Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Tom Cruise Kills Oprah

This cracked me up:

http://waxy.org/random/view.php?type=video&filename=Tom_Cruise_Kills_Oprah.mov

-Jean Chen

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Good move Gates

I was shocked and pleased to read that Bill Gates is dontating $440 million dollars for public health projects in the developing world. Somebody with that much money better be giving it away. I wish other celebrities and rediculiously rich people would realize that they should dontate money to those in need as well. If nothing else its a write off, and if thats not good enough...use it as an image booster. CLick here for the nitty gritty

Yeeee-haaaaaw!!!

I just saw the trailer for the new Dukes of Hazzard movie. When I first heard they were going to film a movie based on the 1980s tv show, all I could think was, "Will the General Lee have a big confederate flag on the top?"

And the answer is... Yes.

- Jean Chen

video killed the radio stars and mp3s killed the record sales

The Supreme Court decision in the Grokster case , brought up by major movie and music companies, ruled that file-sharing networks such as Grokster and Morpheus, which connect one user directly to another instead of going through a central server like Napster, can be held responsible for users downloading and "stealing" copyrighted material. The movie and music industry are touting it as a "historic victory for intellectual property in the digital age" because illegal downloading is hurting record and movie sales. The music industry has seen a drop in sales of 25% since 1999 when file-sharing was introduced.

I am outraged that we have let file-sharing get so out of hand. C'mon people, mulit-millionaires are losing money! Those huge mansions and Bentleys just don't pay themselves off you know. And they need the money to pay their servants to buy the groceries for their chefs to cook so that their nannies can feed their kids. Bootleggers, you make me sick.

Such a "historic victory" for the entertainment industry. I've never even heard of Grokster. There are too many file-sharing networks and there's no stopping it. Even if they somehow managed to eliminate file-sharing (they never will), there are still CD and DVD burners. File-sharing is just one element of bootlegging. And there's probably so much bootlegging and downloading because very few DVDs or CDs are worth the price tag. I've got a mouth to feed -- my own, so I'll be damned if I'm gonna buy a mediocre CD or DVD if I can download the two or three decent songs from the album or buy a bootleg DVD off some guy on Mission Street for only $5. If a CD or DVD is good, I go out and buy it. But if the entertainment industry wants to increase sales again, they should try lowering the prices of their products instead of trying to eliminate file-sharing. And anyone who pays to download music is a sucka.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Major Threat

Nike has been stealing album covers for their ads! The latest one is from political DC punk band Minor Threat. Lead singer Ian MacKaye better have his lawyers ready:

http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/news/05-06/23.shtml

-Jean Chen

Friday, June 24, 2005

Snub a pocketbook issue to Oprah

From Lashan Browning of RedMoxie.com:

Oprah Winfrey wants to hit Hermès where it hurts - in its fine leather wallet.

You may have heard that the talk queen was denied entry to the luxury-goods store's Paris branch last weekend at closing time. According to one report, Hermès staffers rebuffed Winfrey because they didn't recognize her and because they'd been "having a problem with North Africans lately."

But friends of Oprah say that's bunk.

"They knew exactly who she was," a pal tells us. "They specifically said, 'We know who you are.'"

The source says Oprah arrived just after 6:30 p.m., when there were still shoppers inside the store. According to the source, Oprah politely asked an Hermès sales clerk if she could dash in. She knew what she wanted: a specific watch for Tina Turner, her dinner partner that evening.

Now if the No. 1 celebrity on Forbes' power list - a woman who earned $225 million last year - knocked on their doors, many shopkeepers would carry her in on a litter, even if it was midnight.

Instead, she was rebuffed - first by the clerk, then by a store manager.

Though Oprah hasn't accused the Gauls of racism, her friend suggests, "If it had been Celine Dion or Britney Spears or Barbra Streisand, there is no way they would not be let in that store."

Hermès' brusque treatment understandably came as a shock to someone who recently bought a dozen of the store's Birkin bags, which can run $6,500. In fact, Oprah had just ordered another one.

After last weekend, she canceled that order.

We also hear she's called Robert Chavez, president of Hermès in America, to inform him that, although she has long enjoyed his stores, she will no longer be shopping there.

We also hear she may share the incident with her 22 million-plus viewers.

"We are calling it Oprah's 'Crash' moment," says the friend, recalling the new movie about race in America.

Our calls to Hermès weren't returned yesterday.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

who's that lookin' in my window...

It's the Pentagon, and they're spying on you too if you're a student between 16 and 18 or a college student. According to an article on WashingtonPost.com , the Defense Department is creating a database of potential military recruits and "will include personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying."

The govt. is trying to get around privacy laws and hiring a private marketing firm to manage the database and
"The system also gives the Pentagon the right, without notifying citizens, to share the data for numerous uses outside the military, including with law enforcement, state tax authorities and Congress."

Ah, the good ol' American government, always looking out for its citizens. Thanks for all your saftey.

Destroying Homes

This is just shocking and wrong.

"A divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses against their will for private development... The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas. As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue."

Read full article in NY Times

People are going to lose their homes to an office complex?? How can that be?

- Jean Chen

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

KKK member convicted in 1964

It's about time. Wheelchair ridden and oxygen tube wearin, Edgar Ray Killen was finally convicted of manslaughter in the slayings of three civil rights workers back in 1964. Click here for more info

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Bingo and Jo Stafford records--Is that too much to ask?

If you’re like me, you’re terrified of being destitute in old age. I don’t know what cat food tastes like, and frankly, I don’t wanna know. Everywhere I look, I see articles stressing that I should start saving for my retirement right this exact minute, because SS won’t be enough to pay for my cod liver oil. Heck, most of the people I know think that Social Security will be bankrupt by the time we hit 65. With Congress and Bush in a tizzy about how to prop up the valiant old government program, it's future seems very uncertain right now.

Here’s an excellent article about several disparate people living on Social Security, from a former heroin addict to the guy who invented the Pop Tart. And it’s not one of those “spinach” articles (shut up and read this, it’s good for you). It’s very well-written and quite fascinating—you’ll like it, promise.

Great article from 06-17-2005 New York Times:
Living With Social Security: Small Dreams and Safety Nets

I know old age is scary, but hey, it’s better than the alternative. And hopefully, we'll still have Social Security to pay for those weekly Bingo nights.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Conflict of Interest

The Bush administration has been trying to argue that global warming is not happening. I had always suspected that it was because they were catering to oil companies, but now here's the proof. This is from the Washington Post:

Last week, the New York Times reported that a senior White House official had altered government documents to emphasize the uncertainties surrounding the science on global warming. That official, White House Council on Environmental Quality chief of staff Phillip Cooney, left the administration last Friday to take a public relations job with oil giant Exxon Mobil, a leading opponent of mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

Wow, can it be any more obvious?

-Jean Chen

Thursday, June 16, 2005

go team go!

Cheerleading is a competitive "sport". We've all seen Bring it On (I watched it for the girls, I swear!). How do cheerleaders in Texas bring it? On a pizza topped with human feces. They tried to frame the rival school for it. It's funny but pretty damn vomit inducing. The punishment for the prank "could include" sending them to an alternative school and taking them off the team. I think they need to sit through a rigorous hygiene course because what they did was some nasty crap.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Medical Science Restates the Obvious

It's said that lascivious French chanteur Serge Gainsbourg used to defend his wild lifestyle by saying that "Smoking preserves meat, and alcohol preserves fruit." Serge Gainsbourg died of a heart attack at age 65, so you make the call on that one.

Shocking news from the BBC: apparently, smoking and overeating are bad.
BBC NEWS: Smoking and obesity ‘age people’

A study of 1,222 twins revealed that "smoking accelerated the ageing of key pieces of a person's DNA by about 4.6 years. For obesity it was nine years." And here I thought the only way to rewrite your DNA was by standing in front of the microwave.

Still, the study seems a bit repetitive. "Hey, everybody! Smoking and overeating? No good." Well...yeah. Having a study reaffirm that every few months isn't going to keep folks from dipping their French fries in mayonnaise. And this is probably just me, but is anybody else concerned about the plight of all these identical twins we subject to grueling medical research? Where's PETA when you need them?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Public Broadcasting No More

I don't have a problem with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting wanting to make PBS' content reflect more of a "conservative" point of view because we all know that the liberal/conservative bias the media wear depends on who's dressing them and allows us to avoid dicussions about media ownership, but I do have a problem with the fact that Patricia de Stacy Harrison, a high-ranking official at the State Department, is a the front-runner for the top job at CPB, which funds PBS. Here's why, from The Washington Post:

In her State Department role, Harrison has praised the work of the department's Office of Broadcasting Services, which in early 2002 began producing feature reports, some coordinated by the White House, that promoted the administration's arguments for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The reports were distributed free to domestic and international TV stations. In testimony before Congress last year, Harrison said the Bush administration regarded these "good news" segments as "powerful strategic tools" for swaying public opinion.

I could care less if she was a rabid libertarian who wanted dismantle PBS as we know it but someone who openly supports government propaganda to run a publicly funded broadcast station which exists to provide truthful and diverse points of view is just scary.

terrorists found close to home and a paranoid mother

"F*** the police!" has been my mantra ever since I was a young'n stealing packs of Big League Chew from the local AM/PM. But I have to say "Thank the fuzz!" for arresting suspected terrorists in Lodi, CA. I'm from Stockton, just south of Lodi (I never thought I'd use Lodi as a point of reference) and my mom's a bit old-fashioned and paranoid and demanded that I shave my goatee since I'm Indo-Fijian (born in Fiji but of Indian decent) and people might think I'm Muslim. My mom worries they'll mistake me for a Muslim, thus mistaking me for a terrorist all because of my mistake of growing facial hair which worries my mother that I'll become the victim of hate crimes or racial profiling. (I don't think I've been racially profiled yet, even though I've recieved tickets for dumb stuff and I'd like to blame it on my skin color, I have to admit that traffic laws and I don't mix well.)

I love my mom and though she may seem a little crazy, there's actually validity to her wacky demand. Hate crimes against southeast Asians, especially Sikhs, rose tremendously just after 9/11. Here's an old Sept. 2001 article from CNN detailing the 300 hate crimes in less than a week. Ignorant people will believe that every southeast Asian is a terrorist and aim hatred in our direction, there's no stopping that; racism ain't goin' anywhere, ma. And I don't know how the guys were caught in Lodi, but if it was through racial profiling, then at least some good came out of it.

Oh, and I still hate cops.

-Zoneil Maharaj.

Tom Cruise on Oprah

I know I know, It happened a couple weeks ago. I should of forgotten about it by now. But just for the record...did anybody see Tom Cruise on Oprah? And if you did, you know exactly what I'm talking about. The jumping on the furniture, constant "shake embraces" with Oprah, the uncontrollable school boy giggle, the inability to concentrate, and the "score" hand gestures that were reenacted at least once during every segment; all in the name of lovvve. If you don't know by now, Tom is referring to Katie Holmes, the 26- year girl old whose claim (and only claim) to fame is the Dawson's creek. Tom said to
Oprah that he was really in love with this woman/girl and he saw marriage in their near future. However, if US weekly serves me correctly, they had only been dating for a couple weeks at the time.

My point is, why is it that celebrities (J-Lo, Britney, Renee Zellweger, to name a few) jump into so many marriages and relationship and society thinks that it is normal? It is viewed as cute and adorable, no one sees anything wrong with it. Now I'm not a clinical psychologist, but if I pretended to be for a moment, I would lock these people up in a mental institution. OK, Maybe that is a little harsh, I might just diagnose them with...well I guess I don't know because I'm not a psychologist. But never the less, I hate it how no one thinks that celebrities have major issues when it comes to relationships. I think that
this definitely devalues the real notion of being in love. And since people look up to celebreties, they embrass these ideals as well. The result, is a society of people who don't really know the true meaning of love. Well anyways, I give it 6 months.

You have to see these pictures

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Downing Street Memo and Bolton Related

This is an extraordinary story from the Guardian this weekend.

"John R. Bolton flew to Europe in 2002 to confront the head of a global arms-control agency and demand he resign, then orchestrated the firing of the unwilling diplomat in a move a U.N. tribunal has since judged unlawful, according to officials involved.

"A former Bolton deputy says the U.S. undersecretary of state felt Jose Bustani 'had to go,' particularly because the Brazilian was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors to Baghdad. That might have helped defuse the crisis over alleged Iraqi weapons and undermined a U.S. rationale for war."

Defiling the Koran

I can't believe that defiling the Koran is an issue. Yes, it's disrespectful, but look at all the other stuff we are doing in Iraq! We're in a violent and bloody wartime situation... Defiling the Koran is a minor offense compared to all the killing, torturing, looting, etc.

- Jean Chen

Where Computers Go To Die

Gone are the days of dumping that old computer on the neighbor's lawn and running like hell. Spurred by California's mandatory computer and television recycling regulations, Congress is thinking about setting nationwide guidelines for disposing of yesterday's technology.

Computer Recycling

Yeah, it's a sad day for folks who dream of re-enacting scenes from "Office Space" and taking a baseball bat to their demonic electronic devices. But it's a great thing for the environment, with landfills filling up with obsolete computer equipment.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The State of Journalism

The identity of "Deep Throat" has been revealed, but what I want to hear about and learn from are NEW journalistic mysteries and triumphs. I don’t want 30-year-old drama. I don’t want to have to rent a dusty, VHS copy of “All the President’s Men” to feel inspired about journalism. And I’m not alone.

I’ve met high school students writing for their school newspaper who are already jaded by the end of their senior year. “Journalism is alright, but I’m thinking law school or MBA,” I’ve heard some of them say. I’ve met even more frustrated college journalism students recently who say they are “tired” of working so much and don’t know why they are working so hard. One friend of mine, two weeks out of J-school, took an entry level job for a law firm and is considering law school. Another friend fresh out of J-school is heading to Sacramento for a gig in the governor’s office. What’s going on around here? Where is everyone going? And why is there such a shortage of newspaper jobs for those who aren’t jumping ship?

A co-worker commented to me that the best part about the Watergate scandal was that “the bad guys got caught.” In other words, people who did a bad thing got busted, and the underdog (the truth-telling, young journalists) arose victorious. People doing bad things were forced to behave, and the righteous were victorious.

But what’s different now is not that government and big businesses behave, they’ve just gotten savvy about covering their asses. Harper’s Index reports that the Bush Administration spends billions annually to hire public relations firms to assert favorable public opinion.

The hegemony and monopolization of newspaper companies, loss of advertising revenue for newspapers and extreme competition with faster, online news sources are creating a newspaper scene that avoids pissing anyone off like the plague.

Scripted questions and answers during President Bush’s speeches have reached comical levels, but few lambaste the administration for it. We can make light-hearted jokes about Bush’s English language bumbles and his nerdy, snickering laugh, but we can’t or won’t nail him to a cross (figuratively) for fighting a war for right-wing, capitalist profit. Why not?

Dan Rather, after a decades-long career as one of America’s most trustworthy, post-Cronkite journalists, goes down in flames because of one glitch in sourcing while uncovering an important truth. Come on, he was stiff-armed by the administration.

In the 70s we had Woodward and Bernstein. In the 80s we had ‘Fletch.’ Since then we’ve had Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair, for chrisakes. Let’s clear our throats and get it together. Let’s find a new story to get excited about, honestly.

- Gary Moskowitz

Enough Throat!

While I think the coverage of the whole Deep Throat story has swung between idolization of The Post (which the paper has been most guilt of) to just flat out skewering, the better stories have following the long trail of speculation The Throat's identity and how it was apparently a secret to everybody.

Not to miss a beat, Howard Kurtz, The Post's media reporter (known affectionally there as Howie and considered inside the Beltway as the most powerful dude in media), lays out the real the consequences of The Throat and journalism post-Watergate:

"Journalism became a more confrontational, even prosecutorial business, with some of its practitioners automatically assuming that politicians in the post-Nixon era must be lying, dissembling or covering up."

I think that my generation of journalists takes a different view of public figures than the editors and reporters today who came of age in the shadow of Woodstein but they also have a disaffection that may prove to be just as dangerous.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Gay Fruitflies

Scientist have just discovered that a single gene in fruitflies is responsible for determining sexual orientation.

Click here for the article

While I think their findings are interesting, I also hate the fact that it dredges up the age-old question, "Which is responsible for people being gay? Environment or genes?" In other words, can gay people help being gay?

Who cares what causes gayness??!! People are gay, let's just accept them and move on.

- Jean Chen

Thursday, June 02, 2005

California educational system is unjust

Once again, the United States school system is implementing tactics designed for students of color to fail. In California, education officials are requiring that non-native english speaking students are tested in english. When the students don't do well on the exams, BECAUSE THEY DONT UNDERSTAND THEM, the district is labled as a failure. These kind of precedures are ludacris on a state where 1 in 4 students aren't english speakers. If the district wants an accurate representation of the students "skills," which standardized testing doesn't provide anyway, then they need to test in a language that the student is comfortable with.


Click here for the full article

Jessica Jones

Baby get the baby 'cause babies are killing babies.

Hide your daughters...because I don't want to get stabbed by one of them. A 9-year-old girl, described as "a little thug" by a neighbor in a New York Daily News article, stabbed Queen Washington of Brooklyn, her 11-year-old best friend, to death with a kitchen knife over a pink rubber ball.

Marvin, what's goin' on? Let's blame that videogame where that drugged-up carjacker runs around killing people for Tonka Trucks or that movie where a game of double-dutch turns into a vicious massacre on the playground after a Bubbalicious deal goes sour. Okay, all sarcasm aside, violent games and movies may have desensitized this little girl, that's what psychologists are saying in a follow-up story in the New York Daily News .

Maybe she didn't intend to kill her friend. Maybe she thought that a knife to the chest was like an anvil falling on Daffy Duck's head, that her friend would spring back to life and they'd share a laugh and bounce their pink rubber ball in their happy tenement building amongst the green grass, sunshine, and chirping birds. Or maybe they live in a gritty project building with cracks in the building's foundation and thugs on the corner where violence occurs daily. I said "maybe;" I don't know any of this as fact. What is a fact, is that momma wasn't around at 1:30 pm when the incident occurred which allowed the little girl to run in to the flat and grab a knife. Bad parenting + bad environment = bad luck for Queenie. I know this equation is too simple but there are too many factors that could have contributed to this unfortunate event. All I can do is say: Damn, this world is crazy. Need more proof? Read this article about a 7-year-old beating his 7 month old half-sister to death with a two-by-four . I wish I was making this stuff up.

-Zoneil Maharaj