Just when it seemed like Michael Vick had earned a measure of forgiveness the host of a television news show has lashed out with perhaps the harshest words yet for the quarterback.

Tucker Carlson, a conservative political commentator for Fox, yesterday took umbrage that President Obama praised the Philadelphia Eagles for giving Vick a second chance, and then went over the top with this comment about Vick's dog-fighting crimes:

"I think, personally, he should have been executed for that."

Carlson's comments came as he was filling in for Sean Hannity on Hannity Tonight.

This dude is a pathetic racist just like most of Fox News Analysts. (THA CHILL ONE)


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Those days of fast cars and rock n' roll could be coming to an end for teen drivers.

Ford has announced upgrades to its MyKey technology that will allow parents to control both speed settings and satellite radio programming in their family cars.

175Email Print CommentThe new technology aims to tackle concerns about teen driving safety and assist parents in setting limits on younger drivers as they transition to highway driving.

Before the upgrade, Ford's MyKey system allowed users to program a key that limits a vehicle's speed to 80 mph and alerts the driver at 45, 55, and 65 mph. The new technology now allows parents to limit the vehicle's speeds to 65, 70, 75, or 80 mph -- curbing a teenager's options for driving too fast.

Current features on MyKey allow parents to limit audio volume, but the upgrade gives parents control to block "explicit satellite radio programming." Sirius Satellite Radio has several explicit channels, including ones featuring shock jock Howard Stern.

MyKey technology currently also gives parents the ability to mute the radio until passengers up front buckle up.

In a press release, Graydon Reitz, director of Ford Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering, said: "Ford wants to give parents peace of mind that their kids are following practical household rules in the car."


Jay Electronica is slamming rumors that he's part of the Illuminati, the secret society entertainers like Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Jay-Z have been accused of working with to establish a “New World Order.”

Electronica's name has recently been linked to the group, due to his signing to Jay-Z's Roc Nation record label in November.

The New Orleans emcee known for being opinionated, took to his Twitter page to air out his grievances with fans that accuse him of being a part of the occult organization and said,

“#Thatakwardmomentwhen some sister on the street was telling me how I'm in the illuminati sounding dumber than a motherf*cker… Beware!!!! Me and the illuminati gonna get you in your sleep! Mwuhuuhaahahhaaaa!!!... Beware!! Me and my Illuminati friends work for the devil who lives under the ground and burns you when you die!!! Mwuhahahahaha”

Jay Elect continued on his sarcastic rant, adding that Morgan Freeman inducted him into the organization and that he and Taylor Swift had a “gathering last night” that left her face bloody.

Before deading the topic, the Roc Nation emcee left one final message for his accusers; shut the f*ck up.

“Ok this is my last 1: to all you illuminati experts and YouTube converts what are you gonna do about it anyway? Nothing? Ok shut the f*ck up.”


(CNN) -- Arthur Sedille was up-front with police: He would often put a gun to his wife's head during fantasy sex play at their Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, home.

But Sedille said he didn't know the gun was loaded when he pressed it to his wife's head and pulled the handgun's slide back during sex on the night of December 21.

Now Sedille, 23, is facing the possibility of a murder charge in Canadian County, Oklahoma, in the death of his wife, 50-year-old Rebecca Sedille -- who died when the handgun went off in their bedroom.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed by Oklahoma City police, Sedille said the shooting was accidental. He called 911 afterward, according to police.

Investigators decided to arrest and jail Sedille on suspicion of first-degree murder out of an abundance of caution, said Oklahoma City police Master Sgt. Gary Knight. However, as of Tuesday afternoon, formal charges had not been filed in the investigation, which is ongoing, Knight said.

He declined to comment on investigators' findings so far.

Although a Canadian County judge found that probable cause exists to hold Sedille on the murder charge, assistant district attorney Paul Hesse said Tuesday he has yet to receive a report from police on the case. As a result, formal charges have not yet been filed, Hesse said.

Sedille remained jailed Tuesday in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. Police in Oklahoma City -- which spans five counties and 700 square miles -- book all of their prisoners into that county's jail, Knight said.



If you remember the uproar that Ice-T’s rock group, Body Count, caused with their incendiary track “Cop Killer” then you can be sure that somehow, someway, the significant rise of police deaths will be tracked back the urban community.
Two officers in a remote Alaska town were ambushed as they chatted on a street. A California officer and deputy were killed by an arson suspect with a high-powered rifle as they tried to serve a warrant. Two other officers doing anti-drug work were gunned down by men along a busy Arkansas highway.

These so-called cluster killings of more than one officer helped make 2010 a particularly deadly year for law enforcement. Deaths in the line of duty jumped 37 percent to about 160 from 117 the year before, according to numbers as of Tuesday compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit that tracks police deaths.

There also was a spike in shooting deaths. Fifty-nine federal, state and local officers were killed by gunfire in 2010, a 20 percent jump from last year’s figures, when 49 were killed. The total does not include the death of a Georgia State Patrol trooper shot twice in the face Monday night in Atlanta as he tried to make a traffic stop.

And 73 officers died in traffic incidents, a rise from the 51 killed in 2009, according to the data.

Craig Floyd, director of the Washington-based fund, said the rise in fatalities could be an aftershock of the nation’s economic troubles as officers in some communities cope with slashed budgets.

We salute all the men and women who work tirelessly, and for little pay, to make sure that our streets are as safe as possible. Clearly all cops aren’t good cops and to those crooked, racist, a**holes, we say…protect your neck, Karma is a b*tch!


A total of 160 officers from the federal and local levels died in the line of duty as of mid-day Dec. 27, an increase over the 117 killed in 2009 when those deaths reached a 50-year low, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Most died in traffic-related incidents. The 2010 tally does not include the death of a Georgia State Patrol trooper shot twice in the face Monday night after an attempted traffic stop and brief chase in Atlanta.

More officers, 18, were killed in Texas than in other states. The agencies with the most deaths were the California Highway Patrol and Chicago Police Department, each with five, the memorial fund reported.

Traffic deaths remained by far the leading cause of officer line of duty deaths as they has been for the past 13 years, with 73 officers killed in traffic-related incidents in 2010 compared to 51 in 2009, the organization announced.

Officers shot and killed were also up, with 59 such deaths in 2010, a spike over the 49 killed in 2009 driven in part by shootings of clusters of officers in Fresno, West Memphis and Hoonah, Ark., Tampa and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

A Washington Post investigation found that 511 police officers were killed by firearms in the United States from the beginning of 2000 through this past Sept. 30. The Post tracked how the killers got their guns.



This week’s National Enquirer has a story about the pitfalls of living large. Eddie Murphy’s ex wife Nicole is deep in debt after blowing the $15 million settlement she received from Eddie when they divorced in 2006. This sounds like those lottery winners that waste all their money and end up destitute. Here’s the Enquirer’s story, which includes details about Nicole’s bad investments and tax debts.

Eddie Murphy’s ex wife Nicole has blown her massive $15 million divorce settlement in just four years - and now she’s millions of dollars in debt.

What’s more, the IRS has slapped her with five tax liens totally $846,630, and she has put her opulent mansion up for sale.

When Nicole divorced Eddie in 2006 after 13 years of marriage, she chose to take a one-time payout from the comedian of $15 million, instead of monthly alimony. But in a shockingly short span of time, she’s managed to lose all of it.

“Nicole made some bad investments with the fortune she got from Eddie, and now she is in serious financial straits,” said a friend of the 42-year-old stunner.

Court records show that the IRS slapped Nicole with two liens for back taxes in November totaling $214,688.

That huge bill was on top of outstanding judgments against her for nearly $600,000 by a legal firm and another $60,000 demand for payment by a landscaping company. She also owes $5 million on her Los Angeles-area home.

“Nicole is overwhelmed by the mountain of debt she has piled up,” added the source. Nicole, who has five children with Eddie, invested in an Internet jewelry business, but the venture quickly failed and Nicole lost most of her money.”

[From The National Enquirer, print edition, January 3, 2011]

It seems like Eddie Murphy is the Enquirer’s gleeful source, as the article goes on about what a generous person he is and how he “lavishes the kids with gifts and gives them anything they want or need.” Nicole also gets child support payments which are surely enough for most of us to live very comfortably on. (Eddie pays $51,000 a month for just one child with Melanie B., Angel Iris, 3.) It’s not surprising to hear that a woman naive enough to marry Eddie Murphy would end up wasting her money and making bad investments. From the looks of her, Nicole’s plastic surgeon is getting
a good chunk of that money. This story reminds me of Heather Mills and how she frittered away her $50 million divorce settlement in less than two years.

In related debt news, Pamela Anderson owed an additional $180,000 to the state of California on top of the nearly $500,000 tax lien they filed against her last year. Her people told TMZ that it was a misunderstanding and that the taxes have been paid. Entitled rich people and their ridiculous problems.

Written by Celebitchy


Check out a snippet of Nicki’s interview and spread inside.
KING: History has shown that acting is the likeliest transition for rappers. Considering your background, do you want to dabble in Hollywood?

NICKI MINAJ: Of course.

What would be your dream role?

I’d like to play someone in a Tim Burton movie, where I get dressed up and painted and crazy.

You kind of do that now.

Then I want to be able to do some action stuff, like Angelina Jolie.

Like in Salt?

Yes! And then I’d like to just play a regular girl who, you know, is facing the world. Something really sentimental and organic, that girls all around the world can identify with. You know, how Jada Pinkett Smith did in Jason’s Lyric.

Classic film. You did mention earlier how everything has been time consuming. But when that time frees up, what kind of guy do you look for to be sentimental and organic with?

Um, I look for someone who is calm, someone who is strong enough to not have to win every argument, someone who allows a woman to be her crazy self and someone with a conscience not to feel less of a man. You know, someone who is able to honor his woman but also bring out the freak in his woman.

How should your Ken bring out the freak in you, Barbie?

Just being super aggressive when the time is right.

Are we talking about Mortal Kombat–style “Come here” aggression?

Just something that makes me feel like they’re in control, when we are behind closed doors.

Via:King Mag


Based on a tweet from renowned mixtape deejay Big Mike, the track will be Eminem's.

Big Mike says Eminem featuring Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, and Jay-Z's "Syllables" will be leaking soon! He tweeted the following message on his Twitter page. "eminem feat dr dre 50 cent and jay z-syllables(prod by dr dre) guess we gotta start the new year off rite huh?," Mike tweeted Tuesday (December 27). DJ Big Mike is allegedly responsible for leaking Eminem's Crack A Bottle track. Instead of 3-Headed Monster... can you imagine the 4-Headed Monster!? (Hip Hop Stan)
Earlier this year, 50 publicly taunted Jay and accused him of subliminal dissing.

"It's the competitive nature of the art form," Fif explained about his relationship with Jay. "It's still there, he still competes too. He just does it so subliminal that people don't read it. To me, it's a softer way to do it. A safer way to do it because no one directly feels offended by it...Why not just say it? I don't feel the [disses]. You gotta at least let the [diss be noticeable.] A guy that's that subtle, how do you really take offense to those activities? You know, I get really disrespectful, I don't mind. And then it's like, we can go to the other space and it can really go down." (Power 105.1)
The two rap stars later patched things up at Jay-Z and Eminem's Yankee Stadium New York City concert in September.

"We got a chance to kick it for a minute," 50 said referencing Jay. "I know people were interested in what that conversation was like. But they can ask Jay-Z. I take people's actions as if it's genuinely how they feel. I can only use what I saw you do as if that's what you meant. I can't understand what your motivation was prior to that." (MTV)

Jay Z. and Eminem sold out four concerts between New York and Detroit this year. Eminem's current album "The Recovery" has sold 3.3 million in counting and is the years biggest selling album of 2010. Jay Z.'s "The Blueprint 3" sold nearly 2 million and 50 Cent's last album released in 2009 sold gold. Dr.Dre's highly anticipated "The Detox" is expected to hit stores spring 2011. (THA CHILL ONE)


Jay Z. no doubt is on the short list of Rappers if ever, we can probably count on one or two fingers at the absolute most that has ever earned $1 Million for a single performance on record. New York rap mogul Jay-Z will reportedly bank $1 million for a scheduled Las Vegas appearance set to take place on New Years Eve next week.

Details on the rapper's earnings landed on the Internet Friday (December 24) afternoon.

Jay-Z will earn big bucks this New Year's Eve, by performing at a private party. Next Friday (December 31), the rapper will entertain 2,500 party-goers in Las Vegas, at the Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino, for which he'll earn $1 million for his appearance. Jay will be joined by his wife Beyonce - although Knowles won't be singing at the glitzy event. (OMG Music)
Jay and Beyonce will likely be joined by Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.

The mega mogul Jay-Z, real name Shawn Carter, has signed up to perform at the the lavish launch party for the new Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino in Las Vegas kicking off on December 31. And according to reports, he is being paid a staggering $1million for the occasion. Another superstar couple who will be at the event, which marks the official opening of the $4billion resort, is Gwyneth Paltrow and her rocker husband Chris Martin. Chris' band Coldplay are also on the line up at the no-expense spared extravaganza and are set to take home an equally impressing pay check. (Daily Mail

Last summer, Jay and Beyonce were named in Forbes' list of the World's Most Powerful Celebrities.

1. Oprah Winfrey, $315 million. TV Rank 1, Press Rank 5, Web Rank 5, Social Rank 11. 2. Beyonce Knowles, $87 million, TV Rank 9, Press Rank 13, Web Rank 2, Social Rank 15 ... 14. Kobe Bryant, $48 million, TV Rank 22, Press Rank 16, Web Rank 21, Social Rank 22. 15. Jay-Z, $63 million, TV Rank 45, Press Rank 29, Web Rank 23, Social Rank 26. (Forbes)
In January, they earned the right to be called the highest-earning couple in Hollywood.

Music duo Jay-Z and Beyoncé Knowles earned $122 million between June 2008 and June 2009, landing them atop the publication's annual Top-Earning Couples list in Hollywood for the second year in a row. The couple married quietly in 2008 and are responsible for everything from music ("Single Ladies" and "Empire State of Mind") to clothing lines, worldwide tours, and product endorsements (like American Express and Budweiser). (Entertainment Weekly)



Stop smoking: Follow the President's example
The White House says President Obama has kicked the habit and stopped smoking.

"It's been probably about nine months since he last smoked a cigarette," says Robert Gibbs, the President's press secretary, in an interview with CNN. "He's done enormously well in quitting. It was a commitment that I think he made to himself at the end of health care and with his two daughters in mind."

Mr. Obama, like a lot of smokers, has quit before and started back up again. This time may be different. Gibbs says this is the longest he's known the President to go without a cigarette. Research shows people who stop smoking for three months often don't relapse.

Gibbs says President Obama quit by chewing Nicorette gum and exercising a lot of will power. You can follow the President's example.

1. Set a target quit date: "Make it a week or two in advance," says Glen Morgan, a clinical psychologist with the National Cancer Institute's Tobacco Control Research Branch. "Think about what the challenging situations are to prepare for."

2. Get rid of all cigarettes: "Get them out of the house," Morgan says. You want to remove the temptation.

3. Tell your friends and family: You want to be sure they know, so they can support you in your effort.

4. Talk to your doctor about anti-smoking medications: "Get guidance from them," says Morgan "They may suggest trying medication in addition to behavior changes."

Nicotine replacement products like Nicorette and Commit lozenges, as well two drugs without nicotine, Chantix and Zyban, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to help smokers quit.



Hispanics Leaving Connecticut Town, Citing Racial Abuse By Police.

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Email Comments 1,066 EAST HAVEN, Conn. — Santiago Malave has worked law enforcement jobs in Connecticut for more than four decades, but as a Puerto Rican, he says he cannot drive through his own town without worrying about police harassing him.

Malave, a probation officer who works in New Haven, says the racial abuse is so bad that he only crosses the town line into East Haven to go home. He and his wife are now preparing to sell their house and move, joining an exodus of Hispanics who say police have hassled them with traffic stops, false arrests and even jailhouse beatings.

The Justice Department has started a civil rights investigation, and the FBI recently opened a criminal probe. But that has not changed things on Main Street, where restaurants and stores that cater to Hispanics are going out of business.

If the goal of police was to ruin East Haven's Hispanic community, some grudgingly say they have succeeded.

"We can't tolerate the town anymore," said Malave, 64. "For us to leave our beautiful home is something that hurts, but we can't deal with these people."

Racial profiling allegations began swirling about two years ago in East Haven, a predominantly Italian-American seaside suburb of about 28,000 people 70 miles northeast of New York City. Hispanics make up only about 7 percent of the population, but their numbers had been growing as the peaceful, small-town setting and thriving businesses attracted newcomers from Mexico and Ecuador.

Police Chief Leonard Gallo, who is on administrative leave, has denied the allegations. The office of acting Police Chief Gaetano Nappi referred calls to Town Attorney Patricia Cofrancesco, who did not respond to phone messages seeking comment.

Hispanic business owners say police made a practice of parking outside their shops and stopping any Latinos. Some who complained say they faced retaliation.

Luis Rodriguez, an immigrant from Ecuador who owns the Los Amigos Grocery, said he was arrested two months ago and jailed for five days after a woman pointed out to police that his 3-year-old son was unsupervised on the sidewalk outside the store. He said police were out for revenge because his wife had been videotaping them. He was charged with child neglect; the case is still pending.



A British family was celebrating the birth of a triplet, more than 11 years after her twin sisters came into the world, the Daily Mail reported Monday.

Ryleigh Shepherd was conceived on the same day as twins Megan and Bethany, but while their embryos were implanted in their mother during fertility treatment in 1998, Ryleigh's was frozen for more than a decade.

Parents Lisa and Adrian Shepherd first turned to fertility treatment after she was diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovaries.

In December 2009, they decided to go for another round of IVF, using the embryos still stored at the clinic near Birmingham, central England.

The treatment proved successful, with the proud mother welcoming a familiar face.

"When Ryleigh arrived, she looked like both the girls did when they were born 11 years before," she said. "It was uncanny. The girls are thrilled to have a sister, and they know that she was conceived at the same time that they were but has been in the freezer."
Lisa Shepherd added, "She's a really happy baby and has got a really good appetite -- it's as though she's making up for lost time."

It's hardly surprising that Ryleigh Shepherd is the image of her 11-year-old twin sisters when they were babies. For despite being born in different centuries, the three were all conceived on the same day.

While the embryos of twins Megan and Bethany were implanted in their mother in 1998, Ryleigh’s was frozen for more than 11 years.

Experts say they know of no other case where three siblings from the same round of fertility treatment have been born with such an age gap.
When Ryleigh arrived she looked like both the girls did when they were born 11 years before,’ said their mother Lisa, 37. ‘It was uncanny.’

Mrs Shepherd and husband Adrian, 45, married in 1994. They were keen to start a family but she had been diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovaries so they knew their chances of her becoming pregnant naturally were slim.

‘I was given drug treatments to help me conceive, but nothing worked,’ she said at the family home in Walsall. ‘It was devastating.’

In September 1998, the couple underwent treatment at Midland Fertility Clinic. Doctors collected 24 eggs, 14 of which were successfully fertilised with Mr Shepherd’s sperm.

Two embryos were implanted and the remaining 12 placed into freezer storage.
Mrs Shepherd, a sales manager, said: ‘We knew there was a chance the treatment wouldn’t work, so we tried not to get our hopes up.
‘I did a pregnancy test after a week which was negative. That was so disappointing. But a week later when the clinic did another test, it was positive.’

Scans showed Mrs Shepherd was expecting twins.
The pregnancy went smoothly and the twins were born by caesarean section at Walsall Manor Hospital, Megan weighing 4lb 4oz and Bethany 3lb 3oz.

Their mother said: ‘It was so emotional when they were born and even though they had been six weeks early they made a really good recovery and we were allowed to take them home just three days later.’

When the girls were nine, the couple started to consider another baby. ‘We had been so busy raising the twins that it wasn’t until then that we stopped to think about having another one,’ said Mrs Shepherd, whose husband is an engineer for Network Rail.

‘So we asked the girls what they thought about having another addition to the family and they really wanted it.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1341766/Conceived-born-11-years-apart-Deep-frozen-sister-arrives-record-gap.html#ixzz19KjQXBLd


Singer-Songwriter-Producer Teena Marie, best known for her 1984 hit “Lovergirl,” died Sunday, CNN has reported. She was 54.

Mike Gardner, Marie’s manager, confirmed that she was found dead Sunday in her California home by her 19 year-old daughter, Alia Rose.

Martin added that Marie had suffered a grand mal seizure a month ago, but no cause of death was available Sunday.

Born Mary Christine Brockert on March 5, 1956, in Santa Monica, Marie was a protégée of the late Rick James and rose to prominence in the late 1970s and 80s.

She released 13 studio albums, six of which were certified platinum on the R&B charts, and was nominated for four Grammys. Her last album, Congo Square, was released in 2009.

LOS ANGELES – Teena Marie's last album, "Congo Square," was titled after a historical meeting place for slaves in New Orleans, featured a tribute to Martin Luther King's widow and also song "Black Cool," written for President Barack Obama.

No matter that Marie, 54, was white. The R&B legend revered and fully immersed herself in black culture — and in turn was respected and adored by black audiences, not only for her immense soulful talents, but for her inner soul as well.

"Overall my race hasn't been a problem. I'm a Black artist with White skin. At the end of the day you have to sing what's in your own soul," she told Essence.com in an interview last year while promoting "Congo Square." That album would turn out to be her last.

The self-proclaimed "Ivory Queen of Soul," whose many classic hits included "Lovergirl," Square Biz" and the scorching duet "Fire and Desire" with mentor Rick James, was found dead in her Pasadena home on Sunday at the age of 54. Authorities said her death appeared to be of natural causes.

In an interview with The Associated Press last year, Teena Marie said she had successfully battled an addiction to prescription drugs; she had been performing over the last year.

"The enduring influence of Teena's inspirational, trailblazing career, could only have been made possible through her brilliant song-writing, showmanship and high energy passion which laid the ground work for the future generations of R&B, hip-hop, and soul," said Concord Music Group chief label officer, Gene Rumsey; Concord's Stax Records released her last album.

"We feel extremely fortunate to have worked with a visionary who changed music in indelible ways. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends and of course, millions of fans around the world."

Marie certainly wasn't the first white act to sing soul music, but she was arguably among the most gifted and respected, and was thoroughly embraced by black audiences, and beyond.

Even before she started her musical career, she had a strong bond with the black community, which she credited to her godmother. She gravitated to soul music and in her youth decided to make it her career.

Marie made her debut on the legendary Motown label back in 1979, becoming one of the very few white acts to break the race barrier of the groundbreaking black-owned record label that had been a haven for black artists like Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five, the Supremes and Marvin Gaye.

The cover of her debut album, "Wild and Peaceful," did not feature her image, with Motown apparently fearing black audiences might not buy it if they found out the songstress with the dynamic, gospel-inflected voice was white.

"(Motown founder Berry) Gordy) said that is was so soulful that he wanted to give the music an opportunity to stand on its own merit. Instead of my face, they put a seascape, so by the time my second album came out people were like, Lady T is White?" she told Essence.com.

Marie was the protege of the masterful funk wizard James, with whom she would have long, turbulent but musically magical relationship.

Marie notched her first hit, "I'm A Sucker for Your Love," with the help of James on that album. But the time her second album was released, her face was known — and on the cover of the record. But there was not a backlash — she would only get more popular on her way to becoming one of R&B's most revered queens. During her tenure with Motown, the singer-songwriter and musician produced passionate love songs and funk jam songs like "Need Your Lovin'," "Behind the Groove."

Marie's voice was the main draw of her music: Pitch-perfect, piercing in its clarity and wrought with emotion, whether it was drawing from the highs of romance or the mournful moments of a love lost. But her songs, most of which she had a hand in writing, were the other major component of her success.

Tunes like "Cassanova Brown" "Portuguese Love" and "Deja Vu (I've Been Here Before)" featured more than typical platitudes on love and life, but complex thoughts with rich lyricism. "Deja vu" was a song about reincarnation.

And "Fire and Desire," a duet with James about a former couple musing about their past love, was considered a musical masterpiece and a staple of the romance block on radio stations across the country.

Marie left Motown in 1982 and her split became historic: She sued the label and the legal battle led to a law preventing record labels from holding an artist without releasing any of their music.

She went to Epic in the 1980s and had hits like "Lovergirl" and "Ooo La La La" but her lasting musical legacy would be her Motown years.

Still, she continued to record music and perform. In 2004 and 2006 she put out two well-received albums on the traditional rap label Cash Money Records, "La Dona" and "Sapphire."

James, who had a romantic relationship with Marie but also a long friendship, died in 2004. His death shook her so she said she became addicted to Vicodin, which she had been taking for pain, for about a year.

But Marie said she successfully battled that addiction.In 2008, she talked about her excitement of being honored by the R&B Foundation.

Marie was the mother of a teenage daughter who was budding singer; she would sometimes bring her daughter onstage to sing during her shows.

In 2009, she celebrated 30 years in the recording industry, and planned for many more.

"All in all, it's been a wonderful, wonderful ride," she told The Associated Press in 2008. "I don't plan on stopping anytime soon."


Keri Hilson stirred up some controversy with her remarks about Ciara. In an interview with Power 105.1 on Wednesday (December 22), Keri was asked if she was nervous about releasing her album, No Boys Allowed. "I would like to [sell] higher than 35k - I mean anyone would," said Keri referring to Ciara's CD Basic Instinct which sold 37,000 copies last week. "I saw a quote where [Ciara] said it's not all about the numbers and I'm not really a chart reader. I don't look at charts. It's probably what she honestly feels," said Keri. (Karen Civil)
Ciara's new album debuted on the sales chart this week toward the back of Top 50 releases.

Video vixen Ciara's Basic Instinct also landed on the chart this week securing a spot at No. 44. After seven days in stores, the project has moved out 36,700 units. (SOHH Sales Wrap)

Kilson's latest album is expected to sell 75,000 to 100,000 units its first week in stores.


MOSCOW (AFP) – A Moscow court on Monday found jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky guilty in his second fraud trial, a judgement seen as a pivotal moment in Russia's post-Soviet history that upset rights campaigners.

Khodorkovsky and co-accused Platon Lebedev were convicted of embezzlement and money laundering, said judge Viktor Danilkin, dashing the hopes of Russian liberals the trial would show a new approach from Russian courts.

The pair were charged with embezzling 218 million tonnes of oil from Khodorkovsky's Yukos oil giant between 1998 and 2003 and laundering 487 billion rubles (16 billion dollars) and 7.5 billion dollars received from the oil.

"This is an unjust verdict by a court that is not free," Khodorkovsky's lead lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant told journalists. "It is shameful for the country. We will appeal the verdict."

Amid chaotic scenes, only a handful of reporters were allowed into the courtroom for the verdict and judge Danilkin then requested even those journalists to leave as the rest of the verdict was read out.

"The court has established that M. Khodorkovsky and P. Lebedev committed embezzlement acting in collusion with a group of people and using their professional positions," said Danilkin in the judgement.

Both reacted impassively to the judgement in the glass-fronted defendants' cage in the packed courtroom, Khodorkovsky leafing through papers and looking into the air while Lebedev appeared to be reading a book.

Hundreds of supporters gathered outside the court shouted "Russia without Putin" and "down with the police state" and an AFP correspondent saw police arresting 20 people.

Klyuvgant said it was not clear when the final sentence would be delivered but said it was unlikely to be pronounced on Monday.

Once the country's richest man, now its most prominent prisoner, Khodorkovsky, 47, is already serving an eight-year sentence for fraud on charges his supporters insist were trumped up by the authorities.

But with his release scheduled for 2011, Khodorkovsky was put on trial last year on charges of money laundering and embezzlement that could see the head of the now-defunct Yukos oil giant stay in jail until 2017.

The verdict was watched as a possible indicator of Russia's future direction under Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev, amid speculation that Putin is planning a return to the Kremlin in 2012 polls.

Liberals had hoped that an acquittal would send a signal to the West that Russia was serious about reform and displaying the independence of its judiciary under Medvedev.

"I expected this judgement. But all the same I am upset," Lyudmila Alexeyeva, one of Russia's best known rights defenders told the Interfax news agency.

"The judge would have had to have been a hero to have given an acquittal verdict."

Igor Yurgens, head of The Institute of Contemporary Development think tank set up by Medvedev when he came to power in 2008, had in an earlier newspaper interview called for an acquittal to help foreign investment.

"This is unfair. It does not instill hope for the future of our court reforms," he told RIA Novosti after the verdict.

The Moscow stock market fell briefly on the news but analysts said the verdict had been long priced in and indexes climbed back to former levels.

In the first major Western reaction, the German deputy government spokesman said Berlin "has followed this trial critically from the start and will continue to watch how it develops with close attention."

Moscow's Khamovnichesky court had been due to start reading the verdict on December 15, but unexpectedly postponed the announcement without giving an explanation.

The next day Putin compared Khodorkovsky to US fraudster Bernard Madoff, jailed for 150 years, and observed that a "thief must be in prison" in comments decried by the fallen magnate's legal team as direct meddling.

Khodorkovsky hit back by launching his own lacerating attack against Putin in a newspaper article on Friday, saying he pitied a man who could only feel love for dogs.

The pursuit of Khodorkovsky has been the most controversial legal action of the post-Soviet era in Russia.

Like many other billionaires, Khodorkovsky made his fortune in controversial loans-for-shares privatization in the 1990s but his supporters say he turned Yukos into Russia's most transparent company.



He should have kept his dark secret.

The stepbrother of the man shot to death by former Bad Boy rapper G-Dep -- who inadvertently confessed to the crime 17 years later -- said the hapless hip-hop artist was foolish to cop to the cold case.

"I think he's an idiot," said Robert Henkel, 56, whose then-32-year-old stepbrother, John, was blasted in the chest with three bullets on Oct. 19, 1993.

"He has three kids and a wife. It was years and years and years ago. Finally, we're not always thinking about it . . . and now it has to be dug up all again."

John henkel
The Harlem-born rapper, whose real name is Trevell Coleman, walked into the 25th Precinct Dec. 15 and admitted to the shooting -- later telling The Post he didn't even know Henkel had died in the attack. Coleman's lawyer claimed he unburdened himself as part of a 12-step anti-drug-addiction program.

A grand jury last week indicted G-Dep for murder.

"His mother told him, 'Don't turn yourself in,' " Henkel said, referring to The Post's exclusive jailhouse interview with the rapper.

"She was right . . . After all this time, yes, he just should have shut up."

Robert Henkel, who now lives in a rural upstate town, said the long-ago shooting was hard on his late stepmother -- though "she kept things to herself" -- and devastated his stepbrother Werner, who has psychological problems.

Both had remained in Ridgewood after the shooting.

"There was a lot of garbage going on -- race, drugs," the union carpenter said of the hard-scrabble neighborhood. "Today, you got to listen to bullets flying all day long. I'm glad I got my other brother up here with me."

Henkel said he wouldn't have known about G-Dep's confession if a Ridgewood neighbor hadn't gotten in touch with him and relayed the news.

"Then I went to the computer, and I've been following it every day," he said. "I've got mixed emotions about this whole thing . . . [Coleman] might have made something of his life."

As The Post reported, G-Dep was a featured artist on a new single, "On My Way," to be released Jan. 25 by Protekted Records artist and Brooklyn-born rapper Chi King.

Protekted CEO Jon Gornbein has vowed to donate a portion of the sales proceeds to surviving family members -- and Henkel said he'd accepted the offer and will use it to add a bedroom for Werner.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/slay_fess_rapper_an_idiot_fmC3nkE2iOVtlq07FyQbKN#ixzz19KCbifgd


For the first time in more than four decades, Los Angeles is on track to end the year with fewer than 300 killings, a milestone in a steady decline of homicides that has changed the quality of life in many neighborhoods and defied predictions that a bad economy would inexorably lead to higher crime.

As of mid-afternoon on Sunday, the Los Angeles Police Department had tallied 291 homicides in 2010. The city is likely to record the fewest number of killings since 1967, when its population was almost 30% smaller.

Strikingly, homicides in the city have dropped by about one-third since 2007, the last full year before the economic downturn, according to a Times' analysis of coroner records. Throughout the rest of the county, which is patrolled by the L.A. County sheriff and individual cities' police departments, homicides during the same period tumbled by nearly 40%. The Times' analysis showed 159 homicides in areas patrolled by the Sheriff's Department and 164 in the rest of the county through mid-December.

INTERACTIVE: Track crime in your neighborhood on Crime L.A. and Homicide Report databases

The city's total translates into roughly 7.5 killings per 100,000 people and puts it in league with New York City and Phoenix as having among the lowest homicide rates among major U.S. cities.

"I never thought we'd see these numbers," said Sal LaBarbera, a veteran homicide detective with the LAPD. "It is night and day compared to the old days. Night and day."

Longer-term declines are even more notable. The city's homicide rate this year marks a 75% drop from 1992, when 1,092 people were killed during a crack cocaine epidemic and gang wars. Homicides investigated by the Sheriff's Department have dropped by more than half since the mid-1990s.

The change, experts say, is not easily explained and is probably the result of several factors working together, including effective crime-fighting strategies, strict sentencing laws that have greatly increased the number of people in prison, demographic shifts and sociological influences.

A significant factor, said Columbia University Law School Professor Jeffrey Fagan, is the absence of a drug epidemic in recent years. The three distinct periods in U.S. history when homicides have spiked, he said, coincide with the emergence of heroin, powder cocaine and crack cocaine, each of which gave rise to "a chaotic, violent street drug culture."

The decline in homicide rates can be seen in places like Los Angeles' West Adams neighborhood. A strip along the south side of the Santa Monica Freeway that is home to about 22,000 people, the neighborhood tallied 17 homicides between 2007 and 2009, making it one of the deadlier areas in the city.

Then, the killing stopped.

Barring deadly violence in the next few days, West Adams will end 2010 with no homicides since a fatal stabbing early on Christmas morning a year ago.

"We are such a small area, we felt every one of those killings," said Elbert Preston, 59, a lifelong resident of the area and president of the West Adams neighborhood council. "It's great to see the changes that are happening here. I give a lot of credit to the work the police are doing, especially on the gangs. But it's also about people in the community becoming more involved."

A few neighborhoods, including Watts and Westlake, have struggled with homicide rates that have not declined significantly over the last four years. Many others, like West Adams, have seen a significant decline. Homicides in the Vermont Square neighborhood of South Los Angeles, for example, have declined in each of the last four years, from 15 in 2007 to three so far this year, the Times' analysis found. Killings in Compton and Long Beach held steady for the three previous years, then posted steep declines this year.

Homicides, which are less likely than other crimes to go unreported, are a bellwether of overall crime rates. Through Dec. 18, the LAPD had posted an 11% decline city-wide in overall violent crime — homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults — compared with the same period last year. Major property crimes in the city were down 6% from last year, according to LAPD statistics. It is the eighth consecutive year that crime has fallen in the city.

Crime in areas patrolled by the Sheriff's Department has been largely stagnant this year, with violent and property crime rates through the end of November down slightly from last year, department figures show.

Law enforcement officials say they worry that depleted resources and staffing shortages brought on by the fiscal crisis could erode their gains. The LAPD has had no money to pay officers for overtime. In lieu of being paid cash, officers have had to take compensatory time off from work. The plan has had the effect of cutting the force by the equivalent of about 500 officers.

In the Sheriff's Department, deputies had to neglect regular assignments for several hours each month in order to carry out routine patrols and low-level administrative tasks. The reshuffling allowed the cash-strapped department to significantly cut overtime but drew grumblings from within the ranks.

In the meantime, however, police officers have been taking satisfaction in the numbers. "Absent some disaster, we're going to have the best year we've had in decades. There were a bunch of indicators warning us that that shouldn't have happened," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a recent interview. "It is a real complex equation.... The factors are a hundredfold and police are, to me, the biggest one."

Beck and his command staff have been talking quietly for months about cracking the 300 barrier, an arbitrary milestone but one with symbolic importance for showing how far the homicide toll in the city has fallen.
How much further the rates could drop is unknown. In Los Angeles city and county, more than in most other U.S. metropolitan areas, gangs play a major role in the story of homicides.

Gang-related homicides account for about half of all killings here, law enforcement officials and researchers estimate. And although there are few things police can do to lower the number of killings that arise from domestic abuse incidents, hit-and-run accidents and other isolated situations, shootings that stem from gang rivalries and initiation rites can be cut with targeted strategies, gang experts believe.

"Before, everyone was under the traditional police strategy of 'arrest your way out of everything,' " said Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. But in recent years, law enforcement and elected officials have begun to embrace a new approach to combating gang violence that meshes traditional crime fighting with programs to forestall violence, such as one that trains former gang members to intervene between rival gangs.

Civil rights attorney Connie Rice, who was instrumental in pushing through the new strategy, is among those who believe it has begun to pay dividends. She has expressed hope that in coming years, the number of gang-related killings in the city will drop even further.

"We still have far too much gang violence. We've been able to cut away at the edges and limit it when it occurs, but we haven't eliminated it," Beck said. "I know it's a big city, but it doesn't have to be like this."



DENVER — The Colorado Medical Board will consider revoking the license of a doctor suspected of improperly recommending marijuana to a woman who was 28 weeks pregnant.

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.Dr. Manuel De Jesus Aquino of Denver could become the first Colorado doctor to lose his license or face a sanction over a medical marijuana recommendation.

The complaint filed last week by Philip Davis, a lawyer for the medical board, said the unidentified 20-year-old woman didn't explain she was pregnant, and Aquino didn't thoroughly examine her or even take any notes on his three-minute evaluation before giving her a pot recommendation in January.

The doctor also didn't ask about the woman's medical history or give her instructions on follow-up care, according to the complaint, which adds that pregnancy should preclude marijuana recommendations.

Messages left by The Associated Press seeking comment from Aquino and his attorney in the licensing matter, Sheila Meer, were not immediately returned.

The Denver dispensary Back to the Garden Health and Wellness Center, where the recommendation was written, declined comment.

The complaint was first reported by Solutions, a health policy news agency affiliated with the University of Colorado-Denver. Solutions and The Denver Post also sought comment from Aquino and his lawyer but were unsuccessful.

Aquino faces criminal charges in a separate case in Aurora. The doctor was arrested in July for investigation of writing shoddy medical-marijuana recommendations to two undercover police officers. Aquino is scheduled to be arraigned on those charges early next year.

The medical board complaint accuses Aquino of failing to establish the bona fide physician-patient relationship that Colorado law requires for marijuana recommendations.

When the woman gave birth in April, she tested positive for marijuana and the baby "had some initial feeding difficulties," according to the complaint. It doesn't say whether the mother was accused of wrongdoing or what happened to the baby.
Aquino may be the first doctor in the state of Colorado to lose his medical license for prescribing medical marijuana.

His profile on the Colorado Division of Registrations’ website looks almost like an advertisement, as it says he specializes in recommending medical marijuana.

Aquino has been practicing medicine since 1974 and has since issued countless prescriptions for the drug. However, he may not be practicing medicine any more.


Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com


Jimmy McMillan, the founder of the “Rent Is Too Damn High” party is moving past his defeat in NY's gubernatorial election and looking to become the next President of the United States.

McMillan, known for his white facial hair and trademark black gloves did an interview with Revolution radio where he announced his plans to run in the 2012 election.

“Well as a karate expert, I fear no man, Barack Obama has put a lot of offense on the table as I just described…if you don't do your job right I'm coming at you.”

He more pointedly adds,

“Tell Obama I'm coming after his black a**!”


A Florida man was arrested last week after being pulled over for driving without a seat belt and admitting to hiding marijuana in his private parts.

Police report that 34-year-old Demetrius Lawson immediately told them “Man, I'm going to jail” after admitting that his license was suspended and he was a “habitual traffic offender.”

Police then say a deputy searched him and asked if he had anything on him to which he replied, “no” before changing his story to say,
“I have some green in my nuts.”

A small amount of marijuana was recovered and he was charged with felonies and a misdemeanor.

He is being held on $3,120 bond.

There is never a lack of ignorance on display in Amerika, we gotta do better, we gotta do better.


The two biggest names in all of basketball today -- Kobe Bryant and LeBron James -- do not share a natural rivalry. One has played his entire career in the West with the Los Angeles Lakers; the other has been in the East with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat. They have never squared off with a championship on the line, or even a playoff series, for that matter. Still, they share a fascinating dynamic. For Bryant, a competitor always looking for an edge, James is a perfect foil who plays many roles.

A descendant

It was February 2002, and two nights before Kobe Bryant played in the NBA All-Star Game in Philadelphia, he went to see a 17-year-old player named LeBron James.

The previous summer in New Jersey, Bryant spoke before a group of prep stars that included James at ABCD Camp. James, now a junior at St. Vincent-St. Mary, scored 36 points in a win over Oak Hill Academy at a tournament in nearby Trenton, N.J., while wearing a special American flag-themed pair of Bryant's signature shoes that Bryant had personally delivered to him.

Two nights later, Bryant scored 31 against Michael Jordan and the East All-Stars on his way to being named MVP of the game.

Although one was an NBA superstar and the other still in high school, there was, from their early meetings, a connection between them. As the first guard to successfully make the jump from high school to the NBA, Bryant had created a path James would follow half a dozen years later.

An adversary

But if Bryant felt a kinship with James, there was a competitive edge to it, too. It was June 2003, and James was ready for the biggest day of his life. He was about to be made the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers on national television.

But James' handshake with commissioner David Stern was upstaged that day by breaking news during the broadcast that Bryant planned to opt out of his contract with the Lakers and seek free agency after the next season.

"I just remember LeBron's draft day," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said this week. "Kobe had something that went on there, didn't he? He kind of overplayed it. He took the headlines away from LeBron, in a way."

Jackson paused for a moment.

"I think he had him in his sights right off the bat."

Until that night, Bryant was the game's brightest young star and James was the aspiring player waiting in the wings, but Kobe didn't even wait for James to suit up to signal that the game between them was on.

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
The two superstars are friends as well as rivals.
A teammate

Later, the American flag and sneakers brought James and Bryant together again. It was July 2008, and Nike was sponsoring the U.S. men's basketball team at a Las Vegas training camp as Team USA prepared to play in the summer Olympics in Beijing.

Bryant and James, the two crown jewels of the shoe company's NBA endorsement roster, headlined the team.

More on the Lakers
For more news and notes on the Lakers, check out the Land O' Lakers blog from the Kamenetzky brothers. Blog

One afternoon during the camp, NBA Entertainment arranged a shoot with just the two of them sitting on a bright red leather couch in an empty nightclub in the basement of the Wynn hotel.

Both men were at a crossroads.

Bryant, on the verge of turning 30, had not won a team championship in six years.

James, still 23 years old, had just completed his fifth season in the league with just one NBA Finals loss (a sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs) to show for it.

They needed one another.

Bryant learned from James' inclusive ways as a teammate during that camp and became better at making everyone else feel part of the group.

James learned from Bryant's lone-wolf ways and became more committed to making himself a better player before and after practice, when no other teammates were around.

"There's a mutual respect that we have for one another," Bryant said in the interview they gave that day (a joint interview so rare that is has more than 2.7 million views on the NBA's YouTube channel). "It's that level of respect that enables us to perform at a high level when we compete against each other."

Bryant complimented LeBron's athleticism: "He takes off like he's jumping off a trampoline off of one leg. It's the most ridiculous one-legged takeoff I've seen. It's crazy."

James complimented Kobe's command: "His midrange jumper is by far one of the best that we have, if not the best, that we have in our league. Two dribble, pump fake, reverse spin, shot. … Yeah, I watch it [laughing]. Yeah, I study it."

A target

It was May 2009, and Bryant's Lakers team was in pursuit of playoff redemption (having lost to the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals).

His dominance in individual accolades was about to be tested, as well. News broke that 24-year-old James was to be named the regular season MVP of the 2008-09 season.

It was the first time James received the honor, and it would end Bryant's reign as league MVP for the 2007-08 season.

Reporters waited around the Lakers practice facility that day for Bryant to emerge from the training room and share his thoughts on James winning the award. He never came out, but a person Kobe did talk to that day remembers him saying, "I'll see [him] in the Finals."

Bryant didn't question James' deserving the award or praise him for winning it, but he did show James the ultimate respect, assuming the younger star would lift his team past all the East had to offer and promising he would be there to face him.

A one-upper

It was June 2010, and Bryant's Lakers were preparing to play the Celtics in Game 1 of the Finals.

It was the ultimate moment for ultracompetitive Bryant, a chance at revenge for the embarrassing 39-point Finals-ending loss to the Celtics in 2008.

But in a news conference before tipoff, the conversation strayed from Kobe vs. Paul Pierce and steered toward LeBron when a reporter asked Stern what he thought about James appearing on "Larry King Live" the night before.

"It sort of tells me that our players have, through their hard work, captured the imagination of many, many people," Stern said drily.

It took James seven years, but he got Bryant back just a little for stealing the spotlight on his draft night. Maybe he learned from the best.

A friend

It was July 2010, and Bryant was hosting his annual summer camp, the Kobe Bryant Basketball Skills Academy, at the University of California Santa Barbara.

James' much-anticipated announcement about where he would sign as a free agent was scheduled to air the next day. Bryant said he had no plans to watch; he would be in the gym working with his campers.

But it wasn't that he didn't have any interest. He called James a friend.

"Hopefully, he makes the right choice for him, for his family and decides to pick a place where he's happy and doesn't feel like he has to make a particular choice because of the circus that's around them," Bryant said.

James signed with the Miami Heat, of course, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form a team Bryant admitted would be "formidable."

A motivator

It was later in the summer of 2010, and Bryant could not escape the attention paid to the Heat even as his Lakers were celebrating back-to-back NBA championships.

"It motivated him," former Lakers teammate Josh Powell said on the phone this week. "He couldn't wait for the season to remind everyone which team had two rings.

"You know KB ain't threatened by anything or anybody."

Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
They have squared off on Christmas before, but the real treat would be to see them in the NBA Finals.

A test

It is December 2010, and Bryant and James will play each other on Christmas Day for the second consecutive year.

James' Cleveland Cavaliers came into Staples Center and embarrassed the Lakers 102-87 last year.

Is there a score to settle this time?

For more coverage of the complete Los Angeles sports scene, visit ESPNLA.com. »
"I think for players that have been in the league for a long time, when you have a fresh or a new influx of talented guys that are A-list guys, so to speak, I think you acknowledge the fact that they are that good," said Lakers assistant Chuck Person, a Bryant confidant. "You embrace the fact and look forward to continuing to test your mettle against the up-and-coming players."

More years have gone for Bryant, a 15-year veteran, than will come in the future. James, in his eighth season, might not have hit the halfway point yet.

Bryant knows he can never get back the gravity-defying prowess he once had, an athleticism James flashes seemingly without effort.

He will have to match James in some other way, with some other skill, on Saturday (and no doubt down the line again soon). He will pit his champion's experience and will against the challenger's power and hunger.

"I think it's always the push and pull, the oil and vinegar, so to speak when you're talking about skill versus athleticism," Person said. "I think that's what you have when you have a young guy versus a guy that's been in the league 10, 12, 15 years."

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
Kobe's focus is, as always, on the next challenge, the next run at a ring.

A hurdle?

It might be some day in the not too distant future, and Bryant might be looking to add a title to his trophy shelf and James might be standing in his way, fighting for his first ring.

"There's a deep competitive fervor going on between them, and that's natural," Jackson said. "That's just the way it's going to be."

For the sake of basketball fans everywhere, we can only hope he's right, we can only hope that is the way it's going to be.

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter. http://twitter.com/mcten.

They've both come a long way since then and not just because they have their own Nike puppets and MVP trophies.

Now, for the second consecutive year, they are the centerpiece attraction on the NBA's biggest regular season stage: the featured game on Christmas Day, when they face off at 5 p.m. on ABC.

That fact alone means James is no longer just a face in the crowd. But it doesn't mean that James has lost the viewpoint he had of Bryant before he became a worldwide contemporary. Bryant is still standing at the head of the class that James longs to distance himself from.

"When I was in high school I looked up to him," James said. "I knew at the time that it was possible for me to do what he had done. And what he had done at such a young age in the NBA was unbelievable."

James' opinion of Bryant nine years ago was that of awe. On several fronts, Bryant had blazed a trail that James was about to turn into his own personal superhighway. James was aware to a degree of it then, and now, with the help of maturation and perspective, he has a deeper understanding.

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
Bryant paved the way. Now he stands in the way.
Bryant had done what James knew he was going to do: go to the NBA right after high school and do it as a perimeter player. There were other preps-to-pros success stories -- and failures, too -- from that era. Kevin Garnett, of course. There was Jermaine O'Neal. And two weeks before Bryant made his speech to James and other future stars, Kwame Brown had become the first player to be drafted No. 1 overall directly out of high school.

But those were all big men. Young big men have always been selected mostly because of their size, which was one skill that can't be developed. Bryant went to the NBA because his teenage talent overwhelmed more developed men at his position. So, eventually, did James.

"It is humbling to know that he's a peer of mine," James said. "It's a blessing."

Nearly a decade later, James' awe for Bryant has faded. That comes with playing on the same field and even the same team, as they did for two summers with Team USA. But James' respect for Bryant has never been greater.

Unlike Bryant, James did not have the fortune of going to a team that was filled with veterans, soon to be taken over by a Hall of Fame coach and joined by a Hall of Fame center. He can't relate to the rings that Bryant was starting to win when they first met.

But the Heat star certainly can understand what has happened over the past few years when Bryant cemented his place in history as James spun his wheels in frustration attempting to do more than just get to the same holiday marquee.

James made his first Finals in 2007. The same week James was single-handedly taking down the Detroit Pistons in the conference finals, Bryant was reacting to a second straight first-round exit by demanding a trade from the Lakers.

At that moment in time, the tables had turned. Bryant had some rings, but as the sole star, his teams had been a failure. Now it looked like James was the one being stared at by the class. It appeared there had been a change in power.

The three years since have been a reminder of just where Bryant's place is, and that James, in many respects, is still a striving pupil. James has had some great seasons and has even outplayed Bryant routinely in head-to-head matchups. James has even passed him in MVP trophies.

[Bryant] is one of the best competitors we have in the league. He does whatever it takes to win games. I try to do the same.

-- LeBron James

But Bryant's amazing postseason successes continue to outstrip anything James has achieved.

That includes getting his teammates to rise to the occasion regularly over the past two title runs. It has again left James looking up to Bryant as he became frustrated in learning just how difficult it is to get to where Bryant has now been five times.

"Throughout my days of playing against him, being his teammate and going against him a lot, my impression has only risen," James said.

"He's one of the best competitors we have in the league. He does whatever it takes to win games. I try to do the same."

A huge part of that was James' move to Miami this past summer to play with what he hopes is the same type of cast that Bryant has helped win titles in Los Angeles.

Their rivalry, no matter what the marketing might be, is more out of a quest for a common goal than that of one-upmanship. Not unlike the challenge of becoming a first-round draft pick at the age of 18, only with higher stakes and greater rewards.

When Bryant talked about his success that day in New Jersey, he might not have fully appreciated how much work it was to get there, even though he'd been to the mountain. Now, after years of mentally taxing struggles, he clearly knows and it shows every spring.

When James reached the Finals in just his second trip to the postseason, he might not have fully appreciated how much work it took to get there, either.

Now, after years of watching Bryant again show him the way, James wants to get where Bryant is. Again.

"He does whatever it takes; he puts himself and his teammates in a position to win," James said. "He holds himself to a higher standard. I'm trying to do that."


Crack Addict Robs Catholic Churches to Get Back at Priest Child Molesters

A man in the Bronx has been arrested after police charge that he is the culprit of more than 9 church break-ins that have resulted in more than $5000 in stolen merchandise and computers.

According to Fox NY, Nathaniel Linden was charged with the burglary of 2 churches, although he is suspected of robbing nine other churches since November 6th and ripping off thousands of dollars that had been earmarked for families in various Bronx communities.

Linden, who apologized for the crimes, states that his robbing spree of local churches was inspired by his mother's murder as a child.

According to him he witnessed his mother's murder and was handed over to foster care.

Linden now claims that the motive behind targeting churches is for molestation but police are unclear about whether he was truly a victim.

“I am angry at the church for molesting children,” Linden told the NY Daily News. “That's why I started going after churches. I don't case them out; I just walk by and get angry."

Although Linden states that there has been long run hatred for Catholic churches, friends of the known crack addict states that he has never discussed the disdain before.

"He never said anything about the Catholic Church," Dennis Perrington, told NY Daily News. "He was robbing from the poor. That's despicable."

Linden did apologize to investigators for urinating outside one of the churches he hit, then continued to ramble on to police about his modus operandi with regards to the burglaries.

Linden was recently released from prison on November 4th after completing a five-year bid for the same crime of burglarizing churches.

Linden is being held on a $50,000 bond.