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Monday, February 28, 2011

Media bias

What happened to non-bias media?

Fox news is the primary media arm for stirring up and "reporting" on the Tea Party Movement, frequntly saying it represents the "majority" and "overwhelming majority" of Ameria, despite polls that show thatbetween members and those that believe in it (but still consider themselves outside the movement) at between ten and thirty percent. Fifty percent is a majority, for the record. Fox reports thousands at rallys where official counts are in the hundreds. Fox does not report on financing for the movement or on how varied and scattered the beliefs of those who attend rallies are.

CNBC reports on finances, like the role of Freedom Works and Fox in building and financing the movement, but not on the valid points made or the true furvor and those behind the movement (which never was grassroots).

CNN has talking heads talking out of both sides of their mouths while smiling and reporting in what independant surveys now show to be an Obama advantage they did not have prior to the 2008 campaign.

Rupert Murdock, owner of Skynews which in turn owns Fox, purchased the Wall Street Journal, which now slants its coverage and strongly bias its editorials to the right of even Fox News.

To gain subscriptions, quarter hours, viewers, listeners, readers and advertising revenue, much of the media is not bias. But it is not a liberal bias. Independent surveys show the bias has shifted strongly to the right, with the phrase "liberal bias of the media" a catch phrase to attack and burn any media that dares to be balanced of report the opposite side. Language, coverage and priorities have been, since last fall, strongly bias in favor of the Tea Party Movement, Republicans in Congress and conservative causes, according to independent studies by both the Pew Media Trust and Gallop organizations.

Yet the popular phrase is "liberal media" as Fox now dominates cable news and its views believe it to be "fair and balanced" and all other media "liberal."

So what happened to the Fourth Estate, balanced journalism and the peoples' right to know?

Have corporate interest, a capitalism advertising based media and those who sell hatred and slogans overtaken reason and research and finding middle ground?

I am interested in your feedback.

First published 4/27/2010

Thurgood on HBO

I highly recommend an hour and a half of one man theater at its finest. I write this as an actor, a teacher and an American.
Laurence Fishburne’s one-man show Thurgood, based on the life of the late Civil Rights leader and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshallis on HBO. Thurgood is the dramatic retelling of the life of Marshall, the first African American to be appointed to the Supreme Court.It deals with the fight for equality under the law, and Thurgoods personal experiences and memories.
The 90-minute performance was filmed in front of a live audience at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater in Washington, D.C. last summer.
Thurgood, according to HBO, “is a compelling present-tense narration revisiting the turning points in his life and career as he remembers them. Recalling childhood stories of his family and home life in Baltimore, to his college days in North Carolina as an aspiring lawyer, Marshall recollects his triumphs over adversity to pursue a successful career in the judicial system fighting for human rights.”
By the way, Laurence Fishburne, who also served as writer of the play, was nominated for the stage’s highest honor, the Tony award, for his performance in Thurgood.

WWII Pin-up Queen, Jane Russell, star of '40s and '50s films, dies

Jane Russell, the dark-haired siren whose sensational debut in the 1943 film "“The Outlaw", filmed in Northern Nevada, inspired producer Howard Hughes to challenge the power and strict morality of Hollywood's production code. Jane Russell, the voluptuous actress known for her roles in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and The Outlaw along with her lifelong work as an advocate for adoption, passed away today in Santa Maria, CA. She was 89.

She remained active in charities, Christian groups and singing clubs up until a few weeks prior to here death.

For an audio tribute from NPR (including her singing voice) click here.

The following is from her IMDB biography (click here for Filmography):

Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell was born on June 21, 1921 in Bemidji, Minnesota. Her father was an US Army lieutenant and her mother had been a student of drama and an actress with a traveling troupe. Once Mr. Russell was mustered out of the service, the family took up residence in Canada, but moved to California when he found employment there.

The family was well-to-do and although Jane was the only girl among four brothers, her mother saw to it that she took piano lessons. In addition to music, Jane was interested in drama much as her mother had been and participated in high school stage productions. Upon graduation, Jane took a job as a receptionist for a doctor who specialized in foot disorders. Although she had originally planned on being a designer, her father died and she had to go to work to help the family. Jane modeled on the side and was very much sought-after especially because of her figure.

She managed to save enough money to go to drama school, with the urging of her mother. She was ultimately signed by Howard Hughes for his production of The Outlaw (1943) in 1941, the film that was to make Jane famous. The film wasn't a classic by any means, but was geared to show off Jane's ample physical assets. Although the film was made in 1941, it wasn't released until two years later and then only on a limited basis due to the way the film portrayed Jane's assets. It was hard for the flick to pass the censorship board. Finally, the film gained general release in 1946. The film was a smash at the box-office.

Jane didn't make another film until 1946 when she played Joan Kenwood in Young Widow (1946). She had signed a seven year contract with Hughes and it seemed the only films he would put her in were those that displayed Jane in a very flattering light due to her body. Films such as 1951's His Kind of Woman (1951) and The Las Vegas Story (1952) did nothing to showcase her true acting abilities. Probably the pinnacle of her career was in 1953's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) as Dorothy Shaw, with Marilyn Monroe. This film showed Jane's comedic side very well. Jane did continue to make films throughout the 1950s, but the films were at times not up to par, particularly with Jane's talents being wasted in forgettable movies in order to show off her sexy side. Films such as Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955) and The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956) did do Jane justice and were able to show exactly the fine actress she was.

After The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown (1957) (a flop) in 1957, Jane took a hiatus from films, to dabble a bit in television, returning in 1964 to filmFate Is the Hunter (1964). Unfortunately, the roles were not there anymore as Jane appeared in only four pictures during the entire decade of the sixties. Her last film of the decade was 1967's The Born Losers (1967). After three more years away from the big screen, she returned to make one last film called Darker Than Amber (1970) in 1970. Her last play before the public was in the 1970s when Jane was a spokesperson for Playtex bras. Had Jane not been wasted during the Hughes years, she could have been a bigger actress than what she was allowed to show.

FOX falls for fake story

Fox News  fell for a fake news story Tuesday about Los Angeles looking to spend $1 billion on jetpacks for its police force airing it on the network as fact. First Published 10/6/2010.

Ready for iPad 2?

The new iPad is due to be announced this week.

What is expected?

The new union may be thinner, lighter, faster, have a front facing camera, video chat and conference capable, pre-paid G3 and G4 capable (possibly with AT&T, Verison and a data only carrier), more computer function capable, improved but still limited "Flash", expanded application store and potentially interface with your iPhone for phone-video and instant ap and image sharing.

There are 60,000 iPad aps and over three million aps that run on iPhones and iPads.

Google and other competitors fall far short, with what many say are added steps or slower operating speeds on applications than on an Apple product.

Motorola's new pad has higher resolution on the the screen (but beyond what the eye can see on a surface that size), but does not interact as efficiently as an iPad.

While the iPad is expensive, competing products in the same category generally cost more, often much more.

As for books, Amazon took the upper hand by lowering prices, adding color and improving screen resolution. But, for the most part, all their "pad" does is books and magazines. Meanwhile Amazon Kindle works on iPads, Motorola, Google and even most Microsoft Vista phones and pads.

F-bombs, NHL Hockey, The cost of canceling 3 1/2 Men, Oscar recap,

The Skinny: I'm not sure what the point was of having Anne Hathaway and James Franco host the Oscars to woo younger viewers if the rest of the show is designed to bore them as much as possible. Also, for future reference, the Oscars show is not a platform for the hosting network to parade an executive out there for what was basically a live commercial. Now that the Oscars are done, we can get back to important things, like where Charlie Sheen will rant next. My money's on Al Jazeera English.
The King's Oscar. Sunday night's Oscar show had few surprises. "The King's Speech" won the bulk of the major awards. "The Fighter" got its acting nods in the supporting categories, while "The Social Network" was friended by the academy for best adapted screenplay and best original score. Hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway didn't embarrass themselves, but they sure weren't given any help by the show's producers. The opening and the first few awards seemed aimed at pushing away the very young viewers ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said they wanted to attract. The opening was pointless to those who had not seen the films and offensive for those who had. Oscar coverage and analysis from the Los Angeles TimesNew York TimesVarietyHollywood ReporterTimeDaily Beast and USA Today.
The "F-bomb." Not only did one award winner get bleeped for the dangerous and overused word, but now a key moment in "The Kings Speech" has been removed so the studio can release a Walmart friendly non-R rated version (the only reason for the R rating was the F-word used only once and with key dramatic intent.Two days before the Academy Awards, the Motion Picture Assn. of America announced it has assigned a PG-13 rating to an alternative version of "The King's Speech" in which, a source says, the contentious profanity has been muted out of the film. Those who listened closely head the show's writer and star refer to the change in a less than approving ways.
Runaway Production, only one Oscar Contender filmed entirely in LA. The Focus Features film "The Kids Are All Right" may not walk away with an Academy Award Sunday night, but it does take the prize for being the only film among the 10 best picture nominations that was shot entirely in the city of Los Angeles. In a stark reminder of how few prominent films are still filmed in L.A. these days, nine of the best picture nominees were shot either outside of California  ("The King's Speech," "Black Swan," "127 Hours" and "True Grit") or only partially in Southern California ("Inception" and "The Social Network"). "I've been be doing this for over 30 years and we used to shoot almost everything here," said Ned Shapiro, location manager for "The Kids Are All Right." "Today, to have a film that's shot entirely in the city of L.A. -- it's almost unique."

Few takers for "Hall Pass." What is the point of having a hall pass if no one wants to come out to play? That's what Warner Bros. had to deal with as its new raunchy romantic comedy, "Hall Pass," underperformed in its opening weekend. Bombing big time was "Drive Angry," Nicolas Cage's latest attempt to make people forget what a good actor he once was. Finishing first was "Gnomeo and Juliet." Box office reports from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.
All Charlie all the time. Charlie Sheen is not going quietly into the night. Late last week, CBSand Warner Bros. shut down production on his show, "Two and a Half Men," after he took aim at the show's executive producer, Chuck Lorre, in a radio rant. This week, Sheen takes his tour to TV. He hit NBC's "Today" on Monday morning, and on Tuesday, ABC weighs in with a special "20/20" episode. Most interesting and perhaps sad about this whole affair was that none of Sheen's personal or legal woes or issues with women led CBS and Warner Bros. to pull the plug on the show; it was only when he dared badmouth producers and executives that they said that's enough. As for Sheen, he hopefully realizes that now the issue is not whether he is clean or not, but that he is bashing the brass. Wake me when it's over. The Los Angeles Times and New York Times on the messages the handling of the Sheen situation have sent.
The cost of shutting down "Two and a Half Men." While Charlie Sheen figures out who he'll rant to next, the network and the studio behind "Two and a Half Men," the hit sitcom he stars in, are no doubt crunching numbers to determine what financial hit they will take if the show is indeed over. The network will lose an unknown number of viewers and thus lost revenue on not only this show, but others in advertising. But it is not the network that will take the biggest hit. Warner Bros., which produces the show, has the most to lose if "Two and a Half Men" is over. Currently, CBS pays about $4 million per episode for the show. Warner Bros. uses that money to make the show, pay the cast, etc. But there is always money left over to keep in its pocket. Given that eight episodes won't be made this season, that translates to $32 million in lost license fees, several million of which would have been pure profit. People close to the show say Warner Bros. would lose about $10 million in profits from the four episodes alone Contractually, CBS is on the hook for one more season after this one, so if Sheen's character has indeed drank his whiskey and bedded his last broad, then that is an additional $96 million or so in license fees gone -- assuming that 24 episodes would be made next season. Then there is the rerun money. The cable channel FX pays about $800,000 per episode. That's $3.2 million right there that's gone for the episodes that won't be made this season. If the show is gone for good, then that number jumps to more than $22 million after factoring in the 24 episodes that would have been made next season. The local stations that carry repeats of "Two and a Half Men" collectively pay more than $1 million per episode and Warner Bros. also sells a portion of the ad time in those reruns. So if the show goes away, that is at least an additional $30 million or so gone. What is virtually impossible to put a number on is the long-term loss to Warner Bros. Like "Seinfeld," "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Cheers," "Two and a Half Men" is going to live in reruns for a very long time. Over the next decade or so the revenue from lost episodes could easily be in the hundreds of millions from reruns both in the U.S. and abroad.
Pass the puck. Versus, the cable sports channel owned by Comcast Corp., is nearing the end of its deal to carry hockey. The NHL, looking to boost its deal from the current $77 million or so it gets from Versus, is hoping to woo other bidders -- including Fox and Turner Broadcasting as well as, of course, ESPN. Details from Sports Business Journal (just look further down the page on the link) and Sports Illustrated. As for NBC's deal, the peacock network -- now also owned by Comcast -- still has an exclusive negotiation window, per my pal John Ourand at Sports Business Journal. Meanwhile Comcast may focus on local affiliate and regional spots, taking a cue from how FOX built its sports programming.
Web video, what Web video? Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast Corp., the largest cable and broadband operator, sat down with the Wall Street Journal to shoot the breeze about the threat of online video, fixing NBC and the strength of the advertising market.
Piers pontificates. CNN's new prime-time talker, Piers Morgan, sat down with Broadcasting & Cable to assess his first several weeks on the air. He talked about his sliding ratings, his reputation for being to soft on stars and how he likes to watch himself on TV. Well, at least someone does.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: A further look at the economics of "Two and a Half Men" and what Charlie Sheen's war with CBS and Warner Bros. could mean. A look at ABC's Web efforts for the Oscars. RIP Dodgers great Duke Snyder.
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Should Democrats be forced to vote in Wisconsin, is that Democracy and the "will of the people?"

USA Today- Gallop poll report 2 out of 3 Americans are against eliminating collective bargaining and 3 out of 4 Americans support the protesters and not the governor and Republican legislature in Wisconsin. The stand off is to what "the majority" wants, as the legislature defines their mandate as to make the change and the polls and protesters, including the 14 Wisconsin Democratic Senators, show the people of Wisconsin oppose their own government in this stand. Also national polls indicate that support for unions is growing, the opposite of what the governor of Wisconsin, Tea Party and newly elected Republicans intended. It has become a fight over the hard fought right to collectively bargain and fight for wages, benefits and safe working conditions as Americans.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Academy Awards Winners

  83rd Academy Awards Winners List (in order of appearance):

Best Art Direction
Robert Stromberg, Karen O'Hara (Alice in Wonderland)

Best Cinematography
Wally Pfister (Inception)

Best Supporting Actress
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)

Best Animated Short Film
Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruhemann (The Lost Thing)

Best Animated Feature
Lee Unkrich(Toy Story 3)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)

Best Original Screenplay
David Seidler (The King's Speech)

Best Foreign Language Film
Denmark (In A Better World)

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale (The Fighter)

Best Original Score
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network)

Best Sound Mixing
Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo, Ed Novick (Inception)

Best Sound Editing
Richard King (Inception)

Best Makeup
Rick Baker, Dave Elsey (The Wolfman)

Best Costume Design
Colleen Atwood (Alice in Wonderland)

Best Documentary Short Subject
Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon (Strangers No More)

Best Live Action Short Film
Luke Matheny (God of Love)
*Winner at Boulder City Dam Short Film Festival as well

Best Documentary
Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs (Inside Job)

Best Visual Effects

Best Film Editing
Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter (The Social Netork)

Best Original Song
Randy Newman (Toy Story 3)

Best Director
Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)

Best Actress
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

Best Actor
Colin Firth (The King's Speech)

Best Picture
The King's Speech


There is more to the Wisconsin union fight than what meets the eye - It is not all about unions and the state budget...its about power, change and control.

Having won election with a majority sweeping changes in how business is done in Wisconsin is planned by the statehouse and Republican majority, not unlike changes made in third world countries under the guise of nation building.

There is more to the Wisconsin Emergency Budget than the much publicized end of "collective bargaining" for state employees. The 144 page bill also removes bidding for power and on many state contracts from the competitive open biding process, placing it under the direct control of the governor's office or officers appointed by the governor. The bill includes language allowing appointees to make sweeping cuts and changes in health care coverage for low income families without going through the required legislative process. The bill allows for the sale or state owned heating, cooling and power plants or contracting them to a private company without competitive bidding or legislative approval.  The bill bypasses the Public Service Commission in many areas including pollution, air and water quality and the letting of bids.

As the governor admitted when he thought he was talking with the major campaign contributor for the Republican Party and bank roller of the Tea Party, that this was about changing the way things are done to end interference form unions, the media and other interests in how state finances and state politics are done.

The shift in the bill from checks and balances to executive power has been tried in the past. It resulted in political party bosses, cronyism, profiteering, removal from the public eye of major decisions that impact the citizens of the state and long lasting power legacies.

Could that be the intent all along?

Sequels, Remakes, and 3-D Rip-Offs Dominate 2010 RAZZIE® Award “Winners”

And the Razzie Awards for Bad Movie of the Year goes to...

The 31st Annual RAZZIE® Awards

 Voting members of The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation have sifted through the cinematic rubble of last year’s Berry Worst Achievements in Film, and come up with the “winners” for The 31st Annual RAZZIE® Awards. Results are announced in satirical ceremonies held at Hollywood’s Barnsdall Gallery Theatre at 7:30pm PST on Saturday, February 26, 2011 — the now traditional Night Before the Oscars®.
Not quite sweeping the ceremony, but still handily leading the pack among this year’s RAZZIE choices is RAZZIE Repeat Offender M. Night Shyamalan’s “re-imagining” of the faux-anime’ TV series THE LAST AIRBENDER into a jumbled, jump-cut mess of a movie that fans of the TV show hated even more than critics did (if that’s even possible!). In addition toWorst Director and Worst Picture, AIRBENDER also “won”Worst Screenplay, a brand-new RAZZIE category for 2010,Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3-D, and Worst Supporting ActorJackson Rathbone (who had the misfortune to appear in both AIRBENDER and 2010’s other most-RAZZIE-nominated title,TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE).
The other big “winner” (if that’s the right term when speaking of these awards) was the bling-obsessed superslick chick flickSEX & THE CITY #2, which took gold-spray-painted statuettes for Worst SequelWorst Screen Ensemble (for its entire cast) and Worst Actress (presented jointly to the film’s four principles, Sarah Jessica ParkerKim CattrallCynthia Nixon and Kristen Davis).
Rounding out the field of this year’s sorriest cinematic losers were King of the Twittering Twits Ashton Kutcher as Worst Actor for both KILLERS and VALENTINE’S DAY, andJessica Alba, finally “winning” a RAZZIE with her fifth nomination. Alba was named Worst Supporting Actress for her “performances” in four films, THE KILLER INSIDE ME,LITTLE FOCKERS, MACHETE and VALENTINE’S DAY.Links to all of the “winners” are on right side of this page.
The RAZZIES® were created in 1980 as a logical antidote to Tinsel Town’s annual glut of self-congratulatory awards byJohn Wilson, author of The Official Razzie Movie Guide andEverything I Know I Learned at the Movies. “Winners” were determined by mailing ballots to 637 voters in 46 U.S. states and 17 foreign countries. Electronic voting and certification of this year’s Final RAZZIE® Ballot was handled Among the sponsors of this year’s awards and The Barnsdall Gallery Theatre is a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
Follow RAZZIES on Twitter @razzieawards, andThe Razzie Channel on YouTube.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part III

What  happened in Las Vegas does not stay in Las Vegas, at least not from centuries or eons ago. There is no Federal Repository Institution for fossils or archaeological artifacts. For that reason fossiles and relics of Nevada 's geological history are kept in San Bernardino and other museums that qualify for grants and to study, curate and preserve ancient history. Even modern history is lost, not just to the wrecking ball or implosion, but also to collectors from around the world. The bar where Mark Twain held court over the "third branch of the legislature", once located inside the Nevada Capital Building, now sits in a private residence in Taiwan. Relics from the Comstock up until and even more recent than the Janis Joplin pre-San Francisco era of Virginia City's party decades are located spread from Russia to China, Australia to Norway. And with current budgets, the state of endowments and a general lack of interest in history in this state, much of what was Nevada will be lost to state forever.

"This is our moment, this is our chance to change history..." is how Wisconsin's governor told a man he thought was the largest conservative contributor nationally he perceived his efforts to "eliminate" the "conflict of interests" of public service or government employee unions.  He sees cutting employees out of the right to collective bargain is a once in a life time opportunity. The recorded conversation revealed that that is the core issue, and not balancing the budget. While it is a Tea Party platform primary plank and a conservative Republican main stay, public opinion has shifted in favor of the workers, who include teachers and others who are there for voters and their children when they most need them.

Republican officials say former House Speaker Newt Gingrich intends to take a formal step toward a run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination in the next two weeks. The former Georgia congressman has been traveling to key primary and caucus states in recent months in the run-up to a campaign for the White House.

President Obama has called upon Godhafi to resign. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. is prepared to assist Libyans who are trying to organize a post-Moammar Gadhafi government. She isn't saying whether that means providing military help. Meanwhile, two senators, John McCain and Joe Lieberman, tell CNN the Obama administration should recognize a provisional government that seems to be taking shape in Libya's eastern half and offer military aid.

Libya could yet be in a real civil war as pro-Gadhafi forces are surrounding a city 30 miles outside Libya's capital where rebels are in control. Both sides have tanks and anti-aircraft guns. The prospect of a battle is raising anxiety in the city center, where hundreds have gathered, chanting "Gadhafi out!"

Scamsters are targeting women on Facebook in what's becoming an all-too-common ruse: They steal photos of soldiers to set up profiles, profess their love and devotion in sappy messages - and then ask their victims to cut a check. Military officials say they've seen hundreds of similar cases in the past several years. Some of the impersonators have even used photos of soldiers who have died overseas. Christopher Grey, spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigation Command at Fort Belvoir, Va., says the Internet impersonators often make ridiculous claims. Some say they need money for special laptops and cell phones. Others say they need cash to buy special papers to come home on leave or a registration form because military officials won't let them talk to family.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part II

K-12 is the primary topic that will be considered Monday evening at Green Valley High School, however students from CSN and UNLV are expected to be there in force to let the legislature know how the feel. The Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance subcommittees will officially review K-12 education budgets at the 5 PM Green Valley High School hearing. It is also  the only opportunity for higher education advocates to join the rest of the education community in protesting what could be deep cuts.

February 27, 1932 Elizabeth Taylor was born in London, to American parents. She became a star with "National Velvet" at the age of 12. She won her first Oscar in 1961 with her performance as a call girl in "Butterfield 8". She became known for her large number of celebrity marriages, most ended in divorce, with one passing away in a plane crash. Richard Burton is perhaps the highest profile marriage, ending in 1974, with remarriage in 1975 and divorced again in 1976. She travels for charity, with AIDS as her primary passion. She received the Kennedy Center Award for her work in charity. She is hospitalized with heart trouble this Oscar Day...

This has been a weekend for the movie buff, from music to videos to movies and movie making artists. They are all over TV, radio and the Internet, in print and in cyberspace. For some reason one of the slowest, often most boring events in annual television draws from 30 to as many as 80 million viewers a year and is discussed in advance and afterwards at kitchen tables, in living rooms, around water coolers and anywhere people gather...the Academy Awards.

Percussionist Emil Richards has played on 29 Oscar broadcasts and he's been Hollywood's go-to percussionist for decades. He did the finger snaps in "The Adams Family" theme song and played the bongos for "Mission Impossible." He's been on over 2000 soundtracks. You can hear him doing the crazy percussion in "Planet of the Apes" and hundreds of recordings you know. He has a warehouse of exotic instruments, in part collected for him by Frank Sinatra and on trips he took as part of Sinatra's orchestra. He is heard of commercials, and thousands of cartoons, including "Family Guy" and "The Simpsons." To hear some of his sounds and an interview, go to this mornings "NPR Weekend Edition Sunday" broadcast achieved on-line.

The action fantasy "The Last Airbender" -- about people who can command fire, air, water and earth -- now controls something else: the Razzie awards for Hollywood's worst film achievements of 2010. "The Last Airbender" led Saturday's Razzies with five awards, among them worst picture, worst director and worst screenplay for M. Night Shyamalan. The movie also received Razzies for worst supporting actor Jackson Rathbone, who was cited for both "The Last Airbender" and "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse") and for a special award, worst eye-gouging mis-use of 3-D. "Sex and the City 2" took three Razzies, including worst actress, a prize shared by co-stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon, and worst sequel.

"The King's Speech" is considered the likely winner for best picture and Colin Firth is seen as a sure bet to win best actor at the Oscars tonight. The King's Speech leads with 12 nominations in all, putting it among and elite number of films to have over ten nominations in any given year. Natalie Portman and Annette Bening are competing to win their first Oscar for best actress. Experts think Portman has the edge for "The Black Swan." In the supporting categories, Christian Bale is the front-runner for "The Fighter." The contest for supporting actress seems to be between Bale's co-stars Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, and 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld for "True Grit."

Why are tear jerker films on the outs, replaced by feel good and comedies.? "Terms of Endearment", "Brains Song" and other tragic films have been rock-piled as movie goers grow younger, action adventure oriented and older crowds just want to laugh, or...feel good in the end. And why are foreign imports or American remakes of foreign films so popular over American made films? Why are the best loved American actors actually born and still nationals of other countries? Is there an American film industry or market for American films, or have we all gone global? These are some of the issues examined on NPR, the BBC and CBS Sunday Mornings over the weekend.

The nation's governors have a message for Washington -- don't do anything to undermine states' economic recovery. Governors meeting in the nation's capital are pleading for the divided federal government to avoid a government shutdown, abstain from dramatic spending cuts and end even preliminary discussions about allowing states to declare bankruptcy.

Ireland faces the worst financial crisis in its recent history, and saw their economy go from excellent to among the worst in the European Union. It's the second day of vote-counting in Ireland's election and the shape of the next government hangs in the balance. Ireland's opposition parties have made big gains in the general election focussed on the country's economic woes. Ireland's ruling Fianna Fail (FEE'-na fahl) party is facing its worst defeat in nearly 80 years.The Fine Gael party is leading the pack, grabbing 57 seats in the counting so far. Labour has taken 30 seats while Fianna Fail won 13, Sinn Fein took 12 and smaller parties and independents won another 13 seats. It takes 83 seats for a majority in the Dail, the lower house of the parliament. Fine Gael was widely expected to form a coalition government with Labour. But party leaders also talked about forming alliances with independent candidates.

Residents have held open-air prayers for the dead and missing on the lawns of churches shattered in New Zealand's earthquake. Search teams continue to look for more bodies in what could become the country's deadliest disaster. When the massive quake ripped through Christchurch last Tuesday, the city's churches were among the hardest-hit buildings. Still, many churches found a way to hold mass on Sunday. At the damaged St. Barnabas Anglican church, parishioners set up rows of chairs on the lawn and Rev. Philip Robinson tried to rally a somber crowd. He said: "This is not called Christchurch for nothing," drawing smiles from a few. "We will rise again." The quake killed at least 147 people and officials expect the number to rise.

Tunisia's prime minister announced his resignation this morning on state television.

Clashes in Oman today mark a significant escalation in two days of protests to demand political reforms. Police say Omani security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, killing at least one person. The strategic Gulf country shares authority with Iran over the Strait of Hormuz.

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters are streaming through Bahrain's diplomatic area and other neighborhoods as demonstrations against the kingdom's rulers show no signs of easing. At least three processions Sunday paralyzed parts of the capital Manama. Some of the marchers claim that authorities still hold more than 200 political prisoners despite the release of about 100 political detainees last week. There are no reports of violence. Nearly two weeks of protests and clashes have left seven people dead in the strategic island nation - home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. The embattled monarchy is seeking talks with opposition groups. Government spokeswoman Maysoon Sabkar says there is no deadline for the offer of dialogue.

Some wobbled in six-inch, platform stilettos. Others padded around in glittery, gold ballerina flats. But whatever they were wearing, the prostitutes walking the hallways of the Nevada State Legislature were stepping out in defiance. Nevada is the last place in the U.S. working girls can openly say they offer sex for a living - and they turned out confident that they'll preserve their enterprise. U.S. Sen. Harry Reid called out the oldest profession in a speech to state legislators Tuesday, telling them the state with
the nation's highest unemployment rate was shooting itself in the economic foot by permitting legal prostitution. But others say Nevada's regulation and health restrictions on the trade offer a model for the future.

Time to take a stand

Dear SAG Members:

In Wisconsin and around our country, the American Dream is under fierce attack.

Although Screen Actors Guild is a non-partisan organization, and therefore does not take positions on some of the demands of Save the American Dream, we unequivocally stand together with them, and with all working families, to end the attacks on worker’s rights.

If collective bargaining rights can be stripped away in a strong union state like Wisconsin, it can happen anywhere.

Various anti-labor bills have recently been introduced in dozens of states. It is believed that if this action succeeds in Wisconsin, more and more anti-union efforts may spread across the country and ultimately could affect all labor organizations, including Screen Actors Guild.

All workers have a fundamental right to join unions and to engage in collective bargaining over workplace issues they face.

-From SAG National