Friday, February 27, 2009
Georgia Tanks, wife of Victim
Alone in his mobile home off a winding dirt road, Jimmy Tanks heard a commotion at 2:30 a.m. just outside his bedroom window: Somebody was messing with his car.
The 67-year-old railroad retiree grabbed a gun, walked out the back door and confronted not a thief but a repo man and two helpers trying to tow off the Chrysler Sebring. Shots were fired, and Tanks wound up dead, a bullet in his chest.
The man who came to repossess the car, Kenneth Alvin Smith, is awaiting trial on a murder charge in a state considered a Wild West territory even by the standards of an industry that's largely unregulated nationally. Since Tanks' death last June, two other repo men from the same company Smith worked for were shot, one fatally.
"It's gotten to where it's a crazy world out there," said Smith, 50, an ex-Marine who preaches part-time and sings gospel music. Smith said Thursday that he fired in self-defense after Tanks fired a shot.
With the U.S. dealing with an economic slide that has cost millions of jobs, the number of vehicle repossessions is expected to rise 5 percent this year. That's after it jumped 12 percent to 1.67 million nationally in 2008, said Tom Webb, chief economist with Manheim Consulting, an automotive marketing firm. That followed a 9 percent increase in 2007, creating more opportunities for bad outcomes in an industry where armed confrontations and threats happen every day.
Joe Taylor, whose Florida-based company insures repossession companies, said licensing and training is the answer to avoiding such violence.
"If a guy is just put right on the street without training, the potential for violence is very, very high," said Taylor, who runs Insurance Services USA.
Federal law says workers can't "breach the peace" while repossessing items, but it doesn't go further to state just what that means, leaving definitions up to courts.
All three Alabama shootings were in the middle of the night, which an industry leader said was a sign of a problem.
"The smart operators aren't out there at 2 or 3 o'clock at night with people who can put you in a bad situation," said Les McCook, executive director of the American Recovery Association, a trade group for repossession companies.
It was June 26 that the repo man came for Tanks' car in Halsell, a tiny, rural Choctaw County town near the Mississippi line. Tanks already had filed for bankruptcy and was behind on his payments, court documents show.
Tanks heard a noise and went outside with a gun, something anybody would do, said Choctaw County Sheriff James Lovette, who knew Tanks for years. Smith was indicted Tuesday, but no charges were filed against a man and his teenage son who accompanied Smith, said Lovette.
Smith's defense lawyer, Rusty Wright, said Tanks came out of the trailer and fired, and that Smith "just wanted to stop him."
"This is not the gunslinging cowboy that people think about with repo guys," Wright said. "(Smith) wasn't out to kill the guy."
The sheriff declined comment on whether Tanks shot at Smith.
Lovette said Smith worked out of Birmingham with Ascension Recovery, a subsidiary of the Chicago-based Renovo Services. The same recovery firm employed a repo man who was shot and killed on Jan. 8 in Birmingham, as well as a third worker who was wounded while towing a vehicle in the city on Feb. 10.
The CEO of Renovo Services, David Cowlbeck, didn't respond to questions sent by e-mail about the fatal shootings. He called the unsolved February wounding of 30-year-old Jason Williamson "a random act of violence."
"We trust that the perpetrators are quickly apprehended and charged accordingly," Cowlbeck said in a statement.
Lovette is asking the Alabama Sheriff's Association to push a bill limiting the hours when repossession companies can operate and requiring them to contact local law enforcement before working in an area.
"There's a time and place for everything, and 3 a.m. is not it," said Lovette.
The three states that actively license and monitor recovery agents — California, Florida and Louisiana — report less violence than other states, Taylor said. But most state legislatures aren't interested in repossession law until people start dying, he said.
"You don't find many state legislators who have had a car repossessed. They are just unfamiliar with that world," said Taylor.
Tanks was killed just two weeks after he married Georgia Tanks, who keeps a floral spray at the spot where he died beside the car, which is long gone. She wasn't at home the night he was killed because she was away teaching Vacation Bible School in nearby Meridian, Miss. She has filed a wrongful death suit in the slaying.
"It's senseless," she said, wiping away tears as she looked at their wedding photograph. "The legal stuff I don't know anything about. I just know God is going to let justice be done."
Smith, too, is haunted by what happened that night.
"I've played it through in my mind a million times to see if I could have done something different," he said. "I couldn't have."
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The mayor of Los Alamitos is coming under fire for an e-mail he sent out that depicts the White House lawn planted with watermelons, under the title "No Easter egg hunt this year."
Local businesswoman and city volunteer Keyanus Price, who is black, said Tuesday she received the e-mail from Mayor Dean Grose's personal account on Sunday and wants a public apology.
"I have had plenty of my share of chicken and watermelon and all those kinds of jokes," Price told The Associated Press. "I honestly don't even understand where he was coming from, sending this to me. As a black person receiving something like this from the city-freakin'-mayor - come on."
The Orange County Register first reported the e-mail on its Web site Tuesday night.
Grose confirmed to the AP that he sent the e-mail to Price and said he didn't mean to offend her. He said he was unaware of the racial stereotype that black people like watermelons.
He said he and Price are friends and serve together on a community youth board.
"Bottom line is, we laugh at things and I didn't see this in the same light that she did," Grose told the AP. "I'm sorry. It wasn't sent to offend her personally - or anyone - from the standpoint of the African-American race."
Grose, who became mayor in December, said he sent an apology e-mail to Price and her boss and also left her a voicemail apology.
Regardless, Price said it will be difficult for the two to work together.
"Now I am like - wow, is this really how he feels?" Price said.
Los Alamitos is a 2¼-square-mile Orange County city of around 12,000 people. The mayor is elected by fellow members of the five-seat City Council.
If you were in Octomom's shoes and all of a sudden you had the opportunity to make a MILLION dollars if you did a porn film, would you do it?
That's the interesting situation that Nadya Suleman, finds her self in.
According to TMZ, adult film studio Vivid Entertainment has made Suleman, the cash-strapped mother of fourteen, a $1 million offer, plus a year of health insurance, in exchange for doing whatever they need her to do in a XXX film.
"Nadya obviously needs income to ensure that her children are secure, so we are offering her up to $1 million to act in one movie," says Vivid cochair Steven Hirsch.
"We've had many single mothers work with us over the years, and their income from Vivid has been very important to them. We would schedule production so the movie could be shot in less than one week."
Hirsch makes it clear that hooking up with Vivid makes good, bottom line sense for Suleman.
"There is a tremendous amount of interest in Nadya, and we can help her capitalize on that interest and put some real cash in her bank account,"
Hirsch also added that they would do their best to make sure Suleman wasn't put into any, er, compromising positions.
"As with our Vivid Girls, she would have her choice of partners, including 'Octodad.' "
First Lady Michelle Obama tells People magazine that the White House dog can't come soon enough for her two girls, who have been hounding her about the exact date of its arrival for weeks.
After telling the magazine "You're getting some scoops here," Mrs. Obama said a new dog will join the family in April - after she and the President take daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, on a vacation for spring break.
Here's a sample of a typical family conversation on the matter: "So Sasha says, 'April 1st.' I said, 'April.' She says, 'April 1st.' It's, like, April!," Mrs. Obama recalls. "Got to do it after spring break. You can't get a new dog and then go away for a week."
The first lady says the family is looking for a rescue Portuguese Water dog who is "old enough" and a "match" for the family dynamic.
"Temperamentally they're supposed to be pretty good," she says of the breed that Sen. Ted Kennedy has also lobbied for (he has two Water dogs of his own). "From the size perspective, they're sort of middle of the road – it's not small, but it's not a huge dog. And the folks that we know who own them have raved about them. So that's where we're leaning."
A bone of contention, however, is the crop of names that Sasha and Malia have been considering for the dog.
"Oh, the names are really bad. I don't even want to mention it, because there are names floating around and they're bad," Mrs. Obama says with a laugh. "You listen and you go – like, I think, Frank was one of them. Frank! Moose was another one of them. Moose. I said, well, what if the dog isn't a moose? Moose. I'm like, no, come on, let's work with the names a little bit."
Asked if she can believe the public interest in her family dog search, Mrs. Obama shakes her head. "Okay, that's surprising," she says. "One of the things I didn't anticipate is the level of the excitement about the dog. I knew my kids were excited. They've been excited for years. They've even calmed down, because they feel like, 'They said we're going to get one, so let's just shut up about it.'"
Diplomatically, and careful not to insult enthusiastic dog-lovers, she adds: "It's all great and gracious attention. People are just being as helpful as you can imagine. So I know that we will find the perfect breed. And we'll find people who are caring folks who will help us find the dog of our dreams."
The New York Daily News is reporting that Chris Brown has enrolled in anger management classes in the wake of allegations that he physically abused his girlfriend, Rihanna.
The troubled singer, who allegedly left Rihanna with a bloodied and bruised face after an altercation, reportedly attended his first anger management class on Monday. An unnamed source, however, says his motive for attending is more about his image than learning ways to control his aggression.
"Chris doesn't actually have to go by law," a Brown source told the Daily News, "but he believes it will make him look better to the public, and he wants to try to get in a few classes before March 5," when the crooner is due to appear in court on charges of making felony criminal threats.
Rihanna, who celebrated her 21st birthday on Friday, is reportedly set to appear in court to testify.
"She'll be there -- she has to testify," explained the source, adding that although Brown faces charges of a felony, he most likely won't face time in jail. "If Chris in convicted, it would be his first offense. He won't go to prison."
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
A man who may be the biological father of Nadya Suleman's octuplets says he is willing to help the single mother of 14, even though he is not certain it was his donated sperm that she used to become pregnant.
In an exclusive interview airing this Monday on "Good Morning America," the possible father, Dennis Beaudoin, said Suleman brought him to the clinic at which she received in vitro fertilization to donate sperm, and that he made donations on two other occasions. He now believes Suleman was married at the time.
Suleman has denied that the man is the father, but he said his multiple sperm donations are cause for a paternity test.
The donor said he was "shocked and surprised" when he first learned that Suleman, who he said he dated from 1997 to 1999, had delivered octuplets on Jan. 23.
"I just really want to know if these are or these are not my kids," said the man, who was in his early twenties when he started dating Suleman.
Regardless of the children's paternity, the man said he is willing to help Suleman raise the children because he does not believe she can handle it on her own.
"Either which way, you know, know that if she needs it I'll lend a helping hand," he said.
The man said that at the time she first approached him about donating sperm, Suleman told him that she had cancer and was unable to conceive without the help of a doctor.
The man said he twice made donations at home. In at least one instance, he said, Suleman kept the sperm sample warm by placing the cup containing the sample between her breasts.
The New York Daily News is reporting that Rihanna – back in Los Angeles from Barbados – celebrated her 21st birthday Friday with a "celeb-free circle of friends" and a phone call from Chris Brown.
“Chris called Rihanna to wish her a happy birthday,” an "insider" told the newspaper. “He’s absolutely trying to get back into her good graces. He knows he’s very much in the doghouse right now, and is doing everything he can to show her how sorry he is.”
Brown is currently charged with making criminal threats in an alleged assault against Rihanna. The violent encounter left her hospitalized with bruises and cuts to her face.
The Daily News also claims that Brown sent Rihanna a diamond bracelet and necklace, as well as an iPod Touch for her birthday. "Plus, Brown’s mom, Joyce, who is said to adore Rihanna, sent over a bouquet of flowers," the newspaper reported.
Friday’s party, held in a rented house in the Hollywood Hills, had a casino theme, with professional croupiers brought in to deal for the pop princess and a few choice friends. “Her theme was ‘Blackjack 21’ and all the guests gambled,” according to the Daily News spy. “And although there was alcohol available, Rihanna wasn’t drinking.”
The source also said that Rihanna is healing quickly from her recent injuries: “She hasn’t scarred or anything. She was in a great mood. She was really celebrating not just her birthday, but life in general.”
After the intimate gathering, "Rihanna hopped into a waiting car and jetted off to her native Barbados, where she finished out her birthday weekend with her mom," according to the Daily News.
In other Rihanna news, there are unconfirmed reports that she was due to make a surprise appearance at the Academy Awards on Sunday, but opted to pull out following her assault.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), it is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment, including:
•hiring and firing;
•compensation, assignment, or classification of employees;
•transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall;
•use of company facilities;
•training and apprenticeship programs;
•pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or
•other terms and conditions of employment. Discriminatory practices under these laws also include:
•harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age;
•retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination,
participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices;
•employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities,
traits, or performance of individuals of a certain sex, race, age, religion, or
ethnic group, or individuals with disabilities; and
•denying employment opportunities to a person because of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability. Title VII also prohibits discrimination because of participation in schools or places of worship associated with a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group.
Employers are required to post notices to all employees advising them of their rights under the laws EEOC enforces and their right to be free from retaliation. Such notices must be accessible, as needed, to persons with visual or other disabilities that affect reading.
Note: Many states and municipalities also have enacted protections against discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, status as a parent, marital status and political affiliation. For information, please contact the EEOC District Office nearest you.
Other Discriminatory Practices Under Federal EEO Laws
Title VII prohibits not only intentional discrimination, but also practices that have the effect of discriminating against individuals because of their race, color, national origin, religion, or sex.
National Origin Discrimination
• It is illegal to discriminate against an individual because of birthplace, ancestry, culture, or linguistic characteristics common to a specific ethnic group.
• A rule requiring that employees speak only English on the job may violate Title VII unless an employer shows that the requirement is necessary for conducting business. If the employer believes such a rule is necessary, employees must be informed when English is required and the consequences for violating the rule.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 requires employers to assure that employees hired are legally authorized to work in the U.S. However, an employer who requests employment verification only for individuals of a particular national origin, or individuals who appear to be or sound foreign, may violate both Title VII and IRCA; verification must be obtained from all applicants and employees. Employers who impose citizenship requirements or give preferences to U.S. citizens in hiring or employment opportunities also may violate IRCA.
Additional information about IRCA may be obtained from the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices at 1-800-255-7688 (voice), 1-800-237-2515 (TTY for employees/applicants) or 1-800-362-2735 (TTY for employers) or at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc.
•An employer is required to reasonably accommodate the religious belief of an employee or prospective employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship.
Title VII's broad prohibitions against sex discrimination specifically cover:
•Sexual Harassment - This includes practices ranging from direct requests for sexual favors to workplace conditions that create a hostile environment for persons of either gender, including same sex harassment. (The "hostile environment" standard also applies to harassment on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, age, and disability.)
•Pregnancy Based Discrimination - Pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions must be treated in the same way as other temporary illnesses or conditions.
Additional rights are available to parents and others under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which is enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor. For information on the FMLA, or to file an FMLA complaint, individuals should contact the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division, Employment Standards Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. The Wage and Hour Division is listed in most telephone directories under U.S. Government, Department of Labor or at http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd_org.htm.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The ADEA's broad ban against age discrimination also specifically prohibits:
•statements or specifications in job notices or advertisements of age preference and limitations. An age limit may only be specified in the rare circumstance where age has been proven to be a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ);
•discrimination on the basis of age by apprenticeship programs, including joint labor-management apprenticeship programs; and
•denial of benefits to older employees. An employer may reduce benefits based on age only if the cost of providing the reduced benefits to older workers is the same as the cost of providing benefits to younger workers.
Equal Pay Act
The Equal Pay Act (EPA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in the payment of wages or benefits, where men and women perform work of similar skill, effort, and responsibility for the same employer under similar working conditions.
•Employers may not reduce wages of either sex to equalize pay between men and women.
•A violation of the EPA may occur where a different wage was/is paid to a person who worked in the same job before or after an employee of the opposite sex.
•A violation may also occur where a labor union causes the employer to violate the law.
Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act
The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all employment practices. It is necessary to understand several important ADA definitions to know who is protected by the law and what constitutes illegal discrimination:
Individual with a Disability
An individual with a disability under the ADA is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities are activities that an average person can perform with little or no difficulty such as walking, breathing, seeing, hearing, speaking, learning, and working.
Qualified Individual with a Disability
A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is someone who satisfies skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position held or desired, and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of that position.
Reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to, making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities; job restructuring; modification of work schedules; providing additional unpaid leave; reassignment to a vacant position; acquiring or modifying equipment or devices; adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies; and providing qualified readers or interpreters.
Reasonable accommodation may be necessary to apply for a job, to perform job functions, or to enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment that are enjoyed by people without disabilities. An employer is not required to lower production standards to make an accommodation. An employer generally is not obligated to provide personal use items such as eyeglasses or hearing aids.
An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business. Undue hardship means an action that requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to factors such as a business' size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation.
Prohibited Inquiries and Examinations
Before making an offer of employment, an employer may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability. Applicants may be asked about their ability to perform job functions. A job offer may be conditioned on the results of a medical examination, but only if the examination is required for all entering employees in the same job category. Medical examinations of employees must be job-related and consistent with business necessity.
Drug and Alcohol Use
Employees and applicants currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs are not protected by the ADA when an employer acts on the basis of such use. Tests for illegal use of drugs are not considered medical examinations and, therefore, are not subject to the ADA's restrictions on medical examinations. Employers may hold individuals who are illegally using drugs and individuals with alcoholism to the same standards of performance as other employees.
The Civil Rights Act of 1991
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 made major changes in the federal laws against employment discrimination enforced by EEOC. Enacted in part to reverse several Supreme Court decisions that limited the rights of persons protected by these laws, the Act also provides additional protections. The Act authorizes compensatory and punitive damages in cases of intentional discrimination, and provides for obtaining attorneys' fees and the possibility of jury trials. It also directs the EEOC to expand its technical assistance and outreach activities.
Equal Employment Opportunity
1407 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38104
My beloved soul mate, Gordon, and I recently got married. You may be thinking something like, "Oh, how fabulous, love is a sweet promise, even at their age." Or maybe you're thinking, "Why would a woman of almost 60 want to get married again? Is she nuts?" Gordon and I laugh about being on the longest, hottest date in history.
But because of past disappointments and hurts, we're more realistic about what it takes to make love work. This time around, we wanted to do more than exchange the lofty, traditional "love, honor, and cherish" vows. We wanted to think through the behaviors that make love a day-by-day reality and create down-to-earth vows to shape and hold our marriage together.
A vow is a statement of intention that's a blueprint for action. It isn't a static statement like "I'll love you forever." Vows are commitments to specific behaviors to practice every day. Whether you're in a relationship or not, thinking about the kind of behaviors that nurture love can help you build a better union. Though it may seem that love is an effortless grace that will last forever, sustaining it takes conscious effort. Here are examples of vows to help you put love into action.
"I vow to not go to bed angry"
After a juicy fight, it's tempting to hole up and nurse your grievances, or at least turn your back on your partner and fall asleep in your own little cocoon of misery. But research from the famous "Love Lab" at the University of Washington suggests that making an overture at reconciliation is a much better plan.
Psychologist John Gottman, PhD, found that a couple's ability to bridge the gap after a squabble is one of the keys to lasting relationship success. And as much as you love one another, there are bound to be times when you get miffed. Even a simple statement such as, "I feel so anxious when we're at odds. How are you doing?" can turn a disagreement around. On the other hand, if you're really at fault, an apology is the best possible bridge between two hearts.
"I vow to keep our romance going--even when I'm not feeling romantic"
My friend Dana was stressed by the toll that motherhood was taking on her marriage. She and her husband, Allen, had been together for 10 years before their daughter was born, and they loved going out to restaurants, movies, and clubs. But when they had Stacey, their priorities shifted.
Like most new parents, they were exhausted and short on funds. Allen felt abandoned because the lion's share of Dana's attention went to the baby. Their romance seemed dead, and he became resentful. Dana vowed to turn things around. So she started the tradition of weekly date nights, where they get a babysitter, go out as a couple, and focus on each other. They're still going strong 10 years later, and she's an inspiration to busy me to put aside one night a week just for Gordon.
"I vow to be honest"
Most women lie about their feelings to placate someone else, a pattern guaranteed to breed resentment. Let's say your partner decides to watch the Super Bowl with a buddy--but it's also the night that you're returning from an exhausting weeklong sales trip. He assumes you want to unpack; you really want to spend the evening with him, but don't want to be a nag. So you're cheerful and supportive when he runs the plan by you.
But inside you're hurt and angry, and when he gets home after the game, you're resentful and touchy instead of delighted to see him. That's the antithesis of real love. Vowing to be honest about your feelings promotes intimacy and cuts down on resentment.
"I vow to stay faithful--even if I'm tempted"
Although you may have trouble imagining that you or your partner could succumb to a fatal attraction scenario, it happens--a lot. Even though most people say they disapprove of extramarital sex, carefully constructed polls estimate that 28% of married men and 17% of women have had affairs by their early 50s. It's human nature to feel at least occasional sexual attraction to other people. Acting on those attractions, however, is where this vow comes in.
The jealousy and anger that unfaithfulness breeds are the natural enemies of love and commitment.
"I vow to take care of myself"
After Gordon and I had been married for a month, my oldest son called and started joking: "Hey, Mom, how are you guys doing? Have you gotten fat yet?" We've all seen couples where one partner is buff and the other looks old enough to be his or her parent.
As a therapist, I've listened to the disappointment that follows when someone is no longer attracted to a partner who has let himself or herself go physically. I've also witnessed the sorrow when one partner falls ill or even dies of a preventable condition, leaving the other one feeling abandoned. One of the vows I've made both for myself and my husband is to take care of myself physically and emotionally so that I remain vital for as long as I can.
"I vow to cultivate intimacy"
When Gordon asks me how I am, he's not expecting to hear a mindless, "Fine, dear. You?" He really wants to understand how I'm feeling. That's intimacy--and I plan for us to stay as close as we are now for decades to come. Intimacy is a kind of mindfulness, a nonjudgmental curiosity about what's unfolding each moment for the other person. You cultivate it by listening deeply, without trying to solve each other's problems or butt in with your own story. Just being heard is a great antidote to stress, and it's one of the finest gifts you can give your partner.
Try writing your own vows for your romantic relationship, or for a friend, a parent, a child, or a trusted coworker. Even if the vows are for your eyes only, intentions have power. Put them in a place where you can check them often. A final word:
Be gentle with yourself. A vow like, "Above all, be honest," is bound to take continual practice.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Tiger Woods shows off his adorable son Charlie Axel Woods. The golfer and wife Elin Nordegren welcomed their first son on Feb. 8.
Tiger Woods kisses his son Charlie in a family photo taken on February 17, 2009 in Orlando, Florida.
"Both Charlie and Elin are doing great, and we want to thank everyone for their sincere best wishes and kind thoughts," Woods blogged on his Web site the day Charlie was born.
"Sam is very excited to be a big sister and we feel truly blessed to have such a wonderful family," Woods blogged.
Woods has been a stay-at-home dad since injuring his knee in June 2008, but will soon return to the PGA tour, Golf reports.
The new issue of People magazine, on sale today, features Rihanna on the cover along with the headline, "Rihanna's Nightmare: Arguments, Jealousy and Hotel-Room Trashing. What Led to the Violence and How She's Coping."
The cover story features comments from an unnamed relative regarding her relationship with boyfriend Chris Brown, who is being investigated for allegedly assaulting Rihanna in Los Angeles.
Brown "flew so far under everyone's radar that we just didn't think he was that abusive type," said the family member. "He was always looking after her needs, making sure she was happy."
When asked about the suggestion of Rihanna's father, Ronald Fenty, to "move on" when it comes to his daughter's relationship with Brown, the relative agrees. "I don't want her to go back to him. I don't think anyone does."
Meanwhile, E! News is quoting a source who claims Rihanna has left Barbados, where she spent the last several days with family and friends while recuperating from injuries sustained in the attack. Her destination, however, was not reported.
E! is also reporting that Rihanna's record sales have jumped following the incident. Sales of her 2007 album, "Good Girl Gone Bad," surged 33 percent, selling another 25,000 copies at No. 31. Meanwhile, Brown's 2007 album, "Exclusive," continued to see sluggish sales, failing to register among the Top 200.
The Web site for ABC News put out a story this week titled "Black Community Bitter About Chris Brown: Parents, Kids and Celebrities Upset About Brown-Rihanna Abuse."
Friday, February 20, 2009
It's the picture of Rihanna we've been waiting to see ever since the infamous beating of her, allegedly by singer/dancer Chris Brown, went down the morning of the Grammy Awards on February 8.
The photo, obtained by ... surprise, TMZ.com, shows just how brutally the pop star/singer was beaten. If her attacker is indeed Chris Brown, the evidence against him is even more overwhelming than we imagined.
But that's a whole other issue. The problem here is that the release of the photo is unauthorized and LAPD is not happy.
The Los Angeles Police Department has started an internal investigation to find out who the culprit is. Maybe they could start by asking TMZ how they got the photo. In any event below (Rihanna's injury photo) is their press release dealing with the matter:
Los Angeles: The unauthorized release of a domestic violence photograph immediately generated an internal investigation.
At about 7 p.m. on February 19, 2009, the Los Angeles Police Department Media Relations Section began receiving numerous inquiries about the release of a photograph associated with a domestic violence incident that occurred on February 8, 2009, involving entertainer Chris Brown.
The photograph appeared on an entertainment website. The photograph has the appearance of one taken during an official Domestic Violence investigation.
The Los Angeles Police Department takes seriously its duty to maintain the confidentiality of victims of domestic violence.
The Department launched an immediate internal investigation and subsequently filed a personnel complaint.
A violation of this type is considered serious misconduct, with penalties up to and including termination.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Dan Gordon is the writer of the hit TV series Highway to Heaven. His live theatre credits include: Rain Man, Terms of Endearment, and the inspiring new off Broadway hit Irena's Vow. His screenwriting credits include The Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington; Murder in the First, Wyatt Earp with Kevin Cosner, and The Celestine Prophecy. He is the cofounder of the Zaki Gordon Institute for Independent Filmmaking in Sedona, Arizona; and has been a guest lecturer at Columbia University School of the Arts, USC School of Cinematic Arts, UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, and Tel Aviv University in Israel and Author of 6 Published Books
"Nearly all of us either have had or have heard of an experience in which a soul already departed reaches back to us who have been left behind.... Sometimes, it's no more than a whisper, a familiar smell in the air, or just the feeling of presence as vivid as when the loved one was still alive. These moments are just that...moments, a glimpse behind the veil; not a letter from heaven, but a postcard." (Dan Gordon, Postcards from Heaven)
A postcard from heaven is not a revelation from on high -- rather, it's "a whisper, a familiar smell in the air, or just the feeling of presence" of someone who's passed away. It is just enough of a message to imply that what we call life is not ended by what we call death.
Dan Gordon has been receiving these postcards all his life -- from his father, his older brother, and his son Zaki, who was killed in a car accident when he was only twenty-two.
Postcards from Heaven is the beautiful, inspirational memoir of four generations of a remarkable family and how they remain interconnected, a part of one another's stories, even after passing to the other side.
Here is the span of his father's long life, moving and funny, from the Russian Revolution to his improbable Depression-era courtship of a woman named Goddess -- Gordon's mother -- to his spiritual later years in Israel; his incorrigible older brother's mischievous magic, able to find humor even in cancer treatment; and his brilliant son, a natural storyteller who looked destined to follow his father into the movie business.
These are the stories of their lives on earth as well as after death.
Full of humor, compassion, and love, Postcards from Heaven comforts andassures us that those we loved can reach back to those of us still on earth -- and, if only we are attentive enough to listen, we can hear them say,
Got here safe.
It's really beautiful.
Much love, till we meet again.
Purchase this book at:
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Troubled singer Chris Brown may have roughed up Rihanna before the alleged altercation that took place before the Grammy Awards early Sunday.
A Rihanna friend told US that the two's relationship had been "volatile," and that Rihanna had been sporting bruises as early as December, according to the story.
I asked if everything was OK with her and Chris." "She told me, 'We broke up again.' I didn't pursue the issue further."
Meanwhile, Brown may have more than just his problems with the police to deal with.
Hip-hop powerhouse Jay-Z, who rapped "99 Problems," was enraged when he heard that Brown allegedly beat up Rihanna, the R&B star whom Jay-Z discovered and mentored.
"He hit the roof," a source close to him told Us Weekly. "Chris is a walking dead man. He messed with the wrong crew."
Brown, 19, allegedly left gal pal Rihanna with contusions to her face, a cut lip, bloody nose and bite marks on her arm and fingers following an argument the night before both were to perform at the Grammys.
Residents called 911 after hearing her screams, and police said Rihanna's shrieks could be heard in the background.
"It mostly recorded the sound of a screaming woman," LAPD Detective Deshon Andrews said.
The couple had hit a rough patch in their yearlong romance, according to MTV, and blog rumors swirling around the pair - including offhand re marks about infidelity and fights - didn't help.
The LA blowup followed an evening of escalating tension between the two, which came to a head as they drove in a Lamborghini from a party at music mogul Clive Davis' house early Sunday and she tossed the car keys out the window, E! News reported.
"He pimp-slapped her and punched her in the face!"
Brown then allegedly choked Rihanna and said, "I'm going to kill you," E! News reported. When she slipped into unconsciousness, Brown allegedly fled.
Rihanna was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Brown later turned himself in and was charged with making a criminal threat. He was released on $50,000 bail. Both canceled their appearances at the awards show and later events.
WAKS-FM, a Cleveland-area radio station, has stopped playing Brown's music until the allegations are resolved; so, too, have stations in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.
Police handed the case over to the LA County prosecutor's office, which sent it back yesterday for further investigation.
Jay-Z has long been protective of Rihanna, the 20-year-old Barbadian beauty he helped make a star.
In 2007, Rihanna - whose song "Umbrella" was burning up the charts - acknowledged that Jay-Z had to give the OK before any guy would approach her.
"I just found out from a mutual friend that guys will talk to Jay first before they try to approach me," Rihanna told People magazine. "He's very protective. Jay has my best interests in mind.
"If it's a good guy, I know Jay won't shut him down. But if he's not, Jay will be, like, 'No, no, no.' "
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN, has built one of the largest nutrition centers in the country. Located in Manhattan and Westchester, N.Y., Joy Bauer Nutrition provides counseling to both adults and children dealing with a variety of nutritional concerns.
Recognized as a leading nutrition authority, Joy has a clientele that includes high-profile professionals, celebrity actors, fashion models, and Olympic athletes.
She is the nutrition/health expert for the Today show and has been featured in numerous publications including the New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Prevention, Vogue, Allure, Self, Cosmopolitan, People, US Weekly, Parenting, Parents, Family Circle, Biography, and Seventeen. In addition, Joy is the nutritionist for the New York City Ballet, the nutrition expert and contributing editor to Parade magazine, and is a contributing editor and monthly columnist to Self magazine.
Joy is the author of several bestselling books, including the number-one New York Times bestseller Joy Bauer's Food Cures (Rodale, April 2007). Joy's latest New York Times bestseller, Joy's LIFE Diet (HarperCollins), hit bookstores in January 2009.
Joy received her bachelor's degree in kinesiological sciences from the University of Maryland and a master of science in nutrition from New York University.
At the beginning of her career, Joy completed a five-year post as director of nutrition and fitness for the Heart-Smart Kids Program — a program that she developed for the Mount Sinai Medical Center's Department of Pediatric Cardiology in New York City. Joy also served as nutrition consultant for the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, where she designed and supervised research in eating disorders and weight management.
Furthermore, Joy served as the clinical nutritionist with the neurosurgical team at Mount Sinai Medical Center and taught anatomy and physiology and sports nutrition at New York University's School of Continuing Education. She was also the exclusive nutritionist for New York University's faculty, students, and athletes.
Joy lives in New York with her husband, Ian, her daughters Jesse and Ayden Jane, and her son, Cole.
Joy's Professional Affiliations:
American Dietetic Association: Registered Dietitian
New York State Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist
American Dietetic Association: Sports and Cardiovascular
American Dietetic Association: Pediatric Practice Group
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Intimacy Without Sex is Emotional Infidelity
Is having a friend of the opposite sex (or the same sex, as the case may be) a sign of emotional infidelity? Here's how psychologists see signs of emotional cheating.
Emotional cheating can be difficult to wrap your mind around. It’s not like a “real” affair (with intercourse) or a “sort-of-but-not-really” affair (everything but the intercourse). Emotional infidelity doesn't necessarily break spoken vows, create unwanted pregnancies, or spread sexually transmitted diseases. Emotional cheating can't always be spotted in the traditional ways.
Emotional infidelity can be as devastating to a marriage or partnership as sexual unfaithfulness - if not more so. Determining the difference between harmless flirting versus cheating is important to a healthy relationship.
How emotional cheating starts
Most people don’t plan to be emotionally unfaithful. Emotional cheating starts by casually chatting with coworkers or people they see regularly – and it grows into more than “friends.” They go for lunches, take business trips, or make special efforts to see the person’ to whom they’re getting attached. They think about their “friend” more and more, until it becomes a definite emotional bond.
These are signs of emotional cheating.
Internet relationships are more and more popular since everyone’s wired up. Emotional cheating now begins in chat rooms, forums, or discussion groups. They evolve into private conversations and emotional infidelity.
Emotional cheating and internet relationships
In emotional infidelity over the internet, “friends” may never meet. This means that relationships can flourish in public places like the office or in private places, like one’s own home. Bonds can grow and emotional cheating can occur even when the coworker is at the other desk or the family is in the same room.
Anonymity is a potential problem with internet relationships and emotional infidelity. There’s greater intimacy because you’re anonymous; you’re free to share the deepest darkest parts of yourself (parts you're reluctant to share with someone in person). Further, you can build your friends up into the most wonderful, kind, smart, and funny people in your mind because you haven’t met – and you certainly haven’t dealt with dirty socks, disciplining kids, or getting lost in a new city together. Your relationship hasn't been tried or tested. Emotional cheating becomes a slippery slope when you're involved with a mysterious stranger.
If you know you have a weakness with emotional infidelity, you can learn to resist temptation.
Are women more susceptible to emotional infidelity?
Women are usually the ones who push the relationship further. Women want relationships to move from friendship to love, from computer to reality. Women tend to get more emotionally involved and are more emotionally invested than men. Men on the other hand see the internet relationships or emotional infidelity as part of their lives – a nice part, but just one part. Women envision soul mates or life partners; men are having fun.
Note that the above are stereotypes with regard to emotional cheating! There are men who do become highly emotionally involved with more distant women, both over the internet and in person. Bonds and emotional infidelity aren't the sole activities of either women or men alone.
Signs of Emotional Cheating
Emotional cheating happens when you:
• Discuss your partner and relationships with your “friend.”
You share your fears, hopes, and dreams (this is emotional intimacy).
• Meet your “friend” for dinner or lunch without telling your partner.
• Keep your computer, files, and internet sites password-protected.
• Hide or are secretive about your life, relationships, and activities.
• Keep your partner waiting while you spend time with your “friend.”
• Stay in regular, intimate contact with ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends.
Emotional cheating can spring from close relationships with past lovers.
Instead of assuming or vowing emotional infidelity will never happen to you, spend time with your partner. Have open and honest discussions about your relationship. Have fun together; the more you make your partner happy, the more likely he/she will reciprocate!