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Category Archives: Real News

from NY Daily News

Former Newark mayor Sharpe James was convicted Wednesday of selling city property at bargain basement prices to his ex-mistress – who then peddled them for a huge profit.

James, a powerful politician who ran this long-suffering city for 20 years, was found guilty on all five corruption charges he faced, including fraud and conspiracy.

Former girlfriend Tamika Riley was convicted on those charges and the eight others she faced, including evading taxes and cheating to obtain subsidized housing assistance for herself.

Prosecutors charged that James abused his office and betrayed Newark residents by arranging for the sale of nine city-owned properties for $46,000 to Riley from 2001 to 2005.

Riley, a publicist half James’ age who once ran a clothing boutique near City Hall, quickly sold them for $665,000 without even attempting to fix them up, prosecutors said.

James, 72, and Riley, 39, stood stone-faced as the jury foreman spoke the word “guilty” 22 times.

Afterward, James left the courtroom without a word. When he reached the lobby, he kissed his wife on the cheek — then fled the courthouse via a back entrance.

James and Riley both face seven to eight years in prison when they are sentenced on July 29.

It took the jury six days to reach their verdict.

James still faces federal charges he used city-issued credit cards to pay for $58,000 worth of personal expenses while he was mayor.

Among other things, James allegedly used city money to take several other women to Martha’s Vineyard, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Rio de Janeiro.

Miss NJ:  I wish I was still speaking to the chick I’m not speaking to.  She talked so much trash about Corey Booker being a sell-out and not for the people of Newark.  She called Sharpe, Newark’s only hope.  I would love to know what she’s calling him now.  And that’s a hard looking 39 right there.

Someone page Tom Cruise – his former friend and Scientolo-pal is slamming his beloved church.

Jason Beghe, a character actor best known for roles on TV’s “CSI,” “Numb3rs” and the now-canceled “Cane,” took to YouTube yesterday to slam his former religion.

Beghe, who was a member of the Church of Scientology for 13 years and was even featured in a promotional video for the church in 2005, now says, “Scientology is destructive and a rip-off.”

In the video, billed as a three-minute teaser to a longer interview that’s on its way, Beghe goes on to say, “It’s very, very dangerous for your spiritual, psychological, mental, emotional health and evolution. I think it stunts your evolution. If Scientology is real, then something’s [bleeped] up . . . It ain’t delivering what it’s promised. It sure has not.”

Beghe wasn’t just a peon in the church. The actor, who’s best friends with David Duchovny, spent a lot of money to make it to the coveted “OT 5” level achieved by Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley.

But Beghe now warns, “The further up the bridge, the worse you get . . . I don’t have an agenda. I’m just trying to help. I have the luxury of having gotten into Scientology and after having been in it, been out. And that’s a perspective that people who are still in and not out do not have.”

A rep for Scientology said, “There are millions of Scientologists around the world who will tell you of their daily wins in applying Scientology in their lives. One need only visit http://www.scientology.org to see this for yourself.”

Beghe’s salvo is the latest hit to Cruise’s controversial faith. Since the beginning of the year, several creepy videos of Cruise exhorting people to join Scientology and laughing maniacally have hit the Web – videos which the church demanded be taken down, to no avail.

Last month, a group calling itself “Anonymous” took credit for bombarding Scientology churches across the country with prank calls, bomb threats and cyber attacks.

And in February, more than 50 masked protesters gathered outside of the Boston headquarters of Scientology and demonstrated against the church wearing Guy Fawkes masks.

Miss NJ:  I don’t know who Tom Cruise has mad at him (and I refuse to believe the rumors that’s it’s Nicole Kidman getting a little payback).  But whoever it is, they are serious about tearing down and destroying Scientology and in the process, Tommy himself.  If I had to guess, I’d say it was the members of the “Free Katie” campaign.  But that’s just me.

from CNN.com

Divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing cost U.S. taxpayers more than $112 billion a year, according to a study commissioned by four groups advocating more government action to bolster marriages.

Sponsors say the study is the first of its kind and hope it will prompt lawmakers to invest more money in programs aimed at strengthening marriages. Two experts not connected to the study said such programs are of dubious merit and suggested that other investments — notably job creation — would be more effective in aiding all types of needy families.

There have been previous attempts to calculate the cost of divorce in America. But the sponsors of the new study, being released Tuesday, said theirs is the first to gauge the broader cost of “family fragmentation” — both divorce and unwed childbearing.

The study was conducted by Georgia State University economist Ben Scafidi. His work was sponsored by four groups who consider themselves part of a nationwide “marriage movement” — the New York-based Institute for American Values, the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, Families Northwest of Redmond, Washington, and the Georgia Family Council, an ally of the conservative ministry Focus on the Family.

“The study documents for the first time that divorce and unwed childbearing — besides being bad for children — are costing taxpayers a ton of money,” said David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values.

“We keep hearing this from state legislators, ‘Explain to me why this is any of my business? Aren’t these private matters?”‘ Blankenhorn said. “Take a look at these numbers and tell us if you still have any doubt.”

Scafidi’s calculations were based on the assumption that households headed by a single female have relatively high poverty rates, leading to higher spending on welfare, health care, criminal justice and education for those raised in the disadvantaged homes. The $112 billion estimate includes the cost of federal, state and local government programs, and lost tax revenue at all levels of government.

Reducing these costs, Scafidi said, “is a legitimate concern of government, policymakers and legislators.”

While the study doesn’t offer formal recommendations, it does suggest that state and federal lawmakers consider investing more money in programs intended to bolster marriages. Such a program has been in place in Oklahoma since 2001; Texas last year earmarked about $15 million in federal funds for marriage education.

“Because of the very large taxpayer costs associated with high rates of divorce and unwed childbearing, and the modest price tags associated with most marriage-strengthening initiatives … programs even with very modest success rates will be cost-effective,” the study says.

But Tim Smeeding, an economics professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, who was not involved in the study, said he’s seen no convincing evidence that the marriage-strengthening programs work.

“I have nothing against marriage — relationship-building is great,” he said. “But alone it’s not going to do the job. A full-employment economy would probably be the best thing — decent, stable jobs.”

He also noted the distinctive problems arising in black urban areas where the rate of single-mother households is highest.

“A high number of African-American men have been in prison — that limits their future earning potential and makes them bad marriage partners, regardless of what kind of person they are,” Smeeding said. “A marriage program doesn’t address that problem at all.”

Another expert not connected to the study, University of Michigan sociologist Pamela Smock, suggested that bigger investments in education would pay long-term dividends — improving economic prospects even for children from fragmented, disadvantaged families.

“Providing a global number doesn’t give us anything to go on,” said Smock, who was skeptical of the study’s $112 billion estimate.

“We’re now nearing 40 percent of kids in America born out of wedlock,” she said. “I can’t fathom that those marriage programs, even with increased investment, are going to reduce that.”

Blankenhorn said it was “fair criticism” to note that the study made multiple references to marriage-strengthening programs while not proposing other strategies for reducing the cost of family fragmentation.

“Maybe we should have been more ecumenical,” he said. “Let everybody have their say. Let’s try things out. … Nobody knows exactly the strategies which are going to work.”

Miss NJ:  Whenever I see stuff like this, I know it’s just a disguised attack on single motherhood.  The highlighted part should adequately explain why the results mean nothing: they were based on an assumption.  It is a fact that single parent households headed by women are more likely to be below the poverty line than above it, but much of that has to do with the inability of most single mothers to get safe quality childcare that is also affordable.  Perhaps these same people need to stop telling women they need to be married to support their families and start helping single mothers do that for themselves.  Like the guy in the article said, money would be better spent on job creation.

BK Diva:  I want to know how much money they used for this study!!  Millions wasted!!  The only way to uplift disadvantaged homes is buy providing employment, quality affordable child care & education.

from NY Daily News

Wendy Williams may have a different response to her catch phrase, “How ya doin’?!” these days.

More WBLS staffers have come forward to corroborate the sexual harassment claims made by a young female talent booker for the shock jock.

Nicole Spence, who wrangled such guests as Janet Jackson, Russell Simmons and Flo Rida for Williams’ show, filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint last month against WBLS, Williams and her husband and manager, Kevin Hunter.

While Hunter doesn’t work for the radio station, he was often in the studio. Despite the presence of his wife, who is 10 years older than him, Hunter “repeatedly sexually propositioned me,” Spence claims in the filing, “telling me over and over that he wanted to f- me.”

The 29-year-old beauty was pushed to the brink after “his sexual propositions escalated into the obsessive. … He constantly told me of his desire to ‘f-‘ me and that he had been dreaming about sleeping with me.

“Mr. Hunter said I needed ‘a real man in my life to mold me into the woman that I am supposed to be,’ proclaiming, of course, that he was that man.”

Spence also says she feared for her safety, especially after Hunter, she claims, “repeatedly physically assaulted Ms. Williams.”

“Others have come forward since we filed the complaint to support Nicole’s claims,” said Karen Webber, a partner in the prestigious law firm Thompson, Wigdor & Gilly, which is preparing a federal lawsuit on Spence’s behalf. “They say he often called women bitches and used alcohol, and they describe his violent outbursts against Ms. Williams.” Other women say they were victimized as well.

Spence, who often appeared live on the show, has been ostracized since the filing, Webber claims. As listeners know, Williams even went so far as to throw her out of the studio on the air. She probably didn’t like Spence’s claim that Wendy abetted Hunter’s harassment, “even offering to take me shopping, so I could dress ‘like a sexy little bitch.'”

But aren’t such lines the staple of shock-jock shows?

“The bottom line is, whatever the content of her show is, the workplace can’t be an extension of the radio program,” says co-attorney Ken Thompson, who won a megasuit against The Source magazine filed by a female editor. “This young lady has a right to work in an atmosphere free of sexual harassment, free of exposure to acts of violence. They’ve moved her out of her workspace and taken her duties away, but she still shows up every day at 3 Park Ave. trying to do her job. She is an amazing person.”

Williams and WBLS general manager Deon Levingston did not respond to requests for comment, and Hunter could not be reached.

Miss NJ: I hate to say this, I really do, but Wendy’s going down.  Once there’s corroboration, the whole game changes.  It’s time to start cutting losses.  The sooner you do it, the better chance you have of recovering.  But, this is getting quite interesting.

A couple fighting about which gang their 4-year-old toddler should join caused a public disturbance that resulted in the father’s arrest, Commerce City police said Thursday.

 

On Saturday, Joseph Manzanares stormed into the Hollywood Video store where his girlfriend worked, threatened to kill her and knocked over several video displays and even a computer, Commerce City police Sgt. Joe Sandoval said.

 

After he ran out of the store, police were called and the 19-year-old was arrested at his home.

His girlfriend told police that they had been arguing about the upbringing of their son and which gang he should belong to. The teen mother, who is black, is a member of the Crips. Manzanares is Hispanic and belongs to the Westside Ballers gang, the woman said.

 

“They have different ideas on how the baby should be raised. Basically, she said they cannot agree on which gang the baby would ‘claim,'” Sandoval said.

 

Manzanares was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, and domestic violence. He was transported to the Adams County Detention Facility.

 

On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to a year of probation. The misdemeanor harassment charge was dropped.

Miss NJ: Wouldn’t it be nice if every situation in life could be resolved by a song-and-dance routine?  ‘Cause no matter what happens next for this child, you know he’s going to end up prisoner #824651.

Miss NJ:  Women from England impress me (see here).  They love the bodies God give them.  Can you imagine a flat-chested beauty queen in US?  Donald Trump might actually rush the stage!

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Supermodel Naomi Campbell has been arrested at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 for allegedly spitting at a police officer, Sky News television reported Thursday.

A London Metropolitan Police spokesman said a woman was arrested at the terminal for an assault on police, but refused to disclose her identity or give her age.

The spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity in line with force policy.

BAA PLC, the company that runs Heathrow, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

Miss NJ:  I know I said no more day posts, but some things must be commented on when seen and this is one of them.  (I almost posted about Bobby’s book, but I’m going to wait for it to come out and then address it.)  Anyway, back to Naomi, if you are below a certain income level, she doesn’t care who you are or what you do.  The little people are beneath her.  All the little people.  Eventually they will learn their place in her world.  Until then, we have stories like this to amuse us.

from The Daily Mail

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This is Chloe Marshall, a 17-year-old beautician trainee.  She is making history by becoming the first size 16 woman to compete in the finals of the Miss England beauty pageant.

Miss NJ:  There are people who will not support this but I think it’s great.  I hope the judges see past her size and judge her according her beauty.  She is an amazing young woman.

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As many as nine third-grade students got together and plotted to harm their teacher, even going so far as to bring handcuffs and a knife to school, Waycross police said.

School officials at Center Elementary School, which is located on Dorothy Street in Waycross, said they never imagined that some of the 8- and 9-year-olds boys and girls at the school would think of bringing physical harm to a teacher.

“A plan had been developed amongst several of our third-grade students to allegedly do harm to their teacher,” said Theresa Martin, of Ware County Schools. 

Martin said the plot was uncovered when one student saw a knife in the backpack of another student.

“It’s shocking that they would think of this at their young age. I think that is probably the most shocking part for all of us,” Martin said.

In addition to the knife being found, the school officials said other students had duct tape, handcuffs, ribbon and a heavy crystal paperweight.

Although officials said they believe the students were plotting to hurt their teacher, they did not know how far the kids were planning to take the alleged scheme.

The police chief in Waycross told Channel 4 he believes the plan may have been developed because one of the students was punished with some sort of time out. However, that theory remains under investigation.

“I can’t believe that — because he’s a third-grader. You know, I cannot believe that. Especially, for here,” said parent Doris Rowland.

The nine students suspected in the plot to harm the teacher have been suspended until the police investigation is completed. The kids could face expulsion pending the investigation.

Authorities could also ask prosecutors to press conspiracy charges against the youngsters accused of being involved in the plot.

Miss NJ: As I read this story a few things came to mind, most importantly, what did this teacher do that made these kids plot on her like this?  They say punishment of the time out variety, but there has to be more to this situation than that.  Kids get time out all the time and being denied recess hasn’t set 3rd graders off before.  So what are the details?  We also need to know more about the kids involved.  Do they live in the same neighborhood, same block, etc?  That’s important because if the group is close-knit then they need to be separated.  Or this will happen again.  Finally, this is why children should be outside riding bikes, playing hopscotch, tag, kickball, etc.  Playing video games all the time leads to this type of behavior.  I don’t blame the video game, but I do say that it frames the thinking and the choice set for children to include violent responses as acceptable behavior.

BK Diva:  I agree to some level but video games are not the only culprit here.  Movies, television, music, children being raised as adults and knowing grown folks business adds to this chaos as well. 

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Starting in April 2008, Food Network will have a bright new face at the table — Sunny Anderson. Sunny will be the newest addition to Food Network’s popular ‘In the Kitchen’ weekend block with her new series, Cooking for Real . With an understanding of the need for uncomplicated dishes with affordable, easy to find ingredients, Sunny offers real food, for real life combining her approach to classic comfort foods along with her passion for unique flavors inspired by her many travels.

Cooking for Real will not be the first time Food Network audiences have seen Sunny Anderson. She debuted on the Network back in 2005 as a special guest on Emeril Live, cooking side by side Chef Emeril Lagasse — an appearance Sunny deemed as her greatest “foodie” moment ever. In 2007, Sunny co-hosted Food Network’s series of specials, Gotta Get It, uncovering the latest and greatest food gadgets and gizmos on the market.

In 2003, Sunny started her catering business “Sunny’s Delicious Dishes” after years of cooking for her famous friends in the music industry and soon became one of the most sought after caterers in town. She served up her sole style of soul food at star-studded events such as Olympus Fashion Week 2006 at Bryant Park in New York City. And, continued to dish up her cooking talents for top platinum hip hop recording artists and studio music executives.

Sunny’s passion for food paved the way for a passion with music. While growing up traveling the world as an Army brat, her parents always encouraged her to indulge in the local cuisine. When Sunny joined the Air Force, she continued her trek through the world for culinary finds and soon discovered she had a desire to explore music. Soon enough, she became an award-winning military radio host and news reporter.

Upon finishing her tour of duty with the Air Force, Sunny kept on her broadcast career playing radio host at stations in New Orleans, Montgomery, Detroit, and finally, in New York at hip hop radio powerhouse, HOT 97. Within a year, Vibe Magazine rated her show as one of the top 9 to listen to nationwide and crowned her, “Ruler of the Airwaves.” Her radio success landed her guest hosting duties on MTV2, and voice over gigs on television and radio ads for Destiny’s Child, LL Cool J, and John Legend.

Sunny also served as Food & Lifestyle editor at Hip Hop Weekly Magazine where she reported on everything celebrity living with her column, “Belly of the Beats,” where she interviewed hip hop stars about food, cooking and restaurants they love.

Miss NJ:  This will definitely be blogged about.  I am a major, major foodie.  And I remember when Sunny first mentioned getting a show on the Food Network.  So, first April 3 and then April 6.