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first_imgHEAVILY FAVORED HARD NOT TO LOVE IS COMPLETELY DOMINANT IN WINNING GRADE II, $200,000 SANTA MONICA STAKES BY 3 ½ LENGTHS UNDER SMITH; TRAINED BY SHIRREFFS, SHE GETS SEVEN FURLONGS IN 1:22.19 ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 15, 2020)–In what appeared to be her best race to date, heavily favored Hard Not to Love drew clear late to win Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes by 3 ½ lengths under Mike Smith. Trained by John Shirreffs, the sight-impaired 4-year-old daughter of Hard Spun got seven furlongs in 1:22.19.In a what is a true testament to the applied horsemanship of both Smith and Shirreffs, Hard Not to Love, who lost the use of her left eye in a paddock accident as a youngster, was a model of decorum going to the starting gate today and she ran accordingly, with no mishaps along the way.“She’s getting better and better,” said Shirreffs, who was visibly moved by her performance. “The stewards allowed us to break from post parade when she came out of the tunnel. Her groom, Martin Lopez, walked her around the (Club House) turn and she stayed calm.“She never breaks (sharply), but she reacts very quickly.  Mike said he was waiting for her to relax and then he put her into the race.  I love Mike, we go back a long way and we think a lot alike.  He’s such a horseman, for him, it’s all about the horse.  That’s above winning or losing, it’s always about the horse.  It looked like this was her best race.”Indeed it did. Breaking just a bit tardily, Hard Not to Love responded to Smith’s golden touch early and was challenging Lady Ninja and Mother Mother for the lead around the far turn. Caught three-deep turning for home, Hard Not to Love inched clear of Mother Mother in mid-stretch and won with her ears pricked.Fresh off victory in the Grade I La Brea Stakes at the same distance on Dec. 28, Hard Not to Love was the 3-5 favorite in a field of five older fillies and mares and paid $3.20, $2.10 and $2.10.“She got into a really good rhythm once we passed the gap about the three quarter pole,” said Smith, who has now won all three of his races with Hard Not to Love, dating back to a 6 ½ furlong allowance score here on Oct. 25.  “She kind of put her head down and got into a really nice rhythm.  I knew she was gonna run well at that point.  I gotta take my hat off to John Shirreffs and everybody, the groom, the gallop girl that gets on her.“She is a lot of work and they have done a lot to get her here and it is paying off.  She gets anxious and the fans are starting to know her.  They show her a lot of respect and they get quiet for her.  She just gets anxiety because she can’t see everything, but she is such a sweetheart.  The best part is once we get her in the gate and get her running.”Owned by Mercedes Stables, LLC, West Point Thoroughbreds, Scott Dilworth, Dorothy Ingordo, David Ingordo and Steve Mooney, Hard Not to Love, who is out of the Vindication mare Loving Vindication, has now won five out of her six starts and with the winner’s share of $120,000, increased her earnings to $408,480.When asked about her next assignment, Shirreffs said they would point to the Grade I, $400,000 Beholder Mile on March 14.“I think as long as she can (relax), with her style of running, it shouldn’t be a problem,” he said.Mother Mother, who was head and head for the lead while between horses, proved second best, finishing 1 ½ lengths in front of longshot Zusha. Off at 3-2 with Flavien Prat up, Mother Mother paid $2.20 and $2.10.Ridden by Tiago Pereira, Zusha picked up a tiring Lady Ninja late, finishing third by one length. Off at 28-1, she paid $2.80 to show.Fractions on the race were 23.04, 45.81 and 1:10.07.last_img read more

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first_imgP W D L GF GA GD Pts1. Leicester 32 20 9 3 55 31 24 692. Tottenham 32 17 11 4 57 25 32 623. Arsenal 31 17 7 7 52 30 22 584. Man City 31 16 6 9 56 32 24 545. Man Utd 31 15 8 8 39 27 12 536. West Ham 31 13 12 6 49 37 12 517. S’hampton 32 13 8 11 41 33 8 478. Stoke City 32 13 8 11 36 39 -3 479. Liverpool 30 12 9 9 46 41 5 4510. Chelsea 31 11 11 9 49 41 8 44 P W D L GF GA GD Pts11. W’ Brom 31 10 10 11 30 37 -7 4012. Everton 30 9 11 10 51 42 9 3813. B’mouth 32 10 8 14 38 54 -16 3814. Watford 31 10 7 14 30 36 -6 3715. Swansea 32 9 10 13 33 42 -9 3716. Crystal P 31 9 7 15 34 42 -8 3417. Norwich 32 8 7 17 35 56 -21 3118. S’land 31 6 9 16 36 55 -19 2719. N’castle 31 6 7 18 31 58 -27 2520. A’ Villa 32 3 7 22 22 62 -40 16last_img read more

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first_imgCalabar High retained the ISSA Southern Conference Under-19 title on Wednesday at the National Indoor Sports Centre, following a pulsating and gripping 59-55 win over Camperdown in the decisive game of their three-match series for a 2-1 win.The winners trailed the entire first-half but pegged back their opponents in the third before pulling off a thrilling victory in the final minute of the game.Jehvaun Faulder led the Red Hills Road school with a game high 22 points and he was well supported by tournament MVP, Maliek McCarthy with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Desean Boyd had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Camperdown.”We got them into foul trouble and at that point we used our more experienced players to attack them,” Calabar coach Ludlow Barker related after the game”We are the best team and we showed that tonight and we want to continue that as we move into the all island,” he added.Camperdown started the better team and took the first quarter 16-13 and led 35-27 at the half.Calabar came out recharged in the third quarter and started reeling in their opponents and went in front for the first at 41-40, with over a minute to go but Camperdown regained the advantage as the quarter ended 45-44.The final quarter was action-packed. Calabar edged in front 56-55 with only 27 seconds to play and eventually sealed the game from the free-throw line.last_img read more

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first_imgAaron Pryor, the relentless junior welterweight who fought two memorable bouts with Alexis Arguello, died yesterday. He was 60.Pryor’s family issued a statement saying the boxer died at his home in Cincinnati after a long battle with heart disease.Known as ‘The Hawk’, Pryor was a crowd favourite who fought with a frenetic style, rarely if ever taking a step backwards. His fights in the early 1980s with Arguello, the great Nicaraguan champion, were both classics that are still talked about in boxing circles.But Pryor was a troubled champion, and his career would unravel because of an addiction to cocaine.”He was very unorthodox and could throw punches from all kinds of angles with great hand speed,” said former Associated Press boxing writer Ed Schuyler Jr. “He was a great fighter, it’s too bad he didn’t have more fights.”Pryor’s widow, Frankie Pryor, said her husband – who would later speak out about the evils of drugs – also had a side most fans didn’t know about.”Aaron was known around the world as ‘The Hawk’ and delighted millions of fans with his aggressive and crowd-pleasing boxing style,” she said in a statement announcing his death. “But to our family he was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend.”Pryor was unbeaten in 31 fights when he and Arguello met in a 140-pound title clash in the Orange Bowl in Miami on November 12, 1982. Arguello was a classic boxer-puncher considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters, but Pryor would not back off as the two men traded punches for the better part of 14 rounds.Pryor finally wore Arguello down, stopping him in the 14th round with a flurry of punches. Ring magazine later picked the bout as the Fight of the Decade.”It was one of the best fights I’ve ever seen,” Schuyler said. “I’d put it in the top five.”Pryor’s win was marred, though, by questions about a bottle wrapped in black tape that his corner man raised to his lips on several occasions between rounds in the fight. Many in boxing thought it contained stimulants, but the corner man, Artie Curley, said it was peppermint schnapps.Pryor would beat Arguello again the next September in Las Vegas, this time stopping him in the 10th round of their scheduled 15-round bout. Arguello went down in the round from a series of punches and declined to get back up.”Arguello was a great fighter, but he couldn’t handle Pryor,” Schuyler said. “He could have gotten up, but what was the point?”CAREER PINNACLEThe second Arguello fight was the pinnacle of Pryor’s career. He became a heavy cocaine user, and fought only six more times in the next seven years, finishing his career with a record of 39-1 with 35 knockouts.”I reached out and certain people did not give me their right hand,” Pryor said later of his drug use. “They gave me drugs.”Pryor was named the ‘Greatest Jr. Welterweight of the Century by The Associated Press and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996. He would later travel the world making personal appearances and spreading his anti-drug message.Pryor is survived by his wife and partner of over a quarter of a century, Frankie Pryor, sons Aaron Pryor Jr and Antwan Harris, daughter Elizabeth Wagner and three grandsons Adam, Austin and Aaron Pryor III.last_img read more

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first_imgBy Shemuel FanfairThe Indian Action Committee (IAC) brought some much-needed cheer to hundreds of children on a cool Sunday afternoon at the Wales Community Centre Ground, West Bank Demerara (WBD).Santa travelled the distance to bring gifts to the children at WalesThe children and their parents were greeted by the pulsating sounds of Christmas classics as each child was given a meal and much to drink.Their eagerness overflowed with expressions of great exuberance as Santa Claus travelled the distance to Wales bearing gifts which were accompanied by a party bag of snacks. There was also a random draw where Ronaldo Jacobs was the fortunate child to have his name selected as the winner. Walking away with an oversized white teddy bear, Jacobs struggled somewhat to carry off his prize, but this did not affect the sheer excitement that rested upon his face. His mother remarked that the teddy bear would fit right into the family’s Christmas decorations.IAC Executive Member and media personality Neaz Subhan told Guyana Times that Wales was selected, given the impact the community would have faced from the closure of the sugar estate, which provided much sustenance for the area.“Wales had to be the place for us to come given the fact that the Estate has been closed and people have been laid off and we feel that being with the children, bringing some kind of cheer to them, we are hoping that in some way, we can be able to put a smile to their faces at least for this season,” Subhan told this newspaper.The IAC event has been held for more than 10 years, and the Executive Member observed that the IAC would seek out communities it considered vulnerable to support.“The IAC will continue to do things like these by going across the country to areas to work with our friends and partners who came on board and helped us get some of the items and toys, and we are very grateful for their contributions,” he noted.It was noted that Sunday’s event exceeded expectations by about 100 children. The IAC was established in 2003.last_img read more

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first_imgAlthough rice farmers in Hague, West Coast Demerara, are complaining of little improvement to several acres of rice fields, which are reportedly infested with bugs, the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has confirmed that major improvements have been recorded since the agency intervened.This was related to Guyana Times by General Manager of the Rice Board, Nizam Hassan, on Thursday, while noting that there is evidence of such improvements.He however stated, “It is too early to say whether or not the crop will be of the standard when it is time for harvest, which should be just about four weeks from now”.According to Hassan, the discolouration which was first observed on the plants is now fading, as the plants are beginning to become greener, due to the treatment recommended by the GRDB and constant monitoring.One farmer, Ganga Persaud, who has 60 years of experience in the field said, “There are some improvements but not too much to be happy about. The rice, since GRDB officials from research came, they went there and they uprooted some plants and took some water samples and they looked at it and they strainedThe GRDB claims the discolouration has improved, as seen in this imagethe water and found some dead worms”.Persaud argued that the officials ‘routinely checked’ for the usual pests, something which he believes is not the real reason for the plants’ state. He said, “They did not look for is what they did not find”.The farmer said he believes the field has a soil problem. “There is a soil problem because of the three conditions the crop has to work with, the weather condition in water and mud”.He said he observed that most of the rice fields which are very low tend to attract the bugs.Persaud admitted that the GRDB has been monitoring the affected fields but still fear the bugs may get the best of the fields since other farmers have been complaining of the very same bug affecting their rice fields.The farmers initially claimed that some 120 acres of their lands were being affected by a termite infestation but GRDB later dismissed this claim, saying that advice was given to the farmers to drain the fields and apply systematic pesticides, but the farmers refused to do so.The GRDB said it determined that the farmer needed to drain the field, apply a systematic pesticide; in this instance, it was recommended that Pronto and Regional at the recommended rates be used.Hassan said a subsequent visit by the GRDB showed that the farmer had water weevils and had not been spraying with the required pesticide recommended by the team. The GRDB head claimed that the farmer also admitted to not draining his field despite being advised to do so and was, in fact, applying a contact insecticide instead, rather than a systematic pesticide. Based on a report compiledThe state of the rice field before GRDB’s interventionby an investigating team, dead water weevil larvae were found on the roots of some plants, the GRDB noted, adding that only one farmer, and 3.4 acres of rice fields, was presently affected.Guyana Times reported that close to 15 rice farmers were affected and lost much of their crop in the villages of Hague, Den Amstel, and several other areas.Omar Dhanny, a farmer who cultivates about seven acres of land at Hague, had said he and other farmers exhausted all efforts to address the situation, but to no avail.“This here affects me a lot, because this amount of rice here what damage for me, I already (gone) through all the doses of fertiliser and I already sprayed about six times. If you calculate, it is a lot of money, and nobody don’t know if we gonna get anything from the Rice Development Board,” he pointed out earlier this month.In recent years, farmers across the country have been earning reduced profits for their rice, especially with the collapse of the PetroCaribe (rice for oil) deal with Venezuela. Government has sought alternative markets such as Mexico and Panama. However, millers are delaying payments to farmers owing to challenges with ready access to payments from the foreign markets.last_img read more

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first_imgPlayers to watch: Fort St. John: Goaltending – 3-time Allan Cup winner Chad Vizzutti is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. But Vizzutti is a “big-game” goaltender, who seems to rise to the occasion and play his best hockey when the stakes are high. Along with Troy Hunt, Vizzutti gives the Flyers a dynamic one-two punch in goal, both of which can carry the load, and both of which are expected to see action in the series. Scoring – Ryan Carter was the best player for the Flyers in the playoffs last season, and has continued to contribute whenever he has put on a Blue and White jersey this year. Carter is a goal-scorer, who will be relied upon as a ‘game-changer’ in the series. The Flyers are also hoping Fort St. John native Rod Stevens will take some of the pressure off Carter. Stevens certainly has been a ‘game-changer’ in his career, but hasn’t played hockey at a high level since his retirement from the French league last season. Advertisement Starting on Thursday evening, the Fort St. John Flyers will battle the Bentley Generals, in the McKenzie Cup. This year’s series will take place at the Red Deer Arena, and will feature a best-of-five series, to be played on consecutive nights.  It’ll be a feast of hockey, and here’s what you need to know before you show up. What it means: – Advertisement -There are only six spots available at the Allan Cup, which is the national Senior hockey championship (essentially the Canadian Amateur championships). Each spring, the BC representative takes on the Alberta representative in the McKenzie Cup, which determines the Pacific representative at the Allan Cup, which this year will be played in Steinback, Manitoba. Which teams are involved: The Bentley Generals take on the Fort St. John Flyers, for the third straight year. The Generals have won the previous two meetings, and made it all the way to the Allan Cup final last year, where they lost to the host Brantford Blast.   The Generals are the champions of Alberta’s Chinook Hockey League, while the Flyers are the champs of the North Peace Hockey League. Advertisement Defence – The status of star defenceman Kip Noble is still up in the air, which is a major question mark for the Flyers. In the lineup, he provides a complete package of skating, passing, toughness, and one of the best shots in the country. Out of the lineup, he leaves the Flyers with just six defencemen, and no real standout on which to depend. Bentley: Goaltending – At this point, Scott Galenza is the number one goalie for the Generals, after winning all four of his starts in the provincial finals against Stony Plain. But, the Flyers chased Galenza in their game Two win in last year’s McKenzie Cup, before former Flyer Rod Branch suited up as a General, shutting the door for the rest of the series. This year, Branch is out of the picture, and unless the Generals can pick up a goaltender from elsewhere in Alberta, Galenza will share the duties with Mike Gilhooly and Cam Ondrik. Scoring – When healthy, Kevin Smyth plays left-wing on the top line, and can be terrifying with the puck. Smyth missed game six of the Alberta finals with an upper-body injury, but returned to score two points, including the game-winning goal, in game seven. His NHL career was cut short by injury, which has been the Achilles heel of the veteran’s career. Joining Kevin Smyth on the attack, is leading scorer Curtis Austring, Diarmud Kelly, Sean Robertson, and Jared Smyth, who all boast at least WHL-level experience. Defence – Donald Morrison and Joe Vandermeer were 2-way studs in last year’s McKenzie Cup, quietly controlling the game, and chipping in offensively as well. Joining those two stalwarts is Dion Darling, giving the Gens three D-men with AHL experience. Advertisement The Generals have the guns to make teams pay for defensive miscues, as well as a powerplay that has served them well all season (6 of their 19 goals against Stony Plain were scored on the man-advantage, including Kevin Smyth’s game 7 winner).  Even short-handed, PK specialists Chris Martini and Kent Beagle provide a threat that can’t be ignored. Likewise, the powerplay of the Flyers could be huge. The likes of Ryan Carter, Rod Stevens, Tyler Brough, Adam Loncan, Dustin Kersey, and Todd Alexander can all put the puck in the net given half a chance, and in a series as physical as this one ought to be, there will certainly be powerplays to work with. But, while the Flyers can score with the best of teams (240 goals in a 26 game regular season), it’s their ability to keep them out that will decide this series. And that’s a hard factor to determine. Behind an arguably outmatched defensive roster, the Flyers have two stellar goalies, who are capable of stealing games and maintaining balance. Even Brian Sutter knows goaltending is huge. Sutter points to Cody Rudkowsky as a big part of Stony Plain’s success this season, likening it to Rod Branch’s performance for the Flyers in the 2007 McKenzie Cup. “[The Flyers’] goaltending was really good, and they competed really hard,” which he says made it a close series, which he fully expects again. And certainly the Flyers defensive depth will be tested.  Even if Kip Noble is 100% healthy, the Flyers have less skill and poise on the blue-line than do their opponents.  Noble’s absence will put the pressure on rookie Brett Loney, who will then be expected to play on the top pairing. Brett has silky stickhandling skills, and drew rave reviews for his performance in an exhibition series against Stony Plain in November.  Loney may be playing against his equals or betters for the first time in his life – an opportunity that can break or define any young athlete.  If Noble is in the lineup, Brett Loney will likely play on the second pairing alongside his big brother Tyler Loney – a sizeable tandem that can hit, fight, and make breakaway passes with equal grace.  The Flyers defensive corps, particularly Arlo Hadland and Mike Shipton, exceeded all expectations in the playoff run last year, but will need to be even better to survive the McKenzie Cup.   Bryan Lewis will play on the top pairing, and can be counted on for gritty, defensive zone responsibility, while Luke Middleton rounds out a blue-line as a major wild-card. Middleton was a dominant player in the November Stony Plain series, and can skate as well as anyone on the ice.  His risky and at-times casual game could cause problems, or could be a huge offensive spark from the back-end. As for the coaching matchup, it could also be a battle to watch.  Behind the Bentley bench is Brian Sutter, who boasts more than 1000 games as an NHL head coach, and won the 1990-91 Jack Adams Award, as the NHL’s Coach of the Year.  Sutter ran the bench for Bentley two years ago, but was busy coaching the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels last season.  Behind the Fort St. John bench is second-year coach Adam Brash, who is intent on keeping up with his counterpart.  And this is one series in which coaching may well be a factor.  The teams are well-matched, know each other well, and play similar styles of dump-and-chase, crash-and-bang hockey. It’s all a challenge that Adam Brash is looking forward to: [asset|aid=1165|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=023e074fea58d8dd368f25c2b0d29d7b-Brashvs.Sutter_1_Pub.mp3] Naturally, the fact that this series is entirely in Red Deer will be a factor. But, for the Flyers, it’s not a typical road trip.   Unlike in the NPHL regular season, the Flyers won’t have to deal with long bus trips before games, late nights, and work.  The Flyers will be staying at a hotel, resting on game days, and taking their families with them, for added support.  Goaltender Troy Hunt says that’s a big difference as compared to regular road trips. “When you hit the city limits, you’re there for one reason” Hunt says, “You’re there to win three hockey games, so it’s a whole different ball-game.”  Coach Brash is also downplaying the significance of playing the series away from the North Peace Arena.   “The home ice advantage stuff is going to be strictly based on fans, and line changing” says Brash, adding “We play well on the road, we like playing on the road, we concentrate better on the road, and there’s less distractions, so I think we have the advantage there.” Are the Flyers ready? According to their coach, they are: “I think we’ve been ready all year long” says Brash. The McKenzie Cup starts on Thursday, and will be broadcast live on Moose FM, and online at energeticcity-beta.mystagingwebsite.com. Games start at 7:30 MST each night, with a 45 minute M&M Meats Pre-game Show starting at 5:45 PST.Jon Zacks – Moose FM & Energeticcity.ca staff But then again… But of course, numbers and stats do not a series make.  The Flyers are hungry to avenge their previous two losses, and reach the national competition for the first time in club history.  Fort St. John will play host to next year’s Allan Cup, and so the Flyers are anxious to prove to the hockey world that they are deserving of their spot amongst the country’s best amateur teams.  The Generals, on the other hand, are twice defending McKenzie Cup champs, but may dress as few as 7 players who actually played in the McKenzie Cup last year (Galenza, Morrison, Vandermeer, Kent Beagle, Harstaad, Jared Smyth).  Since wrapping up the regular season with a 23-1 record, the Generals have played four tough playoff rounds, getting pushed the distance in both the Chinook League playoffs and the Alberta playdowns.  But like the Flyers, the Generals have spent the season trying to elevate their game, in anticipation of the rigors of April. “Like I tell the guys every night” says Coach Brian Sutter, “if you prepare for the toughest possible battle, then you’ll be ready for any challenge that confronts you.” But while they may not be a group of long-time senior hockey players, the Generals come loaded with top-end talent, and high-end experience.  Bentley’s lineup includes a dozen players who played in the WHL, a handful of varsity athletes, and even players with AHL and NHL games under their belts.  They play a tight, disciplined style of hockey, as you might expect out of a Brian Sutter team.   Bentley has a lot of size, and plays a physical game matched only by Fort St. John.   The Generals also have a lengthy roster, which coach Sutter isn’t afraid to use. “We’ve used 32 guys, and we’ve played four playoff series already,” he says, adding “We play as a group, and we know we need everybody.” Advertisementlast_img read more

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first_imgWednesday’s Supreme Court ruling banning a controversial late-term abortion procedure may be as important for who wrote it as for the decision itself. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, considered the court’s crucial middleman, came down solidly with conservatives in writing the 5-4 decision. Abortion cases are difficult for the court, and in the past they’ve been particularly trying for Kennedy. He agonized over his 1992 vote to reaffirm a woman’s right to abortion. That decision enraged conservatives, who had expected the Roman Catholic Reagan nominee to help overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that established a constitutional right to privacy that protects abortion rights. On Wednesday, Kennedy led conservatives in the decision that for the first time upheld a nationwide ban on a procedure that opponents call “partial-birth abortion.” The ruling also opened the way for further restrictions. Kennedy, a 70-year-old Californian and a justice since 1988, has been in the majority on all nine cases that have been decided this term by 5-4 votes. Not all have gone the way conservatives would like. One criticized the Bush administration’s handling of global warming. And over the years, he has clashed with conservative justices over issues including presidential power and gay rights. Yet to come this year is what is expected to be a landmark decision on race in public schools, with Kennedy likely to be in control. “It really is the Kennedy court,” Duke University law professor Erwin Chemerinsky said. Kennedy is not expected to support a rollback of all abortion rights, but his new analysis of how courts should handle future cases worried his liberal colleagues and abortion-rights supporters.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “In a way, it’s his attempt to redeem himself, at least halfway,” said Joseph Thai, a University of Oklahoma law professor and former Supreme Court clerk. The decision does not directly threaten Roe. It does, however, make it easier for states and the federal government to put limits on abortion, setting up more court fights that will keep the issue before the justices in coming years. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who retired last year, had often provided pivotal votes in close cases, including those dealing with abortion, and was more likely to strike down abortion restrictions. Now the tie-breaking vote belongs to Kennedy. “We better get used to it,” said Northwestern University law professor Robert Bennett. “Now Kennedy is right smack in the middle. I suspect he loves it.” On some of the most combative ideological issues such as abortion, church-state division and affirmative action, Kennedy fits more comfortably with conservatives, including President George W. Bush’s additions to the high court, Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito. last_img read more

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first_imgIn his first season in charge, Mauricio Pochettino managed to guide Tottenham to fifth place in the Premier League.It wasn’t quite the fourth place finish that would have landed them a second Champions League appearance but it was a season of promise, in the end, after some mid-season stuttering.Spurs have already sought to solve some of the problems of last year with a trio of defensive signings. Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld and Kevin Wimmer all come in to add strength to a backline, which was conceded a shocking 53 goals – only QPR, Leicester City, Newcastle and Aston Villa let in more.They’ve also looked to get rid of the deadwood at White Hart Lane with a number of players leaving or on the verge of an exit.Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Lewis Holtby, Benjamin Stambouli and Younes Kaboul are all at new clubs, while Aaron Lennon and Emmanuel Adebayor are all expected to leave.But where do Tottenham need to strengthen this summer? talkSPORT takes a look.Current probable first XI (on July 20, 2015)Current second choice side (on July 20, 2015)GoalkeeperUnless Hugo Lloris becomes fully entangled in a possible goalkeeper merry-go-round, which could kick off if David De Gea leaves Manchester United. Spurs are well set between the sticks.Michel Vorm provides able back up, even if he has looked a little suspect since signing from Swansea City. Youngster Luke McGee will be involved too should Lloris miss the first few games of the season with his wrist injury.DefenceAfter the aforementioned treble swoop this summer, Spurs are, in fact overstocked at the back. They have quality starting centre-backs in Jan Vertonghen and Alderweireld, while Eric Dier, Federico Fazio and new signing Wimmer represent excellent cover.Vlad Chiriches is likely to be offloaded too now Trippier has signed. The ex-Burnley man will fight hard for a first-team spot with Kyle Walker and Dier can cover there too should injuries strike. On the left side, Danny Rose will start with Ben Davies being his able deputy.MidfieldAfter a number of sales, Spurs are now looking lightweight in the middle. The general consensus is that a dominant and experienced defensive midfielder is needed to allow Nabil Bentaleb a bit more freedom, while Ryan Mason, Thomas Carroll and Dele Alli will be battling for central positions and starts in cup competitions.It’s unlikely there will be too many changes further forward with Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela looking like the three men to start, with Andros Townsend and Alex Pritchard covering. Spurs still may look to add another wideman with Kevin Mirallas one player linked with a switch.This season could also see Spurs play USA starlet DeAndre Yedlin as a right winger. He had previously been considered a right-back but is currently playing further forward for his national team and could represent a fresh attacking threat with his blistering pace.AttackBoy wonder Harry Kane will be the automatic starter up top at White Hart Lane unless he suffers injury or Spurs make a major signing. He will, though, need more able back up than Adebayor and Roberto Soldado.The former could find himself at Aston Villa sooner rather than later and, while the latter might not be pushed out the exit door, Soldado could also be off if the price is right. Expect at least one and probably two strikers to sign this summer. 1 Tottenham Hotspur players celebrate last_img read more

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first_imgWhen the call came out over the unit’s radios that there had been a death, one soldier would later tell investigators he suspected it was Scheuerman. Playing GI Joe Scheuerman spent his early years on military posts playing GI Joe. The middle child, he divided his time after his parents’ divorce between his mother’s house in Lynchburg, Va., and his father’s in North Carolina where he went to high school. He was nearly 6 feet tall and loved to eat. His mother, Anne, said sometimes at 10 p.m. she’d find him defrosting chicken to grill. Likable and witty, he often joked around – even dressing up like a clown one night at church camp, said his pastor, Mike Cox of West Lynchburg Baptist Church. But he had a quiet, reflective side, too, and sometimes withdrew, Cox said. “You always knew how he felt. He wore his emotions on his sleeve,” his mother said. “If he was angry, you knew it. If he was upset, you knew it.” Scheuerman liked military history and writing, but decided college wasn’t for him. After a short stint in landscaping, he followed what seemed an almost natural path into the military. His mother had spent a year in the Army, and his father, a physician’s assistant, retired as an Army master sergeant. One of his two brothers also joined and is now in Afghanistan. He enlisted in 2004 and was sent to Iraq from Fort Benning, Ga., in January 2005 with the 3rd Infantry Division. On leave a few months later, Scheuerman told his father he was having a hard time with combat and killing people. “I’ve seen war,” his father said. “I told him that a lot of what he was seeing was normal. That we all feel it. That we’re all afraid.” No improvement Back in Iraq, things didn’t improve. One soldier – whose name was blacked out on the documents like most others – said he saw Jason put the muzzle of his rifle in his mouth, and told investigators other soldiers had seen him do something similar. “He said it was a joke,” the soldier said. “He said he had thought about it before but didn’t have a plan to do it.” Scheuerman was reprimanded for not bathing or shaving and spending too much time playing video games. He misplaced a radio and didn’t wear parts of his uniform. Sometimes, Scheuerman was singled out for punishment, one soldier told an investigator. “I don’t know why,” the soldier said. Another said his noncommissioned officers were yelling at him “more days than not.” His platoon sergeant said in a disciplinary note that Scheuerman’s actions put everyone in danger. “If you continue on your present course of action, you may end up in a body bag,” he wrote. In another, his squad leader said, “You have put me into a position where I have to treat you like a troublesome child. I hate being in this position. It makes me be someone I don’t like.” Scheuerman was made to do push-ups in front of Iraqi soldiers, which humiliated him. As he was punished, “it appeared as though he was out of touch with reality; in a world all his own,” his platoon sergeant said in a report. After the punishment, Scheuerman slept on the floor of his unit’s operation’s center in Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad. An Army chaplain who met with him about a month before he died said his mood had “drastically changed.” He said Scheuerman demonstrated disturbing behavior by “sitting with his weapon between his legs and bobbing his head on the muzzle.” He told Scheuerman’s leaders to have his rifle and ammunition magazine “taken from him immediately” and for him to undergo a mental health evaluation. Scheuerman checked on a mental health questionnaire that he had thoughts about killing himself; was uptight, anxious and depressed; had feelings of hopelessness and despair; felt guilty; and was having work problems. But in person, the psychologist said, he denied having thoughts of suicide. Less than a week later, Scheuerman’s mother got an e-mail from her son telling her goodbye. She contacted a family support official at Fort Benning and later received a call saying her son had been checked and was fine. Later, her son sent her an instant message and said her phone call had made things worse. The same day as her call, Scheuerman’s company commander requested a mental evaluation, noting that the private was a “good soldier” but displays “distant, depression-like symptoms.” Visiting with the psychologist for the second time, Scheuerman said he sometimes saw other people on guard duty that other soldiers do not see, suggesting that he was hallucinating. And he said that if he wasn’t diagnosed as having a mental problem, he was going to be in trouble with his leader. Yet he again denied being suicidal, the psychologist reported. The psychologist determined that Scheuerman did not meet the criteria for a mental health disorder, and that a screening test he had taken indicated he was exaggerating. He told Scheuerman’s leaders he was “capable of claiming mental illness in order to manipulate his command.” Still, when he sent Scheuerman back to his barracks, he told the private’s leaders that if Scheuerman claimed to be depressed, to take it seriously. He recommended that Scheuerman sleep in an area where he could be watched, that most of his personal belongings and privileges be taken away for his safety. The evaluation “created in the leaders’ minds the idea that the soldier was a malingerer all along,” an officer from his unit evaluating the case as part of a post-suicide investigation would later determine. Shortly after the psychologist’s determination and a few weeks before he died, Scheuerman’s Internet and phone communication were shut off. His parents did not hear from him again. The night before he shot himself, his rifle – which had since been returned to him – was found in a Humvee. The next morning, one soldier said Scheuerman “was quiet and seemed depressed. He said he had a rough night and didn’t sleep well.” Later that day, he was punished again and given 14 days of extra duty. Scheuerman had tears in his eyes, but one of his noncommissioned officers said he was surprisingly calm before he went to his room, weapon in hand. “I told him to go upstairs and clean his gear and change his uniform,” his squad leader told investigators. “I was so angry with him, I went outside to smoke and talk to someone so I didn’t blow up.” Less than an hour later, he said he heard someone yelling that Scheuerman had done something. “At that point, I knew I was already too late,” he said. Scheuerman’s body was discovered in a closet, blood streaming from his mouth. Investigating death Initially, Scheuerman’s father said he trusted that the Army would investigate his son’s death and take action. “I did not want to believe that it was as bad as I thought it was, so I chose not to make hasty judgments,” Scheuerman said from his kitchen table, sitting beside his ex-wife, whom he plans to remarry. “I chose to systematically try to get all the information that I could and once I received all the information I could, my worst fears were realized.” Each document that arrived brought more pain. When a copy of his son’s suicide note appeared, Scheuerman broke down crying. In the note, his son said he wanted to say goodbye, but his ability to contact the family was taken away “like everything else.” He said he’d brought dishonor on his family and his Army unit. “I know you think I’m a coward for this but in the face of existing as I am now, I have no other choice,” Scheuerman wrote. “As the 1st Sgt said all I have to look forward to is (misery) in jail, not much of a future.” Chris Scheuerman wants to see a more thorough investigation, and some of his son’s leaders punished – perhaps even criminally charged – and the psychologist brought before a medical peer review committee. “We will not see a statistical decrease in Army suicides until the Army gets serious about holding people accountable when they do not do what they are trained to do,” he said. Citing privacy, Maj. Nathan Banks, an Army public affairs officer, declined to discuss the case. Eventually, Jason Scheuerman’s father sought the assistance of Rep. Bob Etheridge, D-N.C., who spoke with Army Secretary Pete Geren on Oct. 1 and asked him to initiate an investigation by the Inspector General’s Office. Geren agreed. The Scheuermans say they hope the investigation will bring about changes that will prevent other suicides. “The people that I trusted with the safety of my son killed him, and that hurts beyond words because we are a family of soldiers,” Scheuerman said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champWhat the soldier’s father, Chris, would learn about his son’s final days would lead the retired special-forces commando, who teaches at Fort Bragg, to take on the very institution he’s spent his life serving – and ultimately prompt an investigation by the Army Inspector General’s Office. The documents, obtained by Freedom of Information Act requests filed by Chris Scheuerman, reveal a troubled soldier kept in Iraq despite repeated signs he was going to kill himself, including placing the muzzle of his weapon in his mouth multiple times. Jason Scheuerman’s story – pieced together with interviews and information in the documents – demonstrates how he was failed by the very support system that was supposed to protect him. In his case, a psychologist told his commanders to send him back to his unit because he was capable of feigning mental illness to get out of the Army. He is not alone. At least 152 U.S. troops have taken their own lives in Iraq and Afghanistan since the two wars started, contributing to the Army’s highest suicide rate in 26 years of keeping track. For the grieving parents, the answers don’t come easily or quickly. For Jason Scheuerman, death came July 30, 2005, around 5:30 p.m., about 45 minutes after his first sergeant told the teary-eyed private that if he was intentionally misbehaving so he could leave the Army, he would go to jail where he would be abused. SANFORD, N.C. – Pfc. Jason Scheuerman nailed a suicide note to his barracks closet in Iraq, stepped inside and shot himself. “Maybe finaly I can get some peace,” said the 20-year-old, misspelling “finally” but writing in a neat hand. His parents didn’t find out about the note for well over a year, and only then when it showed up in a government envelope in his father’s rural North Carolina mailbox. The one-page missive was among hundreds of pages of documents the soldier’s family obtained and shared with The Associated Press after battling a military bureaucracy they feel didn’t want to answer their questions, especially this: Why did Jason Scheuerman have to die? last_img read more