Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4125 on: May 30th, 2011, 07:54am »
Light Up Your Life With LEDs, Sewable Circuitry By Christina Bonnington May 29, 2011 | 8:00 am Categories: Hacks, Mods and DIY
Photo: Jon Snyder/Wired.com
In the future, we'll all be wearing glowing, light-up, circuit-laden fashions.
Wait, the future? You can do that now!
If you've always dreamed of colorful, glowing accoutrements, or just have some ideas for an upcoming Halloween costume, grab your soldering iron and a sewing needle: Here are a couple of products you can use to get a real 21st-century look.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4126 on: May 30th, 2011, 08:02am »
Soldiers killed in Kandahar IED attack named
The (Clarksville, Tenn.) Leaf-Chronicle Posted : Sunday May 29, 2011 22:32:23 EDT
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — The Defense Department late Saturday announced the death of six 101st Airborne Division soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
The soldiers died last Thursday of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, according to a news release from Fort Campbell.
They were assigned to Fox Company, (Pathfinder), 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade.
The soldiers were:
• 1st Lt. John Marshall Runkle Jr., 27, of West Salem, Ohio, an infantryman, joined the Army in June 2006 and arrived at Fort Campbell in June 2010.
His awards and decorations include: Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Air Assault Badge; Parachutist Badge; Pathfinder Badge and Ranger Tab.
Runkle is survived by his father, John Runkle of Wooster, Ohio, and his mother, Christine Runkle of Salem, Ohio
• Staff Sgt. Edward David Mills, of New Castle, Pa., an infantryman, joined the Army in January 2005 and arrived at Fort Campbell in November 2005.
His awards and decorations include: Air Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Arrowhead Device; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal; Air Assault Badge; Parachutist Badge; Pathfinder Badge and Combat Infantryman Badge.
Mills is survived by his wife, Amanda Brenner, of New Castle, Pa.; his mother, Kathie L. Greenawalt, of New Castle; and his father, Edward Mills.
• Staff Sgt. Ergin Vidot Osman, 35, of Jacksonville, N.C., an infantryman, joined the Army in March 1998 and arrived at Fort Campbell in April 2007.
His awards and decorations include: Air Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Navy Commendation with Combat Distinguishing Device; Army Achievement Medal; Navy Achievement Medal with Valor Device; Air Force Meritorious Unit Award Ribbon; Combat Action Ribbon; Joint Meritorious Unit Award; Navy Unit Commendation; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation; Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Defense Service Medal; Kosovo Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal; Armed Forces Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal; Parachutist Badge; Air Assault Badge; Combat Infantryman Badge and Ranger Tab.
He is survived by his wife, Pfc. Kristin Osman of Hopkinsville, Ky.; two sons, Aidan and Zeren Osman of Roseville, Mich.; his father, Mike Osman of Birmingham, Ala., and mother, Sarah Osman of Michigan.
• Sgt. Louie Ramosvelazquez, 39, of Camuy, Puerto Rico, a combat medic, joined the Army in December 2006 and arrived at Fort Campbell in September 2007.
His awards and decorations include: Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal; Air Assault Badge; Parachutist Badge and Pathfinder Badge.
Ramosvelazquez is survived by his wife, Yesina Ramos; a daughter, Sheila Ramos Hernandez, and two sons, Louie Ramos Hernandez and Pedro Hernandez Hernandez, all of Fort Campbell; and his father, Louie Ramos of Camuy, and his mother, Rose Velasquez.
• Sgt. Thomas Andrew Bohall, 25, of Bel Aire, Kan., an infantryman, joined the Army in August 2005 and arrived at Fort Campbell in October 2008.
His awards and decorations include: Air Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal; Air Assault Badge; Parachutist Badge; Pathfinder Badge and Combat Infantryman Badge.
Bohall is survived by his wife, Jessica Bohall of Essington, Pa.; his daughter, Annabelle of Essington; his father, Timothy of San Antonio, and his mother, Lorna Geist.
• Spc. Adam James Patton, 21, of Port Orchard, Wash., an infantryman, joined the Army in June 2008 and arrived at Fort Campbell in October 2008.
His awards and decorations include: Air Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal and Combat Infantryman Badge.
He is survived by his mother, Sandra Kottre, of Port Orchard.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4128 on: May 31st, 2011, 07:24am »
Pentagon seeks mini-weapons for new age of warfare
In an effort to cut costs and avoid civilian casualties, manufacturers are developing small 'smart bombs,' drones that resemble model planes and microscopic crystals to tag enemy targets.
By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times 6:18 PM PDT, May 30, 2011
Under mounting pressure to keep its massive budget in check, the Pentagon is looking to cheaper, smaller weapons to wage war in the 21st century.
A new generation of weaponry is being readied in clandestine laboratories across the nation that puts a priority on pintsized technology that would be more precise in warfare and less likely to cause civilian casualties. Increasingly, the Pentagon is being forced to discard expensive, hulking, Cold War-era armaments that exact a heavy toll on property and human lives.
At L-3 Interstate Electronics Corp. in Anaheim, technicians work in secure rooms developing a GPS guidance system for a 13-pound "smart bomb" that would be attached to small, low-flying drone.
Engineers in Simi Valley at AeroVironment Inc. are developing a mini-cruise missile designed to fit into a soldier's rucksack, be fired from a mortar and scour the battlefield for enemy targets.
And in suburban Portland, Ore. Voxtel Inc. is concocting an invisible mist to be sprayed on enemy fighters and make them shine brightly in night-vision goggles.
These miniature weapons have one thing in common: They will be delivered with the help of small robotic planes. Drones have grown in importance as the Pentagon has seen them play a vital role in Iraq, Afghanistan and reportedly in the raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Now, engineers in Southern California and elsewhere are refining drone technology to deliver a powerful wallop with increasingly smaller robotic planes — many of which resemble model aircraft buzzing around local parks.
This work is aimed primarily at one buyer —the Pentagon, which is seeking a total of $671 billion for fiscal 2012. Of that, drones represent $4.8 billion, a small but growing segment of the defense budget — and that doesn't include spending on robotic weapons technology in the classified portion of the budget.
This comes at a time when expensive weapons programs, like Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles and Navy cruisers, are being eyed for trims.
Although some mini-weapons may resemble toys, they represent a new wave of sophisticated technology in modern warfare, which has forced the military and weapons-makers to think small. And they are just a few under development that have been disclosed.
"There are a lot of weapons in the military's arsenal," said Lt. Col. Brad Beach, an official who coordinates the Marines' drone technology. "But what we don't have is something small."
The military is flush with multi-ton bunker-busting bombs designed to reduce fortified buildings into smoldering rubble.
But Marines on the front lines in Afghanistan say there is an urgent need for a weapon that is small and powerful enough to protect them from insurgents planting roadside bombs.
Marines already have small spy drones with high-powered cameras, but what they need is a way to destroy the enemies that their drones discover.
Looking to fill the need, the 13-pound "smart bomb" has been under development for three years. The 2-foot-long bomb is steered by a GPS-guided system made in Anaheim. The bomb is called Small Tactical Munition, or STM, and is under development by Raytheon Co.
"Soldiers are watching bad guys plant" roadside bombs and "can't do anything about it," said Cody Tretschok, who leads work on the program at Raytheon. "They have to call in an air strike, which can take 30 to 60 minutes. The time lapse is too great."
The idea is that the small bomb could be slung under the spy plane's wing, dropped to a specific point using GPS coordinates or a laser-guidance system, and blast apart "soft" targets, such as pickup trucks and individuals, located 15,000 feet below.
Raytheon does not yet have a contract for the bomb and is building it entirely with its own money.
"We're proactively anticipating the military's need," said Tretschok, who is testing the technology at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
In a similar fashion, drone-maker AeroVironment in Simi Valley didn't wait for the government when it started to build its Switchblade mini-cruise missile to seek and destroy nearby targets.
The little missile, which looks less harmless than many Fourth of July fireworks, is fired from a mortar, unfolds its wings as it goes, and begins sending live video and GPS coordinates to the soldier who launched it.
The 2-foot-long battery-powered drone would be tipped with a tiny warhead and remotely operated from a handheld controller. It is being designed to fly above a warzone for at least five minutes for more than a mile at a time.
"This technology gives the war fighter the ability to pinpoint where and when he strikes," said Steven Gitlin, an AeroVironment spokesman. "It's all about precision."
Critics say the technology may be too imprecise and hard to track, said Michael E. O'Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution.
But the weapons have sophisticated internal guidance systems, which is key because much of today's fighting takes place in crowded urban environments, such as targets located in or near population centers, he said.
"Weapons are sometimes only usable today if they're small. The bottom line is: You're not going to go around dropping 500-pound bombs everywhere," O'Hanlon added. "Collateral damage is unacceptable in modern warfare."
Knowing this, the military has embarked on using mini-drones for a "tagging, tracking and locating" initiative, which centers on secretly marking a target with invisible sprays and other identifiers so they don't get lost in crowds.
Companies like Beaverton, Ore.-based Voxtel have benefited from the millions of dollars that the government is handing to contractors for research. The small 30-person company, which makes tagging products to prevent the counterfeiting of bank notes, lottery tickets and other items, now believes its microscopic nanocrystals — which become part of an invisible spray — may be are exactly what the military needs.
Tagging, tracking and locating "is a hot topic in government work," said George Williams, company president. "It isn't easy tracking somebody in a crowded urban environment like what is seen in today's wars."
Indeed. Earlier this year, the Air Force asked for proposals on developing a way to "tag" targets with "clouds" of unseen materials sprayed from quiet, low-flying drones.
In its request, the Air Force said "one method of distribution would be 'crop-dusting' from a sufficiently high altitude (to avoid detection) and letting the dust-cloud fall on a target or in front of it if it is moving."
Other methods suggested to covertly mark the targets were to "pneumatically blow a cloud" or "burst above" them.
As the military moves into miniaturizing its weapon stockpile, contractors believe applications such as these may be crucial to the overall effort. "What we do is just one part of a complex system," Voxtel President Williams said. "We play a small role."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4129 on: May 31st, 2011, 07:28am »
The Week Ahead: Debt ceiling D-Day By Cristina Marcos - 05/31/11 06:00 AM ET
After honoring the country's armed services over the Memorial Day weekend, Republican and Democratic House leaders will be rallying their troops over one of the most consequential votes of the year: raising the debt ceiling.
The House will take up a "clean" debt-ceiling bill, which would raise the debt limit without any accompanying spending cuts or reforms. The vote is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the bill's sponsor and the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said that he intends for the bill to be rejected and that he does not plan to vote for his own bill.
"[It] will allow the House to reject a clean increase in the debt limit, proving to the American people, the financial markets and the administration that we are serious about tackling our debt and deficit problems,” Camp said in a statement after introducing the legislation.
Meanwhile, President Obama is scheduled to hold separate meetings with House Republicans and Democrats. He will meet with House Republicans on Wednesday and with Democrats on Thursday to discuss budget negotiations.
The House will also vote on the resolution sponsored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) to remove the U.S. armed forces from Libya. That vote is expected to be Wednesday.
The Senate is not completely adjourned for the weeklong Memorial Day recess, but will meet on Tuesday and Friday for two pro-forma sessions. The brief sessions are to prevent Obama from making any recess appointments. Republicans had feared that the president would appoint Elizabeth Warren as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will oversee Wall Street.
On Friday, Obama will visit a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, to underscore the necessity of the automobile industry bailout two years ago. The car manufacturer paid back the federal loan that prevented it from bankruptcy.
The House meets at noon for morning hour debate and 2 p.m. for legislative business. Votes postponed until 6:30 p.m.
The House Appropriations Committee takes up the spending bill for the Food and Drug Administration. This past week, the Agriculture subcommittee voted to cut the FDA’s budget by 11.5 percent, or roughly $285 million. The hearing will take place in 2359 Rayburn at 5 p.m.
Freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), a House Armed Services Committee member, will be the featured speaker during a forum at the conservative Heritage Foundation. He will be speaking about his views of what the battlefield will look like for U.S. forces in the 21st century. West is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Iraq war veteran. The event begins at 10:30 a.m.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) will speak at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund on American manufacturing. The event begins at 11 a.m.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will testify before the House Financial Services Committee on "The State of the International Financial System." The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in 2128 Rayburn.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding a hearing on "Cybersecurity: Assessing the Nation's Ability to Address the Growing Cyber Threat." Witnesses have yet to be announced. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn.
A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hold the first of a two-part hearing on "Preserving Progress: Transitioning Authority and Implementing the Strategic Framework in Iraq, Part 1." Patricia Haslach, Iraq transition coordinator at the State Department; Christopher Crowley, senior deputy assistant administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development's Middle East Bureau; and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant secretary for the Middle East at the Defense Department, will testify. The hearing will begin at 2 p.m. in 2172 Rayburn.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) will announce his 2012 presidential bid in New Hampshire.
A House Appropriations subcommittee will hold a hearing on the 2012 budget for the U.S. Capitol Police. Chief Phillip Morse will testify. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. in H-T2 in the Capitol.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on "Making the Gulf Coast Whole Again: Assessing the Recovery Efforts of BP and the Obama Administration After the Oil Spill." Witnesses have yet to be announced. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn.
The House Intelligence Committee will have a closed hearing on "Israel/Palestinian Authority Update." The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in HVC-304 in the Capitol.
The Brady Center Honors Jim and Sarah Brady. Guests include former President Clinton, journalist Sam Donaldson and actor Beau Bridges. The invitation-only event takes place at the Ronald Reagan Building at 6:30 p.m.
Obama will visit a Chrysler plant in Toledo to highlight the success of the auto bailout two years ago by discussing the car manufacturer's repayment of the federal loan that kept the company afloat.
First lady Michelle Obama will speak to the 26 graduating seniors at Quantico Middle High School, a Department of Defense Education Activity school, at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.
The Labor Department will release the latest unemployment numbers.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on "The American Energy Initiative: H.R. 909, A Roadmap for America's Energy Future." Witnesses are yet to be announced. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn.
A House Homeland Security subcommittee will hold a hearing on "Denying Safe Havens: Homeland Security's Efforts to Counter Threats from Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia." Witnesses have yet to be announced. The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in 311 Cannon.
— Pete Kasperowicz, Peter Schroeder, Emily Goodin, John T. Bennett and Julian Pecquet contributed.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4130 on: May 31st, 2011, 07:36am »
Wired Danger Room
One Brain, Hundreds of Eyes: Darpa Plots Manhunt Master Controller By Adam Rawnsley May 31, 2011 | 7:00 am Categories: Spies, Secrecy and Surveillance
Photo: Flickr/US Army
Thought military tracking technology couldn’t get any creepier? Hold onto your tinfoil hats and hide behind the nearest curtain because the next generation of manhunting gear just took another step closer to reality.
The Pentagon’s bleeding-edge research shop, Darpa, announced this week that it awarded a $14 million contract to defense contractor SAIC to build Insight, its system-of-systems effort to mashup snooping sensors that’ll find human prey on the battlefield.
Darpa has developed loads of sensors and spying gear: everything from from the 1.8-gigapixel Argus camera to the Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar (given the wonderful acronym, “Vader”) that pinpoints humans, cars and trucks from a distance. But getting all these systems to mesh together so that your average grunt can form a picture clear enough to track a high value terrorist or insurgent in real time is tricky, to say the least. It’s a classic problem in intelligence work: too much information and too much trouble connecting the dots. The result is “information overload” in general, and “information underload” on specific targets.
And that’s the problem that Darpa wants Insight to solve. It’s supposed to help users sift through the heaps of information collected by the U.S. military’s numerous sensor platforms to find just the right information, on just the right targets using the most appropriate combination of spying gear.
Darpa wants Insight to integrate data from a dizzying array of sources. It’s hungry for info from ground moving target indicators, infrared video, multispectral imagery, human tipsters, audio intercepts, even text chats and social media, among others. The idea, though, isn’t to configure the program for a fixed set of inputs, but allow it to be flexible enough to “plug and play” with different sensors as needs dictate.
But Insight isn’t just supposed to be a warehouse for all the data soaked up by the military’s eyes and ears. It’s supposed to make sense of it, too. In a notice to researchers, Darpa states that the system needs to be able to perform “threat network detection/estimation,” “anomaly detection” and ”behavioral (pattern-of-life) modeling including cultural, social, and insurgency dynamics.” In other words, Insight needs to get a feel for the rhythm of life in the areas it’s looking at, understand what kinds of threats its users are interested in and be able to automatically pick them out of the heaps of data and background noise.
Just so Insight isn’t running off its own smarts alone, Darpa’s planning a number of tools to aid the human-software collaboration, including “visualization, hypothesis manipulation, and on-line learning” as well as other “algorithms and data processing technologies.”
So how will Insight be used on the battlefield? Think high value targets, for one. Darpa says its spy system needs to be able to track so-called “high value individuals” (.pdf) and insurgents, even over the long term, across a range of settings from rural to urban. Insight’s also supposed to be capable enough to think one step ahead of the threats it tracks and anticipate their next move, like sniffing out a possible ambush.
On the ground, it would play out like this. An analyst adds to a watch list the name of a particularly important insurgent. A sensor picks up someone who might be him driving past a checkpoint in Iraq. Insight automatically recognizes that he’ll soon drive out of range of the current sensor and switches over to a new snooping device closer by to pick him up down the road. It follows him as he picks up associates and drives to a meeting, keeping a constant watch on him as it shifts from sensor data to communications intercepts to the real-time reports of spies on the ground, ultimately verifying his identity.
A system this complex, you can’t just dump in Iraq or Afghanistan. So Darpa is looking to set up an “incubator” — a sort of virtual world, where all these sensors and sensor-integrators can be tested out first. The pixelized place will pit the system against a battery of simulated sensor data and information collected from real world threats to see how it performs at tracking threats. Once it’s finished in the virtual world, it’s moves to meatspace testing at the Army’s National Training Center in Ft. Irwin, California. Only then would it go to an honest-to-God war zone.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4131 on: May 31st, 2011, 07:53am »
A Gritty Account of Life as a Famous Hollywood Drug Addict 7:14 PM 5/30/2011 As Told to Kim Masters
In the latest issue of THR, former manager Jeff Wald -- who used to snort cocaine for breakfast -- recalls in harrowing detail his journey from highflying addict repping Sly Stallone and David Crosby to the grisly day Ali MacGraw had to call 911.
I first met Jeff Wald in the early '90s, when Nancy Griffin and I were writing our book, Hit & Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood. (Wald had been president of the Guber-Peters Co., so obviously he knew our subjects well.)
Short, barrel-chested and with a gravelly, Bronx-accented voice, Wald regaled us with outrageous stories of his life in the '70s and '80s as the manager of an array of huge stars including Donna Summer, George Carlin, Sylvester Stallone and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Wald was well known in his own right and as the husband and manager of Helen Reddy, whose anthem "I Am Woman" helped define the era.
In Wald's heyday, drug abuse was an accepted and arguably essential lubricant to doing business in Hollywood, where the boundary between work and play often blurs. But Wald stood out in the crowd for his staggering cocaine habit.
Hot-tempered and prone to fisticuffs, Wald told me he once cold-cocked Rod Stewart in a hotel lobby in Hawaii because Stewart had trashed the room that Wald was waiting to occupy. In 1980, Wald was arrested after brandishing a shotgun in front of picketing hotel employees in Tahoe. Wald acknowledges that he thrust the gun into a picketer's mouth; he got 18 months probation and paid a $1,000 fine.
When Wald and Reddy split in 1983, Wald's massive cocaine use was cited as one of the primary causes, and their vicious custody fight over their then-10-year-old son made the cover of People magazine. Among other things, Wald was accused of punching Reddy's boyfriend at the time and attempting to run him over in a silver Maserati.
Nonetheless, Wald maintained key relationships -- and not just with leading figures in Hollywood. Thanks to vigorous fundraising, primarily for Democrats, Wald was close to major politicians including Gov. Jerry Brown (first go-round) and President Ford. He was even on the organizing committee for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Wald's ride almost ended permanently in 1986, when he was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after an overdose. He wound up at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and he's been clean ever since. (He's also been happily married to wife Deborah for more than 20 years.) At 67, he is now CEO of Aria Multimedia Entertainment, which has produced outsized coffee-table books on Michael Jackson and hip-hop.
For many years now, I have exhorted Wald to write a memoir. He hasn't gotten around to it -- yet -- but recently, with so much chatter about Charlie Sheen, an admitted cocaine user, in the air, I asked him to talk about the impact of drugs on his life and career. Here's his story:
I started smoking pot when I was 13, back in the Bronx. My whole neighborhood smoked. Nobody drank in my neighborhood. Mainly I think because we grew up near an Irish bar and found nothing attractive about beating up your wife and vomiting.
I guess I started doing cocaine when I started making money in the music business. I was about 19 or 20. I sold marijuana when I was working in the William Morris mailroom in New York. I was married and had a child, making $55 a week. So I supplemented. I was making about $300 a week selling pot.
I came to California in 1968. I was 24 years old. I was married to [not yet famous] Helen Reddy. Bill Cosby brought me here at his [production and management] company, and we immediately got lucky. Mo Ostin sent Tiny Tim over to us, sort of as a joke. We sent him over to [producer] George Schlatter, George put him on Laugh-In, and they got thousands of pieces of mail. We wound up with a deal at Caesars Palace for 60 grand a week. We went to the Albert Hall in London, and the Beatles presented Tiny Tim live at the Albert Hall, and all the rock royalty was there, and it was just a phenomenal, phenomenal time. We had about an 18-month run.
In the '70s and late '60s and early '80s, [cocaine use] was common. Everybody was doing it. People you wouldn't believe were getting high -- people who were in their 60s and 70s. You could go to the old Spago and see people who were marquee names of one sort or another getting high. It was sort of a bonding thing.
I never hid it. I was pretty blatant about it. The only person I never got high near was [MCA chairman] Lew Wasserman. Just 'cause he was Lew Wasserman, you know? I knew it wouldn't play. Just about anybody else -- senators, governors -- it didn't matter.
It was just very common to get up in the morning and get high. Our housekeepers would roll for Helen and me. There would be 10 joints in the morning next to each breakfast plate, and for me, 3 grams of cocaine. I used to keep the joints in my socks like old bullets, like a bandolero. I was high from the moment I got up in the morning until I went to bed at night. I started getting high at 13 and stayed high until I was 42.
Helen got a record contract at the end of 1970 and had her first hit in '71 with "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar. And then "I Am Woman" came out. Helen had 14 hits -- Top 10s -- and four No. 1s. We were on a nice roll.
But I had George Carlin before that, I had Deep Purple, I had the Turtles. I had a huge management company in the '70s. I had Donna Summer, I had Sylvester Stallone and Chicago, George Carlin, Jim Brolin, Elliott Gould -- so I guess I specialized in Barbra Streisand's husbands, right?
Norman Brokaw [of WMA], who was Helen's agent, and also [President and Mrs. Ford's] agent, called me up and said that Mrs. Ford saw Helen and Carol Burnett on The Carol Burnett Show doing a medley of songs -- would they do it at the White House for a state dinner? And I said to Norman, "Tell them to f--- themselves. The guy pardoned Nixon, f--- him. I ain't doing it, you know? She ain't doing it." I was always so subtle. And two days later, I was in New York with Helen, and the phone rang at the Pierre Hotel, and the operator says it's the White House on the phone. I pick up the phone; no secretary, no nothing, it was Betty Ford, whose voice I recognized instantly. And she said, "Are you the young man who said he wouldn't have his wife perform at the White House? Of course, my husband pardoned Nixon, and you're a Democrat?" I said yes. She said, "Well, my husband is president of all Americans, Democrats and Republicans, and you don't turn down a state dinner, yadda yadda yadda," and she was so gracious that I said, "OK, yes."
I became very friendly with the Fords; voted for him for president. But I was flying, I was getting high in the White House bathroom, I was getting high on the stand at the opening ceremonies of the '84 Olympics.
THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL
I guess it started about the end of '84 -- it started to go negative on me. I started being abusive. I remember Jim [Brolin] was doing the show Hotel, and we had a meeting set with Aaron Spelling. I got there an hour late, and Aaron was upset, and I got in his face: "I don't give a shit! What are you talking about? I'm an hour late -- big f---ing deal!" And it was behavior like that. I basically got in a thing with Stallone, and blew him off, got in a thing with Donna Summer. So I started blowing these artists away. ... I started staying up all night and sleeping during the day, not waking up and making appointments on time.
After the  divorce, I was living at the beach, I wasn't taking my son to school on time, or if I did get him to school, I'd fall asleep in the parking lot. I was too busy getting high, and getting women, and not paying attention to business.
The summer of '85 we did a European tour with Crosby, Stills and Nash, and David was really at his -- that whole year before we were sort of hiding him in different hotels and stuff, because there were warrants everywhere for him -- for drugs, for gun possession, for everything. I remember in Orange County having to surrender him to the police. They let us do the concert first. And they made both of us walk out into the parking lot with no shoes, no shirt, with our hands up and stuff. I had to escort him because I was guaranteeing he would show up at the thing.
After that we were in Europe. … We had hired a company that would go to Marseilles, pick up cocaine -- now remember, there was a huge crew, I think we had 42 people on the road, so we'd get 100 grams of cocaine at a time. We had a private plane, and we took the seats out of the front of the plane so David could lie down on a mattress, and we had also in the budget -- I think it was $2,500 a night -- for fire damage from his little acetylene torch, for bedspreads, drapes, stuff like that.
So we hired -- wait, I don't want to tell you who it is, because they were a prominent European promoter who provided us with this -- and we would get out of the airport, and there would be a car there and the guy would hand us the cocaine.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4132 on: May 31st, 2011, 07:57am »
Bubble artist shows off his skills
Canadian bubble artist Fan Yang offers a glimpse into his impressive repertoire of tricks as he prepares to take his magic show to Shanghai, China.
12:01PM BST 31 May 2011
Yang, who burst onto the scene in 1992 when he set the first of his 17 Guinness world records, is taking his successful Gazillion Bubble Show to Shanghai in July.
Whilst blowing away the press with a short promotional performance, Yang promised to mark his first show in China with an attempt to match one of his records – fitting 150 people inside a single bubble.
The skilled performer – who claims to have invented his own secret seven-ingredient recipe for bubble formula – is no stranger to the cameras, he once popped up on the Oprah Winfrey Show where he managed to fit 100 people inside a soapy cylinder in 2008.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4133 on: May 31st, 2011, 6:42pm »
Monday, May 30, 2011
Troops in the afterlife: Special perspectives, new missions
By Steve Hammons
(This article also appears on American Chronicle.)
Some recent research into near death experiences (NDEs) has noted that U.S. troops in current combat zones who experienced a group trauma of injuries and death might also experience group NDEs.
In other words, if a team of soldiers was attacked using an improvised explosive device (IED) for example, injuring some and killing others, they could have a shared experience of moving from their bodies in the classic NDE as they proceed as a group toward the rumored tunnel of light, a portal to the afterlife.
Those injured troops who might eventually survive the attack could go part way with their buddies, then say goodbye and return to face urgent medical treatment.
If reports and research into NDEs and the afterlife have any truth to them, we might wonder what our fallen warriors now think about their lives, their loved ones and their sacrifice.
Do they have new insights and useful perspectives about the reasons they went to Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, World War II, World War I, the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, the Native American Indian wars and the many other battles large and small throughout American and human history?
Can they teach us anything? Are we able to hear them?
ANOTHER OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENT
Although many faiths tell us that an afterlife exists in some other dimension of space and time, many people have their doubts. Proving the existence of a place we might call Heaven or some other name is apparently quite difficult using current scientific methods.
Yet, many studies of people who have experienced severe injury or illness and who report an afterlife-type encounter have been conducted using reasonable scientific protocols to the degree possible.
Particularly interesting and potentially valid are the reports of ill or injured young children who have not been indoctrinated into religious or philosophical beliefs, nor exposed to literature or media portrayals of an afterlife.
Many of these children have reported going to a beautiful place filled with light, love and happiness before they return to their families on Earth.
Military personnel who might experience the same journey would seem to be in a different position to evaluate such a situation that they also go through. What is their “situational awareness” as they realize they have been killed?
Are they alone or with some of their platoon members, shipmates or aircraft crewmates as they lift out of and above their bodies, then find themselves moving toward a strange and beautiful light?
Do they have communication among themselves as they transition from being in a combat mode to the acceptance that they are now in a new operational environment?
We might imagine that their military training and experiences could be useful as they use reconnaissance and intelligence perspectives in the reportedly brief trip to another dimension.
Maybe other fallen veterans greet them upon their arrival. Or, maybe a favorite grandmother and grandfather who passed on years ago are waiting to welcome them.
ONGOING COVERT MISSIONS
On this Memorial Day, it seems reasonable to consider the possibility that our troops who have passed on may still be with us, though in a place that is both far away and very close at hand.
Somehow, it is difficult to see former Marines and other U.S. troops sitting around playing harps. These are beings who take bold action and have outstanding courage. They want to tackle worthwhile goals and accomplish them successfully.
Do they have current ongoing training and missions? If so, what might those entail? They may involve somewhat covert operations that we can only guess about. They could be related to tactics and strategies to further win the peace and establish a lasting victory of some kind.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if clandestine insertions by Heavenly recon teams are taking place now to prepare the way for a more major operation – some kind of beach landing or airborne arrival to liberate us in fantastic and amazing ways?
Maybe there are there other discreet and covert activities “behind the lines” to help prepare the way for such a liberation. Appropriate security measures could be in place to help ensure victory.
This Memorial Day, perhaps we can view the bigger picture of human conflict and development, and see things in a new light.
Maybe we can not only honor our warriors who have passed on, but also prepare to meet them again.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4134 on: Jun 1st, 2011, 07:33am »
New York Times
May 31, 2011 Pressing Obama, House Bars Rise for Debt Ceiling By JACKIE CALMES
WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a measure to increase the government’s debt limit, acting on a vote staged by Republican leaders to pressure President Obama to agree to deep spending cuts.
Republicans brought up the measure, which was defeated 318 to 97, to show the lack of support in the House for raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling without concrete steps to rein in chronic budget deficits.
The preordained outcome followed several acts of odd political theater on the House floor: Republicans urged the defeat of their own measure, while Democrats — who not long ago were seeking just such a vote to raise the debt ceiling without attaching spending cuts — assailed Republicans for bringing it up, saying its certain defeat might unnerve the financial markets.
Just in case, Republican leaders scheduled the vote for after the stock market’s close, and in the preceding days called Wall Street executives to assure them that the vote was just for show, to show Mr. Obama that he would have to make concessions in budget negotiations if a debt-limit increase is to pass Congress.
“This vote, based on legislation I’ve introduced, will and must fail,” said Representative Dave Camp, Republican of Michigan and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the Budget Committee, objected. “This is a political stunt,” he said.
Voting against the measure were 236 Republicans and 82 Democrats. No Republicans voted in favor.
The showdown over the issue is likely to continue well into the summer, with consequences for both parties and, potentially, for the economy and Wall Street, where the bond market in particular is watching the partisan standoff closely. Yet for all the talk of crisis should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2, when the Treasury Department says it will run out of room to meet all the government’s obligations without further borrowing, the financial markets are likely to yawn at Tuesday’s proceedings.
“Wall Street is in on the joke,” said R. Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
But beyond this week, Wall Street has reason to be nervous as the issue plays out, said people in both parties and in finance.
Investors have grown accustomed to partisan games of chicken that always end with the needed increase in the government’s borrowing authority. But this showdown, many say, is riskier because of the strongly held antispending, antitax views of the many freshman House Republicans combined with the fragility of the economic recovery.
“The people who are more politically savvy realize this may not be the normal brinkmanship,” said Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia. Nor, he added, is this standoff like the fight a few months ago over the current year’s spending, which ended with a late-night deal shortly before the government would have shut down.
“The thing that people are missing is that in shutting down the government you can go to the 11th-and-a-half hour, and the consequences of not doing it, while significant, are not economy-threatening,” Mr. Warner said. “You can’t go to the 11th-and-a-half hour on the debt limit. You don’t know what’s going to spook the bond markets.”
The chief wild card is the House Republican majority, which was elected last November after a campaign defined by voters’ antipathy toward budget deficits. More numerous than the insurgents elected in the conservative waves of 1980 and 1994, many freshman Republicans have no experience in public office and consider themselves citizen-legislators who entered government to shrink it, regardless of the political costs.
“The people who have been sent to Washington most recently are bringing a strong message from the Republicans more to the right that really want something done about government spending,” said Joseph E. Kasputys, founder of IHS Global Insight and an official in the Nixon and Ford administrations.
Many House Republicans have said publicly that they either do not believe the government will default or that they do not fear it. Many embrace a proposal by Senator Patrick J. Toomey, a first-year Republican from Pennsylvania, for the Treasury to pay bondholders with incoming tax revenues and delay other government payments pending a resolution. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and many on Wall Street call the idea unworkable.
Many Republicans have also made comments indicating that they do not understand or do not care that an increase in the debt limit is needed not only for new spending but also to cover Social Security checks, military pay and myriad other obligations previously agreed to, as well as for payments to creditors holding Treasury bonds.
Another difference from recent decades, when the parties several times agreed to bipartisan budget-cutting deals to raise the debt limit, is the scale of spending cuts that Republicans are demanding as the price of support — up to $2 trillion in savings over a decade.
For Republicans and Democrats to agree this summer on such a far-reaching deficit reduction plan is a hurdle that is all the higher given how far apart the parties are. Republicans oppose any new taxes while Democrats say a balanced package must include higher revenues.
Just as the political dynamic is more precarious than in years past, so too, say some analysts, is the economic recovery. The combination “definitely makes it more dangerous” to even flirt with default, said Rick Rieder, a managing director of BlackRock, the world’s largest investment management firm.
“The practical ramifications of it are dramatic, and I truly believe this,” Mr. Rieder said. At some point short of actual default, he said, “you’re going to run down the road where the rating agencies are going to have to react, the Fed is going to have to make a set of decisions, international investors are going to have to interpret what this means, and you could functionally have a self-fulfilling prophecy in terms of the risk while not actually having a default.”
“That is such a dangerous path to go down,” he said.
Not everyone believes an impasse would necessarily provoke economic damage. But much of the business community is concerned. “Am I the only one who remembers the split screen on TARP?” asked Mr. Josten.
He is not. Worriers from Washington to Wall Street increasingly recall how, amid the financial crisis of September 2008, House Republicans voted by a two-to-one ratio against the proposed Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as the bank bailout. Cable networks split screens, showing stock markets going down simultaneously with the House vote; the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 777 points, its largest single-day point drop.
Within days Congress approved a revised bailout and President George W. Bush signed it into law.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4135 on: Jun 1st, 2011, 07:37am »
Japan miscalculated tsunami threat, according to IAEA reports
While characterizing Japan's response to the disaster as "exemplary," the report called for nuclear plant designers and operators to better coordinate safety preparations at more than a dozen atomic power plants.
By John M. Glionnal Los Angeles Times Staff Writer 2:42 AM PDT, June 1, 2011 Reporting from Seoul
Japan did not properly protect its nuclear plants against tsunami threats prior to the March 11 disaster that caused radiation to spew from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, a preliminary report released Wednesday by international nuclear experts concluded.
"The tsunami hazard for several sites was underestimated," according to a three-page summary released by a United Nations nuclear safety team probing the aftermath of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake that triggered a nearly 50-foot-high wall of water that deluged the plant.
The mishap led to meltdowns in three of the facility's six reactors which caused the release of harmful radioactive isotopes into the air, soil and seawater. The emergency prompted the evacuation of more than 80,000 nearby residents.
The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency - compiled by nuclear experts from a dozen nations, including the U.S., France, Russia and China - blamed the tsunami for causing power outages that quickly caused the disaster to spiral out of control. Inspectors said waves believed to have reached 49-feet in height "overwhelmed" the atomic plant's defenses.
"In terms of the cause, it is clear: The direct cause was a tsunami, associated with an earthquake of tremendous size," IAEA team leader Michael Weightman of Great Britain told reporters in Tokyo, Wednesday.
While characterizing Japan's response to the disaster as "exemplary," the report called for nuclear plant designers and operators to better coordinate safety preparations at more than a dozen atomic power plants operating nationwide.
Investigators also urged regulatory officials to better monitor the effect that prolonged radiation exposure might have on both the general public and nuclear workers at the crippled plant, located 150 miles north of Tokyo. The full report is scheduled for release later this month at an IAEA conference in Vienna.
The release of the IAEA report summary comes one day after Japan's health ministry ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the stricken plant, to correct deficiencies in protecting facility workers from radiation exposure.
Tepco also acknowledged this week that two workers inside the Fukushima plant's central control room during a hydrogen explosion in March might have exceeded the government radiation exposure limit for men of 250 millisieverts. The utility company says the men are undergoing further tests and show no immediate health issues.
Tepco says the two workers apparently did not take the protective potassium iodide pills required by the company. Potassium iodide is believed to prevent the buildup of radioactive iodine in the thyroid gland. Both workers recorded high iodine levels in their thyroid glands, company officials acknowledge.
The utility has come under fire for failing to fully disclose the extent of radiation exposure faced by plant workers or measures taken to ensure their safety.
Tepco spokesman Ken Matsuda said Wednesday that the utility company was working on the problem. "We will be taking appropriate measures to prevent what we've been asked to correct from the government," he said.
Following an on-site inspection, officials at Japan Health, Welfare and Labor Ministry say the utility company allowed some employees to work without wearing dosimeters that measure radiation exposure, despite laws that require nuclear workers to wear the devices on the job.
A Tokyo-based electrical engineering company also permitted workers to enter a turbine building flooded with highly-radioactive water without wearing protective boots, ministry officials said.
Separate research released Wednesday by Greenpeace points to uncontrolled leaks of highly-radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi plant that has caused "severe" radioactive contamination in the surrounding ocean.
The environmental group said that research conducting by both Greenpeace and the Japanese government suggests that the radioactive water leakage "is considerably worse and more continuous" than Tepco has acknowledged.
Several trenches and shafts connected to the basements of the stricken reactors are in danger of overflowing and are susceptible to damage from storms like the one that battered Japan's northeast coast this week. In the past, the utility company acknowledged that radioactive water is likely leaking from containment vessels into the basement at several reactors.
"There are likely to be underground leakage pathways that will be very hard to plug, and therefore the only way to stop the ongoing marine contamination is to remove the water from the basements and other structures as quickly as possible," said Peter Morris, a Greenpeace marine researcher.
Tepco had pumped out the flooded basements but the utility company has run out of places to store the contaminated water. Water levels inside the basements are again on the rise, he said.
Matsuda said that Tepco was reviewing the claims. "We are in the process of confirming what is being detailed [by] Greenepace," he said.
Tepco officials also acknowledged this week that oil from tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant has leaked into the ocean and may have been ongoing since the March 11 disaster, according to Japanese media reports.
The IAEA inspectors arrived in Japan last week and conducted on-site inspections at the Fukushima plant. Inspectors praised government efforts to evacuate 80,000 residents living near the plant as "impressive and well-organized."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4136 on: Jun 1st, 2011, 07:39am »
Wired Threat Level
Second Defense Contractor L-3 ‘Actively Targeted’ With RSA SecurID Hacks By Kevin Poulsen May 31, 2011 | 4:11 pm Categories: Hacks and Cracks
An executive at defense giant L-3 Communications warned employees last month that hackers were targeting the company using inside information on the SecurID keyfob system freshly stolen from an acknowledged breach at RSA Security.
The L-3 attack makes the company the second hacker target linked to the RSA breach — both defense contractors. Reuters reported Friday that Lockheed Martin had suffered an intrusion.
“L-3 Communications has been actively targeted with penetration attacks leveraging the compromised information,” read an April 6 e-mail from an executive at L-3’s Stratus Group to the group’s 5,000 workers, one of whom shared the contents with Wired.com on condition of anonymity.
It’s not clear from the e-mail whether the hackers were successful in their attack, or how L-3 determined SecurID was involved. L-3 spokeswomen Jennifer Barton declined comment last month, except to say: “Protecting our network is a top priority and we have a robust set of protocols in place to ensure sensitive information is safeguarded. We have gotten to the bottom of the issue.” Barton declined further comment Tuesday.
Based in New York, L-3 Communications ranks eighth on Washington Technology’s 2011 list of the largest federal-government contractors. Among other things the company provides command-and-control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C3ISR) technology to the Pentagon and intelligence agencies.
In the Lockheed breach, attackers may have gained access by cloning the SecurID keyfobs of Lockheed users.
Together, the attacks suggest the RSA intruders obtained crucial information — possibly the encryption seeds for SecurID tokens — that they’re using in targeted intelligence-gathering missions against sensitive U.S. targets.
The attacks come as the Pentagon is in the final stages of formalizing a doctrine for military operations in cyberspace, which will reportedly view cyberattacks that cause death or significant real-world disruption as the equivalent of an armed attack.
RSA Security, a division of EMC, declined to comment on the L-3 incident.
SecurID adds an extra layer of protection to a login process by requiring users to enter a secret code number displayed on a keyfob, or in software, in addition to their password. The number is cryptographically generated and changes every 30 seconds.
RSA acknowledged in March that it had been the victim of an “extremely sophisticated” hack in which intruders succeeded in stealing information related to the company’s SecurID two-factor authentication products.
“While at this time we are confident that the information extracted does not enable a successful direct attack on any of our RSA SecurID customers,” RSA wrote at the time, “this information could potentially be used to reduce the effectiveness of a current two-factor authentication implementation as part of a broader attack. We are very actively communicating this situation to RSA customers and providing immediate steps for them to take to strengthen their SecurID implementations.”
RSA characterized the breach as an “advanced persistent threat,” or APT. APT is a buzzword assigned to unusually sophisticated attacks in which intruders use social engineering coupled with zero-day vulnerabilities to infiltrate a target network at a weak point, and then spread out carefully to steal source code and other intellectual property. Last year’s hack into Google was considered an APT attack and — like many intrusions in this category — was linked to China.
L-3 uses SecurID for remote employee access to the unclassified corporate network, but classified networks at the company would not have been at risk in the attack, the L-3 source said.
Asked if the RSA intruders did gain the ability to clone SecurID keyfobs, RSA spokeswoman Helen Stefen said, “That’s not something we had commented on and probably never will.”
If the intruders have gained cloning ability, the implications could be far-reaching. SecurID is used by most federal agencies and Fortune 500 companies. As of 2009, RSA counted 40 million customers carrying SecurID hardware tokens, and another 250 million using software clients.
RSA has been privately briefing its customers about its intrusion, but only after placing them under nondisclosure agreements, and the company has shared few details with the public.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4137 on: Jun 1st, 2011, 07:45am »
TV Executives Admit in Taped Interviews That Hollywood Pushes a Liberal Agenda (Exclusive Video) 8:00 AM 6/1/2011 by Paul Bond
In clips that will hit the Internet to promote a new book, producers including "Friends" co-creator Marta Kauffman and "House" creator David Shore say Hollywood discriminates against and belittles conservatives.
Some of TV’s top executives from the past four decades may have gotten more than they bargained for when they agreed to be interviewed for a politically charged book that was released Tuesday, because video of their controversial remarks will soon be hitting the Internet.
The book makes the case that TV industry executives, writers and producers use their clout to advance a liberal political agenda. The author bases his thesis on, among other things, 39 taped interviews that he’ll roll out piecemeal during the next three weeks.
The Hollywood Reporter obtained several of the not-yet-released clips, embedded below. Each contains a snippet of an interview, usually some historical footage of the TV shows the interviewee was responsible for and, naturally, a plea to purchase the book, “Primetime Propaganda” by Ben Shapiro and published by Broad Side, an imprint of HarperCollins.
In one video, Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman says that when she cast Candace Gingrich-Jones, half-sister of Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as the minister of a lesbian wedding, “There was a bit of ‘fuck you’ in it to the right wing.”
Kauffman also acknowledges she “put together a staff of mostly liberal people,” which is another major point of Shapiro’s book: that conservatives aren’t welcome in Hollywood.
Maybe that’s because they’re “idiots” and have “medieval minds.” At least that’s what Soap and Golden Girls creator Susan Harris thinks of TV’s conservative critics.
However, the ranks of dumb right-wingers has dwindled, according to Harris, whose video has her saying: “At least, you know, we put Obama in office, and so people, I think, are getting – have gotten – a little bit smarter.”
Some of the videos have executives making rather obvious revelations, like when Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds talk about pacifist messages in M*A*S*H or when MacGyver producer Vin Di Bona says anti-gun messages were a recurring theme in that show.
But an additional video has Di Bona, who also created America’s Funniest Home Videos, becoming remarkably blunt about his approval of a lack of political diversity in Hollywood. When Shapiro asks what he thinks of conservative critics who say everyone in Hollywood is liberal, Di Bona responds: “I think it’s probably accurate, and I’m happy about it.”
Another video has Leonard Goldberg — who executive produces Blue Bloods for CBS and a few decades ago exec produced such hits as Fantasy Island, Charlie’s Angels and Starsky and Hutch — saying that liberalism in the TV industry is “100 percent dominant, and anyone who denies it is kidding, or not telling the truth.”
Shapiro asks if politics are a barrier to entry. “Absolutely,” Goldberg says.
When Shapiro tells Fred Pierce, the president of ABC in the 1980s who was instrumental in Disney’s acquisition of ESPN, that “It’s very difficult for people who are politically conservative to break in” to television, he responds: “I can’t argue that point.” Those who don’t lean left, he says, “don’t promote it. It stays underground.”
Another video rolling out soon has House creator David Shore acknowledging that "there is an assumption in this town that everybody is on the left side of the spectrum, and that the few people on the right side, I think people look at them somewhat aghast, and I'm sure it doesn't help them."
In the book, subtitled "The true Hollywood story of how the left took over your TV," Shapiro also tells anecdotes of bias against conservatives. One example is Dwight Schultz, best known for his roles as Murdock in The A-Team and Barclay in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The late Bruce Paltrow knew that Schultz was a fan of President Ronald Reagan. When Schultz showed up to audition for St. Elsewhere, a show Paltrow produced, to read for the part of Fiscus, Paltrow told him: "There's not going to be a Reagan asshole on this show!" The part went to Howie Mandel.
"Most nepotism in Hollywood isn't familial, it's ideological," Shapiro writes in the book. "Friends hire friends. And those friends just happen to share their politics."
Another video Shapiro will release shortly has producer-director Nicholas Meyer being asked point-blank whether conservatives are discriminated against in Hollywood. "Well, I hope so," he answers. Meyer also admits his political agenda for The Day After, a TV movie he directed for ABC that was seen by 100 million people when it aired in 1983.
"My private, grandiose notion was that this movie would unseat Ronald Reagan when he ran for re-election," Meyer says.
Even seemingly harmless shows like Happy Days and Sesame Street have been used to advance a progressive agenda, according to Shapiro.
For example, William Bickley, a writer on The Partridge Family and a producer on Happy Days, says he infused Vietnam War protest messages into the latter. “I was into all that kind of masturbation,” he says in a soon-to-be-released video.
"Television has been perhaps the most impressive weapon in the left's political arsenal," Shapiro argues in the book.
Other upcoming videos include: Family Ties creator Gary David Goldberg explaining how he tried to make Republican character Alex Keaton the bad guy but that actor Michael J. Fox was too darn lovable; and president of MTV Networks Entertainment Group Doug Herzog talking about his network having “superpowers” when it comes to its influence over young people.
The advancement of a gay and lesbian political agenda is mentioned by multiple executives, including Marcy Carsey, a producer of Soap and Roseanne, and Desperate Housewives producer Marc Cherry, who is a rarity in Hollywood: a gay Republican.
In her video, Carsey also says she insisted on portraying characters smoking marijuana in That ‘70s Show. “If this is a problem for you, we certainly understand, and we just won’t do the show,” she told executives at Fox.
Shapiro released two videos Tuesday, one featuring COPS creator John Langley saying he’s partial to segments where white people are the criminals, and the other has Fred Silverman, the former head of ABC and later NBC, saying “there’s only one perspective, and it’s a very progressive perspective” in TV comedy today. (Those videos are also posted below).
Shapiro said the executives felt comfortable talking about politics with him because they assumed, incorrectly, that he is on the left.
“Most of them didn’t Google me. If they had, they would have realized where I am politically,” he said. “I played on their stereotypes. When I showed up for the interviews, I wore my Harvard Law baseball cap — my name is Ben Shapiro and I attended Harvard, so there’s a 98.7 percent chance I’m a liberal. Except I happen not to be.”
Shapiro said he’ll time the debut of certain videos for maximum effect. One that slams Sean Hannity, for example, is reserved for his scheduled appearance on Hannity’s show on the Fox News Channel.
And conservative pundit Ann Coulter has a new book out June 7. “I have two people ripping her by name, so I’ll release those the day Ann’s book is released,” Shapiro said.
One of those slamming Coulter is George Schlatter, who directed and produced Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In in the 1970s, using the show to knock Republicans and the Vietnam War. “The fact we pissed the Pentagon off, that pleased me enormously,” he says before calling Coulter “the c-word.”
In his video, Schlatter also goes off on right-wing radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham.
Shapiro says he didn’t disclose that he’d be releasing the tapes, but that his subjects have no reason to complain.
“I asked them for permission to tape, and there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy when you’re being interviewed for a book,” he said.
“If they’re going to be shocked at something, it should be themselves, not me,” Shapiro said. “They should be shocked that opinion is so one-sided in Hollywood that it’s OK to say, ‘I’m fine with discrimination.’”
“My whole book is a plea for openness in the industry,” he added. “Hire people from the other side of the aisle once in a while, or at least stop mocking them.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4138 on: Jun 1st, 2011, 07:50am »
Asus Unveils ROG G53SX 3D Gaming Notebook By Julian Horsey on Wednesday 1st June 2011 12:57 pm in PC Hardware
This week at Computex 2011 Asus has unveiled its new ROG G53S 3D gaming notebook, that requires no special 3D glasses and has has been designed to be viewed using your naked eye.
The new Asus ROG G53S 3D notebook is equipped with a powerful Intel powerful Sandy Bridge Core i7 processor and is equipped with and NVIDIA GTX 560M graphics with 2GB of dedicated video memory, and comes supplied with 3D content creation and editing software.
It also comes equipped with 3DTV Play connectivity, THX and EAX 5.0 3D sound and a 10,000 rpm hybrid hard-drive with SSD partition and 5-degree inclined keyboard to provide that little extra comfort while typing. Another neat feature of the new Asus ROG G53SX is the ability for it to split its screen to show both 2D and 3D content.
Unfortunately no information on pricing or worldwide availability has been released as yet, but as soon as it becomes available we will let you know.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4139 on: Jun 1st, 2011, 1:02pm »
Mama Alerts Rescuers To 10 Trapped Ducklings
HYANNIS, Mass. -- A family of Cape Cod ducks is back where they belong this week, thanks to some Hyannis firefighters who lived up to their motto "Anytime, anywhere, any job," over the weekend as they embarked on a one-of-a-kind rescue mission.
A mother mallard duck's quacking alerted police to her 10 ducklings stuck in a storm drain off of Main Street on Sunday.
"Took a flashlight, got down on my hands and knees, looked down there and you could see 10 little baby ducks, all peeping," said Barnstable Police Sgt. Sean Sweeney.
Officers called firefighters, who used their smallest employee, firefighter Jonathan Talin, to go down into the drain to pull the ducklings out.
"They're fuzzy little balls, basically," he said.
Talin proceeded to scoop them all out.
"Put all the little ducklings in a canvas bag, hoisted the canvas bag up. He came back up the ladder and one of the lieutenants let the ducks go over there and she ran right over to them and that was it. And then the other fun began because she continued to head for the ocean," Sweeney said, adding that the ducklings could only have been about two days old.
Another police officer stopped traffic and gave the ducks an escort across the street.