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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.