Saints Beat Vikings 31-28

Posted by Zotta Rendevouz

Garrett Hartley kicked a 40-yard field goal in overtime to send the New Orleans Saints to the Super Bowl for the first time with a 31-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

“It’s all about doing our part,” Hartley said in a televised interview. “It’s surreal.”

The National Football Conference champions will play the Indianapolis Colts in the National Football League’s title game on Feb. 7 in Miami.

The Colts beat the New York Jets 30-17 earlier today in the American Football Conference championship game to reach the Super Bowl for the second time in four years. They won the title after the 2006 season.

The Saints, who led the league in scoring, are headed to the Super Bowl after matching the two playoff wins they totaled over their first 42 NFL seasons.

The Super Bowl will showcase two of the league’s top quarterbacks. Drew Brees of the Saints led the NFL in passing touchdowns this season and Peyton Manning of the Colts won his record fourth NFL Most Valuable Player Award.

The team that had no home five years ago after Hurricane Katrina ravaged its city and the Superdome overcame a slew of mistakes in the biggest game the Big Easy has ever seen.

But the biggest error was made by Favre. The 40-year-old quarterback threw away Minnesota’s chance for its first Super Bowl trip in 33 years with an interception deep in Saints territory in the final seconds of regulation.

New Orleans won the coin toss, Drew Brees(notes) guided it to the Minnesota 22 and Hartley, suspended at the start of the season for using a banned stimulant, split the uprights 4:45 into OT.

“Just helping my team get to Miami,” Hartley said. “Just doing my part.”

Forget the paper bag masks and a long history of losing. Moments after Hartley’s kick, they were toasting their hometown winners on Bourbon Street.

And in the Superdome, once a squalid refuge after Katrina, they boogied in the aisles as confetti covered the field.

The Saints (15-3) will meet the Peyton Manning(notes) and the Indianapolis Colts (16-2) in the Super Bowl in two weeks in Miami.

It’s the first time the top seeds in each conference made the big game since the 1993 season.
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Stars join Haiti telethon

Posted by Zotta Rendevouz

British stars pitched in during a star-studded transatlantic telethon to raise money for devastated Haiti.

Ex-Police frontman Sting sang in New York and comedian Russell Brand also helped man the phone lines in Los Angeles alongside Hollywood A-listers such as Jennifer Aniston, Mel Gibson and Jack Nicholson.

The celebrity phone bank appeared to be continuously busy with donation calls during the show, and it is hoped tens of millions of pounds will be raised for the aid effort.

R&B singer Alicia Keys kicked off the two-hour broadcast with a performance of her song Prelude To A Kiss. Setting a sombre tone for the evening, she sang: "Can you send me an angel to guide me?"

George Clooney, who helped organise the two-hour telecast, told viewers: "The Haitian people need our help. They need to know that they are not alone. They need to know that we still care."

Coldplay's Chris Martin joined fellow rock and pop royalty Bono, Jay-Z and Beyonce in London for the broadcast, with dozens of other celebrities including Madonna and Justin Timberlake pleading for donations in the US.

Then, after an impassioned plea from actress Halle Berry, rocker Bruce Springsteen dedicated a song for the impoverished Caribbean state - We Shall Overcome.

In London, Chris Martin backed Beyonce on piano as she revised her hit Halo with new lyrics: "Haiti we can see your halo, we pray you won't fade away." Jay-Z, Rihanna and U2's Bono and The Edge also debuted a new song, Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour), as Jay-Z rapped: "When the sky falls, and the earth quakes, we can gon' this back together, we won't break."

Across the Atlantic in New York, Madonna provided one of the few upbeat moments with her choir-backed performance of Like A Prayer and Sting sang a spirited Driven To Tears.

The telethon - which was also broadcast from Haiti - was featured on all the major US networks and channels and was also streamed live on sites such as YouTube and MySpace and Haitians were able to listen on Radio One Haiti.
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Posted by Zotta Rendevouz

Size and weight

130 grams w/battery
100g w/o battery


3.7-inch (diagonal) widescreen WVGA AMOLED touchscreen

800 x 480 pixels

100,000:1 typical contrast ratio

1ms typical response rate
Camera & Flash

5 megapixels

Autofocus from 6cm to infinity

2X digital zoom

LED flash

User can include location of photos from phone’s AGPS receiver

Video captured at 720x480 pixels at 20 frames per second or higher, depending on lighting conditions
Cellular & Wireless

UMTS Band 1/4/8 (2100/AWS/900)

HSDPA 7.2Mbps


GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

Wi-Fi (802.11b/g)

Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

A2DP stereo Bluetooth

Power and battery

Removable 1400 mAH battery

Charges at 480mA from USB, at 980mA from supplied charger

Talk time
Up to 10 hours on 2G
Up to 7 hours on 3G
Standby time
Up to 290 hours on 2G
Up to 250 hours on 3G
Internet use
Up to 5 hours on 3G
Up to 6.5 hours on Wi-Fi
Video playback
Up to 7 hours
Audio playback
Up to 20 hours


Qualcomm QSD 8250 1 GHz
Operating system

Android Mobile Technology Platform 2.1 (Eclair)

512MB Flash


4GB Micro SD Card (Expandable to 32 GB)

Assisted global positioning system (AGPS) receiver

Cell tower and Wi-Fi positioning

Digital compass


Graphics, video and audio

Audio decoders
AAC LC/LTP, HE-AACv1 (AAC+), HE-AACv2 (enhanced AAC+) Mono/Stereo standard bit rates up to 160 kbps and sampling rates from 8 to 48kHz, AMR-NB 4.75 to 12.2 kbps sampled @ 8kHz, AMR-WB 9 rates from 6.60 kbit/s to 23.85 kbit/s sampled @ 16kHz., MP3 Mono/Stereo 8-320Kbps constant (CBR) or variable bit-rate (VBR), MIDI SMF (Type 0 and 1), DLS Version 1 and 2, XMF/Mobile XMF, RTTTL/RTX, OTA, iMelody, Ogg Vorbis, WAVE (8-bit and 16-bit PCM)

JPEG (encode and decode), GIF, PNG, BMP
H.263 (encode and decode) MPEG-4 SP (encode and decode) H.264 AVC (decode)
Audio encoders
AMR-NB 4.75 to 12.2 kbps sampled @ 8kHz
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A week after Haiti quake

Posted by Zotta Rendevouz

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The world still can't get enough food and water to the hungry and thirsty one week after an earthquake shattered Haiti's capital. The airport remains a bottleneck, the port is a shambles. The Haitian government is invisible, nobody has taken firm charge, and the police have largely given up.

Even as U.S. troops landed in Seahawk helicopters Tuesday on the manicured lawn of the National Palace, the colossal efforts to help Haiti are proving inadequate because of the scale of the disaster and the limitations of the world's governments. Expectations exceeded what money, will and military might have been able to achieve so far in the face of unimaginable calamity.

"God has abandoned us! The foreigners have abandoned us!" yelled Micheline Ursulin, tearing at her hair as she rushed past a large pile of decaying bodies.

Three of her children died in the quake and her surviving daughter is in the hospital with broken limbs and a serious infection.

Rescue groups continue to work, even though time is running out for those buried by the quake. A Mexican team created after that nation's 1985 earthquake rescued Ena Zizi, 69. She had survived a week buried in the ruins of the residence of Haiti's Roman Catholic archbishop, Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, whose body was found Tuesday sitting in a chair in what appeared to be his office.

Doctors said Zizi was dehydrated and had dislocated a hip and broken a leg.

"I'm all right, sort of," she said, lying on a foil thermal blanket outside the Cuban hospital, her gray hair covered in white dust.

An ardent Catholic, Zizi sang a hymn of praise and thanks to God in a strong but strained voice that resonated across the hospital garden filled with ailing quake victims on stretchers.

"This is a miracle," said one of her sons, bank clerk Joseph Josner.

Those who survived the quake from the beginning but had lost their homes and possessions were growing desperate as they camped out in the streets and in a plaza across from the National Palace.

"We need so much. Food, clothes. We need everything. I don't know whose responsibility it is, but they need to give us something soon," said Sophia Eltime, a 29-year-old mother of two who has been living under a bedsheet with seven members of her extended family. She said she had not eaten yet Tuesday.

It is not just Haitians questioning why aid has been so slow for victims of one of the worst earthquakes in history: an estimated 200,000 dead, 250,000 injured and 1.5 million homeless. Officials in France and Brazil and aid groups such as Doctors Without Borders have complained of bottlenecks, skewed priorities and a crippling lack of leadership and coordination.

"TENS OF THOUSANDS OF EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS NEED EMERGENCY SURGICAL CARE NOW!!!!!" said a news release from Partners in Health, co-founded by Dr. Paul Farmer, the deputy U.N. envoy to Haiti.

"Our medical director has estimated that 20,000 people are dying each day who could be saved by surgery." No details were provided on how the figure was determined.

The reasons are varied:

• Both national and international authorities suffered great losses in the quake, taking out many of the leaders best suited to organize a response;

• Woefully inadequate infrastructure and a near-complete failure in telephone and Internet communications complicate efforts to reach millions of people forced from homes turned into piles of rubble;

• Fears of looting and violence keep aid groups and governments from moving as quickly as they'd like;

• Pre-existing poverty and malnutrition put some at risk even before the quake hit.

Governments have pledged nearly $1 billion in aid, and thousands of tons of food and medical supplies have been shipped. But much remains trapped in warehouses, diverted to the neighboring Dominican Republic, or left hovering in the air. The nonfunctioning seaport and impassable roads make it even more difficult to get aid to the people.

Aid is being turned back from the single-runway airport, where the U.S. military has come under criticism for poorly prioritizing flights.

Doctors Without Borders said a plane carrying 12 tons of medical equipment, including drugs, surgical supplies and two dialysis machines, had been turned away three times from the Port-au-Prince airport since Sunday night, resulting in the deaths of five patients.

"We were forced to buy a saw in the market to continue amputations," coordinator Loris de Filippi said Tuesday in a statement.

The U.S. Air Force said it had raised the airport's daily capacity from 30 flights before the quake to 180 on Tuesday.

"We're doing everything in our power to speed aid to Haiti as fast as humanly possible," said Gen. Douglas Fraser, head of U.S. Southern Command.

The World Food Program said more than 250,000 ready-to-eat food rations had been distributed in Haiti by Tuesday, only a fraction of the 3 million people thought to be in desperate need. There have been anecdotal stories of starvation among the old and infirm, but apparently no widespread starvation — yet.

The WFP said it needs to deliver 100 million ready-to-eat rations in the next 30 days. Based on pledges from the United States, Italy and Denmark, it has 16 million in the pipeline.

So far, international relief efforts have been unorganized, disjointed and insufficient to help a people in need of such basics as food, water and medical care.

"It's frustrating to see planes landing, officials coming in and military planes coming in, carrying military personnel and their supplies," Marie-Noelle Rodrigue, Doctors Without Borders' deputy operations manager, said from Paris. "We see there are priorities being given but don't understand on what grounds."

French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet went as far as demanding a U.N. investigation into U.S. aid efforts, although his boss, President Nicolas Sarkozy, defended the U.S. on Tuesday, as did the United Nations. U.N. spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs credited the U.S. with bringing in great amounts of aid and expertise, and said the airport wouldn't be working without U.S. military help.

U.S. defense officials acknowledged bottlenecks, but said they have been working aggressively to eliminate them. They note that many military flights also carry aid, and White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said that by Monday, fewer than a third of flights into Haiti were U.S. military.

About 2,200 Marines established a beachhead west of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday to help speed aid delivery, in addition to 9,000 already on the ground. Lt. Cmdr. Walter Matthews, a U.S. military spokesman, said helicopters were ferrying aid from the airport into Port-au-Prince and the nearby town of Jacmel as fast as they can.

The U.N. was sending in reinforcements as well: The Security Council voted Tuesday to add 2,000 peacekeepers to the 7,000 already in Haiti, and 1,500 more police to the 2,100-strong international force.

"The floodgates for aid are starting to open," Matthews said at the airport. "In the first few days, you're limited by manpower, but we're starting to bring people in."

The WFP's Alain Jaffre said the U.N. organization was starting to find its stride after distribution problems, and hoped to help 100,000 people by Wednesday.

"The problem is the logistics: getting the food to the people," he said. "We're challenged by trucks, staff, roads and security, in declining order of importance."

The effort was also hampered by a lack of leadership.

With its seat of power destroyed and many officials dead, the Haitian government has largely disappeared. President Rene Preval hasn't addressed the nation, beyond sending one taped message to a radio station. He is only known to have toured briefly one of the thousands of sites where people are dead or dying.

First lady Elisabeth Debrosse acknowledged that Preval "is limited in his capacity to act," but insisted: "The president is in control and is trying to focus on what the priorities are and those priorities are changing every minute."

The U.N., which itself lost its Haiti headquarters, its top two officials and many others inside, has tried to fill the void but has struggled to bring the international relief effort together. The United States has taken charge of pieces of the operation but coordination has been uneven.

"Is the U.N. going to run it or is the military? Somebody needs to take charge here," said Robert Kind of CMC Construction. He was at the airport looking for somebody to get a generator that his company donated to a University of Miami field hospital. It took three days to fly the generator in, he said, and it has sat on the grass since Monday.

Rodrigue, of Doctors Without Borders, said it would have been helpful if immediately after the quake, all the aid donors and governments responding to the crisis had had a discussion "to know who's in charge, what are the procedures, when everyone knew that bringing material into Haiti was going to be an issue."

"We didn't see that," she said.

Hanging over the entire effort was an overwhelming fear among relief officials that Haitians' desperation would spill over into violence.

"We've very concerned about the level of security we need around our people when we're doing distributions," said Graham Tardif, who heads disaster-relief efforts for the charity World Vision. The U.N., the U.S. government and other organizations echoed such fears.

Occasionally, those fears have been borne out. Looters rampaged through part of downtown Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, just four blocks from where U.S. troops landed at the presidential palace.

Hundreds of looters fought over bolts of cloth and other goods with broken bottles and clubs.

"That is how it is. There is nothing we can do," said Haitian police officer Arina Bence, who was trying to keep civilians out of the looting zone for their own safety.

U.S. officials insisted they had no plans to take on a policing role in Haiti, and the arriving Marines are allowed to use force only in self-defense, according to U.S. Maj. Gen. Cornell A. Wilson Jr. But troops of the 82nd Airborne took up positions outside the General Hospital on Tuesday when the crowd grew too large.

Haitian Police Chief Mario Andersol said he can muster only 2,000 of the 4,500 officers in the capital and said even they "are not trained to deal with this kind of situation."

Some police are urging citizens to take the law into their own hands, and neighborhoods are creating their own security forces, forming night brigades and machete-armed mobs to fight bandits. "If you don't kill the criminals, they will all come back," one officer shouted over a loudspeaker in the Cite Soleil slum.

Despite the criticism, some aid officials defended their efforts and said the world is judging them too harshly.

"The aid is never fast enough for the armchair aid workers sipping their lattes," said Steve Matthews, a Haiti-based spokesman for World Vision. "Despite the slowness, aid is flowing. Things are happening. We understand the race against time. Everyone's working 16-hour days.
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Coakley concedes

Posted by Zotta Rendevouz

Quo vadis? And what happened to Martha? Open thread.

This is where Barack Obama shows if he’s got anything of what it takes. The real key to his survival is himself. Who he chooses to listen to, what he chooses to abandon, what he decides to hold, these will define him. The problem is he’s surrounded himself with a pack of Dr Morels and scam artists who have come a long way by whispering junk in his ear. He has to clean out his inner circle. So my prediction is that if he does he’s got a chance. If he circles the wagons, he’s finished.

And then there’s Hillary. I wonder when the knives come out.

Scott Brown has won the Massachusetts Senate seat once held by Senator Ted Kennedy. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Brown has beaten his Democratic challenger Martha Coakley 52-47 percent.

This changes the dynamics in the U.S. Senate; the Democrats have lost their filibuster-proof majority. The loss in Massachusetts puts President Barack Obama’s health care proposal and other initiatives in jeopardy.

Independent voters were the deciding factor. “Tonight the independent voice of Massachusetts has spoken,” Brown told his supporters at a victory rally. This is the first time a Republican has held a Senate seat in the Bay State since 1972.

Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal calls the victory a stark illustration of Democratic support collapsing from independent voters. “But Massachusetts is now the third Obama-won state in the past three months where independents have swung decisively Republican,” the Journal said.

“I am ready to go to Washington without delay,” Brown told his supporters Tuesday night.

The Boston Herald said Brown becomes the “lone GOPer in the 12-person federal delegation from the Bay State.”
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