Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Woman at center of Donald Sterling scandal is ‘very saddened’ by ban

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling sits with V. Stiviano during a 2010 game. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)
The woman at the center of the scandal involving  Los Angeles Clippers  owner Donald Sterling said that she is "very saddened" at the punishment levied to Sterling by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
V. Stiviano, through her attorney Mac Nehoray, also told the Los Angeles Times that she "never wanted any harm to Donald."

The NBA banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million after a recording surfaced in which Sterling was heard making remarks about African Americans.

More from the Los Angeles Times:
Nehoray said that "someone released it for money" but it wasn’t Stiviano.
"My client is devastated that this got out," he said.
The attorney also said that Stiviano and Sterling never had any sort of romantic relationship and descriptions of her as his mistress in a lawsuit filed by Sterling’s wife are false.

Sterling’s wife, Rochelle, sued Stiviano last month in an effort to reclaim a $1.8-million apartment, luxury autos and cash Sterling gave her.

Witchy has her say :

Stiviano (or whatever her real name is) and her lawyer are chronic liars. She entrapped Sterling, made the tape, and publicized it in order to destroy him. She probably made a bundle of money on that tape OR / AND she will be making that money and more in the future. She is a crude low-life two-faced swine who disturbed the peace for an entire population of good people and destroyed an old fool, with whom she WAS quite intimate, despite her false denials. Sterling didn't pay for her apartment and car out of good will or because she was shown to be favorable of character. On the other hand, maybe he did it because he wanted to help a poor "minority.

Craig Ferguson Reportedly Leaving 'The Late Late Show'

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A few weeks after David Letterman announced he'd be retiring from the CBS late-night television lineup, Craig Ferguson did the same.

Ferguson, host of "The Late Late Show" since 2005, told his studio audience during Monday's taping that he will step down at the end of the year. Ferguson's show airs after Letterman's, at 12:35 a.m. on weekdays.

The move was no surprise after CBS announced that Stephen Colbert will replace Letterman next year. There was a time that Ferguson, whose show won a Peabody Award in 2009, was considered a strong contender for that job.

But "The Late Late Show" has faded in the ratings, particularly with the arrival of Seth Meyers in February as competition in the same time slot.

"CBS and I are not getting divorced, we are consciously uncoupling," Ferguson said. "But we will still spend holidays together and share custody of the fake horse and robot skeleton, both of whom we love very much."

He told the audience it was his decision to leave, adding, "CBS has been fine with me."

CBS Entertainment Chairwoman Nina Tassler said Ferguson "infused the broadcast with tremendous energy, unique comedy, insightful interviews and some of the most heartfelt monologues seen on television.

"The Scottish-born Ferguson, 51, became a U.S. citizen during his tenure on the show.

He already has a new job lined up, as host of "Celebrity Name Game," a syndicated game show set to debut later this year.

But he joked about his plans with the audience.

After his stint ends, "I'll go and do something else. Probably, I'm thinking, carpentry. But I haven't made my mind up yet. ... I feel like doing this show for 10 years, that's enough," he said.

Guest LL Cool J told Ferguson that "I hate to see you go."

It's been an unusually busy period of personnel changes in the late-night television arena. Jimmy Fallon took over the "Tonight" show on NBC from Jay Leno in February and was an instant sensation, ascending to the top of the ratings against Letterman and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel. Letterman announced that he would be leaving CBS after more than three decades in late-night TV.

Chelsea Handler also has said she will be leaving her late-night show on E!

CBS said it plans to continue "The Late Late Show" and will be searching for another host. There's another opening at Comedy Central, which is looking to replace "The Colbert Report" when it ends at the end of the year.
The PICs will miss you and we wish you well :

Great job Craig!!! Go out with class, CBS is going down the tubes. When that Network made the decision not to have you take over Lettermans spot, it lost me and many others. No reason to watch that network any more. GREAT DECISION ON YOUR PART, LOTS OF LUCK!!!!!!!

WE hate to see Craig Ferguson go, truly. We  LOVE the humor and we don't know what we'll do without the fake horse and the skeleton wise ass. Well, we not a fan of Stephen Colbert at all. He's not going to fill the Letterman skill [if you can call what Letterman do a skill]. I think that Fallon and Kimmel will hold their own and Colbert will bring his audience from the other channel. We can't stand him.  Doggone, Late Night will force me to play my games [ do  anyone know  how to play go fish] instead of watching these guys. Oh well, the end of an era.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Clippers owner Donald Sterling banned for life by the NBA

                        Rochelle Sterling  & Donald Sterling
                            V. Stiviano  &  Donald  Sterling
NEW YORK (AP) - Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life by the NBA in response to racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation.

Commissioner Adam Silver said he will try to force the controversial owner to sell his franchise. Sterling has also been fined $2.5 million, and Silver made no effort to hide his outrage over the comments.

"I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners I need to remove him," Silver said.

The rebuke, which came three days after the scandal broke, is the harshest penalty ever issued by the league and one of the stiffest punishments ever given to an owner in professional sports. Silver said a league investigation found the NBA's longest-tenured owner was in fact the person on the audiotapes that were released over the weekend.

"We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling's views," Silver said. "They simply have no place in the NBA."

Sterling acknowledged he was the man on the tape, Silver said.

Sterling is immediately barred from attending any NBA games or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.

He also cannot participate in any league business going forward. It's unclear how he will respond, and a lawsuit certainly seems possible.

"This league is far bigger than any one owner, any one coach and any one player," Silver said.

The fine will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and the Players Association, Silver said.

"This has all happened in three days, and so I am hopeful there will be no long-term damage to the league and to the Clippers organization," Silver said. "But as I said earlier, I'm outraged so I certainly understand other people's outrage. This will take some time and appropriate healing will be necessary."

After the announcement, the Clippers' website had a simple message: "We are one," it read.

"We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins," the Clippers added in a statement released to the media.

Sterling's comments were released over the weekend by TMZ and Deadspin, and numerous NBA owners and players have condemned them. Even President Barack Obama weighed in on the crisis, the first of Silver's brief tenure as commissioner.

The league's investigation started Saturday and players immediately began expressing intense displeasure with the situation, even going so far as to ask Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson to get involved on behalf of the players' union.

"Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!!," Miami Heat star LeBron James wrote on Twitter.

Before Silver took the podium, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tweeted out a photo of the NBA Constitution, saying "It exists for a reason."

The announcement of the sanctions came just hours before the Clippers will play Golden State in Game 5 of a knotted-up Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Several sponsors either terminated or suspended their business dealings with the team on Monday, though individual deals that some of those companies have with Clippers stars like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will continue and were not affected. Still, it was a clear statement that companies, like just about everyone inside the league, were outraged.

"Commissioner Silver showed great leadership in banning LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life," Magic Johnson, who was referenced on the taped conversation involving Sterling, tweeted shortly after the league's decision was announced.

Johnson's role on the tape stemmed from Sterling's female companion apparently posting a photo of her and the Hall of Fame player on her Instagram account. That photo has since been deleted, but raised Sterling's ire nonetheless.

"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?" Sterling asks the woman on the tape.

Silver said when he first heard the audio, he hoped it had been altered or was fake - but also said that from his 20-year relationship with Sterling, he suspected the voice was his.

The issues raised when the tapes were released over the weekend represent just another chapter in Sterling's long history of being at the center of controversy.

In the past, he's faced extensive federal charges of civil rights violations and racial discrimination in his business dealings, and some of his race-related statements would be described as shocking.

He has also been sued in the past for sexual harassment by former employees, and even the woman who goes by the name "V. Stiviano" - purportedly the female voice on the tapes at the center of this scandal - describes Sterling in court documents as a man "with a big toothy grin brandishing his sexual prowess in the faces of the Paparazzi and caring less what anyone else thought, the least of which, his own wife."

Stiviano is being sued by Rochelle Sterling, who is seeking to reclaim at least $1.8 million in cash and gifts that her husband allegedly provided the woman.

Our in-house expert : Mr . Humble
Illegal move on the NBA they cannot act upon,without legal counsel and representation on the accused person,the speech today by the commish is null and void,until it's heard in a court of law.
They can try banning him for life from owning an NBA Basketball team but they're going to have to enforce that ban in a court of law and I don't see any court in this idiotic country upholding that decision But then again we do live in the land of the silly and little nuances such as freedom of speech don't mean a f****** thing anymore.

I see an old pathetic man  that is a racist. He is one suffering from fear of growing old and being sized up with Magic Johnson who just happened to be black, young, handsome and virile. He is biased against skin color and against anyone who is a better man than he. He is the sterling example of "There is no fool like an old fool".
V. Stiviano is a gold digger from the get go and was very successful in gaining "gifts" from Sterling.

Perhaps he is suffering from early senility and why the poor suffering, shamed wife is suing to retrive them back. Either case this makes good fodder in the media.

There is no question that this man is a bigot, and has been for many many years. This time he was caught with his voice on tape, which sealed his coffin. With that being said, I remember when the very dumb, bigoted, anti-semitic, so-called "Reverend" Jesse Jackson said publicly that New York is "Hymietown". What happened to him? Nothing. Reverse discrimination should be looked at the same way that ingrown hatred is. If Sterling was black, we wouldn't have heard the tapes, and the story would never had made it into the media. Yes, he deserves punishment because any kind of hatred is disgusting, but it must go both ways. Acceptance of any type of bigotry is wrong, and overlooking one type of bigotry vs. another is doubly wrong.

Just my humble opinion

Monday, April 28, 2014

Clippers Sponsors Drop The Team Over Allegedly Racist Owner

Corporate sponsors started to distance themselves from the Los Angeles Clippers Monday after a tape surfaced over the weekend of the team's owner Donald Sterling allegedly making racist remarks.

In a statement provided to The Huffington Post Monday, Carmax, a used car chain, confirmed it would cut ties with the team, ending a nine-year partnership. Virgin America also confirmed to HuffPost that it would end its sponsorship with the Clippers, noting that the company continues to "support the fans and the players."

Insurance giant State Farm, carmaker Kia, AQUAhydrate, a company that sells enhanced water, energy drink Red Bull, as well as Sprint are all reportedly suspending their sponsorships with the team. LoanMart, an auto title loan company, also wrote on its Facebook page that it's suspending its advertising and marketing relationship with the Clippers and monitoring the situation.

"CarMax finds the statements attributed to the Clippers' owner completely unacceptable. These views directly conflict with CarMax's culture of respect for all individuals," a CarMax spokeswoman wrote in an email to HuffPost. "While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for 9 years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship."

CarMax's decision just hours after Steve Stoute, the CEO of marketing firm Translation, which represents State Farm, told ESPN radio that the insurance giant will be pulling its sponsorship as well.

"What I'm going to do and what I think is important from my side is I'm telling the brands immediately 'let's pull sponsorship' starting with State Farm," Stoute said. "When you have things like this taking place, somebody has to stand up."

When directly asked by ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd whether State Farm would be pulling its sponsorship, Stoute said yes and said he expects other brands to pull out in the next 48 hours. State Farm hasn't responded to multiple requests for comment asking about the company's status with the Clippers.

In a statement released to HuffPost, State Farm said that the company will "pause" its relationship with the Clippers while "those involved sort out the facts." The company still plans to work with Clippers star Chris Paul.

"State Farm strongly supports and respects diversity and inclusion in its workforce and customers. The remarks attributed to the Clippers’ owner are offensive," the statement reads. "We are monitoring the situation and we’ll continually assess our options."

A spokeswoman from AQUAhydrate, another Clippers sponsor, wrote in an email statement to HuffPost that "In the wake of Donald Sterling’s alleged defamatory and intolerable comments" the company would "suspend" its sponsorship with the Clippers until the NBA completes its investigation. Sprint is doing the same, the company wrote in an email to HuffPost. Kia is also suspending its sponsorship with the Clippers, according to a tweet from CNBC SportsBiz. Kia hasn't responded to a request for comment from HuffPost.

Red Bull is also "suspending" team marketing activities with the Clippers, while the NBA investigates Sterling's alleged statements, according to a statement the company released to BuzzFeed. Red Bull still plans to "support" Clippers player Blake Griffin.

Steve Kulm, an Amtrak spokesman, wrote in an email to HuffPost that the firm's sponsorship with the Clippers ended a few weeks ago at the end of the team's regular season. Though some of its sponsored advertising is still in the market the company is "diligently working to remove all sponsorship assets" and will monitor the situation as they look to make decisions for the 2014-15 season.

"Amtrak believes the language used is unacceptable and is inconsistent with our corporate belief to treat everyone with integrity and dignity," Kulm wrote.

Corona is also "reviewing" its sponsorship agreement with the Clippers to "to determine appropriate next steps," spokeswoman Emily Reynolds wrote in an email to HuffPost.

"Like everyone else, Corona is appalled by the comments allegedly made by the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers," she wrote. "These comments run counter to the type of brand Corona aspires to be."

The Rev. Al Sharpton, an activist and MSNBC host, vowed Monday to pressure companies that work with the team and the NBA to cut ties until the league rids itself of Sterling.

NBA sponsor Anheuser-Busch wrote in an email statement that they "fully support the NBA’s efforts" to quickly investigate Sterling's remarks. The company's last sponsorship deal with the Clippers ended in 2009.

TMZ released an audio recording surfaced late Friday of a man believed to be Sterling instructing his then-mistress not to bring black people to Clippers games. The recording, which went viral within a view hours, sparked outrage across the country, eliciting responses from NBA legend Michael Jordan, Miami Heat Star LeBron James, the Clippers themselves and even President Obama.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include a statements released to CNBC by Kia, as well as statements from State Farm, Anheuser-Busch, Virgin America, AQUAhydrate, Amtrak, Sprint and Corona.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to Steve Stoute's firm as Transition. It is actually Translation.

***Is your company cutting ties with the Clippers? Email

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Obama: Reported Comments by Team Owner 'Racist'


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- President Barack Obama said Sunday that comments reportedly made by the owner of a U.S. pro basketball team are "incredibly offensive racist statements," before casting them as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and segregation that Americans must confront.

"When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk," Obama said when asked to respond to the reported comments from Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling.

Obama's description of the controversy as part of a larger historical context is the latest example of his continuing willingness to expound on matters of race in his second term.

After avoiding much mention of race relations during his campaign to become the first black president and in his first term, the president last summer offered a personal reflection in response to the shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin. And now Obama has spoken out against an audio recording of a man identified as Sterling telling his girlfriend not to bring black people to games.

The firestorm over Sterling's comments has quickly engulfed the National Basketball Association.

Obama cast the comments through a broader prism of racism in America, adding that "we constantly have to be on guard on racial attitudes that divide us rather than embracing our diversity as a strength."

"The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that's still there, the vestiges of discrimination," Obama said during a news conference in Malaysia, where he was traveling.

"We've made enormous strides, but you're going to continue to see this percolate up every so often," he added. "And I think that we just have to be clear and steady in denouncing it, teaching our children differently, but also remaining hopeful that part of why statements like this stand out some much is because there has been this shift in how we view ourselves."

In the recording attributed to Sterling recording and posted on the website TMZ, a male voice questions his girlfriend's association with minorities. TMZ reported the woman, V. Stiviano, is of black and Mexican descent.

The man asks Stiviano not to broadcast her association with black people or bring black people to games. The man specifically mentions Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson on the recording, saying, "Don't bring him to my games, OK?"

Obama said he's confident NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will address the matter. He said the NBA has "an awful lot of African American players, it's steeped in African American culture. And I suspect that the NBA is going to be deeply concerned in resolving this."

Silver had said the NBA needs to confirm authenticity of the audio tape and interview both Sterling and the woman in the recording. He called the tape "disturbing and offensive" and promised to investigate quickly.

Let's hear it from our in-house expert , Mr Humble :

Even though everybody on the right seems to hate the president, and hate him worse than they did any other democrat ever, even though he is more conservative than Clinton was, they are always so quick to point out that the fact that he is the 1st ever black president, after over 200 years of nothing but white ones, how that has nothing at all to do with why they hate him so badly - they are playing a race card by even suggesting such a thing!

I mean, just because congress has signed a pact to vote against him in every proposal he puts before them in order to make him look like he failed,( no matter 'HOW' good for our country it would be!) it has nothing to do with the fact that he is black, and that if he succeeds it might lead to other blacks being elected in the future, 'SHUCKS'  no.

They hate him only because he wasn't born here they say, (even tho they know he 'WAS'), or because he is a "Muslim"-( even tho they know he is 'CHRISTIAN'), or a "terrorist"- (even tho he had bin laden 'KILLED' for them). They have so many words they call him - socialist, liberal, atheist, just about any lie they can think of.......everything except the 'N' word, which is what they call him when they are alone with each other. I know, I am white, I hear white conservatives all the time.

Obama's only concern has been for those who are less fortunate than himself, and he has risked his entire reputation for the sake of those who couldn't afford health care for themselves.
I mean, why do those on the right think he pushes so hard for health care- what is in it for him? He doesn't need insurance, we all know that! They can't figure it out, because they have never seen this type of president before, all they have ever known is the type of president who gets into office so that he can pass laws that will make it easier to keep the very rich happy, or to do what the lobbiests want.
Not Obama, he cares mostly for those who are less advantaged than he is, for very little reward in it for himself, he goes to bat for the disadvantaged.
He knows what kind of hate he is going to face, he knows it better than anybody else, they call him every dirty name they can think of. Still, he finds ways to understand his critics, he even seems to feel sorry for them. I really don't know why these people wouldn't want such a man as their leader, I only know that they don't 'DESERVE' such a good man.
Either the last president has made them so cynical that they can never believe a president is decent again, or they can not accept a black man as president after over 230 years of nothing but white ones, every single time, this seems to be the reasoning. They didn't hate presidents that were more liberal than Obama is that were white as much as they do him, and he even got bin Laden for us after Bush couldn't.
Maybe the best they deserve is another Bush.
I really don't give a sh** because  they all are a**holes .

The  girlfriend -----V. Stiviano is of  Black and Mexican descent , Donald Sterling  sure  like his dark meat  ( to  quote the saying ), maybe Sterling is afraid  the saying is true  about  black men .
Now  that is  a kick in the head  .

Just  my humble opinion

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Watch The Trailer For '6,' Louie Psihoyos' New Documentary

The last film Louie Psihoyos directed was an Oscar winner: 2009's "The Cove." The director returns this year with "6," a new documentary that is set to debut a work-in-progress cut at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Psihoyos' latest film focuses on "the issues of endangered species and mass extinction," and its first trailer lays out the stakes for humanity in terms that will likely take viewers' breath away. Check out the trailer below; "6" will be out in theaters later this year.
Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, Oscar®-winner Louie Psihoyos (The Cove) assembles a team of artists and activists intent on showing the world never-before-seen images that expose issues of endangered species and mass extinction.
Whether infiltrating notorious black markets with guerilla-style tactics or exploring the scientific causes affecting changes to the environment, "6" will change the way we see the world and our role within it.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Anderson Cooper Stalker: “I Would Die For Him”

Anderson Coopers stalker, Alex Hausner, pleaded guilty to felony menacing and harassment charges on Friday.

Hes been ordered to stay away from Cooper and his boyfriend Benjamin Maisani.

Hausner, who had been harassing the CNN anchor for around six years, told reporters after leaving a New York courtroom, "Stalker is the furthest thing from what I am," adding, "I would die for him."

Coopers stalker, who spent nine months behind bars and was freed on time served, said the newsman "was never in any danger."

When asked if he still loved Cooper, Hausner said, "I do."

He will be given five years probation, assuming he stays out of trouble for the next year.
The judge warned Hausner, "If I learn there are any problems with the order of protection, believe me, youre being picked up and youre going to upstate [to jail] before you even know it."

Justin Bieber Deport Petition: The White House Responds In Statement

Not this time! The White House officially responded to a petition that asked for Justin Bieber's deportation on Friday, April 18, ultimately siding with the 20-year-old entertainer.

"Sorry to disappoint, but we won't be commenting on this one," the statement read. "We'll leave it to others to comment on Mr. Bieber's case, but we’re glad you care about immigration issues. Because our current system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers, and 11 million people are living in the shadows."

"Not only is it the right thing to do morally, it's the right thing for our country: Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next 20 years," the statement continued. "For those of you counting at home, that’s 12.5 billion concert tickets -- or 100 billion copies of Mr. Bieber's debut album."

Back in January, a "Deport Justin Bieber and Revoke his Green Card" petition received over 100,000 signatures asking that the Canadian native leave the U.S. The petition was created shortly after the "Boyfriend" singer was arrested for DUI in Miami on Jan. 23.

"We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture," the petition read. "We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing, Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked."

It continued: "He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nations youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society."

The petition has clearly not fazed the singer over the past several months. He's been back in he studio since, and was spotted getting cozy with on-again, off-again girlfriend Selena Gomez at Coachella in Indio, Calif., on April 13. "Justin took the lead and was escorting Selena through the all-access area," an eyewitness told Us. That same day, he surprised the crowd by performing on stage with Chance The Rapper.

This article originally appeared on Justin Bieber Deport Petition: The White House Responds In Statement.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Camilla's brother dies in New York of head injury

April 24th , 2014       6:46AM
Mark Shand, chairman of an elephant conservation charity, was in New York for a charity auction at Sotheby's.

The New York Police Department said Shand had arrived at the Gramercy Park Hotel's Rose Bar just before 1 a.m. Wednesday accompanied by a relative. He went out to smoke a cigarette around 2:30 a.m. and fell backward as he tried to re-enter through a revolving door, police said.

He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:25 a.m., police said. The cause of his death will be determined by the medical examiner's office.

Shand, 62, was known for his work as a travel writer and conservationist. He was the author of several books including "Elephant Tales" and "River Dog: A Journey Down the Brahmaputra."

British royal officials at Clarence House said in a statement that Camilla, Prince Charles and all of her family members are "utterly devastated by this sudden and tragic loss."

"Mark Shand was a man of extraordinary vitality, a tireless campaigner and conservationist whose incredible work through The Elephant Family and beyond remained his focus right up until his death," the statement said.

Sotheby's said it was "deeply saddened" by the news of Shand's death and it was honored to have helped him raise money for his causes.

Police detectives were at the Manhattan hotel on Wednesday afternoon, taking a look at the locations of security cameras. A worker at a building across the street said detectives had asked if the building had any security video, which it didn't.

A call to the hotel's representatives was not immediately returned.

Camilla and Charles are due to go on a tour of Canada next month.

Our condolence to Camilla and her family  for the  untimely death of her  brother ..... the PICs

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On Earth Day, 20 Gorgeous Photos Of Natural Wonders Under Threat ...Part 1

April 22 marks Earth Day, the annual U.N.-sponsored event to celebrate the planet and raise awareness of the impact that humanity has on the natural world. As people and governments across the globe honor the date, The WorldPost looks into some of Earth's wonders that face destruction at the hands of men. Take a look at the images below and expand your knowledge of these natural treasures in peril.
Thanx to : Nick Robins-Early

                                    Virunga National Park
Africa's most diverse park is home to rare mountain gorillas and a series of active volcanoes. Oil exploration and the ongoing brutal conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo currently pose dire threats to the park's survival.
 Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System
The idyllic stretch of waters is home to an ecosystem that includes threatened species such as manatees and crocodiles. Excessive development and illegal hunting currently imperil the natural balance of the reef.
                                                The Marshall Islands 
               The tiny, stunning atolls that make up the Marshall Islands are very close to sea level, which makes them particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The photos above was made during recent flooding that drove thousands from their homes.
                                    Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra 
 This 2.5 million hectare rainforest in Indonesia is home to a wealth of biodiversity, including endangered Sumatran orangutans. Logging and illegal poaching are a few of the dangers the park is faced with.
                                Mount Kilimanjaro 
Immortalized by Hemingway, the crown of Africa's highest mountain could fade into memory within a few short decades. Studies indicate that the iconic snows of Mount Kilimanjaro are falling victim to rising temperatures brought on by climate change. The second photo shows some of the peak's melting ice caps.

On Earth Day , 20 Gorgeous Photos Of Natural Wonders Under Threat ... Part 2

                                                   Bamiyan Valley
Afghanistan's Bamiyan Valley is a majestic UNESCO World Heritage Site that has sadly been ravaged by the nation's lengthy war, leaving areas of it inaccessible due to antipersonnel mines.
                                      The Florida Everglades  
The degradation of the Everglades as a result of development and reduced water flows has resulted in a reduction of the animal life in the sprawling park and put it under threat of further decline.

                                     The Dead Sea
With its salted waters and extremely low elevation, the Dead Sea is another natural wonder that sadly seems to be slowly receding into nothingness. Lack of water flow is causing the waters to dry up and the sea to shrink at threatening rates. A proposed water pipeline to replenish the sea has been agreed upon, but there are worries that it might further upset the natural balance of the region.
                                 Madagascar's Rainforest
The unique flora and fauna of Madagascar's rainforest have made the island a naturalists' dream for centuries, but as deforestation increases, the threat of destruction of habitat looms larger than ever.
Air and Tenere National Park Niger's Air and Tenere National park is Africa's largest protected area and home to a diverse ecosystem. Military conflict and unrest have long been threats to the gorgeous desert landscape of the park.
Thanx Nick Robins-Early

Witchy has her say:
There has been much progress made in many first world countries, including the US. Illegal dumping is targeted, as well as the burning of trash, tires, etc..Our electric power generation could do with more nuclear (if you really care about the air), since it's the most efficient way to produce power in the long run, but even coal generation has been greatly cleaned up.

Seldom do we have the sky filled with the industrial smoke and soot that used to be the steel towns. Of course, some would like those jobs back, so it came at a price.

But the world is an ecosystem, and the countries and populations that still have no restrictions or don't enforce them (such as China) affect us all. That has more to do with pollution than whether I install a solar array on my house.

It's sad to say goodbye to such beauty and diversity. Especially knowing that goodbye will be forever.  Just sayin'

Monday, April 21, 2014

Julia Roberts Opens Up About Her Half-Sister's Death

Julia Roberts looks radiant on the cover of WSJ Magazine, but her smile doesn't mask the fact that it's been a rough few months for the actress.

Roberts' half-sister, Nancy Motes , died of a drug overdose in February, and allegedly left a a suicide note that reportedly made reference to a rift within her family.

"It's just heartbreak," Roberts said when asked about Motes' death. "It's only been 20 days. There aren't words to explain what any of us have been through in these last 20 days. It's hour by hour some days, but you just keep looking ahead."

As her eyes began to well up, she added, "You don't want anything bad to happen to anyone, but there are so many tragic, painful, inexplicable things in the world. But [as with] any situation of challenge and despair, we must find a way, as a family. It's so hard to formulate a sentence about it outside the weepy huddle of my family."

The 46-year-old, who stars in the upcoming HBO movie "The Normal Heart," also spoke to the magazine about the downside of stardom.

"I think there is a dehumanization that goes with fame, especially in the present culture of it, which isn't the culture I started off in. There wasn't this analysis of every iota of every moment of every day," she explained of the days before the 24-hour news cycle and TMZ's cameramen at seemingly every turn. "Nobody cared about what you wore, nobody cared what haircut you had, if you had on makeup or didn't -- it's become this sort of sport."

And that type of attention doesn't suit Roberts. Despite how famous she may be, she doesn't think she's a celebrity.

"I don't consider myself a celebrity, [at least not] how it is fostered in our culture today," she told the magazine. "I don't know if I'm old and slow, but there seems to be a frenzy to it."

Julia Roberts on Her Family and Fame

THE CONCEPT OF FATE comes up a lot in conversation with Julia Roberts. "I don't want to toy with the gods," she'll say. Or, "I don't want to tempt the fates." This is understandable since by any accounting she has been phenomenally lucky: a career that has lasted more than 25 years and includes a best-actress Oscar, legs that are still coltish at 46 and a marriage that has sailed past the decade mark and given her three kids. But these days, she's trying to live a life more ordinary, admittedly a difficult proposition for someone who found superstardom at 22 with 1990's Pretty Woman and to date has brought in $2.6 billion in box office receiptsalmost twice the annual GDP of Belize. So tinkering is not something that Roberts is keen to do.

Nor is she eager to scrutinize the inner workings of her life, as though doing so might destroy the fine balance between being an acclaimed actress director Mike Nichols compares to Greta Garbo and her quiet existence in Malibu, where she has lived since 2007. "We're just grateful for the sense we have of being like any other family down the street. I don't question it, frankly," says Roberts, who the morning of WSJ.'s photo shoot is settling in with a plate of scrambled eggs and toast that she offers to her tousle-haired children, 9-year-old twins Hazel and Finn and 6-year-old Henry. (She tries to instill sibling harmony as much as the next mother, handling a skirmish over toys with a quick "Guess what? We are sharing everything.")
This is the life that Roberts, in her own Garbo-esque way, is trying to protecta relative rarity in today's Hollywood, where so many stars mine their personal lives to generate self-branded mini-industries. But that would go against another cornerstone of Roberts's philosophy: that of deep gratitude for "having found your 'people,'" as she calls the family she created with cinematographer husband Danny Moder, whom she married in 2002. So although last night she made an appearance at a party thrown by one of her agents, CAA's Kevin Huvane, and tomorrow she will walk the Academy Awards' red carpet in a custom Givenchy gown, she seems content right where she isdressed in a sweater and jeans, newly blond hair pulled back, her delicately lined face free of makeup, with her children climbing into her lap to collect hugs.

Almost all of her acting work is shot around their schedule, even her most recent: an adaptation of The Normal Heart, a play about the early fight against AIDS, airing on HBO this month. "By the time we had kids, I had accomplished things and felt secure about that part of my life," says Roberts. "I was so joyful moving into the family phase of my life in a sincere way." When the twins arrived in 2004, she had been working for 18 years, and she'd been a marquee name since the release of her second film, 1988's Mystic Pizza. From 1997 to 2001, a Julia Roberts vehicle pretty much guaranteed an average opening weekend of $25 million, and most went on to earn well over $100 million. She had become so famous by the time she was expecting Hazel and Finn, her part in 2004's Ocean's Twelve was rewritten so that her character could pretend to be a pregnant Julia Roberts. But from then on, Roberts seems to have tried to slow things down, and after Henry was born in 2007, the family moved full time to a relatively modest, secluded house that Roberts and Moder built on a sprawling lot in Malibu.

As a result, "for a long time," she says of her children, "they weren't even aware I had a job because I was home so much.

Now they get it." Still, they have never seen the best-actress Oscar she received for 2000's Erin Brockovich, the film for which she became the first Hollywood actress to be paid $20 million. (Her Oscar ended up at her older sister Lisa's New York apartment, Roberts says, breaking into a gleeful smile. "They were doing this photo album where everyone who visited the apartment would pose with it.")

"That's what Julia has been best at, maintaining their real life," says Nichols, who has been a constant reassuring presence for Roberts since directing her in 2004's Closer. "It's the little things that tell the tale. When you visit them, there is nobody working at their house, sweeping their hall. There are toys all over, and it's just Julia and Danny and the kids. She always slips away from the center."
It's a life she's hard-pressed to give up, so she filmed The Normal Heart during the children's summer and Thanksgiving vacations, with them in tow. The project is not from the typical Julia Roberts playbook: There are no big laughs, no fairy-tale romance and certainly no big hair, which is coiled into a low bun as Roberts plays the tightly wound, wheelchair-bound Dr. Emma Brookner, a polio victim who has become an AIDS doctor. It's a small but pivotal role in an ensemble piece, an unflinching movie about the 1980s AIDS crisis in New York City, adapted by activist playwright Larry Kramer and director Ryan Murphy (the creator of Glee) from Kramer's original 1985 play. The character of Dr. Brooknerbased on the real-life Dr. Linda Laubenstein, also a polio survivor and New York City physician who treated early AIDS casesis a vociferous campaigner for AIDS research funding and a proponent of the wildly unpopular, and at the time scientifically unsupported, recommendation of abstinence.
" "We're just grateful for the sense we have of being like any other family down the street. I don't question it." "
Julia Roberts

The material is difficult and, according to Murphy, who also directed her in 2010's Eat Pray Love, calls upon Roberts to evoke the same sort of "emotional advocacy" she displayed in Erin Brockovich. Roberts deflects his theory with a grin. "Ryan just likes it when I'm yelling," she says, laughing and switching into a deep drawl. "He's like, 'I love it when Lady gets mad, cheeks get red.'"

"I selfishly wanted to see Julia do this role," Murphy admits. "There is a famous scene where her character just explodes. Julia has said her heart is directly connected to her brain, so when she has an explosion you believe it and you feel it. She is someone who has been able to harness not just anger but passion."
Locating that passion is crucial for Roberts. "Part of the attraction [to a role] is to something that aligns within you to that person," she says. In fact, she had already turned down the role of Dr. Brookner twice (the film option had previously been held by Barbra Streisand ) because she saw only the character's hostility and rage. But when Murphy brought this version to her, Roberts thought, "This is getting ridiculous. I need to pay attention to why this keeps coming back to me." Watching a documentary about polio provided an epiphany. "I suddenly understood who she was in terms of this scary, inexplicable plaguewhat originally seemed [to me] to be anger was actually her determined pursuit to be part of a solution that she wasn't part of with the first plague that she experienced. Everything fell into place for me after that. I could see these are just really scared people who won't give up on finding the answers."

Roberts prepared extensively for the role, interviewing a doctor who worked with the late Dr. Laubenstein and bringing a 1980s-era wheelchair home for practice. "It was the most actor-y I've ever been," she says. "But you don't want to be bumping into walls and doorjambs and scraping your knuckles on things. I thought being in a wheelchair would be so easy and quiet, but it was actually quite tiring."

Despite being shot mostly from the waist up, she wore a heavy orthotic shoe with a significant lift to mimic a polio survivor's leg. "It was really just for me," she says. Roberts also studied the effect a slightly paralyzed lung would have on her breathing pattern. "I think I drove Ryan crazy."
"I've never seen her work harder," says Murphy. Her efforts also earned her the respect of her co-stars, including Mark Ruffalo, who plays Ned Weeks, a writer and activist who joins forces with Dr. Brookner in the fight against AIDS. "My first couple days I was terrifiedshe is part of the royalty of Hollywood," he says. "But it was like butter. She was so easy and accommodating and egoless. You had this person who is the star of all their movies be an ensemble player in a humble, timid, reflective way."

"My preference would forever be ensemble," says Roberts. "It's where I started, and it's what I love. It's just fun and interesting to see what your fellow actors are coming up with. Mystic Pizza was like that, Steel Magnolias was like that. It's like being in a big family."

" "I selfishly wanted to see Julia do this role. There is a famous scene where her character just explodes.She's someone who has been able to harness not just anger but passion." "
Ryan Murphy
THIS LATEST FILM was literally a family affair, as Moder was the director of photography. He and Roberts have collaborated on six films, starting with The Mexican in 2001, where they first met on set. "I find it nerve-wracking in the best schoolgirl kind of way, and he knows that and is a good sport," she says. "I am usually hoping he's not looking into the camera and thinking, 'What is she doing?' We have worked together a lot and whenever we get there, I think, 'Why are we doing this again?' But it's great, and it allows us to travel together."

"Her family is a major part of what she does," adds Bradley Cooper, her co-star in 2010's Valentine's Day and the 2006 Broadway play Three Days of Rain, during which, he recalls, a dressing room was turned into a playroom for the 1½–year-old twins. "Her children are always around."
And as several hapless paparazzi have found, she is willing to go into lioness mode to protect her cubs. "I think there is a dehumanization that goes with fame, especially in the present culture of it, which isn't the culture I started off in," she says. "There wasn't this analysis of every iota of every moment of every day," she continues. "Nobody cared about what you wore, nobody cared what haircut you had, if you had on makeup or didn'tit's become this sort of sport."

Roberts is nostalgic for the Hollywood of her early career, where having arrived meant a dinner invitation to agent Sue Mengers's house and "there seemed to be a method to it," she says. "You had your job and you got paid $1, and you got your next job and got paid $2. It made sense to me." Today, when the only surefire hits are star-packed blockbusters like The Avengers or tentpole franchises starring relatively unknown actors, it's unclear who can reliably open a movie anymore. (It's telling that both Roberts's current film and her most recent one, August: Osage County, were adapted from plays that have a more narrow, focused appeal. Meanwhile, Pretty Woman is currently being transformed into a splashy Broadway musical.) "It used to be that you could build from weekend to weekend and people talked," says Roberts, who also has a production company. "Now, if there have been two showtimes and it hasn't sold 10 bazillion tickets, you're dead in the water.

"I don't consider myself a celebrity, [at least not] how it is fostered in our culture today," she adds. "I don't know if I'm old and slow, but there seems to be a frenzy to it."

Recently that frenzy caught up to Roberts when her half-sister Nancy Motes died at 37 from a possible drug overdose in early February. Motes, who had worked on Glee as a production assistant, allegedly left a suicide note reportedly alluding to her estrangement from her family. Interviews with Motes's friends and acquaintances fed daily headlines. Meanwhile, Roberts maintained her silence, choosing to grieve privately.

When asked about her sister's death, Roberts's face tightens as she pauses and looks toward the ocean. "It's just heartbreak," she says, tearing up. "It's only been 20 days. There aren't words to explain what any of us have been through in these last 20 days. It's hour by hour some days, but you just keep looking ahead.

"You don't want anything bad to happen to anyone, but there are so many tragic, painful, inexplicable things in the world. But [as with] any situation of challenge and despair, we must find a way, as a family," she continues before straightening up in her chair. "It's so hard to formulate a sentence about it outside the weepy huddle of my family."

One of the things that surely has helped Roberts through this time is her near-daily meditation. "Meditation or chanting or any of those things can be so joyous and also very quieting," says Roberts, who has introduced the practice to her children. "We share and just say, 'This is a way I comfort myself.'"

Perhaps this too is why she has a very Zen-like calm about not having any other movies lined up after The Normal Heart, something that would have been unthinkable for Roberts a few years ago. But, she says, she's been content to "find new creative outlets at home, with my family, as I get older and work as an actress less." It's a commonplace luxury she has worked hard to attain. "As odd as it is to say," says Cooper, "I feel that she is coming into her own."

How does she feel about not having another role in the pipeline? "It's nice. We have the rest of the school year," she says, brightening at the thought. "The thing about being a parent is that as your kids get older, Fridays start to get super exciting again, and Sundays start to get melancholic. Spring break is exciting again."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Baby on board: Chelsea Clinton says she's pregnant

For Democrats, this might be the equivalent of a royal baby on the way: Chelsea Clinton announced Thursday that she's pregnant with her first child.
"Marc and I are very excited that we have our first child arriving later this year, and I certainly feel all the better, whether it's a girl or a boy, that she or he will grow up in a world full of so many strong female leaders," Chelsea Clinton said in New York City.
The former first daughter, 34, and her mother, Hillary Rodham Clinton, were in New York City hosting a No Ceilings event, a project of the former secretary of State and the Clinton Foundation to evaluate the progress of women and girls.
Chelsea Clinton said on Facebook she's due in the fall.
Former president Bill Clinton and his wife have made no secret of their wish for a grandchild. It's unclear how Chelsea's pregnancy will affect Hillary Clinton, who is considering a race for president in 2016.
At the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos, Bill Clinton told that audience, "I would like to have a happy wife, and she won't be unless she's a grandmother. It's something she wants more than she wanted to be president."
Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton, center, is hugged by his wife Hillary, left, and kissed by his daughter Chelsea, right, after the final presidential debate on October 19, 1992.
Chelsea Clinton acknowledged the pressure, telling Glamour magazine that she hoped 2014 would be the "Year of the Baby." She said: "Call my mother and tell her that. She asks us about it every single day."

Marc Mezvinsky, a hedge fund manager and co-founder of Eaglevale Partners, and Chelsea Clinton were married in 2010. They knew each other as students at Washington's Sidwell Friends School and Stanford University, but didn't start dating until 2005.

In recent months, the mother-to-be has taken a more active role in the Clinton Foundation and works on the organization's health programs and philanthropic ventures.

Hillary Clinton, who has led all early public opinion polling for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, has said she won't decide until next year whether she'll make another White House bid. The grandparents-to-be shared their joy on Twitter.

The baby's other grandmother is already on the 2014 ballot. Former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies, Mezvinsky's mother, is running for her old House seat in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Leonardo DiCaprio And His Supermodel Girlfriend Toni Garrn Hit The Beach In Bora Bora

Leonardo DiCaprio is known for his love of beautiful ladies. After all, this is the man who dated Gisele Bundchen and Bar Refaeli for years. So it should come as no surprise that his latest squeeze is so jaw droppingly gorgeous, she steals the spotlight right from under the Oscar nominated heartthrob.

DiCaprio and his lingerie model girlfriend of 11 months, Toni Garrn, were spotted in Bora Bora, where they stripped to the bare essentials for a dip in the water. Leo wore blue and white trunks, and Garrn wore a teeny tiny black bikini. The two looked very affectionate as they held hands and kissed in the sun.

At one point, Garrn even took her top off for a even more even tan .