From the daily archives: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

By Bob Hurst

Major League Baseball’s drug-testing program is alive and well. MLB announced on Tuesday that Cincinnati Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez has been suspended 50 games following a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.

Volquez is the first player to be suspended since Manny Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers was penalized 50 games last season.

A right-handed starter, Volquez is recovering from surgery on his right elbow and was expected back about midseason. He will lose about $137,000 of his $445,000 salary this season due to the suspension.

“The Reds fully support Major League Baseball’s drug policy and its penalties,” the team said in a statement. “The organization does not condone in any way the use of drugs not sanctioned by MLB’s medical staff.”

Volquez, 26, went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA in 2008, his first year with the Reds. He was named to the National League All-Star team that season. Last year, he was 4-2 with a 4.35 ERA.

Yankees top payroll list again: How large is the difference in payroll between the top and bottom teams in Major League Baseball?

Just look at the starting infield for the New York Yankees, which has a payroll of $85.2 million. Not even the bottom two clubs, San Diego ($37.8 million) and Pittsburgh ($34.9 million) can match that. And the Yankees infield makes more than the payroll of 16 teams, according to a report in USA Today, which conducts an annual salary and payroll survey.

The survey also found that salaries have dropped 17 percent overall, with the Pirates taking a huge cut of 28 percent. And the average player’s salary has fallen from $3.2 million to $2.7 million from 2009 to Opening Day of this season, with 14 clubs taking on lower payrolls.

The Yankees, who upped their payroll by two percent, once again have the largest payroll in the majors, listed at $206.3 million in a survey by the Associated Press, with an average player salary of $8.2 million. Boston, which increased its payroll by 33 percent this season, ranks second at $162.7 million.

In third is the Chicago Cubs with a payroll of $146.8 million, followed by Philadelphia ($141.9 million) and the New York Mets ($132.7 million). Detroit, the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Angels rank 6 – 8 with payrolls exceeding $100 million. Seattle and San Francisco round out the top 10.

Minnesota, with a franchise-record payroll of $97.6 million, is 11th, and that will increase next year when Joe Mauer’s eight-year, $184 million contract takes effect.

Florida, Texas, Oakland, San Diego and Pittsburgh sit at the bottom of the major leagues in payroll.

StatsWatch: Johnny Damon and Curtis Granderson switched teams in the off-season, with former New York Yankee Damon signing as a free agent with the Detroit Tigers and Granderson getting traded to the Yankees from the Tigers. Here’s how the outfielders compared offensively through Monday’s games, with Granderson getting the early edge:

Johnny Damon, Tigers, .279 AVG, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 8 BB, 8 K, 0 SB.

Curtis Granderson, Yankees, .311 AVG., 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 BB, 9 K, 4 SB.

Fun Fact: On April 25, 2009, the Philadelphia Phillies extended their major league record by allowing a home run in each of their first 16 games.

No hoodies allowed: Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon won’t be able to wear his favorite hoodie, which he likes to pullover on cold days. Major League Baseball told Maddon that the hoodie is not approved for use during games.

Diamond Notes: With its sweep of Boston completed on Monday, Tampa Bay matched a team record for the longest winning streak away from Tropican Field in one season. The Rays seventh straight win on the road gave them their first sweep at Fenway Park in a series of three or more games…The 20-inning game between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night was the longest game in the majors in two years. Jose Reyes hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly to lead the Mets past the Cardinals 2-1 in extra, extra innings. “That’s the happiest 0-for-7 I’ve ever had in my life,” Reyes said. The game was scoreless for 18 innings.

 

IMPERIAL – Sempra Energy Foundation<http://www.sempraenergyfoundation.org/>, the charitable giving arm of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), recently announced $250,000 in grants to 10 community colleges in California, including $25,000 to Imperial Valley College, to provide scholarship support for students seeking certification or training for “green” jobs.

“The Sempra Energy Foundation is committed to supporting educational programs that will inspire the future leaders of our community,” said Jessie J. Knight, Jr., chairman of the board of directors of the Sempra Energy Foundation and executive vice president of external affairs for Sempra Energy. “The grants will help educate community college students in environmental sustainability and prepare them for careers in green job fields.”

The scholarships will go to students enrolled in educational and training programs in science, technology and engineering to promote new advances in environmental compliance, sustainability planning and alternative energy.

“Sempra Energy Foundation’s generous support to Imperial Valley College’s Foundation will provide vital financial assistance to students in need who are pursuing careers in green technology disciplines,” said Todd Evangelist, executive director of the IVC Foundation. “We appreciate Sempra Energy Foundation’s commitment to California’s future and applaud the noteworthy example it is setting for other companies and organizations”, commented Charlie Hosken the IVC Foundation Board Chair.

The Sempra Energy Foundation’s contribution also will give IVC the opportunity to receive an additional $25,000 in direct-match dollars from the Bernard Osher Foundation as part of a statewide fundraising campaign. This will effectively add $50,000 to the existing endowment fund generating two full scholarships annually in perpetuity for IVC students.

The Sempra Energy Foundation<http://www.sempra.com/community/foundation/> is the 501(c)(3) private foundation of Sempra Energy<http://sempra.com/>, a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2009 revenues of more than $8 billion. The Sempra Energy companies’ 13,800 employees serve more than 29 million consumers worldwide. For more information on the Sempra Energy Foundation, visit www.sempraenergyfoundation.org< target=_blank href=”http://www.sempraenergyfoundation.org/”>http://www.sempraenergyfoundation.org/>.

The IVC<http://www.foundationccc.org/> Foundation is the official nonprofit foundation of the Imperial Community College District. The Foundation’s mission is to benefit, support, and enhance the mission of Imperial Valley College, the largest higher education system in Imperial County. Incorporated in 1964, the Foundation works with individuals and organizations to manage donations, endowments, scholarships and services that drive excellence in education while investing hundred of thousands of dollars towards IVC each year. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit corporation. For more information, visit www.imperial.edu/foundation.

 

Richard Humphrey, 22, of North Ridgeville, Ohio, was sentenced today in Cleveland to 29 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Lesley Wells for selling counterfeit copies of copyrighted movies through the Internet, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach for the Northern District of Ohio.

Humphrey was also sentenced to three years of supervised release following his prison term. Judge Wells ordered Humphrey to forfeit multiple computers and associated hardware used in the scheme. Humphrey pleaded guilty in Cleveland on Sept. 21, 2009, to one count of criminal copyright infringement for selling pirated movies prior to their commercial release through an Internet website.

According to court documents, from December 2006 through October 2007, Humphrey operated the subscription-based website USAWAREZ.COM from which he distributed copies of hundreds of copyrighted movies, computer games and software products without authorization from the copyright owners. Humphrey offered paid subscription services for access to the pirated materials on his website and also solicited donations for his operation of the site. FBI agents seized two personal computers and associated hardware from Humphrey while executing a search warrant at his residence. Additionally, the FBI seized Humphrey’s computer server hosted at an internet service provider that was used to host and run the USAWAREZ website.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Tyler Newby and Tara Swaminatha of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Kern for the Northern District of Ohio as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay V. Prabhu for the Eastern District of Virginia. The case was investigated by the FBI.

 

Issued by The National Weather Service
Phoenix, AZ
4:52 am PDT, Tue., Apr. 20, 2010

… WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 5 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 5 AM PDT WEDNESDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PHOENIX HAS ISSUED A WIND ADVISORY… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 5 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 5 AM PDT WEDNESDAY.

* AFFECTED AREA: SOUTHEAST CALIFORNIA INCLUDING THE IMPERIAL VALLEY AND JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK.

* TIMING: WINDS WILL QUICKLY INCREASE LATE THIS AFTERNOON/EARLY THIS EVENING AND REMAIN ELEVATED THROUGH MOST OF THE OVERNIGHT HOURS.

* WINDS: FROM THE WEST AT 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 50 MPH.

* IMPACTS: DIFFICULT TRAVEL ON NORTH-SOUTH ORIENTED ROADWAYS… BRIEF VISIBILITY REDUCTION TO ONE MILE OR LESS DUE TO BLOWING SAND AND DUST… UNSECURED HIGH PROFILE LIGHT-WEIGHT OBJECTS BECOMING DISPLACED.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT SUSTAINED WIND SPEEDS OF BETWEEN 30 AND 40 MPH ARE EXPECTED… OR WIND GUSTS OF BETWEEN 40 AND 58 MPH. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT… ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. IN ADDITION… STRONG WINDS OVER DESERT AREAS COULD RESULT IN BRIEFLY LOWERED VISIBILITIES TO WELL UNDER A MILE AT TIMES IN BLOWING DUST OR BLOWING SAND. USE EXTRA CAUTION.

 

Washington, DC – U.S. Congressman Bob Filner called for the Senate to take up a bill that would help close the wage gap between men and women on Equal Pay Day – the day that marks how much longer women would have to work from the previous year to “catch up” with their male counterparts.

“It’s been 47 years since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law,” said Congressman Filner.  “And yet still today, there isn’t equal pay for equal work in this country.”

In 1963, when the Equal Pay Act was signed, women who worked full time year-round made 59 cents on average for every dollar earned by men.  In 2008, women earned 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.  That is progress – but it is slow progress.  It means that the wage gap has narrowed by less than half a cent per year.

In January 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law by President Obama, only a week after he was inaugurated as President.

“The enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Act was a major victory,” said Filner.  “Now, the Senate needs to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and send it to the President’s desk.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act gives teeth to the Equal Pay Act of 1963.  It closes numerous loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and stiffens penalties for employers who discriminate based on gender.  It protects employees from retaliation for sharing salary information with their co-workers, with some exemptions.  And it creates initiatives to provide negotiation skills training programs for girls and women.  The House passed the bill by a vote of 256-163 in January 2009.

The Lilly Ledbetter Act restored the right of women and other workers to challenge unfair pay in court.  Specifically, it rectified the May 2007 Ledbetter v Goodyear Supreme Court decision that overturned the precedent and made it much more difficult for workers to pursue pay discrimination claims.  The law simply restored the longstanding interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and other discrimination statutes, thereby protecting women and other workers.

Equal Pay Day highlights the need for equal pay for women workers.  Today, people across the country will mark the time of year in which the wages paid to American women “catch up” to the wages paid to men from the previous year.  In other words, because the average woman earns less, she must work longer for the same amount of pay.

 
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