Saturday, January 29, 2005

Volume I, No. 10
edited and published by Victor Cuvo

News and Sports shorts:

The Chicago Cubs are reportedly on the verge of trading slugger Sammy Sosa to the Baltimore Orioles...

Seventh-seeded American Serena Williams ended a long major drought as she captured the 2005 Australian Open by defeating world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport in three sets in Saturday's final. Williams, a former world No. 1, rallied to down her countrywoman 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in 89 minutes. Serena, who won her seventh major title and first since taking Wimbledon in 2003, earned $911,018 for her 26th career tournament win. "I'm still in shock," an elated Williams said. "I can't believe I was able to win."...

- Arturo "Thunder" Gatti makes the second defense of his WBC super lightweight title on Saturday when he faces rugged veteran Jesse James Leija at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City...

Edward Cox, a son-in-law of President Nixon, is considering a Senate run next year against Hillary Rodham Clinton, a longtime friend and adviser said Friday...

The judge in the Michael Jackson molestation case yesterday rejected a prosecution request to close the courtroom when the teenage accuser takes the stand at the pop star's trial...

Condoleezza Rice took the oath Friday, January 28th as the 66th secretary of state and vowed to use American diplomacy to spread democracy across the world...



Iraqi official sees big turnout


By Sharon Behn
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Roey Yohai (THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

BAGHDAD — Iraq's deputy prime minister yesterday predicted that voter turnout to form a National Assembly tomorrow will prove skeptics wrong and exceed voting in U.S. national elections.
Barham Salih also said the stakes are enormous for the entire world, not just Iraq and nations in the U.S.-led coalition.
"It will definitely be better than voter turnout in the U.S. and the United Kingdom," Mr. Salih said in an interview while sitting beneath palm trees outside his marbled office in Baghdad's fortified green zone.

"And that would be a remarkable achievement given the security environment and intimidation that most Iraqis face," he said.
The eligible-voter turnout in November's U.S. presidential election was 60.7 percent.
While Mr. Salih spoke, insurgents battled American troops and terrorists attacked polling stations as tomorrow's vote for a 275-seat National Assembly approached.
Explosions rattled Baghdad and gunfire crackled above the noon call to prayer.
Insurgents killed five American soldiers, set off a suicide car bomb that killed four Iraqi policemen in Baghdad and continued to attack polling sites across the country.
A U.S. Army OH-58 Kiowa helicopter crashed in southwest Baghdad last night. The cause of the crash and fate of the crew were not immediately known. Kiowas usually have a crew of two pilots.
Iraqis planning to face a gantlet of intimidation to cast their ballots tomorrow won praise and encouragement from the cleric at an influential Sunni Muslim mosque in Baghdad.
"The National Assembly is going to happen. Each voter must choose the candidate he believes in," said Sheik Moayed al-Adhami, imam at Abu Hanifa mosque where a typical Friday prayer service is filled with fiery rhetoric, often against the U.S. presence in Iraq.
"We must choose the best-suited people, the wisest, the most intelligent and patient," he said, according to Agence France-Presse. "The nation must choose the candidates who are of merit and deserve their vote."
Although many Sunni religious leaders have urged their followers to boycott the vote, in the Adhamiyah district of Baghdad, where the insurgency has found a haven, it appeared people were seriously considering casting their ballots.
"If we succeed here, and build a functioning democracy, the consequences are huge. Almost everyone has a stake in the process. We have no option but to try and make a difference," Mr. Salih said.
"All our problems today pale in comparison to what we suffered under Saddam," he said.
British and U.S. security reports are warning of heavy insurgent and terrorist activity tomorrow. Terrorists have been warning that they will kill anyone who votes.
With election results not expected for a week to 10 days, voter turnout and casualty tolls have become key gauges of the election's success.
Turnout in the Kurdish North and among Shi'ites, who live mainly in the South, is expected to be heavy. The two groups comprise about 80 percent of Iraq's 14 million voters.
According to two recent State Department surveys, including one conducted Jan. 10-19, more than 80 percent of Iraq's Shi'ite population said it was "very likely" they would vote.
Shi'ite leaders say Muslims have a religious duty to vote, in contrast to many Sunni leaders who are calling for a boycott.
About 30 percent of Sunnis in the State Department-sponsored poll said they plan to vote.
Many of Baghdad's prominent Sunni clerics, who have lambasted the electoral process, were notably mute yesterday.
In the mosque of Uum al-Qura, home to the hard-line Committee of Muslim Scholars, the largest association of Sunni clerics in Iraq, Mahmud al-Sumaydai avoided any mention of the elections, as did the speaker at another mosque, Ibn Tamiyah, Agence France-Presse reported.
By evening yesterday, the military had closed down major bridges and thoroughfares.
A nationwide curfew will be in effect today and vehicle movement will be severely restricted. Rings of military and police forces will be placed around the nation's 6,000 voting places.
The presence of U.S. troops has become a campaign issue in Iraq, with candidates commenting on how long the forces should stay.
Although no one has called for an immediate withdrawal, Mr. Salih said after the election the coalition forces should start taking a lower profile.
He said the government was in the process of finalizing arrangements for new training programs for Iraqi security forces.
"Iraqi forces must take the lead and urban centers must be secured by Iraqis," the deputy prime minister told reporters at a press conference later in the day. "The present dynamics are not acceptable either to us or the Americans."
But, Mr. Salih said, multinational forces would be needed for some time to come as deterrence against neighboring nations that had "designs" on Iraq.

January 29, 2005

THE COURAGE TO VOTE
by Kathleen Parker

"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." - Ronald Reagan



Like most Americans, I've never had to be brave to vote. I just show up at the polls, negotiate the ballot, grab an "I voted" sticker and drive home satisfied that the world will continue to turn on its axis in the usual way.

Piece of cake, democracy.

Then again, not really. As I was pondering the Jan. 30 elections in Iraq - and wondering whether I'd have the courage to vote under such circumstances - I was reminded that not so long ago one group of Americans had to be that brave.

It was just 40 years ago in the United States that many African-Americans were prevented from voting and some killed for trying, as were whites who tried to help them. It was only after numerous acts of violence and, yes, terrorism against blacks that the 1965 Voting Rights Act passed.

Imagine that.

In Iraq, terrorists and insurgents loyal to the former Baathist regime try to terrorize men and women who wish only to exercise their right to control their own destiny. In the South of the 1960s, terrorists loyal to segregation and Jim Crow hid behind white sheets while they burned crosses and terrorized blacks who wanted only to control their own destinies. They behead; we lynched.

Imagine that.

It's interesting that when suicide bombers blow up a building and kill innocents in Iraq, we know to call it terrorism. When bombers detonated their evil in a Birmingham, Ala., church, killing four little girls, that, too, was terrorism. It was also terrorism when members of the Ku Klux Klan kidnapped and murdered three voting-rights activists in Philadelphia, Miss.

There is at this historic juncture a certain poetic symmetry as events unfold. On the eve of free elections in Iraq, our own history is circling back on itself. Just a couple of weeks ago, former KKK leader Edgar Ray Killen, 80, the man accused of orchestrating the 1964 murders of civil-rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney, was indicted and faces trial March 28.

Forty years. Justice is not always swift, nor is the march to freedom easy. Democracy, as we seem to relearn each election season, is hard, messy work. So that witnessing the birth of democracy in Iraq, counting the painful contractions from afar, is both breathtaking and awesome.

I imagine that Iraqis walking to the polls Sunday - anticipating the possibility of violence, a car bomb or a stray bullet - must feel what American marchers, black and white, felt on March 7, 1965, as they started across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., toward the state capitol in Montgomery.

Like today's Iraqis, all they wanted was to vote. They, too, must have felt their stomachs knot, knowing that armed state troopers at any moment might rain violence on their unprotected heads. Which, of course, they did. Insurgents in Iraq; state-sanctioned terror in America. We have seen this before.

We've come a long way.

And so have Iraqis. In less than two years, they've been invaded, liberated, occupied and now face their first election with some 7,000 candidates and 111 political parties. Americans can follow the election through the a team of Iraqi bloggers, who will be reporting real-time from the ground, thanks to Jim Hake and his Spirit of America, a nonprofit, nonpolitical charity that donates money and resources to advance democracy.

Working with Friends of Democracy in Iraq, Hake has recruited some 15 Iraqis - including journalists, a naval officer, students and a psychiatrist - who will be blogging from different cities and provinces at the Friends of Democracy site (www.friendsofdemocracy.org). I, for one, will be riveted.

Whether or not one agrees with the war that brought Iraq to this point, no American can watch these proceedings without wonder and respect. We've been there. We've had our own revolutions and our own demons to pursue. More than anyone else on the planet, we should be cheering them on.

I don't know how those Iraqi men and women, some of whom reportedly have sworn a last will and testament in preparation to vote, will make the trek from their homes to the polls. Just as I don't know how those marchers in Selma made it across the bridge with their heads split and their shirts bloody.

But they did.

Here's hoping Iraqis will, too.

©2005 Tribune Media Services

Contact Kathleen Parker | Read Parker's biography

townhall.com

Insurgents Bomb Polling Places in Iraq

Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press
Iraq Polling Places Attacked
A wounded policeman was assisted today in Baghdad. There were blasts across Iraq on election eve, and eight died in a suicide bombing.



Pre-election lockdown

An Iraqi boy sprints past an exploding car in front of al-Nahdha High School, which was scheduled to be used as a Baghdad voting center.
Reuters/Ali Jasim

A drug dealer or Dallas success story?

Police, relatives offer vastly different views of man held in kidnapping

09:16 PM CST on Friday, January 28, 2005

By TIARA M. ELLIS and TAWNELL D. HOBBS / The Dallas Morning News

Sylvespa Adams was well known in the neighborhood.

IRWIN THOMPSON/DMN
IRWIN THOMPSON/DMN
Sylvespa Adams' sister, Yotara Adams (left), and mother, Teresa Adams Shed, say the man is a caring entrepreneur. He is accused of beating a 12-year-old boy.

Some folks who lived in South Dallas believed him to be a big-time drug dealer who flashed wads of money and drove expensive cars. Police say he was a prominent figure in a local gang.

Family and friends describe a man who was brought up in the church and wouldn't harm anyone, an entrepreneur with his own clothing line who's done it all: rapper, music producer, real estate agent, roofer and humanitarian.

He was the talk of the neighborhood for a different reason on Friday, a day after he was taken into custody at Lew Sterrett Justice Center, with bail set at $5 million.

The 23-year-old was arrested Thursday on charges of kidnapping and beating a 12-year-old boy. He has denied wrongdoing.

Police say he had threatened students at J.J. Rhoads Learning Center who apparently found his stash of cash, in the tens of thousands, and split it among themselves.

Dallas Independent School District officials started hearing about students showing up at school with large amounts of money Monday.

Students and parents had lived in fear, after their lives were threatened if the money wasn't returned. Security was increased at the school for most of the week. After Mr. Adams' arrest, the tension isn't as bad in the neighborhood. Kids are back playing in the streets.

"I'm feeling pretty good," said the mother of the boy who was allegedly kidnapped and beaten. "I'm relieved that he turned himself in."

But there are still many questions about the money that Mr. Adams says was stolen from his home, how students got it, and where it is now. And some residents are still wary. They worry that others may still want the money and are still a threat.

Jeannetta Washington, 36, said she's thought about transferring her daughter to another school.

"I feel a little better [with one arrest], but I'm quite sure there are some more people running around here," Ms. Washington said as she picked up 4-year-old Danita Allen from J.J. Rhoads on Friday. "I hope they get the rest of them, because these are small babies, and this is a good school."

Mr. Adams' family says he is being unfairly painted as a drug dealer and is a threat to no one.

His mother, Teresa Adams Shed, remembers him as a smart child who liked computers.

But as he got older, she said, he started hanging around with a rough crowd. He was arrested in 2004 on drug possession charges. He was out on bail, awaiting trial, before this week's arrest.

Members of the Adams family contended he'd turned his life around since the arrests. Both his mother and his sister, Yotara Adams, say that he is being labeled a drug dealer because he is a black man who has a lot of cash.

"I always told him to not drive around with all that cash," his mother said.

His family alleged that the money was taken from a home owned by Mr. Adams, where his business manager and girlfriend lived. Ms. Adams said she believes that the business manager's son took the money, about $30,000, and shared it with classmates at J.J. Rhoads.

The family said Mr. Adams had the money in the house because someone was writing bad checks on his account – so he wanted his money out of the bank. It was not, they said, drug money.

Ms. Adams said she also didn't believe that her brother had threatened kids who might have the money He was simply looking for the cash, she said.

"If someone's got your money, wouldn't you want your money back?" Ms. Adams said, adding that her brother is not a violent man.

Mr. Adams owns at least six properties in Dallas. He bought four of them in the last year.

Ms. Adams said her brother has bought older homes, fixed them up and turned them into shelters for those less fortunate.

His family says his hard work – not drugs – earned him the money.

"He's just got big dreams," his sister said. "He's making money and investing it in his businesses."

But Dallas police say Mr. Adams is a known drug dealer and a prominent figure in a southeast Dallas gang. He uses the name "Paw" on the street, police said, and pays for houses in cash. Police also said he likes to carry wads of money as he cruises the city in fancy cars.

Police are continuing their investigation and say there may be other suspects involved in the kidnapping and threats.

"I have a hunch that this story is not over, said school board trustee Ron Price. "I pray and hope that my parents and kids in this district use extreme caution."

Staff writers Tanya Eiserer and Holly Yan contributed to this report.



Play or nay


Owens sure to make splash in comeback effort



Ft. Worth Star-Telegram Staff Writer


Terrell Owens
GETTY IMAGES
Terrell Owens


The thrill of Eagles receiver Terrell Owens always has been the unexpected.

How would he celebrate this touchdown? Wielding a Sharpie, pumping pompoms, or defacing the Cowboys' star?

What would come flying from his mouth? Jeff Garcia homophobia or self-aggrandizing humor?

What would he wear? Or convince a Desperate Housewife not to wear?

"It's not about that," defensive tackle Hollis Thomas said in a surprisingly subdued Philadelphia Eagles locker room following Sunday's 27-10 victory against Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game, sending the Eagles to the Super Bowl. "You obviously are getting caught up in the hype, but that's all right. You don't get him."

And therein lies the beauty of T.O.'s latest tango in the spotlight. It is exactly what you wouldn't expect.

The player frequently slammed by NFL pundits as being one of the most selfish, publicity-seeking lizards in the NFL has thrust himself into the usual Super Bowl hype with a decidedly unselfish edict. He says he is going to play in Super Bowl XXXIX. Despite an ankle injury that required surgery, two screws and one plate less than six weeks ago. Despite being warned about a very real risk of further injury. Despite not being cleared to do so by his doctor Tuesday.

"Everybody said I couldn't do it," Owens yelled loud enough for teammates and reporters to hear as he returned from a practice session with team trainers Thursday, "but it's going down."

This, as with almost everything surrounding T.O., has produced much debate. What does T.O., obviously hobbled and unlikely to produce his usual numbers, actually add to an Eagles team trying to win its first NFL championship since 1960? Beside another distraction?

Look no further than Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals for an answer. Knicks center and captain Willis Reed had torn a thigh muscle in Game 5, and watched as Lakers center Wilt Chamberlain scored 45 points with 27 rebounds in Game 6 to even the series. Nobody expected Reed to be available for Game 7, a thought seemingly verified when he missed warmups.

Except Reed limped out of the tunnel and, to the delight and disbelief of those in the Garden, he squared up against Chamberlain for the opening tip. About the only thing special about Reed's game -- he scored four points in 15 minutes -- was the simple act of playing. No doubt, however, it played a big role in the Knicks' winning their first championship.

"It took guts, and I found I was gutted up with him," Knicks teammate Dave Stallworth said afterward.

Those sentiments perfectly illustrate why the simple act of T.O.'s trying to come back might be just as important as his succeeding.

Just the thought of having him in the Super Bowl had the Eagles abuzz after their NFC Championship victory. The biggest cheers during the on-field celebrations were not for the trophy presentation or promises of trying to win the Super Bowl, but when Eagles coach Andy Reid responded to a question about Owens' availability for the game.

He had barely finished "I have a feeling he will" when players and fans alike began going nuts.

"If he is able to play at the level before the injury, it would be a huge boost to the Eagles," ESPN analyst and former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski said. "You have to believe T.O. will make every effort to play this game. He has a body that is second to none, so he'll probably recover quicker. The only question is: Do you get 90 or 80 percent T.O.? You are not going to get 100 percent T.O., not after the injury and the time he missed."

The word "injury" does not accurately portray what happened to Owens. When he was dragged down, rodeo style, by Cowboys safety Roy Williams on Dec. 19, the ankle bent in a way ankles are not supposed to bend, thereby ending his season and his playoffs. The only chance he had was if the Eagles made it to the Super Bowl and, even then, nothing was guaranteed.

The Eagles did their part, finally getting over the championship game hump. Owens is trying to do his.

Will he play? Nobody knows for sure.

"Until I see him out there running routes, I'm not going to believe it," Eagles linebacker Ike Reese said.

Which is exactly why it might happen. It is totally unexpected. And nobody excels in that area like T.O.

This Report Contains Material From the Associated Press.

IN THE KNOW

Able to go

Philadelphia wide receiver Terrell Owens wants to play in Super Bowl XXXIX against New England on a surgically repaired, but not fully healed, right ankle. A look at some historic moments from injured players:

1970: After injuring his thigh in Game 5, Willis Reed starts, scores four points and inspires his New York Knicks teammates to a Game 7 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.

1979: Los Angeles Rams defensive end Jack Youngblood suffers a fractured left fibula in a first-round playoff game, but plays in the NFC title game and Super Bowl.

1988: Kirk Gibson, on a badly injured knee, hits a ninth-inning pinch-hit home run off Oakland's Dennis Eckersley to win Game 1 and help spark the Los Angeles Dodgers to a World Series title.

1994: Despite separating a shoulder in the second quarter, Emmitt Smith runs for 168 yards and catches 10 passes for 61 yards to lead the Cowboys past the Giants on Jan. 2, 1994, for the NFC East title.

1996: On a sprained ankle, Kerri Strug scores a 9.712 on the vault, and the United States wins a gold medal in women's gymnastics at the Atlanta Olympic Games.

1999: Mike Modano overcomes a fracture and strained ligaments in his wrist to lead the Stars past the Buffalo Sabres in the Stanley Cup Finals.


Jennifer Floyd Engel, (817) 390-7760 jenfloyd@star-telegram.com