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From Mike Bradley's Portion of the Morning Team

Apr 24, 2014 -- 10:10am


Thursday (04-24): Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day, Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day, Library of Congress Day. Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Bob Wills Day. National Scoop the Poop Week.

Birthdays include: Singers BARBRA STREISAND (72); KELLY CLARKSON (32), and eighth-season "American Idol" finalist DANNY GOKEY (34), CEDRIC the ENTERTAINER (50), SHIRLEY MacLAINE (80!). JACK BLADES (Night Ranger --60); AARON COMESS (Spin Doctors --46); DOUG CLIFFORD (CCR --69); BILLY GOULD (Faith No More --51); RICHARD STERBAN (Oak Ridge Boys --71); ERIC BOGOSIAN (61); Former Chicago Mayor RICHARD DALEY (72), retired MLB great CHIPPER JONES (42), and former NFL QB VINCE FERRAGAMO (60). Detective novelist SUE GRAFTON ("A is for Alibi", etc --74). The late actress JILL IRELAND was also born on this date.

Anniversaries: LISA "Left Eye" LOPES of TLC was killed in a car crash in Honduras (2002).
   --The Hubble Space Telescope was put into orbit by the Space Shuttle Discovery (1990).
   --PAUL McCARTNEY says there is no truth to rumors he is dead (1969).
   --BOB DYLAN performs on record for the first time, playing harmonica on a Harry Belafonte song. He was paid $50 (1961).

Election 2016: 
In a surprise to practically no one, former FL GOP Gov. JEB BUSH says he's considering an 2016 White House bid. At a Catholic Charities fundraiser in New York yesterday, he reportedly said that he is "thinking about running for president."
   He also defended his call for the GOP to support comprehensive immigration reform. According to former CNBC pundit LARRY KUDLOW, Bush said, "Why would I back down from it? It’s the right thing to do... we’ve got to be an inclusive party."

Equal time-Pipeline: 
Rolling Stone reports that PRESIDENT OBAMA will likely scuttle the controversial Keystone-XL oil pipeline. Correspondent JEFF GOODELL writes, "Although no final decision has been made, two high-level sources in the Obama administration told me recently that the president has all but decided to deny the permit for the pipeline –-a dramatic move that would light up Democratic voters and donors while further provoking the wrath of Big Oil."

The editorial board at the Washington Post isn't too impressed with how PRESIDENT OBAMA has handled the whole Keystone Pipeline controversy. The paper said, "The administration’s latest decision is not responsible; it is embarrassing. The United States continues to insult its Canadian allies by holding up what should have been a routine permitting decision amid a funhouse-mirror environmental debate that got way out of hand. The president should end this national psychodrama now, bow to reason, approve the pipeline and go do something more productive for the climate."

State politics:
The state of Georgia has enacted a law that's one of the biggest expansions of gun rights.
   Dubbed by critics as the "guns everywhere" bill, the law will now allow Georgians to carry firearms in schools, bars, churches and government buildings. The NRA has called it “the most comprehensive pro-gun reform bill in state history,” and even achieved bipartisan support.
   Georgia Gov NATHAN DEAL, who signed the bill into law yesterday, pointed out that the bill was not as expansive originally, emphasizing the change for religious leaders to opt-in to allowing guns, whereas the original bill required them to permit firearms.
   Other aspects of the law: Police won't be able to stop people to ask to see a carry permit, and no database of concealed carry permit holders will be allowed.

Filling a need:
Forget smashing your old iBook. Just send it back to Apple. If it isn’t ancient, you could get a gift card for store credit. Even if it is ancient, Apple will recycle it for you. (Details)
   Apple will even recycle computers from --GASP-- other brands, with the promise to recycle your busted HP laptop from college at a domestic facility with "a zero-landfill policy and proven sustainability."
   Some might be leery of the gift card idea, which tends to promote speedy, thoughtless consumption of the latest iThings, but if it can help boost electronics recycling from its current 27 percent, maybe it's worth the tradeoff.

"Meet the Parents" and "The Fosters" actress TERI POLO (Delaware's Own) has filed for bankruptcy.
   People magazine reports papers filed by her lawyers show she's nearly  a million dollars in debt, owing the IRS nearly three-quarters of that and more than $36-thousand dollars in credit card debt.
   On the plus side, she claims to have around $50-thousand dollars in assets. (Guess she needs to do a lot more Hallmark Channel Movies. -Mike Bradley)

Fashion Emergency:
People magazine’s World's Most Beautiful People 2014:
   10. KERRY WASHINGTON: The 37-year-old star of “Scandal” and mom-to-be says her “imperfections are actually the gift.”
   9. STACY KEIBLER: Another mom-to-be, 34-year-old Kiebler says looking good starts on the inside.
   8. MOLLY SIMS:  The 40-year-old model is not a fan of digital alterations. “It isn't real.  It gives people a false
sense of what is attainable... You're never going to be able to get the way you look Photoshopped – people just don't look like that in real life."
   7. GABRIELLE UNION: The 41-year-old who drinks one gallon of water every day to keep her skin hydrated .
   6. AMBER HEARD: Mix Old Hollywood glamour with modern hair, makeup and style, and you get the 28-year-old future Mrs. JOHNNY DEPP. She says she keeps a strict workout routine, but thinks the real “secret to great style is to have your own style and not depend on a set of rules or steps or someone else’s guidelines.”
   5. PINK: She’s never been one to follow conventional beauty rules. But that hasn’t stopped the 34-year-old pop star from landing a gig as the face of CoverGirl.
   4. MINDY KALING: The star of “The Mindy Project” credits tons of sleep for her good looks.”Pampering for me is sleep,” she says.
   3. JENNA DEWAN-TATUM Mrs. CHANNING TATUM says the credit for her look goes to cruelty-free products.
   2. KERRY RUSSELL: “The Americans” star likes being 38. But she admits that there is one part of her days from “Felicity” that she wishes were still here. She said: “Everything just works. I do secretly want my 21-year-old butt back. But other than that, I like being here, this age."
   1. LUPITA NYONG’O: The 31-year-old breakout Oscar winner from “12 Years a Slave” says she grew up thinking that "light skin and flowing, straight hair" made women more desirable.” But because her mother "always said I was beautiful...  I finally believed her at some point." Now, she’s the face of Lancome Paris and the World’s Most Beautiful Woman.

The Supremes: 
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments earlier this week in ABC v Aereo, a case that could have big implications for both cloud computing and broadcast television.
   Aereo allows users to record broadcast TV online and watch it at their leisure. The major broadcast networks stand to lose billions in fees cable companies pay to carry their programming, so they're suing for copyright violations.
   Aereo contends that it does nothing different than people do with antennas and DVRs of their own, and therefore has no obligation to pay broadcasters for their programming. It says it's simply renting users the equipment to do online what they can legally do at home.

   It was difficult to tell which side the Supreme Court favored. They seemed less concerned with what broadcast networks might lose and more concerned with the impact their ruling could have on cloud computing and future of technology. A lot of their questioning, however, was inquisitive, suggesting the justices really don't understand the technology, which you might expect, given the age of the justices.
   JON HEALEY of the LA Times wrote, "If you're comfortable with the Supreme Court resolving disputes over technology, the transcript of Tuesday's oral arguments... should change your mind."

   The decision is expected to come at the end of June. If the justices allow Aereo to keep operating, some cable companies have said they will likely create similar antenna farms to pull in broadcast signals without having to pay the broadcasters. Broadcast executives have threatened to yank their signals off the air in that event, transforming themselves into cable channels. How that would impact the hundreds of local TV affiliates nationwide, no one knows.
   Analysts say Aereo's best hope is that the justices adhere to a lower court's Cartoon Network vs Cablevision ruling, which held that customers could make DVR recordings on Cablevision's hard drives.

Broadcast, cable and video news:
The Nielsen TV ratings sweeps period begins today (and runs thru May 21). Get ready for such great stories as: "Your sink can kill you!"

Amazon Prime just signed a big, fat deal with HBO yesterday.
   It's now the exclusive outlet for HBO programs. Entertainment Weekly reports that will include all seasons of "The Sopranos," "The Wire," "Deadwood," "Six Feet Under," "Eastbound & Down," "Enlightened," "Flight of the Conchords" and others, plus select seasons of "Boardwalk Empire," "Treme" and "True Blood."
   Beginning May 21, Amazon Prime members will have unlimited streaming access to the various series, along with HBO's original movies and miniseries including "Angels in America," "Band of Brothers," "John Adams" and "The Pacific."
   Current series including "Girls," "The Newsroom" and "Veep" will also become available on Amazon Prime approximately three years after airing on cable.

   From HBO's side, the benefits of the deal are twofold. First, it gives younger viewers, who are more prone to watch television online (or hadn't you heard?), access to its extensive catalog of shows, miniseries, and comedy specials. Millennials too young to watch "The Sopranos" when it aired, for example, can now binge-watch the show without acquiring an HBO cable subscription. For a network like HBO that places such importance on its reputation and legacy of quality programming, this feels like a vital step towards securing that legacy with the streaming set.
   The deal also means that Netflix is on the outside looking in at HBO's shows. Netflix has attempted to position itself as a rival to HBO in recent years, which maybe explains why HBO wouldn't be so keen to hand over its catalog. After this deal, Netflix may want to consider Amazon more of a legitimate rival as well.

Paterno statue:
Former Penn State football coach JOE PATERNO will be getting a new statue.
   Paterno's old statue was torn down in the aftermath of the JERRY SANDUSKY scandal, but now, two alumni are behind the statue, which will be erected outside a restaurant in downtown State College, PA.
   The university has no involvement with the statue; it's entirely an effort by alumni who think, as one said, is "a wonderful way to honor Joe for his 61 years of service."
   The statue, scheduled for November 2015, will cost an estimated $300-thousand and will feature a bronze Paterno sitting on a bench, reading VIRGIL's Aeneid, a Latin epic poem.

   --Will they build the statue to ensure that Joe Paterno is always looking the other way?(-Mike Bradley)


Administrative Professional's Day

Apr 23, 2014 -- 2:48pm


Administrative Professional's Day:
Not 'Secretary's Day' anymore: 
In case you forgot, today used to be National Secretary's Day, or as they now call it, Administrative Professionals Day --they're called APs or AAs for short. It's the day set aside for all those people who take grief from their bosses for 364 days a year.
   The same polls on this subject are done every year and routinely offer the same message: If you're a boss, don't send flowers or give 'em a box of candy. Most administrative professionals --usually near three-quarters-- would rather have the cash or some kind of gift certificate. Some say they've gotten socks, a sandbox or a whistle as presents from the boss. Last year, one told an American Express survey she received a canister of mace.

Flowers seem to be the most popular gift --florists rank it as the third busiest day, behind Valentine's Day and Mother's Day.
   Something just as easy: Lunch at a nice restaurant. Oh, and an extended lunch hour. You can pick up your own dry cleaning for a change.

From Mike Bradley's Portion of the Morning Team

Apr 23, 2014 -- 2:29pm


Wednesday (04-23): Administrative Professional's Day (used to be Secretaries Day before the term "Secretary" became demeaning); Hairstylists Appreciation Day, Lovers' Day, Take A Chance Day, Talk Like Shakespeare Day, Movie Theatre Day, World Book Night, National Zucchini Bread Day; Home Run Day (Hank Aaron's first,1954). The late film critic Roger Ebert's Eberfest Film Festival opens in Champaign, IL; runs through Apr 27.


Today is traditionally St George's Feast Day in England... yes, the guy who reportedly slew the dragon. It marks the day he died in 303 AD, and the day is kind of like Independence Day in the U-S, and the Queen always travels in a car that carries a silver mascot of St George and the dragon. Nevertheless, there's no "official" celebration marking the day at the Palace. In Eastern Europe, it's not just the whole dragon-slaying thing --it's a fertility celebration. For instance, In Ukraine, a priest blesses the newly sprouting crops, after which young married couples roll over the soil to promote the growth of the crops.

Birthdays include: actresses VALERIE BERTINELLI (54), JOYCE DeWITT (65), JAN HOOKS (57), BLAIR BROWN (78); MELINA KANAKAREDES ("CSI: NY" --47), and JUDY DAVIS (59). Actors, KAL PENN ("House" --37), DEV PATEL (the "Slumdog Millionaire", "Newsroom" --24), "Six Million Dollar Man" LEE MAJORS (75), comedian GEORGE LOPEZ (53). WWE "Doctor of Thuganomics" JOHN CENA (37). Director MICHAEL MOORE (60); Def Leppard's STEVE CLARK (54) and TAIO CRUZ ("Dynamite" --29). The late SHIRLEY TEMPLE BLACK would have been 86.

   And: Playwright BILL SHAKESPEARE (1564). It's MAX PLANCK's birthday (1858) who was the father of quantum theory in Physics. The late actor DUNCAN RENALDO (who played the "Cisco Kid"), ROY ORBISON, actress SANDRA DEE ("Look at me!"), and "Fantasy Island's" HERVE VILLECHAISE, fashion designer HALSTON, and runner JIM FIXX were all born on this date.
   TIMOTHY McVEIGH, convicted Oklahoma City bomber, would have been 46.

Anniversaries: First movie theatre, 1896.
   --Actress MARGOT KIDDER was found wandering around dazed and disheveled, hiding in bushes in a stranger's yard in L.A. after disappearing for three days (1996).

   --Apollo 16 astronauts explored Moon surface (1972).
   --"Come On Eileen" hit #1 (1982).

   --New Coke debuted (1985).
   --NBC aired the "Baywatch" pilot, 1989.
   --On April 23, 1952, HOYT WILHELM hit a home run in his first major-league at bat, then went onto pitch more than one-thousand games in the next 21 seasons --and never hit another homer.

Guilty Pleasures:
No winner in Saturday night's drawing for the Powerball Lottery. That means tonight's drawing is valued at $150 million ($87.6 million cash value). Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, DC and the U-S Virgin Islands. Chances of winning the grand prize (all five numbers plus the powerball) are 1 in 175.2 million.

Legal Briefs:
The Supreme Court yesterday upheld Michigan's ban on affirmative action in public college admissions and state hiring, in a decisive 6-2 decision.
   RUTH BADER GINSBURG and SONIA SOTOMAYOR were the only dissenting votes, with ELENA KAGAN having recused herself.
   In earlier cases, including one from last June concerning the University of Texas, the court has said that race-conscious admissions policies can be constitutionally permissible in states that wish to use them. The new decision concerned the question of whether and how voters may prohibit affirmative action programs.

   The case revolved around a 2006 ballot measure, approved by 58 percent of voters --which itself came after a 2003 high court decision upholding the practice at the University of Michigan's law school. The decision was widely expected. The ruling reverses a decision against the ban by a federal appeals court.
   In his majority opinion, Justice ANTHONY KENNEDY wrote that the case was "not about the constitutionality, or the merits, of race-conscious admission policies," but solely about whether voters had the right to decide those merits. "It is demeaning to the democratic process," he wrote, "to presume that the voters are not capable of deciding an issue of this sensitivity."
   In her lengthy and passionate dissent, Sotomayor countered that this was a matter of equal protection of the law, and hence the court should intervene. "Democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups," she wrote. Judges "ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society."

The Vice President at play: 
VP JOE BIDEN continued his visit to Ukraine yesterday, trying to reassure the Kiev government and other countries in the region that the U.S. won't let Russia and President VLADIMIR PUTIN just do as he pleases. He told Ukraine's leaders, "You will not walk this road alone."
   Biden added, "It is time for Russia to stop talking and start acting... act on the commitments they made. Time is short in which to make progress."
   Biden's statements came as the Pentagon announced that hundreds of U.S. troops are headed for maneuvers in Eastern Europe through year's end.

The folks at Gallup have released their latest survey on Americans' attitudes toward global warming:
   --39-percent fall into the "Concerned Believers" category. They attribute global warming to human actions and are worried about it.
   --36-percent fall into the "Mixed Middle" category. They believe humans are the cause of the Earth's warming, but aren't worried about it. Others say global warming is a natural phenomenon, but that it will pose a serious risk in their lifetime
   --25-percent fall into the "Cool Skeptics" category. They're not worried at all.

Posturing, Posing and Press Releases: 
So what's the best way to get elected in the South these days if you're a Democrat? Don't mention you're a Democrat... and show a pitcture of yourself with a former Republican president.
   That's precisely what MICHELLE NUNN is doing. In one of her first campaign ads, she doesn't mention her party affiliation, and shows her standing with former President GEORGE H.W. BUSH at one of his "Points of Light Foundation" events.

CNN reports that the Democratic National Committee has invited 15 cities to submit official bids to host the party's 2016 convention. Those cities are: Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.
   Any of those cities that want to move to the second round of consideration will need to prove that they meet a long list of criteria. The DNC will announce its convention city late this year or early in 2015.

Along the Primary trail:
If you had any doubts recently that big money is distorting politics, consider this: In Florida, more than $4 million was spent in the race to fill the seat of disgraced Rep TREY RADEL, and that was just for the GOP primary in a district that tilts heavily Republican.
   In case you care, businessman CURT CLAWSON, an auto manufacturing executive, won the election yesterday, using his fortune to pound the airwaves early and often in the race to paint himself as an outsider.

Politically Active:
The Koch Brothers money machine is throwing itself at one of the party's long-standing goals: winning over Hispanic voters.
   The brothers have launched a group known as the Libre Initiative, and it marks a bit of a departure from the duo's usual attack-ad-chucking tactics. While the group still does air such ads against Democrats, it also takes a page from the liberal activist playbook by sponsoring outreach programs such as English classes and driver's license workshops.
   "If they trust us," says one Libre employee, "they may seek our opinion on something else."

   Still, the group faces an uphill battle. Congressional Republicans are blocking immigration reform, and a study released last week found that young immigrants overwhelmingly prefer Democrats regardless of local Republicans' immigration stance. ObamaCare is more popular among Hispanics as well; a recent Libre event opposing it was sparsely attended, and some attendees said they were there only for the chance to win an iPad.

Immigration Update: 
Former FL GOP Gov. JEB BUSH apparently isn't backing off his push for Republicans to be a bit more flexible on immigration reform. Speaking earlier this week an an education conference, he said that it was not an "American value to have 12-to-13 million people living in the shadows."
   He added that the U.S. needs "robust guest worker programs" and an expansion of H1-B visas for the high-tech industry." Bush also called for a "tough but fair path to legalized status" for all of the country's illegal immigrants.

Your tax dollars at work:
A report released yesterday revealed that the IRS paid out millions in bonuses to employees who still owed the IRS back taxes.
   At least $2.8 million in bonuses between October 2010 and December 2012 went to employees with disciplinary issues like misuse of government credit cards, drug use, violent threats and fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits. According to the report, 1,150 employees who still owed back taxes were given bonuses.
   According to the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, the bonuses are logically questionable, but not a violation of federal regulations. The IG adds, though that "providing awards to employees who have been disciplined for failing to pay federal taxes appears to create a conflict with the IRS's charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration."
   Overall, the IRS paid out about $198 million in bonuses during that time period.

Equal time: 
Some pretty harsh words for the OBAMA administration after the latest delay announced last week surrounding the controversial Keystone-XL oil pipeline. Laborers International Union of America general president TERRY O'SULLIVAN called the move "gutless" and a "low blow to the working men and women of our country."
   In a statement, O'Sullivan said, "The administration is delaying a finding on whether the pipeline is in the national interest based on months-old litigation in Nebraska regarding a state level challenge to a state process --and which has nothing to with the national interest ... It's not the oil that's dirty, it's the politics."
   He added, "Once again, the administration is making a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country. This certainly is no example of profiles in courage. It’s clear the administration needs to grow a set of antlers, or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach."

State politics:
Gov CHRIS CHRISTIE says pot legalization won't happen in New Jersey because he doesn't want his state to have Colorado's "quality of life."

What's the Buzz:
A New Jersey family is suing its local school district demanding that the words "under God" be removed from the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
   The suit alleges that including "under God" discriminates against atheists, which violates New Jersey's constitution.

    The suit states that it --quote-- "publicly disparages plaintiffs' religious beliefs, calls plaintiffs' patriotism into question, and forces [the child] to choose between non-participation in a patriotic exercise or participation in a patriotic exercise that is invidious to him and his religious class."
   The suit was filed in conjunction with the American Humanist Association.
   The family has chosen to remain anonymous, fearing reprisals from the resentful.

   A history lesson about the Pledge: Most people supporting the Pledge in its current guise know very little about its origin or its author. The Pledge was written by FRANCIS BELLAMY --a Christian socialist. Christian socialism became the driving religious force in 19th century America. It was based on scripture that stressed charity, helping the poor, and social justice. They typically saw capitalism to be idolatrous and rooted in greed, which they considered to be a mortal sin.
   The movement manifested itself everywhere in the 19th century: In the writing of CHARLES DICKENS, the founding of the Salvation Army and soup kitchens and in the abolitionist movement. JOHN BROWN, for example, was a deeply religious man who believed his fight against slavery was in direct consonance with Biblical teachings. Christian socialists opposed child labor, supported public education, fair wages and backed union movements.

   Bellamy never included a reference to any god in his pledge. Ironically, it was written for capitalistic purposes. In 1891, a magazine publisher had begun a campaign to sell American flags to public schools as a premium to solicit subscriptions.
   A year later, some 26-thousand schools had bought American flags but the market for flags was slowing down even though it was hardly saturated. The publisher hit upon the idea of using the 400th anniversary of CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS reaching the Americas to give the schoolhouse flag movement a new push. The magazine called for a national Columbian Public School Celebration to coincide with the World's Columbian Exposition (also known as The Chicago World's Fair). A flag salute and pledge recitation was to be part of the official program for the Columbus Day celebration to be held in schools all over America.

   So the pledge was actually part of a marketing ploy to sell flags, not salute them, let alone honor the country --at least as far as the publisher was concerned. That salute was replaced with a hand-over-heart gesture during World War II (because before snapping a salute, the original form involved stretching the arm out towards the flag first, which, for some, resembled the Nazi salute).
   The original pledge was as follows: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to* the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
   No "god" in there.

   The word "god" was inserted by Congress in 1954, with something Congress had perfected long before: The empty symbolic gesture. They decided that by inserting the word "god" in the Pledge, it would be a fantastic  response to the perceived threat of Communism, because them folks were godless commies.
   Bellamy's original text was revised on a couple of occasions, most notably, the adding of our nation's name, the United States of America. You can see that version stated in the 1939 Porky Pig cartoon "Old Glory," in which Porky struggles to memorize the Pledge. By cartoon's end, he has it down, complete with the salute, not the hand-over-heart gesture (and 48 stars on the flag). He does not say the word "god." He says:
   "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

What's for Breakfast:   

It is an exciting time to be involved in the world of fast food breakfasts, whether as a corporate CEO, franchise owner, morning shift employee, or lazy slob in the drive-thru.
   The Wall Street Journal notes that because every fast food chain is trying to take a bite out of the fast food breakfast market, the entire industry has been ramping up its creative juices with new egg creations or by defending its turf, like McDonald's offering free coffee during breakfast hours to keep their customers from drifting to competitors.

   A brief rundown of the fast food breakfast options available to Americans today include:
   McDonald's: Eggs and meat and cheese on a biscuit or English muffin.
   Starbucks: Eggs and meat and cheese on a slightly more expensive English muffin.
   Burger King: Eggs and meat and cheese on a bad croissant.
   Taco Bell: Eggs and meat and cheese in a taco.
   Subway: Eggs and meat and cheese in a sub roll.
   White Castle: Eggs and meat and cheese in a Belgian Waffle.
   Dunkin Donuts: Eggs and meat and cheese on donuts.

Big Money, Big Problems:
The American middle class is no longer the richest middle class in the world.
   Canada, which caught up to America in 2010 with a median after-tax income of $75,000 for a family of four, is the new No. 1. Or at least is "very likely" the new No. 1, given income surveys in both countries conducted since then.
   Rising income inequality gets the blame here. While the U-S is experiencing economic growth at the same or faster rate than other countries, a smaller percentage of U-S households are reaping the rewards. The middle class has not seen a substantial income gain in over two decades, and when adjusted for inflation, it's more than three decades.

   "The idea that the median American has so much more income than the middle class in all other parts of the world is not true these days," says Harvard economist LAWRENCE KATZ --despite the fact that the U-S is still the richest large country overall.
   The U-S middle class still leads countries in Europe, but the gap has narrowed substantially of late in most nations. Among poor people --those in the 20th percentile of income distribution-- it's even worse. The U-S trails badly in comparison to Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, or the Netherlands, a reversal from 35 years ago.

Money Talks:
Pilots at JetBlue have voted overwhelmingly to unionize.
   Two previous votes rejected unionization but with 71 percent approving, the pilots will join the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). The vote succeeded this time because the pilots wanted a collectively bargained contract and an advocate if their company becomes involved in a merger.
   JetBlue has more than 2,500 pilots.
   Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world's largest pilot union, billing itself as representing nearly 50-thousand pilots and 31 airlines in the United States and Canada.

The Internet:
Forget about ignoring television ads by checking your cell phone when the commercials come on. Advertisers are ready to "solve" that "problem."
   A company called Xaxis has created a program called Sync that beams the ads on your TV directly onto your phone at the same time they're on the TV.
   This is in response to figures showing that up to 50 percent of us watching TV are also using another digital device. What Xaxis is offering is a solution for advertisers whose potential viewers are being distracted from the TV by their mobile device.
   How do they know which commercials to beam to your smartphone? That's the disturbing part. They use data about your demographics, location and wi-fi use to make an "educated guess" about what TV channel you're watching, and then, as you're about to text someone because a commercial came on, boom, the commercial is on your phone.

In another court case, the justices heard arguments over whether TV streaming company Aereo is circumventing copyright laws.
   Aereo downloads TV programs from public airways and stores them online to be accessible to customers via the Internet. TV networks say Aereo is stealing, while Aereo says it's leasing antennas to customers and is just acting as a mediator.
   If the court sides with broadcasters against Aereo, the ruling could make cloud services like DropBox liable for infringement, too.

NFL Update:
Concussions have become one of the most worrisome aspects for professional football, but what happened to RUSSELL ALLEN takes the brain injuries to another level.
   Allen, a linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars, got "his bell rung" in a Week 15 game last season, but believing it to be a relatively minor incident, he stayed in the game. It turns out that it wasn't just another knock on the head. Allen had a stroke. And now his career is over as a result.
   Allen reveals the details of his injury in a Sports Illustrated  profile, and talks about what it means for his future. The short version: A head-on collision with another player caused a dime-sized "dead spot" to form on his cerebellum, the part of the brain that impacts basic motor function and coordination. He never lost consciousness. He walked back to the huddle thinking he'd gotten his bell rung a little. He played the rest of the game, even after he started experiencing double vision. He never realized he was risking further serious brain damage. He was lucky.
   Later that night, Allen says he suffered a headache and sensitivity to light --so much so that he couldn't watch television. When the headache persisted into the next morning, he told his team doctors, who scheduled him for tests. An MRI revealed Allen had a stroke during the game.
   Had he known during the game what happened, he'd have come out, but he doesn't blame the NFL or the sport. He believes in education so that players are able to identify serious injuries during a game, and take the necessary precautions.
   One last fascinating point from Allen's profile: He won the starting linebacker position after taking over in a game for CLINT SESSION. Why did Session exit that game? He suffered not one concussion, but two.


Easter Facts, Fun and Info

Apr 18, 2014 -- 1:15pm


Easter Sunday:
This Sunday is Easter, a celebration for Christians the world over. So, what is the religious significance of a bunny who lays eggs? Eggs and rabbits were ancient pagan symbols of new life.
   Symbols of new life surround the Easter season, not only because it's the holiday that celebrates Christ's resurrection, but Passover (which was celebrated this week as well) marks the "birth" of the Jewish nation, as the Jews were freed from being slaves of Pharaoh and allowed to become servants of God instead.

   The actual word Easter is derived from the word Eoster (also spelled Eastre), the name of the Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and Spring, and the annual sacrifices associated with her. Spring is a season of fertility, life, and abundance. You're catching on by now, we imagine.
   In Teutonic mythology, Eoster's pet bird laid eggs in baskets and hid them. On a whim, Eoster transformed her pet bird into a rabbit, who continued to lay eggs. So there.

Woman's Day magazine asked its readers, "Who's your favorite holiday mascot?"
   --Santa Claus: 69 percent
   --The Easter Bunny: 11 percent
   --Cupid: 11 percent
   --A leprechaun: 9 percent

What about Easter pet presents:
If you're giving your kids an Easter animal this year --like a baby bunny, chick or duck-- I hope you put a lot of thought into your purchase. Veterinarians say too many parents don't really think much about it and realize too late that the animal sticks around far longer than the chocolate and jelly beans.

   Nashville veterinarian MARK CORWIN says rabbits are among the more difficult pets to take care of. They need to be kept inside because of extreme heat outdoors. They should only eat commercial food along with Timothy hay or fresh greens, and they need plenty of fresh water. And although some rabbits are easily litter-trained, rabbit-proofing your house can be near-impossible since they tend to chew everything --they're members of the rodent family and they need to grind down those front teeth!

All About Peeps:
All the peeps fit to eat! Easter always brings out the peeps, those teeth-corroding marshmallow balls of sugar, and there's a ton of peep news to go with it. A Google News search for "peeps" will dump hundreds of stories in your lap, just from the last week or so. That's way more than usual though not quite as many as the 700 million peeps we were collectively supposed to have eaten this Easter season.

   The Washington Post has said that the average person eats 2.3 peeps each spring without explaining the math.
   There are peep fanatics out there maintaining websites featuring everything from Peep erotica (which has nothing to do with the old "peep show"), to an inventive online movie called "Lord of the Peeps." There's a clearing house of Peep websites: geekbabe.com/peeps. And yes, there's an official site (and it's pretty obnoxious): MarshmallowPeeps.com.

   Near as we can tell for all the fascination with Peeps, their association with Easter must have something to do with eggs, rebirth, spring season renewal (see above).
   But what IS certain is the flood of peep stories in the papers. We figure that's partly because peeps are a well-known cultural icon, and partly because they've been around for nearly 60 years, but we're guessing mostly there's a lot of peep people sending out lots of press releases, making it easy for lazy food and lifestyle reporters to bang out an Easter article.

Peeps are sometimes jokingly described as "indestructible." In 1999, scientists at Emory University performed experiments to measure the stress and heat tolerance of peeps. What happens when peeps are placed in a vacuum, in a hot tub, in liquid nitrogen, electrocuted, etc? You can see the unholy results at PeepResearch.org, but warning: The scientists claimed that the eyes of the little peepsters "wouldn't dissolve in anything." Furthermore, peeps are insoluble in acetone, water, sulfuric acid, and sodium hydroxide. And you ate some?

   But just be glad we live in an age when such performing such perversions on innocent peeps isn't enough to get you banned from society.
   American University's LEONARD STEINHORN, a professor of communications, thinks peeps mania speaks to the diversity of American culture. "Fifty years ago, people who did experiments on peeps would have been shunned," he said.

Because nobody can eat more than just one, peeps bring out the creative and the silly in a lot of us.
   The Seattle Times has an annual contest of peeps used in photos. The call it a Peeptacular and the photos really are spectacular.
   The St Paul Pioneer Press was the first newspaper to hold an annual peeps diorama contest and receives hundreds of entries every year.The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and other newspapers followed suit. This past year, the Post received over 11-hundred entries.

For what it's worth, Sacramento, CA, hosts an annual peep eating contest, the Peep Off, usually the Saturday after Easter for the sole reason that, by then, $30 will buy about 10-thousand peeps.
   One year (2003) the winner downed 103 peeps in 30 minutes. His name: DENNIS GROSS. Appropriate.

Good Friday 
It is Good Friday on the Christian calendar. Christians solemnly commemorate the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, an event which would trigger the resurrection, the seminal event of the Christian theology. As is the case every year on Good Friday, volunteers honor the suffering of Christ by being nailed to wooden crosses in the Philippine village of San Pedro Cutud.

   Meanwhile, in the Philippine provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga, some Catholics undergo the devotional practice of flagellation through whipping or lashing to repent for their sins. That's despite the warnings from the church, which issed a statement saying the practice could result in developing tetanus because of cuts or wounds that are exposed to dust and other dirty elements.
   In San Fernando City in Pampanga, at least 20 people will be nailed to a cross in the three crucifixion sites. One of them is 52-year-old RUBEN ENAJE, who will be nailed for the 28th time --more than half his life-- at San Pedro Cutud, even though he said last year he'd had enough.

   The wooden crosses are mounted on a hill made out of volcanic sediments spewed out by Mt. Pinatubo. Crowds watching the ritual can reach up to 50-thousand or more. Ruben is known in the Philippines as "The Jesus" of Cutud. Several others have done it the last few years but no one comes close to this guy.
   "This is not just for fun or for money," he said last year. "This is a spiritual vow as a way of thanking God for sparing my life when I fell from a three-story building several years back." Actually, the first nine crucifixions Reuben did were for having survived the fall, the next nine for the health of his eldest daughter, and the most recent nine for his wife’s health.
   “Every year, the pain becomes worse,” he told a local paper, while taking a break from painting T-shirts with the face of Jesus Christ that will be given to participants in the Good Friday procession. “But this is my vow so I will continue until there is a new Kristo who can take over my role.”

   This re-enactment ritual has been going on since 1949 and draws thousands of people from all corners of the globe to watch men dressed as Roman soldiers drive nails into the hands of these volunteers, and some cases, their feet. The crosses are usually raised for a few minutes, then lowered and the penitents freed.
   Every year there are promises that THIS year's ritual will be "even more colorful than last year."
   Some of the worshippers come from abroad, making the trip just for the occasion.


From Mike Bradley's Portion of the Morning Team

Apr 18, 2014 -- 12:39pm


Friday (04-18): Good Friday. National Wear Your Pajamas To Work Day. Adult Autism Awareness Day, Support Teen Literature Day, Poem In Your Pocket Day, Pet Owner's Independence Day, Animal Cracker Day, Paul Revere Day, World Amateur Radio Day. Consumer Awareness Week, and Cleaning for A Reason Week.

Birthdays include: The RBR's own BRUCE MAIMAN, plus TBS late-nite host CONAN O'BRIEN (51); KOURTNEY KARDASHIAN (35); actresses AMERICA FERRERA (30), DOROTHY LYMAN (67), "Hot in Cleveland" star JANE LEEVES (53), "Sabrina The Teenage Witch" MELISSA JOAN HART (38), MARIA BELLO (47), HALEY MILLS (68); BARBARA HALE ("Perry Mason's" Della! --92). Hillarious ventriloquist JEFF DUNHAM (52), RICK MORANIS (61); ERIC McCORMACK ("Will & Grace" --52); "ST: DS9's" AVERY BROOKS (66); ERIC ROBERTS (58); JAMES WOODS (67), and "The Virginian" JAMES DRURY (80); LENNY BAKER (Sha Na Na --68); LES PATTISON (Echo & the Bunnymen); MICHAEL VICKERS (Manfred Mann --74); race car driver GEOFF BODINE (65), basketball's NATE ARCHIBALD. The late PIGMEAT MARKHAM and CLARENCE "Gatemouth" BROWN were also born on this date.

Checking the sonogram: CHELSEA CLINTON is pregnant with her first child. The former First Daughter revealed at an event in New York City yesterday that her first child with MARC MEZVINSKY will be "arriving later this year" and hopes that "I'll be as good to my child as my mom was to me." Understandably, HILLARY CLINTON is "very excited" while former President BILL CLINTON revealed on Twitter that he was "excited to add a new line" to his bio. The news also means that HILLARY would be a grandma if she runs for office in 2016.

Anniversaries: Hip-hop honco SEAN "Puffy" COMBS was arrested after an attack on Interscope Records exec STEVEN STOUTE. They later settled out of court (1999).

   --35 years ago: Palimony is born, when a judge orders actor LEE MARVIN to pay his companion of six years, MICHELLE TRIOLA, $106-thousand dollars. The same week, another judge dismissed palimony claims for PETER FRAMPTON's ex-girlfriend PENELOPE McCALL. She wanted half of his $50-million dollar estate (1979).

   --72 years ago, the Doolittle raid on Japan, as Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle led a group of B-26 bombers off the aircraft carrier USS Hornet and hit Tokyo and other Japanese cities. It was the first U-S response to the attack on Pearl Harbor (1942).

   --Yankee Stadium opened, 1923.
   --80 years ago, the first Laundromat opened in Fort Worth, TX (1934).

Today also marks the 108th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It lasted 48 seconds and registered 8.25 on the Richter Scale, qualifying as America's worst earthquake ever; the city was leveled and the downtown area burned for three days, destroying four square miles and killing an estimated 3000 people. Some 500 people were shot and killed for looting. The last survivor is scheduled to appear at the early morning anniversary ceremony in San Francisco --he was three months old at the time of the earthquake.

   A recent study says a similar quake would leave as many as 34-hundred dead and damage more than 90-thousand buildings at a cost of about $150-billion. The biggest problem: those pre-1970 buildings, many of them attractive landmarks --they're just not quakeproof.

   By the way, when the quake happened in 1906, publisher WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST told his New York editor, "Don't overplay it. They often have earthquakes in California." Of course, he also might've advised that so eastern bankers wouldn't panic and ruin the city's credit rating. A-P GIANNINNI made friends and got rich by lending money to quake and fire victims. He later founded the Bank of Italy, now Bank of America.

Guilty Pleasures:
No winner in Wednesday night's drawing for the Powerball Lottery. That means Saturday night's drawing is valued at $128 million ($74.9 million cash value). Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, DC and the U-S Virgin Islands. Chances of winning the grand prize (all five numbers plus the powerball) are 1 in 175.2 million.

The White House:
The White House is pushing back on reports that a phone call this week between House Majority Leader ERIC CANTOR and PRESIDENT OBAMA turned nasty. Cantor's office said the president called to lecture him on immigration reform shortly after he issued a "partisan statement" on the subject.
   However, the White House says the call was "pleasant" and that it's surprised by how Cantor's staff had characterized the exchange. The White House said the call was also made so the president could wish Cantor a Happy Passover.

The President at play:
PRESIDENT OBAMA held a late-afternoon news conference yesterday to tout another big marker for the Affordable Care Act: A sign-up figure of at least 8 million through state and federal excahanges, with about 28-percent of those signed-up between ages 18-34 (and 35 percent for all enrollees under age 35). Younger, heathier enrollees are key to the law's eventual success.
   Taking on Republicans, he said, This thing is working ... I think we can agree that it is well past time to move on, as a country ... The point is, this debate is and should be over. The Affordable Care Act is working. The American people don't want us re-fighting the battles of the past five years."
   He added, "I find it strange that the Republican position on this law is still stuck in the same place that it has always been ... They still can't bring themselves to admit that the Affordable Care Act is working. They said nobody would sign up. They were wrong about that ... They were wrong to keep trying to repeal a law that is working when they have no alternative answer."

(What President Obama doesn't get is the story here is the affordability of this all. Anyone can build a website and sign people up for health care-(wait the government had trouble with that too, nevermind) There are many financial issues with all of this.---If you only have a 1/3rd of young people signing up to have to cover the other 2/3rds (due to their youth and much less need for health care services) that is not going to work. How many of these people lost healthcare from the ACA and signed up for this to get it back, those people need to be subtracted. How many enrollees are getting subsidies, how many have made their premium payment? How are the state's going to pay for increased Medicaid costs? For those state's that did not expand Medicaid, the Fed will pick up the tab for the rest, how much will that cost?) -Mike Bradley

Former Secretary of State HILLARY CLINTON came out strongly yesterday for the immigration reform bill passed by the Senate last year after being asked about her stance by a young undocumented immigrant. Speaking to a tearful 19-year-old student yesterday at a Clinton Foundation event, she said, "I believe strongly we are missing a great opportunity by not welcoming people like you and 11 million others who have made contributions to our country into a legal status."
   Hillary added, "I am strongly in favor of the legislation that passed the Senate, it was bipartisan, that’s rare these days. It passed, and unfortunately the House of Representatives has not taken it up, and I think that’s a big missed opportunity for our country."

State politics:
A push to repeal the death penalty has failed in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire state Senate deadlocked at 12-to-12 yesterday on a vote to repeal capital punishment, after weeks of emotional debate.
   New Hampshire currently has just one death row inmate.
   The bill had previously passed the New Hampshire House, and Democratic Gov. MAGGIE HASSAN had promised to sign it. New Hampshire would have been the 19th state to scrap the death penalty.

Good Friday 
It is Good Friday on the Christian calendar. Christians solemnly commemorate the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, an event which would trigger the resurrection, the seminal event of the Christian theology. As is the case every year on Good Friday, volunteers honor the suffering of Christ by being nailed to wooden crosses in the Philippine village of San Pedro Cutud.

   Meanwhile, in the Philippine provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga, some Catholics undergo the devotional practice of flagellation through whipping or lashing to repent for their sins. That's despite the warnings from the church, which issed a statement saying the practice could result in developing tetanus because of cuts or wounds that are exposed to dust and other dirty elements.
   In San Fernando City in Pampanga, at least 20 people will be nailed to a cross in the three crucifixion sites. One of them is 52-year-old RUBEN ENAJE, who will be nailed for the 28th time --more than half his life-- at San Pedro Cutud, even though he said last year he'd had enough.

   The wooden crosses are mounted on a hill made out of volcanic sediments spewed out by Mt. Pinatubo. Crowds watching the ritual can reach up to 50-thousand or more. Ruben is known in the Philippines as "The Jesus" of Cutud. Several others have done it the last few years but no one comes close to this guy.
   "This is not just for fun or for money," he said last year. "This is a spiritual vow as a way of thanking God for sparing my life when I fell from a three-story building several years back." Actually, the first nine crucifixions Reuben did were for having survived the fall, the next nine for the health of his eldest daughter, and the most recent nine for his wife’s health.
   “Every year, the pain becomes worse,” he told a local paper, while taking a break from painting T-shirts with the face of Jesus Christ that will be given to participants in the Good Friday procession. “But this is my vow so I will continue until there is a new Kristo who can take over my role.”

   This re-enactment ritual has been going on since 1949 and draws thousands of people from all corners of the globe to watch men dressed as Roman soldiers drive nails into the hands of these volunteers, and some cases, their feet. The crosses are usually raised for a few minutes, then lowered and the penitents freed.
   Every year there are promises that THIS year's ritual will be "even more colorful than last year."
   Some of the worshippers come from abroad, making the trip just for the occasion.

Culture Shock:
New data from Harris and WhitePages finds people are blocking calls from businesses and exes, unsuprisingly. But they are also blocking calls from friends.
   The Consumer Call Blocking study shows about one in five consumers have used a call blocking app or feature to avoid unwanted calls; of those who have used these features 65 percent report they do it to avoid telemarketers. Parents are more likely to block calls than adults without children in the house and Millennials are more likely than Boomers or Seniors to have call blocking apps on their phones.

   Other interesting findings include:
   --44 percent block calls because of spam
   --26 percent block calls because of pranks
   --21 percent block calls because they're receiving calls for a previous owner of their number
   Most (60 percent) of those surveyed say they regularly block numbers they don't recognize, 20 percent block exes’ phone numbers and 15 percent have blocked friends when they’re busy. About 17 percent say they've blocked debt collector calls.

The 411:
If you've "liked" a company on Facebook, downloaded its coupons, or really in any way interacted with it online, you might have inadvertently given up your right to sue it.
   The NY Times spotted new language in the privacy policy on General Mills' website indicating that customers who did any of those things were agreeing to settle any disputes they might have with the company via arbitration.

   When the Times asked about it, the company doubled down, adding new text suggesting that anyone who so much as purchased Cheerios was agreeing to the same thing. (A new gray bar atop the site reads in part, "Please note we also have new Legal Terms which require all disputes related to the purchase or use of any General Mills product or service to be resolved through binding arbitration.")

   The Supreme Court opened the door for this maneuver when it ruled, in 2011's AT&T v. Concepcion, that companies could forbid class-action lawsuits in the contracts their customers sign, and many companies are moving to take advantage.
   General Mills defends the practice as simply an "efficient way to resolve disputes," but a rep from a trial lawyers trade group said, "It's essentially trying to protect the company from all accountability."

The Economy:
Not that you needed to hear this again but according to a new Labor Department report, the recovery from the Great Recession has favored the wealthy.
   Data shows that the top 20 percent of earners received more than 80 percent of the rise in household income between 2008 and 2012. For the bottom 20 percent, income fell.

Data breach: 
Another day, another security breach and massive credit card problem.
   This time it's Michaels arts and craft stores, who say somebody may have hacked into its database and gotten info on about seven percent of all the debit and credit cards used at its stores. The Michaels subsidiary, Aaron Brothers, has also been affected as well.
   In response to the threat, Michaels says it's offering free identity protection, credit monitoring and fraud assistance services to affected customers for 12 months.

Broadcast, cable and video news:
Live television viewing still rules, according to new data from BroadStream Solutions. Their research finds a majority of Americans (84 percent) choose to tune-in to live/first run shows rather than watch via DVR or smaller screens. The study also indicates that fewer than 10 percent prefer to watch programming on mobile devices, desktop or laptop computers.
   Researchers found that, in the past year 70 percent of Americans have watched live TV while only 26 percent have watched VOD/DVR sources. About one-third (36 percent) report they've watched programming via Netflix or similar streaming services.

Movies opening this weekend (Apr 18): 
Insiders say the new JOHNNY DEPP film, "Transcendence," may not make enough money to overtake last week's top-two, "Captain America" and "Rio2."
   There are also three other new films in wide release --the Christian film, "Heaven Is For Real," which debuted Wednesday, "A Haunted House 2" and the Disney documentary, "Bears."

   --"Transcendence," (Sci-fi /Action; wide release, rated PG-13), starring JOHNNY DEPP as the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. With PAUL BETTANY, REBECCA HALL, KATE MARA, MORGAN FREEMAN, COLE HAUSER, CILLIAN MURPHY.
   --"Bears," (Disney nature documentary, wide release, rated G).

   --"A Haunted House 2," (Comedy /Horror /Thriller; wide release, rated R), starring MARLON WAYANS as Malcolm, who --after exorcising the demons of his ex-- is starting fresh with his new girlfriend and her two children. With GABRIEL IGLESIAS, JAIME PRESSLY, ASHLEY RICKARDS, ESSENCE ATKINS
   --"Heaven is for Real," (Drama, wide release, rated PG), starring GREG KINNEAR as a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son's extraordinary, life-changing near-death experience. With KELLY REILLY as his wife; CONNOR CORUM as his son. Also stars THOMAS HAYDEN CHURCH. (Opened Wed, Apr 18)
# # #

Stars and their movies: 
There may be a "Mrs Doubtfire" sequel in the works, but MARA WILSON, who played Natalie in the 1993 film, won’t be in it.
   She tweeted yesterday, “For the record, no, I do not have anything to do with the Mrs. Doubtfire sequel, nor will I. I’ve been in some mediocre movies, but I’ve never been in a sequel. And I have no interest in being in one now. Sequels generally suck unless they were planned as part of a trilogy or series. I think Doubtfire ended where it needed to end.”
   No word on whether any of the other stars from the original movie --including SALLY FIELD, PIERCE BROSNAN or HARVEY FIERSTEIN will return at this point.

Rocket Science

Space, the Final Frontier:
NASA has announced the first-ever discovery of an Earth-size planet that could hold liquid water, which is basically the same as NASA announcing that they've found an Earth-like planet that could be the site of Earth-like life. That's right you guys, aliens.
   The planet, Kepler-186f, was discovered by NASA's Kepler mission and is within its star's habitable zone, or what scientists like to call the "Goldilocks" zone --that region around a star within in which a planet can sustain liquid water on its surface given the right atmospheric conditions. NASA built and launched the Kepler spacecraft to find precisely those kinds of planets.

   Although scientists don't know the density of the planet --or its age-- they suspect it's rocky with a stronger gravitational pull than we feel on Earth. It's about 490 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, and it circles a red dwarf star. One known difference: Its year is only about 130 days.
   One SETI Institute researcher said that the idea of finding alien life is "no longer in the realm of science fiction." That's because even if Kepler-186f proves to be a bust in the life-supporting department, its discovery suggests that lots more similar planets are out there waiting to be found.

How long would it take to get to this newly discovered planet?
   Think of it this way. The star that is nearest to our Sun is called Alpha Centauri. Alpha Centauri is 25.6 trillion miles from Earth. The Space Shuttles traveled at 17,600 miles an hour. At that speed, it would take a Space Shuttle about 165,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri. And Alpha Centuari is only 4.3 light years away. This newly-discovered planet is 490 light years away.
   To paraphrase the line from "Jaws," we're gonna need a much faster ship.

From Mike Bradley's Portion of the Morning Team

Apr 17, 2014 -- 12:13pm


Thursday (04-17): Blah! Blah! Blah! Day, Haiku Poetry Day, National High Five Day, Nothing Like a Dame Day, Ford Mustang Day, Support Teen Literature Day Ask an Atheist Day (We already know the answer to the question to them about Is There a God?, Verrazano Day (discovery of NY Harbor by Giovanni Verrazano, 1524). Ellis Island Family History Day; Cheese Ball Day.

Birthdays include: Spice Girl/soccer mom VICTORIA BECKHAM (40); actresses JENNIFER GARNER (42), ROONEY MARA ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" --29), LELA ROCHON ("Waiting to Exhale" --50), OLIVIA HUSSEY (63), and TERI AUSTIN (57). SEAN BEAN ("Game of Thrones" --56), and "Father Murphy's" TIMOTHY GIBB (47); composer JAN HAMMER (66); rapper REDMAN ("Method & Red" --44); PETE SHELLEY (59) from the Buzzcocks; LIZ PHAIR (47), and MICHAEL SEMBELLO (60), the man who gave the world "Maniac." Broadcaster and former QB "BOOMER" ESIASON (53), and "Rowdy" RODDY PIPER (60, and the steel cage is closed). Also: Sesame Street's Sherlock Hemlock's Birthday, Daffy Duck's Birthday, Petunia Pig's Birthday.
Anniversaries: LINDA McCARTNEY died of cancer, at age 56 (1998).
   --44 years ago: The other Beatle-boot dropped; the breakup of the Beatles became official when Paul McCartney’s solo LP, "McCartney," was released. Paul played all the instruments himself (1970).
   --1961: about 15-hundred CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro.

Guilty Pleasures:
No winner in Wednesday night's drawing for the Powerball Lottery. That means Saturday night's drawing is valued at $128 million ($74.9 million cash value). Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, DC and the U-S Virgin Islands. Chances of winning the grand prize (all five numbers plus the powerball) are 1 in 175.2 million.


Today also marks the date of Paul Revere's famous "Midnight Ride," 1775. Paul DID start that famous ride; he just didn't finish it. He began on Monday evening, the 17th, at 10 pm but was arrested by the British 90 minutes later. Didn't even make it to midnight.
   It was WILLIAM DAWES and SAM PRESCOTT, taking other routes, who carried out his mission --fact one-- but --fact two-- that mission wasn't the one we all remember as described in the famous HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW poem ("Listen my children and you shall hear, the midnight ride of Paul Revere...")

   In truth, Paul Revere's more critical ride actually took place on the 16th. And it is little known. Aroused by suspicious movement of the British, he rode from Boston to Lexington to get word to JOHN HANCOCK and SAMUEL ADAMS, only to learn that the Colonial Congress had just ended their session until mid-May. Even back then, Congress had a knack for taking untimely vacations.
   Fortunately, the delegates hadn't dispersed yet and quickly reassembled thanks to the news brought by Revere. Meanwhile, revolutionary armies prepared their men and weapons to face an invasion of British forces.

   While Paul Revere spent most of the night of the 18th in jail, Dawes and Prescott notified the Colonial Congress that the British were indeed coming. Reconvening in Watertown, MA, (by now, patriots had already successfully engaged the British at Lexington and Concord), congressional delegates dispatched the person who actually DID ride the ride described in the Longfellow poem.

   He was ISRAEL BISSELL, a 23-year old, little known post rider who rode four horses across four states and carried the "call to arms" alerting the colonists of the British attack on April 19, 1775. He rode for four days and nights, some 345 miles from Watertown, MA, to City Hall in Philadelphia, PA, rousing citizens in hamlets, towns and cities shouting "to arms to arms, the war has begun!" thus giving rise to the "shot heard round the world." Oh, and no one yelled, "the British are coming!" (since back then, the colonists still considered themselves British).
   The exhausted and disheveled Bissell delivered the message that would change the course of a nation.

The President at Play:

PRESIDENT OBAMA is talking tough about Russia's continued funny business in Ukraine. In an interview with CBS News, he said, "What I've said consistently is that each time Russia takes these kinds of steps, that are designed to destabilize Ukraine and violate their sovereignty, that there are going to be consequences."
   He added, "They're (Russia) not interested in military confrontation with us; we don't need a war... What we do need is that countries like Ukraine can have relationships with their neighbors."

Is embattled NJ GOP Gov. CHRIS CHRISTIE slowly rebuilding his "presidential mojo?" Perhaps not just yet, but a new poll released this week shows he might be on the way.
   That survey, conducted for the McClatchy syndicate shows Christie trailing HILLARY CLINTON by 11-points, 53-to-42-percent, among registered in a hypothetical 2016 White House match-up. That margin is down from a 21-point gap three months ago, but significantly more that the three-point deficit he faced in December, right before the "Bridgegate" scandal broke in New Jersey.
   Still, the biggest hurdle for Christie might still be a federal grand jury that's been empowered in the investigation which could meet for 18-months, well past the point where Christie would have to make a decision about 2016.

Your tax dollars at work: 
So who's up for the US Postal Service mining and selling some of your personal shopping data? That's already done by many companies, but a key official turned a few heads at a recent conference when she alluded to that added role for the Post Office.
   The concept sees the Post Office gathering and selling private data from personal mail sent from and received by Americans everywhere. USPS chief marketing and sales officer NAGISA MANABE, speaking recently at the "PostalVision 2020" conference, used the hypothetical situation of a woman in the market for a new vehicle.

   Manabe said, "We’re at the point where, all too soon... We're going to know exactly that she was shopping at two different car dealers looking at cars, and both of those car dealers should be mailing her communication about that vehicle, right? ...And we’re there now, folks. I mean, you all know this. There are dozens of folks out there who are supplying that kind of information. If we're not testing and exploring some of that together, we should."

Equal time: 
NY GOP Congressman PETER KING --a well-known "establishment" hawk on defense and national security issues-- is again criticizing KY GOP Sen. RAND PAUL, saying Paul would be "disastrous" as president. Appearing on MSNBC, King said, "I think his views would be disastrous ...I think he appeals to the lowest common denominator. This is an isolationist wing from the 1930s."
   King added, "Rand Paul brings it to this hysterical level... He talks about the CIA trying to kill Americans having coffee in Starbucks, when he talked about PRESIDENT OBAMA listening to his cell phone conversations ... That to me is just feeding into paranoia ...We do need an intelligent debate, and I don’t think Rand Paul is capable of having that debate."

The NY Times reports that former NYC Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG plans to spend about $50-million-dollars of his own cash on building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence. He hopes to counter the political clout of the National Rifle Association.
   When asked about the NRA, Bloomberg said, "They say, 'We don't care. We’re going to go after you' ...'If you don't vote with us we’re going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we're never going to stop'."

The New SAT:
The College Board, the makers/peddlers of the SAT, yesterday released a preview of what their newly revised SAT will look like when it arrives in 2016.
   It's 211 pages, which means, either they're covering their bases or they have a different definition of the word "preview" than the rest of us. An official for the board explains that the info is designed to give students "everything [they need] to know to walk into that test and not be surprised."
   The overall revision: The test will be more geared toward real-world applications, which means, among other things, that it's bidding adieu to "obscure" vocabulary words. Words like "obsequious," "propinquity," "enervation" or "lachrymose."
   Taking their place: "high-utility" words, like "obedient," "affinity," "exhaustion," or "tearful." An example of what to expect from the three-hour test, which is reverting to the 1600-point scale:

    --The breakdown: 65 minutes for 52 critical reading questions, 35 minutes for 44 written language questions, and 80 minutes for 57 math questions.
   --Vocab example: After reading a passage about an "intense" clustering of jobs, students will be asked whether "intense" most nearly means "emotional," "brilliant," "determined," or (correct answer) "concentrated."
   --Reading example: a passage from a congresswoman's 1974 speech during President Nixon's impeachment hearings; associated questions ask students to describe her stance and the passage's main rhetorical effect.
   --Math example: Students will have to calculate the cost of converting dollars to Indian rupees.
   --Every test will have a question based on one of the U-S founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence.

Stars and their movies: 
There's a sequel to the ROBIN WILLIAMS' hit, "Mrs Doubtfire," in the works.
   The original film is about a dad in the middle of a divorce, who secretly puts on a wig, a dress and uses makeup and prosthetics in order to get around the legal restrictions and spend more time with his kids.

Mega-producer JERRY BRUCKHEIMER gave a glimpse of what to look for in a couple of upcoming movies yesterday in an interview with Bloomberg:
   As far as the upcoming "Pirates of the Caribbean 5," Jerry said JOHNNY DEPP will be back and also that they'd be happy to have KEITH RICHARDS return as well. Filming could start as soon as this fall if everything comes together.
   And there'll be another "Beverly Hills Cop" movie as well, with EDDIE MURPHY going back to Detroit from Beverly Hills this time. "We're going to have some fun with him," Bruckheimer said.

OK, so here's the official word on AC/DC. The band is not breaking up, but rhythm guitarist MALCOM YOUNG is very ill. The first reports said he suffered a stroke, but now a source close to the band says Malcom may have Alzheimer's, dementia or possibly cancer. He has been having trouble communicating and recognizing familiar faces. Here is the official statement from AC/DC:
   "After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group's diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support. In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family's privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music."
   Singer BRIAN JOHNSON told the UK's Telegraph newspaper this week that the band, without Malcom, will head into the studio next month to jam and see what comes of it. There were plans for a 40th anniversary tour which would hit 40 concerts in 40 different venues, but that's on the shelf for now.



From Mike Bradley's Portion of the Morning Team

Apr 16, 2014 -- 11:06am


Wednesday (04-16): National Stress Awareness Day, National Bookmobile Day, Save The Elephant Day, National Health Decisions Day, National Eggs Benedict Day.

Birthdays include: Actress ELLEN BARKIN (60), actors JON CRYER ("Two and a Half Men" -49), LUKAS HAAS (38), MARTIN LAWRENCE (49); DAVE PIRNER (Soul Asylum -50); singer-songwriter AKON (41); the Polish Prince, BOBBY VINTON (79), JIMMY OSMOND (51), PETER BILLINGSLY ("Ralphie" in "A Christmas Story" --43) and the immortal GERARDO (49), who gave the world "Rico Suave." Wrestling legend GEORGE "The Animal" STEELE is 77. Voice actor BILLY WEST (who does both Ren & Stimpy --64). Retired POPE BENEDICT the 16th is 87.
   From sports, NBA great KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR (67), New England Patriots' coach, BILL BELICHICK (62) and San Francisco Giants manager BRUCE BOCHY (59).

   The late GERRY RAFFERTY ("Baker Street") would be 67. The late DUSTY SPRINGFIELD was also born on this date and now-famous Tex-Mex singer SELENA PEREZ would have been 43 today, had she not been shot to death by YOLANDA SALDIVAR, her fan club president. The late HENRY MANCINI (Pink Panther, Moon River), CHARLIE CHAPLIN and WILBUR WRIGHT were also born on this date.

Anniversaries: Happy 20th to singer and "American Idol" judge HARRY CONNICK, Jr, and JILL GOODACRE.
   --Seven years ago today a student shot and killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech University.

Guilty Pleasures:
No winner in Saturday night's drawing for the Powerball Lottery. That means tonight's drawing is valued at $110 million ($64 million cash value). Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, DC and the U-S Virgin Islands. Chances of winning the grand prize (all five numbers plus the powerball) are 1 in 175.2 million.

The Vice President at play: 
Vice President JOE BIDEN was on hand in Boston yesterday for ceremonies marking one year since a pair of bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and left scores injured. He said in part, "You will send a resounding message around the world --not just around the world but to the terrorists-- that we will never yield. We will never cower. America will never ever stand down."
   Biden added, "You are living proof that America can never, never, never be defeated ...You are the proof of that assertion. So much has been taken from you but you have never, ever given up."

Political Racket /Dirty Tricks:
More heat from Congress yesterday for General Motors and one of its major vendors. Lawmakers looking into how and why GM used faulty ignition switches in many vehicles are now putting the spotlight on the supplier of those switches, Delphi Automotive.
   A group of senators sent a letter to Delphi CEO RODNEY O'NEAL yesterday, demanding information on how the company reacted to GM after the automaker apparently did not accept a proposed fix for the switches. The bipartisan letters reads in part, "It is our understanding that a fix was proposed by Delphi regarding the ignition switch in 2005 but GM did not adopt the change... As we continue evaluating the GM recall it is critically important that we understand the decisions made by Delphi and the company's interaction with GM."
   There was no immediate comment from Delphi. At least 13 deaths have been linked to those faulty ignition switches.

Equal time: 
One of the political left's favorite reporters thinks that former President GEORGE W. BUSH was far more aggressive at prosecuting white collar crime that PRESIDENT OBAMA has been. MATT TAIBBI pulled no punches during a recent interview on "Democratcy Now."
   When asked by host AMY GOODMAN, "Who was tougher on corporate America, President Obama or President Bush?," Taibbi said, "Oh, Bush, hands down. And this is an important point to make, because if you go back to the early 2000s, think about all these high-profile cases: Adelphia, Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen. All of these companies were swept up by the Bush Justice Department ...At least George Bush recognized the symbolic importance of showing ordinary Americans that justice is blind, right?"
   Taibbi added, "Fast-forward again to the next big crisis, and how many people have we ...actually put in jail? Zero. And this was a crisis that was much huger in scope than the S&L crisis or the accounting crisis. I mean, it wiped out 40 percent of the world’s wealth, and nobody went to jail, so that we’re now in a place where we don’t even recognize the importance of keeping up appearances when it comes to making things look equal."

What's Poppin':
If you can't afford to own, you can rent. But what if you can't afford to rent, either? Millions of Americans are in precisely that situation, according to a comprehensive new Harvard study.
   The study finds median rent prices in 90 cities across the U-S are higher than a basic affordability threshold for middle-income families
   Keep in mind, the study is looking not at where rents are highest, but where they're becoming least affordable based on local incomes. Rent and utilities are traditionally considered affordable when they consume 30 percent or less of a household's income. But in 90 cities nationwide, median rent alone --so not even including utilities-- tops 30 percent of the median gross income.

   According to the study, half of all renters nationwide are now spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing. That's up from 38 percent of renters in 2000.
   Apartment vacancy rates have dropped so low that some forecasters say rents could rise, on average, as much as 4 percent this year, compared with 2.8 percent last year. But rents are rising faster than that in many cities even as overall inflation is running at little more than 1 percent annually.
   Something else is happening, too. The sharp uptick in rents has also happened alongside a decline in funding for affordable housing. That means people with not quite the money to buy a house who can afford a high-end apartment is resulting in an apartment market catering mainly to high earners. The surplus of luxury apartments means fewer dwellings for your typical renter.

   The high rents impact the economy, too, since more money heading to rent and utilities means less left over for people to spend on goods and services.
   The least affordable city is Los Angeles, where median rent now makes up 47 percent of median income. Next is Miami, where that figure is 43.2 percent, and then College Station, TX.
   San Francisco ranks sixth and New York comes in 10th. One in four renter households in the U-S earns below 30 percent of their area's median income. As you can see, seven of the top 10 cities are in California:

10. New York
 9. Santa Rosa, CA
 8. San Luis Obispo, CA
 7. Salinas, CA
 6. San Francisco
 5. San Diego
 4. Santa Cruz, CA
 3. College Station, TX
 2. Miami
 1. Los Angeles

Filling a need:
Beef prices are at record highs. So are pork prices. What to do if you're an American? Eat more chicken! Americans are gobbling down that chicken --the most chicken in three years.

The higher-ups over at Amazon really know how to motivate their employees. MSN.com reports JEFF BEZOS, the CEO of the internet giant, offered warehouse workers up to $5-thouand dollars to leave their jobs! The company isn't downsizing or headed for layoffs, but makes the generous offer every year as a way of encouraging people to think about what they really want in the long run. The bigwig is smart enough to know having people that don't want to be there isn't healthy for the worker or the company.

Those darned SATs:
The SAT is a favorite punching bag these days, with critics saying it should be eliminated from the college-application process.
   But in an essay at Slate, DAVID HAMBRICK and CHRISTOPHER CHABRIS come to the test's defense on several fronts. Those who say the SAT is a lousy predictor of college success are just plain wrong, they write. A slew of research shows that the SAT does "remarkably" well in predicting not only how a freshman will do, but also a senior --and even a new graduate.

   As for the "socioeconomic" knock that the SAT favors those rich enough to hire special tutors, it's exaggerated. What critics fail to mention is all the low-income students who use strong SAT scores to get into a good college, a feat that might have been impossible otherwise.
   The authors say the SAT is similar to an IQ test in that its strength is measuring general intelligence. And while IQ tests have critics of their own, the "bottom line is that there are large, measurable differences among people in intellectual ability," and we'd be foolish to ignore them.

   They write: "Given everything that social scientists have learned about IQ and its broad predictive validity, it is reasonable to make it a factor in decisions such as whom to hire for a particular job or admit to a particular college or university."

Retro Technology:
You might be old enough to remember when the Sony Walkman was cutting edge technology, but kids today have no idea what it is.
   A video of confused children examining a vintage Walkman is going viral online. Millions of people have viewed the YouTube clip showing elementary school kids struggling to figure out what the device is used for. One kid even thinks it might be some kind of phone. The Sony walkman was introduced in 1979, with 385-million units being sold globally.



Tax Day:
Your taxes are due today, postmarked by midnight tonight.
   And if you can't file today, you can file an extension (form 4868) which gets you until Oct 15 to file (though you'll still have to pay any taxes owed, and what you don't pay, you'll have to pay interest on). Hint: if you owe, pay, even if you delay filing. You can even get an installment payment plan from the IRS online.
Some Tax Day Trivia:
   --Of the roughly 133 million individual tax returns being filed this year, only about half were filed before April 1st; the rest of us got busy after that. And some 35 million returns get done on the weekend before deadline, so you weren't alone this past weekend.
   --Common mistakes: not signing the return (that's the biggest), bad math (that's the second biggest), forgetting to include a check (if you owe money), and including enough postage. Last thing you want is to get your forms back with insufficient postage, and then get penalized for filing late.
   --If you owe, don't make your check out to the initials "IRS." That's because if the check falls into the wrong hands, they can change the "IRS" to "MRS" followed by someone's name. Instead you should write out the entire three words "Internal Revenue Service." Or blood-sucking weasels.
In 1940, corporate America shoulder 50 percent of the total tax burden; last year the Government Accounting Office said corporate America paid 12.1 percent of the total. Between 1996 and 2000, 61 percent of corporate America paid no Income Tax. Among companies listed on the S&P 500, almost one in nine paid an effective tax rate of zero percent --or even lower-- in 2013, according to an analysis by USA Today. Tax rates for American corporations are the second-highest in the world but after you get through the loopholes, they're the world's third lowest. (Well if the Corporate Rate was not so high they would not have to use the Loop-Holes which I may add are LEGAL. -Mike Bradley)
More tips:
   --Don't have the money to pay what you owe? You can propose an installment plan by attaching Form 9465 to your return. The IRS will answer within 30 days. They'll also charge you 13 percent interest on past-due balances.
   --Maybe you're getting a refund? About 78 percent of us will, and usually, it's because we overpaid our taxes all year long. Think of it as a return on a bad investment. Another way of looking at it: you gave the government a free loan (talk about a bad investment). Ideally, you want to pay or be owed within a hundred bucks. To figure that out, you need to ask your employer to revise the tax withholding from your paycheck (the lovely W-4).
   --Waiting for a refund? You can call the IRS Teletax number to find out if it's ready  and on its way, or if there's a problem. Call 800-829-4477.
Even more tips:
   --Questions? There's an IRS taxpayer help line, open from 8 am to 5 pm. 800-829-1040. Keep in mind, though, that helpers don't always give correct info. A Congressional study last year found they were wrong 40 percent of the time, and if you follow their wrong instructions, it's not their fault, so double-check everything.
   --It's a good idea to photocopy all your tax forms and keep your own records. The IRS loses an average of 2-million documents a year.
   --For whatever reason, some people never get their refunds. They've moved or provided an incorrect address. The IRS has nearly $100 million in undelivered tax refund checks. Think you're due? Call 'em: 1-800-829-1040, or go to the "Where's My Refund?" section on the IRS home page at irs.gov.
   -- It says a lot about the eloquence of documents when you consider that the Gettysburg Address is 269 words long, the Declaration of Independence, 1,337 words, the Holy Bible is only 773-thousand words. The U-S tax code began in 1913 with 11,400 words. Today? Try over 8 million words. And every time it changes, they don't eliminate any words, they just keep adding new ones.

Foreign News:
The Pentagon said yesterday that a Russian fighter jet made several, close-range passes near an U.S. warship in the Black Sea over the weekend. That fighter made about a dozen passes in a 90-minute period on Saturday.
   The jet flew within about one-thousand yards of the USS Donald Cook, at about five-hundred-feet above sea level, and did not respond to radio calls from the U.S. ship made on international emergency channels.

Big Money, Big Problems:
The cost of beef has hit a 27-year high.
   With cattle herds dwindling and a growing foreign demand from countries like China and Japan, average American beef prices have risen to $5.28 a pound.
   Droughts have forced many ranchers to reduce their herds, and even though the rain has been better this year, they are still in a rebuilding state, which means beef prices will likely remain high for at least another few years.
   Some ranchers are concerned that consumers will be deterred from buying beef at the higher prices, and restaurants --both chains and local places-- may start cutting down on beef items and portions.

BroadwayLast week's hot Broadway shows (Playbill magazine):
10. "If/Then," $965K;
9. "Motown," $1.07 million,
8. "Les Miserables," $1.15 million;
7. "Matilda," $1.17 million,
6. "Aladdin," $1.17 million,
5. "A Raisin in the Sun," $1.18 million,
4. "Kinky Boots," $1.42 million,
3. "The Book of Mormon," $1.59 million,
2. "The Lion King," $1.91 million,
1. "Wicked," $1.93 million,
   FYI: Just outta the top-10: "The Phantom of the Opera," $958K; "Cinderella," $946K; "Beautiful," $917K; "All the Way, $893K; "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," $884K; "Bullets Over Broadway," $813K; "Of Mice & Men," $796K; "Rocky," $754K; "Newsies," $744K; "Jersey Boys," $665K; "Pippin," $630K; "Mamma Mia," $627K. (04/07-13)

Leaving "Good Morning America" may have been the best thing JOSH ELLIOTT could do for the show. RadarOnline.com reports that ratings for the morning staple actually went up the first week after his departure, enjoyed the best numbers in four weeks and beat out the "Today" show by 715-thousand viewers.
   Mr. Elliott made headlines late last month with the news that he was ditching his news responsibilities for a gig at NBC Sports.
# # #

Tough debut for "Mad Men" --the seventh season premiere dropped 1.1 million viewers from last season-- it was the series' least-watched premiere since the second season in 2008.
   The surprising loss may have more to do with the night's competition --people may have stayed with HBO after "Game of Thrones" or been checking out the MTV Video Music Awards.

New album releases today (Apr 15):
    --Bee Gees, "Warner Bros. Years 1987-1991"
   --Disney's Karaoke Series, "Frozen"

   --Ingrid Michaelson, "Lights Out"
   --Jack Bruce, "Silver Rails"
   --Oak Ridge Boys, "Boys Night Out"

   --Rodney Crowell, "Tarpaper Sky"
   --Secret Sisters, "Put Your Needle Down"
   --Sevendust, "Time Travelers and Bonfires"
   --The Both (Aimee Mann & Ted Leo), "The Both"
   --Ziggy Marley, "Fly Rasta"

Music DVDs out today:
   --"Billy Bragg, Live At The Union Chapel"
   --"George Jones, Bartender Blues"
   --"Led Zeppelin, Good Times Bad Times"
   --"Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sweet Home Alabama" (Blu-ray)
   --"Luciano Pavarotti, "Voice For The Ages"
   --"Yes, Live at Hemel Hempstead Pavillion, UK, 1971"

Out on video today (Apr 15):
   --"Anger Management: Volume 3"
   --"Black Nativity"
   --"Date and Switch"
   --"Double Indemnity" (1944)
   --"Great Expectations" (2012)
   --"The Nut Job"
   --"Reality Bites" (Blu-ray) 20th Anniversary Edition
   --"Ride Along"
   --"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (2013)
   --"Uncle Buck" (1989)
   --"Vanilla Sky"

   TV Shows:
   --"Farscape: Complete Fourth Season" 15th Anniversary Edition
   --"Ripper Street: Season Two"

What your favorite fast food says about you
   1. Cheeseburger with everything --you have a lust for life and want to enjoy everything it has to offer, but are still relatively traditional.
   2. Plain hamburger --you enjoy indulging, but always have to deny yourself something.
   3. French fries --what was that? Oh, you have a short attention span.  

   4. Taco --you like to experience new cultures, adore the travel channel and looking at people's adventures on Instagram, but don't care to leave home. Chances are you haven't been to your dream destination because the food is different, the electrical sockets are weird and you can't understand what people are saying.
   5. Shake --you may seem like an ice queen to the outsider, but may be a hurt little girl that's afraid to let her feelings show. This frozen choice from the big, plastic menu means you're simply seeking comfort.
   6. Fried chicken --you're totally laid back and will fix your own motorcycle, make mud pies with the kids, dig in the dirt and adore the messiness of life.
   7. Salad --there's lots of guilty pleasures available and this is your top choice? You're confused.
   8. Chicken nuggets --life can be a bit overwhelming and is best enjoyed in bite-sized pieces. You probably need lots of breaks, schedules, Post-Its and reminders.
   9. Donut --sweet, well-balanced, generous and a soft heart, to boot! Congratulations on being able to roll with life. (Source: TheStir.com


From Mike Bradley's Portion of the Morning Team

Apr 14, 2014 -- 11:22am



Monday (04-14): International Moment of Laughter Day; Reach as High as You Can Day, Dictionary Day, National Pecan Day, Pan American Day, Children With Alopecia Day, Ex Spouse Day. National Library Week, Week of the Young Child.
   Passover begins at sunset tonight.

Birthdays include: Actors ADRIEN BRODY (41), ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL (46), BRAD GARRETT ("Everybody Loves Raymond" --54), PETER CAPALDI ("Dr. Who" --56) actresses ABIGAIL BRESLIN ("Little Miss Sunshine" --18), SARA MICHELLE GELLAR ("Buffy" --37), JULIE CHRISTIE (73). Rapper Da BRAT (40), MARTYN LeNOBLE (Porno for Pyros --45); country's LORETTA LYNN (82), RICHIE BLACKMORE (Deep Purple --69), BARRETT MARTIN (Screaming Trees --47). MLB greats DAVE JUSTICE, GREG MADDUX (both 48) and PETE ROSE (73). FRANK SERPICO (78). The late ROD STEIGER, ANTHONY PERKINS & Sir JOHN GIELGUD were also born this day.

Anniversaries: Famous Last Words: "I'll see you later." So said JOHN JACOB ASTOR to his wife, MADELINE, after putting her into one of the last Titanic lifeboats and giving up his seat to another female passenger, the night of April 14-15, 1912.

   --Eleven years ago (2003) singer LUTHER VANDROSS suffered a stroke at his home in New York.

   --TIGER WOODS became the third golfer to win The Masters in two consecutive years. (2002)

   --20 years ago, BILLY JOEL and CHRISTIE BRINKLEY announced plans to divorce (1994).
   --75 years ago, "The Grapes of Wrath" by JOHN STEINBECK was published, 1939.

Guilty Pleasures:
No winner in Saturday night's drawing for the Powerball Lottery. That means Wednesday night's drawing is valued at $110 million ($64 million cash value). Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, DC and the U-S Virgin Islands. Chances of winning the grand prize (all five numbers plus the powerball) are 1 in 175.2 million.

The 411:
Three people were killed and one was critically wounded yesterday following shootings at the Jewish Community Center and a Jewish assisted living home in Overland Park, KS.
   The victims included a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather.
   Yesterday was the eve of Passover.
   Law enforcement authorities said they had arrested FRAZIER GLENN MILLER, 73, of Aurora, MO, a former Ku Klux Klan "grand dragon." The FBI is investigating it as a hate crime but has not determined that it is one. A local reporter tweeted that upon arrest, Miller yelled, "Heil Hitler!"
   During a 2010 write-in campaign for the US Senate from Missouri, Miller tried to buy radio ads denouncing Jews and the federal government. One ad said, "We've sat back and allowed the Jews to take over our government, our banks and our media."
   The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, says Miller has a long history of racist and anti-Semitic behavior.

The White House:
With tomorrow's approaching deadline to file state and federal income taxes, the White House has announced that PRESIDENT OBAMA and First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA paid just under $100,000-dollars in taxes on their a nearly half-million-dollar income last year. In addition to his White House salary, the Obamas reported $116,180-dollars from the president’s work as an author in 2013.
   The Obamas paid about 20.4-percent of their income in taxes in 2013, up from an effective tax rate of 18.4-percent in 2012.

The NY Times is continuing it's vocal criticism of the OBAMA White House and its lack of transparency. Executive Editor JILL ABRAMSON continued the paper's criticism of the administration in a recent interview with PRI's JOHN HOCKENBERRY.
   She said, "The Obama years are a benchmark for a new level of secrecy and control ... It's created quite a challenging atmosphere for the NY Times, and for some of the best reporters in my newsroom who cover national security issues in Washington."
   Abramson added, "There have been seven (lean investigations), and one of them right now threatens my colleague JAMES RISEN who has been subpoenaed in one of these cases... Collectively, they have really, I think, put a chill on reporting about national security issues in Washington ...Sources who want to come forward with important stories that they feel the public needs to know are just scared to death that they're going to be prosecuted... Reporters fear that they will find themselves subpoenaed in this atmosphere."

Your tax dollars at work:
It appears that the old phrase "Discretion is the Better Part of Valor" was on display this past Saturday, when agents from the Federal Bureau of Land Management decided to end a cattle round-up operation that involved a Nevada rancher accused of owing the feds at least $1-million-dollars in grazing fees. With comparisons being made to the Waco Siege and Ruby Ridge --and armed militia members showing up-- the BLM decided to stop the operation aimed at confiscating about 900 cattle owned by CLIVEN BUNDY.
   Despite a court decision against him --and claims by the government that a Desert Tortise must be protected-- Bundy says the the land in question was settled by his Mormon ancestors and the federal government has no jurisdiction there. He says he is willing to pay grazing fees to the state of Nevada.

KY GOP Sen. RAND PAUL responded yesterday to recent comments from former FL GOP Gov. JEB BUSH on illegal immigration. Bush raised a few eyebrows among conservatives when --regarding illegal immigrants-- he said, "Yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony. It's an act of love."
   During an interview aired yesterday on ABC, Paul said, "I think he might have been more artful, maybe, in the way he presented this, but I don’t want to say, 'Oh he’s terrible for saying this' ...If it were me, what I would have said is, 'People who seek the American dream are not bad people... However, we can’t invite the whole world.'"
   Paul added, "When you say they’re doing an act of love and you don’t follow it up with, 'We have to control the border,' people think, 'Well, because they’re doing this for kind reasons, the whole world can come to our country.'"

Sunday Talk Shows

Meet the Press (NBC): 
Outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary KATHLEEN SEBELIUS insisted that it was her decision to leave the OBAMA administration and that she wasn't forced out due to the rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act. In a recorded interview, she said, "The president and I began to talk, you know, after the first of the year... And I went back to him in early March and said, ‘You know, I'm really optimistic we’re going to meet the targets and the enrollment is good, the site is working well. I think once we finish this first chapter you really should begin to look for the next secretary who can be here through the end of your term.’ And that really wasn't a commitment I was willing to make. And he knew that."
   She added, "...I made it pretty clear that that really wasn't an option, to stay on. I mean, I thought it was fair to either commit 'til January of 2017 or leave with enough time that he would get a strong, competent leader."

Fox News Sunday (FOX): 
SC GOP Sen. TIM SCOTT wouldn't give a firm response when asked how he plans to vote on SYLVIA MATHEWS BURWELL to take over for KATHLEEN SEBELIUS at the Department of Health and Human Services. He said, "There’s no doubt that she was a good choice for OMB (the Office of Management and Budget)."
   But he quickly added, "That does not necessarily make her a good choice for HHS." Burwell was confirmed on a 96-to-0 Senate vote last year for that OMB post.

State of the Union (CNN): 
NY Democratic Congressman STEVE ISRAEL --chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee-- pushed back on forecasts of a midterm election disaster for Democrats. He said, "I'm a baseball fan; you never predict the ninth inning in the first inning,"
   He added, "The two most important words were 'in November.' It's not November ...We don't worry about the climate; we build out campaigns. There unquestionably is going to be an issue of voter drop-off; there always is."

Face the Nation (CBS): 
TN GOP Congresswoman MARCIA BLACKBURN pushed back on criticism of Republicans who blocked an equal pay bill last week in the Senate that Democrats say would help women achieve pay parity with men. She said, "The legislation was something that was going to be helpful for trial lawyers, and what we would like to see happen is equal opportunity and clearing up some of the problems that exist that are not fair to women ...We're all for equal pay."
   She then countered, "The White House paying women 88 cents for every dollar that a guy earns in comparable positions? They need to go clean up their own act first."

This Week (ABC): 
U.S. United Nations Ambassador SAMANTHA POWER alluded to more possible sanctions against Russia as a response to Moscow's continued aggressive moves in and around Ukraine. She said, "Already, the sanctions that we put in place have brought the ruble to an all-time low in terms of its value... The Russian stock market has depreciated by 20 percent. Investors are fleeing, and that's just on the basis of the sanctions that we put in place up to this point. The president has made clear that depending on Russian behavior, sectoral sanctions against energy, banking, mining could be on the table, and there's a lot in between."
   She added, "So, I think we've seen that the sanctions can bite, and if actions like the kind that we've seen over the last few days continue, you're going to see a ramping up of those sanctions."

Foreign News: 
Tension remains high between the U.S. and Russia after pro-Kremlin gunmen mounted a series of co-ordinated assaults on police stations and security buildings on Saturday. Those attacks saw masked men armed with Kalashnikovs and stun grenades seized two police stations and an intelligence headquarters in eastern Ukraine.
   National Security Council spokesperson LAURA LUCAS MAGNUSON said, "We saw similar so-called protest activities in Crimea before Russia’s purported annexation." The weekend assaults took place in the cities of Donetsk and Slavyansk.
   The White House announced over the weekend that VP JOE BIDEN will visit Ukraine a week from tomorrow.

Malaysia Air 370 update: Nothing new.
   In fact, since those four strong signals were heard last week, no new electronic pings have been detected. This probably means that the black box's batteries --which are supposed to last 30 days-- have finally died.
   What will happen now: once officials are sure that no more sounds will be discovered, a robotic submersible will be sent down to search for wreckage.

Authorities say the co-pilot of Malaysian Flight 370 made a desperate call on his cell phone before the plane vanished.

Culture Shock:
Parents might wanna be on the lookout for "Glow Stick Parties."
   Promoted through social media, "glow parties," which are billed as alcohol-free, are open to kids as young as 16, but along with the pulsing techno music, glow sticks and strobe lights inside a big ballroom, there are club drugs, like ecstasy or Molly (which is basically ecstasy squared).
   The glow sticks sound innocent enough and investigators say parents might even actually drive their kids to these parties thinking it a safe night out. But experts say the glow sticks enhance the effects of the drug, and dealers will use parties like this to sell their goods.

   The warning stems from one such party planned in New Jersey this past weekend that was canceled at the last minute for reasons that aren't clear, but it involved pressure from law enforcement agencies who say these parties are way more dangerous that parents might think.

What's the Buzz:
There's a total lunar eclipse tonight... the first one in more than three years.
   The eclipse will peak around 3 am (Eastern) and be visible throughout the US and the Western Hemisphere... if you're really curious, head over to the US Naval Observatory's website and check out the link which lets you figure out exactly when the eclipse will happen.
   Basically, the Earth gets exactly lined up between the sun and the moon, which means the moon will have a deep orange or reddish glow for over an hour. Thanks to the refraction of light through the Earth's atmosphere, the moon never goes entirely dark.

Interestingly, this will be the first of four, "blood-red" eclipses, or what's known as a "tetrad." The next one will occur on Oct 08, and then next year on Apr 04 and Sep 28.
   This has been interpreted by a couple of Christian preachers to mean that big changes are coming. One, MARK BILTZ, believes the tetrad is a sign that the Second Coming of Christ will coincide with the last "Blood Red Moon"; the other, JOHN HAGEE, believes the eclipses are a sign of a change for Israel.

   In his book, "Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs," Biltz cited Joel 2:31, which says the moon will turn to blood "before the great and dreadful day of the LORD comes."
   In his book, "Four Blood Moons," Hagee says the last four occasions of four "Blood Moons" which coincided with Passover also corresponded to four big events in Jewish history:
   --in 1493-94 the Jews were expelled from Spain
   --in 1949-50 it was the aftermath of the Arab Israeli War
   --in 1967-68 the tetrad began right before the Six Day War.

This weekend's hot movies (Box Office Mojo): 
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is still number one --but not by much. It beat out "Rio 2" by a couple of million bucks. Both films, however, pulled in four times as much as KEVIN COSTNER's film, "Draft Day," which was beaten by the horror film, "Oculus," --both films taking in around $10 million. The rest of the top-10:

10. "Mr Peabody & Sherman," $1.8 million,
9. "Muppets Most Wanted," $2.2 million,
8. "The Grand Budapest Hotel," $4.1 million,
7. "God's Not Dead," $5.5 million,
6. "Noah," $7.4 million,
5. "Divergent," $7.5 million,
4. "Draft Day," (debut), $9.7 million,
3. "Oculus," (debut), $12 million,
2. "Rio 2," (debut), $39 million,
1. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," $41.3 million.

BUBBA WATSON shot a three-under-par 69 yesterday in Augusta, GA, fending off JORDAN SPIETH to win the Masters for the second time in three years.
   Watson, who finished at eight-under-par 280, also won in 2012.
   Spieth shot a 72 to tie for second, three strokes back, with JONAS BLIXT (71).
   Entering the day, Watson was tied for the lead with Spieth, 20, who was trying to become the youngest champion in Masters history.
   Watson trailed by two strokes as they headed to the eighth hole, but he reclaimed the lead by making two straight birdies as Spieth made consecutive bogeys.

Going Geek-dot-com /Caught in the Web:
That Heartbleed security bug everyone was talking about last week? The NSA knew about it for about two years, according to Bloomberg News, and refused to make the security flaw public "in pursuit of national security interests."
   If Bloomberg's timeline is correct, then the NSA discovered the flaw almost as soon as it was introduced in Deecember of 2011.

   Heartbleed is a security bug that potentially exposes sensitive consumer information on openSSL security protocols, which are used by as much as two thirds of the web to secure traffic.
   Bloomberg's story relied on two sources, "people familiar with the matter." The NSA declined to comment to Bloomberg for the story, but has released a statement denying any prior knowledge of Heartbleed.

Weird science:
How long is a "moment"?
   If you're aiming to live in the present, you'll want to restrict yourself to the last 15 seconds because, according to a new study, that's how long we perceive a moment to be.
   A group of U-S researchers say it's not just a split second: Instead, our minds seem to blur together what's happening right now with what's happened over that brief period. In other words, "what you are seeing at the present moment is not a fresh snapshot of the world but rather an average of what you've seen in the past 10 to 15 seconds."

   The researchers came to this conclusion using Gabor patches --small arrangements of lines. Twelve participants were shown the patches as they flashed onto a screen; one appeared every five seconds. Subjects then said which direction the lines tilted, but got them slightly wrong, influenced by lines they had seen over the past 15 seconds.
   "It's a trade-off the visual system makes," says the author of th study. Imagine, he says, trying to read a street sign while driving in the rain: "If you were sensitive to every little fluctuation in vision you’d have a very difficult time reading the sign."

From Mike Bradley's Portion of the Morning Team

Apr 11, 2014 -- 1:53pm


Friday (04-11): International "Louie Louie" Day, 8-Track Tape Day, Barbershop Quartet Day, Day of Silence, National Pet Day, World Parkinson's Disease Day, Education and Sharing Day. National Submarine Day, Global Youth Service Day.

Birthdays include: Singers JOSS STONE (27), NIGEL PULSFORD of Bush (51), LISA STANSFIELD (48), NEVILLE STAPLES (59), STUART ADAMSON (56), Broadway's JOEL GREY ("Jennifer's dad --82), and BILL IRWIN (64); actor PETER RIEGERT ("Dads" --67). Actresses LOUISE LASSER (75), JENNIFER ESPOSITO ("Blue Bloods"--41), ETHEL KENNEDY is 86. Flmmaker VINCENT GALLO ("the Brown Bunny") is 53. Pint-sized former kid actor MASON REESE is 49 today.

Anniversaries: The first U-S submarine was launched this day. On April 11, 1900, the Navy commissioned the USS Holland, whose first dive lasted for 11 minutes and only went down 12 feet. Today the Navy has 56 attack boats and 18 Trident missile subs.

   --EDDIE VAN HALEN and VALERIE BERTINELLI were married in L.A. (1981). The marriage lasted 26 years! She says they broke up because they cheated. He says she cheated first.

   --First Apple computer rolled out (1976). 
   --Anniversary of BOB DYLAN's singing debut, NYC (1961).
   --93rd anniversary of the first sports broadcast on radio. It was on KDKA radio; commentary by Florent Gibson of the Pittsburgh Star news. A fight between Johnny Ray & Johnny Dundee at Pittburgh's Motor Square Garden.

Guilty Pleasures:
No winner in Wednesday night's drawing for the Powerball Lottery. That means Saturday night's drawing is valued at $94 million ($54 million cash value). Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, DC and the U-S Virgin Islands. Chances of winning the grand prize (all five numbers plus the powerball) are 1 in 175.2 million.

The White House: 
Health and Human Services Secretary KATHLEEN SEBELIUS is resigning, giving the OBAMA administration a "fresh face" for the Affordable Care Act heading into this November's midterm elections. The president accepted Sebelius' resignation this week, and will introduce SYLVIA MATTHEWS BURWELL later today as the new HHS boss.
   The 48-year-old Burwell is currently director of the Office of Management and Budget. The president is hoping that Burwell --a Harvard- and Oxford-educated West Virginia native with a background in economic policy-- can put a better face on the Affordable Care Act and be better suited to handle any problems down the road.

Along the Primary trail: 
An unidentified woman tossed a shoe former Secretary of State HILLARY CLINTON in Las Vegas yesterday, as she delivered a speech at a recycling convention at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Hillary ducked, the shoe missed and the woman was arrested. Hillary later joked about the incident.

What's the Buzz:
The US Census Bureau now says that 81 percent of Americans over age 100 are female.

Money Talks:
A new survey from the National Retail Federation forecasts a decline in Easter spending. On average, those who celebrate intend to spend about $137 on clothes, food, candy, and gifts, down from $145 spent last year. And fewer people, overall, will pay much attention to the holiday: 80 percent have plans to celebrate, down from 83 percent last year.
   About 43 percent in the NRF poll plan to buy new spring clothes, and 89 percent will buy Easter candy. Many families also buy gifts (with total spending expected to hit $2.4 billion, flowers ($1.1 billion) and decorations ($1.1 billion).

Foreign News:
Workers in France are now legally barred from responding to work emails on their own time.
   The deal involves labor unions and the consulting and tech industries. About 1 million workers will be impacted.
   At Fox Business, a U-S labor expert finds it hard to believe the IT industry can manage such a draconian shut-off time. "There’s always something going wrong off the clock—when a computer goes down, it doesn’t go down between 8 am and 5 pm."

   But the French aren't alone in worrying about how phones and tablets expose employees to work long after they go home. In December 2011, Volkswagen announced that servers would stop sending emails 30 minutes after the end of employees' shifts, and only start again half an hour before the person returned to work. Their move was followed by Germany's labor industry.

Store Wars:
Walmart is taking on Whole Foods (referred to as “Whole Paycheck” in some circles) with its announcement that it will be reviving the Wild Oats brand in its stores to make organic foods more accessible. The line of some 100 kitchen cupboard staples like olive oil and black beans are expected to cost about 25 percent less than those sold by competitors, based on price comparisons of 26 national brands. Some of the products could cost half as much as their leading organic competitors’ items.

   Food writers at newspapers across the country are predicting shockwaves through the organic foods industry. “Natural and organic is past the fad stage,” Willard Bishop grocery consulting firm managing partner JIM HERTEL tells the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “What used to be a lifestyle for the best educated and highest incomes is now skewing younger, although it’s still an educated, above-average-income consumer.”
   And that’s a consumer Walmart would like to lure into its big boxes.

Broadcast, cable and video news:
STEPHEN COLBERT will replace DAVID LETTERMAN as host of The Late Show.
   CBS announced the decision in a press release, less than a week after Letterman's announcement that he will retire in 2015.
   It's a five-year deal for Colbert (dollar amount not disclosed). The exact start date won't be known until Letterman figures out a timetable for his final broadcasts in 2015. He won't be in his over-the-top right wing pundit character, either, although who knows, maybe it'll be one of his regular bits.
   Check out this behind the scenes look where Colbert briefly drops the character to prep JOHN KERRY for a 2007 appearance on the "Colbert Report."

   Colbert was rumored to have been in talks with CBS before Letterman's announcement, maybe because perhaps CBS knew Letterman was thinking of retiring and conveniently, Colbert's Comedy Central contract is up at the end of 2014.
   Said Colbert: "I'm thrilled and grateful that CBS chose me. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth."
   Letterman's response: "Stephen has always been a real friend to me. I'm very excited for him, and I’m flattered that CBS chose him. I also happen to know they wanted another guy with glasses."
  Wednesday, before the official announcement, JON STEWART said he thought Colbert would be "amazing" for the "Late Show" job, and said that it would give him the chance to really show off what he can do.

You probably remember MIKE ROWE as a pitchman for home improvement stores after his gig as the host of "Dirty Jobs." Now, TVLine reports he's headed back to TV as the host of CNN’s show, "Somebody’s Gotta Do It," which will show various innovators, do-gooders, entrepreneurs, collectors and fanatics.

TV Briefs:
Turner Classic Movies is doing a MICKEY ROONEY Marathon to honor the late star who died last Sunday at age 93.
   Of his nearly 300 movies, TCM will run 13 films beginning at 6 am (Eastern) on Sunday. Notable films include "A Family Affair" (9:15 am) and "You're Only Young Once," (10:30 am) the first two movies in the Andy Hardy series; There's also "National Velvet" (Midnight) with ELIZABETH TAYLOR and "Babes on Broadway," (2:15 am Monday) one of Rooney's many pairings with JUDY GARLAND.

NBC will be running that "Rosemary's Baby" mini-series during the May ratings period. The four-hour show will be run in two parts and stars ZOE SALDANA and PATRICK J. ADAMS.
   In case you didn't see the 1968 original, which starred MIA FARROW, it's about a young married couple who move into a haunted Paris apartment... after which the pregnant wife fears that her husband may have made a deal with their neighbors --to lend their child for a ritual human sacrifice in exchange for success in his acting career.

Movies opening today (Apr 11): 
Look for the two sequels to vie for the top spot at the box office this weekend. Hollywood insiders believe "Rio 2" and last week's winner, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," will likely wind up at the top of the pack, with KEVIN COSTNER's football film, "Draft Day" and the horror film, "Oculus," a bit further down.

   --"Draft Day," (Comedy, Sports; wide release, rated PG-13), starring GM KEVIN COSTNER tries to save football in Cleveland by trading for a number one pick. With JENNIFER GARNER, ELLEN BURSTYN, DENIS LEARY, FRANK LANGELLA, CHADWICK BOSEMAN, SEAN COMBS.
   --"Oculus," (Horror, limited release, rated R), starring KAREN GILLAN, KATEE SACKHOFF, BRENTON THWAITES, JAMES LAFFERTY, RORY COCHRANE. Teenage kids whose parents were murdered are released from protective custody but the sister is convinced her parent's deaths were caused by a malevolent supernatural force unleashed through an antique mirror in their childhood home.

You'd think BILLY JOEL is way too famous and way too busy to show up at a school concert, but that's exactly what he did. New York Newsday says he was invited to a tribute concert Wednesday at Deasy Elementary School in Glen Cove, New York. And, there he was, fresh off his motorcycle, sitting in the back of the auditorium as the kids played his music. Billy lives about 10 minutes away so it was a short ride over. The school's principal asked Billy if he wanted to sit down front, but he said he didn't want to make the kids nervous

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 was inducted last night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. You won't be able to see any of it, officially, until HBO airs the entire ceremony on May 31st. But, thanks to the bloggers, we can give you some of the highlights:
   --PETER ASHER began the evening by inducting the late BEATLES manager, BRIAN EPSTEIN, and former ROLLING STONES manager ANDREW LOOG OLDHAM who decided not to show up.

   --PETER GABRIEL performed "Digging In The Dirt," and was then inducted by CHRIS MARTIN of COLDPLAY. Peter said (quote), "Watch out for music, it should come with a health warning, it can be so dangerous... it can connect you with people, it can make you think the world should and could be a much better place and just occasionally it can make you very very happy."
   He took the stage again and "Washing Of The Water" with Chris Martin, followed by "In Your Eyes" with YOUSSOU N'DOUR who sang on the original track.

   --KISS was inducted by TOM MORELLO of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. He said (quote), "Simply put, Kiss is the band that made me and millions of others love rock and roll. ...They've inspired everyone from Metallica to Lady Gaga."
   --KISS did not perform, with GENE SIMMONS and PAUL STANLEY sitting at different tables from ACE FREHLEY and PETER CRISS. The drama over the last few weeks was put aside and Gene actually gave a very touching and moving speech. He said (quote),"To Ace Frehley whose iconic guitar playing who’s been imitated but never equaled ...to Peter Criss whose drumming and singing and there’s not a guy who beats the sticks who sounds just like Peter. Something happened 40 years ago, I met the partner and brother I never knew I had, Paul Stanley. You couldn’t ask for somebody more awesome to work with."
   Paul took a direct shot at the Rock Hall's nominating committee: "(Fans) don’t want to be spoon fed by a handful of people choices," says Stanley. "The people pay for tickets, the people buy albums, the people who nominate do not. Let’s not forget that these are the people who make it all possible. We just benefit from it."

CAT STEVENS, now just known as YUSUF, was inducted by ART GARFUNKEL. Yusuf sang "Father & Son," and "Peace Train" backed up by a choir.
   --LINDA RONSTADT was not there, but she was inducted by GLENN FREY of the EAGLES who was once part of Linda's backing band. An all-star group of female singers paid tribute to Linda. CARRIE UNDERWOOD did Linda's first hit, "Different Drum," written by MIKE NESMITH of THE MONKEES. BONNIE RAITT and EMMYLOU HARRIS teamed up for "Blue Bayou," a ROY ORBISON song that Linda sang so well. SHERYL CROW did "You're No Good" and STEVIE NICKS sang "It's So Easy" backed up by all the ladies.

   --The seemingly endless part of the evening was up next as BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN inducted the E STREET BAND. He gave a long speech, and then every surviving member did too, including early members DAVID SANCIOUS and VINI "MAD DOG" LOPEZ. Naturally, there was a touching moment for the late CLARENCE CLEMONS. Bruce got very choked up, of course. After all of the acceptance speeches, which lasted close to an hour, Bruce and the E Street Band did the "E Street Shuffle." Then came, "The River" and "Kitty's Back."
   --HALL & OATES were inducted by QUESTLOVE of THE ROOTS. The duo started to play and the monitors went out. So, they stopped. DARYL HALL said, "What, did Bruce blow them out?" Eventually, everything was fixed and Hall & Oates did "She's Gone."

   --Finally, it was time to induct NIRVANA. MICHAEL STIPE of R.E.M. did the honors. He said (quote), "Nirvana tapped into a voice that was yearning to be heard. Keep in mind the times, this was the late 1980s. The idea of America --that hopeful idea-- had been dismantled."
   KRIST NOVOSELIC and DAVE GROHL accepted the honor. Krist said, "I wish Kurt was here tonight." Kurt's widow, COURTNEY LOVE, thankfully didn't say very much, and Kurt's mom said (quote), "I just miss him so much, he was such an angel."

   Then came the performances. The big rumor came true. JOAN JETT joined the surviving members of Nirvana for "Smells Like Teen Spirit." KIM GORDON of SONIC YOUTH joined in to sing "Aneurysm." ANNIE ST. VINCENT took the mic for "Lithium," and the evening closed with "All Apologies," sung by LORDE.
   The show ran a total of five and a half hours. There was no ending jam.

Going Geek-dot-com /Caught in the Web:
Starting Monday, the internet-connected world was introduced to a new bug, colorfully named Heartbleed, that has exposed about two-thirds of web servers --and probably about a quarter of all sites-- to potential pilfering of sensitive, supposedly encrypted information: passwords, credit card numbers, etc. Google engineers discovered the bug last week in the OpenSSL encryption software, then quietly notified OpenSSL, which started secretly helping companies patch the bug before going public amid fears that hackers had discovered the hole, too.

   OpenSSL is the protocol websites use to authenticate themselves to their own serves so they can access information --secure information that we uses of those websites have given them.
   It's unknown if this was done by a hacker, but it seems more likely this was a mistake in the way the code was written. Using a simply analogy, the code is supposed to be like a lock that keeps your information safe. The way the code was written, the lock can be picked. Companies have been scrambling to patch that code to secure the lock.
   How bad is the breach? "The worst vulnerability since mass-adoption of the internet," said one cybersecurity expert. Why? Because this security lapse has been there since December 2011. That's obviously scary, not just because of the length of time but because no one knows to what extent this breach has been exploited.

   What can you do about it? Unless you're an IT person at a bank or social media service or other websites that relies on OpenSSL encryption, not a whole lot. Those companies have to update their encryption — a process that involves more than just affixing the OpenSSL patch.
   Once a vulnerable site is secure again, you should change your password. Seriously, change it. If a site hasn't fixed the encryption problem, changing your password is useless, or worse.
   How can you tell? CNET has a list of popular sites and their Heartbleed status. And a company called LastPass has a useful tool where you can enter any website and it will tell you its vulnerability and advise you what to do. Good luck.

What's new?
Scientists say they have figured out a way to make ethanol without corn. Instead, they would use carbon monoxide gas.
   Researchers saturated water with the gas, then zapped it with a novel device featuring two electrodes, one made of what they're calling "oxide-derived copper," to convert it into fuel.
   The lead researcher emphasizes that these are "just laboratory experiments today," but he expects to have a prototype device ready in two to three years.

   The environmental implications are profound. Critics of ethanol say it drives up food prices and consumes loads of land and water. It can take more than 800 gallons of water to grow enough corn to make 3 gallons of ethanol. What's more, researchers envision a two-step process in which the carbon monoxide is derived from carbon dioxide in the air, providing an "economic incentive" for scrubbing carbon from the atmosphere. The new process could also work on a far smaller scale than biomass methods, such as rooftop solar panels generating fuel that's kept in water heater-sized tanks.
   Details in the journal Nature.


From Mike Bradley's Portion of the Morning Team

Apr 10, 2014 -- 2:57pm


Thursday (04-10): ASPCA Day, Salvation Army Founders Day, Golfers' Day, National Siblings Day, Safety Pin Day, Farm Animals Day. Also, it's National Alcohol Screening Day --do you have a drinking problem? Two organizations today are offering free anonymous consultations, and referrals, if needed, at more than two-thousand locations. The Masters Golf Tournament begins in Augusta, GA today, and runs through Sunday.

Birthdays include: Sportscaster JOHN MADDEN (78). Actors STEVEN SEAGAL (63), HALEY JOEL OSMENT (26), MAX VON SYDOW (85), ORLANDO JONES (46), "Ally McBeal's" 'The Biscuit,' PETER MacNICOL (60). Actresses CHYLER LEIGH ("The Practice" --32), and SHAY MITCHELL ("Pretty Little Liars --27). KENNETH "Babyface" EDMONDS (57), KENNY LATTIMORE (44); Q-TIP (43), KATRINA LESKANICH (Katrina & the Waves, 54), AMANDA "A-J" MICHALKA (23, of "Ally & A-J"); MANDY MOORE (30). Stray Cat BRIAN SETZER (55), BUNNY WAILER (67), "M*A*S*H's" "Col Potter," the late HARRY MORGAN; and the late "Dandy" DON MEREDITH were born this date.

Anniversaries: 98th anniversary of PGA founding, 1916.
   --44th anniversary of the official breakup of the BEATLES. It happened on April 10th, 1970, when PAUL McCARTNEY sued the other three to dissolve their musical and business partnership. Paul released his first solo album, "McCartney," one week later.

   --EMINEM was sentenced to two years' probation for carrying a concealed weapon outside a Michigan nightclub (2001).

   --Comedian SAM KINISON was killed in a car accident. (1995).

   --The RMS Titanic left England on its maiden voyage to New York (1912). It would hit and iceberg and sink on the night of April 14-15, 1912.

Guilty Pleasures:
No winner in last night's drawing for the Powerball Lottery. That means Saturday night's drawing is valued at $94 million ($54 million cash value). Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, DC and the U-S Virgin Islands. Chances of winning the grand prize (all five numbers plus the powerball) are 1 in 175.2 million.

The President at play: 
PRESIDENT OBAMA attended a memorial service at Fort Hood yesterday for victims of the base's latest shooting rampage, its second in five years. He said in part, "For you, the families, no words are equal to your loss. We are here on behalf of the American people to honor your loved ones and offer whatever comfort we can. But know this, we also draw strength from you."
   He added, "Part of what makes this so painful is that we've been here before. This tragedy tears at wounds still raw from five years ago. We must honor these men with a renewed commitment to keep our troops safe, not just in battle, but on the home front as well."

After attending that memorial at Fort Hood, PRESIDENT OBAMA used an appearance at a Texas fundraiser to blast Republicans in Congress. Appearing at the home of a Houston trial lawyer, he said, "This has become the least productive Congress in modern history, recent memory. And that's by objective measures --just basic activity."
   The president also attended an earlier fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee.

Republicans in the Senate filibustered the Paycheck Fairness Act yesterday, a bill that seeks to allow female workers to compare salaries without the threat of employer retaliation, requires companies to explain pay disparities, and permits those discriminated against to seek damages.
   The legislation needed 60 votes to open debate. Republicans called the bill a distraction from Democrats' record on the economy. Democrats accused Republicans of "obstruct[ing] equal pay for equal work."

The whole LOIS LERNER mess got a tad more interesting yesterday. The Washington Times reports that House Ways and Means Committee Republicans are reportedly not ruling out the use of the chamber's "inherent contempt" authority if Attorney General ERIC HOLDER refuses to act on the panel's accusations against THE former IRS official.
   The committee voted Wednesday to seek an investigation of whether Lerner violated federal law by using her power to ensure that right-leaning groups were targeted for extra scrutiny by the agency. Among those tools the House could use is its “inherent contempt” authority under the Constitution, initially exercised in 1795 during the First Congress and on multiple occasions thereafter. Lerner could actually be arrested, and held until January 2015 when a new Congress is seated, which could issue another subpoena and throw her in the clink again if she still balks at testifying.

School Violence:
Another school is dealing with the trauma of violence on campus.
   Yesterday morning, more than 20 students were injured by a teenager who attacked a Pittsburgh-area high school brandishing two knives. Four of the victims are hospitalized in serious condition, with at least three of them admitted into the operating room immediately. One who was stabbed in the liver remains in critical condition.
   The suspect, 16-year-old sophomore ALEX HRIBAL, is in custody after he was tackled by a principal and a security guard. He's being charged as an adult with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault. The motive remains unclear, but police are investigating reports of a threatening phone call between Hribal and another student last night. It wasn't clear which of the two made the call.

   The attack began in a classroom when Hribal pulled out two 8-inch kitchen knives and began slashing students. He reportedly followed his classmates as they fled into the hallway and stabbed others as he ran.
   During the assault, he "was very quiet," said one student. "He just was kind of doing it."
   A doctor at a nearby hospital said a female student with "an amazing amount of composure" likely saved the life of one of the more seriously injured male students by applying pressure to his wounds. That appears to be junior GRACIE EVANS, who tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "My friend was on his stomach, and the other kid who was severely injured was told to sit up. I knew that wasn't right. I said to a few students, we need pressure on this wound, and they gave me some paper towels, and I held pressure on that wound for about 10 minutes."

   Let's close with a little celebration of how normal kids react to something awful. One of the kids who suffered minor injuries in the attack has already posted a selfie.
   That'd be NATE SCIMIO, who's standing in a hospital gown, pointing to he bandaged wound while wearing a look on his face that says, "It's all good." And good on Nate for being a genuine hero kid: According to a tweet, Nate pulled a fire alarm and yelled to get kids out of the way of the attacker.

The Banksters:
Even though some are trying to improve their consumer policies and reduce hidden fees, banks are still making a pretty penny off their customers.
   According to an annual study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, banks made some $32 billion in overdraft fees alone in 2012. The median penalty is $35, which 14 of the largest 44 banks charge. Free checking is also down, as banks are increasingly finding it unprofitable to cover the operations costs to maintain free accounts for customers.
   Just 59 percent of banks surveyed offered free checking in 2014, down from 82 percent in 2009.
   Many of these are the very same banks that begged for government bailouts after a recession largely caused by shady derivatives trading practices conducted --surprise-- by these banks.
   One spot of good news: banks have improved significantly in fee disclosure, with 32 of the 44 largest banks meeting Pew's own standards.

On the Cover of the ROlling Stone:
If your tattoo is about to be on the cover of Rolling Stone, you might want to have a friend proofread it for historical accuracy.
   Unfortunately for JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS, her full torso tattoo of the Constitution punctuated with the signature of JOHN HANCOCK on the cover of next month’s Rolling Stone magazine didn’t get a thorough enough edit. The problem?
   John Hancock didn't sign the Constitution. He signed the Declaration of Independence.
   Politico's DYLAN BYERS points out this could have been Rolling Stone's reasoning: "It was on purpose. On 'Veep,' Dreyfus plays a bumbling Vice President --of course she'd get her tattoo of the Constitution wrong!" But, the editors at Rolling Stone missed that opportunity telling the journalism website, the Poynter Institute: "The Declaration of the Independence is on the other side but we couldn't fit in all the signatures."

College prep on a budget: 
There are few things in the world more expensive than children --especially when they pack up and head off in pursuit of higher education. Want to save a few bucks on the road to that degree? Here are five items college students don't need from Benziga.com.
   1. New textbooks
. The cost of books has risen more than 20 percent in the last five years --almost impossible to believe considering you can buy them used, via digital copies or rent them online.
   2. High dollar laptop. Unless your little bumpkins is studying IT or requires high-end software, an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard may be enough.

   3. Ditch the printer. That expensive tuition covers use of the campus computer lab, so throw everything on a 20-dollar flash drive and print for free.
   4. Avoid a car. Freshmen living on campus can probably find someone to provide a ride beyond walking distance, while nine-months of driving will cost you $3,500.
   5. Say no to the credit card. New graduates are already entering the workforce with student loan debt, don't add to the problem with credit card bills. Require your coed to stay on a budget and give them a debit or prepaid card.

Broadcast, cable and video news:
NBC is looking for sitcom ideas. Entertainment Weekly reports the network is running a national campaign which will offer up-and-coming comedy writers from around the country the chance to pitch their sitcom ideas.
   Here’s how it works: Comedy writers will submit their idea via an NBC site set up for the contest. The network will choose up to 10 finalists. NBC will fund each finalist to produce a pilot presentation based on their pitch.
   In case you're interested, you gotta submit one or two video samples (5-10 minutes each) of any pre-existing work, along with up to two video pitches (2-5 minutes per pitch), each describing a unique, original show idea, to www.nbccomedyplayground.com.

Looks like the artist formerly known as CAT STEVENS will be at his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction tonight after all. He originally said he didn't want to make the trip, but, he was on "The Tonight Show starring JIMMY FALLON" Tuesday night, which means he's in New York. Jimmy introduced simply as Yusuf, rather than his full name, YUSUF ISLAM. He was wearing a suit jacket, sunglasses and a Cat Stevens "Tea For The Tillerman" t-shirt, and did an incredible medley of "First Cut Is The Deepest" and "Wild World." The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 will be inducted tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. You'll get to see the entire ceremony May 31st on HBO.

   FYI: Tonight's inductees are:
   --Peter Gabriel: Peter is performing; Chris Martin is inducting him
   --Daryl Hall and John Oates: Hall and Oates are performing; Questlove is inducting them
   --KISS: Inducted by Tom Morello
   --Nirvana: Michael Stipe inducting with a rumor that Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear will perform with JOAN JETT singing
   --Linda Ronstadt: Inducted by Glenn Frey; Musical tribute from: Bonnie Raitt, Stevie NicksCarrie Underwood, Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow.
   --Cat Stevens: is performing; no word on who is inducting him.

    Ahmet Ertegun Award (nonperformers):
   --Brian Epstein (late Beatles manager)
   --Andrew Loog Oldham (former Rolling Stones manager)
   Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Award for Musical Excellence (previously the Sidemen category):
   --The E Street Band: Inducted by Bruce Springsteen; E Street Band performing (Marino)

While KISS gets inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 tonight, GENE SIMMONS wants fans to spend more money. BIG money, on a rather cool box set. "KISSTERIA" has 34 newly-remastered vinyl LPs, featuring all 19 studio albums, five "Alive" releases, the four solo albums, and six albums on vinyl that only come with this set. There are also 12 KISS posters, lithographs, a set of dominoes, a KISS cleaning cloth, a KISS turntable mat and more. All of that is stuffed into a hardcore road case. So, what does Gene want you to pay for this? $1,749.99. Oh, and the shipping is free.



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George Noory


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