Sunday, March 2, 2003

MASSIE LEADS TIGERS TO 9TH STRAIGHT

MASSIE LEADS TIGERS TO 9TH STRAIGHT

Posted By on Sun, Mar 2, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Playing for most of the first half without foul-plagued point guard Chris Massie, the U of M Tigers held on to see a big second half for Massie, who had 17 points in the half and 23 points overall, leading the Tigers over the Cincinnati Bearcats, 67-48. Antonio Burks, who also had foul problems, added 12 points for the Tigers (20-5, 11-3 Conference USA), who have won nine straight. After beating Louisville 101-80 on Feb. 22, Cincinnati -- scored 101 points in its next two games: a 53-52 win over East Carolina and then Saturday night's debacle. The Bearcats shot 35 percent in their last game and 24.6 percent against Memphis. "We did not make the shots, and you have to make shots to win," said Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins, who suffered his first loss ever to a team led by arch-rival John Calipari, the Tiger coach. Memphis took control with a 17-2 run midway through the second half. The teams exchanged the lead early in the second half, and Cincinnati's four-point advantage was the biggest for either team during the stretch. But Massie changed all that, starting with about 14 minutes to play. He scored the Tigers' next 10 points, helping them build a 44-28 lead with just over 10 minutes left. The lead grew to 55-40 on Massie's two free throws with 6:18 left. The Bearcats led 29-27 at halftime after a frenzied first half, and Cincinnati shot 31.4 percent but turned the ball over just once. Memphis shot 41 percent and had only three turnovers. .

KARAOKE KILLER UPDATE

Joseph Crouch spotted on Gulf Coast.

Posted By on Sun, Mar 2, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Joseph Crouch, the karaoke enthusiast from Memphis wanted for the 2001 murder of his wife, Betsy, has been spotted. Just as police suspected, he has been seen singing karaoke and playing golf along the Gulf Coast in Mississippi and Louisiana. He has also been gambling in the Gulf Coast casinos. According to Crouch's daughter, Teresa Wampler, police have received 50 tips in the past two weeks, thanks in large part to an article about Crouch that ran in the New Orleans Times-Picayune and two consecutive segments aired on America's Most Wanted.

Most of the reports are of one-time sightings, but Wampler is absolutely certain that many, if not all, of these people saw her father.

"He asked one woman for a date," Wampler said. "He met her in the karaoke club. He told her that he was a big gambler and wanted to know if she would go to the casino with him sometime. But the big thing, the thing that lets me know it was my father, is this: She said the man introduced himself as Leroy. Leroy is my father's middle name." Neither the Times-Picayune story nor America's Most Wanted divulged Crouch's middle name.

According to Wampler, one karaoke deejay has also turned in a convincing description of her father. The man allegedly filled out 15 slips of paper with his name, the name of the song he wanted to perform, and the disc number. Then he told the deejay to hold on to the slips because he would be coming back to sing more in the future.

"He always did this," Wampler said of her father's karaoke habits. "He always liked to sing the same songs, and he didn't want to have to fill out the slips of paper more than once."

"He's keeping all of his habits," Wampler continued. "He's singing karaoke, playing golf, watching sports on TV, and going to casinos and telling people he's a big-shot gambler. Apparently, he doesn't feel any remorse."

Saturday, March 1, 2003

A FAN'S "FIRST TIME"

A FAN'S "FIRST TIME"

Posted By on Sat, Mar 1, 2003 at 4:00 AM

TO THE FLYER:

Forgive me for being a greenhorn who has yet to experience most of the finer things in life. But on Tuesday night February 18, 2003, my husband and I received free NBA courtside tickets to the Memphis Grizzlies-vs.-Indiana Pacers game at the Pyramid . It was an authentic “first-time” experience, one of the best of my life. I became very unreserved and began to yell and boo when Hubie Brown, the Grizzlies head coach, received two technical fouls within the first 10 minutes of the game and was thrown out. The second technical foul was unjustified. Apparently that was the overall consensus because the stadium went crazy. And I was one of the main people leading the pack. Our courtside seats were in the front row. I was literally two feet away, if not closer, to Jason Williams, Lorenzen Wright, Reggie Miller... I actually got up and touched Lorenzen on his shoulder as he was waiting inches inside the line as he prepared himself for the ball to be thrown in bounds, which would have initiated resumption of play. Lorenzen turned around looked at me - as if to make sure I wasn't a dude trying to pick a fight - and then without saying a word or changing his serious facial expression, he turned back around and continued to focus on what he was doing. But I didn't care. I touched him! With my right hand, which was now moist with perspiration after touching Lorenzen, I tapped Harvey, my husband, and said, "Babe, I just touched Lorenzen Wright." First Harvey asked, "Why are you putting another man's sweat on me?" Then he said that I better behave before I either got arrested for touching the players or before the players started to beat him up. The latter is a man thing, I guess. I don't know what he meant by that and he wouldn't tell me when I asked. As I attempted to regain control of myself, it dawned on me that I was about 25 feet away from the great, the one and only, the hall-of-famer - Isaiah Thomas. The excitement of the moment regained its hold on me. Being a sports fan, I had watch Isaiah play basketball during his entire professional career. Now, finally, I was in the same room with him. I said to myself, to hell with my dignity and self-control, this is a bigger than life moment and I am going to enjoy it. At the beginning of the game the Pacers were up by about 12 points or so. The Grizzlies tied the game. The lead flipped flopped for quite a while. Then, an 8-year-old boy sitting two seats to my left began to continually shout “Reggie Miller you suck.” Eventually, the boy got Reggie’s attention. On one occasion, Reggie with an annoyed look on his face, made direct eye contact with the kid. After that, classic Reggie emerged. He began hitting threes, twos - just dominating. It was funny because when Reggie gave the kid a mean look, the kid got really quiet and began staring at the floor. He looked as if he felt ashamed of himself for harassing Reggie. Fast-forwarding, Memphis was up by three with seconds left on the clock. Guess who hit a three at the buzzer to tie the game and send it into overtime? You guessed it - that damn Reggie Miller! I am surprised I still have my voice. I screamed so much Tuesday night, I felt as though my outbursts willed the Grizzlies, so to speak, to win the game by three in overtime. Although Jason Williams has his problems - some say - he has always been one of my favorite players. I can't count how many times I called his name Tuesday night while ecstatically cheering him on. Harvey thinks I am crazy when it comes to certain things anyway, so he just let me enjoy the game. He cheered also, but being an ex-high school and college basketball player himself, he yelled and was frustrated by incorrect technical basketball procedures - who wasn’t checking their man - etc. Boring! Just kidding! I like the technical stuff too. Man, let me tell you that kid Tinsley for the Pacers made an incredible move to the hoop. Harvey and I were both like oooh! Jamine O'Neal blocked some key shoots - all ball! Artest, Thomas' new bad boy (in the making), is fun to watch also. And to think, most of the key players for the Pacers besides Reggie Miller are very young. They have a pretty good crew for the future. But they didn’t have enough to beat our Grizzlies, who I am proud to say also have a young talented team, which is destined to be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. Honestly, if we had courtside tickets when MIKE was in town - even as sorry as he has been playing during this final comeback - not only would I have lost my voice screaming his name, I would have definitely been tossed out of the game or worst - gotten arrested. I would have surely copped a feel. It’s that simple. I mean, a real good one! I love Michael Jordan. Oh, but everyone already knows that. Well, my life is ruined now. I can't imagine going to another professional basketball game and watching from the stands. I want or rather need courtside seats. Since that is not feasible because even the young Grizzlies’ courtside seats are $500 each - I can't image what the price would be for the elite teams like The Lakers or The Knicks - I have to admit that we will only get the opportunity to sit on the court when/if we are graciously offered free courtside tickets again. It's not fair being poor! The Grizzlies need me on their sidelines to help them win. Occasionally, they can reward me by letting me fondle their players :-) I wonder what else I am missing out on in life? Deborah Allen-Sykes Memphis

A SAD DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

A SAD DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Posted By on Sat, Mar 1, 2003 at 4:00 AM

HUGHES, ARKANSAS -- I awoke Thursday morning in a bad mood. A glance out the kitchen window confirmed that we would be beset with another "snow day"-- our third in a row. When I was a child, snow days meant mornings of sledding and afternoons of drinking Ovaltine in front of "The Smurfs." Fast forward fifteen years, and an icy, school-free Wednesday found me scraping mildew from between my shower tiles. Winter Wonderland had become Hell Frozen Over. I clicked on my radio anticipating another winter weather advisory, but a calmer, friendlier message greeted me instead. "Children need limits," a familiar voice explained. "The child who can run into the street without warning is a child who will feel unloved." I thought of 10-year-old Amanda, sobbing in the hallway after I lost my temper with her (yet again) for rolling her eyes at me (yet again). "I’m sorry I yelled at you, Amanda," I said, wiping her cheeks. "I get mad because I love you." This statement probably made no sense to Amanda--actually, it hardly seemed reasonable to me at the time. But listening to the voice on the radio--one which, by now, I recognized as the unmistakable warm and fuzzy voice of Mr. Rogers--it all felt right. "How lucky," I thought, "to wake up to an interview with Mr. Rogers." Who couldn’t use a little comforting from the best counselor in the "neighborhood"? Yet, the announcer’s voice next delivered a brief, solemn sentence: "Fred Rogers died last night at the age of 74." Not possible. I switched off the radio, as if silencing the news would erase it. Mr. Rogers dead? Santa Claus never gets old or sick. The spirit of youth and kindness lives forever. People who have never pulled on a sweater or fed a goldfish love Mr. Rogers and, as children, followed his every domestic move on "Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood." People who know the unedited version of Khia’s "My Neck, My Back" by heart can still hum the tune of "Won’t You Be My Neighbor?" Without any evidence to support my conclusion, I can say that the appeal of Mr. Rogers transcends age, gender, race and income. My roommate Danielle and I argue over feminism, vegetarianism, and the artistic value of Titanic. We both adore Mr. Rogers. Danielle would have me point out that she and Mr. Rogers share the same hometown (Pittsburgh), and her mother visited the hospital where Mr. Rogers died of stomach cancer. When I informed Danielle of Mr. Rogers’ death, she replied, "No way! He showed me the crayon factory. Mr. Rogers kicks ass." How did an unassuming, gray-haired former preacher charm so many people? In an August 1999 article on the 30th anniversary of "Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood," Salon.com columnist Joyce Millman described the PBS show "an oasis of peace and calm, familiarity and safety in a kid-unfriendly world." I would go further and call "Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood" a haven in a human-unfriendly world. In college, I bookmarked the "Neighborhood" web site and visited it more times than I should admit--every time I was belittled and overwhelmed by the pressures of GPA and my job on the college newspaper. "I’ll never be a perfect student," I’d tell myself. Then, Mr. Rogers’ words would flash on my computer screen: "If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet, how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person." Mr. Rogers assured me, "You are special," at a time I felt as valuable as a dime in the Dollar Store. As a teacher, I wish I could do for my students what Mr. Rogers has done for me. The number-one problem among my 4th graders is not lack of reading ability or math comprehension--although I struggle with these issues every day--the real anathema is my students’ low self-esteem. "What’s something Miss Haines should know about you?" I asked on my beginning-of-the-year student survey. Answers? Bubbly, brown-eyed Andrea wrote, "I am stupid." Ashleigh hunched over her paper in the back of the classroom and scrawled, "BAD." The school year hadn’t even started, and my children already saw themselves as academic losers. How do you begin to inspire greatness in kids who embrace failure? Mr. Rogers never claimed to have all the answers. Perhaps the best thing about his message of self-acceptance was the way he presented it-- on-the-level, without a grown-up’s condescending gushiness. One of my favorite Mr. Rogers tunes claims, "There are many ways to say ‘I love you." He showed us that there are also many ways to say "You’re important." You can invite someone inside your imagination. You can introduce them to your mailman. You can just smile and say, "I’m glad you’re here." Sentimentality doesn’t matter as much as sentiment. As Mr. Rogers suggested in the radio segment, sometimes a scolding is a hug in disguise. Even when Mr. Rogers was alive, I couldn’t thank him for welcoming me into his "television home" week after week. The best I can do is try to be a good teacher-hostess, snow or shine, groggy or riding on a Diet Coke high. I don’t have the sneakers or sweater for the job, but I do have the desire to empower a pint-sized (or, in some cases, quarter-gallon sized) audience. Won’t you be my neighbor? (Jesse Corlew-Haines is a former resident of Memphis, now teaching in Hughes, Arkansas on behalf of Teach for America.)

'WHAT IS THE TRUE COST OF THIS WAR?'

'WHAT IS THE TRUE COST OF THIS WAR?'

Posted By on Sat, Mar 1, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Introduction: It is inexplicable that the mainstream media pays so little attention to what the Senator from West Virginia says on the subject of a possible Gulf War II, particularly in light of the oratorical excellence he displays. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the remarks made below, one thing is certain about Senator Byrd: he either has the greatest living American speechwriter working for him in his office, or, if he does this all by himself at age 84, he's considerably less senile than virtually all the rest of us... Senator Byrd, you're no Strom Thurmond. Thank you, sir, for your eloquence, and for having the courage of your convictions. Kenneth Neill February 26, 2003 Senate Remarks: Tell the World the True Cost of War Since last August, the Administration has worked aggressively to convince the American public that Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator who directly threatens the United States. The President has been unambiguous, and often dangerously blunt, about his passion to use force to destroy Saddam's regime. The Bush Administration has promoted a vision of Saddam's removal from power quickly, easily, and bloodlessly. Indeed, part of the rationale for support for this war is that America's tremendous military superiority over Iraq will confine a military conflict to a relatively painless contest between the United States' awesome military forces and the relatively weak, conventional military machine of Saddam Hussein. A swift and simple military victory certainly is one possibility, but in our democratic-Republic the Administration also has a responsibility to inform the American people that much less pleasant scenarios are also possible and even likely. The Congress has a responsibility to explore all possible scenarios with an eye to the eventual costs of this war. We must not just accept the rosy projections so far offered by the Administration. Frankly, I have seen little effort by either the Administration or the Congress to inform the taxpayer about the likely costs of this war. In both dollars and human lives, the Administration has been ominously quiet about its internal calculations and estimates. What is even worse is that the Congress has barely bothered to ask about them. Earlier this month, the President unveiled his budget for the Fiscal Year 2004. Even assuming the most primitive and loose definition of the term "fiscal responsibility," that budget request should certainly have included some rough cost estimate for a war with Iraq. Even a range of costs would have been somewhat illuminating. But no cost estimate was included in the President's budget. Let me repeat that. There is no estimate of the cost of the looming war with Iraq in the President's budget. The possible war has dominated the airwaves for months, yet there is no cost estimate in the President's budget. President Bush mentions the looming conflict in nearly every public pronouncement, yet no cost estimate to fight this war appears in his '04 budget. Is the Administration trying to tell the people of this nation it is for free? When the Defense Secretary presented the President's defense budget to the Senate Armed Services Committee, and was asked what the Administration projected that a war in Iraq would cost, he would only say that such costs are "not knowable." Let us contemplate that answer "not knowable." Does the Secretary of Defense mean to say that this great nation does not yet know what its plans include for a war with Iraq? Is that why the costs are "not knowable?" Does he mean to say that we do not yet know exactly what we are going to try to achieve in Iraq? Is that why the costs are "not knowable?" Or does he simply mean to indicate that he does not want to divulge the potential costs, therefore to us they are "not knowable." One must presume that by now the Administration would have made several internal forecasts of the military cost of the war using various scenarios, and that the White House Council of Economic Advisors would have prepared for the President a classified study of the projected economic impact of the war. Reportedly OMB Director Daniels has been working on war estimates for months, yet we are told that these costs are "not knowable." None of this information has been made available to the public, nor, I suspect, is it likely to be released in the near future. Congress has a responsibility to demand that information. Congress must not accept the answer, "not knowable." The American people deserve to know the truth. There was one cost estimate provided by the Administration which came from an interview last fall with Larry Lindsey, the President's former economic advisor, who said that a war with Iraq could cost between $100 billion and $200 billion. He went on to opine that that was "nothing." Yet, the White House quickly distanced itself from that comment, and the director of the Office of Management and Budget rebuked that estimate, saying that Lindsey's estimate was "very, very high."The OMB Director suggested that the cost of the war would be closer to $60 billion or $70 billion. The Pentagon recently stretched that estimate to $95 billion. I wonder just what we are to make of these conflicting estimates. How are we to gauge the validity of such widely varying numbers. Do these figures contemplate other complications? What if casualty estimates grow into the thousands? What if oil prices skyrocket, sparking inflation and lines at the gas pump, and costing the U.S. economy thousands of American jobs? Suppose the Middle East erupts in a tornado of violence, toppling regime after regime in the region? Even a rudimentary list of the possible contingencies shows that costs may grossly exceed what the Administration wants the public to believe.The Congressional Budget Office reported last September that the incremental costs of just deploying a force to the Persian Gulf -- that is, those costs incurred above those budgeted for routine operations -- could be between $9 billion and $13 billion. Prosecuting a war, according to the CBO, could cost between $6 billion and $9 billion per month. And after hostilities ended, the costs just to return U.S. forces to their home bases could range between $5 billion and $7 billion. Regardless of the swiftness of a military victory, there remains the cost of a post-war occupation of Iraq, which the Administration says could last for up to two years and could mean another $1 billion to $4 billion or more per month during that period. On top of that, the United States might face a humanitarian crisis including rampant disease and starvation if Saddam Hussein employs a scorched earth strategy in defending his regime. What about the need for a cleanup of biological and chemical weapons if the Iraqi Republican Guard employs them against U.S. soldiers? Reconstruction and nation-building costs resulting from installing a democratic government in Iraq have to also be thought about. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences projected that the minimum reconstruction and nation-building costs for Iraq could be as high as $30 billion, and that's under the very best of circumstances. Will the Administration propose something similar to a Marshall Plan for Iraq? The Academy reported that U.S. investments in Western Europe after World War II under the Marshall Plan cost a total of $13.3 billion over a four-year period. That is the equivalent of $450 billion over four years if measured as a percentage of GDP in 2002. No one likes to talk about putting a price tag on national security, but these costs simply cannot be ignored in light of our current sagging economy and given a projected budget deficit of $307 billion for the fiscal year 2004. Remember, this government is going to have to borrow the money to finance this war. The total price of a war in Iraq could easily add up to hundreds of billions of dollars - - even a trillion or more - - overwhelming a federal budget which is already sliding into deep deficits and warping the U.S. economy and impacting the economies of other nations for years to come. And unlike the Gulf War in 1991, many of our allies are unlikely to want to help much in defraying these costs. Right now, the Administration is trying to coax nations to join the "coalition of the willing" by paying them, not by asking them to help us pay for the war. "Coalition of the willing" or "COW" for short. It appears to me that the U.S. is the "cow" - - the cash cow in this case. We are the ones being milked. The Administration reportedly has negotiated a multi-billion package of grants and loans for the Republic of Turkey for use of its bases to open a possible northern front against Iraq. The Administration is negotiating similar multi-billion packages with Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and other allies in the Middle East. I wonder if members are aware of the details of any of these deals in the works or their projected costs over time? I believe that the costs of this war will be staggering. We know that our nation's most precious treasure, the lives of our young men and women in uniform, will certainly be threatened. But we do not know how great the risk is because the Administration will not talk about its plans. In addition, the cost, in terms of taxpayer dollars, will be enormous. We hear of negotiations ongoing with Turkey that are in the area of $30 billion. We learn of requests from Israel for $12 billion. In addition, Jordan wants to be compensated. We read that negotiations are underway to provide economic assistance to Mexico, Chile, and various African nations -- all of which are members of the United Nations Security Council. Where will this all end? How many nations will be promised American economic assistance just for their tacit support? And how strong is support that can be bought with promises of American dollars? This is no way to operate. If the case against Saddam Hussein were strong enough on its merits, the United States would not have to buy the support of the international community. If the world truly believes that Saddam Hussein poses an imminent threat, then let the world say so clearly. But do not taint that decision, do not taint the possible sacrifice of American soldiers, sailors, and airmen, by prying open the door to war with a blank check from the taxpayers. If war is undertaken without UN sanction or broad international support, the United States taxpayer can expect to pay the costs of the war for decades and pay the interest costs for decades more. And that's to say nothing about the larger macroeconomic costs to the economy. The economic ripples of a war could spread beyond direct budgetary costs into international energy markets through higher oil prices. The psychological effects of a war in Iraq, especially if it initiates new terrorist attacks around the globe, could further scare the already jittery financial markets and rattle consumers. If the war goes badly, either through heavier than expected causalities, protracted bloody urban warfare, massive foreign denunciations, chemical and biological warfare, or major terrorist attacks here and abroad, we may be plunging our economy into unfathomable debt which this nation cannot easily sustain. But even if one discounts these scenarios as unlikely, and sets them all aside, the potential costs of a limited war in Iraq could continue to pile up for years, depending on the total damage to Iraq, the civilian casualties, and the possibility that the war's effects could spread into other countries. This is a dangerous and damaging game the Administration is playing with the American public. Glossing over the cost of a war with Iraq may make it easier to win short-term support. But without any serious attention to costs, the American people cannot be engaged in a fulsome public discussion about the eventual wisdom of undertaking this war. Public support cannot be sustained to accomplish our post-war goals in Iraq if the nation has been misled about the duration and difficulty of such a conflict. We cannot treat the citizens of this nation as if they are children who must be fed a fairy tale about fighting a glorious war of "liberation" which will be cheap, short and bloodless. If the President is going to force this nation to engage in this unwise, potentially disastrous, and alarmingly expensive commitment, he must lay out all of the costs and risks to the nation. What is particularly worrisome is how naively the idea of establishing a perfect democracy in Iraq is being tossed around by this Administration. If the Administration engages in such a massive undertaking without the American people understanding the real costs and long-term commitment that will be required to achieve this bucolic vision, our efforts in Iraq could end with chaos in the region. Chaos, poverty, hopelessness, hatred - - that's exactly the kind of environment that becomes a fertile breeding ground for terrorists. The Administration is asking the American public and the international community to support this war. The Administration must also put all of its cards on the table. A list of real risks and downsides do the nation no good locked in Donald Rumsfeld's desk drawer. They must be brought into the sunshine for the people to assess.The American people are willing to embrace a cause when they judge it to be noble and both its risks and its benefits are explained honestly to them. But if information is withheld, long-term political support can never be sustained. Once the order is given and the bombs start falling, the lives of American troops and innocent civilians on the ground hang in the balance. Once "boots are on the ground," concerns about the monetary cost of war necessarily take a back seat. This nation will not shortchange the safety of our fighting men and women once they are in harms way. But our people and this Congress should not have to wait until our troops are sent to fight to know what we are facing, including the painful costs of this war in dollars, political turmoil, and blood. In a democratic Republic, secrecy has no place. Hiding information from the public to rally support behind a war, at the very time when the government should be striving for maximum trust will eventually undermine our nation's strength. This conflict will be paid for with the people's treasure and the people's blood. This is no time to affront that sacrifice with beltway spin and secrecy.
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