Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Terminator 2 star arrested

  • News/

    Terminator 2 Star Edward Furlong Arrested for Alleged Domestic Violence

    Edward Furlong Courtesy of SPE; Inc. / Eric Charbonneau
    Edward Furlong finds himself, once again, behind bars.
    The Terminator 2 star was arrested Tuesday morning after allegedly grabbing his girlfriend's arm at Los Angeles International Airport, E! News confirms.
    "On Oct. 30, 2012 at approximately 12:40 a.m., Los Angeles Airport Police officers responded to a call regarding a possible domestic violence investigation at Terminal 2 on the arrivals level," the Los Angeles Airport Police said in a statement.
    Edward Furlong is no stranger to trouble
    The actor was subsequently taken into custody and charged with felony domestic violence. He was later transported to the LAPD 77th Division Jail.
    According to the booking report, the 35-year-old is being held on $50,000 bail.
    Unfortunately, Furlong has had several brushes with the law, including an incident in September 2009 in which the former child star allegedly punched his now ex-wife Rachel Kneeland in a drug-fueled frenzy.

    D new toyota avalon

    2013 Toyota Avalon gets its hip replacement: Motoramic Drives

    Even by the standards of America's rapidly aging automotive customers, the Toyota Avalon is an old-man car. Anyone who's ever been stupefied in traffic behind a shrunken Avalon driver going 30 mph in a 50 zone can testify to that truth, and it's been thus since Toyota launched the Avalon in 1995, replacing the much-unloved Cressida. Toyota created the Avalon to get drivers to the early bird special and back home in time for Matlock. In the company's words, it was "designed for long-term members of the Toyota family who were getting older and wanted more comfort." Well, Matlock is dead now, and so are most of the Avalon's original customers. It's time for a reboot.
    Toyota says the current median age of Avalon buyers is 64, which puts it in the neighborhood of Polident, just south of adult diapers. Try to find a vehicle other than a Hoveround scooter with an older demographic. With the 2013 Avalon, representing the brand's 4th generation, Toyota is gunning for a "broader audience of Gen-X and trail boomers," the same small army of mythical yuppies that every other entry-level luxury car chases.  Their new buyer age goal is, like a crisp fall day, somewhere in low 50s. As we prepared to drive the new Avalon last week in Napa Valley, the company said this more than once, using words not usually associated with the Avalon, including "sleek," "sporty," "dramatic," "exotic," and "driver-connected." If that's how they're presenting the new Avalon, then that's how the new Avalon shall be judged.
    Let's start with design. The old Avalons resemble orthopedic shoes: Square, sensible, and dull. The 2013 marks a significant improvement; it's been completely made over to match current (positive) trends of automotive design, which sees previously boxy sedan models growing longer and slimmer, with more eccentric angles. In past Avalons, the grille sat flatly between the headlights, making it look like the car was wearing reading glasses. The new model -- designed entirely in the United States for the first time -- features a two-level grille, with the larger, thicker one dropped below wheel level, allowing for a longer, sloping hood and less bulgy headlights. In the rear, the car appears more tapered and less metallic. The trunk integrates nicely into the car's main body, not sticking out, as in previous models, like an oversized booty in mall sweatpants. If the car has a major design flaw, it's that the 17-inch wheels seem a bit small, more suited to a compact car than a full-sized sedan.
    Despite a few tacky-feeling faux-wood accents, the inside is even more impressive, with a sharp, soft-touch dashboard, full of angular lines that actually grow more interesting to look at as you spend time in the car. It has the requisite shipboard computer in the center console, but it's not overwhelmingly techy -- there are analog options in case grandma can't figure out how to program the DVR. The seats are comfortable enough, though strangely lacking in lumbar support, and there's lots of legroom in the front and the rear. It feels restful and moderately upscale, like the waiting room of a high-end doctor's office. All it's missing is a rubber plant, a water cooler, and side-pocket copies of MORE and Sports Illustrated. As one Toyota employee refreshingly said to us as we prepared to drive, "this would be a car that might appeal to your more upwardly-mobile buyer who's deep into the Viagra."
    Previous Avalons drove softer than feather pillows and about as agile as a tuna casserole. Toyota has tightened the 2013 up by about 30 percent. The new Avalon isn't exactly going to melt your face, but it's good enough. It still veers away from fun and more towards comfortable, but at least it doesn't feel like you're drifting on an oversized marshmallow. The standard V6 engine, which includes a six-speed transmission, gets up to 268 hp. It's got decent pickup and steering that's at least average, if not better. Higher-end trim models feature a paddle shifter and a Sport mode, though for a car like this, "Dynamic Rev Management" feels a bit superfluous. Also, with a 21/31 mpg fuel economy rating, the Avalon doesn't exactly get to stand first in line for fuel-economy awards.
    That award is reserved for the hybrid edition of the car, which gets a classy 40 mpg, the same as the hybrids of the Camry and the Lexus ES350, with which it shares a drive train. But despite sharing all the design improvements of the V6, the Avalon hybrid, as so often happens, has to sacrifice a bit of performance, getting only 156 hp. That goes up to 200 hp if you can figure out how to drive it optimally using the battery pack. You'd have to have a pretty broad definition of fun to say that it's fun to drive.
    As for the brakes on the hybrid, let's charitably call them "challenging." The Avalon seemed to slow down easily, but then it would stop with a sudden, jarring jerk, which didn't seem normal. My drive partner, who's far smarter than I, explained this as the hybrid-specific problem of an "abrupt transition between regenerative and friction braking." It wasn't ideal. The brakes on the V6 model didn't have the same problem, and worked efficiently.
    Pricing will range, depending on trim level, from just under $31,000 to $39,500 for the conventional engine and between $35,555 to $41,400 for the hybrid. That's not going to help Toyota's ambition of shooting for a younger demographic, which seeks value most of all in car purchases, even luxury ones. This new Avalon is clearly a better car than before, in almost every way. The company has successfully updated the Avalon from Matlock to The Good Wife. But as a card-carrying member of Gen X, I'm hard-pressed to see it appealing to us.
    Maybe when we're 64.

    Disney buys Lucas films

    Disney's $4 billion Lucasfilm deal began with lightsabers in Orlando

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's $4 billion deal to buy George Lucas's Lucasfilm Ltd, Disney's third major entertainment acquisition in seven years, started taking shape in May 2011, when the "Star Wars" creator had to show Disney CEO Bob Iger how to use a lightsaber.
    Lucas and Iger were at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida, brandishing the toys at the grand opening of a 3-D version of the park's Star Tours ride, Iger recalls, and "George had to show me how to use it."
    Talks heated up this summer when the 68-year-old Lucas recently decided he wanted to retire from running a business to focus on smaller, more personal film projects. Iger was excited about the prospect of adding marquee properties like Star Wars and Indiana Jones to the stable of brand names he's now spent $15 billion to acquire since becoming CEO in 2005.
    "We proved with our Pixar and Marvel acquisitions that we know how to expand the value of a brand," Iger said in an interview. "And brands don't get much bigger than Star Wars."
    Lucas is expected to serve as a consultant while Disney revs the producer's entertainment company, which generated $550 million in operating earnings in 2005 when Lucasfilms made the last installment of his franchise, "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith".
    Lucas, in a video interview released at, said: "I really wanted to put the company somewhere in a larger entity which could protect it. Disney is a huge corporation. They have all kinds of capabilities and facilities, so that there's a lot of strength that is gained by this."
    Kathleen Kennedy, co-chairman of Lucasfilm, is expected to play a major role in the Star Wars franchise, and Lucasfilm said it would retain operations in Northern California.
    Disney intends to make a new Star Wars film every two or three years, Iger said. The company will also use the iconic brand to build theme park rides, produce TV shows and sell Darth Vader action figures.
    "This is remarkably attractive for Disney," said Matthew Harrigan, an analyst with Wunderlich Securities. "I almost feel like Lucas really wanted it to be with Walt Disney and almost gave them a sweetheart deal."
    Iger's big ticket acquisitions haven't always gotten such rave reviews. When Disney bought Steve Jobs' Pixar animation studio for $7.5 billion in stock in 2006, some analysts said at the time that the company overpaid for the producer of "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo".
    Disney has since bought back the stock it issued for that deal, as it did after spending $4.2 billion in stock and cash to buy comic book and action film maker Marvel in 2010, said Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo.
    Both of those transactions have paid dividends: Marvel produced "The Avengers" earlier this year, which had worldwide ticket sales of $1.5 billion.
    Pixar produced two "Cars" movies, which sold $1 billion in tickets worldwide, and helped Disney design the Cars Land section of its California Adventure theme park in Anaheim.
    "I think we made believers of those who supported us back then," said Iger, "and maybe turned some of our critics into believers."
    When Disney produces the first of the new "Star Wars" movies in 2015, "Star Wars" and a film based on a Marvel character will account for as much as half the studio's action film slate, Iger said in a conference call. Pixar, with its almost-unblemished record of success at the box office, will continue to make another film each year.
    "I'm not looking over my shoulder with any of those acquisitions," said Iger. "In football, there's a term for when a receiver catches the ball and gets hit. It's called 'hearing footsteps'."
    With the Lucasfilms deal, the Disney executive said: "I'm not hearing any footsteps."

    Devastation of hurricane Sandy

    Disarray, millions without power in Sandy's wake

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — The most devastating storm in decades to hit the country's most densely populated region upended man and nature as it rolled back the clock on 21st-century lives, cutting off modern communication and leaving millions without power Tuesday as thousands who fled their water-menaced homes wondered when — if — life would return to normal.
    A weakening Sandy, the hurricane turned fearsome superstorm, killed at least 50 people, many hit by falling trees, and still wasn't finished. It inched inland across Pennsylvania, ready to bank toward western New York to dump more of its water and likely cause more havoc Tuesday night.  Behind it: a dazed, inundated New York City, a waterlogged Atlantic Coast and a moonscape of disarray and debris — from unmoored shore-town boardwalks to submerged mass-transit systems to delicate presidential politics.
    "Nature," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, assessing the damage to his city, "is an awful lot more powerful than we are."

    More than 8.2 million households were without power in 17 states as far west as Michigan. Nearly 2 million of those were in New York, where large swaths of lower Manhattan lost electricity and entire streets ended up underwater — as did seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn at one point, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.
    The New York Stock Exchange was closed for a second day from weather, the first time that has happened since a blizzard in 1888. The shutdown of mass transit crippled a city where more than 8.3 million bus, subway and local rail trips are taken each day, and 800,000 vehicles cross bridges run by the transit agency.
    Consolidated Edison said electricity in and around New York could take a week to restore. "Everybody knew it was coming. Unfortunately, it was everything they said it was," said Sal Novello, a construction executive who rode out the storm with his wife, Lori, in the Long Island town of Lindenhurst, and ended up with 7 feet of water in the basement.
    The scope of the storm's damage wasn't known yet. Though early predictions of river flooding in Sandy's inland path were petering out, colder temperatures made snow the main product of Sandy's slow march from the sea. Parts of the West Virginia mountains were blanketed with 2 feet of snow by Tuesday afternoon, and drifts 4 feet deep were reported at Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Tennessee-North Carolina border.
    With Election Day a week away, the storm also threatened to affect the presidential campaign. Federal disaster response, always a dicey political issue, has become even thornier since government mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. And poll access and voter turnout, both of which hinge upon how people are impacted by the storm, could help shift the outcome in an extremely close race.
    As organized civilization came roaring back Tuesday in the form of emergency response, recharged cellphones and the reassurance of daylight, harrowing stories and pastiches emerged from Maryland north to Rhode Island in the hours after Sandy's howling winds and tidal surges shoved water over seaside barriers, into low-lying streets and up from coastal storm drains.
    Images from around the storm-affected areas depicted scenes reminiscent of big-budget disaster movies. In Atlantic City, N.J., a gaping hole remained where once a stretch of boardwalk sat by the sea. In Queens, N.Y., rubble from a fire that destroyed as many as 100 houses in an evacuated beachfront neighborhood jutted into the air at ugly angles against a gray sky. In heavily flooded Hoboken, N.J., across the Hudson River from Manhattan, dozens of yellow cabs sat parked in rows, submerged in murky water to their windshields. At the ground zero construction site in lower Manhattan, seawater rushed into a gaping hole under harsh floodlights.

    One of the most dramatic tales came from lower Manhattan, where a failed backup generator forced New York University's Langone Medical Center to relocate more than 200 patients, including 20 babies from neonatal intensive care. Dozens of ambulances lined up in the rainy night and the tiny patients were gingerly moved out, some attached to battery-powered respirators as gusts of wind blew their blankets.
    In Moonachie, N.J., 10 miles north of Manhattan, water rose to 5 feet within 45 minutes and trapped residents who thought the worst of the storm had passed. Mobile-home park resident Juan Allen said water overflowed a 2-foot wall along a nearby creek, filling the area with 2 to 3 feet of water within 15 minutes. "I saw trees not just knocked down but ripped right out of the ground," he said. "I watched a tree crush a guy's house like a wet sponge."
    In a measure of its massive size, waves on southern Lake Michigan rose to a record-tying 20.3 feet. High winds spinning off Sandy's edges clobbered the Cleveland area early Tuesday, uprooting trees, closing schools and flooding major roads along Lake Erie.
    Most along the East Coast, though, grappled with an experience like Bertha Weismann of Bridgeport, Conn.— frightening, inconvenient and financially problematic but, overall, endurable. Her garage was flooded and she lost power, but she was grateful. "I feel like we are blessed," she said. "It could have been worse."
    The presidential candidates' campaign maneuverings Tuesday revealed the delicacy of the need to look presidential in a crisis without appearing to capitalize on a disaster. President Barack Obama canceled a third straight day of campaigning, scratching events scheduled for Wednesday in swing-state Ohio, in Sandy's path. Republican Mitt Romney resumed his campaign with plans for an Ohio rally billed as a "storm relief event."

    And the weather posed challenges a week out for how to get everyone out to vote. On the hard-hit New Jersey coastline, a county elections chief said some polling places on barrier islands will be unusable and have to be moved.
    "This is the biggest challenge we've ever had," said George R. Gilmore, chairman of the Ocean County Board of Elections.
    By Tuesday afternoon, there were still only hints of the economic impact of the storm.
    Forecasting firm IHS Global Insight predicted the storm will end up causing about $20 billion in damages and $10 billion to $30 billion in lost business. Another firm, AIR Worldwide, estimated losses up to $15 billion — big numbers probably offset by reconstruction and repairs that will contribute to longer-term growth.
    "The biggest problem is not the first few days but the coming months," said Alan Rubin, an expert in nature disaster recovery.
    Airports were shut across the East Coast and far beyond as tens of thousands of travelers found they couldn't get where they were going. John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Newark International Airport in New Jersey will reopen at 7 a.m. Wednesday with limited service, but LaGuardia Airport will stay closed, officials said.
    Sandy began in the Atlantic and knocked around the Caribbean — killing nearly 70 people — and strengthened into a hurricane as it chugged across the southeastern coast of the United States. By Tuesday night it had ebbed in strength but was joining up with another, more wintry storm — an expected confluence of weather systems that earned it nicknames like "superstorm" and, on Halloween eve, "Frankenstorm."
    It became, pretty much everyone agreed Tuesday, the weather event of a lifetime — and one shared vigorously on social media by people in Sandy's path who took eye-popping photographs as the storm blew through, then shared them with the world by the blue light of their smartphones.
    On Twitter, Facebook and the photo-sharing service Instagram, people tried to connect, reassure relatives and make sense of what was happening — and, in many cases, work to authenticate reports of destruction and storm surges. They posted and passed around images and real-time updates at a dizzying rate, wishing each other well and gaping, virtually, at scenes of calamity moments after they unfolded. Among the top terms on Facebook through the night and well into Tuesday, according to the social network: "we are OK," ''made it" and "fine."
    By Tuesday evening, the remnants of Sandy were about 50 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, pushing westward with winds of 45 mph. It was expected to turn toward New York State and Canada during the night.
    Although weakening as it goes, the storm will continue to bring heavy rain and flooding, said Daniel Brown of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
    Atlantic City's fabled Boardwalk, the first in the nation, lost several blocks when Sandy came through, though the majority of it remained intact even as other Jersey Shore boardwalks were dismantled. What damage could be seen on the coastline Tuesday was, in some locations, staggering — "unthinkable," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said of what unfolded along the Jersey Shore, where houses were swept from their foundations and amusement park rides were washed into the ocean. "Beyond anything I thought I would ever see."
    Resident Carol Mason returned to her bayfront home to carpets that squished as she stepped on them. She made her final mortgage payment just last week. Facing a mandatory evacuation order, she had tried to ride out the storm at first but then saw the waters rising outside her bathroom window and quickly reconsidered.
    "I looked at the bay and saw the fury in it," she said. "I knew it was time to go."
    Contributing to this report were Katie Zezima in Atlantic City, N.J.; Alicia Caldwell and Martin Crutsinger in Washington; Colleen Long, Jennifer Peltz, Tom Hays, Larry Neumeister, Ralph Russo and Scott Mayerowitz in New York; Meghan Barr in Mastic Beach, N.Y.; Christopher S. Rugaber in Arlington, Va.; Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pa.: John Christoffersen in Bridgeport, Conn.; Vicki Smith in Elkins, W.Va.; David Porter in Newark, N.J.; Joe Mandak in Pittsburgh; and Dave Collins in Hartford, Conn.

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    Kim again

    Kim Kardashian makes a splash at NYC bash

    Kim Kardashian hosts the 2nd Annual Midori Green Halloween Party on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
    NEW YORK (AP) — Kim Kardashian isn't worried about the behemoth storm expected to pummel the eastern U.S. with rain and wind this week.
    Dressed as a blond mermaid for her Halloween party Saturday night in New York, the star joked that her boyfriend, Kanye West — wearing a nautical-looking outfit — could "sail" her to safety if need be.
    West didn't talk to press covering the event but smiled and took photos of Kardashian on his phone.
    It's the second year Kardashian has hosted the Midori Green Halloween party. She has an endorsement deal with the liquor company.
    The reality star said it took two months to plan her costume, inspired by the 1984 film "Splash," and two hours to get ready.
    Follow Nicole Evatt on Twitter at

    Steve jobs secret yacht

    Steve Jobs's Secret Yacht Looks Like a Giant iPhone

    Just over a year after Steve Jobs's death, shipbuilders in Aalsmeer, Holland have finally finished the yacht that the Apple visionary spent years designing -- stealthily, of course. Boy, does it look like an Apple product. Her name is Venus.
    RELATED: A Guide to the Reactions and Tributes to Steve Jobs
    Built entirely out of aluminum, the yacht was designed by Jobs personally along with some help from French designer Phillipe Stack. It's a big one, too. The ship measures between 70 and 80 meters, but because of the aluminum construction, it's lighter than your typical yacht, giving it a bit of an edge when it comes to speed. It doesn't lack amenities, either. The front of the ship is equipped with a uniquely large sun deck with a jacuzzi built in. Behind that comes an all glass cabin that's topped with a bridge equipped with seven 27-inch iMacs that handle the ship's navigation and controls. When you take a step back, squint a little and turn your head to the left, it sort of looks like an iPhone 4 with the strip of windows around the middle and the clean lines.
    RELATED: The Motherlode of iPhone Rumors: Apple Will Release Two This Fall
    Jobs's yacht project might seem a little out of character at first. After all, the billionaire was famously humble about many aspects of his lifestyle. He lived in a normal house on a normal suburban street in Palo Alto, California, not some massive mansion out in the mountains. He wore jeans, a black turtleneck sweater and New Balance tennis shoes, a basically thrifty choice for a man who could afford his own cashmere farm. He also drove a very nice car, but it wasn't rapper nice. That is, it wasn't a Bentley or an Aston Martin or a Maybach -- just a Mercedes. (Ok, now we're stretching the humble thing, but you get the point.)
    RELATED: Listen to Steve Jobs Describe the iPad in 1983
    We now know that Steve Jobs was not a stranger to the finer aspects of being filthy rich, luxuries like chrome-coated yachts and custom-built private jets. But hey, the guy wanted to retire one day, and so what if he wanted to live like a king after building the world's most valuable technology company. Walter Isaacson wrote about the yacht in his biography of Steve Jobs, who had evidently been working on the project alone for six years:
    After our omelets at the café, we went back to his house and he showed me all of the models and architectural drawings. As expected, the planned yacht was sleek and minimalist. The teak decks were perfectly flat and unblemished by any accoutrements. As at an Apple store, the cabin windows were large panes, almost floor to ceiling, and the main living area was designed to have walls of glass that were forty feet long and ten feet high. He had gotten the chief engineer of the Apple stores to design a special glass that was able to provide structural support. By then the boat was under construction by the Dutch custom yacht builders Feadship, but Jobs was still fiddling with the design. "I know that it’s possible I will die and leave Laurene with a half-built boat," he said. "But I have to keep going on it. If I don’t, it’s an admission that I’m about to die."
    Sadly, Jobs did die before the yacht was finished, but the folks at Feadship finished the job. Evidently, the Jobs family recently had a little christening party with the shipbuilders, who all got an iPod Shuffle with "Venus" engraved on the back as a token of thanks. Now that we said all that stuff about Jobs and conspicuous consumption, you'd think they could have at least splurged for the iPod Touch.

    Check out the chrome plates on the stern. The sleek windows that wrap around the middle of the ship is where the Jobs family quarters are. The crew gets the little portholes underneath.

    You can see the row of iMacs in the bridge.

    End-to-end, it's a pretty impressive vessel.


    I am at the crossroads once more
    It’s the ever familiar folklore
    My heart is sore
    I do not want to feel like this anymore
    Why now?
    Why Lord?
    She touches my heart in a way I cannot ignore
    Each time she annoys me
    I shout praise God
    Maybe this is the fuel I need
    To flee and be gone

    But no matter how hard I wish
    What I feel becomes more
    Is this love?
    Ha! I think not!
    That’s the cynical side of me
    Trying to be strong
    Is this love?
    No I think not
    But I must admit I feel something
    And this thing gnaws
    At my insides
    Like iodine is to a sore

    Why now?
    Why here?
    One look in her eyes
    And am like oh well
    This feeling is back again
    Why do I keep getting into these scrapes?
    Abi I dey craze?

    Now let me speak to you directly
    You mean a lot to me
    What I described earlier
    Is just me fighting against what I know is real
    I am not telling you this
    Because I feel somehow by some miracle
    You are gonna be with me
    Neither am I telling you this
    So you can begin
    To take advantage of me
    I tell you this because
    No matter what happens from here on out
    I want you to know how I feel
    And I pray with all my heart that you will cherish it
    Even if you are gonna remain my friend indeed
    You will know how much you mean to me
    I don’t trust you!
    Not by a long shot
    But I do need you to be with me
    In whatever dimension its gonna be
    Friend, school daughter (lol don’t mind me)
    A part of me (Yeah maybe)
    My boo (Hahahhaha) hilarious isn’t it?
    You asked me once
    If I could do without you
    Well my answer is this
    I can!!
    It would be less painful if I did not have to
    And this I mean
    Nice day my queen
    Take care of you for me

    Hurricane Sandy

    Eastern US braces for dangerous superstorm

    NEW YORK (AP) — From Washington to Boston, big cities and small towns were buttoned up Monday against the onslaught of a superstorm that threatened 50 million people in the most heavily populated corridor in the nation, with forecasters warning that the New York area could get the worst of it — an 11-foot wall of water.
    "The time for preparing and talking is about over," Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate said Sunday as Hurricane Sandy made its way up the Atlantic on a collision course with two other weather systems that could turn it into one of the most fearsome storms on record in the U.S. "People need to be acting now."
    Forecasters said the hurricane could blow ashore Monday night or early Tuesday along the New Jersey coast, then cut across into Pennsylvania and travel up through New York State on Wednesday.
    Airlines canceled more than 7,200 flights and Amtrak began suspending train service across the Northeast. New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore moved to shut down their subways, buses and trains and said schools would be closed on Monday. Boston also called off school. And all non-essential government offices closed in the nation's capital.
    The New York Stock Exchange said it will be shut down Monday, including electronic trading. Nasdaq is shutting the Nasdaq Stock Market and other U.S. exchanges and markets it owns, although its exchanges outside the U.S. will operate as scheduled.
    As rain from the leading edges of the monster hurricane began to fall over the Northeast, hundreds of thousands of people from Maryland to Connecticut were ordered to evacuate low-lying coastal areas, including 375,000 in lower Manhattan and other parts of New York City, 50,000 in Delaware and 30,000 in Atlantic City, N.J., where the city's 12 casinos were forced to shut down for only the fourth time ever.
    "We were told to get the heck out. I was going to stay, but it's better to be safe than sorry," said Hugh Phillips, who was one of the first in line when a Red Cross shelter in Lewes, Del., opened at noon.
    "I think this one's going to do us in," said Mark Palazzolo, who boarded up his bait-and-tackle shop in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., with the same wood he used in past storms, crossing out the names of Hurricanes Isaac and Irene and spray-painting "Sandy" next to them. "I got a call from a friend of mine from Florida last night who said, 'Mark, get out! If it's not the storm, it'll be the aftermath. People are going to be fighting in the streets over gasoline and food.'"
    Authorities warned that the nation's biggest city could get hit with a surge of seawater that could swamp parts of lower Manhattan, flood subway tunnels and cripple the network of electrical and communications lines that are vital to the nation's financial center.
    Sandy, a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 75 mph as of Sunday evening, was blamed for 65 deaths in the Caribbean before it began traveling northward, parallel to the Eastern Seaboard. As of 2 a.m. Monday, it was centered about 425 miles southeast of New York City, moving to the north at 14 mph, with hurricane-force winds extending an incredible 175 miles from its center.
    Gale force winds reported over coastal North Carolina, southeastern Virginia, the Delmarva Peninsula and coastal New Jersey.
    Sandy was expected to hook inland during the day Monday, colliding with a wintry storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic.
    Forecasters said the combination could bring close to a foot of rain in places, a potentially lethal storm surge of 4 to 11 feet across much of the region, and punishing winds that could cause widespread power outages that last for days. The storm could also dump up to 2 feet of snow in Kentucky, North Carolina and West Virginia.
    Louis Uccellini, environmental prediction chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Associated Press that given Sandy's east-to-west track into New Jersey, the worst of the storm surge could be just to the north, in New York City, on Long Island and in northern New Jersey.
    Forecasters said that because of giant waves and high tides made worse by a full moon, the metropolitan area of about 20 million people could get hit with an 11-foot wall of water.
    "This is the worst-case scenario," Uccellini said.
    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned: "If you don't evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you. This is a serious and dangerous storm."
    New Jersey's famously blunt Gov. Chris Christie was less polite: "Don't be stupid. Get out."
    New York called off school Monday for the city's 1.1 million students and shut down all train, bus and subway service Sunday night. More than 5 million riders a day depend on the transit system.
    Officials also postponed Monday's reopening of the Statue of Liberty, which had been closed for a year for $30 million in renovations. The United Nations said it would close Monday and canceled all meetings at its headquarters.
    In Washington, President Barack Obama promised the government would "respond big and respond fast" after the storm hits.
    "My message to the governors as well as to the mayors is anything they need, we will be there, and we will cut through red tape. We are not going to get bogged down with a lot of rules," he said.
    He also pleaded for neighborliness: "In times like this, one of the things that Americans do is we pull together and we help out one another And so, there may be elderly populations in your area. Check on your neighbor, check on your friend. Make sure that they are prepared. If we do, then we're going to get through this storm just fine."
    The storm forced the president and Mitt Romney to rearrange their campaign schedules in the crucial closing days of the presidential race. And early voting on Monday in Maryland and the District of Columbia was canceled.
    Despite the dire warnings, some people were refusing to budge.
    Jonas Clark of Manchester Township, N.J. — right in the area where Sandy was projected to come ashore — stood outside a convenience store, calmly sipping a coffee and wondering why people were working themselves "into a tizzy."
    "I've seen a lot of major storms in my time, and there's nothing you can do but take reasonable precautions and ride out things the best you can," said Clark, 73. "Nature's going to what it's going to do. It's great that there's so much information out there about what you can do to protect yourself and your home, but it all boils down basically to 'use your common sense.'"
    In New Jersey, Denise Faulkner and her boyfriend showed up at the Atlantic City Convention Center with her 7-month-old daughter and two sons, ages 3 and 12, thinking there was a shelter there. She was dismayed to learn that it was just a gathering point for buses to somewhere else. Last year, they were out of their home for two days because of Hurricane Irene.
    "I'm real overwhelmed," she said as baby Zahiriah, wrapped in a pink blanket with embroidered elephants, slept in a car seat. "We're at it again. Last year we had to do it. This year we have to do it. And you have to be around all sorts of people — strangers. It's a bit much."
    Before leaving their home in Atlantic City, John and Robshima Williams of packed their kids' Halloween costumes so they could go bunk-to-bunk trick-or-treating at a shelter. Her 8-year-old twins are going as the Grim Reaper and a zombie, while her 6-year-old plans to dress as a witch.
    "We're just trying to make a bad situation good," the mother said. "We're going to make it fun no matter where we are."
    Breed reported from Raleigh, N.C.; Contributing to this report were AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Washington; Katie Zezima in Atlantic City, N.J.; Wayne Parry in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.; and Dave Dishneau in Wilmington, Del.

    Friday, October 26, 2012

    Facebook's oldest member

    Is she the oldest living Facebook user? Great-great-grandmother who just turned 105 claims to be most senior social networker

    By Beth Stebner
    She may very well be the oldest living person on Facebook.
    Maria Colunia Seguar-Metzgar was born in 1907 into an era without the internet, computers, television, and cell phones, but already has 85 friends on the social network.
    And now, her family claims that the 105-year-old matriarch is the oldest living Facebook user.
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    Unofficial claim: Family members of Maria Colunia Segura-Metzgar, pictured, claim that the 105-year-old is the oldest Facebook user
    Unofficial claim: Family members of Maria Colunia Segura-Metzgar, pictured, claim that the 105-year-old is the oldest Facebook user

    Difficulty: Her family had trouble creating an account, as Facebook would only let her register to 101 (she was 104 at the time)
    Ms Seguar-Metzgar celebrated the landmark birthday last week in Albuquerque, surrounded by family members. One family member even wrote on her Facebook wall: ‘Happy birthday Grandma. I love you and hope that your 105th birthday is fantastic.
    ‘We are so lucky to have you in our life.’
    However, the social network has not recognized her as the oldest member, perhaps in part because Facebook does not allow her to enter her birth year of 1907.
    Her 60-year-old grandson, Anthony Segura, told that he tried to sign his grandmother up on the site for months, but did not have the option of putting in her correct birth year.
    ‘I tried again and just put in 101 and it accepted it for the timeline, even though she was 104,’ he explained.
    History: She uses an iPad to access the site; here, she pulls up a photo from her marriage in the 1920s
    History: She uses an iPad to access the site; here, she pulls up a photo from her marriage in the 1920s
    The grandmother is competing against 101-year-old Forence Detlor, who was officially named Facebook’s oldest user by CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg over the summer.
    The 1932 Occidental College graduate was also given a guided tour of Facebook’s sprawling campus in Palo Alto.
    MailOnline contacted representatives in Facebook to find out who is officially the oldest, but a request for comment was not immediately answered.
    Mr Segura told that while the official recognition would be appreciated, the real reason that his grandmother is on Facebook is to let other family members know ‘she’s still alive and kicking.’
    Official honor: Florence Detlor, 101, centre, was given a tour of Facebook headquarters by Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg in August after she was named its oldest member
    Title: Florence Deltor holds the current honor of being the oldest recognized member of Facebook
    Title: Florence Deltor holds the current honor of being the oldest recognized member of Facebook
    Ms Seguar-Metzgar has almost 40 grandchildren, and even two newly-born great-great-grandchildren.
    At her birthday party last week, she said: ‘I am very happy because all my family are here with me today. I am so happy,’ according to KOB.
    She uses an iPad to log onto her page to read birthday wishes. When asked what she likes about Facebook, she responded: ‘I love it all!’

    Tax Policy Center in Spotlight for Its Romney Study

    Tax Policy Center in Spotlight for Its Romney Study

    WASHINGTON — A small nonpartisan research center operated by professed “geeks” has found itself at the center of a rancorous $5 trillion debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.
    No white paper or policy manifesto put out during the presidential campaign has proved more controversial than an August study by the Washington-based Tax Policy Center, a respected nonprofit that issues studiously detailed tax analyses.
    That study found, in short, that Mr. Romney could not keep all of the promises he had made on individual tax reform: including cutting marginal tax rates by 20 percent, keeping protections for investment income, not widening the deficit and not increasing the tax burden on the poor or middle class. It concluded that Mr. Romney’s plan, on its face, would cut taxes for rich families and raise them for everyone else.
    The detailed paper proved kindling for a political firestorm. Mr. Romney criticized the center as performing a “garbage-in, garbage-out” analysis and his campaign accused it of partisan bias. The Obama campaign used the center’s numbers to argue that Mr. Romney had proposed a $5 trillion tax cut. Economists jumped on the bandwagon too, flinging analyses back and forth and picking apart the projections and assumptions in the report.
    At the Tax Policy Center itself, responses ranged from irritation at the partisan nature of some attacks to incredulity over the political hysteria. “There was this résumé-hunting, White-House-visitor-log” searching feel to the response, said the center’s director, Donald Marron, a former Bush administration economist. “That was unanticipated,” he added dryly.
    In many ways the report did just what the center was created to do: inject some solid numbers into a shifty, accusatory, raucous political debate. The decade-old center — a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, two nonpartisan grandes dames of the Washington world — was founded precisely to “fill that niche,” Mr. Marron said.
    “A lot of tax policy discussions are — how to describe them? — people yelling at each other,” he said. “We believe that good information leads to better policy discussions and ultimately better policy outcomes.”
    The center’s claim to provide reliable, nonpartisan information comes in part from its staff makeup. It has about four dozen affiliated staff members and scholars — most are economists, several are considered top experts in their fields, and a number have experience in either Republican or Democratic administrations.
    It also is derived by virtue of its ownership of a highly sophisticated tax modeling system, one that took about two years to build and has a small coterie of specialists to tend it. The model resembles those used by government offices to forecast the effect of changes to the tax code, and it relies on about 150,000 anonymous tax returns and a wealth of data on pensions, education, consumer expenditures and economic growth.
    “They’re one of the few groups that have this very big, very accurate model,” said Martin A. Sullivan, the chief economist and a contributing editor at Tax Analysts, a specialty publisher. “What they’re doing is just making the best computations available” for others to interpret, he said.
    That includes so-called distributional analyses that show how changes to the tax code would change the relative burden on high-income and low-income families — a dry tax topic yet one of the most politically potent ones of the campaign, given the broader debate about tax fairness and inequality.
    The analysis of the Romney proposal has proved highly controversial not just among politicians, but also among some economists.
    Researchers including Martin Feldstein of Harvard and Harvey S. Rosen of Princeton have argued that Mr. Romney’s tax math might work if he raised taxes on families making more than $100,000 a year — not $200,000 to $250,000 a year, as he currently promises — or if his plan gave a strong jolt to economic growth.
    “Reasonable economists disagree on” the growth effects of plans like Mr. Romney’s, said Alan J. Auerbach, a tax expert at the University of California, Berkeley, who added that he did not see the math working out as currently described. “It matters a lot what kind of reductions you’re making or how you’re paying for tax cuts.”
    Others have argued that the Tax Policy Center filled in too many of the holes in Mr. Romney’s light-on-detail proposal — making a full analysis impossible and skewing the center’s paper’s results.
    “It is not an analysis of Governor Romney’s plan,” said Scott A. Hodge, the president of the Tax Foundation. a nonprofit research group also based in Washington.
    “It has been, I think, mislabeled as such and misinterpreted as such. We don’t think there are enough details to analyze,” he said, adding that he believed that it was possible to devise a distributionally neutral, revenue neutral tax reform that cut rates in the way Mr. Romney described.
    The Tax Policy Center said that it had sought as many details as possible from the Romney campaign. (Its economists said it has a cordial back-and-forth with the economic policy teams in both campaigns, as it did in 2008.) Given the numbers available, it had tried to perform the analysis in the most generous way possible, and still did not see how Mr. Romney’s rate cuts could square with his other goals.
    “We wrote a technical, accurate paper given the available information,” said William G. Gale of the Brookings Institution, one of the paper’s main authors, in a recent interview. “The criticism that you can’t analyze the Romney tax plan because there isn’t one? That hasn’t stopped other economists from analyzing its growth effects. I like to have substantive discussions about tax policy. The uproar about the paper has not been substantive.”
    Many economists across the political spectrum have said they found the report’s conclusions convincing, like Alan D. Viard, a tax expert at the right-of-center American Enterprise Institute.
    Mr. Sullivan of Tax Analysts said: “I like tax reform. I want to broaden the base. It’s something I’ve devoted my life to. And I welcome Governor Romney and the Republicans’ strong push, but the plan doesn’t work out. It’s not mathematically possible.”

    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    To a father that hears me

    Its puzzling. Damn right disconcerting....
    The questions keep piling
    But the answers are not unfolding
    I am not a nice person
    It's conflicting, the expressions unending
    How do I put this miasmic feelings into words
    So you can see me....
    But you can't so what can I do but keep breathing
    Keep believing... That something up
    There in the stars wants what's best for me
    I disappoint him
    He expects so little from me
    And the little that he wants I find it hard to give
    I should live to please him
    He is my father
    Yet the guilt threatens to flay me
    I asked my brother last night If I was a nice person
    Even though I knew what his response would be
    Yet he is wrong about me
    I am not a nice person!
    If I was,
    I would obey the father who has done so much for me
    His sweet spirit is always with me
    He lives in me
    In his arms I live
    He is the one who owns the air that circulates in my lungs
    He is the one who infuses me with power to live on
    Be strong
    To be the one
    I am sprung!
    Lost at sea
    Adrift! Spray so thick I can barely see
    He brought me back from the brink
    He is the one reason I still exist
    He is me
    And I am he
    All I can say now is
    Help me to be, the man you said and want me to be
    Cos without you I am nothing but air
    Nothing but dirt to be buried and forgot
    But with you I AM KING!
    Empower me to truly live
    Please father I beg of thee!
    Its me!