Chapman appears at a farewell ceremony for the International Space Station crew. (Getty Images)
Anna Chapman, busted by the FBI this summer in New York City as part of a high-profile spy ring, has become Russia’s newest tabloid sensation, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Chapman was swapped between the U.S. and Russia with nine other sleeper agents, the biggest spy swap since the Cold War.
Now, in Russia, she’s popping up everywhere.
According to the Times, Chapman appeared two weeks ago at the rocket launch of two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut, and on Monday was presented with Russia’s highest honor at the Kremlin by President Dmitry Medvedev.
But what has sent international tongues wagging, the Washington Post reports, is Chapman’s latest appearance on the November cover of the Russian edition of Maxim, stripped down to nothing but black lingerie and, oh wait, a gun.
Chapman, according to the Post, reveals in the interview nothing of her life as a spy before the June arrest.
Instead, she vaguely talks about men, charm and her future plans. The Post quotes Chapman’s Maxim interview, where she describes her dream “to open interesting, creative projects, to put my soul into them, to help realize the talents of my team, to make people happy.”
Medical-marijuana is becoming even more accessible in Colorado, at least for those deemed indigent by state bureaucrats.
The Rocky Mountain State is waiving the $90 application fee for the state’s medical-marijuana registry at the urging of the state legislature.
But not everybody is happy, critics argue the program isn’t as encompassing as they’d like it.
Paradoxically, spending all that money on marijuana might by why some people can’t afford the application:
Damien LaGoy, a medical-marijuana patient with HIV, said he makes $14 a month too much to qualify for the necessary programs to receive a fee waiver. Each month, LaGoy said, rent, food, health and marijuana payments leave him with too little money left over to afford the application fee. (Denver Post)
According to the Denver Post, the state may expand the program to include more poor patients.
A fourth-grade Virginia state history textbook is coming under fire for saying that black soliders fought in large numbers for the South during the Civil War, the Washington Post reports.
Mary Johnson holds a U.S. flag presented to her at a dedication ceremony for a new gravestone for her grandfather at Sunrise Memorial Cemetery in Vallejo in July 2010. The gravestone had mistakenly said her ex-slave grandfather fought for the Confederate Army rather than the Union. (Paul Chinn, San Francisco Chronicle
“Thousands of Southern blacks fought in Confederate ranks, including two black battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson,” according to the textbook, written by Joy Masoff, who is not a historian. She says she found evidence for the statement on the Internet. However, there is no record that black troops fought under Jackson, who died in 1863, two years before Robert E. Lee’s desperation proposal to arm slaves in return for freedom.
The Civil War Gazette says the evidence shows that “under a hundred to as many as several hundred blacks may have actually engaged in combat for the South during the Civil War by actually carrying and discharging a weapon.” By contrast, 180,000 black soldiers fought for the North.
Masoff’s work appears to be based on the claim of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group of male descendants of soldiers that argues the Civil War was not about slavery, but protecting individual freedom and defending against an illegal invasion. The SCV’s views are spelled out this paper issued for Black History Month.
While blacks helping whites defend the motherland from Yankee depredation makes a good story now, it wasn’t the argument made at the time. As Georgia ex-governor and Confederate general Howell Cobb famously wrote to Jefferson Davis in opposing Lee’s proposal, “Use all the negroes you can get for cooking, digging, chopping and such. But don’t arm them. If slaves will make good soldiers, then our whole theory of slavery is wrong.”
Guess what, governor? Some 130 years later, General Colin Powell quoted this passage in his autobiography.
When you’re the one kid on the ground getting kicked by a crowd, or are all alone walking past a gauntlet of angry slur-yelling mouth breathers, it’s easy to feel like no one in the world is there for you.
One teen, Brittany McMillan, decided to the best way to show solidarity with teens who struggle with anti-homosexuality bullying was to choose a day for everyone to wear purple in support of gay students’ right to not be harassed.
Spirit Day honors the teenagers who had taken their own lives in recent weeks. But just as importantly, it’s also a way to show the hundreds of thousands of LGBT youth who face the same pressures and bullying, that there is a vast community of people who support them.
Purple symbolizes ‘spirit’ on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT Pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.
As one of the event’s Facebook pages says: “This event is not a seminar nor is it a rally. There is NO meeting place. All you have to do is wear purple.”
The event is honor of Asher Brown as well as: Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Cody J. Barker, Harrison Chase Brown, Caleb Nolt, Billy Lucas, Jeanine Blanchette and Chantal Dube.
Celebrate all the championships he'll win in iambic pentameter
While others historically have paid tribute to their heroes after they do something heroic, the Miami Herald chooses to stay ahead of the curve.
The newspaper and WLRN are holding a LeBron James Poetry Contest to celebrate King James’ arrival before he even steps on the court for his first regular season game in Miami.
Hmm, what rhymes with “hubris”?
Entrants are invited to put to verse their thoughts about LeBron coming to Miami, whether they be joyous (Miami fans) or bitter (the rest of the country). The winner will be awarded two tickets to a Heat game and a poetry festival, and get to read the poem on the air.
1. Poem must commemorate the arrival of LeBron James to Miami.
2. The poem can utilize any poetic form (haiku, rhyming couplets, limerick, free verse, etc.) but it cannot exceed six lines (LeBron’s jersey is #6).
3. No limit to the number of poems you can submit.
4. The entry must be received by 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22.
Only six lines! That’s a slap in the face to Elizabethan sonnet writers like us.
Guess they’re looking for something more like this:
There once was a young man from Nantucket
(er, Akron) who could really go to the bucket
After colluding with Bosh and Wade
A much ballyhooed announcement he made
And basically told Cleveland to chuck it
Despite being cartoons, The Simpsons are more clever and culturally-conscious than most TV families, and the writers incorporate real-life religion into their lives: grace at meals, Sunday School, Bible references and even an animated version of the Almighty himself.
The Vatican has taken notice of The Simpsons’ Christian faith and published an article in its newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, insisting they are true Catholics:
The Simpsons are among the few TV programmes for children in which Christian faith, religion, and questions about God are recurrent themes… Few people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it, but it is true: Homer J Simpson is a Catholic.
It quoted an analysis by a Jesuit priest, Father Francesco Occhetta, of a 2005 episode of The Simpsons, The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star, which revolved around Catholicism and was aired a few weeks after the death of Pope John Paul II.
The episode starts with Bart being expelled from Springfield Elementary School and being enrolled in a Catholic school where he meets a sympathetic priest, voiced by the actor Liam Neeson, who draws him into Catholicism with his kindness.
Homer then decides to convert to Catholicism, to the horror of his wife Marge, the Rev Lovejoy and Ned Flanders. The episode touches on issues such as religious conflict, interfaith dialogue, homosexuality and stem cell research.
The Simpsons has addressed religion, both on earth and in heavenly realms, throughout its 20 years on air. This concern for spirituality hasn’t gone unnoticed (the Vatican has commended the show before) and scholars have even sat down to tackle the fictional family’s faith.
We know a great deal about the spiritual life of almost every one of the characters. Most of the cartoon cast attend the First Church of Springfield, a middle-of-the-road Protestant church, presided over by the Reverend Timothy Lovejoy, but other characters are identified as Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Hare Krishnas, “Movementarians” or snake-handlers. The children of the town go to Sunday School – usually unwillingly, and Bart does have to be frisked for weapons – but theological issues interest them when they are there. When the teacher announces that the day’s topic is Hell, Bart is delighted. “All right!” he enthuses, “I sat through Mercy and I sat through Forgiveness; finally we get to the good stuff!”
The Bible is referred to frequently: on TV and radio, in counseling the troubled, and (of course) in the pulpit. Ned Flanders, the evangelical next-door neighbour of the Simpsons, has a large collection of versions in his house – including the Aramaic Septuagint, the Vulgate of St. Jerome, the Living Bible and the Thump-Proof Bible. Homer, however, finds the book expensive and preachy: “Everybody’s a sinner,” he complains, “except this guy!” It is also largely irrelevant: “If the Bible has taught us nothing else – and it hasn’t – it’s that girls should stick to girls’ sports such as hot-oil wrestling, foxy-boxing and such and such.”
The writers don’t seem to go out of their way to portray God or religion as ridiculous. Instead, there’s the same about of tradition/belief and doubt/hesitancy as most Christians have. Like this clip of Homer being convinced to get out of bed to go to church on a Sunday morning:
Do you agree with the Vatican? Or are the Simpsons more “d’oh!” than divine?
The news that Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand suffered a paralyzing neck injury dampened enjoyment of the first college football BCS standings weekend. (Warning: the Newark Star-Ledger video below shows the hit graphically).
Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand carted off on backboard with neck injury
LeGrand underwent surgery Saturday night at Hackensack University Medical Center after he was injured making a tackle on a kickoff in the fourth quarter against Army. He lay motionless for seven minutes while his neck was immobilized, then was placed on a backboard and taken to the New Jersey hospital.
Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif., this month won approval to test its promising stem-cell treatment for spinal cord injuries–the first time this category of treatment has been done on human patients– and is seeking patients with spinal cord injuries no more than a week or two old. This has led to a flurry of posts on Yahoo’s GERN stock message board about whether LeGrand could be a candidate. However, according to commenters on the board, his injury, at the C3-C4 level of vertebrae, is too high on the neck to qualify.
Recovery doesn’t always require new treatments, though. Penn State player Adam Taliaferro, who suffered a spinal cord injury 10 years ago and defied medical experts by walking again within eight months and making a full recovery, sent a message to LeGrand and his supporters.
Everyone around him — his friends, his family, his teammates — have to keep it positive. He’s facing some tough times ahead. He needs to stay in a positive frame of mind. That made a difference for me.