Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Le Web 3 - A Video Brief On What's Happening There - Day 1

This is a segment of videos on the goings on at Le Web 3 in Paris, France. For more information on Le Web 3, see my video interview of Cathy Brooks , the event's producer.

Le Web 3 - Preparations:

Le Web 3 - Day One

More On Petrino's Sudden Departure From The Atlanta Falcons

Well, for some reason, I'm not surprised at this.

Petrino quits Falcons to take Arkansas job

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 12/11/07
Falcons coach Bobby Petrino, in a move that was said to have blindsided team officials, resigned Tuesday evening to take the head-coaching job at the University of Arkansas, the team confirmed.

Team owner Arthur Blank and the Falcons brass were caught so off guard that they are still trying to figure out who will coach the 3-10 team over the final three games.

Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer are likely candidates to coach the Falcons on an interim basis.

Each could be under consideration for the permanent job.

Before the Falcons' 34-14 loss to New Orleans Monday, Blank said that he had heard rumors that Arkansas had targeted Petrino to replace Houston Nutt as head coach. So he said he asked Petrino if he was considering that job.

Petrino, who was signed from the University of Louisville to a five-year, $24.5 million contract Jan. 8, told him Monday afternoon that he definitely would be back to coach the Falcons in 2008.

It was the second time Blank had asked Petrino about his commitment to the team and the second time Petrino told him he would be back next season.

Blank was not available for comment Tuesday evening.

The Falcons were off Tuesday and Petrino did not hold his typical day-after, post game news conference. It is not known if he spent the day talking to officials from Arkansas.

Petrino's abrupt departure puts the Falcons in position of trying to find a second head coach in less than a year. Blank fired Jim Mora Jan. 1, 2007 after three seasons.

Atlanta is in a tenuous situation because a new head coach with a radically different philosophy could require a rapid change in direction from plans already put in place to augment the roster for Petrino's scheme.

Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall, one of several players with a frosty relationship with Petrino, said he was surprised by the news, which he heard about from a team officials around 5:30 Tuesday.

"We felt like Petrino was going to be around for the long haul, like he had as much invested in this as we did," Hall said. "For him to jump ship is disheartening. Arthur Blank and the city of Atlanta, they deserve to win and we thought Petrino was going to be the guy to help us get there. He was a winner and wasn't used to losing.

"Maybe he didn't feel he could win at this level. I disagree with that. If he doesn't want to be a part of it, fine. We'll move on and get better and we will games without him."

It was thought that Petrino could take the Falcons offense, led by Michael Vick, and create an exciting, winning brand of football.

But Petrino's troubles in Atlanta began soon afterward, starting when Vick was questioned by security at Miami International Airport on Jan. 17 about a water bottle with a hidden compartment. Test results indicated that were no illegal substances in the bottle, and Vick was cleared of wrongdoing.

Vick's troubles continued in April when police found evidence of a dogfighting operation at a home he owned in rural southeastern Virginia.

Vick was indicted on felony charges in July of operating an illegal dogfighting operation, known as Bad Newz Kennels.

Vick was indefintely suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in August.

The Falcons are 3-10 following Monday's 34-14 loss to New Orleans. They are tied for the second-worst record in the league.

In the wake of Vick's suspension, the team has used three different starting quarterbacks, and its offense has struggled. They are 30th in the league in scoring (14.2 points per game) and 24th in yards per game (301.1 ypg).

Fan reaction was much like that at Falcons headquarters: surprised.

Brian Daniels, president of Louisville's Atlanta Alumni Club said, "I'm just absolutely floored.

"I really believe he came here to coach the best athlete in football. I think he was just at a point where he'd had enough. You can't blame a man for wanting to drive a Porsche and being handed a Cadillac."

Petrino has a history of short stays as a coach.

During his four seasons at Louisville, Auburn, LSU and the NFL's Oakland Raiders talked to him.

In an attempt to keep him, the school signed him to a $25-million extension in July, 2006.

He signed a deal with the Falcons six months later.

Petrino's coaching career started in 1983 as a graduate assistant at Carroll College in Wisconsin. He became offensive coordinator there in 1985. It was the start of a long-time career in the college ranks that saw him work as an assistant at eight colleges before being named head coach at the University of Louisville in 2003. He compiled a 41-9 record at Louisville.

Petrino previously worked in the pro ranks as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1999-2002.

Petrino also has a previous stint in the SEC, as offensive coordinator for Auburn University in 2002.

While Obama Offers Solution To Preditory Credit Cards, Clinton Has Flip Flopped On Issue

Today, in Iowa, Senator Barack Obama offered a solution to the growing problem of credit card debt:

Obama called for new restrictions on "predatory" credit card companies he says deceive consumers into piling up massive debt they have little hope of repaying.

"The truth is, our middle-class families are not going to be secure so long as they can't get out of debt," Obama said Monday, sharpening the populist rhetoric of his presidential campaign. "If we're serious about stopping Americans from falling deeper in debt, we've got to crack down on predatory credit card companies that are pushing them over the edge."

Obama pointed to studies showing that consumers have an average personal debt of more than $8,000, a load driven higher by credit cards. He said soaring credit card debt could turn into a crisis as big as the one in the subprime mortgage industry.

"The larger risk is that what's happening in the housing market could lead to a slowdown in the entire economy," he said.

While Obama takes the issue head on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has a history of flip-flopping on the matter. Take what Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren said on Frontline regarding how Clinton first had President Bill Clinton reject, then turned around and as Senator supported the same banruptcy legislation that would have forced credit card companies to change their policies...

And Sen. [Hillary] Clinton?

Sen. Clinton, when she was first lady, [was] responsible for stopping the proposed bankruptcy legislation. The White House had been quietly supporting it, and it was First Lady Clinton who talked with her husband and persuaded him that the bankruptcy bill was hard on women, hard on families, hard on older Americans, and was a bad idea in general. And the last act that President Clinton took with Congress was to veto the bankruptcy bill. Mrs. Clinton took credit for that in her autobiography, and by golly, she deserves it. She stood up --

And today?

Sen. Clinton, when she was elected, the financial services industry brought this bill back. And so one of the very first bills that came up after Sen. Clinton had taken office was the bankruptcy bill. Oh, [there were] a couple of cosmetic changes to it, ... but it was the same bill that had been there at that point already for four years. And Sen. Clinton voted in favor of the bill.

Better bill?



The financial services industry is a big industry in New York, and it's powerful on Capitol Hill. It's a story of how much influence this industry group wields in Washington that ... they can bring to heel a senator who obviously cares, who obviously gets it, but who also obviously really feels the pressure in having to stand up to an industry like that.

So it's clear the credit card lobby "got to" Senator Clinton, making it doubtful Americans will see any real advance or relief in this area if she's elected President.

On Fox, Tom Tancredo Says That Republican Debate For Spanish Speaking Americans Is For Those Who Aren't American

I could not believe what I was hearing when I heard it today, but out of the mouth of Republican U.S. Presidential Candidate Tom Tancredo was a series of very bigoted statements which essentially add up to this:

If you're speaking any language other than English, you're not American.

That was the message he sent and it was totally ugly. So much so that Fox's Shepard Smith could not resist grilling him with a set of "setup" questions on this.

I'll call him "Tom The Terrible" from now on!

Vick receives 23-month sentence on dogfighting charges

Richmond, Virgina judge Henry Hudson sentenced embattled Atlanta Falcons quarterback
Michael Vick to nearly two full years in prison Monday morning.

Since the disgraced star has already spent three months behind bars, it is probable to assume that with good behavior the sentence will be reduced to 19 months. Either way, it will have been three years without playing professional football and the likelihood of Vick acclimating himself back into the league is very minimal.

Petrino reportedly phones in resignation to Falcons

Petrino's departure from the hapless Falcons continues to further the notion that college coaches that immediately embark upon the NFL fail miserably.Outside of Jimmie Johnson leaving the University of Miami to coach the Dallas Cowboys, the line of success is minimal.

ESPN.com news services

Bobby Petrino abruptly resigned his position as coach of the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday and is negotiating an agreement to become the new coach at the University of Arkansas, multiple sources told ESPN.

Petrino and his agent had been talking with the Falcons about his preference to return to the college ranks. The former Louisville coach was looking for an opportunity to break into the Southeastern Conference ranks, and Arkansas was a natural fit.

Citing the team as its source, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on its Web site that Petrino phoned the Falcons about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday and resigned. Petrino and the team agreed he would not coach the Falcons' remaining three games, a source told ESPN.com's John Clayton.

Negotiations between Petrino and Arkansas are ongoing, the sources told ESPN. Once a deal is in place, Petrino is expected to be paid around $3 million a year, the sources said.

Petrino signed a five-year, $24 million contract to be the Falcons head coach, so he will be taking a pay cut to re-enter the college ranks. The Falcons are 3-10 and have had their season torn apart by Michael Vick's involvement in a dogfighting ring and subsequent 23-month jail sentence, which was levied Monday.

NFL sources said there was no buyout in Petrino's contract with the Falcons.

Petrino will succeed Houston Nutt, who was hired by Mississippi immediately after resigning at Arkansas. Tommy Tuberville and Tommy Bowden were both linked to the Arkansas opening, but they remained as coaches at Auburn and Clemson, respectively.

Arkansas flirted with hiring Jim Grobe -- a private fundraising arm for the Razorbacks approved a salary supplement for the Wake Forest coach -- but Grobe stayed with the Demon Deacons.

Clinton People Who Mention Obama's Past Cocaine Use; Must Answer For Clinton's Alledged Involvment In Cocaine Trafficing

According to a Huffington Post blogger , Clinton cronies are set to mention Senator Barack Obama's past and his use of cocaine, but this proves how the Clinton Camp is starting to panic and for two reasons:

1) It opens up the question of Senator Clinton and any past drug use she may have done. (Important, because Senator Obama is not covering up his past; what about Clinton?)

2) Now Senator Clinton has to answer -- again -- for the MENA controversy, which is expresses in this video:

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

The video's description reads:

An independent group of researchers in Arkansas are charging that Governor Bill Clinton is covering up an airport used by the CIA and major cocaine smugglers in a remote corner of the Ozark mountains. According to Deborah Robinson of In These Times, the Inter mountain Regional Airport in Mena,Arkansas continues to be the hub of operations for people like assassinated cocaine kingpin Barry Seal as well as government intelligence operations linked to arms and drug smuggling.

In the 1980's, the Mena airport became one of the world's largest aircraft refurbishing centers, providing services to planes from many countries.Researchers claim that the largest consumers of aircraft refurbishing services are drug smugglers and intelligence agencies involved in covert activities.In fact, residents of Mena, Arkansas, have told reporters that former marine Lt. Colonel Oliver North was a frequent visitor during the 1980's. Eugene Hasenfus, a pilot who was shot down in a Contra supply plane over Nicaragua in 1986, was also seen in town renting cargo vehicles.

A federal Grand Jury looking into activities at the Mena airport refused to hand down any indictments after drug running charges were made public.Deborah Robinson says that Clinton had "ignored the situation" until he began his presidential campaign." Clinton then said he would provide money for a state run investigation of the Mena airport. But according to Robinson, the promise of an investigation was never followed up by Clinton's staff. In fact, a local Arkansas state prosecutor blasted Clinton's promise of an investigation, comparing it to "spitting on a forest fire."

...and in this Salon article , where the makers of the video "Citizens for Honest Government" paid their sources, which taints their claims, but one of the allegations is of President Clinton's cocaine use and the person behind the story is sticking to it.

Here's the article below, in full:

Among the allegations spread by Citizens for Honest Government's paid "expert witnesses" was that Bill Clinton, as governor of Arkansas, provided protection for the cocaine trade.

Beginning in late 1993, Nichols and three other individuals who received payments from Citizens told the press that Clinton, while governor of Arkansas, ordered state law enforcement officials to turn a blind eye to a cocaine trafficking ring operating out of Mena, a small Arkansas airport 120 miles west of Little Rock. Nichols and the group's other paid "witnesses" alleged that Clinton protected the cocaine operation because one of the ring's backers was a Clinton campaign contributor. They also alleged the drug smuggling ring was connected to a covert U.S. intelligence operation in Central America.

The allegations quickly found their way to talk radio programs and onto the Internet and began moving into the mainstream via articles in the American Spectator and the conservative Washington Times.

But what ultimately legitimized the allegations was a series of editorials and articles on the subject that appeared in 1994 on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.

Rep. Jim Leach, (R-Iowa), chairman of the House Banking Committee, acknowledged in an interview in the fall of l996 that he had directed his committee staff to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the Mena allegations after first reading about them in the Wall Street Journal.

"I read the Journal editorial page with great interest," Leach told Salon. "They raised some very serious and interesting issues. And I made the decision that it should be an appropriate subject of a committee investigation."

Two committee sources told Salon that House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., also had read about the Mena allegations on the Journal's editorial page and had learned more about them from conservative supporters of his political action committee, GOPAC. Gingrich personally urged that Leach investigate the matter, the sources said.

David Runkel, a spokesman for the House Banking Committee, said that despite an exhaustive two-year investigation, the committee found absolutely no evidence showing any Clinton involvement in Mena drug-smuggling operations. "We engaged in an appropriate inquiry that uncovered valuable information about money laundering and other issues," said Runkel. "Regarding the president, we found no evidence of wrongdoing."

An investigation by the CIA Inspector-General also concluded last year that there was no evidence that Clinton had any role in protecting the Mena cocaine ring. Leach's House Banking Committee requested the CIA investigation.

Rep. Henry Gonzalez, D-Texas, the House Banking Committee's ranking minority member, was highly critical of the investigation. Gonzalez said it took up more than 13,000 staff hours at the Department of Justice -- "the equivalent of about one year's worth of work by eight full-time employees," said Gonzalez.

The request by Leach to have the CIA Inspector-General investigate, Gonzalez said, led to "six [additional] full-time [CIA] people reviewing over 40,000 pages of documents." In addition, four banking committee staffers worked on the probe at the expense of other important committee business, Gonzalez said.

Among those who were cited as sources about the alleged Mena operation in the Wall Street Journal's editorial page -- and received generous payments from Citizens for Honest Government -- was John Brown, a former deputy sheriff of Saline County, Ark. In l994 and l995, Brown received more than $28,000 from the organization, according to the accounting records. Brown also appeared on a Citizens-produced video about Mena.

"I did investigative work for them," Brown told Salon, adding that Citizens paid him while he worked as a private investigator and not as a police officer.

On Sept. 21, l996, Brown received at least one additional payment of $1,000 from the joint bank account controlled by Matrisciana and Ruddy, according to a copy of the canceled check obtained by Salon.

Another recipient of Citizens funds was Jane Parks of Little Rock. Shortly before the l996 presidential election, the American Spectator published a story by the magazine's editor, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., that quoted Parks as saying that she had personally witnessed Clinton using cocaine in 1984, while he was governor of Arkansas. At the time, Parks said, she had been resident manager of an upscale Little Rock apartment complex. Parks claimed that her office was subdivided by a flimsy temporary wall. Parks told Tyrrell that she worked on one side of the partition while on the other side, the president's brother, Roger Clinton, maintained a bachelor pad.

"Mrs. Parks observed cocaine being brought into the apartment," Tyrrell wrote. "She also had to relay complaints to Roger about noise from his parties ... She stated: 'Once when I opened the door, Bill Clinton was sitting on the couch. He was staring straight ahead, looking stoned ... There were lines of cocaine on the table in front of him."

Later, she told the London Daily Telegraph that her husband, a private investigator who once did security work for the l992 Clinton presidential campaign, was killed because he had been involved with drug smuggling at the Mena airport. Parks also claimed she found hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in the trunk of her late husband's car. She said that her husband had told her that Vincent Foster had directed him to smuggle drugs at Mena.

In l994 and l995, Parks and other members of her family received more than $16,000 from Citizens for Honest Government, according to the organization's accounting records. In 1995 Parks received an additional $6,000 from the joint bank account maintained by Nichols and Patterson, according to records and individuals with direct knowledge of the transactions.

Parks declined to comment for this article, but her son told Salon that she stands by her stories.

A former employee of the American Spectator told Salon that Tyrrell had several conversations with conservative activists in the closing days of the l996 presidential race to discuss ways to publicize Parks' charges against Clinton. The former employee said in an interview that "a lot of us had serious questions about the 'the president is a cocaine addict story,' and [Tyrrell's] sources ... But he does believe in these things, and it is his magazine."

Tyrrell did not return several phone calls from Salon.

A massive can of worms.