As usual, the city of Atlanta was unprepared for a light snowstorm that blanketed highways and surface roads with sheets of black ice. The storm (if you can call it that) swept into Atlanta around 12 noon on Tuesday. Around 1 p.m., the first reports of school closings were announced. By 2 p.m., the roads were jammed with frantic Atlantans who left work early to go pick up their children. Scores of motorists are still stranded in their vehicles more than 24 hours later. Hundreds of students spent the night in their schools. A few lucky motorists were given warm shelter, food and drinks by staff at CVS and Walgreens stores. Chik-fil-A also helped out by offering free food and hot beverages to stranded motorists.
All of this could have been avoided if Mayor Kasim Reed and the governor's office had only heeded the weather reports.
A Staten Island mother is grieving the loss of her two young sons who were swept away during Hurricane Sandy. Searchers found the bodies of Brandon, 2 and Connor, 4, in marshland about 30 yards from where they went missing Monday.
But Glenda Moore's story about a large wave ripping the children from her arms is raising troubling questions.
President Obama declared New York a disaster area as Hurricane Sandy pounded the east coast of the United States with sheets of rain and high winds, leaving several people dead and millions without power.
Winds are still gusting at 45 mph in some areas of the East. 30 foot storm surges were reported as Sandy came ashore in the New York and New Jersey areas.
President Obama suspended his campaign efforts to concentrate on federal hurricane relief efforts. On Monday, Obama stood before the cameras and warned New Yorkers to evacuate or stay inside their homes. He said Hurricane Sandy would be "big and powerful" but he said the federal government was ready.
Hurricane Sandra is shaping up to be the biggest storm to hit the eastern seaboard of the United States in 100 years. That's not good news to residents living in the flood-prone Tri-state areas -- directly in the storm's path.
Dubbed "Superstorm" by the media and "Frankenstorm" by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hurricane Sandy cut a swathe of destruction across Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba, leaving 28 people dead and many injured.
When Hurricane Irene threatened the East coast last year, NY Mayor Bloomberg released a map of flood zones based on hurricane category severity. The Lower East Side, Coney Island, Upper East Side and Staten Island are all at risk for serious flooding.
Musician and con artist Wyclef Jean thinks he isn't getting enough of the right kind of attention. So he tweeted this pic of his birthday present to himself, a brand new Ducati motorcycle. Jean recently turned 43, just a month after he shut down his Yele Haiti foundation -- after misappropriating $16 million in donations for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Of course we tried to warn donors that Jean is shady, but no one listened. The NY Times wrote an article detailing Jean's massive con scheme to line his own pockets. Diaoly Estimé, who runs an orphanage in Haiti, told reporters, “If I had depended on Yéle, these kids would all be dead by now.”
I bet a lot of heathens and sinners got right with the Lord yesterday. Nature's awesome power was on display when twisters and super cells cut a swath through north Texas. Shocking television news footage shows one tornado violently tossing 18 wheelers around like twigs. The power of Nature's fury was evident as high winds uprooted trees, cars and buildings with ease.
Thankfully, there were no deaths reported. See pics of the destruction and watch the chilling video after the break.
Talk show maven Barbara Walters was a guest on Late Night With Dave Letterman on Tuesday. Letterman grilled Walters about including the Kardashians on her 'Most Fascinating List', even offering to remove them from the list himself.
Walters saw the opportunity to brand the most hated reality TV family as liars:
"They were the first ones we interviewed and we did them in September," Walters explained. "We said, anything going to happen? 'No no no, you can do it now because nothing's going to happen.' Then Kim gets married. Then Kourtney gets pregnant. Then Khloe's moving to Dallas. You cannot trust the Kardashians."
As the Huffington Post explained; Khloe Kardashian can't be blamed for moving to Dallas with her husband, Lamar Odom, who was traded to the Mavericks by the LA Lakers on Saturday.
Last week we heard that embattled porno star Kim Kardashian was in Haiti to join in humanitarian efforts and to repair her damaged image. Yet we saw no pics of Kim roughing it in Haiti as we did with talk show maven Oprah who's also on the storm torn island.
Finally, a photo of Kim Kardashian in Haiti has emerged.
According to the Huffington Post, Kim and her mother/manager, Kris Jenner (far left), traveled with their friends, including Maria Bello, (2nd from right) and actress Patricia Arquette (far right), "to experience the Haiti that Maria has come to know and love through her organization, We Advance."
We came to celebrate the thousands of Haitian women who are working tirelessly every day to bring economic and social justice to all people in Haiti. So to them we say: we are humbled and moved to have been with you and to tell the world about your grace. We are proud to tell the world your stories.
The mission statement of We Advance is, "We are stronger together than we are alone."
We are grateful to partner with such amazing women and to have been on this journey together.
Meanwhile, Kim's younger sister, Khloe Kardashian, is settling in after traveling to Dallas, Texas with her hubby, Lamar Odom. Khoe tweeted a pic of her hubby in his crisp white Dallas Mavericks uniform today.
Adoptive mother Sandra Bullock should be commended for taking little Louis Bardo to the park. Most wealthy adoptive mothers let their nannies take the youngsters to the park so they don't have to hear the shrieking and crying when it's time to leave.
Oprah Winfrey, whose failing OWN Network is hemorrhaging money, held hands with actor Sean Penn at a refugee camp in Haiti earlier today. The talk show queen is in storm ravaged Haiti filming a TV special highlighting the humanitarian efforts by celebrities such as Sean Penn. His non-profit organization provides assistance to people displaced by the 2010 earthquake. Another narcissist who is in Haiti is Kim Kardashian. But it isn't clear if Kim made it past the airport. We haven't seen a single picture of her in Haiti. Hopefully, Oprah will have some footage of Kim getting hands on in Haiti, and if she really wants to score points, she will talk about how Wyclef Jean stole over $1 million in donations for his own benefit.
It was one of those astonishing moments when a celebrity is caught on national television like a deer in the proverbial headlights. It occurred when ABC anchor Katie Couric, who was interviewing the cagey singer Beyonce, reached over, and without warning rubbed the baby bump that has been at the center of controversy for months.
Beyonce appeared startled as she reached down reflexively when Katie copped a feel. "I'm sorry, am I allowed to do that?" Katie asked as she snatched her hand back.
When a woman caresses another woman's baby bump, the moment usually passes quickly between the two women.
But Katie's hand returned to groping Beyonce's baby bump a second time -- as if Katie wasn't confident that what she felt the first time was actually a human baby.
It was clear that Katie was performing a tactile examination of Beyonce's baby bump, which was first introduced to the world in September at the MTV VMAs. Prior to that, no one knew the 30-year-old was pregnant.
Judging from Couric's reaction afterwards, it was clear that she still had her doubts that Beyonce's baby bump was real. But Couric never expressed those doubts on the air. We wish we could have been a fly on the wall when Katie told her friends what she really thought about the baby bump!
This is a friendly reminder that the world is scheduled to end tomorrow.
According to radio preacher Harold Camping's latest prediction, "Rapture 2.0" will begin just after midnight tonight in some parts of the world. It isn't clear when the Rapture will reach the U.S.
In an announcement on his Family Radio Network website, Camping said the world will end -- for sure -- on October 21st, as God unleashes fire, brimstone and deadly earthquakes, though not necessarily in that order.
Some of you might be skeptical, but it is strongly suggested that you get your affairs in order... just in case.
According to the AJC, Timothy Lloyd, pastor Oakhurst Church in Decatur, is taking the latest Doomsday prediction seriously. Well, sort of:
"I am working on my sermon for Sunday," he said with a smile. "I have compassion on the folks who get fooled by this stuff because life is tough and these predictions give people a glimmer of hope. It gives folks a solid sense, an assurance of where things are going, because they can actually point to a date on a calendar."
Apparently, May 21st was just another dry run as the predicted day of the Rapture came and went without much fanfare. But according to fire and brimstone radio preacher Harold Camping, who has predicted the last 3 Raptures -- Oct. 21st is the real Judgment Day.
In an announcement on his Family Radio Network website, Harold Camping stands by his earlier predictions that the world will end on Friday, Oct. 21. Originally, Camping had predicted hourly earthquakes and God's judgment on May 21, to be followed by months of torment on Earth for those individuals left behind. Using numerical codes extracted from the Bible, Camping set the date for the end of everything for Oct. 21. [Source]
According to Camping, there were earthquakes on May 21st -- only instead of shaking the Earth, God shook mankind "with fear," he wrote in a post titled "What Happened on May 21?"
Only a few Souls left their earthly possessions (and their dogs) during the previous day of Atonement.
The last time Camping predicted the 2nd Coming of Christ, the media captured the fervent preparations all over the world. But it was not all fun and games as one innocent child may have lost his life due to Camping's prediction.
Julianne McCrery, 42, of Texas, apparently suffocated her 6-year-old son, Camden Pierce Hughes, before driving to Maine and dumping his body in a ravine. The boy's death sparked rampant speculation that McCrery, a bible thumping religious zealot, sacrificed her son in preparation for the rapture.
For those who don't know: "blather" means to ramble on endlessly without saying much at all. That pretty much sums up the cast that Shaunie O'Neal and her producers assembled for the Basketball Wives spin-off, Basketball Wives Los Angeles.
The season premiere aired last night and quickly became the subject of scorn, ridicule and contempt on Twitter.com. Of course, minutes after they meet, a fight breaks out inside -- where else -- a nice restaurant. Nothing we didn't expect from the original BBW.
The "extras" who are dining behind the chicks don't even turn around to see what is going on -- just like in the original BBW.
If Shaunie was going to hand these ladies the same script that she gave to the original Miami crew, she should have at least called it Basketball Wives part 2.
As mentioned before, BBW LA follows the same ghetto script as the original: pointless fighting, pointless arguing weave snatching, and mindless shopping sprees where they spend money that we don't actually see. The only thing we didn't see last night was water tossing, but that's coming soon.
Just like in the original, this spin-off targets women who believe pretty much everything they see on TV (and on the blogs). Let's pretend that we really believe Gloria Govan, fiancee of Matt Barnes, met cast member Draya Michelle (Chris Brown's ex) in an acting class.
As predicted, Beyonce's album, 4, has bombed spectacularly. The projected first week sales figures are in -- and they are not good.
Beyonce will be #1 next week, but 4 will sell only 273K, her lowest 1st week sales since her debut album, Dangerously in Love, was released back in 2003. I'm still trying to get my confidential source on the phone to tell me what the mood is at Sony/Columbia records. I'll let you know what he says.
Fresh off her triumph on closing night at Glastonbury, Columbia diva Beyonce’s 4 will debut at #1 next week on the HITS album chart with between 275-300k in first-week sales. Her previous album, ‘08’s multiple Grammy winning I Am… Sasha Fierce, debuted with 463k, but that was during the Q4 sales rush in November.
Those figures are based on one-day sales from those music retailers around the country not augmenting their income by selling illegal fireworks out of the back door.
SoCal rapper Big Sean’s Finally Famous: The Album, his feature-length debut after a series of critically acclaimed “Finally Famous” mixtapes, is the first release under Kanye West’s new deal for his G.O.O.D. Music label, through Island Def Jam Music Group, and should do in the 90-95 range.
A retired MTA worker in New York is so confident the world will end next Saturday that he has spent $140,000 -- his entire nest egg --- on MTA advertising to assist his fellow New Yorkers in preparing for the rapture.
"I'm trying to warn people about what's coming," said 60-year-old Staten Island resident Robert Fitzpatrick, who retired from the MTA in 2006. "People who have an understanding [of end of times] have an obligation to warn everyone."
"Global Earthquake! The Greatest Ever - Judgment Day: May 21," the $50,000 - $90,000 ads literally shout from bus shelters, subway trains and subway platforms all around the city.
The Metro Transit Authority is happy to take his money, although critics wonder why the MTA is feeding into the May 21 hysteria.
"It's an individual's prerogative to spend their money as they see fit," said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz.
Fitzpatrick is a loyal follower of California evangelist Harold Camping, who used a complex mathematical formula to predict the exact date of Judgment Day when Jesus Christ returns to Earth to book Final passage for all believers, and non-believers.
Camping also predicted a previous Judgment Day -- on Sept. 6, 1994. But that was just a dry run.
"It'll start just before midnight [May 21st], Jerusalem time: It'll be instantaneous and global," said Fitzpatrick. "There are too many scriptures talking about 'sudden destruction.'"
218 people are reported dead, including 128 killed in Alabama and 11 dead in Georgia, as massive tornados ripped through the south yesterday.
Jabriel Branch, (pictured right) of McComb, Mississippi, died when a tree crashed through the roof of her family home last night.
Rescue workers are still searching through rubble for survivors in the northwest corner of Georgia, which was the hardest hit. 7 people were reported killed in Catoosa County in north GA. Two people are reported dead in Spalding County, south of Atlanta.
So far GEMA is reporting only 11 people dead in Georgia. GEMA spokesman Chrystal Paulk-Buchanan said the death toll is expected to climb throughout the day. 30 injured people have been taken to area hospitals.
Severe thunderstorms moved through the area south of Atlanta last night knocking down trees and power lines and leaving about 1,500 Georgia Power customers in the dark. Luckily, the storms spared metro Atlanta.
"There's really no explanation," said National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Gibbs of why the storms skipped Atlanta. "It's just the way the storms set up."
Sgt. Joe Peavy of Spalding County and his 11-year-old daughter are counting their blessings this morning. They were taken to an area hospital after a tornado struck their home just off of highway 92.
"The last I heard they were doing OK, but his house is gone, his patrol car is crushed," Spalding Sheriff's Capt. Tony Ranieri told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "All we know is that when the tornado hit, it apparently sucked the 11-year-old girl out the bedroom window along with her bed and everything else. It was very fortunate [that she survived]. I wish everybody would have come out that way because we did have two fatalities."
Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency covering Floyd, Dade, Catoosa and Walker counties in north Georgia. The list is expected to grow as storms continue to push through the south today.
A tornado watch and flash flood watches are still in effect for the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas until 3pm today.
Watch this video as a massive tornado ripped through Alabama yesterday.
I'm told that Jay Z consulted with his physicians back home who plan to adjust his meds to curb the frequency of his embarrassing mishaps. But I don't know that for sure, so please don't quote me on that.
Doesn't Beyoncé look a little odd to you? I can't quite put my finger on it. It's more than just the bleaching, there's something about her demeanor that looks weird in a Stepford Wives sort of way.
I heard from a few female acquaintances this weekend whose husbands also experienced Jay Z's, er, problem. I never hear from these chicks unless they read something on my blog. Anyway, one acquaintance said to me, "I don't think my husband is taking Viagra, but how would I know that for sure?" Photos by: GC
Here is astonishing video of the moment when a tornado tore through the St. Louis airport on Friday night (April 22).
A miracle zero deaths have been reporting following the tornado that tore through Bridgeton, a densely populated suburb of St. Louis, on Friday night, passing directly through the airport. Sadly, though, 750 homes were damaged, with 100 of those destroyed entirely. But still! No casualties, and only "minor injuries" to five people. Locals are praising the local weather service, which blared sirens 34 minutes before the tornado hit, as well as "the grace of God," as the mayor put it. Source
Japanese power company officials have conceded defeat in their battle to contain the leak of dangerous levels of radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear plant.
Japan today announced plans to encase the leaking reactor in a tomb of concrete amid reports that the radiation fallout from Japan is affecting our food supply in the United States.
Additionally, radiation levels in seawater outside the nuclear plant is over 5,000 times the normal level. Fishermen have been warned to operate in waters at least 13 miles from the damaged nuclear plant. But that's not nearly far enough for American consumers and seafood restaurants that rely on fish imported from Japan.
According to online reports, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced very low traces of radiation particles were found in milk in Washington state and California.
Results from screening samples of milk taken in the past week in Spokane, Washington, and in San Luis Obispo County, California, detected radioactive iodine at a level 5,000 times lower than the limit set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, officials said.
But traces of radiation can build up in the body over time. Click here to read the signs and symptoms of radiation poisoning.
Exact details haven't been revealed, but Japanese officials, with the assistance of U.S. gov. agencies, plan to shut down all four crippled reactors and abandon attempts to cool down the exposed fuel rods. The final move involves pouring tons of concrete onto the reactors to entomb the reactor cores and stop the leak of radiation.
Remember when Solange Knowles promoted her new line of Hip Hop toys called Baby Jamz, which she said were inspired by her then 4-year-old son, Juelz?
Well, now she's releasing a t-shirt line also inspired by the budding 6-year-old tycoon. Solange says that when Juelz heard about the earthquake in Japan, he was so moved that he was inspired to create a line of t-shirts to raise money for relief efforts...
Actress Sandra Bullock has opened her heart and wallet in response to last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan, killing over 10,000 people.
According to CNN, Bullock sent a $1 million donation to the American Red Cross to help fund disaster relief efforts on the ground.
"This contribution is vitally important as the Red Cross works to provide critical assistance and essential relief items in this time of urgent need for so many people in Japan," the relief organization said.
It was the largest celebrity donation to be announced since the tsunami struck last weekend. Other celebrities donating to the Japan disaster relief include Charlie Sheen and singers Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday he was "heartbroken" over the events unfolding in Japan. He offered his full support to the Japanese people and he reiterated his call for U.S. citizens to evacuate to beyond a 50-mile radius of the broken nuclear reactors.
"Whether it's the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska or U.S. territories in the Pacific, we do not expect harmful levels of radiation," he said. "That's the judgment of our Nuclear Regulatory Commission and many other experts."
To correct an earlier comment, there is a big difference between nuclear weapons and a nuclear reactor used for power generation. The main fission products that have already likely been released from this accident are Cesium and Iodine, which based on my professional judgement as a nuclear engineer, would likely be so diluted by the time they reach the US, there wouldn’t be a concern. Remember also that everyone gets a certain amount of radiation every day from natural sources (the sun, etc), and medical procedures (i.e. x-rays).
The main problem here is that the US government is relying on information from the Japanese electric company (TEPCO) and there have been some doubts about their transparency. Which is why yesterday, the US recommended a wider evacuation area…my suspicion is the US was finally able to get solid information from US experts sent there to assist with the response.
It’s definitely a serious situation with events unfolding and changing by the hour. I just don’t like to see and hear all this fear mongering, that is based on a lack of understanding. There isn’t a need to panic…yet. LOL
Gilbert Gottried, the unfunny comedian who supplied the voice of the iconic Aflac duck for the Aflac insurance company, is out of a job after tweeting insensitive "jokes" about the Japanese people.
Gottfried, who deleted his offensive tweets, was informed of his termination yesterday:
“Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac. Aflac Japan – and by extension, Japan itself – is part of the Aflac family, and there is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times.”
Although, his tweets about the Japanese people were in poor taste (and won't be repeated on this blog), no mention is made of his racist jokes about black prisoners that are still up on his Twitter page. Even though it was evident for some time just how racist Gottfried was from his tweets, the company didn't move to fire him until he made fun of the devastation in quake-hit Japan.
Of all the heartbreaking and uplifting stories coming out of quake-hit Japan, the most talked about is the lack of looting even in the hardest hit areas.
We know that there is no looting in Japan because the media, who are painstakingly searching for images of looting among the devastation, are shocked to find that there is none.
Contrast that with the media coverage of the widespread looting in post-Katrina New Orleans that was split down racial lines. The media's coverage of the looting in New Orleans was shamefully biased.
White looters were described as "recovering" basic items necessary for survival -- such as bottled water and detergent, while blacks were portrayed as looters scavenging for beer and cigarettes.
The media never tires of reporting on the looting, pillaging and rapes that continue to plague the Haitian people.
But in Japan, where people generally look out for one another, the media is reduced to settling for images of "solidarity" among the Japanese people. "Perhaps even more impressive than Japan’s technological power is its social strength..." writes a British reporter. "This is quite unusual among human cultures," he adds.
More than 160 people are feared dead after a giant tsunami wave rolled across Japan sweeping homes, cars and debris with it early this morning as we slept. The victims include 100 passengers on a cruise ship that was swept away by the tsunami. Shocking images of the carnage dominated national and international headlines this morning.
The 33-foot tsunami wave reached Japan's shores hours after the sixth largest earthquake in history devastated Japan.
In the photo above, a small pleasure boat became trapped in the center of a gigantic vortex created by the tsunami. The boat went under water taking an unknown number of souls with it.
According to The Daily Mail, the Japanese declared a state of emergency at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima after the 8.9 quake caused the cooling system to fail. Massive fireballs caused by explosions at an oil refinery scorched the sky.
People fled for their lives as the tidal waves crashed ashore. Others saw their homes and cars float past them as the huge wave of muddy water and floating debris moved over the mainland.
The death toll in Japan is expected to rise into the thousands even as the first waves of the tsunami reached the shores of Hawaii and other islands in the pacific. Luxury hotels in Hawaii implemented "vertical evacuations", moving guests to higher floors to escape the muddy waters.
A tsunami is formed when an earthquake shifts the ocean floor hundreds of miles out in the ocean. The pressure from the shifting plates creates a ripple effect in the water that gathers strength as the giant waves roll out from the epicenter toward land.
A receding tide is usually the first sign of an approaching tsunami.
It looks like perennial beard Amber Rose got herself another sucker. And her ex, Kanye West, is somewhere dying laughing.
This story is in the current issue of FADER Magazine, on newsstands now:
For FADER Issue #72 we traveled to Los Angeles and spent the better part of a week with Wiz Khalifa. After, we emerged from a cloud of one-billion joints with a story about what it means to become famous now, and a lot of incredible images. Relatively new FADER photographer Ross Mantle shot Wiz in the center of a music video shoot and documented some of the first days of his relationship with Amber Rose. Mantle said, “He’s pretty down to earth. I don’t know if he’s going to get a head about him later on, but he has a bit of a young ego. I think to be in the position he’s in you have to have something like that to begin with.” More about Mantle’s experience, the rest of his photos and our cover feature on Wiz are featured alongside a feature on James Blake and interviews with Lex Luger, Niki and the Dove and Porcelain Raft in FADER #72. Available on traditional and digital newsstands, March 8th! See one more photo of the couple, and a cryptic statement Kanye West tweeted over the weekend that may be aimed at Amber, his ex-flame.
Because you love Nicki Minaj so much... Nicki, 26, was seen with her Ghey boyfriend hype man outside BBC Radio 1 where she went for an interview this morning. That dude wears more jewelry than she does. The British people are not used to a spectacle like Nicki.