Gulf Coast Braces For Oil Heading Their Way From Oil Rig Explosion

The Gulf Coast braced for a greasy and unwelcome tide Thursday as the region's largest oil spill in decades threatened the marshlands and beaches at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

"This Saturday is the first date we can go catch live bait," said Glenn Sanchez, who runs a marina in Hopedale, Louisiana. "If this was to happen, this could just devastate the whole of Louisiana."
Hopedale is in what Sanchez calls the "big toe" of Louisiana, about 35 miles southeast of New Orleans.

It's where dry land gives way to a patchwork of marshes, lagoons and canals that drain into Chandeleur Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. The estuaries are rich in crab, oysters and shrimp, and Breton Sound Marina is home to a variety of commercial and sport-fishing vessels that buy bait from Sanchez. But the spill that began last week when the Deepwater Horizon drill rig blew up and sank has cast a new shadow on a region already under heavy environmental pressure.

The rig sat atop an oil well that is now spewing up to 210,000 gallons of light sweet crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico. BP, the well's owner, has been trying to shut off the flow using eight remote-controlled submarines. It's had no success up to this point.

George Crozier, administrator of Alabama's Dauphin Island Sea Lab, said the worst of the spill appeared most likely to hit Chandeleur Sound and western Mississippi Sound, to the north. The barrier islands that shielded those waters were devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and have yet to bounce back, he said.
But weather patterns and the amount of oil released make it difficult to predict where the slick will wash ashore.

"It's just too early to have much sense of what's going to happen," Crozier said.
The Coast Guard has begun attempting to burn the oil off in sections, but the rainbow sheen on the surface now stretches for about 100 miles and was less than 20 miles off the mouth of the Mississippi River late Wednesday.
"This is very frightening to us, because we don't know what the impact is," said Frankie Duggan, port director for Biloxi, Mississippi.

Louisiana is the No. 1 producer of shrimp and oysters in the United States, while fishing remains a major industry on the Mississippi coast even after casino gambling has come to dominate the local economy. The smell of heavy oil already was wafting ashore Tuesday, said Barry Deshamp, a charter boat skipper in Long Beach, Mississippi.
Deshamp's business is ramping up ahead of the summer, and while no one has canceled trips yet, "Nobody wants to fish in an oil slick," he said.

The eastern edge of the spill was more than 90 miles off the Mississippi coast on Wednesday afternoon -- well beyond the 10- to 20-mile range Deshamp usually fishes. The bigger commercial boats "can pretty much go around it," but the slick is drifting over prime fishing grounds for popular catches, such as red snapper.
"It's unreal they haven't even stopped it yet," Deshamp said. "At first they were telling us it's not even leaking."

Worse yet, the spill is happening at a time when Gulf shrimp are in their spawning season. That puts more pressure on fishermen already feeling the pinch from high fuel prices, increased imports and a late spring, said Scott St. Pierre, captain of the shrimp boat "Mom and Dad" out of Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

"This is our critical time. We want our babies to grow. We need south wind and warm weather," St. Pierre said. "If the south wind brings them oil, we thought we had problems before? This has the potential to be a disaster."

The first of the oil slick could hit southeastern Louisiana's shores late Friday, Gov. Bobby Jindal said. The area is home to several wildlife reserves, and the state might even put prison inmates into the effort by using them to clean oil from birds, Jindal said.

The Gulf Coast hasn't seen a major oil spill in about 40 years, Crozier said. Most of the toxic components in the crude spill are likely to evaporate in the sun, but a "physical mess" is likely to remain in the marshes.

"The occasional drum has fallen overboard, but we've never had anything of this magnitude," he said.
Wilma Subra, a chemist who advises the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, said hundreds of spotters are watching for signs of the slick along the shoreline. But until the damaged well is capped, the coast could be hit over and over again when weather patterns shift.

Subra expressed hope the planned burning would limit the slick's advance, "but it all depends on how the weather moves."
"This is just going to be unbelievable," Subra said. "It's not going to be just a one-time event."

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Starting May 1st Rapper Plies is Giving, Yes Giving, Away Health Care & Mortgage Payments

Plies is building anticipation for his new album, Goon Affiliated, with a rather interesting giveaway promotion.

Hip-hop’s favorite alleged high school valedictorian is giving away shopping sprees and iPads to those who enter his 25-day “Goon Affiliated Giveaway” contest.

The prizes don’t stop there though…

The rapper is also giving away mortgage payments and healthcare assistance as well.

“My music is very much reflective of the ills of our community and real talk.” Plies said, “There are people out there struggling to make ends meet in this economy. This giveaway to me is more than just a countdown to my album release, it’s about giving back to my community and anybody who knows me knows that’s what it’s all about. So for me it’s about being able to help out where help is needed.”

“There are so many giveaways these days. People give away things that are not a necessity. The ‘Goon Affiliated 25 Day Giveaway’ gives people a chance to win something that they really need, that could save a family’s home, grant a college education, or allow someone to see a medical professional for treatment and I feel blessed to be able to contribute, it’s so much more than a giveaway to me.”

The contest, which runs from May 1st through the 25th, will dole out one prize a day.

For more information on the contest, visit

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VIDEO: Sneak Peek Of Season 3 Opener: "The Boondocks: Black Magic"

The season three opener of The Boondocks takes it back to the election of 2008, with various cast members being asked why they do (or don’t in the case of Uncle Ruckus) support Obama.

New season starts this Sunday May 2nd on the Cartoon Network Adult Swim 10:30 p.m. Central Time

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MUSIC: Erykah Badu Announces Dates For "Out My Mind, Just In Time" Tour

Named after the closing track of her latest "New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh," Erykah Badu has announced the dates for her 2010 North American tour, "Out My Mind, Just In Time." The trek will make stops at amphitheaters and concert halls beginning May 22 at Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore, MD, and wrapping up on June 24 at The Pearl Concert Theater in Las Vegas, NV.

Badu will be joined by N.E.R.D., Bilal, Janelle Monae and The Roots drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson.
In addition to "Out My Mind, Just In Time," Badu will also perform during this summer's Lollapalooza festival, Lilith Fair as well as be featured as a special guest at Maxwell's upcoming concerts at Phillips Arena in Atlanta on June 11 and Madison Square Garden in New York City on June 26.

Here are the dates for "Out My Mind, Just In Time":

May 22: Baltimore, MD (Pier Six Pavilion)
May 23: Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre

May 22:Baltimore, MD (Pier Six Pavilion feat. Bilal)
May 23: Boston, MA (Orpheum Theatre feat. Janelle Monae)
May 25: New York, NY (Roseland Ballroom feat. ?uestlove)
May 26: Philadelphia, PA (Tower Theater feat. Bilal)
May 28: Washington, D.C. (Constitution Hall feat. N.E.R.D. and Janelle Monae)
May 30: Detroit, MI (Chene Park feat. N.E.R.D. and Janelle Monae)
June 2: Chicago, IL Chicago (Chicago Theater feat. N.E.R.D. and Janelle Monae)
June 3: Chicago, IL Chicago (Chicago Theater feat. Janelle Monae)
June 5: Memphis, TN (Orpheum Theatre feat. Janelle Monae)
June 6: Nashville, TN (Ryman Auditorium feat. Janelle Monae)
June 8: Kansas City, KS (Midland Theatre feat. Janelle Monae)
June 9: St. Louis, MO (Fox Theatre feat. Janelle Monae)
June 13: Houston, TX (Verizon Wireless Theater feat. Janelle Monae)
June 14: Dallas, TX (Nokia Theatre)
June 16: Denver, CO (The Fillmore Auditorium feat. Janelle Monae)
June 18: Oakland, CA (Paramount Theatre feat. Janelle Monae)
June 19: Saratoga, CA (The Mountain Winery)
June 20: Los Angeles, CA (Greek Theater feat. Janelle Monae)
June 22: San Diego, CA (TBA)
June 23: Phoenix, AZ (TBA)
June 24: Las Vegas, NV (The Pearl Concert Theater)

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How To Communicate In Your Relationship

With time and patience a couple will learn the best way to navigate through each other’s communicative styles and learn the best time and approach to squash the beef … or better, avoid it all together! Too often we prematurely throw in the towel and abandon all attempts to talk, but that’s all reactionary and an unhealthy habit to start – doing this, growing apart is inevitable. At some point, we have to learn how to not take all spats personally and chalk it up to learning yourself and your partner better. Take a look at these tips to break the ice when your lover turns cold.

Keep positive vibes - please remember that attitude is everything and it’s best to focus on the positive. Project your energies and focus on the loving vibration you wish to accomplish. When you’re soured or negative because your partner is, it only brews more of the same. Set the tone of positivity and say, “hey, I don’t like this tension between us, when you’re ready to talk you know where I am and please make it soon.” Positive, genuine and irresistible.

Think then speak - before you open up dialogue, clear any and all fog in your head and be clear on your points. “This is why I’m mad. I was hurt when you said this. I wish you would’ve or would not have handled it like that.” And allow your partner the time to respond WITHOUT interruption. Remember that these conversations often expose vulnerabilities and insecurities, so be aware that you’re venturing into unchartered territory. It’s imperative that you remain sensitive and don’t bash his/ her thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Admission - if you know how and what you did to contribute to the mess you have on your hands, admit it. Take responsibility for your contribution to the madness and explain your motives at that time. Be it good, bad or just plain foul, be honest and tell the truth. When you don’t explain your position honestly, your partner will find it hard to trust what you say. No bueno … ever. Honesty is the best policy when building communication and is, more often than not, respected.

Check your body language - when you engage in deep communication, your body language speaks louder than words! If your hands are on your hips or your arms are folded or your eyes are rolling and you’re sucking your teeth, this further shuts the window of communication.

Think – open. Your chest (heart) should remain exposed. When you do the opposite it reads you’re guarding your true feelings. Same with your mind, if you’ve got your face buried in your hands or constantly avoiding eye contact, it reads you’re closed off. When you’re open, it’s more inviting and helps the conversation flow with ease. Take a few deep breaths, relax and try your best to eliminate all combative gestures.

Exercise patience - everybody communicates differently. Some are longwinded while others have troubles articulating their true emotions and thoughts. Then there are those that ramble about without making a solid point. Key phrases like, “help me understand,” “what do you want me to take away from what you’re saying” and take your time, I’m listening,” always helps the other person express. Be patient because while you’re getting to know your partner, they’re also getting to know you. It’s a process … lots of trial and error.

Listen Carefully - listening is the lost art. How many times have you been guilty of cutting your partner off mid-sentence so they can “hear you out?” A lot of times we’re so wrapped up in the moment and wanting to express our own side of the story that we miss the purpose of the conversation, which is to share. Listen, take it all in and then respond. The conversation time can be cut in half without all the back and fourth – which normally goes nowhere.

Acceptance - accept the fact you can’t change how your partner thinks or feels. It is what it is, and it’s best to accept that rather than try to change it. There’s no use in those “you shouldn’t feel that way!” or “why are you hurt?” plights. You can’t undo hurt or pain. But you can do is do what you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again and let it be known!

Communication is vital in all relationships! But why is it so easy to talk to your doctor, co-workers, clients, friends – while communication on the home front is all but non-existent! If you can tell everybody in your circle but the person you’re fussing about what’s wrong in your personal life, something’s not right! Put the same effort into talking to your partner and nothing but good can come from it! Communication is key … always!

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They Burned Up How Much Money?!?!? SMH!!!

I have seen a lot of ignorant things in my life, but this one may have found itself at the top! Rappers Jon Geezy & Parlae decided to show everyone in the world that they had money to blow by not only burning $100,000, but also putting it on youtube for the whole world to see.

Not only is this HIGHLY ILLEGAL, but it might also be the dumbest thing anyone has ever done with $100-thousand dollars. Don't you have kids you can send to college, or maybe buy your mom a new car or a house for that matter?

Parlae, who is a rapper from the 2 hit wonder group "Dem Franchize Boyz," should definitely have something better to do with that money, I didn't even know "Lean Wit it Rock It" sold like that! And didn't those checks have to be split 4 ways. SMH.
In my best Chappelle voice, "They should of never gave y'all n*ggas money!"

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Arizona's Immigration Law Hitting Road Blocks

PHOENIX (AP) -- A referendum drive and a lawsuit have emerged as potential road blocks to Arizona's tough new law on illegal immigration that has thrust the southwestern border state into the spotlight.

The legal action set to be filed Thursday in federal court is aimed a preventing enforcement of the controversial measure, while the ballot question could put it on hold until 2012.
Signed last week by Republican Governor Jan Brewer, the law requires local and state law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're in the country illegally, and makes it a state crime to be in the United States illegally.

A draft of the proposed lawsuit obtained by The Associated Press shows the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders will seek an injunction preventing authorities from enforcing the law. The group argues federal law pre-empts state regulation of national borders, and that Arizona's law violates due-process rights by allowing suspected illegal immigrants to be detained before they're convicted.

Other Hispanic and civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, are also planning lawsuits. And U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said the federal government may challenge the law.

On Wednesday, a group filed papers to launch a referendum drive that could put the law on hold until 2012 if organizers wait until the last minute to turn in petition signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot.

Opponents of the law have until late July or early August to file the more than 76,000 signatures -- the same time the law is set to go into effect. If they get enough signatures, the law would be delayed until a vote.
But the deadline to put a question on the November ballot is July 1, and a referendum filing later than that could delay a vote on the law until 2012, officials with the Secretary of State's Office said.

"That would be a pretty big advantage" to the law's opponents, said Andrew Chavez, head of a Phoenix-based petition-circulating firm and chairman of the One Arizona referendum campaign.

The legislation's chief sponsor, Republican state Rep. Russell Pearce, said he has no doubt voters will support the new law at the ballot box, which would then protect it from repeal by the Legislature. In Arizona, measures approved by voters can only be repealed at the ballot box.

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The clergy group's lawsuit targets a provision allowing police to arrest illegal-immigrant day laborers seeking work on the street or anyone trying to hire them, according to the draft. It says the solicitation of work is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

State Rep. Ben Miranda, a Democrat who will serve as the local attorney on the case, said it was important to file the suit quickly to show local Latinos and the rest of the country that there's still a chance the law won't be enacted.

"I think there's real damage being caused right now," Miranda said. "How do you measure the kind of fear ... going on in many parts of this community?"
At least three Arizona cities -- Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson -- also are considering lawsuits to block the law.
The effect of the law continued to ripple beyond Arizona. A Republican Texas lawmaker said she'll introduce a similar measure similar next year, and Republicans running for governor in Colorado and Minnesota expressed support for the crackdown.

Civil rights leaders and others have called for a boycott of Arizona, and the Mexican government is warning its citizens about an "adverse political atmosphere" in Arizona. At least three Arizona cities are considering lawsuits to block the law, and there are two efforts to put a referendum on Arizona's November ballot to repeal it.
Retired South African archbishop Desmond Tutu said he supports the idea of a boycott of Arizona businesses, according to a letter he wrote that was posted Wednesday on, a website for Nobel peace laureates that promotes peace and human rights.

"I recognize that Arizona has become a widening entry point for illegal immigration from the South... but a solution that degrades innocent people, or that makes anyone with broken English a suspect, is not a solution," Tutu said.
Colombian singer Shakira planned to visit Phoenix on Thursday to meet with the city's police chief and mayor over her concerns that the law would lead to racial profiling.

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Ice Cube To Star In Film Based Around Cops With Alleged Ties To Biggie & Tupac Murders

Ice Cube is teaming up with Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster in the new film Rampart.
The film, which is centered around the scandals that took place in the Los Angeles Police Department in the 1990s, showcases police misconducts in the Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (CRASH) anti-gang program including unprovoked shootings, beatings, planting of evidence, framing of suspects, stealing and dealing narcotics, bank robbery, perjury and covering up evidence.

Ice Cube is set to play a LAPD officer alongside Foster, who are colleagues with Harrelson's character, an LAPD officer on a redemptive journey who finds himself embroiled in scandal.

The LAPD, which has widely been criticized for the mishandling of the murder cases of the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac, have denied allegations that they have ever hired criminals to work as officers in the division.

But according to retired robbery-homicide detective Russell Poole in the critically acclaimed book “Labyrinth”, the police knowingly hired gang members David Mack and Rafael Pérez who were well known throughout the Blood community.
According to the book "Labyrinth", Mack and Pérez were also employed by former Death Row CEO Suge Knight, along with other police officers from the Rampart division, to serve as security at various Death Row events. Poole also states that the officers witnessed and participated in illegal activities while working events.

Mack, who was suspected to have played a role in the murder of Notorious B.I.G., was later arrested for bank robbery, while still employed as an LAPD officer.
Adding to the scandal was the shooting death of corrupt LAPD officer Kevin Gaines by fellow officer and undercover detective Frank Lyga in 1997. The shooting, which was ruled self-defense, uncovered evidence of Officer Gaines's corrupt behavior.

According to reports, Gaines filed a bogus claim against the city of Los Angeles for “mistreatment” against him during an arrest while he was off duty. After the ruling in Gaines favor, it was later discovered that the suit was filed to secure his officer pension. Police also state adding to growing suspicion was the fact that Gaines was dating and living with Suge Knights ex-wife and the then manager of Snoop Dogg, Sharitha Knight.

According to published police files, Poole, who was assigned to investigate the Lyga-Gaines shooting, recovered evidence that Gaines's lifestyle did not match the $55,000 a year salary he was paid as an LAPD officer.
The published reports show that at the time, Gaines drove a Mercedes and wore designer suits. Detectives also found nine credit cards as well as a receipt for a $952 restaurant tab at Monty's Steakhouse, a Westwood hangout for members of Death Row Records.

At the time, Death Row Records was under investigation by the FBI since 1993 for its strong ties to Compton's Mob Piru Bloods gang.
Rampart, a film based on James Ellroy's screenplay, has been developed at Light stream Pictures is slated to be released sometime in 2011.

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Graco Recalls 217,000 Baby Cribs

About 217,000 Graco cribs have been recalled, due to a malfunction that can entrap, suffocate or strangle infants and toddlers, federal safety officials announced Thursday.

The recall includes so-called "drop side" wood cribs made by manufacturer LaJobi and branded with the Graco logo.

217,000 drop side cribs that could suffocate or strangle infants are being recalled.
Faulty hardware can cause the drop side to detach from the crib, creating a gap "in which infants and toddlers can become wedged or entrapped, posing a risk of suffocation and strangulation," the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a press release.

Consumers should immediately stop using the cribs and contact LaJobi's recall hotline at (888) 842-2215 to receive a free hardware retrofit kit, the company said.

"We have moved swiftly and decisively, in full cooperation with the CPSC, to take this precautionary action and recall these cribs and deliver to owners a workable, easy and permanent solution," LaJobi said in a statement.

The CPSC and LaJobi received 99 complaints about the faulty drop side. Children were trapped in two cases and later freed by their caregivers. There were six reports of children falling out of the crib due to the malfunction.

While LaJobi, as the manufacturer, is primarily handling the recall, it marks the third major recall tied to the Graco name this year. Atlanta-based Graco Children's Products, a unit of Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NWL, Fortune 500), recalled 1.5 million strollers in January and 1.2 million highchairs in March.

The cribs were sold, starting in February 2007 at retailers throughout the country for $140 to $200.

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State Of Mississippi Hit By Tornado Traveling Across State

A tornado almost a mile wide tore through Mississippi on Saturday, raking cities from the central western border with Louisiana northeastward to Alabama, and causing significant injuries, a spokesman for the governor said.

"They're working to get to the people and rescue as many as they can," said Dan Turner, spokesman for Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. "What we have right now that we know of is damage in at least four counties with injuries -- significant injuries in three of the four and one possible death reported in Yazoo City."

Turner said the state's emergency management officials had set up a command post near U.S. 49 in Yazoo City, where he said the tornado had caused "extensive damage."

The state has activated a 25-person rapid response team from Hattiesburg that is capable of search and rescue operations, Turner said.
Mississippi residents reported that the path of the twister was a half-mile to a mile wide, said Mark McAllister, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Jackson.

CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras said the tornado had traveled 150 miles across Mississippi, starting in the western part of the state and moving northeast before weakening as it moved into Alabama.

In Yazoo City, Fire Chief Roy Wilson said that between 20 to 30 houses were destroyed, and said some people were trapped inside structures. Wilson said he didn't yet have confirmed numbers on injuries.

"It's in pretty bad shape so far," he said of the city.
In Eagle Lake, near the Louisiana border, about 30 homes were destroyed, Turner said.
Linda Green, a dispatcher with the Issaquena County Sheriff's Department, told CNN that there was minimal damage in the area around Valley Park, and a few power lines were down.

No injuries have been reported in Valley Park after the twister ripped through around 11:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. ET), she added.

Valley Park is in Issaquena County, while Yazoo City is located in Yazoo County. Issaquena County is in the western part of the state, north of Vicksburg.
The entire state is under a tornado watch until 8 p.m. (9 p.m. ET), according to the National Weather Service.

The storm system struck Louisiana before it moved into Mississippi. A Tallulah, Louisiana, police dispatcher said a chemical plant in the city had been damaged, but could not give further details.

Turner said that emergency response teams had been slowed by people out surveying the effects of the storm.

"One of the biggest obstacles is, of course, people are curious and want to get out and see the damage," he said. "We've urged people to stay away from those areas, not only because it slows down the emergency response, but there are also still live electrical wires, there are open gas lines that will have to be shut down."

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Man Sought In Killing Of Toddler Surrenders To Police

A suspect in the shooting death of a toddler on the South Side has surrendered to police, accompanied by the Rev. James Meeks and his mother.

Just before the two entered Area 2 headquarters around 3:15 p.m., Meeks told the Tribune, "I am in the process right now, I'm standing with officers literally as we speak."

Leaving the station 15 minutes later, Meeks said the man's mother called him at about 1 p.m. today. He said the woman was familiar with his work and sought him out to ensure her son was safe.

"She said that her son was accused of this heinous crime, the shooting of this baby girl,'' Meeks said.

Meeks said he called Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis, who arranged to have department brass meet him at the station.

The woman and her son met Meeks at the station, he said. "He seemed melancholy and he expressed his love to his mother."

Family and friends outside Comer Children's Hospital learn that 20-month-old Cynia Cole was pronounced dead. (William DeShazer/Tribune)

Later about a dozen angry family members of the toddler, Cynia Cole, arrived at the police station and walked inside to speak with police.

"They better lock him up,'' said a relative as he walked inside.

Police say the suspect -- who's 21 and has a record of guns and drugs -- apparently was aiming at the girl's father as he sat in a car with his three young daughters late Wednesday night in the 600 block of East 92nd Place.

The family says a hooded gunman darted from a gangway and fired at the car, hitting the 20-month-old in the head.

"Coco shot, Coco shot!" her sister, 4-year-old Janiya shouted.

The father, Jerome Hendricks, said he reached into the back, took the little girl out of her car seat and cradled her head in his left arm as he sped away to his home around the corner. Once there, his mother Cynthia Lyons, a nurse, applied pressure to the wound behind the girl's ear until an ambulance arrived and took her to Comer's Childrens Hospital.

Cynia's mother, Alberta Cole, said the gunman's hood fell back and she recognized him from the neighborhood. Hendricks told reporters the suspect had been wounded by a friend of Hendricks last month.

According to court records, Michael Wilson, 22, was arrested for shooting the man in the groin on March 7. Wilson lives on the block where Wednesday night's shooting occurred and, according to court records, has a gang tattoo on his upper right arm.

Coco's grandmother Cynthia Lyons said everyone knew Cynia was one of her favorite grandchildren. And it didn't matter.

"She has a little doll face," she said.

But not a little personality. "She thinks she's the big sister," Lyons said.

Coco would often bake cakes with her grandmother, and her favorite part was licking the bowl.

She loved watching Dora and the Disney Channel -- especially Hannah Montana. She would have turned 2 in August.

Lyons pleaded for people to come forward and cooperate with police.

"I would like for anybody who knows anything to please come forward. If anybody's at home and knows that their relative, their brother, cousin or anybody might have done something wrong and is running scared."

"Somebody has to pay for this," Lyons said. "A 2-year-old baby is no longer with us.

"This is like taking the heart out of me. They took my heart."

Neighbors said the violence in their Burnside community is getting out of control.

"I don't understand why this crime keeps going on in this neighborhood," Rhonda Cook, a neighbor, told WGN-Ch. 9. "I was coming out of my house (when the child was shot) and heard some shooting. I think it's ridiculous. I think they should put some cameras on this block. This is the third time on this block someone got killed."

"Around here it's just goofy gang banging," said another neighbor, Brian White. "Just ridiculous. I used to be one, but what's going on today it's way worse than when I was growing up. I don't want my son to even go to school around here. He's in pre-school.

"It's too crazy around here. It's retaliation. It's never going to stop. I know that. A little girl...that doesn't make any sense. I got a plan. I'm gonna put some fliers out here to stop the violence. I want to start a program so we can march around the neighborhood. I want my son to be able to walk to the park without worry about getting shot."

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Chicago Police Investigating 3 Bodies Found In Car

The three men found dead in a reportedly stolen Pontiac Grand Prix Wednesday night in the McKinley Park neighborhood on the South Side died of blunt force trauma in an assault, according to Thursday autopsy reports.

The bodies of three men were found about 9:30 p.m. inside a vehicle on the street in the 2300 block of West 36th Street near the Belt Railway-CTA Orange Line viaduct.

The men were dead on the scene and suffered multiple injuries from trauma, according to a spokesman for the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

Autopsies performed Thursday revealed all three men died of blunt force trauma in an assault, the medical examiner's office said. Their deaths have been ruled homicides.

A man found in the back seat of the vehicle was an unidentified man in his 20s. The two men in the trunk were identified as Crawford L. Davis, 23 and Tyrece D. Bailey, 23, a medical examiner's spokesperson said. The men lived together in the 1900 block of West Garfield Boulevard.

All three men had their hands bound with rope and were apparently beaten to death, sources said.

The 2007 Grand Prix was parked when police found it and it did not have any broken windows or look like it was involved in a crash, sources said.

The car was equipped with an OnStar security system, which may have tipped off police to the whereabouts of the vehicle when the registered owner reported it stolen, police said.

The Chicago Fire Department was not called to the scene, according to Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford.

Wentworth Area detectives are conducting a triple murder investigation.

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It's About Time..."The Boondocks" Is Back Ya'll!!!

Adult Swim will soon be airing season 3 of 'The Boondocks'...finally! season 3 of 'The Boondocks' is set to air on May 2, 2010 on Adult Swim, and so it's time for the speculation to begin on what we can expect to see.

So much has happened in the world since the last season (we have a black president now!), so I can't wait to see what (or, more importantly, who) Aaron McGruder takes on this time around. While you're waiting for season 3, you can check out the unofficial official blog of 'The Boondocks' here (warning: some material on the site is probably NSFW), where you will find screenshots from season 3, fun videos, and bites of Aaron McGruder's biting social commentary on what's happening in the world right now. So what can we expect to see in season 3? Here are a few guesses and ideas based on the screen shots from the site:

Barack Obama becoming president - I'll start out with one of the most obvious current events to take on. But perhaps season 3 of 'The Boondocks' shouldn't focus so much on Barack Obama becoming president as on the ridiculous aftermath: tea parties, tea baggers, Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck; I can already see Uncle Ruckus dressed as a Mad Hatter version of Uncle Sam leading the citizens of Woodcrest in a protest against the government.

Tiger Woods - I know South Park already took it on, but since Woodcrest looks like a place that loves its golf, it would be nice to see 'The Boondocks' tee off with Tiger Woods in season 3.

Marijuana Legalization - I'm not sure exactly where Aaron McGruder could go with this, but I'd love to see a pro-legalization episode.

Michael Caesar - So far absent from 'The Boondocks' show, many on the message boards on 'The Boondocks' site want to see Huey's more cheerful partner in crime Caesar in season 3 (perhaps we'll also see Huey and Caesar's hilarious creation, the "Most Embarrassing Black People Awards"?).

Uncle Ruckus' family - Another idea burning up the message boards is that we'll see the relatives of Uncle Ruckus, the man racist against himself, in season 3, and that Uncle Ruckus' family members are even worse than he is.

John Mayer's racist remarks - Someone has got to call this guy out.

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Guess What Restaurant Is Taking EBT In Cali?!?!?!

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Mo'Nique's Brother Admits Molesting Her

The brother of Oscar winner Mo'Nique said Monday on Oprah Winfrey's talk show that he molested the actress when they were children and he wants to apologize to her.
Gerald Imes said on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that the molestation continued for a year or two, starting when he was 13 and Mo'Nique was 7 or 8.

"I abused and betrayed the trust of another sibling, my sister, my blood sister," Imes said. He apologized to the actress, saying "I'm sorry, Mo'Nique. I'm sorry."

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Imes said he decided to appear on Winfrey's show to apologize to Mo'Nique and bring their family back together. Imes said he himself was molested and he was using drugs and alcohol at age 11.

"Hopefully somewhere, somehow as siblings we can come back together as brother and sister," he said.
Mo'Nique has discussed her brother's molestation in previous interviews. She hasn't responded to a request for comment sent to her publicist. Winfrey said Mo'Nique didn't want to be a part of the interview but gave Winfrey her blessing.
"She said if your expressing what you had done to her could save one family then it would be worth it," Winfrey told Imes. Mo'Nique's parents also appeared on the episode.

"It was such a heartbreaking thing to accept," said her mother, Alice Imes.
Mo'Nique received the supporting actress Academy Award in March for her role in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."

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Little Hope For The 11 Still Missing In Oil Platform Explosion

Eleven workers missing from an offshore oil platform may not have escaped after a massive explosion, officials said Thursday.

Crews continued to search by air and water for those missing from the Deepwater Horizon, which burned for nearly a day before sinking into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday.

Adrian Rose, vice president of rig owner Transocean Ltd., said crew members who survived Tuesday's explosion indicated the missing may have been near the blast and unable to escape. Officials had hoped they might have been able to get to a covered lifeboat with supplies.

The rig was doing exploratory drilling about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Rescue crews have covered a 1,940-square-mile search area by air 12 times and by boat five times.

Carolyn Kemp of Monterey, La., whose grandson, Roy Wyatt Kemp, 27, was among the missing, said family members have been told it's unlikely anyone survived. Roy Kemp would have been on the drilling platform when it exploded.

"They're assuming all those men who were on the platform are dead," Carolyn Kemp said. "That's the last we've heard."

Other relatives waited anxiously for hourly updates. Family members of one missing worker, Shane Roshto of Amite, Miss., filed a lawsuit in New Orleans on Thursday accusing Transocean of negligence. The suit said he was thrown overboard by the explosion and is feared dead, though it did not indicate how family members knew that was what happened.

The suit also names oil giant BP, which contracted the rig. A Transocean spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment and BP wouldn't discuss the suit.

The family of Dewey Revette, a 48-year-old from southeast Mississippi, said he was also among the missing. He worked as a driller on the rig and had been with the company for 29 years.

"We're all just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring and hoping for good news. And praying about it," said Revette's 23-year-old daughter, Andrea Cochran.

Transocean Ltd. spokesman Guy Cantwell said 111 workers who made it off the Deepwater Horizon safely after Tuesday night's blast were ashore Thursday, and four others were still on a boat that operates an underwater robot.

Seventeen others hurt in the blast had been brought to shore Wednesday with burns, broken legs and smoke inhalation. Four were critically injured.

Officials had previously said the environmental damage appeared minimal, but new challenges have arisen now that the platform has sunk.

The well could be spilling up to 8,000 barrels of crude oil a day, the Coast Guard said, and the rig carried 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel. She didn't know whether the crude oil was spilling into the Gulf.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said crews saw a one mile by five mile sheen of what appeared to be a crude oil mix on the surface of the water.

The federal Minerals Management Service said it had inspected the rig three times since it moved to the site in January and found no violations.

The rig is 400 feet by 250 feet, roughly twice the size of a football field, according to Transocean's website. A column of boiling black smoke rose hundreds of feet over the Gulf of Mexico.

Rose, the Transocean vice president, said the explosion appeared to be a blowout, in which natural gas or oil forces its way up a well pipe and smashes the equipment. But precisely what went wrong was under investigation.

One worker said he was awakened by alarms and scrambled to get on a life boat.

"I've been working offshore 25 years and I've never seen anything like this before," said the man, who like others at a hotel where workers were taken after they reached land declined to give his name.

Stanley Murray of Monterey, La., was reunited with his son, Chad, an electrician aboard the rig who had ended his shift just before the explosion.

"If he had been there five minutes later, he would have been burned up," Stanley Murray said.

A total of 126 workers were aboard. Seventy-nine were Transocean workers, six were BP employees and 41 were contracted.

The blast could be one of the nation's deadliest offshore drilling accidents of the past half-century.

One of the deadliest was in 1964, when a catamaran-type drilling barge operated by Pan American Petroleum Corp. near Eugene Island, about 80 miles off Louisiana, suffered a blowout and explosion while drilling a well. Twenty-one crew members died. The deadliest offshore drilling explosion was in 1988 about 120 miles off Aberdeen, Scotland, in which 167 men were killed.

Rose said the Deepwater Horizon crew had drilled the well to its final depth, more than 18,000 feet, and was cementing the steel casing at the time of the explosion.

"They did not have a lot of time to evacuate. This would have happened very rapidly," he said.

According to Transocean's website, the rig was built in 2001 in South Korea and is designed to operate in water up to 8,000 feet deep, drill 5 1/2 miles down, and accommodate a crew of 130. It floats on pontoons and is moored to the sea floor by several large anchors.

Workers typically spend two weeks on the rig at a time, followed by two weeks off. Offshore oil workers typically earn $40,000 to $60,000 a year -- more if they have special skills.

Working on offshore oil rigs is a dangerous job but has become safer in recent years thanks to improved training, safety systems and maintenance, said Joe Hurt, regional vice president for the International Association of Drilling Contractors.

Since 2001, there have been 69 offshore deaths, 1,349 injuries and 858 fires and explosions in the Gulf, according to the federal Minerals Management Service.

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Are You Green?

Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever. While climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, it also presents the greatest opportunity – an unprecedented opportunity to build a healthy, prosperous, clean energy economy now and for the future.

Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. Earth Day Network is galvanizing millions who make personal commitments to sustainability. Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy. Join the more than one billion people in 190 countries that are taking action for Earth Day.

Courtesy of

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BLACK HISTORY: Dorothy Height, 'Godmother' Of Civil Rights, Dies At 98

Dorothy Height, a leading civil rights pioneer of the 1960s, died Tuesday at age 98, Howard University Hospital confirmed.
Height died at 3:41 a.m., said hospital spokesman Ron Harris. No cause of death was given.

Height, who had been chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, worked in the 1960s alongside civil rights pioneers, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., future U.S. Rep. John Lewis and A. Philip Randolph. She was on the platform when King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech at the 1963 March on Washington.

President Obama called her a hero and the "godmother" of the movement, noting she "served as the only woman at the highest level of the civil rights movement -- witnessing every march and milestone along the way."
"And even in the final weeks of her life -- a time when anyone else would have enjoyed their well-earned rest, Dr. Height continued her fight to make our nation a more open and inclusive place for people of every race, gender, background and faith."

Friend and former U.S. Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman said she was "deeply saddened" by Height's death.

"She was a dynamic woman with a resilient spirit, who was a role model for women and men of all faiths, races and perspectives," Herman said. "For her, it wasn't about the many years of her life, but what she did with them."
Height's years of service span from Roosevelt to the Obama administration, the council said in a statement announcing her death and listing the highlights of her career.

Height was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 by President Clinton and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. She was among a handful of key African-American leaders to meet with Obama at the White House recently for a summit on race and the economy.
Her name is synonymous with the National Council of Negro Women, a group she led from 1957 to 1988, when she became the group's chair and president emerita. She was also a key figure in the YWCA beginning in the 1930s.

Height was born in Richmond, Virginia, and grew up in Rankin, Pennsylvania. Her civil rights work began in 1933 when she became a leader of the United Christian Youth Movement of North America. Among the issues she tackled were fighting to stop lynchings and working to desegregate the armed forces.
She experienced discrimination and wrote in her memoir about being turned down for admittance to Barnard College in New York.

"Although I had been accepted, they could not admit me," she wrote in "Open Wide the Freedom Gates."
"It took me a while to realize that their decision was a racial matter: Barnard had a quota of two Negro students per year, and two others had already taken the spots."
At its 1980 commencement ceremonies, Barnard awarded Height its highest honor, the Barnard Medal of Distinction.

Under Height's leadership, the National Council of Negro Women dealt with the "unmet needs of women and their families by combating hunger and establishing decent housing and home ownership programs through the federal government for low-income families."
The organization spearheaded voter registration drives and started "Wednesdays in Mississippi" in which female interracial groups helped at Freedom Schools, institutions meant to empower African-Americans and address inequalities in how the races were educated.

Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and fellow civil rights leader, said Height was fighting for social justice "long before Dr. King and some of us appeared on the scene."
"She was truly a pioneer, and she must be remembered as one of those brave and courageous souls that never gave up, never gave in," Lewis said. "She was a feminist and a major spokesperson for the rights of women long before there was a women's movement."

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, the California Democrat who is chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Height's efforts "undergirds the work" of the caucus.
She called Height "a bold and brilliant African-American woman who blazed many trails and opened many doors for a countless number of Americans, particularly the empowerment of women and girls, during her lifelong quest for justice."

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T.I.’s Visit To Middle School Upsets Parents Of Students

T.I.’s recent trip to a middle school in Georgia didn’t sit too well with the parents of the students.

From NBC 11 in Atlanta

Out of jail and doing community service, Clifford “T.I.” Harris made a trip to Woodland Middle School in Henry County on March 5, an unwanted surprise for one family.

Tom Myers was surprised when his daughter came home and told him that T.I. had been the speaker at the assembly on anti bullying. Myers told 11Alive News that had he known T.I. was speaking, he would not have allowed his daughter to attend. So he wrote an e-mail to Woodland’s principal, Dr. Terry Oatts.

“The first e-mail I sent to him was to ask that from now on we have some kind of parental input whether or not a speaker is appropriate. If I don’t want my child to be there, just give me the right to opt them out,” Myers said.

Myers also wrote in the e-mail, “How about next time, let him mow the grass or pick up the trash around the school grounds? If the kids see that they might understand that what he did was wrong.”

In e-mails obtained by 11Alive News, Oatts replied in his e-mail, “I thought about asking a guy who snorted cocaine and got arrested for DUI when he was 30 to come and speak to our kids, but President George W. Bush was not available.”

Oatts went on to write in the exchanges with Myers that even the president made mistakes when he was young, and that T.I.’s messages to the students was ‘to take their education seriously, put forth their best effort, pursue their dreams and not engage in bullying.’

So what do you think Edgers was this blown up to much?!?!

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Guru Of Gang Starr Writes Good-Bye Letter To Fans

Solar, Guru’s partner, expressed sadness over the loss.

“The world has lost one of the best MCs and Hip-Hop icons of all-time — my loyal best friend, partner, and brother, Guru,” Solar said in a statement. “Guru has been battling cancer for well over a year and has lost his battle! This is a matter that Guru wanted private until he could beat it, but tragically, this did not happen. The cancer took him. Now the world has lost a great man and a true genius.

Guru, a Boston native, rose to fame in the 80’s as one half of Gangstarr, the iconic rap group with DJ Premier.

The group released six highly regarded albums in their tenure until 2003 when they broke up. After his successful run with Premier, Guru founded 7 Grand Records with producer Solar.

Solar went on to tend to the rapper as he fell ill, seemingly controlling the flow of information and access to Guru. Many of his family members complained that they were denied their right to see him.

Solar also said that Guru wrote a letter to fans and sent it out through a press agency.

“For the fans that reached out with love and support, I can’t tell you how much that meant to Guru and myself. Guru prepared this letter (read below) while he was in the hospital for the fans,” the producer continued. “I hope now that Guru has moved on to a better place.”

In the letter, seen below, the rapper explains his illness, expresses gratitude to supporters and offers some parting words for DJ Premier.

I, Guru, am writing this letter to my fans, friends and loved ones around the world. I have had a long battle with cancer and have succumbed to the disease. I have suffered with this illness for over a year. I have exhausted all medical options.

I have a non-profit organization called Each One Counts dedicated to carrying on my charitable work on behalf of abused and disadvantaged children from around the world and also to educate and research a cure for this terrible disease that took my life. I write this with tears in my eyes, not of sorrow but of joy for what a wonderful life I have enjoyed and how many great people I have had the pleasure of meeting.

My loyal best friend, partner and brother, Solar, has been at my side through it all and has been made my health proxy by myself on all matters relating to myself. He has been with me by my side on my many hospital stays, operations, doctors visits and stayed with me at my home and cared for me when I could not care for myself. Solar and his family is my family and I love them dearly and I expect my family, friends, and fans to respect that, regardless to anybody’s feelings on the matter. It is my wish that counts. This being said I am survived by the love of my life, my sun KC, who I trust will be looked after by Solar and his family as their own. Any awards or tributes should be accepted, organized approved by Solar on behalf myself and my son until he is of age to except on his own.

I do not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name likeness, events tributes etc. connected in anyway to my situation including any use of my name or circumstance for any reason and I have instructed my lawyers to enforce this. I had nothing to do with him in life for over 7 years and want nothing to do with him in death. Solar has my life story and is well informed on my family situation, as well as the real reason for separating from my ex-DJ.

As the sole founder of GangStarr, I am very proud of what GangStarr has meant to the music world and fans. I equally am proud of my Jazzmatazz series and as the father of Hip-Hop/Jazz. I am most proud of my leadership and pioneering efforts on Jazzmatazz 4 for reinvigorating the Hip-Hop/Jazz genre in a time when music quality has reached an all time low. Solar and I have toured in places that I have never been before with GangStarr or Jazzmatatazz and we gained a reputation for being the best on the planet at Hip-Hop/Jazz, as well as the biggest and most influential Hip-Hop/Jazz record with Jazzmatazz 4 of the decade to now. The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time. And we as a team were not afraid to push the envelope. To me this is what true artists do!

As men of honor we stood tall in the face of small mindedness, greed, and ignorance. As we fought for music and integrity at the cost of not earning millions and for this I will always be happy and proud, and would like to thank the million fans who have seen us perform over the years from all over the world. The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time and is my most creative and experimental to date. I hope that our music will receive the attention it deserves as it is some of the best work I have done and represents some of the best years of my life.

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BLACK HISTORY: Benjamin L. Hooks, Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 85

Benjamin L. Hooks, who as executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for 16 years championed minorities in an increasingly conservative political era, died Thursday at his home in Memphis. He was 85.
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Benjamin L. Hooks in 2007, when he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

James A. Finley/Associated Press
Benjamin L. Hooks at a news conference in St. Louis in May 2006.
Leila McDowell, a spokeswoman for the N.A.A.C.P., said Mr. Hooks had died after a long illness.

While best known for his leadership role with the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights group, Mr. Hooks had a varied career. He was a Baptist minister who headed two churches. He was a lawyer and a criminal court judge — the first black to be appointed to the bench in his native Tennessee. He was the first of his race to be named to the five-member Federal Communications Commission.

“Most people do one or two things in their lifetimes,” said Julian Bond, a former head of the Atlanta branch of the N.A.A.C.P. “He’s just done an awful lot.”

Mr. Hooks was also a gifted orator, both in the pulpit and from a podium, mixing quotations from Shakespeare or Keats with the cadence and idioms of his native Mississippi Delta. “There is a beauty in it and a power in it,” Mr. Hooks once said of black preachers’ speaking style.

Mr. Hooks had his share of disappointments. Under his leadership, the N.A.A.C.P. found itself repeatedly fighting the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush to preserve the gains minority groups had made in the 1960s and ’70s.

At the same time, the organization floundered under the weight of declining membership, shaky finances and an image of being outmoded and increasingly irrelevant. And his own business career — he owned fried-chicken franchises in Memphis for a time — was damaged by bankruptcy.

For some who have watched the N.A.A.C.P. over the years, Mr. Hooks came to symbolize one of its major problems: leaders from an older generation unwilling or unable to adapt to modern times and changed political circumstances.

Despite the setbacks, Mr. Hooks felt he had succeeded in advancing a just cause, to improve the lot of African Americans. “I have fought the good fight,” he said in his valedictory to the N.A.A.C.P. in 1992. “I have kept the faith.”

In 2007, President George W. Bush presented Mr. Hooks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

Benjamin Lawson Hooks was born Jan. 31, 1925, in Memphis. With his father’s photography business providing a stable middle-class grounding, Mr. Hooks attended LeMoyne College in Memphis. After serving three years in the Army during World War II and rising to staff sergeant, Mr. Hooks attended law school at DePaul University in Chicago, graduating in 1948.

In 1951, while working as a lawyer in Memphis, he wed Frances Dancy, a high-spirited woman whose friends could not believe she was marrying such a straight arrow. When they dated, Mr. Hooks made her agree that if they went to a dance one night, the next date had to include a civic meeting or a church social.

Mr. Hooks earned the nickname “Jacob” as a teen-ager because of his keen interest in Bible studies. An ordained Baptist minister, he had long been the resident minister at two churches — one in Detroit and the other in Memphis. He insisted on preaching a sermon at some church — his own or someone else’s — every Sunday, regardless of what job he held.

President Richard M. Nixon appointed Mr. Hooks to the Federal Communications Commission in 1972. He then set out to expand the opportunities for minorities to obtain broadcast licenses, convincing the Small Business Administration to end restrictions on loans to broadcast and news businesses, and expanding the program of granting tax breaks to those who sold radio or television stations to minorities.

Yet while seeking to broaden opportunities for minorities in the broadcast industry, Mr. Hooks also sided with the corporate giant AT&T in its fight to shut out upstart companies like MCI from long distance telephone services.

When Jimmy Carter won the presidency in November 1976, Mr. Hooks was so widely thought to be in line to head the F.C.C. that some commissioners began calling him “Mr. Chairman.” But when asked by the N.A.A.C.P. board to take over the helm of the organization from an ailing Roy Wilkins, Mr. Hooks decided that that would be the more interesting and prestigious job.

Replacing Mr. Wilkins, a guiding figure of the civil rights movement, in July 1977, Mr. Hooks tried to steer the association through some of its most difficult years.

Twelve of his 16 years as executive director of the association coincided with the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, whose administrations were criticized by the N.A.A.C.P. as hostile to the political, economic and social agendas of civil rights groups.

Mr. Hooks also had to deal with an increasingly conservative political climate in which opposition to spending on social programs was growing. Many whites, too, were becoming openly antagonistic toward N.A.A.C.P. goals like school busing to achieve racial balance and preference programs for blacks in the areas of employment and college admissions.

“I’ve had the misfortune of serving eight years under Reagan and three under Bush,” Mr. Hooks said in 1992. “It makes a great deal of difference about your expectations. We’ve had to get rid of a lot of programs we had hoped for, so we could fight to save what we already had.”

After taking over from Mr. Wilkins, Mr. Hooks instituted several programs to appeal to younger blacks, including the Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, known as Act-So, an annual talent competition that involves more than 150,000 teen-agers throughout the country.

In a sharp departure from past N.A.A.C.P. policies, he sought to forge closer ties with American corporations. He testified before Congress on behalf of measures to limit imports, which he saw as a threat to jobs held by blacks, and he managed to increase the amount of money raised by the N.A.A.C.P. from corporate donors, to $3.7 million in 1993 from $696,000 in 1978.

Despite his achievements, many friends and detractors alike say that Mr. Hooks only held the line, failing to modernize and build the N.A.A.C.P. into a more effective organization that could better cope with the increasingly contentious environment that surrounded civil rights issues in the 1980s and ’90s.

As a manager who hated to delegate tasks, Mr. Hooks resisted attempts, until his final two years in office, to hire a strong deputy to help with administration. Distrustful of modern research techniques like polling and focus groups, Mr. Hooks was widely seen as failing to come up with a strategy to make the N.A.A.C.P. more relevant to the large numbers of younger, college-educated blacks who had attained middle-class status in the 1970s and ’80s.

As a result, membership stagnated at around 400,000, revenue from memberships declined, and the average age of members increased.

“Ben lacked a sense of understanding of what his marketplace was, what he was selling, or how you sell in this economy,” said George Carter, who served as Mr. Hooks’ deputy for two years. “He had very little sense that there are ways to sell yourself and get high yields.”

Reflecting the social conservatism of his black Baptist roots, Mr. Hooks for years resisted entreaties to have the N.A.A.C.P. take a strong position on preventing the spread of AIDS, a growing threat in the inner cities. In was not until the basketball star Magic Johnson announced in 1991 that he was infected with the AIDS virus that Mr. Hooks relented and allowed the organization to support programs like condom distribution in schools and health clinics.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hooks was battling his board over who would run the organization’s day-to-day operations. In 1978, five months after taking the job, Mr. Hooks threatened to quit when the board refused to approve his hiring of a chief aide and refused to pay the travel expenses of his wife, who frequently accompanied him.

In 1983, Mr. Hooks was suspended by the board’s chairwoman, Margaret Bush Wilson, a lawyer from St. Louis, who asserted that Mr. Hooks was mismanaging the organization. Mr. Hooks emerged the victor in the power struggle when the board voted to reinstate him and to strip Ms. Wilson of her powers.

But in 1992, Mr. Hooks again became embroiled in a fight with the board, this time under the chairmanship of William Gibson, a dentist from South Carolina, over the day-to-day running of the organization. When the board backed Mr. Gibson, Mr. Hooks resigned.

He is survived by his wife, Frances, and a daughter, Patricia Gray.

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Man Kills Family And Wishes He Had More Bullets

CHICAGO, Ill. – Relatives said a Madison man “snapped out” as he shot and killed his pregnant wife, their baby son, and 2 nieces in Chicago early Wednesday. 32-year-old James Larry was being questioned by police at last word. Relatives told the Wisconsin State Journal that Larry and members of his family were returning a nephew to Chicago after spring break when he got to his sister’s house and began shooting.

Other media reports said Larry heard voices ordering him to kill his family and bring them back to Allah. His 19-year-old Twanda Thompson died, along with their 7-month-old son Jihad, both of Madison. Thompson was expecting the couple’s second child in July. Also killed were Larry’s nieces, 16-year-old Keyshai Fields and 3-year-old Keleasha Larry.

A friend told the State Journal that Fields was 4 months’ pregnant. Larry’s mother, 57-year-old Leona Larry Burton, was critically injured and was fighting for her life at a Chicago hospital at last word. And his 13-year-old nephew Demond Larry was also critically injured. Larry’s sister Keshia was not at her southwest side Chicago home when the shootings occurred about 4:25 a.m. Wednesday. She said her 12-year-old daughter called her after she fled to a nearby gas station. The girl said Larry chased her down a street, and she was also shot-and-wounded.

The State Journal said Larry pleaded no contest last November to attacking Thompson at a department store parking lot. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail, and was released in late February.

The suspect’s sister, Letisha Larry of Wisconsin, said that while her brother has no diagnosed mental illness, he recently started acting strangely. She claimed that while he was in jail he had become a Muslim, and had been saying Allah was telling him to kill people for the past week, sources told WBBM.

Court documents indicate the suspect has a criminal history involving drugs and theft, and was charged last September with disorderly conduct and battery after he allegedly attacked Thompson in a van in Madison, Wis.

The suspect’s 12-year-old niece managed to escape the massacre and run out of the house as her uncle shot at her from a distance. She notified the Chicago Police who arrived on the scene within minutes.

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T.I. Announces Title, Release Date For New Album

T.I. is back in the headlines today and making a groundbreaking announcement to fans eager to pick up The King's new project.
As previously reported Tip released the trailer to his “F*ck A Mixtape” mixtape courtesy of DJ Drama and his Gangsta Grillz series and now he's announcing the name of his next studio album as King Uncaged with a scheduled August 24th release date.
No word yet on who's featured on the project but we'll keep you updated.
I guess Tiny wasn't lying when she said he was back.

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New Video: Maxwell’s “Fistful of Tears”

Check out the new video for Maxwell’s “Fistful of Tears”. The video was shot by director Phil Andelman, who also directed the video for “Pretty Wings.”

In related news, Maxwell will perform on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” on April 20th and NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno on April 22nd. His tour with Jill Scott starts in May and Erykah Badu is set to open up for him on June 26.

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Inmates Scam The Government Out Of Millions Of $$$$..Here's How!!

Officer Mark Lindback started his day off with a routine contraband check of a jail cell. He pulled up the inmate's mattress, and ducked his head under the bed. He didn't find any shanks or drugs, but he did find papers -- lots and lots of papers.
The inmate immediately became irate.

"He was very insistent on getting back his paperwork," Lindback said. "It made me look more thoroughly to see what it was."
Lindback says he found tax forms, papers with instructions on how to fill out the forms along with various social security numbers and birth dates during that routine check four years ago.

He turned the papers over to his supervisor, not knowing at the time that he had stumbled upon a tax scam in which prison inmates allegedly were attempting to bilk the government out of more than $1 million.
Investigators say Monroe County jail inmates in Key West had been filing false tax return forms for jobs they never had as far back as 2004, and getting thousands of dollars a pop in refund checks.

Using a formula that kept their refunds to amounts under $5,000 per claim, inmates thought they would fly under the radar, investigators say. And they did for years, passing around cheat sheets that showed line by line how to fill out the complicated forms.

Officer Mark Lindback shows where he found the paperwork that allegedly showed inmates how to scam the IRS.

The scam however is not a local gig. Investigators and federal officials say it has been going on for decades in state and federal prisons around the country.
"These guys weren't rocket scientists...They didn't just wake up and come up with this great scheme," Monroe County Sheriff Bob Peryam said.

Here's how it allegedly worked: using names of defunct or made up businesses as places of work and a master cheat sheet for salary and other numerical information, inmates filled out 4852 tax forms -- the ones you use if your employer didn't provide you with a W-2.

The inmates sent the forms in and the IRS then issued refund checks, in some cases sending them directly to the county jail. But inmates didn't just fill out the forms for themselves. For a $500 fee ringleaders at the prison filled out refund requests for other inmates, promising they would each get a return of about $4,500.
Some of the prisoners, homeless before their arrests, were unaware of the scam. They gave away their social security numbers for honeybuns, a sweet pastry that inmates can buy in prison. The scammers would then file more refund requests under those social security numbers.

"Whenever someone is booked into the jail we have an intake process where we get all their vital statistics and my understanding is when they would go into the population then this group of people would do their own intake process," said John Ellsworth, one of the detectives who investigated the scheme and has since retired.

An inmate writes his complaint after Monroe County jail blocks his refund check.
Ellsworth said the inmates would say things like "Give us your social security number" or ask "Did you work last year, did you file for taxes?"

Two inmates were charged last month with participating in the scam, along with several members of their families. Investigators say Shawn Clarke and Danilo Suarez were the ringleaders at the Monroe County jail, filling out false tax return forms for themselves, other inmates, and family members.

Both men are accused of using their families to help print out IRS forms and act as personal bank accounts -- cashing the refund checks and having the money deposited into their prison canteen accounts or divided between whoever was in on the scheme. The indictments charging them and their family members with conspiracy to defraud the IRS and filing false income tax returns come four years after the IRS was notified of Lindback's discovery in 2006.

Clark's lawyer did not return CNN's calls for comment. Suarez has no attorney representing him in this case. Neither man has been arraigned yet.
Investigator Ellsworth and jail officials were told the IRS had to conduct their own investigation, despite the mound of evidence they provided the agency.

Retired Det. John Ellsworth looks at photos of the inmate's cell where the alleged scam was uncovered in 2006.
"For them to start all over from scratch when a case has been handed to them gift wrapped and all they had to do was go forth with the indictments was a little disheartening for me," Sheriff Peryam said. "I can say for sure that if I make a mistake on my tax bill I think somebody will be knocking on my door pretty quick. I don't think it will take 3 or 4 years."

While the IRS was not aware the scam was happening at the county jail it did know it had been running in prisons across the country for decades, Ellsworth said.
The IRS declined to explain why it took so long to act in this case but says it has learned to identify fraudulent refund requests made by prisoners.
"It is not an easy process, particularly considering the fact that some inmates are entitled to tax refunds and that the prisoner population is not static," the IRS said in a statement.

More than $14 million in fraudulent refunds were issued to prisoners in 2004, according to testimony before a House subcommittee five years ago. But the IRS blocked more than $53 million in false claims from prisoners that year.

As the investigation at the Monroe County continues, at least one inmate is still allegedly filing falsified tax returns, according to jail officials, even though he knows about the investigation. And the IRS has been cutting him checks. Jail officials, however, say they have intercepted the checks.

Ellsworth says that as a taxpayer he is angry that billions of dollars may have been stolen from the American people over the years.
"I'm not optimistic unless somebody at the very top says make this stop that these losses aren't going to continue," Ellsworth said.

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In Theaters Tomorrow: "Death at a Funeral" -New Trailer

In Death at a Funeral, a memorial service for a family patriarch goes terribly awry, beginning with the delivery of the wrong stiff and ending with the ravings of a naked guy on a roof. This may sound awfully familiar, especially to anyone who saw Death at a Funeral three years ago. But that was then, when the comedy was a tumbling (and strained) British farce set in a proper English country house and populated by proper British people coming undone. This is now, when the comedy has been remade, at the urging of stellar comedian Chris Rock, into a loosey-goosey American romp. With judicious tweaks and updates incorporated into his original script by British screenwriter Dean Craig, the wrong stiff is now delivered to grieving African-American kin in Pasadena, Calif. — blood relatives who just happen to be played by some of the biggest names in pop comedy, including Rock (also one of the movie's producers), Martin Lawrence, and Tracy Morgan.

The retooling is almost enough to make me believe in reincarnation. Because this version of Death at a Funeral comes to life with an unforced, bopping raunch and warmth that eluded the previous tea party. The same crazy juju goes down, with explosions of sibling rivalry between grieving sons (Lawrence is a preening, self-involved famous author, Rock is his undervalued brother), grotesque toilet antics involving a very crotchety old man (Danny Glover, never funnier), and displays of hilariously inappropriate behavior by a guest inadvertently enjoying a hallucinogenic afternoon (James Marsden, stealing the show with every sweet, princely smile and barking mad gesture he makes). And now, as then, the whole event is turned upside down by the appearance of a stranger who knew the departed in a very special way. Happily, Peter Dinklage reprises his role as the fly in the dearly beloveds' ointment, giving his inimitable performance an ever-so-slightly insane, aggressive edge suited to this particular family's decibel level. The supporting cast, a gallery of attention-getters, includes Tracy Morgan as a hypochondriacal family friend, Zoë Saldana as a cousin, Luke Wilson as the cousin's ex-boyfriend, and the heavenly Loretta Devine as the grieving widow.

The resurrected Death at a Funeral is directed by Neil LaBute. And — the joke's on us! — the dark-as-pitch playwright and filmmaker (In the Company of Men) turns out to have a playful hand when it comes to choreographing Three Stooges'-style nyuk-nyuks. As British as the original was (actors such as Matthew MacFadyen, Rupert Graves, and Alan Tudyk disappeared into character in a pip-pip display of national theatrical technique), this one could only come from our side of the pond. Personality driven, the movie takes proud advantage of a happy, casually crude, Crock-Pot American-ness. Reveling in mess and homegrown multiracial mayhem, Death at a Funeral finds a new lease on life.

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Who Seen The Meteor Last Night? (Video)

Authorities in several Midwestern states were flooded Wednesday night with reports of a gigantic fireball lighting up the sky, the National Weather Service said.
The fireball was visible for about 15 minutes beginning about 10 p.m., said the National Weather Service in Sullivan, Wisconsin, just west of Milwaukee.

"The fireball was seen over the northern sky, moving from west to east," said the NWS in the Quad Cities area, which includes parts of Iowa and Illinois.
"Well before it reached the horizon, it broke up into smaller pieces and was lost from sight," the service said. "Several reports of a prolonged sonic boom were received from areas north of Highway 20, along with shaking of homes, trees and various other objects including wind chimes," it said.

It said the fireball was seen across parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. CNN affiliate WISN-TV said that people in Ohio also saw it.
Video from WISN showed a massive ball of light exploding across the sky. The Doppler Radar from the Quad Cities weather service appeared to capture a portion of the smoke trail from the fireball at just after 10 p.m., the NWS said. It appears as a thin line extending across portions of Grant and Iowa Counties in Wisconsin.
There has been no official determination as to what caused the fireball, the NWS in Sullivan said.

However, it said there is a meteor shower called Gamma Virginids that occurs from April 4 to April 21, with peak activity expected on Wednesday and Thursday.
"A large meteorite could have caused the brilliant fireball that has been reported," the National Weather Service said.
The NWS in Quad Cities said that it was unknown if any part of a meteorite hit the ground.

According to NASA, a meteor appears when a meteoroid -- a particle, chunk of metal or stony matter -- enters the Earth's atmosphere from outer space.
"Air friction heats the meteoroid so that it glows and creates a shining trail of gases and melted meteoroid particles," it said. "People sometimes call the brightest meteors fireballs."

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7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Hits China Hard (Yushu County)

At least 400 people have been killed and more have been injured or trapped in rubble after a series of earthquakes in north-west China.

Officials said more than 10,000 people were injured and six quakes hit Yushu county, Qinghai province.

Army trucks have been sent to the remote area, 480 miles away from the provincial capital, Xining, to aid rescue and relief efforts. Witnesses reported the collapse of many brick and wood buildings, with people scrabbling through the debris to free those trapped inside.

Half the buildings at the Yushu vocational school are said to have collapsed.

Xie Caishu, Qinghai armed police corps captain, told state media more than 600 rescuers from the paramilitary police had arrived in the country, but that there was a shortage of disaster relief gear and equipment.

"The need of relief equipment far exceeds supply, including tents, temporary housing, mobile kitchens, power generators. We have reported it to higher levels, who guarantee that relief supplies will be airlifted to Yushu in hours," Xie said. Power and water supplies have been cut although some early reports suggested larger buildings had stood firm. The population is relatively scattered, making it hard to assess damage.

The China Earthquake Networks Centre put the biggest shock at magnitude 7.1, although the US Geological Survey put it at 6.9. The Haiti quake which killed more than 200,000 and left 1m homeless in January was magnitude 7. The China Earthquake Administration said phone lines were down, hindering rescue efforts, while workers were racing to release water from a cracked reservoir.

In Jiegu, a township near the epicentre, more than 85% of houses collapsed, while large cracks appeared on buildings still standing, the official Xinhua News Agency cited Zhuohuaxia, a local publicity official, as saying.

"The streets in Jiegu are thronged with panic and full of injured people, with many of them bleeding from their injuries," he said. One local official was quoted by the BBC saying: "We have nothing now. The loss is huge."

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