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Kara Menini

Bobby Valentine apologizes for comments made about Youkilis

Valentine questioned Youkilis’ commitment this season

Bobby Valentine has had to apologize for comments he made about third baseman Kevin Youkilis’ lack of commitment to this season on a Boston TV station over the weekend.

Bobby Valentine said that he didn’t feel Youkilis was “as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason. But (on Saturday) it seemed, you know, he’s seeing the ball well, got those two walks, go his on-base percentage up higher than his batting average, which is always a good thing, and he’ll move on from there.” Bobby Valentine apologized to Youkilis this morning before the game but said, “I don’t know if he accepted my apology. It was sincere.” There are those who feel Bobby Valentine made the comment as a kick in the pants to Youkilis who had a poor spring training, but he is batting .200.

Bobby Valentine’s comments made Youkilis demand an explanation this morning. “I’m more confused than anything,” said Youkilis. “Everybody knows I go out and play the game as hard as I can.” He added, “I go out every day and play as hard as I can—take every ground ball in the morning, take every at-bat like it’s my last. I don’t’ think my game has changed at all. I still get upset with myself. I still get mad. That’s just not how I go about the game of baseball.”

Bobby Valentine tried to clarify his comment made on TV, “I should have been more specific. Physical is about your swing, emotional is about not being happy when he doesn’t hit a ball off the wall.” He added that he doesn’t think Youkilis’ passionate approach to playing has changed. He doesn’t want Youkilis to think that he was “jabbing at him.”

Emancipation Day is recognized because of taxes

Little known holiday marks the day when the first slaves were freed

Wondering why your income taxes aren’t due today? It’s because it’s Emancipation day! 150 years ago, President Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, which ended slavery in the District of Columbia, the nation’s capitol. The signing of the Emancipation Act came almost nine months before Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves after the civil war.

Emancipation Day freed almost 3,000 slaves in Washington D.C. in 1862. “I trust I am not dreaming, but the event taking place seem like a dream,” said Frederick Douglass, the famous orator and former slave. “Not only a staggering blow to slavery throughout the country, but a killing blow to the rebellion—and the beginning of the end for both.”

After the Emancipation Act was signed, formers slave owners in the District of Columbia, who had stayed loyal to the Union, were given $300 per freed slave. The act also encouraged the newly freed slaves to colonize outside the States and paid them up to $100 for each resettled slave. In the time between the signing of the Emancipation Act and the Emancipation Proclamation, the government had paid out almost $1 million for the freedom of the districts slaves.

Emancipation Day was celebrated every year from 1866 until around 1901. Recently, former D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange proposed that Emancipation Day be re-enacted as an official holiday. The proposal was accepted, and Emancipation Day became official in 2005.

Though most people are using their Emancipation Day this year as an extra 24 hours to finish up their taxes, it shouldn’t be ignored as it marks a date more important than the day all slaves were free: Emancipation day marks the date when the first slaves were freed, and that’s something to celebrate.

Secret Service agents on leave after incident in Columbia over the weekend

Allegedly, prostitutes were invited into agents hotel room; could have been a security breach

Eleven Secret Service agents have been sent home and put on administrative leave while an investigation is underway in “pre-wheels up” party that involved Columbian prostitutes.

The Secret Service was in Cartagena, Columbia, awaiting the arrival of President Obama for the Summit of the America’s event. According to reports, the Secret Service agents invited at least one prostitute into their beachfront hotel room who didn’t leave until the morning. The job of a Secret Service agent is incredibly stressful and in order to wind down, will often meet at the hotel bar at the end of a trip, after the President has already boarded and taken off on Air Force One, for a “wheels-up” party. This incident is being seen as a “pre-wheels-down” party that is not reflective of the Secret Service agency’s almost sterling professionalism.

A former director of the agency Ralph Basham said of the incident, “I do not believe that there is a systematic problem in the Secret Service because if there were, this wouldn’t be such a huge story. This is really an abnormality.”

The reason the eleven Secret Service agents are getting so much heat for the incident is due to safety concerns. Though prostitution is legal in parts of Coumbia, the prostitute[s] could have been involved with drug cartels and that could lead to espionage or even blackmail fifteen years down the road.

President Obama made a statement while in Columbia about his disappointment with the incident. “What happened here in Columbia is being investigated by the director of the Secret Service,” President Obama said. “I expect that investigation to be thorough and I expect it to be rigorous. If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I’ll be angry.”

The President continued, “We’re representing the people of the United States and when we travel to another country I expect us to observe the highest standards. Obviously what’s been reported doesn’t match up with those standards.”

The Secret Service incident is still under investigation, “I’ll wait until the full investigation is completed until I pass final judgment,” said President Obama.

Carl Hagelin suspended until Game 6

Elbow incident in Game 2 came with more than just a fine

Carl Hagelin is the next NHL player in the playoffs to receive punishment for uncalled-for behavior on the ice. In last nights Rangers-Senators game, Carl Hagelin gave fellow Swede Daniel Alfredsson a concussion when he elbowed Alfredsson along the boards during the second period. NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said in a statement, “After Alfredsson chips the puck up the boards; Hagelin continues on his path and finishes his check with his arms high, recklessly striking Alfredsson in the side of head with his elbow. This hit is a clear violation of what is defined by NHL rules as elbowing.”

Although Carl Hagelin has never been given a major penalty anywhere, he was slapped with a three-game suspension for his hit on Alfredsson.

The team made a statement after suspension was given, “The New York Rangers accept the NHL’s three-game suspension of Carl Hagelin and will not pursue an appeal. However, we are thoroughly perplexed in the ruling’s inconsistency with other supplementary discipline decisions that have been made throughout this season and during the playoffs.”

Carl Hagelin said, “I sent him a text yesterday and said I’m sorry and very regretful for what happened. I never want to hurt anyone on the ice. That’s not the type of player I am. I’ve never had a major before. Especially being Alfredsson, growing up he’s been a hero back home. He’s been one of my favorite players. He’s won the Olympics, the World Championship with Sweden, so obviously I had no intention of hurting him.” Carl Hagelin continued, “I just hope he’s doing well.”

The 39-year-old Alfredsson may not being doing so great. He has a history of concussions—already missing five games earlier in the season from a hit from Wojtek Wolski. After last nights elbow to the face, Alfredsson retired to the locker room and stayed there for the remainder of the game.

The Rangers continue against the Senators in Game 3 tonight.

I used to like Mitch Hedberg. I still do, but I used to, too

Comedian has been dead 7 years but his jokes are alive and well

Mitch Hedberg has been gone for seven years already, and although the anniversary of his death was a couple weeks ago, people are still remembering Mitch Hedberg for his unique stage presence, classic one-liners and color-tinted sun glasses.

Mitch Hedberg was 37-years-old when he passed away on March 30, 2005. He was found dead in his hotel room in Livingston, New Jersey, and the official cause of death was related to cocaine and heroin use. However, Mitch Hedberg was born with a heart defect, and there are those who still believe his death was resulted from heart failure from this defect. His death was announced on April 1, leaving his cult-like following to believe it was an April Fools’ joke.

Mitch Hedberg appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman ten times and landed a role in Almost Famous as the Eagles’ road manager as well as a spot on an episode of That 70’s Show.

Though Mitch Hedberg had been dubbed “the next Seinfeld” by Time magazine, his unique manner of a semi-mumbling, avoidance of the audience by way of long hair, sunglasses and a low hanging head and quick delivery didn’t make for an act that could easily be translated to a sitcom.

Artist Kiersten Essenpreis decided to pay tribute to Mitch Hedberg by way of wood etchings of famous Hedberg one-liners. She said, “Mitch suffered from almost paralyzing stage fright and often wore sunglasses while on stage, so he could close his eyes while speaking. I thought about this a lot will sketching up ideas for my piece, and decided that a straight-forward portrait of Mitch would not suit him. To me, his words are really what he’d most likely prefer to be remembered for, so I tested out a new technique and created 8 small, wood etchings of my favorite quotes.”

Check out the wood-etchings here!

Esperanza Spalding makes a comeback

Jazz singer appears on The Daily Show

Who is Esperanza Spalding? Believe it or not, she’s the one who beat out Justin Bieber for Best New Artist in the 2011 Grammys. Esperanza Spalding is a jazz singer and bassist and recently appeared on The Daily Show to promote her new album Radio Music Society.

Esperanza Spalding, although a delicate frame, boasts big talent. Jon Stewart told her on his show, “I feel like you should be twice as large as you are with the talent that you have.”

The up-and-coming jazz musician has taken a unique road to get to where she is now. She taught herself how to play the violin at a young age after seeing a guest appearance by Yo Yo Ma on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and shortly after joined The Chamber Music Society of Oregon, where she stayed for almost a decade. At the age of 15, she dropped out of high school, received a GED and with the help of a hefty scholarship enrolled in a music program at Portland State University. From there, she went to Berklee College of Music where, as her bio said, “the pieces all came together and doors started opening.” There, she became the youngest instructor at age 20.

Since then, Esperanza Spalding has won a Grammy and has recently put out a new album, Radio Music Society that is brought her more media attention than previous albums. A quotation from Esperanza Spalding, about her success since winning a Grammy from her website, sums up her charming and witty personality in a few words, “The main way in which the Grammy has changed my life is that I keep getting asked how the Grammy has changed my life.”

The Three Stooges receive positive reviews that remakes usually don't see

The Farrelly brothers long-awaited film expected to do well in box-office

The Three Stooges are expected to do well in theaters, even with The Hunger Games as a competitor. The Farrelly brothers adaptation of The Three Stooges stars Sean Hayes as Larry, Will Sasso as Curly and Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe as The Three Stooges stumble into a murder plot while trying to save their childhood orphanage.

The Three Stooges have also ruffled the feathers of the religious kind due to Kate Upton’s “nun-kini.” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League made as statement about the new Three Stooges movie, “In the 1950s, Hollywood generally avoided crude fare and was respectful of religion. Today it specializes in crudity and trashes Christianity, especially Catholicism. Enter The Three Stooges. The movie is not just another remake: It is a cultural marker of sociological significance, and what it says about the way we’ve changed is not encouraging.”

A Fox spokesperson disagrees with Donohue, and says the remake of The Three Stooges keeps close to its roots as “a broad, slapstick comedy.” They said, “As the Stooges have proved over time, laughter is a universal medicine. The nuns that Mr. Donohue alludes to, are in fact, caring, heroic characters in the movie, albeit within the framework of a very broad comedy. And as far as the nun attire, I think we did the audience a favor by letting Kate Upton wear the nun-kini rather than Larry David – it could have gone either way. We invite you to see the movie and decide for yourselves.”

A film review from The Hollywood Reporter gives The Three Stooges positive feedback. The review comments the actors as they “are entirely on the money as Moe, Curly and Larry, respectively, nailing the voices, carrying off the essential familiar moves with aplomb and, in Hayes’ case, even bringing a little something extra to the least-defined Stooge.” The review continued, “Gestating for so long it nearly qualifies as a dream project finally come to fruition, this boisterous and affectionate comedy has more plot and sentiment than the boys’ shorts ever had in their ’30s-’40s heyday, but the winning cast and sympathetic spirit almost immediately strip away any skepticism long-term hardcore fans might carry in with them.”

The Three Stooges is now in theaters.

Mayor Cory Booker saves neighbor from burning building

Newark mayor already back in the office

Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey, rescued his neighbor out of a burning building on Thursday night. Cory Booker was recently released from the hospital where he was treated for “minor injuries” of smoke inhalation and second-degree burns on his thumb and forefinger.

Cory Booker became a hero last night when he returned home to find his neighbors house on fire. His neighbor, who was safely outside, was screaming that her daughter was still in the house. Instinctively, Cory Booker and two of his security detail ran inside in hopes of rescuing the young woman. The mayor reached the top of the staircase where he had an altercation with a Newark Police Detective who tried to convince him to leave the building, for his own safety. Cory Booker told the detective that the woman was going to die without their help, but says he wasn’t acting out of bravery, but out of terror. Cory Booker was reminded by the intense heat and the amount of smoke that he was putting his life in danger, “It’s a very, very scary situation. Once I was in, that was a moment that I had a conversation with God that I’ve never had before.” He found his neighbor by her yelling and everyone exiting the building still intact.

Cory Booker is being called a hero but he says, “I’m a neighbor and did what most neighbors would do, which is jump into action to help a friend.”

After the incident, the notoriously savvy social media-using mayor took to his Twitter, “That 2 all who are concerned. Just suffering smoke inhalation. We got the woman out of the house. We are both off to hospital. I will b ok.” Mayor Cory Booker was even back in the office this morning.

The hashtags #CoryBookerStories and #CoryBookerFacts have been trending on Twitter, and Cory Booker is starting to become a Chuck Norris figure in the Twitter sphere. @MilesGrant tweeted, “When Chuck Norris has nightmares, Cory Booker turns on the light and sits with him until he falls back asleep.” An unknown tweet said, “Seal Team 6 received training from Cory Booker before getting bin Laden.”

Kirk Cameron makes enemies with fellow childhood actors

Cameron’s documentary also released last week

Kirk Cameron has recently been in the news not only because his new documentary, “Monumental”, was released to select theaters last week but more importantly because of the founding of “CCOKC,” Child Celebrities Opposing Kirk Cameron, which debuted recently on the website Funny or Die.

Kirk Cameron made unfortunate anti-gay comments that were the inspiration for the new CCOKC club. The main point of the hilarious video is that Kirk Cameron was a child actor and Maureen Flannigan, child star from the show Out Of This World said, “He should f*cking know better!” in response to his recent anti-homosexuality comments. CCOKC members just want to ask Kirk Cameron; Why all the hate? “Kirk, like all of us, lived and worked in the company of homosexuals for years and I would challenge him to name one thing they ever did to hurt him, his community or civilization as a whole.” Though meant to be hilarious, the video takes a serious undertone, if just for a second, as to why Kirk Cameron is so opposed to the gay community when he knows, very well, that they are just regular, working people.

Of course, Kirk Cameron is against homosexuality because of his much publicized evangelism, as he is the celebrity face of conservative Christianity. He recently made a documentary, Monumental, in which he was determined to find the real roots of America, and uses one controversial source, David Barton, to do so. Barton is known for his Christian nationalist historical revisionism. In a nutshell, he is a self-proclaimed historian who has enough money to buy historical documents but does not actually hold any formal credentials. Erik Eckholm from the New York Times said, “Many professional historians dismiss Mr. Barton, whose academic degree is in Christian education from Oral Roberts University, as a biased amateur who cherry-picks quotes from history and the Bible.” Eckholm quotes Derek H. Davis, a director of church-state studies at Baylor University, “The problem with David Barton is that there’s a lot of truth in what he says but the end product is a lot of distortions, half-truths and twisted history.” Kirk Cameron takes everything he says as fact, and he’s not the only one.

The article was written in May of 2011 and Eckholm wrote, “Newt Gingrich, who echoes Mr. Barton’s themes with his own declarations that American freedoms are divinely granted, said he would call on Mr. Barton for advice if he ran for president.” Yikes.

Followers of Kirk Cameron love the movie, but other reviews suggest the documentary isn’t based entirely factually-based. Check out the website and trailer for Monumental for yourself.

Hilary Rosen feels the heat for her comments about stay-at-home-mom Ann Romney

Liberals and Republicans felt Rosen owed Romney an apology

Hilary Rosen has been catching heat for her comments about Ann Romney. When speaking with Anderson Cooper on Anderson 300, about Mitt Romney’s wife’s advice to her husband on what women in America are concerned about, she said, “Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that the majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of ‘how do we feed our kids,’ ‘how do we send them to school,’ and ‘why do we worry about their future.’”

Hilary Rosen has been forced to clarify, as a way of apologizing, due to receiving so much criticism from both the left and the right. Her comments about Ann Romney were taken to mean that Hilary Rosen doesn’t think being a stay-at-home mom is a job, which, if you watch the clip in its entirety, simply isn’t true. Hilary Rosen was saying that a woman like Ann Romney, a daughter of privilege who continued her privileged life when she married Mitt Romney, cannot claim to know what the average American woman deals with when it comes to financial woes.

The comments made by Hilary Rosen made Ann turn to her Twitter in response, “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”

Of course being a mother is hard work; it’s a job that is underappreciated and underpaid, and most women know that. What Hilary Rosen wanted to point out was that Ann Romney does not know what it’s like to raise children and work, and to do so out of obligation, not choice. Most women in America simply cannot choose to work or raise children; they must work in order to raise their kids. Not everyone has a spouse with a well-paying job.

Hilary Rosen tried to clarify her comments, “This is not about Ann Romney. This is about the waitress, at a diner, someplace in Nevada, who has two kids whose daycare funding is being cut off because of the Romney-Ryan budget and she doesn’t know what to do. This isn’t about whether Ann Romney or I or other women of, you know, some means can afford to make a choice to stay home and raise kids. Most women in America, lets face it, don’t have that choice.”

Although Ann Romney says she can relate to most women because she has struggled in life, she can’t really. She can’t be blamed for coming from a wealthy family but her background means she can’t claim to know what it’s like to have to work to feed her children. Wanting to make a change or bring attention to women’s issues is a wonderful priority for this upcoming election, but claiming to know something you can’t know is just plain irritating.