Portland police arrest more than 50 protesters as Occupy camps cleared

Police have confronted an estimated 1,000 people in Portland, Oregon, after clearing parks occupied for weeks by Occupy movement protesters.

More than 300 officers from about a dozen law enforcement agencies, some wearing riot gear, were sent to evict Occupy Portland protesters from two downtown parks and maintain order in Oregon's largest city.

Police said more than 50 people were arrested after refusing to leave one of the parks. There were no injuries.

The demonstrators, described by observers as generally Atlanta Braves Jerseys peaceful, regrouped in the streets, blocking traffic for hours. "The whole world is watching," they chanted during a standoff with police that continued through the afternoon.

Most of the crowd left as evening approached but a core group moved to a downtown square to discuss their next move.

Encampments sprang up in several cities in recent weeks in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York to protest against what demonstrators see as economic inequality and undue political influence by corporate interests.

The sites have sparked complaints from business owners and officials who say they are urban eyesores.

Over the weekend officials moved to dismantle an Occupy protest camp in Salt Lake City, Utah, where 15 people were arrested, while Denver police on Saturday removed mattresses, cooking grills and tents illegally placed on a sidewalk.

Denver police said on Sunday that 17 people were arrested.

Citing health and safety issues, some officials have urged demonstrators to dismantle the camps and others have used such concerns as reasons for police to force the issue.

The Portland mayor, Sam Adams, who had warned the protesters last week that they would be evicted, told CNN on Sunday that the camps were linked to increases in crime and drug overdoses, and that one camp had been used as cover by an arsonist.

Adams said he sympathised with the protesters Chicago Cubs Jerseys' goals but the Occupy movement needed to evolve beyond encampments "in order to get the kind of reforms we need".

The Philadelphia mayor, Michael Nutter, on Sunday ordered beefed-up police patrols at the city's protest site at Dilworth Plaza, saying conditions were "dramatically deteriorating."

He said communication had broken down between officials and protesters, and the city's concerns about fire hazards, litter and a lack of toilets had not been addressed. Thefts, assaults and an alleged sexual attack had occurred.

Nutter said a $50m makeover of the plaza was planned and by opting not to move, "Occupy Philly is now purposely standing in the way of a nearly 1,000 jobs for Philadelphians at a time of high unemployment".

In Oakland, California, where police and demonstrators have clashed previously, the city issued a third eviction notice on Sunday, warning protesters they faced "immediate arrest" if they continued to camp out in its plaza and parks.

The city offered alternative emergency accommodation at two homeless shelters and provided a shuttle service to one that was not within walking distance of the encampments.

The St Louis mayor, Francis Slay, has warned protesters they have to leave their encampment but has offered to continue talks to find a permanent place for the protest.

The nationwide protest movement, which started in New York in September, has voiced opposition to what the demonstrators see as an unfair concentration of wealth in the United States. Among other issues they object to corporate excesses and bailouts of major banks.


2011 NBA Draft: is North Carolina's Harrison Barnes One and Done?
Is Harrison Barnes a one-year wonder for the North Carolina Tar Heels?

The No. 1 freshmen going into the season may have gotten off to a slow start—but he has shown the world why he deserves all of the hype with his play over the last month.
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He scored 40 points in the ACC Tournament against Clemson and scored 24 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in a opening NCAA Tournament victory against Long Island.

He is an explosive scorer that can get to the bucket and knock down a three just as successfully. He has perfect form on his jumper and is only going to be more dangerous on the offensive end of the floor.
He competes on defense and his positive attitude has infected his teammates.

Most draft experts have him in their top-five prospects in the country.

So is he going to leave?

Could Barnes possibly turn down millions of guaranteed dollars to stay in college?

According to a report by ESPN.com draft analyst Chad Ford, yes he would:

“One player who may decide to stay in school is North Carolina's Harrison Barnes. Despite Barnes' terrific play of late, one source close to Barnes told me he'd really like to win an NCAA championship for the Tar Heels. "He's the sort of guy who cares about more than just going to the NBA," the source said. "He wants to leave his mark."

Keep an eye on Barnes in Carolina in the tournament going forward. His future as a Tar Heel may depend on it.

I think even if Carolina fails to win the championship agents and “yesmen” will be able to convince him that the money and fame is too good to pass up.

Chance of entering the 2011 NBA Draft: 90 percent.

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2011 NBA Draft: Can Brandon Knight Turn into Lottery Pick with Sweet 16 Upset?
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The Fab Five polarized and revolutionized

The Fab Five are back in the news this week, stirring debate and divergent opinions about the game, race, and culture once again -- two decades after they loudly and boldly ushered in a new era of basketball and a new kind of athlete. That an ESPN documentary on the rise and fall of the Fab Five -- Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson -- could cause so many hard feelings after all this time speaks to their influence.
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"The swagger they brought to the game, the fun, knowing that these guys were just right out of high school -- 17, 18 years old -- playing for a huge college and playing on a big level," James said. "To this day, a lot of things that we do as athletes come from those guys, from the Fab Five."

And some would say, that is more the problem than it has been the solution. But it isn't that simple.


They were brash, unapologetic, controversial, and different. Twenty years later, we are reminded of their impact and importance by virtue of the discussion and response generated by an excellent documentary. Some people loved it. Others hated it. In journalism, that's the sign of a job well done. For the Fab Five, it's fitting.

Ugly and ignorant opinions shadow every new generation of basketball players, because every new generation that comes along has a little Fab Five in its DNA. (Just ask LeBron.) The question of whether the Michigan freshmen changed the game forever, or whether they were merely the first ones to honestly confront what the game was becoming with or without them, pretty much forms the line in the sand where opinions about the Fab Five are concerned. Love 'em or hate 'em. To this day, there is no straddling that line.

Now, into this important debate walks the great unifier, Grant Hill, who correctly excoriated Rose's reference in the documentary to Duke only recruiting black players who were "Uncle Toms." Hill's only misstep in an otherwise thoughtful piece in The New York Times was failing to make it clear that this was Rose reflecting on how he felt years ago, as a teen-ager. But Hill's point remains valid. With even-handed prose, he exposed Rose for the same kind of stereotyping that Rose and the rest of the Fab Five -- quite accurately, mind you -- felt they were unfairly targeted with in the early '90s.

"To hint that those who grew up in a household with a mother and father are somehow less black than those who did not is beyond ridiculous," Hill wrote. "All of us are extremely proud of the current Duke team, especially Nolan Smith. He was raised by his mother, plays in memory of his late father and carries himself with the pride and confidence that they instilled in him."

Hill's personal experience of coming from a stable home with two educated parents shouldn't be held against him any more than a disadvantaged athlete's background of coming from a broken home in the inner city should be held against him. In fact, this subject matter is so delicate that it presents the danger of falling into the same trap I just did by calling a one-parent home "broken." In many, many cases, that simply isn't true.

It's a somewhat embarrassing perk of being a journalist in the information age, but a three-second Google search revealed to me a web site titled, www.withoutafather.comwhich lists successful people raised by a single parent. The list ranges from every variety of musical artist (50 Cent, Eric Clapton, Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, Barbra Streisand) to actors (Cary Grant, Samuel L. Jackson, Charlize Theron, Eddie Murphy, Al Pacino, Eva Mendes) to presidents (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.)

You could add to that list the name LeBron James.

Me? I came from the predominantly white suburbs of New York City, was raised in a middle-class home, and my parents got divorced in 1989 as I headed off to Bloomington, Ind., for college. Was my home broken? Hardly. Was I, or was Hill for that matter, venturing out into adulthood with some sort of unfair advantage? Some would say yes, but in order to say that, you have to accept the equally false notion that those with less fortunate experiences were doomed to failure. The list of names above, and many others, proves that point.

As Hill so eloquently wrote in the Times, his parents need not apologize for working hard, becoming educated, and staying married any more than Rose should have to apologize because he never knew or even met his father, former NBA star Jimmy Walker, who died in 2007. That stuff is personal, and more to the point, it's unique in every walk of life and for every basketball player standing on an NBA court or blacktop playground. The Fab Five polarized opinions about all that matters in sports and life -- race, family, geography, opportunity, and every perceived privilege or disadvantage. They're still doing it today. Whether they changed basketball from a technical or sociological standpoint, or merely were swept up in a cultural movement that was bigger than they were, isn't so important. What matters more is that the game we see now, nearly 20 years later, is very much a product of the phenomenon that the Fab Five ushered in.

That's why James, who will lead the NBA wherever it's going next, wore a puzzled look when I asked him to take a stab at the positive and negative ways those bold, trash-talking, anti-establishment freshmen at Michigan influenced the game.

"I don't see any negative out of all that, what they did for the game," James said.

But it's never like that. There's always some good and some bad.

Prioritizing the SportsCenter moment over the backdoor cut, thumbing their nose at the NCAA establishment, and later contributing to an NBA culture where the pecking order was dictated by the size of paychecks made the Fab Five villains to some and heroes to others. Stars teaming up and conspiring to play on the same team? James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh did it last summer, but the Fab Five beat them to the punch by 20 years.

To a kid picking up a basketball for the first time in Akron, Ohio, this was the blueprint. For me? I was a junior at Indiana University when the Fab Five came together in Ann Arbor. On Wednesday night, 20 years later, I was standing in the Miami Heat locker room next to a 6-8, 260-pound version of that kid from Akron, who was standing next to a locker that belonged to Howard, the last of the Fab Five still in the league. Talk about worlds colliding.

It won't surprise you to hear that I despised the Fab Five back then, but not for their shorts, style or swagger. I just hated them because they were on the other team.

In my college days, I sided with an even bigger bully -- an ignoramus who, in many ways, was far worse for society than the Fab Five. I rooted for a bully named Bob Knight, who did a lot of good for basketball and for young men but also did a lot of harm that I, and many others, chose to ignore.

It was people like Knight and Mike Krzyzewski at Duke who were lauded for putting the Fab Five in their place. But the joke is on them. The game and the business of the game are a lot more like what Webber, Howard, and Rose envisioned -- and what James admired in them -- than the purity those men had in mind.

Is that good or bad? It's both. And it's just the way it is, whether you like it or not.

Baseball's labor peace is a stark contrast to NFL -- and its own history

It's hard to fathom for those of us who still vividly remember the bitter, rancorous battles between players and management that marked baseball's labor landscape for so long -- eight work stoppages between the strike of 1972 and the strike of 1994 that resulted in the cancellation of the World Series.
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But the reality is that baseball has become the paragon of labor peace among the four major sports. While the NFL sweats out a possible lockout, and the NBA and NHL both face perilous upcoming negotiations that are sure to be contentious, MLB has quietly begun negotiations on its soon-to-expire Basic Agreement. By all accounts, there seem to be no major impediments to settling on a new contract before the old one expires on Dec. 11 -- perhaps well before. And if that happens, it would mean 16 years and counting of labor peace for MLB, marked by three successful negotiations that avoided work stoppages.
That's staggering, and yes, deserving of praise for baseball commissioner Bud Selig. I know there are people who will never forgive Selig for the 1994 strike, but I believe he warrants serious credit for his part in forging a working relationship with the union, and for realizing the sport could simply not survive any more strike/lockouts. Selig, and the owners learned their lesson -- mainly, that there was absolutely no way the baseball union, one of the most powerful in American labor, would ever accept a salary cap, and to keep pushing for that concession was suicidal for the sport. So Selig led the owners -- not always willingly, to say the least -- to what for them was radical new territory: extensive revenue sharing, a luxury tax, and enforcement of debt-service rules, all designed to provide more financial equity. You can argue that dangerous payroll and revenue disparities still exist between teams like the Yankees and Red Sox on one end, and the Pirates, Marlins and Rays on the other. And they do. But you can also point to competitive balance that is far greater than people realize, and, most importantly, to industry revenues that are close to $7 billion. In the face of a recession, the business of baseball is very, very good. Unlike NFL owners, they've decided the best strategy is not to mess with a good thing.

Everything I've read and heard so far about the upcoming negotiations are encouraging. It's also encouraging that Rob Manfred, the owners' negotiator, and Michael Weiner, who has replaced Donald Fehr as the union chief (Fehr now heads the NHL union), have developed a congenial working relationship, having gone head-to-head on several negotiations. When management and union can work together on events like the World Baseball Classic, and work out numerous revisions to the drug-testing policy without rancor, it bodes well for hammering out a new agreeement. Though Hank Steinbrenner seemed to allude to the dreaded "c" word the other day -- contraction -- it doesn't appear there will be any issues on the table this time divisive enough to lead to a work stoppage. Weiner told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review yesterday, "It is not my expectation that the salary cap will be on the table. I think the owners understand what the history was in 1994, '95 and '96 over the cap. They understand the union's view with respect to caps.'' He added, "My sense is neither side is looking to make fundamental or radical changes in the structure of our contract.''

Owners are likely to push for an international draft, and probably for a slotting system for draft picks. The players might want some tweaks in the luxury tax rate, or some assurances that teams receiving revenue-sharing dollars don't pocket that money. Tricky issues, but not deal-breakers.

While the NFL wages its bitter war with players, baseball has somehow found a way to reach relative labor harmony. It's a much more pleasant place to be.

D'Antoni: Knicks closer to championship
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- To Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, the math is simple: two NBA stars are better than one.

D'Antoni said on Tuesday that it was "tough" to part with four of his regulars in the blockbuster trade for Carmelo Anthony on Monday night. But D'Antoni and team president Donnie Walsh said they ultimately felt they had to pull the trigger because it gave them two star players in a league that's often driven by star power.
"There's not many times in this league that you can get a 26-year-old superstar in his prime," D'Antoni said. "Obviously you have to give up something to do that and we did. But I'm really excited about what we have and where we can go."

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The Knicks landed Anthony in a three-team, 12-player deal that was near completion on Monday night. The move teams Anthony with Amare Stoudemire to form what on paper is the second-highest scoring tandem in the league.

"Now, we've got two guys in our stable," D'Antoni said. "... We know we have two of the best players in the league."

Walsh hinted that there could be more on the way.

The 69-year-old team president believes the Knicks will have enough cap space in the 2012 offseason to chase top free agents, such as Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Dwight Howard. The league is likely to lower its salary cap in the new collective bargaining agreement, but Walsh is confident the Knicks will have money to spend.

"No matter what happens we'll have cap room," he said.

Walsh and D'Antoni spent Tuesday morning informing the six ex-Knicks involved in the deal that they were no longer with the team.

"You just hate to do it," D'Antoni said. "And you're not doing it because they're bad. You're doing it because you're trying to get one of the best players in the league."

Photos: Carmelo Anthony's career

MeloDrama is over: Anthony is going to be a Knick. Enjoy photos of an All-Star's career: Carmelo Anthony

The Knicks traded Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov and a 2014 first-round draft pick to the Nuggets, who will get additional picks and cash, sources told ESPN The Magazine senior write Chris Broussard. Along with Anthony, New York would get Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman from Denver in the deal. The Knicks also sent Anthony Randolph, the expiring contract of Eddy Curry and $3 million to Minnesota for Corey Brewer, according to multiple media outlets.
D'Antoni said it was most difficult to tell Felton and Gallinari that they were being dealt. Gallinari was D'Antoni's first draft pick in 2008. The coach also played basketball with Gallinari's father in Italy. The Knicks were rejuvenated thanks in part to the play of Felton, the point guard they signed to a two-year contract last summer.

"I gotta say that Denver picked the right guys because they're all good players and they all have good futures. They will be successful," D'Antoni said.

As for his own team, D'Antoni was eager to get Anthony and Billups and the rest of his new players on the practice court.

"We have a chance to be good. Whether it takes one day or 15 days or a year, we'll see. But we're moving ahead in the direction that we've always wanted to go and that's toward a championship," D'Antoni said. "[The trade] got us closer but we've still got a long way to go."

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