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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rare earthquake shakes and shocks Eastern Seaboard

There were no major injuries reported nor severe damage, but the 45-second earthquake that hit the East Coast Tuesday afternoon gave millions of people a thorough and efficient education in what Westerners already know: earthquakes are frightening.

"It scared the heck out of me. I'm still shaking," said Joan Morris, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

In rural Mineral, Va., the quake's epicenter, Marilyn Gutekenst was clearing lunch dishes from a table on her backyard deck when the trees began shaking and the deck started to vibrate. "I thought it was a runaway train" she said. "I thought, 'I don't belong here. I need to move quickly.'" She ran inside to see picture frames fall off the wall, plates drop and break, and bookcases topple.

The quake was felt along the Eastern Seaboard from Georgia to Canada. The East's tightly-packed earth crust carried the quake's seismic power farther than an equivalent quake in the West's spongier terrain, according to Lucy Jones, a seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey. Shaken and shocked, tourists poured out of the U.S. Capitol and the Smithsonian museums. At the Empire State Building in New York City, workers ran down 60 flights of stairs although there had been no announcement to evacuate.

The earthquake measured 5.8 in magnitude, but tweeting about the temblor was off the scale. Social networks lit up with quake reports, commentary and, quickly, jokes. "D.C. Earthquake Devastation" was the caption on a heavily re-tweeted photo of a toppled lawn chair.

"I saw the tweets from DC about earthquake, then 15 seconds later felt it in NYC. Social media is faster than seismic waves!" wrote Jesse Friedman, an Internet marketer in Brooklyn.

Though Virginia hadn't had a quake like Tuesday's in 67 years, it was mild by West Coast standards. California has seen 35 quakes of that size since 1944, when the last East Coast quake of this magnitude occurred. So the first thing everyone had to do was figure out what was happening.

To John Gurlach, air-traffic controller at the Morgantown Municipal Airport in West Virginia, it felt like a B-52 releasing its payload. To Karen Schaefer, stopped at a traffic light in Raleigh, N.C., it felt like being on a swaying suspension bridge. "But I knew I wasn't on a suspension bridge,'' she said. "I was, like, 'Is this an earthquake?' and I said, 'No, this is Raleigh, N.C.' "

At W.P. Stewart, an investment management firm on Madison Avenue in New York, desks started squeaking as the walls behind them moved. "It felt like someone jumped up and down next to you,'' said Lauren Penza, 32. "I was looking out the window and I could see what I was looking at moving.''
As a fire warden for the 21st floor, she checked to make sure everyone was out before she left. With her was Kristina Munsch, 31, who had no intention of hanging around for an announcement. "The room shook,'' she said. "It's not one of those things you can wait for.''

At first, "I thought it was just me,'' said Al Peace, 39, an employee of the Park Avenue law firm WilmerHale. When a second wave hit, "I thought the building was going to collapse.'' About 20 employees left, including Peace's colleague Brian Rudolph. "They said, 'Did you feel it?' I said, 'No, I'm busy getting Cheap Trick tickets on the computer,''' Rudolph said. But he left anyway.

Halley Pack, a 24-year-old paralegal, was putting on her sneakers in the basement-level gym of her office building in downtown Washington when the shaking started.

"I've never been in an earthquake before," she said, standing in her exercise clothes outside her office building at 2:20 p.m. "I thought something was wrong with me, like I had a headache."

"I thought someone was barreling up the road with a trash truck, but the whole house shook, and we heard dishes rattling," said Shaun Gallagher of the Forest Brook Glen development near Newport, Del.
"It felt and sounded like a big gust of wind came through. I looked outside and the trees weren't even moving," said Jean Carsten, 59, who was at home in Bayville, N.J., when she felt the tremors. "My husband said, 'That was an earthquake.'"

Perhaps inevitably, with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaching, some people immediately feared terrorism.

Lloyd Stafford, 71, of Boca Raton, Fla., was with his grandchildren at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., when he heard "a major thump to the building'' that caused gift shop merchandise to tumble to the floor.

"The guards looked up, and then they said, in alarm, 'Everybody out, everybody out!" And then somebody said, "We think it's a bomb.'' That really motivated everybody to get out of there. They were all kind of scrambling around,'' he said.

Back in Mineral, Va., Louisa County spokeswoman Amanda Reidelbach said three of the county's six schools suffered heavy damage. Several buildings collapsed, but, she said, "We were lucky." Only minor injuries were reported.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

US earthquake leads to evacuation of White House

    US earthquake
    People gather near the New York state supreme court after the 
    building was evacuated following the earthquake. 
    Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features
    As natural disasters go, it was hardly a catastrophe, but the earthquake felt across parts of America on Tuesday certainly had an impact.
    As buildings swayed from Manhattan to Detroit to Washington DC, aeroplanes were grounded and offices evacuated.
    The earthquake was one of the strongest ever recorded on the east coast of the US and forced the evacuations of parts of the Capitol, White House and Pentagon.
    There were no immediate reports of deaths, but fire officials in Washington said there were some injuries.
    The US Geological Survey said the quake registered magnitude 5.8 and was centred about 40 miles north-west of Richmond, Virginia.
    Two nuclear reactors at the North Anna power station were taken off line. Around the tiny town of Mineral, Virginia, masonry crumbled. In Washington DC, thousands poured into the streets as offices, including in the Pentagon and the Capitol, were evacuated. The Holland tunnel under the Hudson River, which links New York and New Jersey, was closed, promising delays. Manhattan's forest of skyscrapers could be felt gently shifting from side to side.
    A press conference by the Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, who was set to address the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, was evacuated as it began. Pictures of panicked journalists fleeing the room were carried live. Mobile phone networks in New York and Washington DC also partially stopped working.
    As in the real world, on Twitter fear soon gave way to humour. Some cracked jokes about the possible entry of the portly New Jersey governor into the 2012 presidential election contest. "I think Chris Christie just jumped into the race," tweeted Salon political blogger Alex Pareene. It also prompted a wave of mocking humour from people on America's west coast, where moderate quakes are common. "The entire west coast is laughing at us right now," tweeted Lisa Hoffman, a social media specialist in North Carolina.
    The quake's biggest impact was perhaps to show that news is often about where something happens, and to whom. On Monday night, a quake struck in Colorado, far from any cities. It registered as a 5.3 and was the largest to hit the state in over a century, but barely merited a headline. Or, indeed, a tweet.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Anthony Bourdain is a charitable guy. (Yes, really.)

Travel Channel

Typically, bickering among television personalities just isn't important. It's petty, highly subjective opinions exchanged between overblown characters who have an audience, and the current Mason-Dixon Line food fight between Food Network regular Paula Deen and Anthony Bourdain of the Travel Channel isn't all that different. 

Although, on at least one point I can safely say Deen is very wrong.

Responding to Bourdain's TV Guide interview, in which he called Deen "The worst, most dangerous person to America ..." for her unhealthy food and corporate connections, 

Deen told the NY Post:
"It's not all about the cooking, but the fact that I can contribute by using my influence to help people all over the country. In the last two years, my partners and I have fed more than 10 million hungry people by bringing meat to food banks. I have no idea what Anthony has done to contribute besides being irritable."

Clearly, Deen hasn't watched Bourdain's show.
Through his food-related travel show, "No Reservations," Bourdain has focused attention on millions of people who struggle just to survive, both home and abroad. No, they didn't get a hot meal, but their plight received attention, exposure and, hopefully, consideration.

"No Reservations" viewers have learned about the human side of conflict in Beirut, poverty in Brazil, mind-bending disaster in Japan and the lingering scars of war and genocide in Cambodia. This season' episode on Haiti was, frankly, the best piece of journalism (yes, journalism) about post-earthquake Haiti by any television source. And even in the United States, Bourdain devoted entire episodes to post-Katrina New Orleans and to the people of Cleveland (whose plight, it turns out, is living in Cleveland).

Don't get me wrong; I'm not nominating Bourdain for sainthood by any stretch. But any show that promotes awareness of other cultures, other countries, other people -- at a time when it's more needed than ever -- trumps the latest recipe for oyster-cornbread stuffing anytime.

Deal Frees ‘West Memphis Three’ in Arkansas

JONESBORO, Ark. — Three men convicted of killing three 8-year-old boys in a notorious 1993 murder case were freed from jail on Friday, after a complicated legal maneuver that allowed them to maintain their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict them.

A district court judge declared that the three men — Damien W. Echols, 36, Jason Baldwin, 34, and Jessie Misskelley Jr., 36, known as the West Memphis Three — who have been in prison since their arrest in 1993, had served the time for their crime. The judge also levied a 10-year suspended sentence on each of the men. 

With his release Friday, Mr. Echols became the highest-profile death row inmate to be released in recent memory. 

The agreement, known as an Alford plea, does not result in a full exoneration; some of the convictions stand, though the men did not admit guilt. The deal came five months before a scheduled hearing was to held to determine whether the men should be granted a new trial in light of DNA evidence that surfaced in the past few years. None of their DNA has been found in tests of evidence at the scene. The Arkansas Supreme Court ordered the new hearing in November, giving new life to efforts to exonerate the three men. 

In May 1993, the bodies of the boys, Christopher Byers, Steve Branch and James Michael Moore, were found in a drainage ditch in a wooded area of West Memphis, Ark., called Robin Hood Hills. The bodies appeared to have been mutilated, their hands tied to their feet. 

The grotesque nature of the murders led to a theory about satanic cult activity. Investigators focused their attention on Mr. Echols, at the time a troubled yet gifted teenager who practiced Wicca, a rarity in the town of West Memphis. Efforts to learn more about him, spearheaded by a single mother cooperating with the police, led to Mr. Misskelley, a passing acquaintance of Mr. Echols, who is borderline mentally retarded. 

After a nearly 12-hour interrogation by the police, Mr. Misskelley confessed to the murders and implicated Mr. Echols and Mr. Baldwin, though his confession diverged in significant details with the facts of the crime known by the police. 

Largely on the strength of that confession, Mr. Misskelley was convicted in February 1994. Mr. Echols and Mr. Baldwin were convicted soon after in a separate trial, largely on the testimony of witnesses who said they heard the teenagers talk of the murders and on the prosecution’s theory that the defendants had been motivated as members of a satanic cult. Mr. Misskelley’s confession was not admitted at their trial, though recently a former lawyer for the jury foreman filed an affidavit saying that the foreman, determined to convict, had brought the confession up in deliberations to sway undecided jurors. 

An award-winning documentary, “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills,” was released after their convictions, bringing them national attention. Benefit concerts were held, books were written, a follow-up documentary was made and the men’s supporters continued to pursue their freedom. Many residents of West Memphis resented the presumption that outsiders knew the details of the horrific case better than they did. But in recent years some, though not all, of the victims’ families have begun to doubt the guilt of the three men.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dunkin' Donuts not welcome in Annapolis community

It’s a tiny little community of privately owned stores, shops and restaurants that neatly sits in the shadow of the statehouse in Annapolis. And according to people who live and work in the area, historic West Street helps add character to Maryland’s state capitol.

(Photo courtesy Robert Bahn via Flickr)
But now all that is about to be invaded – some say by corporate America – by a Dunkin’ Donuts store.

Sarah Callahan says the donut shop would be out of place. She owns the 49 West Coffeehouse and Restaurant just across the street from where the proposed Dunkin’ Donuts is slated to move in.

Callahan knows a lot about the blueprint for West Street. When she and her husband opened their business 17 years ago, their shop was one of only two stores.

Other locals also weren’t warm to the idea of a Dunkin’ Donuts moving in to the site of a former Thai restaurant.

“I think it would ruin the downtown if they had the Dunkin’ Donuts put in down here,” said Adrienne Gelezinsky.

But like it or not, Dunkin’ Donuts is coming.
“We'll see how it goes I know that there was a McDonald's here that didn't last,” said Mike Wyland.

Russell Armstrong: A victim of 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'?

Successful venture capitalist Russell Armstrong was found dead in his Los Angeles home Monday night, apparently by his own hand.
Russell and Taylor Armstrong were photographed together at a Super Bowl party in Dallas, Texas on Feb. 5, 2011.
No official cause of death has yet been declared. The coroner is still conducting an investigation.

But that hasn't stopped the speculation that Armstrong's involvement in a reality TV show – ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,’ starring his estranged wife, Taylor Armstrong – may have somehow led to his death. 

“He was down in the dumps over the latest allegations that he had abused Taylor. I told him people don’t believe everything they read and he told me, ‘It’s funny how a reality show can ruin your entire life,’” Armstrong’s friend Tom Vickers told RadarOnline.

The couple’s relationship has often been rocky, and, through it all, the cameras have been rollilng. Responding to Taylor’s claims that he had been an abusive husband while she was filing for divorce on July 15, Armstrong told People Magazine, “Did I push her? Yes, maybe things happened in the heat of the moment, but it was during a time in our lives that was not characteristic of who we were. This show has literally pushed us to the limit.”

Russell and Taylor are not the first reality TV couple whose marriage faltered on screen. Jon and Kate Gosselin, who starred together with their eight children in ‘Jon and Kate Plus 8’, ended their 10-year marriage in 2009. From then on, the show was called ‘Kate Plus 8.' It was just canceled.

Industry insiders say that "reality" TV is often far from an accurate presentation of events. Small slights are exaggerated, peacemaking is ignored or left on the cutting room floor in the pursuit of a dramatic narrative. So, it's not clear that what the audiences saw – or even what the "actors" said about the show – bears much resemblance to the truth. 

Still, Mark Andrejevic, University of Iowa associate professor of communications studies, has said that keeping people on the threshold of mental breakdown is a tactic that has been used on some reality television shows. In a United Press International article on Aug. 2, 2009, Prof. Andrejevic said that “The bread and butter of reality television is to get people into a state where they are tired, stressed and emotionally vulnerable.” 

He wasn't talking about ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,’ which only debuted in 2010. But one doesn't have to go far to find the destructive effects of living in a celebrity culture. Rabbi Schmuley Boteach, who once counseled Michael Jackson, told the Monitor last summer:
"... [the] essentials for surviving celebrity are the same as for everyone else, he says: “You need a life to keep you grounded … someone to make you take out the garbage.”
Next, he says is spiritual values. He points to musician Bono, who he he says has been married for 27 years and is a devout Roman Catholic, as the “perfect” celebrity.
The Irish rocker also has a cause that is much higher than himself – Africa – and longtime friends, his band mates who will tell him when he’s being stupid – the last two tools for navigating fame.
“If you have these in place, as Bono does,” adds Boteach, “you have a chance at a real, meaningful life.”
Armstrong leaves behind a daughter, Kennedy, and two sons from previous relationships.

Maclin, Eagles yet to address WRs health

By Reuben Frank

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Looks like we’re all just going to have to wait a little longer to find out exactly what’s going on with Jeremy Maclin.

Andre Maclin, brother of the Eagles receiver, told The Sporting News on Monday that a revelation about Maclin’s undisclosed condition would be forthcoming at some point Tuesday.

So far, just radio silence from the Maclin camp.

“We definitely will have some news tomorrow,” Andre Maclin said Monday. “That’s when we find out exactly what’s going on.”

But as of 4 p.m. EST, there was still no news on Maclin, either from the Maclin family or from the Eagles.

On Monday, Andre Maclin said his brother is “fine” and will be able to rejoin the Eagles soon.

Maclin did not practice during the Eagles’ three-week training camp, which ended Tuesday at Lehigh University. He’s on the Reserve-Non-Football-Related-Illness list.

Maclin spent a week with the Eagles at Lehigh before returning home to St. Louis last Tuesday. He has not rejoined the team since.

While he was at training camp, Maclin declined all interview requests, although he did allow that the rumors he was wearing about his condition -- many of them very dire -- were untrue.

The Eagles, presumably because of the HIPAA privacy law that limits what information employers can reveal about employees who are sick, have not commented at all on Maclin’s condition, although head coach Andy Reid has said he’s optimistic Maclin will be available when the Eagles open the regular season on Sept. 11 against the Rams back in Maclin’s hometown of St. Louis.

Maclin is one of the NFL’s most productive young wide receivers. Among players in NFL history before their 23rd birthday, Maclin ranks fourth in TD catches (17), fifth in receiving yards (1,726) and sixth in catches (125).

Last year, his second season out of Missouri, Maclin ranked seventh in the NFL with 10 touchdown receptions and caught 70 passes for 964 yards.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial readies for its D.C. debut

Mlk 300x225
30 ft granite likeness of MLK screengrab yourblackworld.com (Screengrab)

A $120 million memorial devoted to civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. - opens in Washington D.C. on Sunday, Aug. 28, the 48th anniversary of King's March on Washington and delivery of his "I Have a Dream" speech.

The 30-foot sculpture of King stands alongside the Tidal Basin, adjacent to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. It will be the first memorial to honor a non-President and a single African American, the Washington Post reported.

The site on the National Mall was approved in 1999, the Houston Chronicle reported, but fundraising took the better part of a decade. General Motors promised $10 million and the Senate appropriated $10 million more in 2005, which brought the fundraising to the halfway point.

Officials expect up to 250,000 to attend the free public dedication, USA Today reported. President Obama will speak, and a concert featuring Aretha Franklin and Steve Wonder will follow.

Marcos Ambrose becomes NASCAR's fifth first-time winner

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Marcos Ambrose became the latest first-time winner on theNASCAR Sprint Cup circuit, capturing Monday's rain-delayed race at Watkins Glen International.
  • Race winner Marcos Ambrose makes a pit stop during Monday's 90-lap free-for-all at Watkins Glen.
    By Jerry Markland, Getty Images for NASCAR
    Race winner Marcos Ambrose makes a pit stop during Monday's 90-lap free-for-all at Watkins Glen.
By Jerry Markland, Getty Images for NASCAR
Race winner Marcos Ambrose makes a pit stop during Monday's 90-lap free-for-all at Watkins Glen.
Ambrose piloted his No. 9 Ford past Brad Keselowski on the penultimate lap and held on from there to capture the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen.
Keselowski was second, Kyle Busch third, Martin Truex Jr. fourth and Joey Logano fifth.
"It's just a dream come true," the Richard Petty Motorsports driver said from victory lane, the fifth first-timer to visit there this season — most in NASCAR's premier series since 2002.
Other first-time winners this year: Trevor Bayne (Daytona 500), Regan Smith (Southern 500 at Darlington), David Ragan (Coke Zero 400 at Daytona) and Paul Menard (Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis).
Busch held the lead on the final restart but was passed by Keselowski in Turn 1. Ambrose then moved by Keselowski on the 2.45-mile road course's inner loop and drove away to win by a little less than half-a-second.
The last restart resulted from a crash by Paul Menard, after Ambrose reduced a 2.5-second lead held by Busch to two car-lengths.
A pair of last-lap crashes, primarily involving David Reutimann, Ragan and Tony Stewart, brought out a yellow caution flag, ending the race with Ambrose in the lead.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Indiana State Fair stage collapse: 5 dead; singer relates horror (Video)

The death toll has risen to five in the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in which 45 people were also injured.

The main stage collapsed on a crowd waiting for a Sugarland performance Saturday night at the Indianapolis fair after being blasted by winds as strong as 60 to 70 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
The lead singer of the country band, Jennifer Nettles, expressed her horror in a statement to Associated Press, saying there were "no words to process a moment of this magnitude and gravity."
The victims were identified by the Marion County coroner's office as Tammy Vandam, 42, of Wanatah; Glenn Goodrich, 49, of Indianapolis; Alina Bigjohny, 23, of Fort Wayne; Christina Santiago, 29, of Chicago; and Nathan Byrd, 51, of Indianapolis, who died overnight.
WRTV Indianapolis reported Sunday that the number of injured had climbed to 45. The fair was shut down Sunday in the aftermath of the accident.
The accident, which occurred at about 9 p.m. Saturday, unfolded in a dramatic scene captured on a YouTube video. The towering stage equipment tumbled forward onto fans against a backdrop of darkened skies, a massive dust storm and gusty winds.
One woman could be heard saying, “Oh my God, oh my God!”
“It was like it was in slow motion,” concertgoer Amy Weathers told the Indianapolis Star. “You couldn't believe it was actually happening.”
At local hospitals, triage and family reunification rooms were set up. Shortly after the accident, Sugarland said on Twitter: “We are all right. We are praying for our fans, and the people of Indianapolis. We hope you will join us. They need our strength.”
In the chaos afterward, scores of concertgoers rushed to the stage to lift broken scaffolding and equipment off people.
“People put themselves in jeopardy…and it’s gratifying to know that at a moment’s notice people will jump in to help others,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers.
No one was performing at the time of the collapse.The opening act had finished, and the crowd was waiting for Sugarland to take the stage. At the same time, the weather was worsening; there had been heavy rain and winds were picking up. State police were monitoring radar weather reports on their smartphones.
They had just decided to evacuate the grandstands and were putting officials in place to carry out the plan. But it wasn’t fast enough.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Jani Lane remembered for his turn as a singer-songwriter in Warrant

By Jackson BuckleyContributor / August 12, 2011
Jani Lane, best known as the lead singer for the hair-metal band Warrant, was found dead in aLos Angeles motel room on Aug. 12. The cause of death is unknown.

The Los Angeles Times recalls his Hollywood rise to fame:
"Lane and Warrant rose on the Sunset Stripcircuit in the mid-1980s alongside kindred spiritsGuns N' Roses, but, ironically, one of their early fans was funk singer Prince, who tried to sign the band to his Paisley Park imprint. The band ultimately signed with Columbia Records, and the label delivered.
They rode a wave of success through the early '90s. Lane parted ways with the band in 1993; grunge had replaced metal on the rock charts, and the band's hits stopped coming. But he and Warrant reconciled a few times over the years for concerts."
Though Lane decisively left the band in 2004, it is likely that our memories will preserve the songs and images he produced in the Warrant era. For example, his hit single ‘Cherry Pie,’ which he wrote in less than an hour and at the request of his boss, is one of the most enduring glam-metal love songs of all time. Alongside titles like ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ by Def Leppard it is a hallmark entry in the genre.
Calling ‘Cherry Pie’ one of his proudest achievements, Lane said in a July, 2007 interview with Sleaze Roxx, "It's a little catchy. It's a little tongue-in-cheek. It is probably not the most complicated song I have ever written but to write a song that is used as a measuring stick for a genre of music... It’s stood the test of time.”
Though Lane adopted a short, spiky hairstyle in his later career there is little question that, once again, the shiny cascading hair he sported in the Warrant era will define him. His was the hair-metal heyday, an inescapable period for the stars involved.
Lane leaves behind a daughter, Taylar.

Buffalo Bills trade WR Lee Evans to Ravens

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Bills traded veteran receiver Lee Evans to the Baltimore Ravens on Friday in a move that frees up salary and allows Buffalo to concentrate on developing its young group of receivers.

In exchange, the Bills received a fourth-round pick, according to a person familiar with the deal. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because neither team disclosed the round of the draft pick sent to Buffalo.

For the Bills, they lose a seven-year veteran who's been their most productive receiver on what's been a popgun offense for much of the past decade. He has two years left on his contract and was scheduled to make about $3.25 million this season.

The Ravens immediately improve their receiving attack around established veteran Anquan Boldin. Baltimore cut both receiver Derrick Mason and tight end Todd Heap last month.

"He's a quality veteran receiver who stretches the field and gives us significant downfield presence," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "He's the type of person you want on your team. He brings leadership and maturity to the locker room."

Evans' best game last season came against the Ravens, when he had 105 yards receiving and three touchdowns in Buffalo's 37-34 overtime loss.

The Bills were not available for comment as they were traveling to Chicago in preparation for their preseason-opener on Saturday.

The trade was not well received by at least one Bills veteran, cornerback Drayton Florence, who questioned the deal in several posts made on his Twitter account.

"Sad day for the bills," Florence wrote. "Are we trying to win now or later????"

Bills general manager Buddy Nix had previously sidestepped questions as to whether Evans was being shopped around.

Evans had been blindsided in reading reports of him being mentioned in trade talks. He eventually became resigned to being traded and informed several teammates of that likelihood after practice on Thursday, a person close to Evans told the AP. The second person also spoke on the condition of anonymity because Evans' conversations were considered private.

Selected by Buffalo in the first-round of the 2004 draft out of Wisconsin, Evans enjoyed two 1,000-yard seasons, but his numbers have tailed off over the past two years in part because of the Bills offensive struggles.

His best season came in 2006, when he had 82 catches for 1,292 yards and eight touchdowns.

Evans ranks third on the Bills' career list with 5,934 yards receiving. He's also fourth with 377 receptions and fifth with 43 touchdowns.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Drama continues after Adam Scott's win

AKRON, Ohio -- Golf fans in many ways have grown weary of the Tiger Woods story, at least as it pertains to all the drama of late.

And yet, they seem acutely aware of the soap opera surrounding his former caddie, made famous through their long winning relationship and who obviously took great glee Sunday by carrying the bag of another victorious golfer, Adam Scott.

How else do you explain some of the comments flowing from the gallery at Firestone Country Club, where Scott put on an impressive performance in claiming his eighth PGA Tour title and Williams proclaimed it the best week of his caddying life?

Spectators chanted Williams' name throughout the back nine as Scott, 31, shot 65 to claim the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. "Way to call his bluff, Stevie!" one fan yelled. "How do you like him now, Tiger?" said another.

[+] EnlargeScott
Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesAdam Scott claimed his first WGC-Bridgestone title Sunday at Firestone. The victory was the eighth on the course for caddie Steve Williams.

It was a surreal scene, made even more so by the fact Williams afterward talked more to the assembled media than in the past 12 years combined, all but rubbing the victory in Woods' face and overshadowing the win by his new boss.

"I've been caddying for 33 years and I've never had a bigger win," Williams said.
Really? None of the 13 majors with Woods were bigger? The Tiger Slam? The 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines?

Williams, 47, said he now has 145 victories as a caddie, and it was clear he was stoked. "It's the greatest week of my life caddying and I sincerely mean that," he said.

Clearly bitterness remains from the way he parted ways with Woods, who dismissed Williams following the AT&T National on July 3, a timeline Williams disputes.

"I was absolutely shocked that I got the boot to be honest with you," Williams said. "I've caddied for the guy for 11 years, I've been incredibly loyal to the guy and I got short shrifted. Very disappointed."
Williams said he was told of his dismissal by phone sometime after asking Woods for permission to caddie for Scott at the U.S. Open in June. Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, said in a phone interview on Sunday night that Williams' version was not true.
"Tiger's duties to the AT&T National were complete on Wednesday of that week," Steinberg said. "He went there specifically on that Sunday to talk to Steve in person. He did it after everything was concluded that day."
Steinberg expressed regret that Williams chose the aftermath of a big victory for Scott to go so public with his feelings, and he has a point. In a strange way, Williams became a bigger deal than Scott -- the one who hit the clutch shots and holed the putts to defeat Rickie Fowler and Luke Donald by four strokes.
For Scott, this victory is huge, a culmination of immense work this year with a long putter that he put into play due to his frustration in recent years on the greens. Scott has been around for more than a decade, and his swing, ironically, was often compared to Woods' when both players worked with swing instructor Butch Harmon.

Scott's victory at the 2003 Players Championship at just 23 was viewed as a step toward stardom, and while he has 19 worldwide victories, he had never really been a factor in a major championship until tying for second at this year's Masters.

"I'd like to help Adam get across the line and win a major championship," Williams said. 

Scott has been nothing but complimentary toward Williams, crediting him with providing a boost of confidence and leadership since they began working together. He has dealt patiently with all the Tiger questions. And he seemed to have no problem with all the attention Williams received.

"Obviously he's a popular guy around here having won now eight times," Scott said, noting the seven previous victories at Firestone. "They appreciate him a lot. And he's a bit of a character. It was fun to get support, whether it's for me or him, I don't care, it's the right team."
Williams, amazingly, has come off as the sympathetic figure. Truth be told, had Woods dismissed him at the beginning of the year, or at the end of this season, he likely would have been lauded. Williams has never been the most popular figure, mostly because of his bullish ways between the ropes and his sometimes untoward behavior toward spectators and media.

But the guy gets results, having worked for the likes of Greg Norman and Raymond Floyd. And there is a reason Woods kept him in his employ for so long. But the perceived timing of the split, and the fact Williams was clearly irritated by it, did Woods no favors.

In his first tournament back after a three-month break due to his injuries, Woods tied for 37th and made $58,500. Those who love this tawdry tale are reveling in the fact Williams' commission from a $1.4 million payday for Scott was likely $140,000.

When it was over, Williams removed the flag from the pin on the 18th hole as a customary keepsake and smiled and grinned to the crowd, who cheered him some more.

It was, as Williams said, the 145th victory of his caddie career.

But the first time in seemingly forever that he walked away as the good guy.