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Sunday, June 5, 2011

SAG and other Hollywood guilds to host Michelle Obama in event honoring military families

 Obama
Hollywood's guilds are teaming up to support First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative to help military families.
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild of America West plan to host Obama at an event honoring military families June 13.

The forum, to be held at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, will highlight stories and issues faced by today's military families so their experiences can be integrated into film, television and digital media, according to a statement from the guilds.

"The entertainment industry has the opportunity to help Americans learn more about the unique challenges and needs of military families and to showcase the families strength, resilience and service to our nation," the statement said. "The guilds have joined Mrs. Obama's effort to ensure America's military families have the support and recognition they have earned."
-- Richard Verrier
Photo: First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during a visit to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego County last year. Credit: K.C. Alfred / Reuters

Does anyone bother to read and learn both sides before they preach and vote one way?

Thank you Todd for this one...




"The mistake we liberals make is to assume that people want to learn the truth. Many people don't want to learn anything at all. They merely want to be told that what they already believe is true." Source Unknown

"Trust everyone, but cut the cards."

Buying the Presidency with Hollywood Production Values


This poster is from the "Triumph of the Will", a notorious propaganda film building the pride and beliefs of average Germans behind their leader, Adolph Hitler. He knew the power of film and the media. I am not implying that today's candidates for president or lower office are in any way Hiters", good or evil, right or wrong. What I am writing is that in today's media age we need to be aware of how politics, and politicians, are packaged, sold and go out of their way to convince you that there is only one truth, theirs, and only one person who can make life right and the sun shine...

There is a danger. One that for good or bad President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, Mao, Stalin, and Hitler knew all too well how to use in a war of images, emotion and patriotism over facts, moderation or compromise. It was needed back then. Is it needed today? And are people able to make educated judements as to what is right and wrong, what to believe and not to believe, and when perhaps the other side may have some justification in their views.
The cost of political campaigns are skyrocketing, with even assembly and state senate races costing as much as a low budget movie, with congressional seats, senate and the presidency budgets that can finance tent-poll block buster movies.
Part of the reason is that politics is now Hollywood, and image is worth more than content or thought. In an age where those who vote do not bother to read, listen and seek out opposing viewpoints, and we zone in on image and single issues, the emotional cuts of film editing, flashy advertising brochures and billboards are the new gold and platinum of winning the race.
Music, out of context edits, appeals to emotional pathos over logos, name recognition and pleasing informed voters who are most likely to vote in primaries while not allowing others to see the extremities of your politics, whether right or left...using the same tools that bring ratings to television programs or sweeten trailers and commercials for motion pictures, and now even books and consumer products.
It's not content, but how you package it.
So much for the informed electorate, as we move into an age of a population seeking to be entertained and impressed without having to bother to question and think.
Washington DC's been called "Hollywood for ugly people."
Ugly may be a matter of opinion. But there's little doubt the road to power runs through Tinseltown.
Just take a look at the ad for Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty's book,Courage to Stand. With a soaring, heart-pounding score and lightning-fast edits, it could be the trailer for a Hollywood action flick.
A commercial from now-official candidate Mitt Romney isn't quite as dramatic, but it does share a technique with Pawlenty's ad: The candidate never speaks directly to the camera. It's almost as if you're watching something produced by documentary filmmaker.
Not-exactly-official candidate Sarah Palin has perhaps the most cinematic call to action this summer: She's the subject of a $1 million feature-length documentary that will screen in more than 50 markets across the country starting this month.
Is this the 2012 presidential election — or a film festival?
"They're very good ads," Darrell West tells Rachel Martin, guest host for weekends on All Things Considered. West is the author of Air Wars: Television Advertising in Election Campaigns.

No firearms or weapons on Nevada College Campuses



FLASH
CARSON CITY -- A bill that would make it easier for people with concealed weapons permits to carry guns on Nevada's college and university campuses likely won't make it out of the Legislature, to the dismay of an assault victim who made a last ditch attempt to sway lawmakers.

Non Paid "Attractive" Background for Film Noir Scene

gigs-mfdsc-2422731904@craigslist.org


Still need some extras MODELS or ACTRESSES.
We are shooting artistic noir film taking place from 1950's.
We will need you June 7th. from 5 pm till 8 pm.
You will have a film credit on IMDb and fun time.
Please send a picture.

NEW SCREEN ACTORS GUILD PRODUCTION CENTER AND ONLINE SIGNATORY APPLICATION DEBUT AT PRODUCED BY CONFERENCE



F
Public Beta of the Application Already a Hit with More Than 500 Producers Using the System in the First Month
Los Angeles (June 4, 2011) — Screen Actors Guild National Executive Director David White today publicly previewed SAG’s  new online application for producers as part of the Guild’s appearance at the Producers Guild of America’s Third Annual Produced By Conference at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif.
The presentation kicked off the SAG and SAGIndie panel, “Big Names, Small Budgets: The Influence of Professional Talent on Indie Projects.”
Less than a month since going into public beta, Screen Actors Guild’s new online signatory process has facilitated more than 500 digital applications by producers in production on SAG signatory projects, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
The online application is part of the Screen Actors Guild Production Center, located atSAG.org/ProductionCenter, and is the first such tool of its kind in the industry, making it easier and faster for producers to gain access to top talent. The online application is currently available for producers of new media, student, short, ultra-low budget and industrial-educational projects.
“The Production Center and Online Signatory Application are terrific tools for producers,” said Screen Actors Guild National Executive Director David White. “The Production Center’s easy-to-use interface assists our industry partners by speeding up the process of signing with SAG, ensuring that actors get to work faster. We’re very proud of the technology behind the application, but the real advance is in better meeting the needs of those who employ our members.”
“Time is money for producers at any budget level, and that’s what makes this new application so great,” said Karen Borell, SAG National Director, Entertainment Contracts. “It makes the signatory process faster and easier, even for those contracts that aren’t available for complete application in the online tool.”
In addition to the online application, the Production Center offers all producers easy-to-follow signatory tutorials, FAQs, fillable forms, rate sheets, live helpdesk assistance and more.
Producers’ reactions to the new tool have been enthusiastic:
Allison Allain, producer of the new media project “My Mother Never…, “ was the first to have her online application approved. “It’s very clear…It was really easy to follow for somebody who’s never done it before,” she said. “I’ve been asking everybody, ‘Have you tried it? I’ve already told 10 or 12 people about it.”
“The upload, the download, the ability to share files, that all has been extremely simple,” said David Wolfson, producer of the short film Nuts and Bolts. “I think this is going to make producers very happy.”
Douglas Morse, producer of the ultra low budget film The Jew of Malta, said, “I always like being able to do as much work in front of my computer as possible because it is the most efficient way to keep track of documents and emails and information. Using the Production Center allows all of that information to exist in one place on my computer desktop.”
Daniel Andre, a student film producer of Transport from Pima Community College in Tucson, applauded the online signatory process. “It was self-explanatory…Very fast, efficient and easy,” he said.
“It was phenomenal. I wasn’t expecting it to be that fast at all,” said producer Rachel Rath, who signed SAG online for her new media project Masters of the House. “If I hadn’t gone through the process, I wouldn’t have the talented cast I have now.”
The new SCREEN ACTORS GUILD PRODUCTION CENTER offers:
  • Online signatory application (public beta now available) for new media, student, short, ultra-low budget and industrial-educational projects
  • Step-by-step signatory process tutorials
  • Rate sheets, sample performer contracts and FAQs
  • Direct access to SAG’s Actors to Locate database and Station 12 cast clearance
  • Videos by and for producers to assist in the signatory process
  • Easy-to-locate fillable forms that can be downloaded as needed or together in one complete zipped file
See everything the SAG Production Center has to offer at SAG.org/ProductionCenter. Live and in-person helpdesk assistance is available through online chat or telephone during normal business hours.
To download a high-resolution image of the Production Center, click here.
Follow SAG Communications on Twitter (twitter.com/sagnews) and Facebook (facebook.com/screenactorsguild)
About SAG
Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 Branches nationwide, SAG represents more than 125,000 actors who work in film and digital motion pictures and television programs, commercials, video games, industrials, Internet and all new media formats. The Guild exists to enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists’ rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at SAG.org.

Sunday Morning News and Views. Part IV

D-Day, sixth of June.

Tomorrow is the 67th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion that changed the course of the Second World
War, but at great risk and loss of life. For this year's commemoration French artist Rachid Khimoune has installed 1,000 sculptures shaped like sea turtles on Omaha Beach to mark the 67th anniversary of the D-Day landings in
Normandy. The turtles' "shells" are molded from American, Russian and German combat helmets,
sprouting flippers and long-necked heads. The sculptures were arranged Sunday along the sandy
expanses of Omaha Beach - where the Allies won a pivotal victory against the Nazis. Some 215,000
Allied soldiers, and roughly as many Germans, were killed or wounded during D-Day and the ensuing
nearly three months it took to secure the capture of Normandy. A French artist of Berber origin,
Khimoune is a sculptor, painter and video artist whose work often features everyday objects.

While the entertainment industry continues to do all it can to market to youth, ignoring its over 40
audience, the reality may be that the youth focus could prove economic disaster. More than 80% of
failed television programs had an average cast age of 27.

The same may be true for super-hero's. Young X-Men don't have the same box-office superpowers as
their older selves. Studio estimates Sunday pegged "X-Men: First Class" at a solid No. 1 opening with a
$56 million weekend. But the prequel chronicling the formative years of the comic-book mutants found smaller audiences than the franchise's first four big-screen adventures, which featured older versions of
the X-Men. Debut weekends for the last three "X-Men" flicks ranged from $85.1 million to $102.8
million. The original "X-Men" opened 11 years ago with $54.5 million, but that would amount to about $80
million today adjusting for inflation. The previous weekend's top movie, "The Hangover Part II," fell
to second-place with $32.4 million. That raised its domestic total to $186.9 million but represented a steep 62 percent drop from its huge opening weekend. For the second weekend in a row, it appears revenue from
3D venues remains lower than expected and previous weekends, possibly as consumers choose to save
money and view a movie as a story and not a collection of special effects and screen popping images.

In 1955 John Wayne was offered the lead in a new weekly western television show, based on" the long
running radio drama Gunsmoke." He turned down but recommended "a young man" he worked with
in films and agreed to introduce his "friend" at the start of the very first episode. The television show ran 20 years and still holds the record for largest  number of scripted episodes, at 637.  During the entire run. as well as
the remaining shows on radio, James Arness, a towering 6 foot 7, played  Marshall Matt Dillion.
He passed away on Friday at the age of 88. He never missed an episode of  "Gunsmoke", although he
did advocate and was successful in allowing co-stars and even guest stars to be the center of many
story lines. The secrete to the shows longevity is that it dealt with contemporary topics and issues which
other westerns avoided, and had very real and believable characters who a generation of Americans
welcomed into their home each week as they would a relative or good friend.

Sarah Palin says she didn't mess up her history on Paul Revere. The potential 2012 presidential candidate
was in Boston on as part of her bus tour when she was asked about the Revolutionary War hero. Palin
said Revere "warned the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms." Palin, a paid Fox
News contributor, told "Fox News Sunday" that she was correct. She says there were British soldiers in
the area for years before Revere's legendary ride, and that he was warning them, as well as his fellow
colonists.  The Paul Revere House's website says that on April 18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren instructed
Revere to ride to Lexington, Mass., to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were
marching to arrest them. The ride made famous by poem and songs, was not actually taken by Paul
Revere, a small point overlooked by Palin and much of America.

GOP presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Raul says he was a lone early voice warning about deficit perils,
but now his alarms are winning mainstream support that could boost his 2012 bid. The Texas
congressman tells CNN's "State of the Union" that the mainstream is "moving in the direction that I have
been talking about for a long time" and that no one knows what the outcome will be in the election. Paul
was unsuccessful in two previous tries to become a serious contender for the GOP nomination. But he's
pointing to polls that show growing popular discontent with the nation's debt problems and military action
abroad. Paul says "they mocked me for my foreign policy and they laughed at my monetary policy.
No more."




Korean electric car company CT&T made a splash in three states when it rolled shiny, tiny vehicles off
big rigs and announced with smiling governors that it would hire hundreds of Americans to build them in
new factories. But those plans have stalled in Hawaii, Pennsylvania and South Carolina without anyone
hired, any plants constructed or any electric cars assembled. The South Korean electric car and golf cart manufacturer has apparently abandoned its pledge to the three states - without notice - and deserted its new U.S. markets amid financial difficulties. James Park, vice president for the company's American subsidiary,
CT&T United, said the company is still trying to raise money to build in Hawaii and South Carolina, but it's abandoning plans for facilities in Pennsylvania.

A group of hackers that carried out an attack on Sony says it's also responsible for a recent online data
attack on Nintendo. The Japanese maker of the Wii game console says no personal or company
information was lost in the attack. That wasn't the case in the attack on Sony, which says massive
personal information, including email addresses, names and birthdates, is suspected of having been stolen.
The information involved more than 100 million users.

June 5, 1981 the CDC  reported 5 unusual cases of Pneumonia among gay men from Los Angeles,
the cause of which turned out to be called Aids.  An important corner was turned when Hart throb star
Rock Hudson came out of the closet and announced  he was dieing of Aids, bringing national attention.
A child in Michigan was kept out of school because  of being HIV positive (he died 5 years later). In 1991 Magic Johnson retired form the Lakers with HIV.  Twenty years later Magic is still alive and well, thanks to the advancements made since that date.  More than 1.1 million Americans are known to have HIV with a new infection ever 9 and a half minutes. There is still no HIV vaccine and still not cure for AIDS.

At the time of its "coming out" AIDS was 100% fatal, a "gay plague". In reality it was always a disease of
both sexes and today AIDs world wide remains a pandemic transmitted to more women than men through
sex, shared needles, bleeding and other transfer of "bodily fluids."

An entire generation has grown up and started families, who have never know life without the AIDS threat.




Sunday Morning News and Views, Part III

Popular music in Spain and Portugal is dominated with cries of depression, fear and a sense of no future
for those under 25 years old. Unemployment is high in both nations, which are under extreme financial
stress and forced to make major cuts in social programs, education and take away employment safety nets.
One song translates to "what sort of world is this where you have to get an education to be a slave."

Swine flue is a reality here in Nevada. The outbreak of a highly contagious equine virus has prompted the postponement of another Elko rodeo. The first Gold Miners Rodeo planned for tomorrow night at the Elko
County Fairgrounds has been postponed and a new date hasn't been set. The Equine Herpes Virus-1 also prompted the postponement of the June 1-3 Senior Pro Rodeo in Elko.

Nevada lawmakers wasted no time introducing and quickly passing major budget bills yesterday in
their rush toward adjournment. The Senate approved three bills just  hours after they were introduced.
The Assembly, meanwhile, passed  the main funding bill for education and will vote on an overall
appropriations act today. Combined, the five measures implement a $6.2 billion general fund budget.

Add "And the Band Played On" to your must read 30th anniversary of the first reports of AIDS reading list. the book reviews the missteps, politics and reactions during the early years of what would become known as
HIV and the deadly disease, AIDS.

New U.S. Sentencing Commission data reveal that Hispanics now comprise nearly half of all people
sentenced for federal felony crimes, a number swollen by immigration offenses. Expedited court hearings
along the border, that can include dozens of illegal immigrants pleading guilty en masse, are a major force
driving the shift in who is being sent to federal prison.

9.1% national unemployment with a very small job gain, plus slips in the two states hit hardest by the
recession, Nevada and Michigan. There is no doubt that if we do not raise the debt ceiling, unemployment
will hit the skids and we are in danger of a double dip recession on the optimistic side, and potentially a world recession. The Wall Street Journal report affirmed this, despite denial by many politicians.

A major second negative swing in unemployment is predicted for this fall and again next spring as government jobs from the federal to local dog catcher position are expected to be slashed as all levels of government deal with deficits resulting from the recession driven decrease in tax revenues. At the same time there will be large numbers
of military stepped down from active duty from withdrawals, seasonal layoffs with the end of summer jobs,
and anticipated declines in retail hiring.

Numbers out this week show no recovery in the housing market, with a mountain of foreclosures
nationally, again with Nevada, Arizona and Michigan hit the hardest. That means construction is down,
which impacts manufacturing, which impacts banking and insurance, which impacts the rest of the
economy.

T. Boone Pickens was on The Wall Street Journal Report this morning. Short term gasoline prices will stabilize, but will be higher by the end of the year. He says we need to end America's dependence on OPEC oil. He feels that trucks and as many cars as possible must be converted to natural gas. He claims the special interests have
made the US the only country in the world without an energy plan. His wind farm plan was abandoned
or delayed because the distribution plan doe snot exist. He is building his first farm, smaller than planned,
because of a lack of transmission facilities. He says that 18 wheelers can be fueled through existing natural
gas pipelines and infrastructure. There are issues that will delay the use in pickups and automobiles, but
those issues are also short term in his view. He says "fracking"of wells is not an issue, but perhaps in some
geographies it should wait as alternative methods are developed. He sees it as no issue in Texas, Oklahoma
and New Mexico, which are natural gas abundant.

Larry Hagman, who played the cold, conniving oil baron J.R. Ewing on the beloved 1980s series
"Dallas," auctioned off many of his personal valuables yesterdayin Beverly Hills. Caroline Galloway of
Julien's Auctions said a silver saddle was the priciest item sold, fetching $80,000. The collection overall
brought in more than $500,000.

A bit actor who played a Las Vegas police officer on the TV series "CSI" faces charges of reprising that
role to coerce a woman into sex in a Las Vegas hotel room. Metro reports the woman agreed to have
sex with Douglas Brian Irvin Jr. for $10,000 last month. But when she asked for the money up front,
theysay he pulled out a fake police ID card and told her she'd be arrested unless she had sex with him for
free. He was arrested Thursday.





Sunday Morning News and Views, Part II

Today is the anniversary of Isreal's victory against overwhelming force in the 1967 war, after which
Isreal annexed large amounts of arab territory as a "security" or "buffer" and reclaimed part of Jurusulm.
State-run Syrian TV reportsfour people are dead after Israeli security forces opened fire across the Syrian
frontier today to disperse hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters. The demonstrators stormed the border
on the anniversary of the Arab defeat in the 1967 Mideast war. The Israeli military accused Syria of
instigating the disturbances to deflect attention from its bloody crackdown on a popular uprising at home.
Israel had promised to prevent a repeat of a deadly protest last month, in which hundreds of people
burst across the frontier, entered the Golan and clashed with Israeli forces. Thousands of troops were
mobilized today in anticipation of possible unrest. In Gaza, dozens of Hamas riot police prevented
demonstrators from marching toward the crossing.

A new poll finds a majority of Egyptians do not support Egypt's most powerful Islamic group, the
Muslim Brotherhood, and less than 1 percent want aran-style Islamic theocracy. The Gallup poll
conducted after the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak found that while 69 percent of Egyptians
want religious leaders to have an "advisory role" in new legislation, most do not want a government
based in religion. Only 15 percent said that they support the Muslim Brotherhood, while more than 60
percent showed no political preference. The poll, conducted in April, surveyed 1,000 Egyptians
nationwide and had a margin of 3 percentage points. It appears to contradict a widely held view that the
Muslim Brotherhood will be a big winner in upcoming parliamentary elections.

Pope Benedict is calling on couples to make a commitment to marry and have children, not just live
together. Benedict is in Croatia, where he has denounced what he calls the "disintegration" of family life.
The highlight of his two-day visit to Croatia was an open-air Mass today that drew tens of thousands of people.

Retiring Defense Secretary Robert Gates says his worry is that troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan
too soon. He's making a two day of farewell tour to remote U.S. bases. Gates is also assessing the
situation on the ground ahead of an expected decision within weeks by President Barack Obama on the
start of troop withdrawal. In response to questions from a group of soldiers at Walton, Gates indicated
he is concerned about pulling out combat troops too early in Obama's planned drawdown. He says he
agrees with many in the military who say the first to withdraw should be support troops, not combat
forces. But it's not clear if that would fit Obama's plan. Gates began his visit by flying to a base near
Kandahar City in southern Afghanistan, where he was greeting soldiers and having lunch with junior
enlisted troops.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says he has yet to make a firm commitment to become
an adviser to soccer's world governing body. Newly re-elected FIFA President Sepp Blatter said
Wednesday that Kissinger has agreed to join a "committee of wise persons" to help investigate problems
within the organization. The 88-year-old Kissinger tells the BBC that he has "to know who the other
participants are and what the terms of reference are" before committing to joining FIFA. Kissinger says
"if it can help the sport, I'd be willing to participate." He was secretary of state from 1973 to 1977. The committee would have the power to investigate and suggest solutions to problems as FIFA recovers from a bribery scandal.

A group of prominent British professors is starting a private university in London with the goal of
providing an education to rival the country's elite institutions in Oxford and Cambridge. The New
College of the Humanities will be led by AC Grayling, a renowned philosophy professor, and the faculty
will include Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and successful author, and economics professor
and writer Niall Ferguson. Grayling said Saturday that the college will offer degrees in literature, history, economics, law and other disciplines, in conjunction with the University of London. Tuition fees will be set at 18,000 pounds ($29,500) per year, double the maximum allowed under a government cap that applies to
public universities.

Women looking for a natural remedy for a common menopause problem have a disappointment. A study
finds that eating flaxseed does not curb hot flashes. Hormone pills ease hot flashes, but they can raise
the risk of breast cancer and are not safe for women who have had that disease. Flaxseed has weak hormonal effects, and doctors thought it might help. Mayo Clinic researchers tested it in 178 women who had at least
28 hot flashes a week. About half previously had breast cancer. They were given protein-and-fiber snack
bars with or without flaxseed. After six weeks, a third of each group reported fewer hot flashes, and all
reported more bloating, diarrhea and nausea.

Doctors are reporting big gains against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Two studies on novel drugs find they can extend survival dramatically. An experimental drug, vemurafenib, helped  so much that
people getting a comparison drug were allowed to switch after just a few months.  It targets a gene
mutation found in half of all melanomas and is being developed by Roche's Genentech
unit and Plexxikon Inc., part of Daiichi Sankyo. The second study tested Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s
Yervoy, a just-approved treatment for newly diagnosed melanoma patients. It nearly doubled the
number who survived at least three years. Results were reported Sunday at a cancer conference in Chicago.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part I


The disease that would come to be known as AIDS was first reported to the Center for Decease Control, 30 years ago today. 

In the three decades since AIDS surfaced, both science and perceptions have changed, 
but there remains no vaccine or actual cure. The long list of fatalities that dominated newspapers and eventually the public mind has been replaced by a smaller list because of drugs that mitigate 
symptoms and lengthen life. BBC coverage this morning focused on how President Ronald Reagan ignored the decease, then classified it as a "gay plague", refusing to step up Center for 
Decease Control priorities and funding for what  first showed up as "pneumonia" in the 
gay community. We now know that more "straights" were infect than gays world wide, 
but the highest reported early concentrations in the US were in densely populated communities 
in New York City, San Francisco and other "liberal"  American cities. Reports in the "liberal"
New York Times, where the term AIDS was not mentioned in association with the story until
months after the acronym was coined, were called "over reaction" and "bleeding heart" by
conservatives and conservative media in the US. For more on how the disease surfaced and 
the battle to gain attention and funding to fight a fatal plague can be read "Angels in America" and 
"The Normal Heart," which the BBC reports should be required reading. A solid movie on the
way conservatives treated the disease is Tom Hank's starer, "The Philadelphia Story."

Tienanmen Square has a different meaning since and event which hit its head twenty years ago
yesterday when tanks rolled over and troops open fire of Chinese college student peacefully
protesting for greater freedom around a paper mache replica of the Statue of Liberty.

 Demonstrators in Vietnam were allowed to protest against China, which has been claiming the seas
around "disputed" Vietnamese islands. Fishing, trade routes, history and national security are 
claimed as justifications by both countries for claiming the islands. There have been military 
conflicts over the issue.

The World Barista Championship happens this weekend in Bogota, Colombia. Contestants 
have fifteen minutes to prepare four espressos, four cappuccinos and four
signature drinks.

If you live in a big city, near a major highway or roadway, then you know that sound can be more
then an annoyance. While we get use to the constant rumble of vehicles, we also spend billions
on sound walls that interfere with the right of others to see the scenery to protect out sense of sound isolation. Traffic noise is with us forever...right?

Research into what sounds, if any, electric cars should make is moving rapidly to a conclusion. 
First of all you have to know that electric cars can be silent, causing problems for pedestrians,
both sighted and sight-impaired, who depend on sound to warn them of vehicles before stepping
off of the curb. With every aspect studied, from gas powered motor simulations to directional
high tech swishing sounds. Leading the pack, believe it or not, in positive response from the public
are futuristic sounds taken from science fiction movies going back to "Forbidden Planet" and a
long list of 1050's UFO movie sound simulations.

The Crystal Cathedral has filed for bankruptcy. The Garden Grove, CA, church is famous for its soaring glass building, its Christmas and Easter pageants, and the charisma of its founder, Robert Schuller. Crystal Cathedral Ministries has been in trouble since Shuller retired several years ago.

Wisconsin Democrats met this weekend in what the party's spokesman called "the recall convention." The state senate recall elections--which all target Republicans--are at the top of the party's agenda. 

Portugal chooses a new government today, replacing the previous administration that collapsed
after its unpopular austerity program failed to get through parliament. Portugal is deeply in debt,
and has promised to make unpopular changes in welfare and labor policies in return for a 
massive bailout by the IMF and the EU.

Yesterday, Yemeni President Ali Abdulleh Saleh flew to Saudi Arabia, reportedly to be treated 
for injuries suffered during an attack by opposition forces on his Presidential palace on Friday.
Yemen is in the middle of civil unrest, which the BBC reports could lead to not only a terrorist 
haven on the back door of a major US Naval base, but a new home and haven for Somali Pirates.