Will New Jersey Succeed In Abolishing the Death Penalty?

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George Clooney
and Don Cheadle were presented with a bronze statue by Italian sculptor Oliviero Rainaldi for “their efforts in favor of pacifying the tormented region of Darfur and for helping save lives,” organizers said.

With seven victories and another major championship, Tiger Woods won the PGA Player of the Year award Tuesday for the third straight season and the ninth time in his 11 years since he turned pro. The only questions now are whether he’s playing his best golf, and how much better he can get. Also, Tiger said Wednesday that drug testing on the PGA Tour will start July 8, and he is about halfway through the tour’s anti-doping manual sent to players earlier this month. 

Floyd Mayweather remained unbeaten Saturday night and retained his claim to being the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world by stopping Ricky Hatton in the 10th round of a brawl that featured none of the fancy footwork the American has shown in the ring and on reality TV. 

His image is forever identified as the drug-addicted, wife-abusing husband of Tina Turner. He was hauntingly portrayed by Laurence Fishburne in the movie “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” based on Tina Turner’s autobiography. Ike Turner died Wednesday at his home in suburban San Diego. He was 76. 

At Wednesday’s Diversity Day demonstration at the Paramount gate, former “Grey’s Anatomy” star Isaiah Washington gave showrunner Shonda Rimes a big hug and professed his love and admiration, despite his dust-up earlier this year over being removed from the show. 

A top adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign said that Democrats should give more thought to Sen. Barack Obama’s admissions of illegal drug use before they pick a presidential candidate. Obama’s campaign said the Clinton people were getting desperate. Considering Bill Clinton’s admission of “not inhaling” the same substance? Awkward!!  

On video Oprah chats up politics, the Hillary kind, and her new film with friend Diane Sawyer. 

Moving one step further into the new millennium, New Jersey is expected today to become the first US state in four decades to vote to abolish the death penalty, in a move hailed by human rights activists as a step towards ending capital punishment. With the state’s vote on the cusp of abolishing capital punishment, death penalty foes are hoping the move will inspire other states to do the same. 

Happy birthday Jamie Foxx who turns 40 today. 

“I read Cosmo,” says Michael Yo [photo], his face lighting up with a playful grin. “I’m not gonna lie. I read Glamour. My job is to relate to women.” Once more interested in sports stats than dissecting the latest celebrity escapade, Yo has no qualms about losing some of his “man card” in order to do his job. He is exactly where he wants to be.  

Snowglobe premieres on ABC Family, Saturday, December 15 and stars Christina Milian, Lorraine Bracco, Josh Cooke, Matt Keeslar and Ron Canada. I hear it’s a film with a multi-racial cast with no mention of it. I think they call it creative casting. 

“I will believe in the death penalty when you will prove to me the infallibility of human beings.” [Marquis de Lafayette]

10 Office Holiday Party Landmines to Avoid

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Bow Wow
and Omarion are giving fans a chance to win an all-inclusive, romantic get-a-away courtesy of Columbia Records/Sony BMG; Will Smith tells the New York Post he’s willing to join the presidential campaign of Barack Obama and appear at various stops along the trail, a la Oprah Winfrey; “R. Kelly is currently facing 14 federal counts of child molestation. Why is the church not giving aid and comfort to the victims of sexual assaults?” asks activist Najee Ali of Project Islamic HOPE in a statement; Usher’s brother JLack, best known for producing Lloyd’s No. 2 single “Get It Shorty,” has just signed an exclusive worldwide publishing deal with EMI Music Publishing; Upcoming NBC competition has singer Patti LaBelle is stressed out over cutting bad singers; Keenen Ivory, Shawn and Marlon Wayans are in the headlines again with the announcement of a new spoof movie that targets the cop/action genre; Erykah Badu has announced that her new double album, due February 26, via Universal Motown, will be titled “Nu AmErykah”; New York City police believe that a crew under rap star Fabolous is responsible for the recent robberies of several high-profile celebrities, including former New York Giants cornerback Frank Walker, NBA guard Sebastian Telfair and boxer Zab Judah; Lavell Crawford, the portly comic who placed second on the most recent season of NBC’s reality competition “The Last Comic Standing,” has just been signed to a talent holding deal with NBC Universal. Get all the details. 

Producer, recording artist and actor Queen Latifah is making certain that everyone knows there are no impending nuptials. Especially great press-buzz when you have a movie coming out. She and co-star Gabrielle Union will be on The View today. 

Programs like “Baisden After Dark,” a late-night talk-variety series featuring Michael Baisden, known as the Bad Boy of radio, and “Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin,” a cooking show with the black celebrity chef, a “clean” comedy competition, “Who’s Got Jokes,” with the comedian Bill Bellamy as host, and “Sharp Talk With Al Sharpton,” a talk show set in a Brooklyn barbershop all flow from TV One, the cable channel with that sassy “I See Black People” advertising campaign. The NY Times writer Jamie Rector goes on to diss BET in the process. 

Bah, humbug to Christmas gift-giving. ‘My friends Grace, Jen and Heidi have come up with an alternative — a fierce holiday competition to create the perfect homemade gift.” 

Latino Review reports that John Singleton has come aboard to direct Fox’s big screen adaptation of 80′s TV classic “The A-Team”. 

As the Writers Guild strike continues, networks are refunding advertisers while late-night talkshows are way down in ratings. Time to buy a DVD player if you haven’t already.  

Happy birthday to Sheila E. (50), Dionne Warwick (56), and Joe Williams (89).  

There’s a reason a lot of workers dread holiday parties and it’s because “fun” and “making sure you can continue to pay your bills” rarely mix in a copasetic manner. You’re going to have to show up, and you’ll have to clean up your mess if you blow it. But eWEEK strives to make this a lot less daunting with by leading you through a guided tour of the things you should not do. 

“If you have much, give of your wealth; If you have little, give of your heart.” [Arab Proverb] 

Hispanics Cause GOP Hopefuls To Tiptoe

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ConVICKted! Pro NFL star Michael Vick has been sentenced to prison for 23 months for financing a dogfighting operation. He has been given three years’ probation. It’s sad how so many piled up on him. Let’s hope some will muster an ounce of compassion.
 

He’s rich, loves God, and doesn’t care what people think. Kirk Franklin opens up about hating his parents, the trials of Prophet Juanita Bynum, and his choice to no longer work with secular artists. 

Buoyed by a Supreme Court ruling, some 19,500 federal inmates and their families, most of them black, are hoping the U.S. Sentencing Commission is ready to make its recent easing of crack cocaine punishment guidelines retroactive. 

It was the third time in 14 months Jamaal Tinsley has run into trouble at an Indianapolis nightclub, and it comes on the heels of other professional athletes running into similar trouble. 

Plans are afoot for a Broadway revival of the 1964 musical Golden Boy – based on Clifford Odets’ classic play – about a pianist who gives up his music career to become a championship boxer. Usher is in negotiations to play the role, which was originated by Sammy Davis Jr 

In recent years, pain-prone Mary J. Blige found true love, squashed substance abuse and won three Grammy nods (out of eight nominations) for her 2005 album, “The Breakthrough.” But despite all that, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Searching insists that even happiness hurts 

Russell Simmons hit the beach with his yummy girlfriend, model Porschia Coleman, yesterday.  And the Def Jam/Phat Farm founder, 50, is doing his part to help out the less fortunate during this holiday season. The Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) was started by Simmons in order to help Africans help Africa. 

Film star Morris Chestnut [photo] breaks bread on growing up, career moves, Christmas, and his new release The Perfect Holiday. The picture also stars Gabrielle Union, Queen Latifah, Terrence Howard, and Faizon Love. 

There’s trouble in paradise. A study released last week by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center showed that inroads the [Republican] party made with Hispanics during the Bush years have been more than wiped out. Hispanic voters are now overwhelmingly Democrats – 57 percent, compared to 23 percent Republicans, a bigger gap than in 1999.  

Some of white America’s political elite are finally ready to speak openly of the failed and malevolent policies of black mass incarceration, writes Bruce Dixon. That’s good news. But who speaks for the young, the black and the poor in this discussion? Presidential candidates? Democratic or Republican politicians? The Congressional Black Caucus and our black leadership class? And without relentless pressure from a black mass movement, can any of these actors be on the issue of America’s universal but seldom acknowledged policies of racially selective policing, racially selective prosecution and racially selective mass imprisonment, there’s good news and there’s bad news.

“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” [Abraham Lincoln]  

Black And Muscular Makes For A Strong Showing

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Cornell Simpkins
presents fashion for a cause, the hot fashion show to benefit a scholarship fund! In this segment, the City Gym Boys team up with designer Epperson to heat things up! Don’t get wet.

The bright lights of Las Vegas and the stage allowed Jo Koy to see what his passion truly was… a love for comedy and the stage. Fans are impressed by the high energy and physical emotion Koy exudes on the stage. 

Happy birthday to Raven-Symone (21), Kenneth Branagh (46), and Susan Dey (54). And a belated one to Terrell Owens (34), born Dec 7. 

He is co-author of Breaking Into Broadcasting, delivers the HOT CELEBRITY SCOOP! every Friday on Hot 92.3 JAMZ, and co-hosts “Extra’s” one-hour weekend edition with the equally fetching Tanika Ray. Of course, he’s Jon Kelley.

George Clooney and Ocean’s Eleven costar Don Cheadle have been selected to receive the 2007 Peace Summit Award, in honor of their work on behalf of victims of the humanitarian crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region, at the upcoming 8th World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. Al Gore accepts the Nobel Peace Prize today. 

Michael Vick awaits a judge’s ruling today on how long he will remain in prison for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy. 

Speaking of dogs, do you care what your children watch? Father Hood presents Snoop Dogg as a gentle, likable character who loves his wife and children. But his constant swearing and sometimes-silly antics (like throwing food and forging David Beckham’s signature on his kid’s soccer jerseys) don’t always make him an ideal parental figure. His children also exhibit some questionable values, especially 10-year old Cordell, who’s obsessed with money and enjoys dressing up like a pimp.  

A fond farewell to Azaria and Hendekea. The brother and sister were eliminated last night on the Amazing Race. Also gone is my reason for watching. No need for a link, here. 

In a bit of commentary, finally, Dexter (Michael C. Hall) has someone he can openly discuss murder with: his captive, Sgt. James Doakes (Erik King). And real life former NYPD cop David Zayas discusses his role as Angel Batista in ShowTime’s Dexter. The show is headed next week to its season finale.

Bringing both crowd and energy, Oprah hits the campaign trail for Barack Obama. She aims to help dispel the notion that the senator’s experience is not an issue.  

“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.”  [Plato]  

Sherri Shepherd Building Blooper Shrine

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It looks likes George W. has company. A new face is now in the crosshairs when it comes to saying something “silly.” The View’s freshman co-host Sherri Shepherd is building her own wing in the YouTube library of celebrity bloopers. Of all the sistahs Bill Geddie and Barbara Walters paraded upon that stage they chose the one person who would rack up so many video bloopers in so short a time. Who knows what their criteria for co-host was. Comedians, late night talk shows and Saturday Night Live will have a steady stream of material.
 

Though already green lighted for release in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, South Korea Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, Will Smith’s new sci-fi thriller, “I Am Legend”, has yet to be approved by China. 

Actor and well-informed critical-thinker Danny Glover was on Tavis this week talking activism and his new film. “Honeydripper,” a music-infused drama set in Harmony, Ala., in 1950, follows the owner (Glover) of a faltering juke joint who reluctantly hires a young electric guitarist in a last-gasp attempt to attract patrons. To a large extent, the film captures the transitional moment from the blues to rock ‘n’ roll. Directed by John Sayles, the cast also includes Charles Dutton and Lisa Gay Hamilton. 

Is Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson following the yellow brick road of Hollywood? She’s broken-off her long romance with a maintenance engineer for an NFL player, re-taped her performance for tonight’s Movies Rock television show, made the Barbara Walters 10 Fascinating People list and grabbed a small role in the over-hyped “Sex and the City” film. They say go big or go home, Dorothy. 

On the Friday talk shows: Tavis Smiley interviews author Nathan McCall, and Nightline visits with musician Wyclef Jean    

He’s everywhere and with just about everybody. Entertainment Tonight, Eva Langoria, Melissa Joan Hart, and Rachel Ray, to name a few. And to add to his beefy resume, now television star and former “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Mario Lopez will be starring alongside R&B singer Christina Milian on CW’s comedy pilot, “Eight Days a Week”. 

Vivica A. Foxx, Gary Collins, Keifer Sutherland, Rebecca DeMornay, Nicole Richie, and the hits just keep on coming for celebs being caught-up on DUI charges.  

Kanye West and Amy Winehouse lead Grammy nominations with Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and T-Pain also in the thick of the hunt. 

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”  [Bertrand Russell]