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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Department of Justice opens investigation into case of black teenager killed by neighborhood watch captain


The Department of Justice is launching an investigation into the shooting death of a black Florida teenager by a neighborhood watch captain last month.
In a statement released Monday, the DOJ said the investigation would be a joint operation between its Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida, and the FBI.
"The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation," the statement said.
The DOJ said it will also assist and cooperate with the state authorities on the investigation.
17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed by 28-year-old George Zimmerman as he was walking home through Zimmerman's Sanford, Florida gated community last month. 
Zimmerman had called 911 to report Martin as a suspicious person, and has claimed he shot Martin, who was unarmed, in self-defense.
The department's announcement comes after Florida college students held a rally demanding for Zimmerman's arrest. They claimed Martin had done nothing to provoke the attack from Zimmerman, and that he was a victim of racial profiling.
"I don't think a man who exited his vehicle after the 911 dispatcher told him to stay inside the car can claim self-defense," Carl McPhail, a 28-year-old Barry University law school student, said at a rally in Sanford.
Zimmerman has not been charged in the case. Although police have described him as white, his family says he is Hispanic and not racist. 
Prosecutors may not be able to charge Zimmerman because of changes to state law in 2005. Under the old law, people could use deadly force in self-defense only if they had tried to run away or otherwise avoid the danger.
Under the new law, there is no duty to retreat and it gives a Floridian the right "to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force," if he feels threatened.
"Prosecutors can have a hard time making a case if there is no one else around to contradict a person who claims self-defense," said David Hill, a criminal defense attorney in Orlando. 
So far, Sanford police have said there is no evidence to contradict Zimmerman's claims.
"If there is nobody around and you pull a gun, you just say, `Hey, I reasonably believed I was under imminent attack. Hey, sorry. Too bad. But you can't prosecute me,"' Hill said, somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
Gun control advocates said the case is emblematic of permissive gun laws in Florida, which was among the first states to allow residents to carry concealed weapons. Florida was the first state to pass a "Stand Your Ground" law, which has been dubbed a "Shoot First" law by gun control advocates.
Currently, about half of all U.S. states have similar laws, said Brian Malte, legislative director of the Brady Campaign, which describes itself as the nation's largest organization dedicated to the prevention of gun violence.
"It's coming to dangerous fruition," Malte said. "There are more states like Florida."
The "Stand Your Ground" law's legislative sponsor, Florida Rep. Dennis Baxley, said it wasn't written to give people the power to pursue and confront others.
"That's not what this legislation does," said Baxley, a Republican. "Unfortunately, every time there is an unfortunate incident involving a firearm, they think it's about this law, and it's not."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Monday, March 12, 2012

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Chef Batali Agrees to $5.25M Server-Tip Suit Accord

 

Mario Batali, the celebrity TV chef and owner of several New York restaurants, is often seen with actress Gwyneth Paltrow, taste-testing the culinary delights of Spain in their public television series "On the Road Again."
Batali took a detour, through his lawyers, to New York federal court in Manhattan, where he was sued and accused of cheating workers of part of their tips for serving wine. He and his associate Joseph Bastianich agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle the class-action lawsuit, according to court papers.
Servers at restaurants including Babbo, Casa Mono and Tarry Lodge sued in 2010 alleging their employers violated the Fair Labor Standards Act -- in part by pocketing gratuities equal to as much as 5 percent of nightly wine sales.

[Video: Cook-off, Mario Batali vs. Emeril Legasse]
"Mr. Batali, Mr. Bastianich, and their restaurants unlawfully confiscated a portion of their workers' hard-earned tips in order to supplement their own profits," employees said in their complaint.
The settlement agreement, filed March 5, is subject to approval by a federal judge.
"The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, Rachel Bien, one of the employees' lawyers, said today by e-mail.
Batali on Bankers Batali got into hot water in November by saying bankers are "not heroes but they are people that had a really huge effect on the way the world is operating."
"The ways the bankers have kind of toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their hands is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys," Batali said on a panel sponsored by Time magazine and posted online.
He apologized the next day, after financial industry executives criticized him and called for a boycott of his establishments.
The case is Capsolas v. Pasta Resources Inc., 10-cv-5595, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Friday, March 2, 2012

We have all heard the old adage, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. For some reason, many of us don’t ask for things because we fear imposing on someone or seeming to be rude. In business and in our personal lives this is farthest from the truth. Remember, the worst answer somebody can give you is “no”. Ohhhh, did you just feel a chill go through you? No, I’m sure not. We have all heard the word “no”, especially from the loving mouths of our parents. But, God knows, we tried to get what we wanted back then without hesitation! So, why is it so hard to ask now that we are independent adults?
We need to learn to ask. And, by asking, more often then not, we will get what we want. Try it a few times and in your practice you will find that you will feel more comfortable. And, in that comfort, you will find success in either your home business or life in general.

Monday, February 27, 2012


fishing boat has reached the cruise ship adrift in the Indian Ocean with more than 1,000 people on board, officials say.
The Costa Allegra suffered a fire in its generator room that caused it to lose power south-west of the Seychelles - an area where pirates are active.
It has no lights or air-conditioning and an emergency generator providing communications "could fail at any minute", the Italian coast guard says.
Tugs are still some hours away.
The ship is from the same fleet as the Costa Concordia, which capsized off the Italian coast in January, killing 32.
Commander Cosimo Nicastro from the Italian coast guard told the BBC that the trawler - a French-registered ocean-going boat - could now maintain communications with rescue vessels if the ship's emergency battery failed.
"At any moment we could lose communication because the emergency battery could stop at any second," he said.
"The first step is to keep communications with the ship."
He said agencies involved in the rescue operation would reassess the situation later in the morning.

The ship's owner, Costa Cruises, has stressed that the Allegra is steady and conditions are safe.
It says it is liaising with passengers' families via their emergency contact numbers, and has reached two-thirds of them. Contact has been made with the relatives of all the crew.
Families in the UK can call the company's emergency line on 0207 940 3300.
'Not in danger' Italian authorities have directed three merchant ships and another fishing vessel towards the stricken cruise ship.
Authorities in the Seychelles say they have sent two tug boats and a coast guard ship to the scene but the tugs are not expected to reach the ship until around 1500 GMT on Tuesday
A plane has flown overhead and reported that the ship did not appear to be in danger.
Costa Cruises said that the ship sent out a distress signal when the fire broke out, and all passengers and crew not involved in fighting the fire assembled at the muster stations.
Most electric lights on board the ship are off as the batteries are being used to keep essential machinery going.
A spokesman said the situation on board was calm and the ship was stable.
Captain Giorgio Moretti said a helicopter would bring fresh food to the ship on Tuesday morning, as it is without cooking facilities.
Captain Moretti said it had not been decided whether to try to transfer the passengers to other ships, or leave them on board until it is tugged to shore.
Seychelles map
There are 636 passengers and 413 crew on board the Costa Allegra, which left Madagascar on Saturday.
It was due to arrive in the Seychelles on Tuesday.
Further destinations on its itinerary include Alexandria and Naples in the Mediterranean Sea.
Somali pirates are known to operate in the area where the Allegra is adrift, though they have never seized a cruise ship.
Nine members of the Italian navy's anti-pirate unit are on board the ship as a precaution.
A facility on Costa Cruises' website allowing people to track the Allegra's position says that "data transmission is temporarily suspended".
The company says the Allegra received its regularly scheduled maintenance in dry dock in October 2011.
The Costa Concordia ran aground off the Italian island of Giglio on 13 January.
The Concordia's captain, Francesco Schettino, has been accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before all those aboard were evacuated. He denies any wrongdoing
Are you on board the ship? Do you have friends or family on board? Please get in touch using the form below.
Boat reaches Italian cruise ship adrift off Seychelles





Costa Allegra (June 10, 2011 in Rhodes)

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

BIG NEWS, BUTTS, BIG NEWS: as I'm sure your homemade Hunger Games countdown clock has informed you, there are only 28 DAYS LEFT until the greatest movie of all time hits the theaters and Peeta Mellark's buns are forever burned into our lucky, lucky minds. (I AM TALKING ABOUT HIS BREAD, GUYS, COME ON. GET YOUR MINDS OUT OF THE GUTTER.)
Today, I'm here to announce that YOU, yes, YOU, can get up-close and personal with the fantastically good-looking and supremely awesome cast of this movie. How is this possible, you ask, your chin covered in drool and eyes wide with hope?
It's easy: JUST GET YOURSELF TO A MALL. Because Katniss, Gale, and Peeta are going on an 8-city MALL TOUR across the US beginning on March 3—which means that you could soon be standing in the immediate vicinity of Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, and Josh Hutcherson.
Go ahead and do a victory hip-thrust. I know you want to.
Here's the rundown: if you live in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle, Phoenix, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, or Minneapolis, then you are A LUCKY SONOFAGUN, and you can attend one of the following fan events and participate in Q&As with the cast and enter giveaways to win Hunger Games Gear! Here are the deets

Tuesday, February 21, 2012





Endangered species7 Strange and exotic endangered species
You never run out of things to look at, therefore you never run out of things to photograph, therefore you never run out of things to paint, therefore you never run out of things to write about, therefore you never run out of things to sing about, therefore life's beautiful
I'm going to smile and make you think I'm happy
I'm going to laugh so you don't see me cry
I'm going to let you go in stlye
And even if it kills me I'm going to smile

"Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue
what they are."

-- Malcolm S. Forbes
"Computers are magnificent tools for the realization of our
dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit,
compassion, love, and understanding."

-- Louis Gerstner
Friendship is a treasure gift, that gives our hearts a lift, a blessing we just cannot do without,because friendship is what living is all about
"Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it."
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them."
~ George Bernard Shaw
"Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways. Where it is unwilling, it will find a thousand excuses."
~ Arlen Price
"The best way to predict your future is to create it."
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