online records show Farrah Franklin, 33, was booked into the Horry County jail just before 5 a.m. Sunday on a charge of disorderly conduct.

According to police reports, Franklin had been drinking with Bowers and Sapp, both former Clemson University football players who are now in the NFL. Bowers — now a defensive end with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — told Horry County Police he had flown Franklin into town from her home in California to spend time with him.

The three went out drinking Sunday and went back to Sapp’s home, according to police. Both men told police Franklin was highly intoxicated and that she was “yelling, slamming doors and refused to stop when asked.”

Bowers and Sapp, an outside linebacker with the Houston Texans, called police after she refused to calm down. Officers said they found Franklin lying in a neighbor’s yard and the woman told police she “did not have anywhere else to go and was planning on sleeping in the woods.”

Franklin was released from jail around noon Sunday after posting $280 bond. Court records listed no attorney for her, and no phone number for her could be found.

Franklin and Michelle Williams joined Destiny’s Child to replace two original members in 2000. Franklin left the group months later, and the remaining trio served to launch the solo careers of Williams, Kelly Rowland and Beyonce.


Ex-Destiny’s Child member arrested after partying with Sapp, Bowers

Netflix Tops 50M Subscribers as 2Q Earnings Soar


Netflix’s second-quarter earnings more than doubled as new episodes from a hit series helped the Internet video service surpass 50 million worldwide subscribers for the first time.

The gains announced Monday include an additional 570,000 U.S. subscribers, slightly more than Netflix’s management predicted. The quarter is typically the company’s slowest of the year, as people spend more time outdoors instead of watching video.

Investors applauded the second-quarter results, pushing Netflix’s stock up $4.05 to $456 in extended trading. The shares have surged by 23 percent this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased 7 percent.

The second quarter featured one of Netflix’s marquee attractions, “Orange Is The New Black,” which returned for its second season in early June. As with Netflix’s other original series, all 13 episodes of “Orange Is The New Black,” were released simultaneously so subscribers could watch the story unfold at their leisure.

“Consumers are enjoying more than ever being in control of their own schedules, able to click and watch whenever they want,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a Monday interview.

Without breaking down the specific viewership numbers, Hastings said “Orange Is The New Black” became Netflix’s most-watched series during the first month after the June 6 release of the second season.

“Orange Is the New Black,” set in a women’s prison, received 12 of the 31 Emmy Award nominations bestowed upon Netflix programming for this year’s awards. Netflix’s Emmy nominations eclipsed the 24 garnered by longtime pay-TV channel Showtime, which collected 24, but lagged far behind HBO’s pace-setting 99 nominations.

Netflix Inc. ended June with 36.2 million subscribers in the U.S. and another 13.8 million customers in roughly 40 other countries. The Los Gatos, California, company picked up 1.1 million subscribers outside the U.S. in the second quarter, a figure that also topped management’s projections.

The company said it expects to add another 3.7 million subscribers worldwide in the current quarter ending in September, including 1.3 million U.S. customers. It also plans to start selling its Internet video service in six more European countries in September, including Germany and France.

Netflix’s long-term goal is to reach as many as 90 million U.S. subscribers and more than 100 million internationally.

The second-quarter performance will likely alleviate any concerns that a price increase imposed in early May would undercut Netflix’s growth. Netflix raised its rates by $1 to $9 per month for Internet video streaming in the U.S., but the company eased the blow by allowing existing subscribers to continue paying the old price for at least two years.

As Netflix’s video-streaming service steadily grows, the DVD-by-mail rental business that once was the company’s foundation is slowly crumbling. The DVD rental service shed another 391,000 subscribers in the second quarter to end June with fewer than 6.3 million customers. That’s a decline of 55 percent in less than three years.

Netflix earned $71 million, or $1.15 per share, during the April-June period. That compared to income of $29.5 million, or 49 cents per share, at the same time last year. This year’s earnings per share were a penny above the average estimate among analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue climbed 25 percent from last year to $1.3 billion, matching analyst projections.

Netflix Tops 50M Subscribers as 2Q Earnings Soar

U.S. Florida Cop Fired for KKK Ties Was Undercover, Ex-Wife Claims


The wife of a Florida police officer fired for allegedly secretly belonging to the Ku Klux Klan is claiming that she and her husband were ordered to infiltrate the white supremacist group.

The woman’s allegations come with a description of the Klan’s initiation ceremony that included kneeling with pillow cases over their heads.

The departures from the Fruitland Park Police Department earlier this month of Deputy Chief David Borst and Officer George Hunnewell have revived emotions of Fruitland’s past. The department had already dismissed an officer in 2009 for being affiliated with the KKK and the overwhelmingly white former citrus town turned retirement community has had a history of racial violence in the 1940s and 1950s.

NYC to Pay $2.75 Million for 2012 Death of Inmate

Allegations of Unnecessary Force as NY Man Dies After Arrest

Since the initial news of the investigation broke, the release of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s report has revealed more details about the explanation that Hunnewell’s ex-wife gave to attempt to support his claims of innocence.

The FDLE report states that Ann Hunnewell told investigators that she was working as a secretary for the Fruitland Park Police Department in 2008 when she and her then-husband George were assigned to an undercover mission by then-chief James Isom.

“Ann Hunnewell said in 2008 through 2009, she and her ex-husband successfully infiltrated the [United Northern and Southern Knights] chapter of the KKK in an undercover capacity,” the report states.

PHOTO: In this July 16, 2014 photo, cars pass by on a six lane highway that runs through Fruitland Park, Fla. John Raoux/AP Photo

PHOTO: In this July 16, 2014 photo, cars pass by on a six lane highway that runs through Fruitland Park, Fla.

It goes on to say that she claimed Isom “received allegations” about an officer in the department, James Elkins, was involved in the supremacist group and she said Isom “assigned George and Ann Hunnewell to follow up with the matter.”

Ann Hunnewell told investigators that they befriended Elkins and his wife and began exercising and dining with them before James Elkins reportedly asked her husband to join the KKK.

“Ann Hunnewell stated her ex-husband did not share the KKK ideology, but agreed to join in the spirit of the undercover investigation,” the report states.

The former police chief has denied he ordered any such investigation.

“At no time did I ever instruct, or have anybody working undercover or infiltrating a Klan organization while I was the chief of police,” Isom said in sworn statement he gave to his successor, current Fruitland Park police chief Terry Isaacs, which was shared with ABC News. According to Isom’s statement, the men also denied any involvement in the KKK when Elkins was fired in 2009.

Isom reportedly resigned in 2010 after signing a plea deal following a misconduct investigation.

Inside The Secret KKK Initiation Ceremony

A photo surfaced of Elkins being sworn into the group while surrounded by other members in their infamous white hoods. He was fired on the same grounds that Hunnewell was dismissed five years later- for belonging to a subversive group, which is not illegal but is against the police department’s code of conduct.

Ann Hunnewell described for the FDLE what she said was the KKK’s initiation rite.

“Once in the room, a pillow case was placed over their heads,” Ann Hunnewell said of the induction at the Elkins’ home alongside six to eight others. “As the ceremony began, they were led into the living room and told to kneel. After a reading, their pillow cases were removed from their heads and the ceremony was complete.”

Isaacs told ABC News that when he confronted George Hunnewell about the accusations, Hunnewell said “none of that is true about me.”

ABC News was unable to contact either George or Ann Hunnewell in spite of numerous inquiries.

Hunnewell was described by Isaacs as a “marginal” officer who had five letters of counseling due to poor work performance and one demotion to his name last year.

Borst, however, was considered a leader in the police department.

“Borst served as my fire chief,” Isaacs said of his former deputy. “He was in a position that had a lot of prestige and a lot of responsibility.”

There is less evidence in the case against Borst.

The FDLE report was sparked by a broader FBI investigation and portions were redacted for that reason. Of the readable portions, there are inconsistencies between two of their sources about Borst’s alleged involvement in the KKK. One source said that Borst knew about Hunnewell’s membership and did nothing, while another point in the report suggests that it is unclear if Borst was a sworn member of the group, the report states.

Isaacs said that Borst “became very emotional” when confronted with the accusations and denied everything. but offered his resignation.

“He said it is an absolute lie but… because of his family and the public outcry, he said he simply wanted to resign,” Isaacs said. Borst could not be reached by ABC News.

Fruitland Park Has History of KKK Ties

Questions about racism in the area first sprung up in 2009 with Elkins’ dismissal.

“Florida in general has a fairly large number of hate groups,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that monitors and tracks hate groups. “Once upon a time this was absolutely common. Right up through the 1960s there were very large numbers of police officers who were members of the Klan or largely sympathetic.”

Fruitland Park, a community of nearly 5,000 people that is almost 90 percent white, lies about 50 miles north of Orlando and is home to a large number of retirees.

The city’s website calls itself “The Friendly City,” but there is a history of racial violence, specifically within the citrus industry in the 1940s and 1950s.

ABC News’ calls to the Ku Klux Klan and the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan went unreturned.

Elkins spoke to the SPLC after news of Hunnewell and Borst’s alleged KKK membership broke and he said that when he was on the force, “probably 10 out of the 12 full time officers” were either members or sympathetic to the group.

Isaacs said that since he joined the department in 2011, he has not had any incidents relating to racism or other officers being members of subversive organizations, but that much of the police force he inherited has left for various other reasons.

“Ten out of the 13 officers who were here [when he joined]- for one reason or another, they’re gone and that shows you that I disagree with the mindset that was here and I’ve worked hard with programs to weed out the mentality of that culture,” Isaacs said. “I never dreamed it would be that officers of the law were members of the Klan. I just prayed to God that was behind us.”

Neither Borst nor Hunnewell face criminal charges for their alleged actions and the county rules allow them 10 days to appeal any dismissal. Isaacs said he has not heard from either of them about plans to file an appeal.

U.S. Florida Cop Fired for KKK Ties Was Undercover, Ex-Wife Claims

Distracted driving cases tough to build


WEST DEPTFORD, N.J. — Esther Jackson pulled back the living room curtains and pointed out the front window toward the end of her driveway.

In 2012, her toddler Carsten — Jackson’s vibrant, curly-haired “little bug” — ran away from the baby sitter and onto Hessian Avenue.

Carsten, then 2, survived the impact of a 5,200-pound pickup truck towing a 20-foot boat.

But the hospital bed, wheelchair and heart monitor in the living room are an indicator of the lifelong challenges ahead for Carsten, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, and the family caring for him.

Carsten lay quietly on the sofa Thursday, two weeks after another operation in a series of surgeries. This time, doctors cut into the boy’s thighs to repair muscles that atrophied with two years of immobility.

RELATED: How to keep your teen’s eyes on the road

On the couch, both legs were wrapped in blue casts, with little toes peeking out of the bottom. The brain injury left the toddler unable to speak or walk. A heart monitor clipped to his left hand is the only way Jackson can tell if her son is in pain.

His eyes are open, Jackson said, but he hasn’t woken up since the impact on July 21, 2012.

Carsten was hit three days after Gov. Chris Christie signed the “Kulesh, Kubert, Bolis Law,” which gives New Jersey prosecutors tools to criminally charge drivers who kill or critically injure someone in crashes linked to distracted driving.

Jackson believes the driver, a 23-year-old man from Westville, New Jersey, was texting when he hit Carsten. The driver never stopped at the scene. A witness followed the truck, leading police to his home.

Despite court-ordered warrants for the driver’s cellphone records, West Deptford Police could not prove the man was texting when Carsten was struck.

While the law is intended to help prosecutors, the law’s sponsor, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, said it hasn’t been effectively used in New Jersey since its signing.

Texting and driving cases, he added, are difficult to build, and prosecutors aren’t leveling charges.

Camden and Burlington county prosecutor’s offices have not yet charged anyone under the distracted driving statute.

“If it were effective, we would be hearing of more cases,” said Moriarty, D-Gloucester.

“It’s hard for me to believe, with all the distractions and people using their cellphones, there haven’t been more accidents resulting in serious bodily injury or death related to distracted driving.”

Angela Donato, whose pregnant sister Tony Bolis was killed in a head-on crash in 2011, worked with Moriarty on the law.

She testified for stronger distracted driving laws on behalf of her sister and her sister’s unborn baby RJ. Police determined another driver swerved into Bolis’ lane while adjusting his GPS.

“The law isn’t being enforced. There are some police departments that aren’t even fully aware of the law,” Donato said.

“In defense of the officers who do write (distracted driving) tickets, there is not one prosecutor’s office in New Jersey that has guts enough to put a case forward.”

Det. Nicholas Schock, with the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, considers his office’s single guilty plea in the 2013 crash a win, even if the driver pleaded to a lesser charge.

“That was our first prosecution under this law and our first guilty verdict, be it not for vehicular homicide, but a step in the right direction,” Schock said.

“The law itself is fantastic and very much needed. Distracted driving is becoming more prevalent than drunken driving. It’s a widespread problem.”

The law, he said, “doesn’t always provide for criminal prosecution for every case.”

Schock investigated Carsten’s accident, an “absolutely horrible, tragic case.”

“We found nothing that shows it was a distracted driving case,” Schock said, noting the boy ran into the side of the vehicle.

“Typically, what we’re looking for is the phone itself and some corroborating evidence to go along with it.”

The driver turned his iPhone over to police during questioning. Detectives found messages were received and returned at 4:33 p.m., the same minute a witness called 911.

The iPhone messages served as probable cause for a communications data warrant of the driver’s AT&T cellular data, Schock said.

But the report showed a gap in usage between 4:09 and 4:41 p.m. A note on the AT&T records indicated messages sent between iPhones using Apple’s iMessage network would not be reported on the data log.

Further, Apple does not store messages sent through its iMessage service, which is “end-to-end encrypted,” according to the company.

The federal Drug Enforcement Agency and FBI can’t intercept iMessages in criminal investigations.

“If there was additional information we could garner, we would have pursued every single angle,” Schock said.

“You can’t apply for a warrant for something you can’t get.”

Jackson continues to push for justice. The statute of limitations to prosecute the driver ends July 21, exactly two years after the accident.

“Life has taken its toll and it’s not fair,” she said, noting she expects thoughtful iMessages from friends on the second anniversary of the accident.

“I have faith he’s not going to be in this state for the rest of his life.”

Distracted driving cases tough to build

What exactly is in McDonald’s french fries?


What exactly is in McDonald’s french fries?


Mickey D’s uses varieties like the Russet Burbank, which have a nice oval shape and just the right balance of starch and sugar. Excess sugar can cause a fry to have brown spots where it’s over-caramelized, leaving a burnt taste and deviating from the uniform yellow-arches color. Just in case, the spuds are blanched after slicing, removing surplus sugar.

Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate

Taters can turn a nasty hue even after they’re fried—iron in the spud reacts with the potato’s phenolic compounds, discoloring the tissue. The phosphate ions in SAPP trap the iron ions, stalling the reaction and keeping the potatoes nice and white throughout the process.

Vegetable Oil

In the good old days, McDonald’s fries were cooked in beef tallow. But customer demand for less saturated fat prompted a switch to vegetable oil in the early ’90s. Here, that means oils of varying saturations combined into something reminiscent of beef tallow. There’s canola (about 8 percent saturated fat), soybean oil (16 percent), and hydrogenated soybean oil (94 percent). And to replace the essence of beef tallow? “Natural beef flavor,” which contains hydrolyzed wheat and milk proteins that could be a source of meaty-tasting amino acids.

More Vegetable Oil

That’s right, the fries get two batches of vegetable oil—one for par-frying at the factory and another for the frying bath on location. The second one adds corn oil and an additive called TBHQ, or tertbutylhydroquinone, which at high doses can cause nasty side effects in rats (mmmm … stomach tumors). McDonald’s uses this oil for all its frying, so the stuff usually sits around in big vats, which means it can go rancid as oxygen plucks hydrogens from lipids. TBHQ acts as an antioxidant, replacing those pilfered hydrogens with its own supply.


A brief dip in a corn-based sugar solution replaces just enough of the natural sweet stuff that was removed by blanching. The result is a homogeneous outer layer that caramelizes evenly. You’ll add more sugar later when you squirt on the ketchup.


Sprinkled on just after frying, the crystals are a uniform diameter—just big enough to get absorbed quickly by crackling-hot oil. Now add ketchup and you’ve achieved the hedonistic trifecta: fat, salt, and sugar

What exactly is in McDonald’s french fries?

Jeezy Speaks On Freddie Gibbs Beef


Jeezy is gearing up to drop a new album, Seen It All, on September 2. But during a recent interview, the Snowman spoke on same past business, including his fall out with Freddie Gibbs.

Speaking with Elliott Wilson, Jeezy explained the circumstances behind the now infamous fall out.

“I put him on a song with Eminem. I put him on a song with T.I. I put him on numerous mixtapes that I had,” said Jeezy. “I took him on tour. Took him around the world. I spent money on videos that he didn’t use, cause he didn’t like them, and it wasn’t his money.”

The “Seen It All” rapper further elaborated that Gibbs pretty much became a bad investment.

He continued, “So at the end of the day, my whole thing was to him was ‘I took you to every label in the game. They don’t wanna sign you. I don’t have no reason—I love you. I think your music is dope, but they don’t want to sign you.’ So at the end of the day when I called him up I was like, ‘Yo, I can’t really spend my money on you. I got family, other sh*t I gotta take care of. So, I’ll help you all I can, but I can’t fund it anymore.’”

According to Jeezy, who pointed out the YG has been a success under his watch, after that conversation—that he thought was “love”—diss records and commentary eventually started coming from Gibbs.

Watch the Life + Times interview below and let us know what you think in the comments.

[H/T 2DopeBoyz]

- See more at: http://hiphopwired.com/2014/07/20/jeezy-speaks-freddie-gibbs-beef/#sthash.FoThwCx5.dpuf

Jeezy Speaks On Freddie Gibbs Beef

FedEx charged with trafficking drugs for Web pharmacies


FedEx is facing drug-trafficking charges after a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted the overnight shipping company, accusing it of conspiring to deliver prescription drugs for illegal Internet pharmacies.

The indictment says FedEx knew for a decade that such pharmacies used their services. FedEx took steps to protect its business by setting up special credit policies for Internet pharmacies so it wouldn’t lose money if police shut the sites down, the indictment says.

FedEx ignored nearly a decade of warnings from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Food and Drug Administration and members of Congress, the indictment says.

“FedEx knew that it was delivering drugs to dealers and addicts,” the Justice Department said in a press release.

Federal prosecutors have summoned FedEx to federal court in San Francisco for a hearing July 29.

No FedEx officers were charged.

FedEx is innocent of the charges, said Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice president for marketing and communications, in a written statement. Fitzgerald said FedEx has cooperated for decades with law enforcement agencies to stop illegal drug activity.

“We have repeatedly requested that the government provide us a list of online pharmacies engaging in illegal activity,” he said. “Whenever DEA provides us a list of pharmacies engaging in illegal activity, we will turn off shipping for those companies immediately. So far the government has declined to provide such a list.”

Fitzgerald said it is unreasonable to expect FedEx to take responsibility for the legality of the contents of the 10 million packages it delivers each day.

“We are a transportation company — we are not law enforcement,” he said.

FedEx’s couriers in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia told senior FedEx managers that they worried for their safety. Delivery addresses for the pills included parking lots, schools and vacant homes where carloads of people would await the parcels, the indictment said.

“FedEx trucks had been stopped on the road by Internet pharmacy customers demanding packages of pills,” it said.

The illegitimate Internet pharmacies that emerged on the Web starting in 1998 required that patients do little more than fill out a questionnaire describing an ache or pain to get an online prescription.

Prosecutors say officials of the DEA and FDA and members of Congress warned FedEx at least six times since 2004 that illegal Internet pharmacies used the global shipper to deliver drugs.

The indictment says FedEx knowingly shipped drugs for two illegal Internet pharmacies, the Chhabra-Smoley Organization and Superior Drugs. In 2003, the DEA shut down RxNetwork, one of the Chhabra-Smoley businesses, and arrested Vincent Chhabra on charges of violating the Controlled Substances Act.

“FedEx learned of these events promptly after they occurred,” the indictment says, but the shipper continued to deliver for other businesses run by the same group.

The credit policy, circulated to FedEx directors on July 6, 2006, and included in the indictment, explained the policy’s rationale: “Many of these companies operate outside federal and state regulations over the sale of controlled drugs. … Drugs purchased from these sites may be diluted or counterfeit. Several sites have been shut down by the government without warning or simply disappeared, leaving large balances owing to FedEx.”

FedEx charged with trafficking drugs for Web pharmacies

Sharpton says NYC chokehold death and attacks on police officers both deserve justice


NEW YORK – In an appeal from the pulpit, the Rev. Al Sharpton is demanding justice for a man who died after an apparent police chokehold.

Sharpton also said Sunday that citizens who kill police officers should be held accountable.

Sharpton spoke at Manhattan’s Riverside Church three days after the death of Eric Garner on a Staten Island street.

The officer who appeared to choke Garner has been stripped of his gun and badge.

Sharpton said it was equally wrong for a New Jersey man to fatally shoot an officer last week. The man’s loved ones said he should have killed more officers.

Garner’s struggle with a group of officers was recorded on video showing the father of five repeatedly telling police he couldn’t breathe. He died shortly after.

Sharpton says NYC chokehold death and attacks on police officers both deserve justice

Investigation: ATF drug stings targeted minorities


WASHINGTON — The nation’s top gun-enforcement agency overwhelmingly targeted racial and ethnic minorities as it expanded its use of controversial drug sting operations, a USA TODAY investigation shows.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has more than quadrupled its use of those stings during the past decade, quietly making them a central part of its attempts to combat gun crime. The operations are designed to produce long prison sentences for suspects enticed by the promise of pocketing as much as $100,000 for robbing a drug stash house that does not actually exist.

At least 91% of the people agents have locked up using those stings were racial or ethnic minorities, USA TODAY found after reviewing court files and prison records from across the United States. Nearly all were either black or Hispanic. That rate is far higher than among people arrested for big-city violent crimes, or for other federal robbery, drug and gun offenses.

The ATF operations raise particular concerns because they seek to enlist suspected criminals in new crimes rather than merely solving old ones, giving agents and their underworld informants unusually wide latitude to select who will be targeted. In some cases, informants said they identified targets for the stings after simply meeting them on the street.

“There’s something very wrong going on here,” said University of Chicago law professor Alison Siegler, part of a team of lawyers challenging the ATF’s tactics in an Illinois federal court. “The government is creating these crimes and then choosing who it’s going to target.”

Current and former ATF officials insist that race plays no part in the operations. Instead, they said, agents seek to identify people already committing violent robberies in crime-ridden areas, usually focusing on those who have amassed long and violent rap sheets.

“There is no profiling going on here,” said Melvin King, ATF’s deputy assistant director for field operations, who has supervised some of the investigations. “We’re targeting the worst of the worst, and we’re looking for violent criminals that are using firearms in furtherance of other illegal activities.”


The ATF’s stash-house investigations already face a legal backlash. Two federal judges in California ruled this year that agents violated the Constitution by setting people up for “fictitious crime” they wouldn’t otherwise commit; a federal appeals court in Chicago is weighing whether an operation there amounted to entrapment. Even some of the judges who have signed off on the operations have expressed misgivings about them.

On top of that, defense lawyers in three states have charged that ATF is profiling minority suspects. They asked judges to force the Justice Department to turn over records they hope will prove those claims. Last year, the chief federal judge in Chicago, U.S. District Court Judge Ruben Castillo, agreed and ordered government lawyers to produce a trove of information, saying there was a “strong showing of potential bias.”

Justice Department lawyers fought to block the disclosures. In one case in Chicago, the department refused to comply with another judge’s order that it produce information about the stings. The records it has so far produced in other cases remain sealed.

Because of that secrecy, the data compiled by USA TODAY offer the broadest evidence yet that ATF’s operations have overwhelmingly had minority suspects in their cross hairs. The newspaper identified a sample of 635 defendants arrested in stash-house stings during the past decade, and found 579, or 91%, were minorities.

The ATF said it could not confirm those figures because the agency does not track the demographics of the people it arrests in stash-house cases.

That alone is troubling, said Emma Andersson, a staff attorney for the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. “Management is simply putting its head in the sand,” she said.

Other police agencies routinely collect that type of information to monitor racial profiling, and Attorney General Eric Holder said in April that the Justice Department would attempt to do so, as well. “To be successful in reducing both the experience and the perception of bias, we must have verifiable data about the problem,” Holder said at the time.

“It’s not enough to say we’re not purposely targeting young men of color,” said Katharine Tinto, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law who has studied the ATF’s tactics. “When you have a possibly discriminatory effect, it should still require you to go back and look at the structure of the operation,” including where and how agents choose to conduct the operations.


ATF guidelines require that field supervisors and officials in Washington approve each stash-house sting. The reviews focus mostly on ensuring that suspects have a sufficiently serious record to justify such a costly, and at times dangerous, undercover investigation; officials said they do not include any consideration of the suspect’s race.

The ATF declined to explain how it selects the stings’ targets, other than to say its agents rely on criminal records, police intelligence files and confidential informants to identify people already responsible for violent robberies. Still, court records raise questions about how and where those informants go about finding suspects.

In one case in San Diego, a government informant, identified in court records only by the pseudonym “Tony,” testified that he sometimes approached people on the street to see if they wanted to commit a drug robbery. Which streets, defense attorney John Kirby asked.

“Different neighborhoods. I have targeted all kinds of areas,” the informant replied.

“Do you do it in La Jolla?” Kirby asked, referring to the well-to-do seaside section of San Diego.

“I’m not familiar with La Jolla,” he replied.

“Scripps Ranch?” Kirby asked, referring to another.


Kirby, a former federal prosecutor, said it was clear to him ATF informants were “trolling what was almost exclusively an African-American neighborhood, and there aren’t a lot of those in San Diego.”

The ATF offers a suspected robber the chance to steal 40 kilograms of cocaine.

In another case, a federal appeals court judge said the ATF dispatched an informant “to randomly recruit ‘bad guys’ in a ‘bad part of town.’ ” The judge, Stephen Reinhardt, went on to express doubts about “whether the government may target poor, minority neighborhoods and seek to tempt their residents to commit crimes that might well result in their escape from poverty,” calling that approach an “open invitation to racial discrimination.”

A California federal judge similarly accused ATF agents this year of “trolling poor neighborhoods” for suspects before he dismissed criminal charges against three men. The government has appealed that decision.

The stings are engineered to produce prison sentences of a decade or more, mostly by capitalizing on federal laws that impose tough mandatory penalties for people who conspire to possess large quantities of drugs — even if those drugs don’t actually exist.

Another USA TODAY investigation last year found that although the ATF stash-house operations have succeeded in locking up some well-armed suspects with long records of violence, they have also swept up scores of low-level crooks who jumped at the potential payday for a few hours of work. One investigation targeted off-duty Army Rangers; in another, agents had to supply their would-be armed robbers with a gun.


ATF uses fake drugs, big bucks to snare suspects

The ATF cut its use of stash-house stings by more than half this year, in part because “you’ve advertised this technique,” King said.

King, who is black, said he had approved some stings and rejected others, looking only at the suspect’s criminal record and never at his race. “When I hear that argument that ATF is targeting minorities or, in particular, African Americans, I find it offensive because that means I would be a party to such an unfair thing,” King said. “It’s the furthest thing from the truth.”


To prove that the ATF has engaged in profiling, suspects must go beyond showing that the ATF’s tactics have led to a large percentage of minority arrests. Instead, they also must find similarly situated white people who were not prosecuted, then show that the government was discriminating on purpose — a legal barrier few overcome.

Even getting judges to order the government to release records in pursuit of such a claim is uncommon, Siegler said. The judges who ordered disclosure based their decisions mostly on records showing that nearly all of people arrested in ATF stings in Chicago were minorities. “The numbers are troubling. Judges see these numbers, and they feel like there’s something going on here that’s not quite right,” she said.

USA TODAY identified suspects’ races using federal prison data and other records. It identified Hispanic suspects by comparing their names to a U.S. Census Bureau list of “heavily Hispanic” surnames, an approach widely used for identifying trends based on ethnicity. (The U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which lists inmates’ races on its website, said it would violate a federal privacy law to also disclose whether they are Hispanic.) Where possible, USA TODAY verified that information with other police records or the suspects’ lawyers.

More than 55% of the suspects USA TODAY identified were black; more than 33% were Hispanic.

Those numbers appear unusual even in the context of a criminal justice system that already is made up mostly of blacks and Hispanics. Minorities are about a third of the nation’s population, but are nearly three-quarters of federal prison inmates.

By comparison, about 76% of the people charged with violent crimes in the nation’s major cities are minorities. Minorities make up about 72% of the people serving prison sentences for murder, and about 71% of people convicted of federal gun and drug offenses.

Beyond that, the demographics of ATF’s stings appear lopsided even after accounting for suspects’ criminal records, USA TODAY found after reviewing data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Every person sentenced to federal prison is assigned a numerical “criminal history” score based on his or her prior convictions. Among defendants with the very worst criminal records, minorities made up less than 72% of defendants in other federal drug, gun and robbery cases

Justice Department officials reject most such comparisons. In a court filing this year, government lawyers said the only way suspects could show they had been targeted because of their race would be to find another person “who told a confidential informant or an undercover agent about a desire to commit an armed robbery and then was either not approached during a proactive investigation or who was approached and then not prosecuted, solely because of his race.”

Contributing: Mark Hannan

Follow investigative reporter Brad Heath on Twitter: @bradheath.

Investigation: ATF drug stings targeted minorities

Design by Over Time Grind Productions L.L.C | Bloggerized by Elite Web Circle