Archive for January, 2012

Man says Nigeria kidnapping like ‘an action movie’ (AP)

Posted by aifkod on January 31, 2012

BOWDON, Ga. ? As the car an American man was riding in idled in traffic in a remote Nigerian town, two men appeared, one of them shooting the Georgia man’s security guard five times, while the other forced him into a tiny getaway car that sped away.

The car weaved through traffic on side roads and then sped to a main road, where police, known there as “mopols,” had erected a roadblock. Greg Ock’s captors crashed through the barricade and traded fire with a truck of police officers, who narrowly missed the 50-year-old Ock.

“I felt like I was in an action movie,” Ock told The Associated Press at his west Georgia home on Monday, a day after he returned to his family. As they were speeding away from the police, he said he told his guards: “I was more afraid of mopols than you guys.”

Ock was kidnapped on Jan. 20 in Warri, a main city in the Niger Delta, an oil-rich area where foreign firms pump 2.4 million barrels of crude oil a day. After being held seven days, he was released on Friday.

Ock worked in construction for decades, landing gigs all over the U.S. and as far away as Abu Dhabi. He loved the work, the camaraderie and the pay, which helped him support a wife and four daughters.

He landed in the Nigerian town of Sapele in September 2010 to begin one of his more adventurous assignments, maintaining gas turbines and other heavy machinery for Marubeni Corp.

It was tough work and the perks weren’t enticing. The food was bad, he said, and the heat was unbearable. But he had chances to leave the “little prison” of the company’s base camp, often going on Sundays with co-workers and a security guard to a golf course, or to neighboring Benin to eat at a Chinese restaurant.

His journey the day he was ambushed wasn’t nearly as adventurous. He went with a driver, a security guard and a company secretary to a clinic in Warri, where he would get a checkup for a recent bout with malaria.

He took out some cash from an ATM, hopped in the car and tuned his iPod to Don Henley as the driver waited in traffic. What happened next seemed to unfold in a flash.

A gunman ran up to his vehicle and yelled “die, mopol, die” as he fired five bullets into the guard. The other gunman ordered Ock out of the car and pushed him toward a tiny red Audi.

“They told me we were an easy target. We didn’t have tinted windows and only one mopol,” he said. “They told me they wanted a white guy anyways.”

They escaped the city, and one of the kidnappers then called Ock’s boss and demanded about $330,000 for his safe return.

They drove about an hour, arriving at a squat shack where he was forced into a small room. He shared the room with two or three guards, a plastic chair, piles of dirty dishes, some scattered clothes and a mattress blocking the window.

The men dulled his senses by forcing him to smoke marijuana and drink Baron Del Valle red wine at all hours. He didn’t have many food options, either. Early in his captivity, Ock said he asked for boiled eggs. From then on, he got four eggs in the morning and four at night. As a snack, he got apples.

He was told few details about the negotiations his captors were working with his company, adding to his unease. When he was able to sleep, his captors often woke him by cranking an odd mix of local music and Dolly Parton classics from a stereo.

“I was on the edge all the time,” he said.

After a few days, he decided to escape. He found a butcher knife resting in a bowl and reached for it when he thought his captors were sleeping. They weren’t. One alerted the others, who “slapped me around a bit” and chained him tighter to his chair. Despite the beating, Ock said he wasn’t tortured.

The next morning, a guard pulled out a gun and threatened to kill his captive. Ock called his bluff.

“I told them I didn’t care,” he said. “I’ve had a good life.”

On Thursday, Ock could tell the negotiations were heating up. His captors were celebrating and drinking moonshine. Two of the men left the house around noon, returning five hours later with wide smiles.

Around 3:30 Friday morning, the men dumped Ock in a desolate area with about $12 to hail a scooter to the nearest police station. Once there, he called his boss and his wife to let them know he was OK.

Ock said he wasn’t told by either his captors or his company whether a ransom was paid.

“But they seemed happy,” he said. “They let me go for a reason ? and I don’t think it was because they were out of eggs.”

Marubeni Corp. on Monday declined to comment on how Ock was released. U.S. embassy officials also declined to offer any details, citing privacy concerns.

He returned home on Sunday morning, arriving at Atlanta’s airport to a rapturous greeting from family and friends. There, a limousine drove him the 60-mile route to rural Bowdon. Someone told Ock to peek out the sunroof as they approached, and when he did he saw about 500 people gathered to celebrate.

Among the gifts he received was a plastic bag with only an egg and an apple. The friend who offered it to him joked that she didn’t know if he wanted breakfast or supper, so she brought both.

Ock has no plans to return to Nigeria, instead looking for work closer to home. But his wife Teresa said she doubts his kidnapping will scare him from working another faraway gig.

“It’s in his blood to travel,” she said. “He may work here for a while. But I know him. He’ll get to itching to leave.”

For now, Ock is catching up on sleep and making up for lost time.

“It’s taken a while to process it all. For us, too,” Teresa Ock said. “We’re just so thankful for the prayers, from our church, from our community, from everyone who prayed for him.”

She glanced at her husband, who summoned an impish smile.

“I guess I’ve got to go to church now,” he said.


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Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/africa/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120131/ap_on_re_us/us_nigeria_kidnapping

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Will the Herman Cain Endorsement Help Newt Gingrich? (ContributorNetwork)

Posted by aifkod on January 31, 2012

COMMENTARY | The endorsement of Newt Gingrich by Herman Cain should be a game changer for the conservative challenger to Mitt Romney. But would Cain bring much to the Gingrich campaign? Can he cover the ex-House Speaker’s incendiary comments that critics have labeled racist? Did the endorsement come too late? If it works, could it help him in the fall against Barack Obama?

Does Cain Bring Much To The Gingrich Campaign?

Herman Cain is more than just a great Horatio Alger rags-to-riches story of the self-made man who became the business executive, which contrasts well with Romney’s background. Cain is also an electrifying speaker, who demonstrated to my students such skills first-hand a few years. But then again, Gingrich isn’t a bad speaker himself, and isn’t a blueblood, and is also from Georgia, so there’s no geographic balance. The endorsement is something that would have helped Romney more than Gingrich.

Can Cain Help Gingrich Overcome His Critics’ Accusations Of Racism?

The former House Speaker frequently labels Barack Obama as the “food stamp president,” a line that has media members claiming such words represent code words designed to disparage blacks. But with Cain standing by his side, such charges against Gingrich seem less credible.

Did The Cain Endorsement Come Too Late?

While the Gingrich campaign is undoubtedly pleased to see Cain on its side, it probably could have used such support earlier, when Romney was unleashing his comeback against the South Carolina primary winner. After all, Romney had the money and organization, but Gingrich only had debate performances to motivate people. Romney leads in early voting, according to Fox News. Each ballot cast before Cain’s endorsement is lost. And picking up Cain’s selection has to compete with headlines touting Romney’s big lead.

Would the Cain Endorsement Help Gingrich in the GOP Primaries and the Fall Election?

Winning Florida, or making it a close contest, is one thing. Securing the GOP nomination and beating President Obama is another thing. A study by the Pew Research Center found Cain’s impact on the GOP nomination would be similar to John McCain’s backing of Mitt Romney: A slight bump in the polls.

However, like the endorsement of several Republicans, such as George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump and Michele Bachmann would be counterproductive in the fall contest. Only 8 percent say they are more likely to vote for a candidate backed by Cain in November, compared to 21 percent who would be less likely to vote for a Cain-supported nominee, with the rest being indifferent.

Cain’s support of Gingrich could help, but probably could have helped earlier when Gingrich had Romney on the ropes after South Carolina. Many of his positive attributes are those held by Gingrich. He could insulate the ex-congressman from racism charges, and provide a small boost in his quest to win the nomination, yet polls indicated it would not help Gingrich that must in the race against Obama.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/obama/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20120130/pl_ac/10901615_will_the_herman_cain_endorsement_help_newt_gingrich

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Florida Primary: Five Things To Look For

Posted by aifkod on January 31, 2012

Mitt Romney’s money advantage could tip the scales.
By Gil Kaufman

Mitt Romney
Photo: Getty Images

Tuesday’s Florida primary could be make-or-break for the two men battling to secure the Republican presidential nomination. After seemingly taking the first two contests (the Iowa caucus was belatedly handed to former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum) and then losing by double digits in South Carolina last week, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney appears to have gotten his groove back.

The on-and-off leading contender in the hotly contested GOP presidential scrum still has a solid New Hampshire win in his pocket, but his team is looking for a convincing win in the first big state on the primary map, Florida, to help solidify his lead and possibly push him out of reach of his rivals.

Newt Gingrich has a W in his column from South Carolina, but the conservative firebrand has seen his poll position slip over the past week. That drop is mostly due to Romney putting up two solid debate performances last week and splashing out millions from his massive campaign war chest on ads attacking the former House Speaker.

So what should voters be on the lookout for on Tuesday?

Money: Gingrich’s win in South Carolina helped him raise $1 million to spend on ads in Florida — combined with $2.5 million from the outside group Winning Our Future. But those figures paled next to the estimated $15 million that Romney (and his affiliates) spent to saturate the airwaves in a state where media ubiquity helps seal the deal. Tough ads linking Gingrich to Freddie Mac and the housing crisis and reminding Hispanic voters that he once called Spanish the language of the “ghetto” showed a tougher side of the Romney team.

Too-close-to-call: If Romney can’t deliver a decisive win in Florida over Gingrich, the former House leader may be able to make good on his promise this week to hang around until this summer’s RNC convention. A solid victory, though, could cause Gingrich’s donations to shrink and push him back out of contention.

Hispanic vote: Both Romney and Gingrich — Santorum is polling well behind both men and Rep. Ron Paul has decided to skip campaigning in Florida to focus elsewhere — heavily courted the state’s 1.5 million Hispanic voters. Gingrich called Romney the GOP field’s most anti-immigration candidate at Thursday’s debate and the men have very different views on how to deal with illegal immigrants who are already in the country.

The debate factor: After Gingrich zoomed back into contention thanks to some strong debate performances before the South Carolina contest, Romney’s team put their candidate on the attack in the two pre-Florida showdowns. The tactic worked, as Romney put the usually unflappable Gingrich on his heels. Exit polls could show how big an impact those debate performances had on voters’ decisions.

Herman Helper?: Momentary field leader Herman Cain dropped out of the race due to a series of sexual harassment and infidelity allegations in December, but he got his name back on voter’s lips this week when he “enthusiastically” endorsed Gingrich. But given the tawdry allegations that undid Cain and Gingrich’s own battle to turn talk away from his three marriages, it will be interesting to see if Cain’s endorsement gave Gingrich a bump or peeled voters away.

Check back for up-to-the-minute coverage on the primary races and stick with PowerOf12.org throughout the 2012 presidential election season.

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Source: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1678108/florida-primary-mitt-romney-newt-gingrich.jhtml

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EU leaders to agree on permanent bailout fund (Reuters)

Posted by aifkod on January 31, 2012

BRUSSELS (Reuters) ? EU leaders will sign off on a permanent rescue fund for the euro zone at a summit on Monday and are expected to agree on a balanced budget rule in national legislation, with unresolved problems in Greece casting a shadow on the discussions.

The summit – the 17th in two years as the EU battles to resolve its sovereign debt problems – is supposed to focus on creating jobs and growth, with leaders looking to shift the narrative away from politically unpopular budget austerity.

The summit is expected to announce that up to 20 billion euros ($26.4 billion) of unused funds from the EU’s 2007-2013 budget will be redirected toward job creation, especially among the young, and will commit to freeing up bank lending to small- and medium-sized companies.

But discussions over the permanent rescue fund, a new ‘fiscal treaty’ and Greece will dominate the talks.

Negotiations between the Greek government and private bondholders over the restructuring of 200 billion euros of Greek debt made progress over the weekend, but are not expected to conclude before the summit begins at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Until there is a deal between Greece and its private bondholders, EU leaders cannot move forward with a second, 130 billion euro rescue program for Athens, which they originally agreed to at a summit last October.

Instead, they will sign a treaty creating the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), a 500-billion-euro permanent bailout fund that is due to become operational in July, a year earlier than first planned. And they are likely to agree the terms of a ‘fiscal treaty’ tightening budget rules for those that sign up.


The ESM will replace the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), a temporary fund that has been used to bail out Ireland and Portugal and will help in the second Greek package.

Leaders hope the ESM will boost defenses against the debt crisis, but many – including Italian premier Mario Monti, IMF chief Christine Lagarde and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner – say it will only do so if its resources are combined with what remains in the EFSF, creating a super-fund of 750 billion euros ($1 trillion).

The International Monetary Fund says an agreement to increase the size of the euro zone ‘firewall’ will convince others to contribute more resources to the IMF, boosting its crisis-fighting abilities and improving market sentiment.

But Germany is opposed to such a step.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will not discuss the issue of the ESM/EFSF’s ceiling until leaders meet for their next summit in March. In the meantime, financial markets will continue to fret that there may not be sufficient rescue funds available to help the likes of Italy and Spain if they run into renewed debt funding problems.

“There are certainly signals that Germany is willing to consider it and it is rather geared toward March from the German side,” a senior euro zone official said.

The sticking point is German public opinion which is tired of bailing out the euro zone’s financially less prudent. Instead, Merkel wants to see the EU – except Britain, which has rejected any such move – sign up to the fiscal treaty, including a balanced budget rule written into constitutions. Once that is done, the discussion about a bigger rescue fund can take place.

After nearly three years of crisis, some economists believe the combination of tighter budget rules, a bigger bailout fund and a commitment to broader structural reforms to boost EU productivity could help the region weather the storm.

“The fiscal compact and the ESM will shape a better future,” said Carsten Brzeski, a euro zone economist at ING.

“Combined with ongoing austerity measures and structural reforms in peripheral countries, and, of course, with a lot of ECB action, the euro zone could master this stage of the crisis.”

Economists say the pivotal act in recent months was the European Central Bank’s flooding of the banking sector with cheap three-year money, a measure it will repeat next month.


While EU leaders are managing to put together pieces of legislation and financial barriers that might help them stave off a repeat of the debt crisis, immediate concerns – especially over Greece and potentially Portugal – remain.

By far the most pressing worry is the seven-month-long negotiation over private sector involvement in the second Greek rescue package. A deal in the coming days may help restore investor confidence, although Greece will still struggle to reduce its debts to 120 percent of GDP by 2020 as planned.

“If there is a deal, the heads of state and government can endorse it, welcome it and say that now it is up to Greece to agree to and deliver on reforms to get the second financing package,” the euro zone official said.

Negotiators believe they have until mid-February to strike a deal. Failure to do so by then would likely force Greece to miss a 14.5 billion euro repayment on its debt due in mid-March.

Even if Athens can strike a deal with private bondholders to accept a 50 percent writedown on the nominal value of their bonds, it may still not be enough to close Greece’s funding gap.

The IMF has suggested it may be necessary for public sector holders of Greek bonds – including the ECB and national central banks in the euro zone – to write off some of their holdings in order to close the gap.

Such a move would not necessarily involve the ECB or national central banks incurring losses, they would just be expected to forego any profit on the bonds they have bought.

But German ECB board member Joerg Asmussen told Reuters there was no possibility of the ECB taking part in the private-sector restructuring of Greece’s debt.

(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski, editing by Mike Peacock)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/eurobiz/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120130/bs_nm/us_eu_summit

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Understand the Basics of Finance with Finance Assignment Help

Posted by aifkod on January 31, 2012

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Source: http://www.briefingwire.com/pr/understand-the-basics-of-finance-with-finance-assignment-help

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Senegal opposition wants protest against president (AP)

Posted by aifkod on January 31, 2012

DAKAR, Senegal ? Senegal’s opposition is calling on the population to rise up against President Abdoulaye Wade’s decision to run for a third term.

In a statement Saturday, the M23 coalition, which represents all the major opposition candidates running in next month’s election, said the country’s constitutional court had betrayed the people by ruling Wade is eligible to run again.

The decision Friday said the president can run for a third term even though the constitution was changed soon after he took office in 2000 to impose a two-term limit.

The M23 statement says “a black page has just been written in the history of our country by the decision.”

Opposition candidate Macky Sall, a former prime minister under Wade, said they had given “the order” for people to take to the streets.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/world/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20120128/ap_on_re_af/af_senegal_election

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Mad Catz MLG Pro Circuit Controller (for PlayStation 3)

Posted by aifkod on January 31, 2012

While it probably goes without saying, hardcore gamers spend hours at a time on their games. They obsess over strategies for each title. And they spend hundreds of dollars on their gaming gear. The Mad Catz MLG Pro Circuit Controller is aimed at these gamers, and its $129.99 (list) price tag is justified thanks to its extensive customization options. This PlayStation 3 game controller lets you switch between multiple types of analog sticks, direction pads, controller configurations, and even faceplates, with even more planned. Mad Catz also makes a same-price Xbox 360 version, which is nearly identical because you can choose between PS3 and Xbox 360-style analog sticks and direction pads for either model. Its excellent feel and multiple options help this pricey gamepad earn our Editors’ Choice.

Customizing the Gamepad
Straight out of the box, the MLG Pro Circuit looks like your typical third-party PlayStation 3 gamepad with a detachable cable. However, once you pull the magnetically attached face plate off, its differences and appeal become apparent. The direction pad and analog sticks are modular, and you can swap out the default broken arrow direction pad and convex PlayStation 3-style sticks with the included solid plus direction pad and concave Xbox 360-style sticks. The left analog stick and direction pad can also be swapped back and forth, like Mad Catz’s Cyborg V.5 gamepad, letting you choose whether you want to play with a PlayStation 3-style layout or an Xbox 360-style layout.

The customization doesn’t end there. A cartridge on the back of the gamepad holds two 35-gram weights, giving you three weight adjustments for the controller. A flat cover replaces the cartridge if you don’t want any weights and want the back of the gamepad to be flat, instead of feeling like it has a battery pack. The faceplate and left and right handles of the controller are removable, letting you choose between the included glossy black and matte black plates included with the gamepad (or you can mix and match them). All of these different parts, plus the removable three-meter (9-foot-10-inch-) woven cable and the gamepad itself, fit in the included carrying case for easy transportation to tournaments or friends’ homes so you can switch your configuration on the fly. If that’s not enough, Mad Catz will offer additional “ProModule” analog sticks and direction pads of varying shapes and textures, faceplates of varying styles, and detachable cables of varying lengths.

Despite the many removable parts, when everything is locked in the MLG Pro Circuit Controller feels rock-solid. The screw-on cable connection keeps the cable secured tight (there’s no wireless option), and the direction pad and analog sticks, despite fastening with a short twist into the sockets, stay in place. With the faceplate on, you can’t even tell the gamepad is modular.

How Gaming Feels
The gamepad’s shape is closer to an Xbox 360 controller than a PlayStation 3 controller, and feels pleasantly solid in the hand even without the weights. The Xbox 360-like trigger buttons and larger, more curvy profile are much more comfortable than the PlayStation 3′s stock Sixaxis and DualShock 3 gamepads. In my large hands, the MLG Pro Circuit Controller simply feels better. Instead of being pawned off to the second player, this gamepad cries out to stay with the host.

One minor touch makes the MLG Pro Circuit Controller so much more appealing for gamers on the PS3. If you hold the Start and Select buttons for five seconds, the player lights on the bottom will invert (if you’re player one, the first light will be dark and the other three will light up) to signal that the trigger and bumper shoulder buttons have been switched. This means you can pull the right trigger button to fire weapons in most first-person shooters, when previously the right bumper was used to fire. It’s a small feature, but it makes playing shooters much more comfortable. The Mad Catz MLG Pro Circuit Controller for Xbox 360 doesn’t include this feature.

I tried the MLG Pro Circuit Controller with three games: Mortal Kombat, Resistance: Fall of Man, and EDF: Insect Armageddon. As a fighter, Mortal Kombat benefitted from being able to switch both the position and style of the direction pad. I had the most luck with the PS3-style broken arrow direction pad in the PS3 configuration. In Resistance: Fall of Man, I used the shoulder button switching feature to use the trigger to fire, and I had the most comfortable experience with Xbox 360-style sticks in the PS3-style configuration. In EDF: Insect Armageddon, I had the best experience turning quickly to kill giant bugs with the PS3-style sticks in the Xbox 360-style configuration. Your tastes may vary depending on your play style and the size of your hands, but the different options mean you’ll play comfortably in exactly the way you want.?

The Mad Catz MLG Pro Circuit Controller might be an expensive gamepad, but it’s also the best third-party gamepad you can buy thanks to its solid design and multiple configuration options. The simple ability to switch analog stick styles and positions makes it appealing, and the shoulder button switching feature makes it invaluable for gamers who like to play shooters on the PS3. If you can spend the $130 and you spend all your time on your PS3, this is the gamepad you want to get.

More Game Controller and Accessory reviews:
??? Mad Catz MLG Pro Circuit Controller (for PlayStation 3)
??? Nyko Power Grip for Nintendo 3DS
??? Nvidia 3D Vision 2
??? Nyko Charge Base 3 (for PlayStation 3)
??? Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset
?? more

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ziffdavis/pcmag/~3/ArknX5e8-wE/0,2817,2399490,00.asp

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PFT: Bears hire Chiefs’ Emery as GM

Posted by aifkod on January 31, 2012

joe-namathGetty Images

For many younger football fans, the name ?Joe Namath? doesn?t conjure memories of Broadway Joe or Super Bowl III but a drunken pass at ESPN sideline reporter Suzy Kolber during a December 2003 edition of Sunday Night Football.? His ?I wanna kiss you? moment became the stuff of TV legend, even making its way into an epic auto-tune mash-up from D.J. Steve Porter, who coincidentally now crafts similar projects for the four-letter network.

In an HBO documentary on Namath?s life, which debuted at 9:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, Kolber addresses the incident for the first time.? Without saying ?don?t blame us, we didn?t know Joe was drunk,? she seems to try a little too hard to offer up not-so-subtle excuses for not knowing Joe was drunk, even though perhaps everyone involved should have known, or at least suspected, that Joe was drunk.

Especially once he started talking.

?Joe was escorted onto the field by a number of Jets personnel,? Kolber says of the subject of her eventual interview.? ?And what I recall is that he and I never really had a chance to chat, because he wouldn?t stand still.?

Kolber creates the impression that she didn?t have any opportunity to observe his behavior (Namath admits that he?d been drinking all day and night) until the interview started.? ?When we were really getting to close to when our producer wanted to have him on, I took his arm because I just didn?t want him to walk away,? Kolber says.

And even when the interview began, Kolber explains (with her trademark perky nonchalance) that no one thought anything was amiss as he gave a stumbling, incomprehensible answer to the first question:? ?What impresses you about Chad [Pennington]??

?I believe that anything anyone else has watched Chad play impresses me the same thing impresses them,? Namath said at the time, clumsily and awkwardly.

She attributed his off-kilter behavior to, yes, the weather.? ?When we first started talking and he was slow and deliberate in his speech,? Kolber says, ?what was going through my head was, ?Maybe it?s just really cold.??

But here?s the kicker from Kolber, the thing that made me think for the first time that ESPN adroitly has been able to avoid for more than eight years the question of how they put him on the air in the first place, and why they didn?t kill the interview after his initial rambling response.? ?None of the executives in the truck were alarmed either, because nobody said, ?Stop,?? Kolber says.? ?The direction in my ear was, ?Keep going.??

None of this changes the fact that Namath was at fault for drinking too much and agreeing to go on camera and then acting like a jerk by saying ?I wanna kiss you,? not once but twice.? But I?ve been involved in the TV side of this business long enough now to realize that there are (or at least should be) layers of folks who when trouble pops up can make good decisions in the blink of an eye, or even faster.? Still, until seeing Kolber?s roundabout effort to help ESPN continue to sidestep shrapnel for allowing the ?I wanna kiss you? moment to happen by not ending the interview (or by never doing it in the first place), I never made the connection.? Joe was always the bad guy, and ESPN and Kolber were always without blame of any kind.

After hearing Kolber?s explanation, I?m starting to think that maybe a few tougher questions should have been asked back in late 2003.? It?ll be interesting to see if any of those questions are asked now.

Source: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/01/28/bears-name-phil-emery-g-m/related/

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VIDEO: The Best Shameless End Tag You May Have Missed (omg!)

Posted by aifkod on January 31, 2012

Joan Cusack, Shameless  | Photo Credits: Chuck Hodes/Showtime

If viewers didn’t stick around for Shameless‘ hilarious end tags, they missed a plane falling out of the sky on Sunday’s episode.

No, this isn’t Lost. Agoraphobe Sheila (Joan Cusack) has been making huge strides throughout the season, venturing just a few steps farther out her door every day. When it seems Sheila will make it to the local watering hole ? where she might learn the real truth of Frank’s boozing, scheming ways ? Frank’s prayers are answered when a giant piece of an airplane’s landing gear falls precariously close to Sheila outside her home, sending her running back inside for comfort.

Photo Gallery: Winter TV’s sexiest eye candy

Not that Shameless needed to drop a plane to get anyone’s attention, but executive producer John Wells says he hopes this will get people to stick around for the show’s dirty, pithy end tags.

He says that a problem with network television now is that at the end of the show “you’re assaulted immediately by the local newscast or whatever it is. No matter how well you craft the end of the show to have an emotional response, it’s interrupted almost immediately by some other piece of information. By putting the tags in we force everybody to stick around to see that there’s something else coming up.”

In case viewers did miss the tag, Sheila’s return to her agoraphobic state will be explained at the beginning of next Sunday’s episode. Just don’t expect her leave the house again anytime soon. “She goes back into the covers for a while,” Wells says. “She is constantly struggling with her own personal demons and trying to figure out how to move forward in her life.”

Check out the best Shameless tag you may have missed:

Shameless airs Sundays at 9/8c on Showtime.

Related Articles on TVGuide.com

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/entertainment/*http%3A//us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/external/omg_rss/rss_omg_en/news_video_best_shameless_end_tag_may_missed030000353/44350387/*http%3A//omg.yahoo.com/news/video-best-shameless-end-tag-may-missed-030000353.html

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How Evi Compares to Siri: Evi’s Clever, Too, But Slow [VIDEO] (Mashable)

Posted by aifkod on January 30, 2012

Getting Siri’s voice-recognition capabilities on your phone just became a possibility for Android users and a bit less expensive for iPhone users. Meet Evi — a $.99 app for iPhones and free for Android. For such a nominal price, don’t expect Evi to be on par with Siri. There are some major differences with Evi as opposed to the quick and integrated Siri. Evi will not schedule meetings on your calendar or let you dictate text messages. But for functions like finding local shops, restaurants and general information, it’s pretty helpful.

[More from Mashable: 7 Big Privacy Concerns for New Facebook and the Open Graph]

I asked Evi: “What time is it, Evi?” and it thought I said, “What time is it TV?”. Messages such as “Just a mo’” appeared on the screen to let me know it was thinking and then it said, “I’m having trouble getting a response from my servers.” Yes, it was noticeably slower than Siri.

Other times it would say, “I don’t know right now — try asking again next week.” I asked, “Can you set my alarm for 9 p.m.?” even though Evi is not synced with the other apps like Siri is, it said it hasn’t learned to do that yet.

[More from Mashable: Facebook Apps: Highlights of the 60 New Integrated Applications]

Could it be possible that True Knowledge, the company behind Evi, will integrate the app with its operating system’s other functions in the future? Check out the company’s video below introducing Evi.

The voice sounds a lot like Siri, although some reviewers have said the voice sounds annoying. Yes, it thinks too long and sometimes right after you state your query it says it is not getting a response from the servers, but then, your answer appears.

But even as I write this, I keep wanting to call this app Siri because it’s quite similar. However, Apple’s assistant still comes out in the lead compared to Evi [Link to app store].

For as many people who use Siri for making appointments and scheduling calls, there are also many who enjoy the depth of knowledge and wit Siri contains. Ask Siri to “tell me about the Civil War” and it directs me to a related link. Ask Evi the same question and you get a brief encyclopedia response including the dates and a small photo.

Siri also has built-in cleverness. Just to play around with Evi and find out if any sassy answers were built into this app, I asked, “What’s my name?” and it responded, “Who are you? Surely you know the answer to that one already.” I asked Evi other absurd questions like, What should I eat for dinner?” and it pointed me to a website for an olive tapenade recipe.

If you want a bare-bones Siri with some frequent hiccups — but a .99 cent or free price tag — Evi is a good option for now.

What do you think about Evi? Have you used it? How does it compare to Siri? Tell us in the comments.

This story originally published on Mashable here.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/applecomputer/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/mashable/20120129/tc_mashable/how_evi_compares_to_siri_evis_clever_too_but_slow_video

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