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Billy Gardner

Knitted Down there, Sewn to the boundless black stitches In our white spotted blanket. Creatures, Atop brown threads Puncturing the blue. The knots inside their tops Can't unravel what's true.

Michael Douglas on FBI public service announcement

recants statements by his Wall Street character Gordon Gekko

Michael Douglas released a public service announcement in cahoots with the FBI. The clip begins with Michael Douglas’s Academy Award winning role as Gordon Gekko in the 1987 film Wall Street. The fictional character quotes his famous role from the film, “The point is, ladies and gentlemen, greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

Michael Douglas halts the performance by saying yes, “the movie was fiction, but the problem is real,” the character Gordon Gekko often cheated investors out of their savings and Douglas continued, “Our economy is increasingly dependent on the success and the integrity of the financial markets. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

Douglas encourages the public to learn how to identify securities fraud and to report insider trading to their local FBI authorities. Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business said Douglas is creating a brand for his own name, and this brand has helped both him and the FBI,
“They are making the whole thing much more interesting than it otherwise would be. Very few are interested in watching an ad for the FBI. But many are interested in seeing what Michael Douglas has to say about things,” he continued, If their goal is to generate leads and to get people to come forward, this is going to be very effective for them.”

On the other side, some say the FBI name is in some ways tarnished by this branding. Howard Pulchin, executive VP and managing director of brand stewardship at Edelman asked the question, “Is Michael Douglas, a well-known actor, and his character, his best known character, going to trump the message of the important work the FBI is trying to do?”

He told Forbes, “The message has to be louder than the messenger. And in this case, the messenger may be speaking louder than the message. If you have a high-profile messenger, you have to surround him or her with other ways to make sure the message speaks louder than the messenger.”
 

Jason Varitek to announce retirement Thursday

after 15 Red Sox seasons

Major League Baseball reported on its website that, after a 15-year career dedicated solely to the Boston Red Socks, Jason Varitek will announce his retirement.

Jason Varitek will retire as one of the most beloved Boston Red Sox players, reining as captain his final 7 years. The 39-year-old three-time American League All star will end is career with the Boston Red Sox record of 1,488 appearances as a catcher.

EPSN’s Sportsnation took a poll and 66 percent of Americans believed Varitek will be a hall-of-famer. The valuable Boston player retired with a .256 career batting average, he was a switch hitter that batted home 757 runs and hit 193 home runs. America still seems confident for hall-of-fame bids despite lower than average statistics.

Joe Sheehan of Sportsillustrated spoke of Varitek’s less definitive qualities, “He was, to some extent, Boston’s Thurman Munson –a catcher who got credit for the intangible factors: preparing and handling pitchers, leading the team and displaying a certain amount of emotion on and off the field.”

A career is often drowned out by hall of fame discussions. Jason Varitek played for a single franchise his entire career, was team captain for the United States in the World Baseball Classic and caught four no-hitter games. For these achievements alone his time spent in baseball will live on as Red Sox lore. 

Varitek’s wife commented on her husband’s illustrious career via Twitter, “I could not be more proud of my husband! What a truly remarkable 14 years with the Boston Red Sox. You are a true Champion.”

Flu: from swine to bird all the way to bat

Bat flu found in Central and South American specimens

Researchers reported online in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” that a new influenza virus with a new genetic linking to a fruit-bat species from Central and South America has been found.

From swine flu to bird flu, it only makes sense that there is now bat flu. When asked about the implications on human health, one researcher, Ruben Donis, a chief of the molecular virology and vaccines branch in influenza at the United States Center for Disease and Control said, “It was still too early to tell.” The team went on to comment “Early prediction, detection, characterization, and risk assessment of viruses in their animal’s hosts, before they spread into the human population, are critical to protect public health.”

Their current study hoped to test mammals that could migrate long distances which have been found carrying a wide range of pathogenic virus. The CDC tested 316 bats from 21 different species captured at 8 different sites in southern Guatemala.  The results found that flu virus sequences were found in the fruit eating bat commonly known as the little yellow-shouldered bats.

Researchers were unable to grow the virus but have successfully combined the bat flu virus with an H1N1 human flu virus. This means the bat flu virus has the potential for re-assortment, or a potential for a new form of the virus.

The Team explained, “A better understanding of the evolutionary history of the bat influenza NA gene would be facilitated by identifying additional related viruses in bats.”  Without further tests, it is unknown how affected the bat population truly is, but researchers, rest assured, will continue experiments on the new virus bat flu.

School Shooting death toll rises in Chardon High School massacre

3 are dead

The death toll rose to three in the Chardon High school shooting today.

Officials say Russell King and Demetrius Hewlin, students wounded in the Ohio school shooting, died this morning. The Hewlin family released a statement upon the death of Demetrius, “We are very saddened by the loss of our son and others in our Chardon community. Demetrius was a happy young man who loved life and his family and friends. We will miss him very much but we are proud that he will be able to help others through organ donation.”

The first victim died earlier on Monday and was identified by Ohio’s MetroHealth Medical Center identified as Daniel Parmertor. Another two more remain hospitalized.

The alleged shooter, T.J. lane, identified by a fellow student and witness is due to face court this afternoon. The juvenile is described as an often bullied outcast. He left an ominous poem on Facebook in December that has since been deleted, “In a quaint lonely town, sits a man with a frown. No job. No family. No crown. His luck had run out. Lost and alone. So, to the castle he proceeds, like an ominous breeze through the trees.’Stay back!’ The Guards screamed as they were thrown to their knees. ‘Oh God, have mercy, please!'”
Lane has since hired Attorney Robert N. Farinacci who released a statement on T.J.’s behalf, “The family is devastated by this recent event. They want to express their most heartfelt and sincere condolences to the family of the young man who passed and their continuing prayers are with all those who were injured. TJ’s family has asked for some privacy while they try to understand how such a tragedy could have occurred and while they mourn this terrible loss for their community.”
A survivor of the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 was interviewed about the recent school shooting telling reporters he was, “Shocked and sad like everyone else. I travel and speak in schools, so I hear a lot of stories from students about things that they’re going through today, and so it’s just another sad story.”

Lane opened fire in a cafeteria where students were eating, one witness, Nate Muller, said the tragedy left, “friends laying all over the place in puddles of blood.”

Wyoming Doomsday Bill on the verge in 2012

hoping for the best but preparing for the worst

Lawmakers in Wyoming are encouraging, what has been dubbed by the media as, “The Doomsday Bill.” In fear of an economic collapse, a U.S. constitutional crises or a shortage of food and energy supplies, the bill would allow  Wyoming would enact “a government continuity task force” to prepare the state. In what seems to be similar to fire drills, tornado drills and nuclear bombing drills in grades school, the Wyoming task force would be like schools hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

The bill is even complete with plans to create a statewide currency in case the United States dollar was to plummet. One sponsor of the bill, Republican State Representative David Miller told the “Daily Caller,” “It is just planning. I don’t want people thinking that the federal government is going to be there every step of the way to solve all of their problems,” he went on, “Things happen quickly sometimes- look at Libya, look at Egypt, and look at those situations. We wouldn’t have time to meet as a Legislature or even in special session to do anything to respond.”

There have been certain provisions cut out from the bill early on, including an amendment to “implement a draft, raise a standing army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force and acquire a strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.” Another change cut the funds of the bill in half from$32,000 to $16,000.

The bill has already passed two Wyoming readings, one as recent as last night. One more reading passed in the House and the state Senate will have a chance to vote on the “Doomsday Bill.”

This piece of legislation comes during the same year when the United States is expected to hit its debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion.

Biker Gang Fugitive surrounded by police at hotel

for the killing of a fellow member during a funeral

A Hells Angels motorcycle gang member suspected of slaying another member during a funeral service in San Jose has been arrested this past Sunday.

Stephen Ruiz, 38-years-old, known to be the “biker gang fugitive” was taken into custody at the Days Inn motel for the Oct. 15 murder of Hells Angels member Steve Tausun, 52-years-old. According to the San Jose Police Department spokesman Jason Dwy, “The victim and suspect…reportedly became involved in a physical altercation,” and the alleged suspect Ruiz pulled a firearm and fatally shot Tausun.

A worker at the Days Inn hotel Rey Bayangos reported to MSNBC on the arrest saying, “[The police] used the phone at the front desk, called and asked him to surrender peacefully, and he did surrender.”

The funeral Ruiz and Tausun were attending was for Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew. He was the president of their Hells Angels chapter and at age 51 was gunned down by a rival Vagos motorcycle gang member during a fight last September at a Nevada casino.

The U.S. Justice Department labeled both the Vagos and Hells Angel gangs as outlaw motorcycle clubs involved in drug, weapons trafficking and other criminal activities. The two have had an ongoing slew of gang rivalry related crimes against each other- a January fight at a Santa Cruz Starbucks and another incident in August led to five individuals with gunshot wounds in Chino Valley. Pettigrew would be found dead almost a year later.

The biker gang fugitive is just one member of an estimated 2000 Hells Angels spread out across the word with 230 chapters.

Their primary motto is “When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets.”

Tensions between Vagos and the Angels have been on the rise, but these recent crimes and deaths will surely be remembered.

Kim Dotcom, Megaupload founder to face trial on current bail situation

“cost movie makers and songwriters half a billion dollars”

Formerly known as Kim Schmitz, Kim Dotcom could spend six more months in jail as he awaits a trial today to find out whether his bail will be overturned.

Kim Dotcom the computer programmer and businessman is the former founder of Megaupload.com. He is on trial for embezzlement and copyright infringement in relation to the website and is currently on house arrest

As a side note, he was also amongst the top Modern Warfare 3 players in the world but has since lost his position due to his custody.

The Megaupload business domain names were seized and shut down by the U.S. Justice Department. Kim Dotcom was arrested by the New Zealand police, for what the Justice Department called, “a site dedicated to copyright infringement,” claiming he cost movie makers and songwriters half a billion dollars.

Kim Dotcom was amazed by the spectacle police put on with his arrest and even his head of security said “What the hell? We weren’t building bombs in the cellar; we didn’t have a meth lab bigger than the South Island here. This was a normal family house,” when commenting on the damage caused by police.

Since then, Kim Dotcom was released on bail granted he stay within 80km of his Coatesville mansion and is barred from internet use. Judge Dawson, residing on the case, commented on the situation of his house arrest saying Dotcom has, “every reason to stay to be with his family and fight to keep his assets.”

Kim Dotcom told torrentfreak on the day he was released, “It went way too far, it was out of all proportion, we feel that the action taken against us was political.” He will continue to fight the United States case to extradite him on his charges.

 

Dr.Seuss' birthday accompanied by The Lorax debut

The Lorax “speaks for the trees”

Theodore Seuss Geisel or Dr. Seuss as he is known has a birthday coming up March 2. This happens to be the same day the American writer, cartoonist, and poet will be honored with the release of “The Lorax,” his environmental fable of a creature who “speaks for the trees.”

Geisel did not get to see many of the adaptive films about his children’s books. Some say this was due to his high standards placed on adaptations and it was not until his death in 1991 that many of the books became blockbuster films.

In the latest adaptation, many Hollywood stars flocked to the film’s roles. Danny Devito will be the voice of the Lorax and since playing the character, Devito says, he “speaks for the trees” as well. He claims to use cloth napkins, has eliminated water bottles in his home and has purchased a Nissan Leaf, “the greatest thing about it is there are zero emissions; I plug it in at my house at night.  You have to put a 220 in or some line because it charges it faster.  And I plug it in.”

Betty White, another star in the film often gives to environmental charities, hoping to pass the important message of environmental care, to younger generations.

That seems to be the moral of The Lorax’s story. The film with a “perfect” town “Thneedville” bottles and sells its air engages children with clever writing and animation. It is not until the Lorax is introduced that the town and people realize how important the trees are.

Other celebrities voices include Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle, and Jenny Slate. See the official trailer of The Lorax below and catch it in theatres on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, March 2.

Neil deGrasse Tyson-famed astrophysicist all over the publications

Publishing a recent article and book

The famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson published his much anticipated article “The Case for Space.”

Hitting the newsstands today, the article confronts NASA’s current problem-Without new technology to replace the space shuttle or a clear plan for manned space travels, what is the future for NASA and space exploration in general?

Neil deGrasse Tyson also recently published a book, “Space Travels: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.” Tyson hones in on, in particular, American politics and the lack of funding, resources, and current transitional period for American space exploration as the situations that have caused the current predicament for NASA.

The news is not all bad though claims Tyson. With the current situation with NASA, other private sectors have hopped on board to pick the pieces up. “What’s going on here is the private sector is being encouraged-something, by the way, that should have happened decades ago-to actively participate in access to low-Earth orbit,” Tyson told PopSci.com.

The renowned astrophysicist puts forth that the American public supports still supports space exploration. When the fate of the Hubble Telescope came into question “the loudest voices of dissent were not those of scientists but rather those of everyday Americans.” According to a recent Christian Science Monitor/TIPP poll, eighty percent of Americans believed the United States “should maintain its leadership role in space.” 

With NASA’s crisis, the US wants to stay on top, but Tyson, in his article, agrees cooperation amongst international space programs will be absolutely necessary for the continuation of space exploration.

Neil deGrasse Tyson told PopSci, when interviewing about his recent ventures, “The best experiments are the ones where we are completely stunned. You know, we are always at the drawing board. If you were not at the drawing board at that day, you are not at the frontier. The frontier means you’re at the drawing board at all times.”

Danica Patrick crashes the Daytona scene

She is 3 for 3 in crashes

Danica Patrick has wrecked in her last three races, and they were not necessarily her fault. The latest crash came this past Monday.

Just minutes into the Daytona 500, Danica Patrick was rounding her second lap when she found herself caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Jimmie Johnson, the five-time NASCAR champion hit a wall and rolled back on the track. Danica could not avoid the other out of control cars caused by Johnson and said she was “speechless,” telling reporters after the race, “I didn’t really know what to say. I just pretty much kept my mouth shut and just sat there. Just breathe.”

Danica was still able to complete the race and thanked her crew for their tremendous response, “People were working hard to get me back on the track. Was there much to gain as far as position wise? No. But what there was to gain was for me to get the experience of running out there.”

She would finish at the thirty-eighth position and said she played it safe, considering her car, and possibly due to the fact she’s crashed some many times recently. “I ran in packs for a little while, the car was a little bent-up so it didn’t feel perfect. As it got later and later in the race, I just didn’t want to play a part, didn’t want to have an influence on it,” she added.

Patrick knows she needs to “get up front” in order to avoid crashes, especially early crashes. But, she stated, “Then again, you need that experience to get further up front, which is what I’m trying to get.”

Danica Patrick left IndyCar to focus her full time on the NASCAR season. Daytona is just one of the ten Sprint Cup Series that Danica Patrick plans on racing this season.