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Friday, 31 August 2012

‘Jersey Shore’ will end after this season

The “Jersey Shore” gang in Italy. (Ian Spanier Photography)

All good things must end — even “Jersey Shore” which, MTV announced Thursday, will fold up shop at the end of its upcoming sixth season. The show that saved MTV will premiere its sixth and final season on Oct. 4.
“Jersey Shore” is another of those tragic TV industry stories. Unveiled to an unsuspecting public in December of 2009, The Situation, Snooki, and the rest of the gang still had so many neighborhoods to terrorize, so much binge-drinking, hooking up, and emotionally fraught fighting to accomplish.
But some of the stars had become distracted with their own spin-off starring vehicles, and MTV decided to pull the plug before “Jersey Shore’s” ratings got any lower and costs got any higher.
The show’s headliners are reportedly making more than $2 million each for the sixth season, which works out to about the same paycheck per episodes as the adults on “Modern Family” will get for that show’s upcoming season. The rest of the “Jersey Shore” cast make approximately what the kids on the ABC hit comedy are slated to make this coming season.
But “Jersey Shore’s” ratings have slipped noticeably since the heady days when it hit 8.8 million viewers at the start of its fourth season – an MTV record. MTV tried to broaden out the show, sending the gang to terrorize Florence, Italy for that fourth season. But the cast clearly hated playing fish out of water, the locals weren’t impressed, and viewers began tuning out.
Returning to Jersey for Season 5 didn’t help revive the ratings, and by that season’s penultimate episode the show’s ratings were back down to first-season levels. “Jersey Shore” continues to be cable’s No. 1 ranked series among 12-34 year olds, but here too, the ratings have takena big hit.
Besides, “Jersey Shore’s” happy hedonistic days are behind it, what with Mike ”The Situation” Sorrentino now living with a sober coach and giving interviews to MTV’s Sway about the “rainy days” he’s had since struggling in rehab with his addiction to “prescription drugs,” and Snooki now a mom. Where’s the fun in all that?
Thursday’s announcement marks The End of an Era, MTV said modestly.
The news was unveiled Thursday to give fans time to grieve, and clear their schedules for a mess of “Jersey Shore” send-off programming, starting almost immediately after the holiday weekend.
On Sept. 6, MTV will celebrate “Jersey Shore” all day long, until it takes a break to telecast the “2012 Video Music Awards.”
At 11 a.m. that day, MTV will run a “Jersey Shore” marathon, featuring past episodes that should have, but did not, win awards, for Best Bromance and the like. That’ll be followed by a retrospective show, “Gym, Tanning, Look Back,” at 6, in which cast members reminisce like middle-aged folk at their high school reunion.
At 7, the gang gathers for their first live interviews since MTV announced their show was kaput, from the “VMA’s” pre-show red carpet. The network threatened other things also were in store, including an after-show each week during Season 6, a “scintillating reunion special,” etc.
Though the show will be gone after this coming season, it will live on in spin-offs. “Snooki & Jwoww,” which wraps its first season on Sept. 13, has already been renewed for a second season. But don’t hold your breath on “The Pauly D Project” which had a lousy opening.

Andy Roddick: “I just feel like it’s time.”

By Matt Brooks

Andy Roddick’s last hurrah in New York marks the end of an era for U.S. men’s tennis. (Toby Melville - Reuters)

The bright lights of New York City have always suited Andy Roddick.
As the face of American men’s tennis for the last decade, Roddick willingly carried the torch through successes and failures in one of the most barren stretches of U.S. men’s singles titles.
Roddick announced his plans to retire on Thursday at Flushing Meadows, and there is no more fitting backdrop to his career coda than the place where he won his lone Grand Slam title way back in 2003.
Although Roddick celebrated his 30th birthday Thursday at Flushing Meadows, his enduring presence at or around the top 10 makes it feel like he’s been around forever. And time has taken its toll on one of the most charismatic, engaging and popular players in the game.
“I’ll make this short and sweet: I’ve decided that this is going to be my last tournament,” Roddick told reporters. “I just feel like it’s time. I don’t know that I’m healthy enough or committed enough to go another year. I’ve always wanted to, in a perfect world, finish at this event.”

Roddick hoists the 2003 U.S. Open cup — the lone Grand Slam title in his trophy case. (Amy Sancetta - Associated Press)
From his blistering first serve to his on-court banter, Roddick left his mark on the tour. He racked up 32 career titles, played some of the most memorable finals in Wimbledon history — losing toRoger Federer in 2005, 2006 and 2009 — and held the No. 1 world ranking as a 21-year-old in 2003.
(Video of that memorable 16-14 fifth set in the 2009 Wimbledon final can be found here.)
But his play for his country was just as impressive. Roddick won 30 singles matches in Davis Cup and was 12-0 in tie-clinching contests.
Roddick’s career was far from perfect, and many commentators have postulated than in any other era — without the Federer/Rafael Nadal duo lording over the sport — he could have won many more major titles. But Roddick carried the mantle for American men’s tennis with grace and a flair befitting a champion.
And carrying the hopes of a nation was no small burden.
“It didn’t really hit me until I got into the top 10 myself,” Roddick’s close friend Mardy Fish said in a Tennis Channel interview Thursday. “He’s taken the pressure off all the Americans in my generation. Just dealing with all those people betting on him to win, or investing in his performance. The press obligations after every loss. It’s amazing how in­cred­ibly well he’s done that for so long.”
On Friday night under the lights, Roddick will try to extend his final run in a second-round match against Australian Bernard Tomic.
“If I do run into some emotions tomorrow or in four days, I don’t want people to think I’m a little unstable. Or more unstable,” Roddick said with a chuckle. “So that’s why I came to this decision.”
Six years ago, Andre Agassi received a four-minute standing ovation after his final match at the U.S. Open. And although Roddick never approached Agassi’s success on the court, when his run in New York is up, he will have earned a similar send-off.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Condoleezza Rice stamps her ticket for 2016/2020

TAMPA — The next time Republicans are searching for a presidential candidate, rest assured: Condoleezza Rice will be a part of that conversation.
Rice’s speech Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention was easily the best-reviewed of the week so far and, at times, even seemed to out-hype vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s keynote remarks.
The former secretary of state used her time on stage to deliver a speech that was at times wonky, at times red meat for the base, and at times personal reflection. It was good without being gimmicky — a trap other GOP speakers seemed to fall into.
Through it all, the audience was rapt.
And really, it’s not all that surprising. Rice’s popularity in the GOP seems to transcend whatever reservations exist about George W. Bush’s tenure in the White House and her close ties to it. And by delivering a rousing speech Wednesday, she created a new version of Condi that could put some distance between her and that resume.
Towards the end of her speech, Rice even alluded to the idea that she could be president.
“And on a personal note: A little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham – the most segregated big city in America,” she said. “Her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant, but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, she can be President of the United States. And she becomes the Secretary of State.”
This wasn’t thrown into Rice’s speech on a whim; these speeches are meticulously combed for their content. And while it could be dismissed as Republicans again seeking to play up the electoral achievements of black and Hispanic members of the party, this seemed to take it a step further.
In other words, it’s clear that Rice — and Republican officials — are happy to have her name bandied about in the context of future presidential elections.
The question from here is whether she actually wants to be president — or serve in some other elected position (senator from California, perhaps?).
Rice has made a significant effort to stay in the political game in recent months, and there is clearly a place for her there. A recent Fox News poll in advance of Ryan’s selection as vice president showed that Rice was the No. 1 choice for the job, with 30 percent of Republicans picking her, well ahead of Ryan and even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Much of that could be attributed to the fact that she had higher name ID than the likes of Ryan and Rubio, but it shouldn’t be discounted as a reflection of enthusiasm for her role in the party.
As we’ve written several times, there were plenty of reasons she wasn’t the V.P. pick this time — not least the fact that she has expressed some pro-abortion rights tendencies and may or may not have voted for President Obama in 2008. Oh, and there’s also the matter of her having served as a close adviser to Bush, who Republicans would still like to pretend doesn’t exist. Rice was deeply involved in the Bush administration’s foreign policy, which even many Republicans now balk at.
But time heals wounds, and parties (and politicians) evolve. The fact is, if Rice wants to run in 2016 or 2020, abortion may not be as huge a hurdle as it once was. And by that time, Rice will only be in her low-to-mid-60s, and Bush and Obama could be a relatively distant memory.
One thing’s for sure: the Republican base already liked Rice a lot even before Wednesday night. And on Thursday, they are going to like her even more.
The speech she gave is the kind that keeps politicians in the national dialogue for years to come. It wasn’t on the same level as President Obama’s 2004 Democratic convention keynote — which effectively stamped his ticket for the 2008 race — but it’s along the same lines.
Rice has said she’s not interested in running for elective office, but things can change, and the will of the masses can be pretty compelling, if in fact a movement materializes in advance of 2016 or 2020.
From there, the question is whether she has the desire to jump into that arena — an arena, we should note, that is looking very receptive to her.
Mormonism makes a comeback: As we noted late Wednesday, Mormonism has reallyfallen off the radar of most Americans, despite Romney’s nomination for president.
That’s about to change.
Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee addressed Romney’s religion in their speeches Wednesday night, urging evangelicals to vote for Christian values rather than for the one man in the race — Obama — who is an evangelical. And Thursday, Mormonism is expected to be a significant part of Romney’s speech and the night’s overall message.
Huckabee, perhaps the preeminent evanglical voice in the GOP right now, offered this: “Of the four people on the two tickets, the only self-professed evangelical is Barack Obama, and he supports changing the definition of marriage, believes that human life is disposable and expendable at any time in the womb or even beyond the womb, and tells people of faith that they must bow their knees to the God of government and violate their faith and conscience in order to comply with what he calls health care. … I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than I do about where he takes this country.”
Ryan added: “Mitt and I also go to different churches, but in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example.”
This is a tough issue for Romney to talk about, given the reservations of some in the evangelical community — and outside it — toward the Mormon religion.
Expect this to be a major subplot tonight.
Gallup shows Ryan’s favorable rating at 38 percent, with his unfavorable rating at 36 percent.
Obama suggests a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court case.
Obama accuses Romney’s campaign of saying it won’t let the truth get in the way of its campaign. But Obama also seems to attribute a quote to a Romney adviser that the adviser didn’t utter.
stray gun got left on Romney’s plane, but he doesn’t appear to have been in any danger.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says he will campaign for Romney, even as his dad, Ron Paul, declines to fully endorse him. Also, Rand Paul only mentioned Romney once in his speech Wednesday.
Sarah Palin says Fox News canceled her interviews on Wednesday night, and she took to Facebook to vent.
House Speaker John Boehner says he “was a mess” during Ann Romney’s speech
The Democratic National Convention next week will include one night focused on national security.
Missouri GOP Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin will soon return to the campaign trail.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Strong Earthquake Strikes El Salvador Coast

Fox News Latino

quake el salvador.jpg

A strong earthquake has struck the El Salvador coast Sunday followed by a second 5.4 smaller quake. 
Authorities say there have been no reports of damage or injuries. A tsunami warning had been put into effect shortly after the first tremor struck at 10:37 p.m. Sunday, but it was later rescinded.
The quake hit about 86 miles (138 km) offshore at a depth of just over 20 km (12 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said. It earlier gave the magnitude as 7.3.
A small tsunami hit the El Salvador port of Acajutla following the quake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
The-7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of El Salvador followed an hour later by a magnitude-5.4 aftershock, authorities said early Monday. There were no immediate reports of damages or injuries.
A tsunami warning was put into effect for Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama and Mexico after the quake struck at 10:37 p.m. Sunday. The warning was later rescinded.
David Walsh, an oceanographer with the Pacific Tsunami Center in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, said a minor, 10-centimeter (3.94-inche) tsunami was registered off Acajutla, El Salvador.
The quake was located 86 miles (138 kilometers) south-southwest of San Miguel, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on its web site. The temblor took place at a depth of 32.9 miles (53 kilometers). The second quake registered about an hour later in the same area at a depth of 35.9 miles (57.8 km).
Alfonso Lara, a technician with El Salvador's Civil Protection agency said authorities were alerted to the threat of a tsunami. "We are doing a general monitoring of the entire coast through our technicians and representatives," he said.
On Sunday, dozens of small to moderate earthquakes struck southeastern California, knocking trailer homes off their foundations and shattering windows in a small farming town east of San Diego. The largest quake registered at a magnitude 5.5 and was centered about three miles (five kilometers) northwest of the town of Brawley, according to the USGS. Another quake about an hour and a half earlier registered at magnitude 5.3. No injuries were reported.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Little League World Series 2012: Complete Guide to Tournament Finale


Hi-res-150738514_crop_exactJapan and Tennessee are the two 

teams in the 2012 Little League World Series to survive pool play and thrive during the knockout round. On Sunday afternoon, they’ll battle in the championship game for the ultimate Little League crown.
Both Japan and Tennessee have had incredible runs to this point, and both have yet to lose in Williamsport. Making it thus far is something to be proud of, but doing so without losing a game is that much more impressive. It wasn’t easy, though.
The championship game on Sunday will be played at Lamade Stadium at 3:00 p.m. ET. The game can be viewed on ABC or online via ESPN3.
Let’s take a deeper look at Japan and Tennessee, how they’ve gotten to this point, which players to watch and who will go back to school as Little League champions. 

How They Got Here
Japan has been the most impressive team in Williamsport this year, featuring deep pitching and outstanding hitting. They won their opening-round game easily over Curacao and then defeated Chinese Taipei in a classic duel. A win over Panama clinched them a berth into the international championship game, and they ended up taking on Panama yet again.
The Japanese champions scored early and often against Panama on Saturday, backed by two home runs by their star player, Kotaro Kiyomiya. A strong four innings by Yuta Ishida propelled them to a 10-2 victory to clinch a berth into Sunday’s title game.
Hi-res-150732612_crop_exactRob Carr/Getty Images
As great as the Japan offense has been, the pitching has been better.
They have used six pitchers who have combined for 50 strikeouts and just four walks in 27 innings of work. They’ve allowed just two earned runs in four games and those two came in their most recent matchup. Kiyomiya is expected to take the mound for Japan on Sunday since he hasn’t thrown since their opener.

Tennessee’s path to Sunday’s championship game has been about as crazy as they come. They defeated the Mountain West 12-1 in their opening-round matchup and then took down California 9-6 in a wild game. A 4-3 victory over Texas gave them the opportunity to play for the United States championship on Sunday against California.
If you missed the United States championship game on Saturday, you missed the game of the year. Tennessee took leads, but continued to allow the West champions back into the game. They led California 15-5 going into the last of the sixth inning.
No problem, right? Wrong. California struck for 10 runs in the inning to send the game into extra innings.
Tennessee wouldn’t pout about California’s comeback, though, and they erupted for nine runs in the top of the seventh to take another commanding lead. The Southeast champions wouldn’t allow another comeback as they would take the final 24-16.
Hi-res-150739218_crop_exactRob Carr/Getty Images
Tennessee clearly can hit, but will they be too tired from Saturday’s ridiculous game? That’s a major question going into Sunday and could be the reason that they don’t win it all.
Who to Watch
Kotaro Kiyomiya, Japan
Kiyomiya is the reason that Japan has made it thus far. As I mentioned, he’s a good pitcher, but an even better hitter. He is, or should be, the most feared hitter in the Japanese lineup. Every ball he hits seems to travel over the fence for a home run.
Kiyomiya has three home runs in the tournament, two coming against Panama in the international championship game. It would be well advised for the Tennessee pitchers to pitch around him come Sunday afternoon.

Brock Myers, Tennessee
Myers will be ineligible to pitch on Sunday, but he’ll still be a force in the Tennessee batting order. Myers is a lean, mean home-run-hitting machine. He’s homered in all four of his team's games in Williamsport.
Myers has been instrumental throughout Tennessee’s run throughout the Little League World Series. He’s batting over .600 and will have the opportunity to homer in five straight games on Sunday. He also is tied for the team lead in RBI with nine.
Championship Game Prediction
Japan defeats Tennessee
Tennessee is a great team, but Japan is a force to be reckoned with and I don’t think that Tennessee really knows what to expect. The Southeast champions just played a very long game and it won’t be long until they’re on the field again taking on an even better team.
As I’ve mentioned, Kiyomiya hasn’t pitched in a while and that could be because Japan has saved him for the tournament finale. He throws extremely hard and even though Tennessee has some quick bats, I’m hesitant to say that they’ll be able to catch up.
Tennessee has poured on the runs lately, but that will end on Sunday when Kiyomiya takes the mound.
There’s no reason to doubt the Japanese offense either. They only really struggled against the Chinese Taipei pitchers, but have since found their stroke. All of their players are good hitters and nearly all of them can hit the ball out of the park.
I have a feeling that Tennessee could get any early lead on Sunday, but Japan will be holding the “Little League World Series champions” flag when all is said and done.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Top basketball prospect Tony Farmer sentenced to 3 years in jail for kidnapping his girlfriend, collapses in court

Farmer, of Ohio, who stands six-feet-seven-inches tall and weighs 220 pounds, was considered one of the top 100 college recruits in the country.


Tony Farmer, one of the most highly-recruited high school basketball players in Ohio, collapsed in court Tuesday after receiving a three-year prison sentence. 

Tony Farmer, one of the most highly-recruited high school basketball players
 in Ohio, collapsed in court Tuesday after receiving a three-year prison sentence.

A highly-recruited Ohio basketball star collapsed in court after a judge sentenced him to prison for assaulting and kidnapping his girlfriend.
Courtroom news cameras caught the shock on hot college prospect Tony Farmer's face as Cuyahoga County Court Judge Pamela Barker gave him three years for kidnapping in the April incident.
"I got three years?" the stunned 18-year-old asked his lawyer, Joe Dubyak, according to video posted on WJW Cleveland television.
Barker continued with sentencing, slapping the 6-7, 220-pound star with two years for felonious assault and two years for robbery.
Convinced he was headed to prison for seven years, Farmer collapsed in a heap at his lawyer's feet, as anguished supporters cried out and fled the courtroom.

Farmer apparently thought he was being sentenced to seven years in jail
 when he collapsed.

After Farmer stood up, Barker announced the terms would be served concurrently and that Farmer would spend three years in prison.
Farmer, a rising senior at Garfield Heights High School, was indicted in May stemming from a fight with his ex-girlfriend, Andrea Lane, at her apartment building in Bedford Heights, southeast of Cleveland, the Plain Dealer reported.

A court officer tried to rouse the enormous teenager.

Farmer assaulted Lane, dragged her by her hair outside the building and then took her cell phone, bank card, computer and car keys, prosecutors said.
He was also charged with intimidation for sending threatening text messages and voicemails to her, the newspaper reported.
Farmer was an all-state pick in his junior year and considered one of the top 100 recruits in the country.
Several NCAA Division I powers, including Michigan State, Illinois and Xavier, were recruiting him, according to Yahoo! Sports
The judge said she would review his sentence in 180 days, according to the Plain Dealer.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Nastia Liukin Olympics 2012: Gabby Douglas Will Outdo 2008 Champ's Performance

By   (Featured Columnist) on August 1, 2012

Team USA’s 2012 Olympics women’s gymnastics squad is superior to Nastia Liukin’s crew in every way.
Back in 2008, Liukin, Shawn Johnson and company racked up the medals for the U.S. They won silver as a team, and Liukin won four individual medals including all-around gold. While her success in Beijing was impressive, Gabby Douglas will leave London with a more-impressive resume.
On Tuesday, the Americans won gold in the all-around team competition for the first time since 1996. Mark Emmert of reported that coach John Geddert raved about the girls and made a bold claim after their victory, saying:
This is the best team of all time. You can quote me on that. Others might disagree. The ’96 team might disagree with me. But difficulty-wise, consistency-wise, definitely USA’s finest.
After Team USA trounced Russia by over five points in the finals, it’s difficult to argue with him. While the whole crew— including Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross—contributed to the triumph, it was Douglas who led the way. She was the only team member to participate in all four events and was phenomenal in every single one of them.
After finishing third in the individual all-around qualifiers, Douglas placed second in the vault, sixth on the uneven bars, fourth on the beam and third on the floor in the team competition. Following such a complete display of domination, she has to be considered the favorite to win individual all-around gold.
Douglas outperformed Russian phenom Viktoria Komova in every event except the uneven bars. And the fact that the uneven bars were Douglas’ worst event of the day should be an encouragement.
Because that’s her specialty.
She won gold on the uneven bars in the 2012 Pacific Rim Championships, and it just happens to be the contest in which she earned her nickname "The Flying Squirrel."

Douglas will be a favorite to win gold in the all-around and on the uneven bars. She’ll also be in contention to medal on the vault, beam and floor.
Liukin won silver on the uneven bars and balance beam as well as bronze on the floor in Beijing. Douglas has plenty of work to do, but considering that she keeps saving her best work for the biggest stages, expect nothing less than her hot streak to continue.
By the time the Summer Olympics conclude, she’ll need help carrying all her medals.