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Thursday, June 30, 2011

SRP, Mesa transformer fire knocks out power to more than 80,000

SRP Transformer Fire

SRP Transformer Fire

Fire crews help put out the fire at a Salt River Project facility in east Mesa, 
Thursday, June 30, 2011 after a transformer exploded. [Tim Hacker, Tribune]
More than 80,000 people were without power after a transformer exploded at an SRP substation in east Mesa, drawing fire crews from Mesa and Phoenix and overworking at least two other substations throughout the city where power was shifted during the fire.
The outage affected traffic signals at many intersections and also struck businesses and city offices in downtown Mesa. Other parts of the city were experiencing intermittent power outages and rolling blackouts. The areas affected are predominately Dobson Road to the east of the city limits and from U.S. 60 to the northern city border.
"We are not dealing with any increase in heat related incidents due to the power outages," said police spokesman Sgt. Edward Wessing.
Mesa police officers were directing traffic at major intersections and only two collisions had been reported. Dark traffic signals should be treated as stop signs, according to police.
The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community has also experienced power outages. The town of Fountain Hills said it had been notified by Maricopa County's emergency management department that SRP had announced possible rolling blackouts in response to the Mesa transformer fire.
The outages began minutes after the fire broke out at the Thunderstone substation, according to SRP spokesman Scott Harelson. He said outages could increase due to the demand for power with the summer heat.
“We had some degree of confidence that customers would not be impacted by the fire, but after we shifted all the energy to other substations, it overtaxed them and they started shutting down to protect themselves,” Harelson said. “We are working very hard to restore the power to customers.”
According to SRP, one of the substation’s four transformers exploded about 11:40 a.m. Thursday, causing black smoke that could be seen for miles to rise from the facility northeast of the intersection of Power Road and University Drive and southeast of Red Mountain Park. The smoke originated from the burning of mineral oil that circulates within the transformers to keep them cool, according to Jeff Lane, an SRP spokesman. The three remaining transformers were shut down to protect them and the firefighters as crews faced a challenging situation with a blaze that could not be put out with water.
In less than 30 minutes, customers in eastern and northeast portions of Mesa and Apache Junction flooded SRP’s customer service lines with complaints.
Fire crews doused the fire with foam from a specialized truck. Crews had it extinguished in slightly more than an hour, Harelson said.
The cause of the explosion was unknown and SRP crews were on scene working to restore power to customers. Officials said it was not known when power would be restored and that it could be out for as long as three hours or more.
“The explosion could have been caused by the heat — we don’t know, yet,” Lane said. “Sometimes, transformer explosions are caused by equipment failure. It’s got some burning out to do with the amount of mineral oil that was inside the transformer that cools it off.”
A small mobile home adjacent to the substation was destroyed by the fire caused by the explosion, Lane said.
After a cleanup, SRP will replace the transformer, which costs about $4 million, and conduct an investigation into what caused it to explode. Harelson said the investigation should take about two weeks.

Javier Colon -- I've Got Plans With TWO 'Voice' Judges

Minutes after being crowned champion of "The Voice,"
Javier Colon was already talking about his next career move ... 
claiming TWO of the judges are already planning to get a piece of him.

'The Voice' winner: Javier Colon 
beats Dia Frampton by just two percent

javier-colon-the-voice.jpgThe top four on "The Voice" -Vicci MartinezBeverly McClellanDia Frampton, andJavier Colon - have had quite a week as they've prepared for the finale -- including getting the star treatment when they stopped by "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" to perform with Rickey Minor.

"When I saw Jay walk in the room," Beverly said, "I was like... man. My stars have changed." We'd say the stars aligned for these four singers quite a while ago.

Vicci Martinez was the first contestant to perform on the Wednesday results show, and before she took the stage, we looked back at her time on "The Voice," beginning with her initial audition when Christina Aguilera and Cee-Lo turned their chairs around. Vicci, unsurprisingly, has no regrets about choosing Cee-Lo to be her coach.

Cee-Lo's pride was evident after he watched Vicci's performance of "Drops of Jupiter" with Pat Monahan of Train. "Vicci, I would like to thank Pat because I know what a sensitive subject matter that song has for him, and I appreciate him sharing that song with you," he told her. He wasn't too concerned with the win or lose of it all, though. "We will forever be bonded because of this experience and we will never be severed by the scrutiny or status quo of the American voting public or everybody's opinion," he said.

After a brief stop in the ever-irritating social media room (why? WHY?) it was time to see@javstwtr -- uh, sorry, we mean Javier Colon -- look back at his "Voice" experience, beginning with his first performance of "Time After Time," which had all four judges' chairs spinning. Javier, of course, chose to be on Team Adam.

It hasn't been the easiest road for Javier, but not for any lack of talent. He admits that being away from his kids has taken its toll on occasion. "They know that daddy's singing," he says. "They might not know why, but they will. They will. I'm doing this for them. Before 'The Voice' my future in music was looking grim. There's nothing that I've ever wanted more than to win this competition."

His future certainly wasn't looking grim when he blew the audience away during a duet of "Landslide" with the legendary Stevie Nicks. It's hard to imagine anything better than having someone like her want to sing with you - she even got Christina Aguilera up out of her chair.

"I told Stevie Nicks I wasn't going to cry on national television, so I'm not going to cry," Adam said, addressing Javier. "That's the coolest thing you've ever done, other than have kids probably, and get married. I'm pretty speechless. You just sang with Stevie Nicks and that's one of the most beautiful duets I've ever heard in my life... Good luck, man, and you deserve to win this competition."

In Beverly's package, she said, "I'm the oldest person here but maybe the youngest at heart," and we certainly believe her after these weeks of watching her rock out on stage. "I definitely want to thank Christina from the bottom of my heart for switching that chair around," she added.

Beverly was paired with One Republic's Ryan Tedder for her final duet, which, we have to admit, seems like an odd choice. While there's no doubt that his song "Good Life" is an anthem, their voices didn't seem to mix as seamlessly as we'd hoped, and we're glad that Bev won't be judged on that particular performance for the competition.

When it was Christina's turn to talk, she didn't only address Beverly. "You know everything that I would possibly say bout you," she told her team member. "I love you so much. You are such a professional. I just thank you for all your hard work." She then turned to the men on either side of her to speak to them.

Though there's no doubt that Christina gave her "boys" a hard time throughout the season, she softened when she spoke to them this time. "We really held each others' hands through this project and trusted each other, and I just want to thank you guys, because you guys have felt like the big brothers I've never had. I'm a big fan of all of you, so much respect, much love, and thank you Beverly."

Aww. We feel all warm and fuzzy now.

Dia won Blake over from the get-go, as he turned his chair around within the first few bars of her Colbie Callait cover. "This girl is someone who has a vision," he says in her package. "There's no way to explain how precious and rare that is. Dia reminds me of my wife Miranda. They're both mold-breakers. There's nobody else like them."

It was only fitting, then, that Dia join Miranda Lambert on stage for a moving rendition of the hit "House that Built Me." Blake struggled to speak afterward. "It finally hit me watching that -- I was probably supposed to have something prepared to say at this moment, but I know now why I get so emotional why I'm around you these last few weeks," he said. "Watching you sing that song with my wife it really hit me. You're family to me now, and I love you, I really do."

Finally, it was time to crown the winner, as the four contestants stood on stage holding each other close. "The voting was extremely close," Carson said. "The Top 2 were within only 2% of each other." Those top two artists were Dia Frampton and Javier Colon, which came as little surprise to us. Christina and Cee-Lo took the stage to congratulate their competition and say goodbye to their team members, Beverly and Vicci.

"Something very cool happened last night after we got off the air," he continued. "One of our artists hit #2 on iTunes, and that artist was Javier Colon. Another one of our artists hit #1, and that was Dia Frampton."

In the end, those numbers were not indicative of the win -- Javier Colon, the frontrunner since the beginning, took the title of Season 1 winner of "The Voice."

"Thank you," Javier choked out at the end. "I don't even know where to begin other than to say that the three women behind me are absolutely awesome and it was a pleasure to be here with them."

Jonathan Rhys Meyers -- Reported Suicide Attempt


Bend It Like Beckham star Jonathan Rhys-Meyers was hospitalized in London Tuesday night after reportedly attempting to commit suicide by overdosing on pills in his mansion. 

According to U.K. paper The Sun, paramedics found 33-year-old Meyers "slumped on the floor" ... but he refused treatment for 30 minutes before cops arrived and convinced the actor to go to the hospital. 

Officials confirm that officers were dispatched to Meyers' home -- but would NOT say if Meyers was trying to take his own life. 

Meyers -- who has been in and out of rehab FIVE times -- was released from the hospital early Wednesday morning. 

Jonathan Rhys Meyers Hospitalized in London

Jonathan Rhys Meyers was rushed to a London hospital Tuesday after he was found slumped on the floor of his home.

Paramedics responded to an emergency call at the Tudors star's pad claiming the actor needed help, but he reportedly refused treatment for more than 30 minutes and police were called in to escort him to the hospital, reports the Sun.
Meyers, who has battled drinking problems in the past, is believed to have downed pills...

The 33-year-old thesp was released Wednesday morning, and had "no comment" when the Sun inquired about his well-being.

A source told the U.K. paper that the possible pill overdose was "very sad" and that those close to him were questioning whether the actor had tried to take his own life.

Meyers has long had a history with booze-fueled troubles. In 2007, just fresh out of rehab for the second time, the Irish actor was busted for public drunkenness and breach of peace for threatening and abusive conduct against airport workers while waiting for a flight back to London from Dublin. The charges were ultimately dropped.

Two years later the Match Point star was in trouble again at the airport, when he allegedly punched a waiter at a bar in Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport and was charged with "willful violence, outrage, hitting and threatening death."

In 2010, he entered rehab yet again in London for an alcohol addiction after another airport altercation. The actor had been banned from flying United Airlines after a drunken scuffle at JFK airport.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pittsburgh Penguins: 2011-2012 Season Preview

The Pittsburgh Penguins were ravaged by injuries during the 2010-11 season as neither Sidney Crosby nor  Evgeni Malkin played more than 43 games. Can a healthy Penguins squad take the Stanley Cup next season?

Even so, the Penguins were again a contender in the Eastern Conference, but it grew evident that they were a few bricks short of a load once the playoffs hit. 
Marc Andre Fleury Penguins
With a healthy Crosby and Malkin, the Pens will again be 2012 Stanley Cup contenders. But they have some work to do in the offseason, most notably to find some right wingers. They don’t have a lot of cash to work with, so it will be interesting to see what kind of solutions they come up with. 
What They’ve Got: 
Two of the best players in the game, and an MVP-caliber goaltender.
The Penguins obviously have a lot more than that, but the trio ofSidney Crosby, Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury are the three major factors as to why the Penguins will be Cup contenders next season and for many years to come. 
There is a good supporting cast – particularly among the forwards – for Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to work with. Jordan Staal, Chris Kunitz, James Neal, Eric Tangradi and Mark Letestu are a decent cast, which means the Penguins don’t have a ton of work to do. If they can bring back Tyler Kennedy and make good on the recent Jaromir Jagr rumors, they’ll be in great shape up front. 
On the blue line, the Pens will bring all of their defensemen back from last season, which is a good sign from a consistency standpoint. It wouldn’t hurt if they added a veteran blue liner, but it’s not necessarily a glaring need. 
What They Need: 
Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pens really need to figure out their winger situation. If Kennedy walks, the only right winger on the entire roster will be Craig Adams. 

As mentioned, the original plan is to bring Kennedy back and sign Jagr, but they’ll also hope for some overall improvements in-house. 
Neal scored just two goals in 27 games since he was acquired from the Dallas Stars and the Penguins expect more. Obviously, playing with Crosby or Malkin should improve those totals, but as of now, he’s been quite the disappointment. More is also expected out of Tangradi, who missed most of the season because of a concussion. 
The blue line is in good shape, so the main concern for the Penguins this year – as it will be every year – will be who do they put around Crosby and Malkin? 
With Alexei Kovalev, Maxim Talbot, Michael Rupp, Eric Godard, Aaron Asham and Mike Comrie all unrestricted free agents, and Kennedy and Dustin Jeffrey restricted, the Pens could have a lot of new faces around Crosby and Malkin when they do return to health next season. 
It’s tough to bet against a team like the Penguins. They have played in the Stanley Cup finals or won it in two of the last three seasons, and even last year, they were fairly competitive without their two biggest stars. 
Bodog has already released their Future NHL betting lines and the Penguins are tied with the Boston Bruins at 8/1 hockey odds to win the Stanley Cup.
If Neal steps up and the Pens alleviate their concerns at the right wing position, they will be Stanley Cup frontrunners in the East. And even if they don’t, there’s a good chance they’ll be in the mix once again as this is a veteran squad with All-Star leadership and far fewer holes than many of the other East contenders.

Another Tylenol recall

AP Photo/John Swart

Johnson & Johnson issued another recall notice today for its Tylenol products after receiving reports of a musty, moldy odor. This time it was for 60,912 bottles of its Tylenol Extra Strength pain relief medicine. Over the past two years, more than 100 million J&J products have been recalled making it tougher to find Tylenol, Motrin, Sudafed, and Benadryl on drugstore shelves.

The smell is mostly likely due to trace amounts of 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA). Exposure to the chemical doesn’t appear to cause any health risks but it may cause temporary stomach upset in some people.

The recall affects one lot (ABA619) of Tylenol pain killers and were made in February 2009. The bottles bear the label “Tylenol Extra Strength Caplets, 225 count” and a UPC code of 300450444271.

Consumers with the recalled Tylenol products are advised to stop taking the pain reliever and to contact McNeil Consumer Healthcare (888-222-6036, www.tylenol.com) for instructions about receiving a refund or product coupon.

Equatorial Guinea wins over fans

AUGSBURG, Germany -- The stands had plenty of empty seats, but the media tribune did not. For once, the reporters were ahead of the curve.

Equatorial Guinea, one of the most obscure countries to qualify for a major international soccer tournament, put on a show in a bizarre but entertaining game Wednesday, winning over the fans who ventured to a stadium that will soon host its first men's Bundesliga games. The crowd didn't care that Equatorial Guinea had three of its best players removed from the Women's World Cup, two due to persistent gender questions, one to nationality issues. They didn't care that the country's government was recently ranked among the 12 most corrupt in the world by watchdog Transparency International. They didn't care that many of the remaining players, though naturalized citizens, were born elsewhere, often in Brazil.
They didn't even care that most of the team's shots seemed as likely to hit a tunnel or even the roof of the steeply pitched Augsburg stadium as they were to hit the net. Equatorial Guinea played with the reckless abandon of an MLS or WPS All-Star Game but with equal effort on defense, outrunning Norwegian attackers and sliding to block shots.
And in the end, the fans gave the team a rousing ovation despite its 1-0 loss in a game that saw 49 shots, 26 from the upstarts, including 15 from the green-braided, quicksilver Genoveva Anonma.
"As a trainer, I despair when I see these opportunities that are not used," said Equatorial Guinea coach Marcelo Maria Frigerio, himself Italian-born and Brazilian-schooled. "We could've scored four goals."
Anonma, the most accomplished player remaining from the Equatorial Guinea roster purge, took up a free-floating and free-shooting role, with many of her shots from long distance. She opened the second half by shooting from within the center circle, just a touch or two after kickoff.
The fans gave an excited "Ohhhhhh!" when an Equatorial Guinea player found herself in space, especially after some of Anonma's nifty stutter-steps. Then a disappointed "Awwwww!" when the resulting shot or cross went 20 yards wide of its target.
Norway fans were waving flags as the game started but didn't know what to make of the action between this exuberant African team and their own national side, with three starters coming into the game with less than 10 caps. The most experienced players by far were the defensive midfield tandem of Trine Ronning and Ingvild Stensland, each with more than 100 caps, and goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth, who bobbled several balls but was named player of the match for sheer volume of work (eight saves).
Early in the second half, a Norwegian breakthrough seemed inevitable. The signs of life from Norway's attack roused the team's fans from their shocked slumber, and "NOR-GE!" chants could be heard through the stadium.
But substitute Lene Mykjaland, a veteran of WPS play, was forced to limp off the field after inspiring the Norwegian attack. And Anonma got back into action. She turned a defender and shot just wide. She beat a defender to a through ball and had a shot, her 13th, saved by the onrushing Hjelmseth. The ball bounced tantalizingly wide on the ensuing corner kick.
Her next shot, her 14th of the game, missed the far post by more than 10 yards.
Anonma, who has faced gender questions of her own, plays in Germany's Frauen-Bundesliga and scored 13 goals last season with FF USV Jena. Even with her European experience, Anonma had more exuberance than polish. With two players bearing down on her in her own end, she booted the ball out of play for a deep throw-in near the corner.
"Genoveva had some very good moments during the match," Frigerio said. "She wasn't really stable throughout the game. I think she has a lot more potential. But don't forget -- this is a World Cup, and it's an emotional thing. Because of the emotions, sometimes you lose your focus."
Her teammates also brought more speed and flash than skill and poise. A giveaway at the back nearly gave Norway a first-minute goal.
And the Norwegian breakthrough indeed came through a defensive breakdown. Goalkeeper Miriam failed to get to Leni Kaurin's cross as it rolled through the six-yard box. Stensland fell, missing an easy tap-in, but Emilie Haavi was unmarked for the easy conversion.
At last the Norwegian flags returned to public view among the crowd of 12,928, which continued to cheer and chant as Equatorial Guinea chased the equalizer by shooting even more frequently.
At the final whistle, Norwegian players quickly ran to applaud their fans. Equatorial Guinea players gathered in a circle for a couple of minutes. When they broke up and applauded the fans, the crowd rose for one last ovation for a team that surely will not win the World Cup but will be well worth the price of admission.

STAGE TUBE: Katharine McPhee Visits THE VOICE to Preview SMASH!

Katharine McPhee visited NBC's Finale of THE VOICE to offer a preview of her new musical drama SMASH, premiering in early 2012. We can't wait!

The show, which is about a group of people who come together to put on a Broadway musical was developed by NBC's Robert Greenblatt, Steven Spielberg, and Broadway producing team Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. Broadway's Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman - whose latest venture, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, is now running at the Neil Simon Theatre - wrote the music for the show. Michael Mayer directed the project, and playwright Theresa Rebeck penned the script.

The plot will follow an out-of-town tryout of a Broadway musical, and centers around a songwriting team (Debra Messing and Christian Borle) who write a musical about Marilyn Monroe based on an offhanded remark. They post a showstopping number on YouTube. When it's a viral hit, a producer (Anjelica Huston) who's looking to recapture success long past decides to produce the musical. There are two choices to play Marilyn: Karen (Katharine McPhee), a talented young newcomer, and Ivy (Megan Hilty), a theater veteran. Brian d'Arcy James has also been cast as Debra Messing's character's husband.

Five Things You Gotta Know About Transformers: Dark of the Moon

The new Transformers movie is Optimus Prime-d to be Hollywood's first big, fat blockbuster of a lean box-office year. In fact the Michael Bay is so confident you'll love this newest adventure that it's hitting some IMAX theaters early. So can Shia LaBeouf redeem the franchise after that, um, less than amazing second installment? 
Is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley ready to fill Megan Fox's shoes?

Here's what you need to know before hitting theaters:

1. It's Got "Some of the Most Technically Challenging Sequences Ever Shot." Michael Bay says so himself. And since the man used James Cameron's crew from Avatar for Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the man gets the benefit of the doubt. 

2. It's a Real, Live 3-D Movie: Conversion, schmonversion! Bay shot this baby with 3-D cameras. This is why he, Bay, cannot recommend strongly enough that you see Dark of the Moon in 3-D. (Seriously, those lower-priced 2-D tickets are totally ruining everything!)

3. It's Not Opening on Wednesday:  Nope, it's opening in just under 150 IMAX 3-D theaters on Tuesday night, just ahead of its formal release. That ought to give the movie more time to impress. Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock expects Dark of the Moon to "blow up like a firecracker," and hit $185 million on the domestic front by Monday's Fourth of July holiday. 

4. It's Not Afraid to Take Onand Take Down—Chicago: Do you have any idea which major metropolis was threatened in Green Lantern? In the latest Transformers, there is no mistaking that the Autobots and Decepticons destroy the Windy City. "Chicago gave us so much latitude," Bay told the New York Times. "We had blocks and blocks we were able to shut down at a time."

And according to an early-bird review from HitFix, Bay's team made good use of the full-access pass. "It's so strange to see a city as recognizable as Chicago take this sort of beating," the site said, "and it's a reminder that many movies try to find cheap and generic solutions to their third acts."

5. It's Got a Brand-New Megan Fox! When Shia LaBeouf's love interest from the first two movies quit or got fired, critics, if not audiences, probably worried they wouldn't have the world's "worst" actress to kick around anymore. Enter Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. The Victoria's Secret model's performance in Dark of the Moon inspired London's Daily Mail to assert that Fox's sub "can't act for toffee." Awesome!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A 'Renaissance' ruin on the South Side: The last days of St. John of God Church

by Lee Bey | Jun. 27, 2011

As this blog has reported for the past year, the limestone facade and architectural exterior features of long-shuttered St. John of God church are being removed and hauled 50 miles north to be part of a new Roman Catholic church, St. Raphael the Archangel, under construction in Old Mill Creek, IL.
With the deconstruction at St. John of God almost complete, the church is now an urban ruin that is at once eerie and beautiful; an architectural remnant that resembles an archeological dig in southern Europe or the Mediterranean, rather than a soon-to-be demolition site at 52nd and Throop.

Here's what the church looked like in the spring of 2010 before work began:

And here's what it looks like today:

The new St. Raphael the Archangel will also reuse the marble, detailing, altar and pews of the closed St. Peter Canisius, 5057 W. North Avenue, and the big pipe organ from the former Medinah Temple--now a Bloomingdale's--at Wabash and Ohio.

Confusing Testimony, Mistrial Motion In Casey Anthony Trial

After an abrupt halting of Saturday’s trial proceedings by Judge Perry, rumors were rife that there was new evidence or a major surprise witness, or even that a possible plea deal by Anthony’s legal team was in the works. All of these rumors were proven untrue today.

Questions about Casey’s competency arise
First thing Monday, Judge Belvin Perry let it be known that in fact Casey Anthony’s defense team had filed a motion on Saturday for their client to have her mental competency examined, based on “a well-founded concern” that Ms. Anthony might not behave in a manner that would help her own defense. Defense attorney stated these concerns based on “confidential communications” between Casey and the defense team.

In response, Judge Belvin Perry ordered Casey to be examined by three psychologists through the weekend. Reports were issued, and today it was revealed that Casey was indeed found to be mentally competent to continue standing trial for the 2008 murder of her two year old daughter, Caylee Anthony.

Casey Anthony has plead not guilty, and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Another mistrial motion - third time is a charm?
This morning - Ann Finnell, the defense’s mitigation expert, was in the court room, the first time she has made a courtroom appearance since the jury selection was finalized. Finnell will be key if Casey is indeed found guilty, doing her best to remind the jury of any mitigating factors involved with the case, in a likely bid to gain life in prison for Casey, vice the death penalty.

Judge Perry began by handing each side a large yellow envelope, likely holding jury instructions or closing statement orders. It was noted that Casey looked upbeat, as did her parents and the defense team.

There were back and forth exchanges, private meetings and sidebars first off, followed by a report that Finnell had filed a motion for a mistrial - the third time a do-over has been requested by the defense. This time the motion was filed due to a ruling last week in Miami by a Federal district judge on a 1991 overturning the death penalty sentence of Paul Evans, said to be based on Florida violations of the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment.

The Sixth Amendment provides the right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury, to be informed as to the nature of the charges, to have a right to face witnesses and provide witnesses in defense, and a right to legal counsel.  

Alabama's Aaron Douglas died from drug overdose

Former Tennessee and Alabama offensive lineman Aaron Douglas had drugs Methadone, Diazepam and Carisoprodol in his system when he died, according to a Duval County (Fla.) medical examiner’s report cited by multiple media outlets.
Douglas died May 12 during a vacation in Florida. An autopsy conducted the followed day ruled the death accidental by way of “multiple drug toxicity.”
Aaron Douglas was expected to win a starting job in preseason camp, Dave Curtis writes. (AP Photo)
Douglas attended a party the night before his death, according to police. He was found the next morning on a balcony.
Methadone, often used to aid recovery from opium addiction, is a pain reliever. Diazepam, better known as Vallium, helps with anxiety. Carisoprodol is prescribed to help with muscle pain.
Douglas was a freshman All-American in 2009 for the Volunteers before transferring to a junior college after much of the Tennessee coaching staff left for USC. He enrolled at Alabama this winter and was expected to win a starting job during preseason camp.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Actor John Wayne Confused with Murderer John Wayne Gacy in Interview (Video)

Aspiring GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachman mixes the two up on Fox News.

John Wayne shot a lot of people in the movies but he's no John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer who raped and murdered more than 30 teen boys and young men in the 1970s. But the two do share a name and Iowa roots, which aspiring Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachman discovered the hard way on Sunday.

While being interviewed by Fox News from Iowa, the Minnesota Representative said, "I want them to know just like John Wayne is from Waterloo Iowa, that's the spirit I have too. It's embracing America. It's sacrificing for America."

The Duke did hail from Iowa -- Winterset, to be exact -- but it's John Wayne Gacy who lived and worked in Waterloo. Shortly after the gaffe, Bachman's camp noted that the actor's parents lived in Waterloo at one point.

Brian Downes, director of the John Wayne Birthplace Society, said Bachman’s mistake was not a big deal. He told Politico, "We've been misidentified before ... It happens, but the information is posted on Interstates 80 and 35.”

He added, "John Wayne himself would mangle names like crazy — longtime friends and co-stars."

Bachman officially began for campaign for the 2012 Republican nomination Monday in Iowa, saying “I want this moment to serve as a reminder of the best of who we are as a nation, and of what our values are, and what it is that makes America great."

Rod Blagojevich sentencing: Experts weigh in on possible prison term

After being found guilty Monday, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, with wife Patti, said he was "stunned" 
by the verdict.(Michael Tercha, Chicago Tribune / June 27, 2011)

On paper at least, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich could be sentenced to as much as 300 years in prison following his conviction Monday on 17 counts of corruption. But how much does he really face?

Seasoned criminal-defense attorneys and former prosecutors consulted by the Tribune estimate Blagojevich could be looking at about 10 years, based on recent public corruption sentences here. The sentence could take months to formulate.

While many factors will go into the decision by U.S. District Judge James Zagel, Blagojevich's unorthodox strategy to repeatedly go public with his claims of innocence could come back to haunt him, the experts said.

His conviction also means Blagojevich's decision to testify could hurt him at sentencing if the judge concludes the former governor lied under oath, they said.Zagel's displeasure with the former governor's behavior has been on display at his retrial as well as the first trial last summer that ended with the jury largely deadlocked except for one guilty count.The judge "is not going to sentence him on who he is," veteran attorney Robert Loeb said of Blagojevich. "He is going to sentence him on what he has said and done."Blagojevich already faces sentencing for lying to theFBI, the lone count on which he was convicted at the first trial. That jury deadlocked on the remaining counts, setting the stage for the retrial.Before Blagojevich is sentenced, a probation officer using federal sentencing guidelines will calculate the range of punishment faced by Blagojevich. Then prosecutors and Blagojevich's lawyers will argue about why more time should be added or shaved off.Since the sentencing guidelines were made advisory and not mandatory about six years ago, Zagel has wide discretion to impose the sentence he thinks is just and fair.

"It's the essential judgment call," said former federal prosecutor Dean Polales, who is now a criminal-defense attorney. "The burden is entirely on him."Among the factors to be weighed are criminal history, the nature and circumstance of the offense, and the need for deterrence. Judges often also consider family circumstances.The government will be certain to raise Blagojevich's breach of the public trust as well as the pervasive culture of corruption that swirled around his administration, Loeb said.Blagojevich also will have an opportunity to make his own case to Zagel, arguing for any positive impact he thinks he had in his political career. Backers could offer support and seek mercy in letters to the judge.But also at play could be Blagojevich's knack for making a national spectacle of himself, doing endless television interviews and public appearances that prosecutors thought occasionally distorted the evidence against him.Loeb and others said Blagojevich's media blitzes before both trials could matter to Zagel if it suggests Blagojevich denigrated the legal process or the seriousness of the charges against him.

Polales said Zagel might also consider whether Blagojevich used his many appearances to attempt to taint both juries — an allegation the government leveled.The experts said Zagel is likely to punish Blagojevich as well as a deterrent for other elected officials. with four Illinois governors convicted — three on charges related to their office — since the 1970s, Zagel could decide to send a strong message."Apparently the convictions have not served as a deterrent to the culture of corruption," Loeb said.

8:11 p.m. CDTJune 27, 2011