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Steve Martin takes top honor at Bluegrass Awards


NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers turned the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards into funny business Thursday night.
Martin and his group of crack bluegrassers took entertainer of the year, the night’s top award at The Ryman Auditorium, while super group The Boxcars took home a leading four awards.
“I want to thank all the other nominees … for losing,” Martin joked after accepting the award.
Martin, the Grammy and Emmy award winner best known as a comedian and writer, is also an accomplished banjo picker who has taken the medium to a wider audience with two albums of mostly original music and a high-profile series of performances. Entertainer of the year goes to the act that does the best job representing the genre.
“It really means a lot, sort of like winning two Oscars,” Martin said afterward. “It’s something we work very hard at and I kind of started from scratch. I mean I’ve been playing banjo for 50 years, but performing in a band I’ve never done. I’ve done it for about two years … You know, the hardest part was talking and tuning.”
It is the first IBMA award for Martin and the second for the Rangers, winners of the 2006 emerging artist of the year award. They snap Dailey & Vincent’s three-year winning streak in the entertainer category.
The Boxcars took home four awards. Three other acts, Michael Cleveland, The Gibson Brothers and a collaborative effort among J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson and Paul Williams, each won two awards.
The Boxcars are made up of former Dan Tyminski band members Adam Steffey and Ron Stewart, who enlisted John R. Bowman, Keith Garrett and Harold Nixon to form the new group. They were the night’s lead nominees with 10.
The quintet won emerging artist and instrumental group of the year, while Steffey won mandolin player of the year and Stewart shared banjo player of the year with Kristin Scott Benson of the Grascals, who has won that trophy four years in a row.
“We’re grizzled veterans, heavy on the gristle,” Steffey joked after the group won instrumental group of the year.
The IBMA honored Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductees Del McCoury and George Shuffler and host Sam Bush paid tribute to the late Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass, who would have turned 100 this month.
The Gibson Brothers won album of the year for “Help My Brother” and the vocal group of the year award, crediting Ricky Skaggs “for teaching us how it’s done.”
Cleveland, which his band Flamekeeper, won instrumental recorded performance of the year for “Goin’ Up Dry Branch” and won Cleveland won his sixth straight fiddle player of the year award and ninth overall.
Crowe, Lawson and Williams won recorded event of the year and gospel recorded event of the year for their “Prayer Bells of Heaven.” Russell Moore won his second straight male vocalist of the year award and Dale Ann Bradley won female vocalist of the year. Both have won those categories four times apiece.
Martin fell in love with the banjo as a child listening to legends like Earl Scruggs, Pete Seeger and Doug Dillard. He often incorporated a banjo into his humor but gave little public hint for his love of bluegrass until later in life. He released his first album with the Rangers in 2009 called “The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo.” That album won a Grammy Award. They released “Rare Bird Alert” earlier this year.Martin previously won a Grammy for his 2001 “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” collaboration with Scruggs.
The 66-year-old and the Rangers have taken bluegrass to “The Ellen Show,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and the Capital Mall over the last year.
“And when I play a concert hall somewhere I know half the audience isn’t even familiar with bluegrass,” Martin said before the awards. “That way we really reach a really wide audience for this music I love and that I love listening to.”

Dennis Miller endorses Herman Cain



Comedian and radio host Dennis Miller announced Monday that he will endorse Herman Cain for the 2012 presidential nomination, a spokesman confirmed to Yahoo! News’ Chris Moody.
Cain, who won an upset victory in Saturday’s Florida straw poll, thanked the former Saturday Night Live star over Twitter. “I’d like to thank [Miller] for his support,” Cain wrote. “I look forward to working with him as we continue our journey to the White House!” 
Miller had suggested a bumper sticker for Cain earlier in the day: “Cain Versus Not Able.”
Dennis Miller has been a Cain supporter for several months, and directed his listeners to the former Godfather CEO’s campaign website in July. He plans to headline a fundraiser for Cain in Los Angeles later this year.

Libya: 20,000 surface to air missles missing!

By BRIAN ROSS  and MATTHEW COLE
Sept. 27, 2011

U.S. officials had once thought there was little chance that terrorists could get their hands on many of the portable surface-to-air missiles that can bring down a commercial jet liner.
But now that calculation is out the window, with officials at a recent secret White House meeting reporting that thousands of them have gone missing in Libya.
"Matching up a terrorist with a shoulder-fired missile, that's our worst nightmare," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D.-California, a member of the Senate's Commerce, Energy and Transportation Committee.
The nightmare has been made real with the discovery in Libya that an estimated 20,000 portable, heat-seeking missiles have gone missing from unguarded Army weapons warehouses.
The missiles, four to six-feet long and Russian-made, can weigh just 55 pounds with launcher. They lock on to the heat generated by the engines of aircraft, can be fired from a vehicle or from a combatant's shoulder, and are accurate and deadly at a range of more than two miles.
Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch first warned about the problem after a trip to Libya six months ago. He took pictures of pickup truckloads of the missiles being carted off during another trip just a few weeks ago.
"I myself could have removed several hundred if I wanted to, and people can literally drive up with pickup trucks or even 18 wheelers and take away whatever they want," said Bouckaert, HRW's emergencies director. "Every time I arrive at one of these weapons facilities, the first thing we notice going missing is the surface-to-air missiles."
The ease with which rebels and other unknown parties have snatched thousands of the missiles has raised alarms that the weapons could end up in the hands of al Qaeda, which is active in Libya.
"There certainly are dangerous groups operating in the region, and we're very concerned that some of these weapons could end up in the wrong hands," said Bouckaert.
"I think the probability of al Qaeda being able to smuggle some of the stinger-like missiles out of Libya is probably pretty high," said Richard Clarke, former White House counterterrorism advisor and now a consultant to ABC News.
Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council, which advises President Obama, says that a State Department expert "is on the ground in Libya working with the [Transitional National Council]," the rebels' interim government, to develop a "control and destruction program" for the missiles. Vietor also said the administration has sent five specialists to help the TNC "secure, recover and destroy" weapons, including surface-to-air missiles. Said Vietor, "Since the beginning of the crisis, we have been actively engaged with our allies and partners to support Libya's efforts to secure all conventional weapons stockpiles, including recover, control, and disposal of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles."

U.S. officials approve, allow and assist in the sale of more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa cartel

Not only did U.S. officials approve, allow and assist in the sale of more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa cartel -- the federal government used taxpayer money to buy semi-automatic weapons, sold them to criminals and then watched as the guns disappeared. 
This disclosure, revealed in documents obtained by Fox News, could undermine the Department of Justice's previous defense that Operation Fast and Furious was a "botched" operation where agents simply "lost track" of weapons as they were transferred from one illegal buyer to another. Instead, it heightens the culpability of the federal government as Mexico, according to sources, has opened two criminal investigations into the operation that flooded their country with illegal weapons.
Operation Fast and Furious began in October 2009. In it, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives encouraged gun stores to sell weapons to an arms smuggling gang, then watched as the guns crossed the border and were used in crimes. Each month, the agency allowed hundreds of guns to go South, despite opposition from some agents.
All told, the gang spent more than $1.25 million for the illegal guns. 
In June 2010, however, the ATF dramatically upped the ante, making the U.S. government the actual "seller" of guns. 
According to documents obtained by Fox News, Agent John Dodson was ordered to buy six semi-automatic Draco pistols -- two of those were purchased at the Lone Wolf gun store in Peoria, Ariz. An unusual sale, Dodson was sent to the store with a letter of approval from David Voth, an ATF group supervisor. 
Dodson then sold the weapons to known illegal buyers, while fellow agents watched from their cars nearby. 
This was not a "buy-bust" or a sting operation, where police sell to a buyer and then arrest them immediately afterward. In this case, agents were "ordered" to let the sale go through and follow the weapons to a stash house. 
According to sources directly involved in the case, Dodson felt strongly that the weapons should not be abandoned and the stash house should remain under 24-hour surveillance. However, Voth disagreed and ordered the surveillance team to return to the office. Dodson refused, and for six days in the desert heat kept the house under watch, defying direct orders from Voth. 
A week later, a second vehicle showed up to transfer the weapons. Dodson called for an interdiction team to move in, make the arrest and seize the weapons. Voth refused and the guns disappeared with no surveillance. 
According to a story posted Sunday on a website dedicated to covering Fast and Furious, Voth gave Dodson the assignment to "dirty him up," since Dodson had become the most vocal critic of the operation. 
"I think Dodson demanded the letter from Voth to cover both himself and the FFL (Federal Firearm Licensee). He didn't want to be hung out to dry by Voth," a source told the website "Sipsey Street Irregulars." 
Subsequent to this undercover operation, sources told Sipsey, "Dodson just about came apart all over them (his supervisors). In a 'screaming match' that was heard throughout the Phoenix office by many employees, Dodson yelled at Voth and Assistant Special Agent in Charge George Gillett, 'Why not just go direct and empty out the (ATF) arms room?" (to the cartels), or words to that effect.' 
After the confrontation, ATF managers transferred Dodson to a more menial job. Months later, after the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, Dodson blew the whistle and went public about the federal government's gunrunning operation.

Norway: On-board explosion caused ship fire that killed 2, injured 9

An "intense" fire in a cruise ship's engine room killed two crewmen Thursday, injured nine others and forced over 200 passengers to evacuate a popular cruise off Norway's craggy western coast. Police suspect an on-board explosion.
Thick black smoke billowed from the stern of the boat, the MS Nordlys, of Norway's Hurtigruten line even before it pulled into the dock at Aalesund, 375 kilometres northwest of the capital of Oslo. Police sealed off parts of the town as the smoke engulfed nearby buildings.

The ship's emergency evacuation began after the fire started at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT), with more than 100 passengers piling into lifeboats in the frigid waters. The rest of the ship's 207 passengers and 55 crew were evacuated at the dock at Aalesund, with some crew staying on board to fight the fire.

Aalesund Hospital said nine people had been admitted, two with serious burns and smoke injuries. Police said all of the injured and dead were members of the ship's crew.

"Our suspicion is that there was an explosion in the machine room," Acting Police Chief Yngve Skovly of the Sunnmoere Police District told reporters later Thursday.

Passengers said the cruise ship, which was travelling north from the city of Bergen, had organized an orderly evacuation.

"We were sent up on deck and given our lifevests," Danielle Passebois-Paya, a French tourist, told Norwegian daily Aftenposten. "It took only a few minutes after the alarm and we were in the lifeboats."

"It was a well-organized evacuation," she added. "The crew did a really good job. Everything was calm and went smoothly. There was no panic."

The chief of Aalesund's fire brigade, Geir Thorsen, described the fire as "big and intense." He could not confirm reports that the ship's fire-extinguishing system did not work, but said its electricity system was knocked out.

"There are no indications that the fire had spread to other rooms in the ship," he said.

Over six hours after the fire began, Thorsen said firefighters were now in control of it, but the ship was taking in water and listing 10 degrees.

"Our main challenge now is the stability of the ship," he said. Two units of firefighters specializing in offshore fires were involved in the operation.

The MS Nordlys plies Norway's western coast on the popular 2,500-kilometre cruise between the southwestern city of Bergen and the northern town of Kirkenes, high above the Arctic Circle near the Russian border. The route features spectacular fjords, mountains, islands and Arctic wildlife, and carries both tourists eager to see the scenery and locals and cargo from coastal cities and hamlets.

Aalesund, with a population of 42,000, is an Art Nouveau town once voted the prettiest in Norway.



Disney teams up with James Cameron for Avatar-theme land

Soon you can step into the world of Pandora – for real! The epic fantasy world of Avatar is coming to life at Disney World -- read on for details…
Disney has announced that the company has teamed up with James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox Filmed Entertainment for an incredible Avatar-themed land, and Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida has been selected as the first site for the project.
Cameron and his Avatar producing partner Jon Landau will serve as creative consultants, working side by side with the Disney Imagineers for the colorful, immersive experience -- celebrating adventure and living in harmony with the environmental -- which is expected to begin construction in 2013.
So saddle up your flying mountain banshee and get ready to hunt with the Na'vi – with two sequels to Avatar already in the works, park-goers can soon experience the worlds of animals and nature – real and mythical – in exciting new ways.

Mariano Rivera Sets MLB Saves Record With No. 602


by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Mariano Rivera stood by himself, in the center of the diamond at Yankee Stadium.
For once, the great closer wasn't sure what to do next.
So he smiled, blew a kiss to the crowd, and then doffed his cap as cheers washed over him following the record 602nd save of his career.
"Oh, my God, for the first time in my career, I'm on the mound alone," Rivera said. "It was priceless. I didn't know it could be like that."
Rivera pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out Chris Parmelee on what appeared to be his signature cut fastball to end the New York Yankees' 6-4 win over the Minnesota Twins on Monday.
Fans from the smallest crowd in the Stadium's three-year history stood and shouted from Rivera's first pitch to his last as he retired Trevor Plouffe, Michael Cuddyer and Parmelee in order and broke Trevor Hoffman's mark.
They even roared in the bottom of the eighth when Nick Swisher grounded into an inning-ending double play — and drew a loud cheer from fans who wanted to see history made at the ballpark for the second time this summer. In July, Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit at home.
"These guys are into it," Rivera thought to himself.
It's a remarkable achievement, considering the slender right-hander throws mostly one pitch. Opposing hitters have seen it for years, but still haven't figured it out.
"It's amazing," Cuddyer said. "You've got a 99 percent chance of knowing what's coming, and he still is able to go out there and dominate."
So good for so long, Rivera has built a Hall of Fame-caliber career and been a pillar of five World Series championship teams. The only person who might not acknowledge Rivera isn't the best closer of all time is Rivera himself.
"You know me, I'm not like that," Rivera said. "I like to be under the radar, do my job."
He nearly did it outside the country. The 41-year-old Rivera tied Hoffman with save No. 601 on Saturday in Toronto. The AL East leaders lost Sunday, putting Rivera in line to get the milestone on the Yankees' last homestand of the season.
Hoffman earned most of his saves with San Diego and retired after pitching last year with Milwaukee.
"I want to congratulate Mariano Rivera on setting the all-time saves record," Hoffman said in a statement. "It's a great accomplishment and he is still going strong! I have tremendous respect for Mariano not just for his on-field accomplishments, but also for his service to the community."
On Monday, the New York crowd hollered as Rivera came in to the customary strains of Metallica's "Enter Sandman." The fans grew louder with every strike, every out as Rivera closed in. He even broke a bat for good measure — sawing off Parmelee and sending the rookie back to the dugout for another piece of wood.
Parmelee lasted only one more pitch. Plate umpire John Hirschbeck rung him up, and catcher Russell Martin came out to the mound, gently placed the ball in Rivera's glove, and then gave the skinny Panamanian a big hug.
Rivera stayed and accepted congratulations — Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and finally Jeter came over to him before the bullpen and bench got there while the Twins watched from their dugout.
"I think it shows what he means to baseball, what he's done," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I also think it shows the class of the Minnesota Twins."
Eventually, the Twins went back to their lockers and the Yankees did, too. That meant Rivera was left on the mound. He tried to sneak off the field with them, but longtime teammate Jorge Posada pushed him, laughing, onto the mound, where fans cheered him once again.
And who would've thought it, at least back in 1995 when Rivera started out. He began his career as a starter, lasting only 3 1-3 innings and losing 10-0 to the Angels in his debut, before becoming a star in the bullpen. He posted his first save in 1996, working usually as a setup man for John Wetteland.
Rivera's 602 saves have come in 674 chances. Hoffman got his 601 in 677 tries.
Paid attendance was 40,045, less than the capacity crowd and attendant hullabaloo surrounding Jeter's historic hit. STATS LLC said Monday's makeup game drew the fewest fans since the new Yankee Stadium opened.
"Thank God it's over, too. Because I was getting a little uncomfortable," Rivera said.
New York now has another goal before heading to Tampa Bay to close the season: winning the division. The Yankees lead Boston by five games with 10 to play. Their magic number to clinch is five.
The Twins lost their ninth straight, tying a run in May as their worst of the season. The Yankees have been struggling, too — this was just their fifth win in 12 games.
Rivera has finished their last three victories, though. He got his 600th save in Seattle on Sept. 13.
Now that the milestone is behind him, Rivera can focus on getting ready for his 16th October in 17 seasons — that's when he really made his reputation. Those 602 saves don't count any of the 42 — in 47 chances — he locked down in the playoffs.
A.J. Burnett didn't make it past the fifth inning, but Cory Wade (6-1), Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano and David Robertson kept the Twins at bay until Rivera came on in the ninth, and Curtis Granderson hit his 41st homer of the year.
Granderson's homer off Scott Diamond (1-5) came in the first after Jeter reached on an infield single and Robinson Cano hit an RBI triple in the third followed by Swisher's single to make it 5-0. Rodriguez hit a two-out RBI single in the sixth — right around the time Rivera was realizing he could be called on in the ninth.
As he has been since he got his first save on May 17, 1996, Mo was ready in the ninth. The only thing he wasn't quite set for was the spotlight.
"Don't get me wrong, it feels good," Rivera said. "The reception was wonderful. I could not ask for anything more than that."

'Jersey Shore' tax credit may be vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie


TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie said today he has not ruled out vetoing a controversial tax credit awarded last week to the hit MTV television show “Jersey Shore.”
The reality show’s production company, 495 Productions, was awarded a $420,000 tax credit — dubbed by some as the “Snooki-subsidy” — for the 2009 inaugural season of the show.
News of the award made national headlines and prompted calls from state lawmakers and a national coalition of Italian Americans for Christie to veto the minutes of the authority meeting, as he done with other authorities when they take actions he does not like.
Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said last week that the governor could not veto the actions of the Economic Development Authority because the action was “non-discretionary.”

Craig Morgan: A real life dude!


Sunday marked the tenth anniversary of the attack on our nation as well as the 26th birthday of country radio station B-100. Award winning performers Craig Morgan & Jo Dee Messina, helped 30,000 fans celebrate it.

Gates opened at 10:00am and the music started flowing at noon.

He was born Craig Morgan Greer on July 17, 1965 in the rural community of Kingston Springs, Tennessee.

When Craig Morgan was ten years old and on a school field trip to Nashville, he sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" well enough to catch the ear of a distinctive older lady in the crowd. "She walked up to me and said, ‘Son, someday you’re gonna be a famous singer,’" Morgan remembers. Two-plus decades later, he’d be looking at a picture of the woman—Minnie Pearl—in the Ryman Auditorium dressing room that bears her name, getting ready for his first performance on the Grand Ole Opry.

He has spent much of his life in the service of others. Morgan would be an EMT, a contractor, a sheriff’s deputy and a Wal-Mart assistant dairy manager. He’d also spend ten years serving his country in the U.S. Army where he became part of "Operation Just Cause".  During his tenure with the army, he served ten years of active duty as a Fire Support Specialist, serving both the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions.  He holds "Airborne", "Jumpmaster" and "Air Assault" credentials. 
 
While stationed in Korea, Craig began songwriting and performing.  He secured a number of military accolades for his efforts.  Today, he frequently performs on military bases both at home and abroad; individually and as part of USO shows.

After his stint in the armed services, Craig returned home to Tennessee where he found himself perfoming various jobs to support his family.  He has spent time in the fields of construction, security and law enforcement. But That's Why Morgan is one of country music’s most beloved performers. It doesn’t matter if he’s jumping out of airplanes, putting gallon jugs on a refrigerated shelf or singing hits like "Redneck Yacht Club," "Almost Home" and "Tough"—his honesty, humility and work ethic stand out as strongly as his talent. That’s why I keep swinging this hammer...break my back for a slice of that American pie, Morgan sings on That's Why's stirring title track, his stout voice ringing out with such authority and passion that you know the sentiment is no less true now that the hammer’s been replaced with a guitar. 


Morgan’s father played in country bands (and his grandfather was a farmer), but "I didn’t think music was something that I’d ever do for a living," he says. As it turns out, selling records, being on the radio and playing some 200 shows a year has only made him embrace fatherhood and family more firmly. Morgan has four children with his wife, Karen, as well as a daughter from a previous marriage; they live just a few miles from the farmland in Dickson, Tennessee, where his mother and father went on their first date. "Family truly is the thing that’s most important," Morgan says. "I love the music; I love singing and writing songs and producing records. But ultimately, I do what I have to do to take care of my family. Even someone who has the greatest job in the world would rather spend more time at home. I know I would, and I have the best job in the world."

He’s certainly become quite good at it. "That’s What I Love About Sunday," from Morgan’s 2005 album My Kind of Livin’, was the most played country song that year. Three songs off of Little Bit of Life (the title track, "Tough" and "International Harvester"), enjoyed stays in the Top 10, and he was nominated for Top New Male Vocalist by the Academy of Country Music in both 2006 and 2007. Truth is, you can’t tune in to a country station anywhere in the United States without hearing a Craig Morgan song within the hour. But he’s also just a bit like that great actor everybody knows and recognizes from a big successful movie, yet can’t quite place on sight. Oh, that guy! "People know the music," Morgan says. "When they come to my shows, they might know the latest single, or they may know a previous single. But sometimes I can read their lips: they’re going, ‘oh, I didn’t know he sang that one!’ Or, ‘I forgot about that song!’"

Morgan’s gift is for, as he puts it, "real-life stuff." His eye for the everyday, whether he’s trying to make sense of a world where kids want iPods for Christmas instead of BB guns, or describing girls with ponytails tucked in their baseball caps, is so unerring that it’s easy to overlook just how much goes into the songwriting. On the aching, piano-and-steel tinged ballad "Lookin’ Back with You," Morgan spins today’s most precious moments into tomorrow’s cherished memories—nearly every line is ripped right from his life, but every line is also the work of an exquisite craftsman, whether he’s going for humor, pathos or a mundane detail. When my new truck is my old truck/and I take off these big old tires/and it’s our turn to slow down traffic everywhere, he sings. Elsewhere, "Sticks," with its bluegrass bar band vibe, seems destined to supplant John Mellencamp’s "Small Town" as an American classic of both rock’n’roll and country. I was raised in the sticks/that’s where I get my kicks ... tailgatin’ with my buddies/boots and dog and tires all muddy. And if Morgan keeps writing songs like "Planet Her" for Karen, he may not ever need to get her birthday presents. "Ah, she’s not much for the music," he jokes. "She’d still rather have a Corvette."

Needless to say, Morgan’s full-on personality made him well-suited for the military. He spent 10 years on active duty in the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions and continued his service for nine years in the Reserves. He was stationed in Panama from 1989-90 and was part of the military operation that removed dictator Manuel Noriega from power.

Craig goes overseas to perform USO shows every chance he gets. "Sometimes you walk away feeling regret: that I should be there with them still," he says. "But I’m starting to appreciate what I can do now for those men and women outside of being a soldier. Doing stuff for the USO will always be a priority for me." Morgan received the 2006 USO Merit Award for his involvement, joining the likes of Steven Spielberg, Elizabeth Taylor, and Bob Hope as a recipient.

After his ninth tour of Iraq Morgan was heralded as a hero after rescuing two children from a burning house in Charlotte, Tenn.

“My 14-year-old son Jerry looked up and saw a house on fire, so we pulled into a gas station and ran up there,” Morgan told FOX411’s Pop Tarts. “The lady who owned the home came out with a fire extinguisher. I tried to put it out but it didn’t work. One thing led to another and in a matter of just a minute, the side of the house was engulfed by flames.”

It was then that the homeowner informed Morgan that her children were inside.

Using his skills and training as a former EMT, Army paratrooper and sheriff's deputy, Morgan took immediate action.

“I opened the door and the house was filled with smoke. There was a little two-year-old over in the corner with his face in the couch and when he saw me come in he got scared and took off running," Morgan said. "But I snatched him up, then the older child, about six or seven, came out of the bedroom. I grabbed him and took them out to their mom."

Music Row’s Bob Oermann wrote, "Craig Morgan is country music’s champion of the Everyman—a loyal husband and father, unblushingly sentimental, tough enough to kick your butt if you cross him, and the kind of friend everyone would like to have."

His entertainment honors from his milltary days would also pay off as he landed a job singing demos for other songwriters and publishing companies.  It wasn't long before his talent would secure him a recording contract with Atlantic Records.

Success continued for Craig as he signed with BNA Records in 2008.  October of the year saw the release of the album "That's Why" with a lead single of "Love Remembers".  The single peaked at #9.  During this same time Craig was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry and was inducted on October 25, 2008.  John Conlee surprised Craig with the invitation onstage during his performance of "Rose Colored Glasses", which was popularized by Conlee in 1978.  The song is often times found on Craig's set list.  His response to the invitation was "Oh, God, yes!"  His Opry guest debut had been eight and a half years earlier on April 21, 2000.

Craigs maintains a busy schedule playing the Grand Ole Opry, military bases and over 200 concerts per year. Being in the military made him value home and family as much as ever. And he still runs his country music operation like an Army unit. "My dad and mom raised me to be grateful and thankful and appreciative," he says. "They always told me, if somebody loans you something, give it back in better shape than what you get it in." Thus, Morgan and the band and road crew sweep the stage before and after shows, and are not likely to ever get an angry phone call from a motel clerk. After most gigs Morgan’s right there with them loading up the truck. "Something in my genes and my blood requires that I work—right or wrong, it makes me feel like a man," Morgan says with a laugh. "People ask me how I stay grounded ... man, I go home and I still mow my own grass. I clean my own pool. I have kids that I get onto and play with and love the same as everybody else. I will always be that same guy. Just like the people who buy our records and listen to our music."

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"Happy Feet" is missing in the Southern Ocean.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The wayward penguin known as "Happy Feet" is missing in the Southern Ocean.

Experts tell The Associated Press that the most likely scenario is that the emperor penguin's satellite transmitter fell off. The small unit was attached to his feathers with super glue and was designed to fall off when he molted early next year.

But the unit stopped transmitting Friday, just five days after the penguin was released into the ocean. He was discovered on a New Zealand beach in June. After he was released, Happy Feet swam in a meandering route about 75 miles southeast, in a pattern that experts say is typical for a penguin chasing fish.

Other possibilities are that Happy Feet was eaten by an orca or a leopard seal; that he died of natural causes; or that the transmitter malfunctioned.

The juvenile penguin was released eight days ago, with a GPS tracking device attached to him to report back on his whereabouts.

But there have been no signals from Happy Feet's tracker - set to transmit when he breaks the surface of the water - since Friday.

His last known position was 52 degrees south and 170 degrees east at 8:11pm New Zealand time Friday, The Dominion Post reported.

While it is possible the device fell off and is sitting at the bottom of the ocean as Happy Feet continues his safe journey back to his native waters, there is also the chance he met his end as a larger creature's lunch, experts said.

Emperor penguins have many predators, including seals and orcas.

Sirtrack, the company behind the penguin's transmitter, told the New Zealand Herald the lack of signal "leads to the conclusion that either the satellite transmitter has detached or an unknown event has prevented Happy Feet from resurfacing."

A spokesman from Sirtrack said there was a chance the bird had been eaten, saying: "That's what makes the world go round."

Happy Feet - named after the smash-hit 2006 animated feature about a tap-dancing emperor chick - was critically ill when found on a North Island beach with a stomach full of sand and sticks, which rescuers believe he had mistaken for snow and fish.

Given a 50 percent chance of survival, he underwent four surgeries at Wellington Zoo and spent two months being rehabilitated before he was released back into the wild.

An international treaty prevented authorities from returning the penguin directly to Antarctica, so he was released in an area where other juvenile emperor penguins are this time of year.

Jeff Beck named as Classic Rock living legend

Guitarist Jeff Beck is to be honoured with a living legend award by Classic Rock magazine.

Beck, 67, was a former member of The Yardbirds and founded the Jeff Beck Group, featuring Rod Stewart on vocals.

The musician, who was born in Surrey, told the BBC News website he was "very honoured" by the award.

"I'm really a backroom boy, not a mainstream rock act," he said. "It means someone is out there looking at what I'm doing, which is really nice."

The Classic Rock Roll Of Honour will be held at London's Roundhouse on 9 November, hosted by Kiss frontman Gene Simmons.

Other nominees include Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden and Metallica, who are all up for band of the year.

They will compete against The Michael Monroe Band, a new project from the former Hanoi Rocks frontman; and supergroup Black Country Communion, which includes Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham in its line-up.

The 13 nominees for album of the year encompass rock veterans like Journey, Motorhead and Whitesnake alongside relative newcomers like Alter Bridge - who were formed in 2004.

Beck is also shortlisted in that category for Rock 'n' Roll Party, a live album recorded at a tribute concert for Les Paul.

The guitarist was one of three people to play lead for The Yardbirds - Eric Clapton preceded him, and Jimmy Page took his place in 1966.

While his contemporaries became globally-recognised rock guitarists, Beck followed a more complicated path, embracing jazz, psychedelia and electronica.

"Maybe I'll hear an opera singer and go home and write a heavy metal riff," he said.

"It's just what music does to me. It's hard to explain."

In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named him the fourteenth greatest guitar player of all time. He has been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame twice - once as a solo artist, and once as part of The Yardbirds.

"It's very difficult to turn your back on something that draws people's attention to what you've been doing," he told the BBC.

"But living legend? It's hard to know what that means."

Pentagon: 10 years later, the same and different

ARLINGTON, Va.
Former President George W. Bush has paid silent tribute to Sept. 11 victims in a wreath-laying at the Pentagon.

Bush was joined by his wife, Laura, as he placed a wreath of white flowers by the 9/11 memorial stone embedded in the wall outside Corridor 4. That's near where hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building, killing 184 people.

Also at the brief ceremony were Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former Pentagon chief Donald H. Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen.

Bush then headed to Shanksville, Pa., for the dedication of the United Flight 93 memorial. He also plans to join President Barack Obama in New York on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

More than 1,000 family members of people who perished at the Pentagon on this date 10 years ago filed slowly into the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial on Sunday.

A flag marks where terrorists flew a plane into the Pentagon as families and guests walk through the memorial to the victims on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

They sat quietly in rows of metal chairs, facing the metal benches — one for each of their loved ones — that make up the memorial next to the Pentagon. To their right a huge flag was draped over the Pentagon wall, marking the section where American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the heart of the nation's defense minutes after the attack on the World Trade Center in New York.

At 9:37 a.m., the same moment the plane struck the building, there was a moment of silence, followed by a haunting rendition of Amazing Grace by the Navy chorus.

The U.S. Army Band played solemnly as 184 service men and women from the Army, Navy and Marines laid wreaths at each of the memorial benches. Some in the crowd raised their cameras to capture the moment.

On a stage set up next to the military headquarters, Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared that after the attacks, "America reached forth with the outstretched arm and clenched fist of an angry nation …to make sure a day like this never happens again."

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta surveyed the peaceful memorial and said, "At this very moment, at this very spot, it's difficult to believe that 10 years ago this was the scene of terrible devastation, smoke and fire. Although 10 years have passed, the wounds are still present. … You'll always carry the memory of that day with you."

The terrorist attacks were "aimed squarely at our values," he said. "They tried to weaken us. Instead, they made us stronger."

The strength of a democracy, he said, is the willingness of its citizens to make sacrifices for the good of others in times of crisis. "Many have sacrificed," he said, citing more than 6,000 who died and thousands more who were wounded in the ensuing wars. "And because of their sacrifice, we're a safer nation."

The men and women armed with machine guns posted along the approaches to the Pentagon, the highways closed for the event, the concrete barriers along the parking lots and security screenings — all made it clear this place has changed.

Douglas Wilson, assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs, remarked before the ceremony, "This Pentagon is both the same and different. … There's a mission, but the mission is more complicated in many ways. It's no longer black and white.

"People understand there's an ongoing nature to the conflict," he said. "There's a quiet determination."

He was working across the street from the White House 10 years ago and recalled seeing smoke rising from the Pentagon across the Potomac, and feeling "scared to death" that his friends had died.

Drake Marshall, 13, was at the ceremony to remember his mother.

He recalled that he was in the Pentagon day care center, building a castle with blocks, when a teacher said something about smoke in the building, grabbed him and carried him out. Drake's mother, Shelley, worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency in the building, but Drake remembers crying for his dad.

"I was looking over my teacher's shoulder as she was giving me a hug when I saw him running over," he said. "It was a scary time. … I didn't know if my parents were OK I didn't have any idea what was happening."

Vice President Biden's words about losing a loved one felt personal, Drake said, "because I lost my mom."

His father, Donn Marshall, 46, credits Drake and his sister Chandler, who was 21 months at the time, with saving his life.

"As a single parent, you have to find strength," he said. "Who knows what I would have done, what would have turned out if the kids hadn't been there."

They even helped him find his second wife, he said, by insisting on going back to the nice lady who sold them an Easter bunny, and the visits became daily.

Donn Marshall, who also worked in military intelligence, said he moved to West Virginia in part because Washington didn't feel safe. He doesn't like all the planes flying overhead, and he thinks another attack is "bound to happen again."

The intelligence community "can't be right 100%," he said, and the enemies "only have to be right once."

Mary Lou Moss, 43, of Saltiillo, Tex., wept thinking about the day 10 years ago when she lost her husband, Brian Moss, who was in the Navy. When she had a daughter four years later, she named her Sailor is his honor.

"Being near the crash site makes it really hard," Moss said.

Moss's son Connor, 15, wants to join the Navy SEALs, Moss said.

Her older daughter, Ashten, 17, said she plans to join the Navy, too. She might finally find closure, she said, "when I go fight."

Memorial moves 9/11 mourners

By SALLY GOLDENBERG and JENNIFER FERMINO
Vasantha Velamuri, who's husband, Sankara Sastry Velamuri, was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, mourns at the place where his name is inscribed on the Sept. 11 memorial.

Ground Zero is gone — replaced this morning with the grand opening of a beautiful memorial that left the family members of the dead nearly speechless with emotion.

The National September 11 Memorial officially opened its doors a decade after the attack, a moving tribute complete with reflecting pools of water, names etched of the dead in bronze and the only tree that survived the attack.

Family members were first allowed on the site shortly after 9 am, arriving in a steady stream to see the names of their lost loved ones.

Many openly wept, overwhelmed with emotion, and scores were home-made tee shirts emblazoned with the name of the person they were honoring.
August Larsen, 9, makes a crayon rubbing of his father's name, Scott Larsen, who he never got a chance to meet. Larsen, a firefighter at Ladder 15, was killed in 9/11 just days before his son was born.
Getty Images
August Larsen, 9, makes a crayon rubbing of his father's name, Scott Larsen, who he never got a chance to meet. Larsen, a firefighter at Ladder 15, was killed in 9/11 just days before his son was born.

“I found his name and it brought tears to my eyes. I felt like I had a real connection,” said Anthony Ottomanom whose nephew died in the attack.

“I’ve been coming every year and things have gotten so much better. The park is magnificent. The trees, the pools, it’s beautiful.”

Dennis Baxter, 64, lost his brother, Jasper Baxter.

He was so overcome with emotion upon seeing his brother’s name etched in stone that he initially felt confusion.

“I touched it...I didn’t know what to do,” the King of Prussia, PA man said.

Ultimately, he found solace.

“It was really moving,” he said.

Family members have been coming to the site of the attacks since the beginning, but today marked the first time when there was an official place for them to go.

They honored the dead by placing roses next to the names, making etchings to bring home, and silently praying.

Mary Dwyer, wore a t-shirt with images of her sister, Lucy Fishman, who died while at work for Aon, a firm that was in the south tower.

“It’s the closest I’ll ever get to her again,” said Dwyer.

2 terror suspects may be U.S. citizens


WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. intelligence agencies have found no evidence that al Qaeda has sneaked any terrorists into the country for a strike coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, senior officials said Saturday.
But authorities kept a high alert as investigators looked for proof of a plot possibly timed to disrupt events planned Sunday in Washington or New York.
Since late Wednesday, counterterrorism officials have chased a tip that al Qaeda may have sent three men to the U.S. on a mission to detonate a car bomb in either city. At least two of those men could be U.S. citizens, according to the tip.
No intelligence supported that tip as of Saturday, and officials continued to question the validity of the initial information.
While such tips are common among intelligence agencies, this one received more attention, and government officials chose to speak publicly about it, because of the connection to the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.
Al Qaeda long has hoped to strike again on the anniversary.
At the FBI field office in Washington, assistant director James McJunkin described the tip and the response as routine. The U.S. already had bolstered security nationwide before the upcoming anniversary and anticipated an increase in tips.
“We expect we’re going to get an increase in threats and investigative activity around high-profile dates and events,” he said. “This is a routine response for us.”
Intelligence analysts have looked at travel patterns and behaviors of people who recently entered the country. While they have singled out a few people for additional scrutiny, none has shown any involvement in a plot, according to the senior U.S. officials, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the investigation.
President Barack Obama met with his national security team Saturday, but the White House released no new information about possible threats. A statement said that counterterrorism efforts were working well and would not ease in the weeks and months ahead.
The tip that touched off the most recent investigation came from a CIA informant who has proved reliable in the past, according to U.S. officials. They said the informant approached intelligence officials overseas to say that the men were ordered by new al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 by doing harm on U.S. soil.
Al-Zawahri took over as the group’s leader after the U.S. killed Osama bin Laden during a raid in May at his compound in Pakistan.
The informant said the would-be attackers were of Arab descent and might speak Arabic as well as English. Counterterrorism officials were looking for certain names associated with the threat, but it was unclear whether the names were real or fake.
Some intelligence officials have raised doubts about the threat, given the short turnaround time. Someone who recently arrived in the United States would have just days to plan and obtain materials for a car bomb attack, a difficult feat even with a long lead time.
But they did not dismiss the threat. Extra security was put in place to protect the people in the two cities that took the brunt of the jetliner attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Law enforcement agencies around the country had increased security at airports, nuclear plants, train stations and elsewhere in the weeks leading to Sept. 11. The latest threat made those measures more urgent.
U.S. embassies and consulates also stepped up safeguards in preparation for the anniversary.
While authorities urged people to keep a watchful eye for suspicious activity as usual, they said there was no reason the latest tip should change anyone’s weekend.
“Whatever you have plans for, it’s a beautiful day. It’s going to be a beautiful weekend,” McJunkin said. “It’s college football Saturday. Tomorrow is the start of the NFL (National Football League) season. So we expect the public is going to be out enjoying what it means to be an American.”
___
Associated Press writers Eileen Sullivan, Kimberly Dozier, Jessica Gresko and Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report

New York City: 9/11 Elaborate Security


NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The latest terror threat has come out just as a brand new CBS/New York Times poll shows 1 out of 3 New Yorkers still thinks about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks at least once a week.

CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer has an exclusive look at the city’s post-9/11 security.

There are radiation detection boats in the waters, cameras that have been placed all over lower and Midtown Manhattan and there are cops with guns and tanks and all kinds of weapons, because in New York a terror attack could come from anywhere, and anyone.

“There’s no shortage of people who are willing to give up their lives for the cause,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

It’s been 10 years but our concerns about terrorism are still staggering and constant. Even the death of Osama bin Laden didn’t lessen the fear.

Two thirds of Americans, 67 percent in a stunning CBS/New York Times poll say killing the al Qaeda mastermind didn’t make them feel safer.

But that’s not all. A majority – 57 percent — say subway security measures are insufficient.

And as for other potential terror targets:

* Only 27 percent say airports are a lot safer

* Only 20 percent say bridges and tunnels are safer

* And just 14 percent say area nuclear plants are safer

Kramer sat down with Commissioner Kelly for a rare and candid talk about terror. Some of the arrows in his anti-terror quiver are pretty amazing and newly revealed.

For openers, he has his own navy.

“We actually have the ability to have a small submarine, not manned, to check the part of the boats that are submerged,” Kelly said.

“We have a new boat on order. We envision a situation where we may have to get to an island or across water quickly, so we’re able to transport our heavy weapons officers rapidly.”

Kelly also has his own army — 1,000 anti-terror cops with tanks and weapons, carved out of the NYPD after 9/11.

“We have to do things differently. We know that this is where terrorists want to come,” Kelly said.

But in the city’s war on terror it’s often about what you don’t see. You do see the cops and the weapons and the bomb dogs. You don’t see the legion of  bi-lingual undercover officers and analysts. You also don’t see much of the intricate web of surveillance cameras the commissioner continues to build.

“Now you’re going to see a fairly rapid increase in the number of cameras,” Kelly said.

Much of the information streams into a high-tech center in lower Manhattan where analysts evaluate it in real time, 24/7.

The security comes at a mind-boggling price.

“Probably 9/11 has cost us at least a trillion dollars as a country,” Kelly said.

Despite the budget crisis, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he’s committed to fighting terror.

The police commissioner said the money and effort being spent to protect New York City is a “clear message” to terrorists to stay away.