Monday, April 30, 2007

NYT: How Chabon's new novel came to be

Michael Chabon - The Yiddish Policemen’s Union - Book - New York Times: "ASIDE from geography, Sitka, a boomerang-shaped island in the southeastern panhandle of Alaska, has very little in common with the imaginary city named Sitka conjured up by Michael Chabon in his latest book, “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.”

In this fourth novel, which comes out Tuesday, Mr. Chabon takes a historical footnote, a pie-in-the-sky proposal to open up the Alaska Territory in 1940 to European Jews marked for extermination, and asks: What if? What if this proposal, which in real life was supported by the secretary of the interior, Harold Ickes, but killed in Congress, had actually passed? What if Jews had poured into a frigid island instead of the Middle Eastern desert, and the state of Israel had never been created? What if the small settlement of Sitka had grown into a teeming Jewish homeland, a land not of milk and honey but of salmon and lumber?"

Mediabistro: Chabon's rewrites GalleyCat: "At the Wall Street Journal, Michael Chabon goes into extensive detail about the long gestation time of THE YIDDISH POLICEMAN'S UNION - and how the book, originally slated for publication in 2006, had to be rewritten pretty much from the ground up in about eight months. 'I shudder now when I think that I would have published the old draft,' Chabon told the WSJ's Sam Schechner. Instead, he got back to work on what became a hybrid alternate history/crime novel, added a flashback structure and pared down the language into a hard-boiled, Yiddish-inflected patois. 'I felt like I had to invent a whole new dialect of English to finish it,' Chabon said.

The article reveals just how high the stakes are: HarperCollins won the book in an auction 5 years ago based off a 1 and a half page proposal (when it was still called HOTZEPLOTZ) and to get the book to where it is now, Chabon's editor, Courtney Hodell (now at FSG) would mail extensive manuscript notes and go through it line by line on trips to his Berkeley home. And while Chabon said he sometimes had a 'defensive reaction' to edits, he is thankful in retrospect that Hodell challenged him throughout the process, calling her the 'redeemer of this novel' in his acknowledgments. 'I do overwrite,' he says. 'And this book needed a lot of chopping.'"

All the President's Press: Frank Rich in NYT

All the President's Press: Frank Rich's Sunday column, via, on the White House Correspondents' dinner... which the Times will no longer attend.

A Candidate, His Minister and the Search for Faith - New York Times

A Candidate, His Minister and the Search for Faith - New York Times: interesting piece on Barack Obama and his relationship with his pastor, Jeremiah Wright of Trinity UCC.

Rush's "Magic Negro" Routine

Rush's "Magic Negro" Routine - The Nation: "Rush Limbaugh has obviously learned nothing from the outrage and anger unleashed by Don Imus' unfortunate 'nappy headed ho's' remark. Never one to shy away from unfunny 'humor', Limbaugh recently played a song parody on his radio show in which an Al Sharpton impersonator (played with stereotypical gusto) sings a song filled with idiotic assumptions about black people and dripping with ignorance called 'Barack the Magic Negro'."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

BBC: Lost world warning from North Sea

BBC NEWS | UK | Education | Lost world warning from North Sea: "Archaeologists are uncovering a huge prehistoric 'lost country' hidden below the North Sea.

This lost landscape, where hunter-gatherer communities once lived, was swallowed by rising water levels at the end of the last ice age.

University of Birmingham researchers are heralding 'stunning' findings as they map the 'best-preserved prehistoric landscape in Europe'.

This large plain disappeared below the water more than 8,000 years ago."

Earthlike planet found at nearby star |

Earthlike planet found at nearby star | "In a significant advance in the search for extraterrestrial life, European astronomers have discovered what they say may be the first habitable planet orbiting a nearby star.

They described their find as an Earthlike rocky planet that's small enough and warm enough that it might have liquid water, a necessary condition for life, on its surface."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

CC: Bill Moyers Interview

The Christian Century has an outstanding interview with Bill Moyers on journalism and democracy.

EpisCafe: Far-right rectors resign over inappropriate sex

Jim McNaughton at Episcopal Cafe: "The Rev. Praveen Bunyan, rector of St. James Church Newport Beach, has resigned after confessing to inappropriate conduct with an adult female parishioner. St. James, which broke away from the Episcopal Church over the issue of homosexuality, has affiliated with the Church of Uganda....

Saint James is the home parish of Howard Ahmanson, a key financial supporter of the Anglican right. It is locked in a court battle over its property with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Bunyan is the second high-profile rector of a breakaway parish to resign after an inappropriate relationship with a female parishioner in the last two months. The Rev. Sam Pascoe of Grace Church in Orange Park, Fla., resigned under similar circumstances in late February.

Both men have been sharply critical of the Episcopal Church, saying that it had lost its moral compass on issues of human sexuality."

The Week - Green Issue - Online only

The Week - Green Issue. No trees killed. GalleyCat: Chabon's new book attacked GalleyCat: "Page Six was up to its usual antics over the weekend, writing about a HarperCollins book without disclosing the newspaper's corporate connections to the publishing company, but this time there's a twist: Kyle Smith becomes the first commentator (as far as I know) to play the 'Bad Jew' card against Michael Chabon for making the antagonists in his new novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, 'a gangsterish extreme sect of Hasidim' who commit violence against other Jews to fulfill their ultra-Zionist agenda.

At its core, Smith's broadside against the novel is of a piece with Wendy Shalit's 2005 attack on Jewish writers who failed, in her eyes, to depict the Orthodox with sufficient admiration. The Post being a far cry from the NYTBR, though, the tone isn't quite so elevated, as in a comment upon the film rights: 'With Chabon's take on Jews as the central element in endless struggle, maybe Mel Gibson would like to direct.' Har de har har. (Of course, I'm biased, as I think the novel in question is pegged to be one of this year's strongest award contenders.)"

Me too.

Producers prepare for possible strike - Los Angeles Times

Producers prepare for possible strike - Los Angeles Times: "Anticipating a possible walkout, networks and studio executives are starting to take steps to keep production pipelines flowing. The contingency plans include pushing up shooting schedules, ordering more reality TV programs and renegotiating with writers to turn in their film scripts earlier than usual."

New Coca Cola Ad

From "We never thought Jack White would continue the usually cringe-inducing tradition of rock stars making TV commercials — remember the what-was-he-thinking Victoria’s Secret spot from Bob Dylan? — but in this Coke ad he transforms what could be a depressing sell-out moment into something fresh and entrancing.

Only shown overseas, the ad is now a YouTube treasure. It features a stomping, poppy White jingle that’s as instantly likable as the Turtles’ “Happy Together.” As the song rockets along, a young woman walks through a rainbow world where everyone leaves behind an image of himself or herself — it’s like a film shot by Eadweard Muybridge and edited by Michel Gondry. (In fact, it was directed by Nagi Noda.)"

Media Matters - Radio host Michael Smerconish to be simulcast on MSNBC in place of Imus

Media Matters - Radio host Michael Smerconish to be simulcast on MSNBC in place of Imus:

Check out the list of awful stuff he's spewed on the air already. This is supposed to be better than Imus? And why are they going with a conservative? At least Imus was middle of the road in most of his views.

Daily Kos: O'Reilly on to vast left-wing conspiracy

Daily Kos: O'Reilly on to vast left-wing conspiracy: "In a lengthy opening diatribe, this evening Bill O'Reilly laid out the far-left George Soros conspiracy in spades.

He had a chart and everything.

... in a nutshell:

George Soros funds the Open Society Institute, the Democracy Alliance,, and the Center For American Progress. And all four of these insanely powerful and nefarious organizations fund 'millions' to...

Media Matters for America, of course. The group's purpose, according to O'Reilly, is to take people's comments and 'distort them.' Media Matters is vile and, yes, they will come after not only their targets (i.e., anyone whom George Soros decides to go after, be they a Republican or a 'naughty' Democrat like that angel of mercy, Joe Lieberman), but after their targets' families!"

This is laughable! And where is the "fair and balanced" part of the discussion? Do watch the video.

Sickening report on ABC of an American soldier who killed himself - AMERICAblog

Sickening report on ABC of an American soldier who killed himself - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth: "Just watched one of the most sickening, infuriating reports ever on ABC (transcript here). ABC's Bob Woodruff reported on a great American soldier who ended up trying to kill himself while serving in Iraq. His duty in Iraq seriously messed with his head, he tried to seek help, didn't really get it, and then ended up in that fateful building 17 at Walter Reed - the one that the Washington Post reported on a few months ago. Well, the military then ignored the guy at Walter Reed until he hung himself - and even then, they didn't find him until two days later, and only after his parents BEGGED someone to go to his room and check on him."

Mr. Spitzer and Gay Marriage - New York Times editorial

Mr. Spitzer and Gay Marriage - New York Times editorial: "The news that Gov. Eliot Spitzer will soon introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriage — what he calls “a simple moral imperative” — is welcome and could give new national momentum to this important cause. Mr. Spitzer would be the first governor in the nation to introduce a gay marriage bill. But if he is going to make a real difference, rather than simply checking off a box to fulfill a campaign promise, he will have to fight for the law vigorously."

David Halberstam, 73, Reporter and Author, Dies - New York Times

David Halberstam, 73, Reporter and Author, Dies - New York Times: "David Halberstam, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and tireless author of books on topics as varied as America’s military failings in Vietnam, the deaths of firefighters at the World Trade Center and the high-pressure world of professional basketball, was killed yesterday in a car crash south of San Francisco. He was 73, and lived in Manhattan."

BBC: 'Kryptonite' discovered in mine

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | 'Kryptonite' discovered in mine: "Kryptonite is no longer just the stuff of fiction feared by caped superheroes.

A new mineral matching its unique chemistry - as described in the film Superman Returns - has been identified in a mine in Serbia.

According to movie and comic-book storylines, kryptonite is supposed to sap Superman's powers whenever he is exposed to its large green crystals.

The real mineral is white and harmless, says Dr Chris Stanley, a mineralogist at London's Natural History Museum."

BBC: Toyota 'world's largest carmaker'

BBC NEWS | Business | Toyota 'world's largest carmaker': "Japan's Toyota has overtaken US rival General Motors to become the world's biggest carmaker, a spokesman for the company has said.

According to company figures, Toyota sold 2.348 million vehicles in the first three months of 2007.

That compares with General Motors (GM)' sales of 2.26 million cars and small trucks during the same period."

Monday, April 23, 2007

Letterman's Top 10 Bush Moments

From the White House Correspondents' Dinner, hat/tip to Mark Evanier. And check out for a link to the awful Rich Little bit, and interesting commentary about this clip here:

Radar Online: Spidey 3 costing Half-a-Billion?

From The Magazine : Radar Online: "On the surface, Spider-Man 3 has all the ingredients of a box-office slam dunk—spectacular special effects, an obsessive fan base, and a roster of bankable stars. Moreover, its two previous installments have grossed $1.6 billion for the studio.

Even before filming began in January 2006, Sam Raimi promised to pull out all the stops for his third Spidey film (likely the last he'll direct in the series). He wasn't kidding. As production dragged on into late summer—it had been scheduled to conclude in June—stories about the project's ballooning budget started popping up all over town. But in the end, even the most hyperbolic of observers may have underestimated the final tab. Industry insiders claim that Sony spent $350 million or more on production alone. With marketing and promotion factored in, the total price tag will approach half a billion dollars—positioning Spider-Man 3 as the most expensive movie of all time."

Gail Shister: CBS evening blues

Gail Shister | CBS evening blues | Inquirer | 04/22/2007: "CBS executives deny it, but there's a growing feeling within the network that Katie Couric is an expensive, unfixable mistake.

So unfixable that Couric - the first woman to anchor a network nightly newscast solo - may leave CBS Evening News, probably after the 2008 presidential elections, to assume another role at the network, CBS sources say."

Ailing TV shows await the ax or the reprieve - Los Angeles Times

Ailing TV shows await the ax or the reprieve - Los Angeles Times: "'Til Death' joins a dozen or so other network series that are, in one of those endearing industry metaphors, 'on the bubble.' Other high-profile shows in this group include the NBC dramas 'Law & Order' (now in its 17th season), 'Friday Night Lights' and 'Crossing Jordan'; CBS' 'Jericho' and 'The Class'; and ABC's drama 'What About Brian' and the sitcom 'According to Jim.' The CW's 'Veronica Mars' and 'Gilmore Girls' should be added to the list as well. (Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive roster, and it doesn't include many shows that are definitely saying sayonara, such as the CW's '7th Heaven,' as well as those that have already been picked up for next year, such as NBC's '30 Rock' or ABC's 'Ugly Betty' and 'Men in Trees.')"

Danger on the airwaves: Is the Wi-Fi revolution a health time bomb? - Independent Online Edition > Health Medical

Danger on the airwaves: Is the Wi-Fi revolution a health time bomb? - Independent Online Edition > Health Medical: "It's on every high street and in every coffee shop and school. But experts have serious concerns about the effects of electronic smog from wireless networks linking our laptops and mobiles, reports Geoffrey Lean..."

E&P: Bush Doesn't Joke at WHCA Dinner Due to Virginia Tech Killings -- But Rich Little Says 'Nuts'

Bush Doesn't Joke at WHCA Dinner Due to Virginia Tech Killings -- But Rich Little Says 'Nuts': "What would the White House Correspondents Association dinner do for an encore on Saturday night in Washington following last year’s controversial Stephen Colbert routine? President Bush was back, but with impressionist Rich Little replacing the barbed satire of Colbert, and with the usual broad cast of celebrities -- from Reggie Bush to Condi Rice.

President Bush said, “We’ve got to learn to laugh in this town,' but then instead of going into the usual jokes, surprised the crowd by saying, 'I had looked forward to poking fun tonight but in light of this week’s tragedy at Virginia Tech, I decided not to try to be funny.”

He just said thanks for dinner and introduced Rich Little, “a talented and good man.” Little later told E&P that Bush had informed him earlier that he would not be doing any jokes himself.

Actually, one of the funniest jokes was Karl Rove being seated at a New York Times table.

Rich Little, with shockingly dyed hair, said at the outset that he is “not political” but rather a “nightclub performer who does a lot of dumb, stupid jokes,” then proved that."

Iraq PM asks for halt to Baghdad wall

Iraq PM asks for halt to Baghdad wall - Yahoo! News: "Iraq's prime minister said on Sunday he had urged the U.S. military to halt work on a wall separating a Baghdad Sunni enclave from nearby Shi'ite areas after sharp criticism from some residents."

France 1st Round Notes - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth

France 1st Round Notes - Chris in Paris offers his analysis at AMERICAblog: "After the 2002 debacle, France is back on track with a traditional center-right versus center-left showdown in two weeks. Some Americans on the right seem to think that Sarkozy, the center-right candidate who is much more to the right than Chirac, will somehow be America's best friend. Unless France decides to cede its business interests and become the 51st state, don't count on it. Sarkozy will definitely be friendlier to the US but let's not forget that what is in the interest of the US is not necessarily what is in the best interest of France. Royal would surely be less interested in building any relations with Bush, but depending on who makes it to the White House in 2008, that could change."

Good old days of '50s were ... something dogs leave behind

Good old days of '50s were ... something dogs leave behind -- Robert Gilbreath op-ed in "Lately, I've been besieged with e-mail from fellow boomers lamenting today's world and urging those of us of the same age to fondly remember our childhood years —- back in the '50s.

Maybe this is a generational thing, where the old folks always talk about how 'the good old days' were better. But some of the memories these e-mailings invoke aren't so good. Some of them are terrible. These reminiscences usually begin with the question 'Remember when?' Oh yes, I surely do."

Friday, April 20, 2007

'Devastating' Moyers Probe of Press and Iraq Coming

'Devastating' Moyers Probe of Press and Iraq Coming - E&P: "The most powerful indictment of the news media for falling down in its duties in the run-up to the war in Iraq will appear next Wednesday, a 90-minute PBS broadcast called 'Buying the War,' which marks the return of 'Bill Moyers Journal.' "

The Bank

Brilliant mashup... with a message:

White House insiders: Gonzales hurt himself before panel -

White House insiders: Gonzales hurt himself before panel - "White House insiders tell CNN that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales hurt himself during testimony before a Senate committee Thursday on the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

The sources, involved in administration discussions about Gonzales, told White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux that two senior level White House aides who heard the testimony described Gonzales as 'going down in flames,' 'not doing himself any favors,' and 'predictable.'

'Everyone's putting their best public face on,' one source said, 'but everyone is discouraged. Everyone is disappointed.'"

Bush muses on marriage, chicken-plucking factories

Bush muses on marriage, chicken-plucking factories - AP via The Huffington Post: "Strange things sometimes come out of President Bush's mouth. 'Polls just go poof.' 'Remember the rug?'

When Bush went to Ohio on Thursday to talk about terrorism, he ended up musing about marriage and chicken-plucking plants, the agony of death and his Oval Office rug, which resembles a sunburst.

About his legacy, Bush said historians are still assessing George Washington, the nation's first leader. 'My attitude is, if they're still writing about (number) one, 43 doesn't need to worry about it.'

On being married: 'A good marriage is really good after serving together in Washington, D.C.'

Maybe the president just felt like jabbering at the town hall-style event in Tipp City, Ohio. He began talking about terrorism and ended 90 minutes later after chattering about everything from life after the White House to Vietnam War and the brutal Khmer Rouge regime.

Some highlights..."

The Nation: Story Lines at Virginia Tech

Story Lines at Virginia Tech - commentary by Bruce Shapiro at "'It is an inconceivable number,' the Roanoke TV anchor was saying Monday afternoon. 'Thirty-three lives.' As facts about Cho Seung-Hui emerge, we are all trying to make that number conceivable, sifting his playscripts, psychiatric referrals, stalking complaints and gun purchases for clues to his bizarre shooting rampage at Virginia Tech.

It will take time before anyone can say with certainty how Cho managed to get away with such a massacre. Independent law-enforcement professionals will evaluate Virginia Tech's response and the tragically wrongheaded misreading of Cho's initial shootings, which allowed him to roam campus without pursuit for two hours. University administrators around the country will doubtless ponder whether adequate mental-health services reach their most dangerously troubled students.

But in a sense the important thing now is how the story gets told and understood. The profoundly human yearning to impose a narrative line on chaotic tragedy leaves the meaning of an event like Virginia Tech up for grabs. Whether it is 'impossible to make sense of such violence and suffering' (as President Bush told the VT convocation) is a question with deep consequences, open equally to dangerous political exploitation and to just as dangerous fatalism about prevention and accountability."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

TCR: 2007 Eisner Award Nominees announced

The Comics Reporter: "Your 2007 Eisner Award Nominees..."

Stan Lee nominated for Best Short Story!

And Hall of Famers nominated:
Hall of Fame
* Ross Andru & Mike Esposito
* Dick Ayers
* Bernard Baily
* Matt Baker
* Wayne Boring
* Creig Flessel
* Harold Gray
* Irwin Hasen
* Graham Ingels
* Joe Orlando
* Lily Renee (Peters) Phillips
* Bob Powell
* Gilbert Shelton
* Cliff Sterrett
(Judges' Choices: Robert Kanigher and Ogden Whitney)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

CJR Daily: Fox News Takes Vonnegut's Bait, One Last Time

CJR Daily: Fox News Takes Vonnegut's Bait, One Last Time: "In an essay in 2004, Kurt Vonnegut, doing one of the things he did best, distilled in a single phrase what television (and, we would add, cable TV in particular) had done to our species: 'Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.'

Is there anyone better at proving this sad truism, day after spleen-bursting day, than the creators of FOX News?

Just look at what the channel did with Vonnegut's obituary, delivered in a three-minute segment yesterday by James Rosen. Challenging as it may have been for Rosen to present an appropriately complex picture of a man and an artist who happened, yes, to be a diehard liberal, it probably shouldn't have rendered the portrait of failure and imbecility that Rosen delivered." - AOL uploads slate of TV-style shows - AOL uploads slate of TV-style shows: "AOL is now officially a TV network.

In a network-style upfront presentation Tuesday, the Web giant announced a slate of programming with a full lineup of content from Hollywood vets."

Global Incident Map

Global Incident Map Displaying Terrorist Acts, Suspicious Activity, and General Terrorism News: Fascinating... here's what Very Short List says about this website:

Every secret headquarters, from the Batcave to 24’s CTU, has that map — you know, the ultra-detailed, wall-size one that pinpoints villains with blips of light and provides further information in a calm, computerized voice. We always dismissed it as Hollywood techno-fantasy — until we discovered the Global Incident Map. A self-described “Global Display of Terrorism and Other Suspicious Events,” the Website combines the staggering accuracy of Google Maps with constantly updated bulletins of more or less real-time news, ranging from ambushes in Baghdad to false alarms on airplanes in Oahu.

While the site might feed your paranoia, it’s also queasily gripping. With categories ranging from “Airport/Aviation Incidents” (e.g., shotgun shells found at Manchester airport) to “Biological Incidents/Threats/Anthrax Hoaxes etc.” (a possible hazmat contamination at the courthouse in La Plata, Maryland), the map gives you a quasi-omniscient snapshot of the post-9/11 planet.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Roommates Describe Gunman as Loner - New York Times

Roommates Describe Gunman as Loner - New York Times: "He was a stranger in a crowd of 26,000. Cho Seung-Hui was even unknown to the young man who for nearly a year slept just feet away from him.

“He was my roommate,” said Joe Aust, a 19-year-old sophomore. “I didn’t know him that well, though.”

Mr. Aust, who was an engineering major, and another student who shared their suite, Karan Grewal, 21, painted a picture of a loner who ate his meals alone in the dining hall and shunned any attempts at friendship.

They never saw him with a girl or any friends for that matter.

But they thought he was just strange. Never in a million years could they imagine him to be the kind of person who would kill 32 other people in a three-hour spasm of violence.

Mr. Cho was identified this morning by officials at Virginia Tech as the man who the day before gunned down professors and fellow classmates in what now stands as the worst rampage shooting in American history."

THE BEAT: Clowes' Frankenstein

THE BEAT: "A new round of Penguin Classics with covers by comics-types is on the way, apparently; the first to be revealed, Dan Clowes’ Frankenstein!"

TCR: Brant Parker, RIP

The Comics Reporter: "Brant Parker, the co-creator and longtime artist of The Wizard of Id, died Sunday in Virginia after a long period of poor health. He was 86 years old."

TIME: The Design 100

The Design 100 - The Style & Design 100 | TIME: "Good design is everywhere these days. Great design—the objects, places and ideas that fuse functionality and aesthetics and then push the boundaries a step further to capture the imagination—is more elusive. Take a look at the standouts."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pulitzers announced

: "COMMENTARY - Cynthia Tucker, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for columns 'that evince a strong sense of morality and persuasive knowledge of the community.'"

Congratulations to Cynthia!

Fiction: "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.
Editorial Cartooning: Walt Handelsman.
See the whole list.

TV Week: 10 Most Powerful People in TV News

TV Week: "Drum roll, please. It's time for TelevisionWeek's 2007 list of the 10 Most Powerful People in TV News. As always, our completely unscientific (but earnest) selection process starts with extensive research. It includes gossip and backstage drama, with additional points for the sort of muscle and moxie that make things happen, plus extra consideration for profile, ratings, revenue and projections. And finally we throw in what we like to call a little 'have we got your attention now?' shock value. Can you guess who fell off the list this year?

1. Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News

2. Steve Capus, President of NBC News

3. Charles Gibson, Anchor, ABC's 'World News'

4. David Westin, President of ABC News

5. Tim Russert, Managing editor and moderator of 'Meet the Press' and senior VP and Washington bureau chief for NBC News

6. Keith Olbermann, Host of MSNBC's 'Countdown With Keith Olbermann'

7. Sean McManus, President of CBS News

8. Jon Klein, President of CNN/U.S.; Ken Jautz, Executive VP of CNN Worldwide; Jim Walton, President of CNN Worldwide

9. N.S. Bienstock, Talent agency

10. Jon Stewart, Anchor of Comedy Central's 'The Daily Show'"

Norton signed to star as Dr. Bruce Banner in Hulk sequel PULSE: Will we like him when he's angry? The Illusionist's Edward Norton is going to be taking over Eric Bana's role as Dr. Bruce Banner in The Hulk sequel, The Incredible Hulk."

Media Matters - It's not just Imus

Media Matters - It's not just Imus: "On April 11, NBC News announced that it was dropping MSNBC's simulcast of Imus in the Morning in the wake of the controversy that erupted over host Don Imus' reference to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as 'nappy-headed hos.' The following day, CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves announced that CBS -- which owns both the radio station that broadcast Imus' program and Westwood One, which syndicated the program -- has fired Imus and would cease broadcasting his radio show. But as Media Matters for America has extensively documented, bigotry and hate speech targeting, among other characteristics, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ethnicity continue to permeate the airwaves through personalities such as Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Michael Smerconish, and John Gibson."

IHT: Evangelical Christians feared, but multifaceted

Letter from Washington: Evangelical Christians feared, but multifaceted - International Herald Tribune: "The evangelical Christian movement conjures up a very negative picture to many Europeans and to more than a few Americans. A Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll last year found that more than one-fifth of Americans would not vote for an evangelical Christian for president, far more than those who ruled out a Jew or a Catholic.

This picture is of a narrow, bigoted collection of pious people who wish to impose their politics and religion on the United States. It is reinforced by the likes of James Dobson, an influential religious leader who recently pronounced a Republican presidential hopeful, Fred Thompson, as insufficiently Christian. There is another portrait. It is contained in an interesting book, 'Applebee's America,' written by Ron Fournier, a journalist; Doug Sosnik, formerly a political strategist for President Bill Clinton; and Matthew Dowd, who helped run President George W. Bush's 2004 campaign. It focuses on the megachurches, home to much of the evangelical Christian movement."

Google maps the Darfur crisis

Google maps the Darfur crisis | News | "Keeping an eye on the crisis in Sudan's troubled Darfur region just got a little easier, thanks to a new satellite-mapping service offered by Google Inc.

Now anyone with a high-speed Internet connection can zoom in on satellite images of any of the 1,600 devastated villages and get detailed information provided by the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington.

The collaboration is an effort to raise awareness about the three-year-old conflict that has killed more than 200,000 and displaced more than 2.5 million people by giving ordinary people access to images generally available only to spies, diplomats, and heads of state."

Saturday, April 14, 2007

More Katie Couric Trouble - HuffPo

Eat The Press | More Katie Couric Trouble: Updates Notebook Again After Spreading Debunked Obama Rumor | The Huffington Post Rachel Sklar: "It almost seems like it can't be possible, yet it is — there's another problem on Katie Couric's 'Couric & Co.' blog, and it's not minor. Last week, one of her producers was busted for plagiarizing a Wall Street Journal essay for one of her 'Notebook' dispatches, where she prattled on gaily about her memories of her first library card. Er, oops. This time, CBS has egg on their face about another 'Notebook' entry — one which resurrected the Barack Obama madrassa rumor, that had been thoroughly, totally debunked in January. It's April."

Preview: Titanic Two: The Surface

Nice mashup!

Ian Rankin to write a Hellblazer series News - Hat Tip ComicsList: "Ian Rankin's visit to America is also tying up another of his long-held ambitions - to write a comic book.

While in New York, the writer met editors at DC Comics, the creators of heroes such as Batman and Wonder Woman.

Rankin is planning to write a six-part story for Hellblazer, a monthly comic. It will be based on John Constantine, a detective who investigates the paranormal. In 2005 the character featured in the film Constantine, which starred Keanu Reeves.

Rankin said: 'With song lyrics and comic books, I'm back to what I wanted to do when I was about 11 years old.

'Let's wait and see if I can do it; maybe it will turn out that I can't. It is much more like a screenwriter's skill than a novelist's skill. You have to use very few words, and a lot of the writing is just instructions to the artist.'"

Friday, April 13, 2007

New art, serialized plot startle fans of Archie Comics | 04/12/2007 | New art, serialized plot startle fans of Archie Comics: "You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind -- and apparently you don't mess with Archie Andrews and the gang.

In December, Archie Comics announced that a new 'dynamic art style' was coming for its classic characters.

Fans were not pleased, managing editor Victor Gorelick says. 'Most of the readers were `How can you give them this new look?'' Gorelick said. ''I've read Archie all my life and now you're changing him.''

But the largely negative reaction stemmed from a misunderstanding, Gorelick said in a phone interview from Archie Comics' offices in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

'People thought we were going to change the entire line, which wasn't so,' he said. The change, coming in May's 'Betty & Veronica Double Digest' No. 151, applies only to a four-part story running in that title.

While Gorelick doesn't rule out the new look eventually showing up elsewhere, there is no plan for sweeping changes in the classic Archie look set by artist Dan DeCarlo more than 40 years ago."

Rove E-Mail Sought by Congress May Be Missing -

Rove E-Mail Sought by Congress May Be Missing - "A lawyer for the Republican National Committee told congressional staff members yesterday that the RNC is missing at least four years' worth of e-mail from White House senior adviser Karl Rove that is being sought as part of investigations into the Bush administration, according to the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

GOP officials took issue with Rep. Henry Waxman's account of the briefing and said they still hope to find the e-mail as they conduct forensic work on their computer equipment. But they acknowledged that they took action to prevent Rove -- and Rove alone among the two dozen or so White House officials with RNC accounts -- from deleting his e-mails from the RNC server. Waxman (D-Calif.) said he was told the RNC made that move in 2005."

Vonnegut: An Appreciation -- AJC's Phil Kloer

KURT VONNEGUT: AN APPRECIATION: Left-wing icon drew a bead on war | "Kurt Vonnegut, the 'Slaughterhouse-Five' author who spun a horrific event during World War II into an anti-war novel that rallied the Vietnam War generation, was an icon of the counterculture and the political left for almost 40 years. Long before it was fashionable, he worried that human beings were killing the Earth.

In his later decades, Vonnegut, who died Wednesday after suffering brain injuries resulting from a fall at his Manhattan home weeks ago, cultivated a curmudgeonly aura and frequently said that he had 'given up' on humanity. In his Long Island farmhouse, however, he hung a sign that read: 'G— damn it, you got to be kind,' which doesn't sound like someone who's given up."

On Friday the 13th, 2029: An asteroid's orbit may alter, threatening Earth |

On Friday the 13th, 2029: An asteroid's orbit may alter, threatening Earth | "Twenty-two years from today, also on a Friday the 13th, an asteroid longer than a battleship will skirt past the Earth —- so close it likely will pass between the planet and the satellites that carry our communications.

Because of its nearness, Earth's gravitational field could shift the path of the giant rock —- named Apophis, after the ancient Egyptian god of destruction —- enough that it would become a collision hazard on its next pass in 2036.

That has scientists around the globe working on ways to alter the path of space rocks on potential collision courses with Earth."

Off the Air: The Light Goes Out for Don Imus - New York Times

Off the Air: The Light Goes Out for Don Imus - New York Times: "CBS brought a weeklong confrontation over a racial and sexual insult by the radio host Don Imus to an end yesterday when it canceled the “Imus in the Morning” program, effective immediately.

The move came a day after the cable television network MSNBC, a General Electric unit that has simulcast Mr. Imus’s radio program for the last 10 years, removed the show from its morning lineup. The two moves, taken together, mean that Mr. Imus, who has been broadcasting the program for more than 30 years, no longer has a home on either national radio or television.

It is possible, though, that he could re-emerge on satellite radio.

Mr. Imus received the news at home in a telephone call. Many of his listeners learned of it during the afternoon radio show “Mike and the Mad Dog,” which announced it on WFAN, the CBS-owned New York station that also carried Mr. Imus’s program."

Missing E-Mail May Be Related to Prosecutors - New York Times

Missing E-Mail May Be Related to Prosecutors - New York Times: "The White House said Thursday that missing e-mail messages sent on Republican Party accounts may include some relating to the firing of eight United States attorneys.

The disclosure became a fresh political problem for the White House, as Democrats stepped up their inquiry into whether Karl Rove and other top aides to President Bush used the e-mail accounts maintained by the Republican National Committee to circumvent record-keeping requirements.

It also exposed the dual electronic lives led by Mr. Rove and 21 other White House officials who maintain separate e-mail accounts for government business and work on political campaigns — and raised serious questions, in the eyes of Democrats, about whether political accounts were used to conduct official work without leaving a paper trail."

Turmoil Grows for Wolfowitz at World Bank - New York Times

Turmoil Grows for Wolfowitz at World Bank - New York Times: "Paul D. Wolfowitz’s tenure as president of the World Bank was thrown into turmoil on Thursday by the disclosure that he had helped arrange a pay raise for his companion at the time of her transfer from the bank to the State Department, where she remained on the bank payroll.

In a chaotic day of revelations and meetings at a normally staid institution, Mr. Wolfowitz apologized for his role in the raise and transfer of Shaha Ali Riza, his companion, to a few hundred staff members assembled in the bank building atrium, only to be greeted by booing, catcalls and cries for his resignation.

Earlier, the bank’s staff association had declared that it was “impossible for the institution to move forward with any sense of purpose under the present leadership.” The association had helped spearhead an investigation into Ms. Riza’s transfer and raise, details of which came into the open in the last 24 hours."

Wolfowitz, of course, is one of the neocons responsible for the Iraq war.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

CBS fires Don Imus from radio show

CBS fires Don Imus from radio show - Yahoo! News: "CBS fired Don Imus from his radio show Thursday, the final blow for the broadcaster."

I guess this leaves him only on WFAN in NYC. Unless his buddy Mel Karmizan finds a place for him on Sirius...

TV Week: Daniels RIP

TV Week: "Stan Daniels, co-creator of the hit 1970s show 'Taxi' and writer for the 'Mary Tyler Moore Show,' died of heart failure on April 6. He was 72."

Flash Gordon comes to Sci-Fi PULSE : "Flash a-ah, he's for every one of us!" But will today's audience be interested in the adventures of one of sci-fi's oldest space-faring hero? The Sci-Fi Channel hopes so as they've ordered 22 episodes of an updated Flash Gordon series, set to make its debut this August. Former Smallville resident Eric Johnson is set to play the lead.

According to USA Today, "The 22-hour series is set to debut in August with Gordon, backed by his classic cohorts Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov, trying to safeguard Earth against attack by the cruel intergalactic predator, Ming."

Jesus tomb film scholars backtrack - Jerusalem Post

Jesus tomb film scholars backtrack | Jerusalem Post: "Several prominent scholars who were interviewed in a bitterly contested documentary that suggests that Jesus and his family members were buried in a nondescript ancient Jerusalem burial cave have now revised their conclusions, including the statistician who claimed that the odds were 600:1 in favor of the tomb being the family burial cave of Jesus of Nazareth, a new study on the fallout from the popular documentary shows.

The dramatic clarifications, compiled by epigrapher Stephen Pfann of the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem in a paper titled 'Cracks in the Foundation: How the Lost Tomb of Jesus story is losing its scholarly support,' come two months after the screening of The Lost Tomb of Christ that attracted widespread public interest, despite the concomitant scholarly ridicule."

The Imus Fallout: Who Can Say What?

The Imus Fallout: Who Can Say What? -- James Poniewozik at Very good essay on the whole brouhaha and beyond.

Imus' program off MSNBC |

Imus' program off MSNBC | "NBC announced Wednesday that it was dropping Don Imus' program from its MSNBC cable network as the backlash continued to grow over racially disparaging remarks Imus made about the Rutgers University women's basketball team and advertisers said they were pulling their commercials from the morning television program.

MSNBC, which simulcasts Imus' nationally syndicated radio program, had previously said it would suspend Imus for two weeks, beginning next Monday, as did CBS Radio, his chief employer. CBS Radio reaffirmed the suspension in a statement after the NBC announcement and said it would 'continue to speak with all concerned parties and monitor the situation closely.'"

Author Vonnegut dies at 84 |

Author Vonnegut dies at 84 | "Kurt Vonnegut, whose dark comic talent and urgent moral vision in novels like 'Slaughterhouse-Five,' 'Cat's Cradle' and 'God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater' caught the temper of his times and the imagination of a generation, died Wednesday night in Manhattan."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Gates Announces Longer Tours in Iraq

Gates Announces Longer Tours in Iraq | The Huffington Post: "Beginning immediately, all active-duty Army soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will serve 15-month tours -- three months longer than the usual standard, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday.

It was the latest move by the Pentagon to cope with the strains of fighting two wars simultaneously and maintaining a higher troop level in Iraq as part of President Bush's revised strategy for stabilizing Baghdad."

TVWeek Blog - Have a Pepsi Day

TVWeek Blog by Tom Gilbert - Have a Pepsi Day: "Some of the greatest TV of all time is neither sitcom nor drama; rather it is the lowly TV commercial. Among the best of the best are the Pepsi-Cola spots of the late ’60s and early ’70s."

He's got three great Pepsi commercials posted, man do they bring back memories.

Billy Collins Action Poetry

------ billy collins--action poetry ------

Fascinating animations with one of America's best poets reading his poems. Here's what Very Short List says:

People are still unaccustomed to reading long articles online, so it makes sense that the Internet would be an ideal medium for poetry. Most poems are short or shortish, and the Web is very effective at reaching small, niche audiences. At you can see what happens when poetry and the digital age are combined with high style. The result is a perfect antidote for today’s attention deficit syndrome.

The site features Billy Collins, probably America’s most famous good poet, reading 11 of his own poems, each set to short, beautiful animated films by different artists. Originally produced as a collaboration between the J. Walter Thompson ad agency and the Sundance Channel, the films are a series of poems-as-music-videos that run from the wry to the surprisingly moving — or both, as with the 35-second No Time, Collins’s vision of his parents rising from their graves illustrated by filmmaker Jeff Scher’s collage-y cascade of autumnal, dreamlike drawings.

BBC: Red Cross report: Iraqis face 'immense' suffering

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraqis face 'immense' suffering: "The International Committee of the Red Cross says the situation for ordinary Iraqis is getting steadily worse.

Four years after the US-led invasion, the ICRC says the conflict is inflicting immense suffering, and calls for greater protection of civilians.

An Iraqi woman quoted in the report said people wanted help to collect bodies lining streets every morning."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dial B for BLOG transmogrifies to...

DIAL B FOR BURBANK: "Greetings, DIAL B for BLOG fans! Greetings Shadowfans! And welcome to DIAL B for BURBANK, a blog that seems to be devoted to covering every aspect of Walter B. Gibson's crimebusting Master of the Night. I am BURBANK, communications operative. It will be my job to issue periodic reports to guide you through the magic, the mystery, and the misdirection of this blog, and the fantastical world of The Shadow."

Roker says Time for Imus to Go

AllDay : Roker says Time for Imus to Go: "I cannot tell you how many people have asked me about my thoughts on Don Imus. As a student of broadcasting, I know Don Imus was one of the original “shock jocks.” I listened to him growing up in New York City in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

He is a radio icon.

That said, it is time for him to go.

I, for one, am really tired of the diatribes, the “humor” at others’ expense, the cruelty that passes for “funny”. Don Imus isn’t the only one doing this, but today he’s the one in the hot seat.

What he said was vile and disgusting. It denigrated an entire team and by extension, a community and its pride in a group that had excelled.

Don Imus needs to be fired for what he said. And while we’re at it, his producer, Bernard McGurk, needs to be canned as well. McGurk is just as guilty, often egging Imus on."

Apple sells 100 million iPods

Apple sells 100 million iPods - "Apple Inc. has sold its 100 millionth iPod in just over five years, boasting on Monday that the digital device was 'the fastest selling music player in history' that appeals to both young and old."

Sex Offenders Test Churches’ Core Beliefs - New York Times

Sex Offenders Test Churches’ Core Beliefs - New York Times: "On a marquee outside and on a banner inside, Pilgrim United Church of Christ proclaims, “All are welcome.” Sustained by the belief that embracing all comers is a living example of Christ’s love, Pilgrim now faces a profound test of faith.

In late January, Mark Pliska, 53, told the congregation here that he had been in prison for molesting children but that he sought a place to worship and liked the atmosphere at Pilgrim.

Mr. Pliska’s request has plunged the close-knit congregation into a painful discussion about applying faith in a difficult real-world situation. Congregants now wonder, are all truly welcome? If they are, how do you ensure the safety of children and the healing of adult survivors of sexual abuse? Can an offender who accepts Christ truly change?"

Monday, April 09, 2007

Imus Suspended From CBS Radio, MSNBC

Imus Suspended From CBS Radio, MSNBC: "Don Imus will be punished for his controversial comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team.

NBC News has decided to suspend him, allowing him to finish the week on MSNBC, but suspending the simulcast of his radio show for the two weeks after that. CBS Radio also said it would suspend Imus for the same period."

I have enjoyed parts of Imus' program on the radio and MSNBC for years. I like many of the political and news media personalities he has on. But too often his shock jock background emerges in a way that just isn't right. This being the latest example. I don't think he should be fired, but I hope he learns something from the strong reaction he's been getting.

Killers and Oasis among groups to cover Sgt. Pepper's album

The Cleveland Leader: "'It was 40 years ago today, Sgt Pepper taught the band to play,' that is how the new tribute of classic Beatles album should start off as Oasis, The Killers, Razorlite, James Morrison, The Fratellis and Travis plan on doing a tribute to the Beatles 1967 classic. Lesley Douglas of BBC said: 'This will be not only a unique radio event, but a very special musical moment.'The range and quality of artists involved ensure that this will be a fitting tribute to one of the great albums of all time.' The bands have not decided who will do which songs. The songs will air on BBC 2 on June 2nd, 40 years after the album hit the shelves for the first time. No word on if the recording will be released, but if all goes well recording it don't be suprised to see it on iTunes come July."

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann Finds His Niche as a Bush-Bashing Hero for Lefties -- New York Magazine

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann Finds His Niche as a Bush-Bashing Hero for Lefties -- New York Magazine: "Keith Olbermann fumbled his way through sportscasting and talk-show gigs with varying degrees of success. Now he's found his niche as a truth-telling, Bush-bashing accidental liberal hero."

Patterns of War Shift Amid U.S. Force Buildup - New York Times

Patterns of War Shift Amid U.S. Force Buildup - New York Times: "Nearly two months into the new security push in Baghdad, there has been some success in reducing the number of death squad victims found crumpled in the streets each day.

And while the overall death rates for all of Iraq have not dropped significantly, largely because of devastating suicide bombings, a few parts of the capital have become calmer as some death squads have decided to lie low.

But there is little sign that the Baghdad push is accomplishing its main purpose: to create an island of stability in which Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs and Kurds can try to figure out how to run the country together. There has been no visible move toward compromise on the main dividing issues, like regional autonomy and more power sharing between Shiites and Sunnis.

For American troops, Baghdad has become a deadlier battleground as they have poured into the capital to confront Sunni and Shiite militias on their home streets. The rate of American deaths in the city over the first seven weeks of the security plan has nearly doubled from the previous period, though it has stayed roughly the same over all, decreasing in other parts of the country as troops have focused on the capital."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

'B.C.' Cartoonist Johnny Hart Dies

'B.C.' Cartoonist Johnny Hart Dies at 76 | The Huffington Post: "Cartoonist Johnny Hart, whose award-winning 'B.C.' comic strip appeared in more than 1,300 newspapers worldwide, died Saturday while working at his home in Endicott. He was 76.

'He had a stroke,' Hart's wife, Bobby, said Sunday. 'He died at his storyboard.'"

Can box of bones jolt faith in Jesus? |

Can box of bones jolt faith in Jesus? | "Could a Christian still believe in the resurrection even if they had found the bones of Jesus?

'Paul would, and so would I,' says John Dominic Crossan, author of 'God & Empire' (HarperSanFrancisco, $22.95). 'If you said to Paul, 'We found the bones of Jesus. Does that destroy the resurrection?' I think he would say, 'Get a life. ... It's not about his bones, it's about his wounds.' '

Arguing the opposite point, the Rev. Victor Pentz, senior pastor of Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Buckhead, says that finding Jesus' bones would shatter Christianity."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Atlas Tales - The Information Resource for Timely/Atlas/Marvel Comics

Atlas Tales - The Information Resource for Timely/Atlas/Marvel Comics: "Atlas Tales is an attempt to organize all the information about the comics published by Martin Goodman's Timely/Marvel/Atlas line from 1939 to 1960 (or so)."


Jonathan Lethem Profile in Los Angeles CityBeat

Jonathan Lethem - Los Angeles CityBeat: "The novelist on writing about Los Angeles, film adaptation, and fighting intellectual property rights."

MLK: Beyond Vietnam... 40 Years Later - NBC renews '30 Rock' - NBC renews '30 Rock': "NBC's critically hailed '30 Rock' will roll on to another season.

Peacock has given an early greenlight to the Tina Fey-Alec Baldwin starrer from Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video. Net's hoping 'Rock' will follow the pattern of other slow-building NBC comedy success stories in years past, including current hit 'The Office.'"

The Resurrection by Andy Lee

Andy Lee is one of my favorite artists. His Asian style of brushwork together with his comics influences create compelling and unforgettable images.

Several years ago one Easter weekend, I attended a comics convention in Atlanta, and Andy was in artists' alley. I approached him to draw me a sketch. He asked if I had a particular subject. I suggested he draw Jesus. To my surprise, he beamed, and drew the following in about ten minutes-- an image of a resurrected Jesus leaping from the cross. Incredible.

The framed image is in my office at work. This photo doesn't do it justice.

Beliefnet: Diana Butler Bass on the Resurrection

God's Politics - Diana Butler Bass at "Progressive Christians often stumble on the resurrection. Many will sit in churches this Easter Sunday, silently doubting or questioning the minister's sermon. They may like the music, appreciate the tradition and liturgy, and delight in the feelings of joy – but they will not really believe the resurrection. One of the great theological problems of old-style Protestant liberalism was the doctrine of the resurrection – it defied logic, reason, and human experience that a man would be raised from the dead. Having rejected the idea of the miraculous, the liberal tradition turned resurrection into an allegory or a spiritual metaphor."

Anderson Cooper on Christians and sex - Anderson Cooper 360: "Are Christians obsessed with sex? Some say the church is interfering in the private lives of Americans, while others say sex is something to be explored as part of one's walk with Christ. A '360' special report: 'What is a Christian,' explores sex & salvation."

Swift Boat donor's appointment sidesteps Congress

Swift Boat donor's appointment sidesteps Congress - "President Bush named Republican fundraiser Sam Fox as U.S. ambassador to Belgium on Wednesday, using a maneuver that allowed him to bypass Congress where Democrats had derailed Fox's nomination.

Democrats had denounced Fox for his 2004 donation to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The group's TV ads, which claimed that Sen. John Kerry exaggerated his military record in Vietnam, were viewed as a major factor in the Massachusetts Democrat's losing the election.

Recognizing Fox did not have the votes to obtain Senate confirmation, Bush withdrew the nomination last month. On Wednesday, with Congress out of town for a spring break, the president used his power to make recess appointments to put Fox in the job without Senate confirmation."

'Christmas Story' Director Dies in Crash

'Christmas Story' Director Dies in Crash | "Film director Robert Clark, best known for the holiday classic 'A Christmas Story,' was killed with his son Wednesday in a head-on crash with a vehicle steered into the wrong lane by a drunken driver, police and the filmmaker's assistant said."

Spinning Into Oblivion - New York Times

Spinning Into Oblivion - New York Times: Op-Ed By TONY SACHS and SAL NUNZIATO: The major labels wanted to kill the single. Instead they killed the album. The Recording Industry Association of America wanted to kill Napster. Instead it killed the compact disc.

BBC: Spider-Man 3 set for NY premiere

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Spider-Man 3 set for NY premiere: "Spider-Man is to return to US cinema screens at the end of April with the premiere of the third movie at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

Spider-Man 3 will make its US debut on 30 April at the UA Kaufman Astoria cinema in Queens - the home borough of Spider-Man's alter ego Peter Parker.

A marching band will lead stars such as Tobey Maguire down a black carpet.

The world premiere takes place in Tokyo on 16 April and the film opens to the public around the globe from 1-4 May."

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bangkok Post: YouTube plug pulled in Thailand

Bangkok Post: "Internet users reported on Wednesday that Thai authorities had blocked the popular website YouTube, over an insulting video of His Majesty the King.

Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom, the minister of information and communication technology, told the Reuters news agency he personally ordered a block of the entire site from Thailand after the ministry's attempts to block the offending page last week failed.

'Since Google (which owns YouTube) has rejected our repeated requests to withdraw the clip, we can't help blocking the entire site in Thailand,' said Mr Sitthichai. 'When they decide to withdraw the clip, we will withdraw the ban,' he said.

Frank Cho Interview

Getting down to monkey business :: Gateway: "Cartoonist Frank Cho talks about the future of comics, his newspaper frustrations and—of course—his undying love for monkeys..."

Evanier: Kirby, Kirby, Kirby, Kirby!

news from Mark Evanierr: "I've been writing a lot lately about one of my favorite topics, Jack Kirby. In the last month, four separate pieces about the man some call the greatest comic book creator of all time have made their way through my copy of Microsoft Word...and for four separate publishers. Here's a rundown of them in no particular order..."

Dial B for BLOG: What's next?

DIAL B for BLOG MESSAGE BOARD: For those who came in late... and everyone else too: "Once, there was a blog called 'DIAL B FOR BLOG,' devoted mostly to Silver Age DC comic books.

That site, which was updated daily for over 387 issues, is over.

Its creator(s), Robby Reed/KK, are gone.

Now, I am here.

Who am I?

What next?

I am in the process of presenting 10 clues which, if decoded, will answer that question.

The FIRST FIVE PEOPLE to solve the puzzle will win a very special prize.

This is not just ANY prize.

This is an item destined to become one of the rarest, most sought-after treasures in the history of pop culture.

Get to work!

Believe it or not, one person has solved it all ready!


Peabody Award Winners for 2006 announced

Press Releases: "Complete List of 2006 Peabody Award Winners."

I happen to work on a program that received a Peabody in 1984! (Before my time...)

Obama Raises $25M From 100,000 Donors -

Obama Raises $25M From 100,000 Donors - "Democrat Barack Obama raked in $25 million for his presidential bid in the first three months of 2007, placing him on a par with front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and dashing her image as the party's inevitable nominee.

The donations came from an eye-popping 100,000 donors, the campaign said in a statement.

The figure was the latest evidence that Obama, a political newcomer who has served just two years in the Senate, has emerged as the most powerful new force in presidential politics this year. It also reinforced his status as a significant threat to Clinton, who'd hoped her own $26 million first quarter fundraising total would begin to squeeze her rivals out of contention."

Martin Marty on Obama's "Controversial" Church

The University of Chicago Martin Marty Center - Sightings: "Note: This is not an endorsement of Senator Obama as a candidate.

Note: This is not a non-endorsement of Senator Obama as a candidate.

Note: I don't do endorsements.

Note: This is not even about Senator Obama.

It is about Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where the Senator was converted and is a member. Some editorials and the more strident TV networks and radio talkmeisters tell its story wrong, no doubt intentionally. Friendship for the church and its staff, and a desire to help set the church-reporting record straight, impel some comment here."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

McCain Wrong on Iraq Security, Merchants Say - New York Times

McCain Wrong on Iraq Security, Merchants Say - New York Times: "A day after members of an American Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain pointed to their brief visit to Baghdad’s central market as evidence that the new security plan for the city was working, the merchants there were incredulous about the Americans’ conclusions.

“What are they talking about?” Ali Jassim Faiyad, the owner of an electrical appliances shop in the market, said Monday. “The security procedures were abnormal!”

The delegation arrived at the market, which is called Shorja, on Sunday with more than 100 soldiers in armored Humvees — the equivalent of an entire company — and attack helicopters circled overhead, a senior American military official in Baghdad said. The soldiers redirected traffic from the area and restricted access to the Americans, witnesses said, and sharpshooters were posted on the roofs. The congressmen wore bulletproof vests throughout their hourlong visit.

“They paralyzed the market when they came,” Mr. Faiyad said during an interview in his shop on Monday. “This was only for the media.”"

Could this be McCain's Dukakis-in-the-tank moment? - Networks clean house - Networks clean house: "It was a Bloody Monday in TV land as the nets delivered bad news to the casts and crews of several skeins, including 'The Wedding Bells,' 'Six Degrees,' '7th Heaven' and 'The Black Donnellys.'"

C&L: Olbermann's World's Worst

Crooks and Liars - The Eggman & BillO Get World’s Worst: "Matt Drudge and Bill O'Reilly earn Monday's World's Worst." Check out the video. Drudge gets it because of that fake Michael Ware CNN "scoop," and O'Reilly because of his shameless treatment of the retired military Colonel whose mike he cut off. Great stuff.

Religious right's reign about over

Religious right's reign about over - Bonnie Erbe in the Seattle PI: "Is the rocky reign of the religious right (subverting American politics) finally reaching a much-deserved end? Two new indicators point to a portentous fall from grace.

The first comes in a little-covered aspect of a poll released last week by the Pew Research Center. The Center's 'Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007' conducts periodic, comprehensive surveys of Americans' values. The most recent edition finds that religiosity, which grew until the mid-1990s, is starting to decline.

'While most Americans remain religious in both belief and practice, the percentage expressing strong religious beliefs has edged down since the 1990s. And the survey finds an increase in the relatively small percentage of the public that can be categorized as secular,' the Pew Research Center's Web site states.

Further, only 45 percent of Americans told Pew researchers that 'prayer is an important part of my daily life' this year, as opposed to 55 percent in 1999. Sixty-one percent of Americans told Pew researchers they 'never doubted the existence of God,' down from 72 percent of Americans making that claim in 1999.

Funny, isn't it, that prayer and certainty about the existence of God reached its apex toward the end of the Clinton administration and has clearly descended during the Bush administration."

Hogan's Alley Newsletter!

The next issue of the outstanding journal of comic strips and other comics-oriented cultural ephemera, Hogan's Alley, is coming soon, and editor Tom Heintjes has issued a newsletter, portions of which follow:

Dear fellow comics fan:

We're deep into production on Hogan's Alley #15, and we wanted to stay
in touch as we produce what we think is our most eclectic and
interesting issue yet. (Yeah, we say that every time, and this time we
mean it!)

FREE HOGAN'S ALLEY DAY: In observance of Free Comic Book Day
(Saturday, May 5), Hogan's Alley will mail a free copy to whomever
requests one on that date. So mark your calendars and remember to drop
us an e-mail on May 5, and we'll mail you an issue of our choosing.

If it's springtime, it's awards season for cartoonists! The movies
have the Oscars, television has the Emmys, and cartooning has the only
slightly less prestigious Reuben Awards. The membership of the
National Cartoonists Society has nominated cartoonists in a range of
categories, and the winners will be announced on May 26. The staff of
Hogan's Alley, using our peerless insight, a Ouija board and the Magic
8-Ball, has made our fearless predictions for some of the categories:

("Cancer Vixen"), Gene Luen Yang ("American Born Chinese") and Marjane
Satrapi ("Chicken With Plums"). The fact that this division includes
so many non-Anglo names speaks to the impressive cultural diversity
that the comic-book form has attracted in recent years. SHOULD WIN:
Yang's culturally aware, Printz Award-winning novel transcends the
label of "comic book" and can be enjoyed by young adults and older
readers alike. WILL WIN: Marchetto's high-profile work in The New
Yorker has created a pre-existing fan base, and her courageous self-
portrait in "Vixen" is icing on the cake.

Tribune), Glenn McCoy (Universal Press) and Mike Ramirez (formerly of
the Los Angeles Times, now with Investor's Business Daily). Apart from
the obvious bias toward cartoonists named Mike, the nominees are
notable for their overall conservative perspective. SHOULD WIN:
Ramirez, an idiosyncratic stylist with a strongly iconoclastic point
of view, grabbed headlines in the cartooning biz when he was
unceremoniously and ham-handedly fired from the Times. WILL WIN: Among
strong competition, Ramirez.

Kieran Meehan ("Meehan") and Hilary Price ("Rhymes With Orange"). Is
this a category that attracts cartoonists who enjoy writing more than
drawing? (And we mean that as a compliment.) The three nominees offer
three types of observational humor with a postironic twist. SHOULD
WIN: For a long time now, Price has been writing strong material that
compares favorably with much of the current crop of New Yorker
cartoonists. WILL WIN: Price.

the Pinhead"), Stephan Pastis ("Pearls Before Swine") and Mark Tatulli
("Lio"). The NCS created a Murderers Row with this lineup--each strip
is a starkly off-kilter accomplishment in the tremulous environment of
the daily comics page. SHOULD WIN: Griffith has been keeping the
comics page safe for surreality with the daily version of "Zippy"
since 1986 and could be said to have paved the way for others like
him. And as much as we enjoy "Lio," it's the new kid on the block
compared to the other nominees. WILL WIN: Pastis' strip is a winning
combination: a critical darling and darkly funny. And it doesn't hurt
that Pastis is a favorite among his voting peers.

NOMINEES FOR THE REUBEN AWARD: Those in the running for the top award
(despite common misperception, this award is the ONLY Reuben Award
given each year; the others are divisional awards) are Bill Amend
("Foxtrot"), Dave Coverly ("Speed Bump") and Dan Piraro ("Bizarro").
It's a lineup mercifully devoid of "living legends," allowing for a
more level playing field. (It's never fun for a cartoonist to go up
against a Jack Davis or a Will Eisner.) SHOULD WIN: Piraro is beloved
by his peers and demonstrates daily that the comics page can still be
hospitable to brilliant art. Always solid and occasionally
transcendent gagwriting only adds to his credentials. WILL WIN: While
Coverly and Piraro will no doubt hold the hardware in their hands one
day, Amend will win for the years of popular work he's produced, and
making headlines with his unusual move to Sundays-only status gains
him respect from his voting colleagues (and, lucratively, opened up
plenty of spots on the comics page for them to occupy).

Anne Lamott on Easter

Easter Splash -- "For best-selling author Anne Lamott, the resurrection mystery is easy to believe because she has been living it for over twenty years." Click on the link for the video.

The Independent (UK): The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis

The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis - Independent Online Edition > Middle East: "A failed American attempt to abduct two senior Iranian security officers on an official visit to northern Iraq was the starting pistol for a crisis that 10 weeks later led to Iranians seizing 15 British sailors and Marines.

Early on the morning of 11 January, helicopter-born US forces launched a surprise raid on a long-established Iranian liaison office in the city of Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. They captured five relatively junior Iranian officials whom the US accuses of being intelligence agents and still holds.

In reality the US attack had a far more ambitious objective, The Independent has learned. The aim of the raid, launched without informing the Kurdish authorities, was to seize two men at the very heart of the Iranian security establishment.


Sydney Pollack to Direct Film on 2000 Bush-Gore 'Recount' for HBO

Sydney Pollack to Direct Film on 2000 Bush-Gore 'Recount' for HBO - Editor & Publisher: "HBO is revisiting one of the most dramatic events in U.S. election history with 'Recount,' a film about the 2000 turmoil in Florida to be directed by Oscar winner Sydney Pollack.

Paula Weinstein is executive producing the HBO Films project, which is targeted to premiere in spring 2008.

Written by actor Danny Strong, Spring Creek Prods.' 'Recount' chronicles the weeks after the 2000 presidential election and goes behind the scenes of the recounts in Florida to explore the human drama of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary event that would decide the leadership of the country."

TP: Mitchell: Petraeus Held Closed-Door Strategy Meeting With Republican Caucus

Think Progress - Mitchell: Petraeus Held Closed-Door Strategy Meeting With Republican Caucus: "This morning on the Chris Matthews Show, NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell revealed that Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, met “very recently” with the Senate Republican caucus to discuss their strategy on Iraq legislation.

“Petraeus went to the Republican caucus and told them, I will have real progress to you by August,” Mitchell said. The Republicans claim they told him that after August, they will end their support for the war. “They have told him at a caucus meeting as very, very recently, that if there isn’t progress by August — and real progress means not a day of violence and a day of sanity — that they will pull the plug.”

Stunningly, Mitchell said that “moderate Republican” senators had told her that they didn’t believe the escalation would work but voted for it anyway. “They really are not in favor of the surge. They don’t believe it’s going to work. But they basically said the president has until August, until Labor Day. After that, if it doesn’t work, they’re running.”"

Americablog: McCain's Iraq delusions continue

McCain's Iraq delusions, Part II - AMERICAblog: "Last week, CNN's Michael Ware challenged John McCain's unsubstantiated assertion that there were multiple neighborhoods in Baghdad where Americans could take a walk without any security at all. Ware, who is in Baghdad, explained that McCain was flat-out wrong. That, of course, set Ware up for a typical Republican smear campaign from all the right-wingers, comfortably safe here in the U.S. Almost on cue, Republican activist Matt Drudge launched the first salvo, claiming that Ware went crazy at McCain's Baghdad press conference, and that the CNN reporter actually heckled the good Senator.

Only problem? The video of the press conference (link below) shows Ware sitting quietly and politely the entire time. Oops. Maybe in John McCain's mind that's what happened."

I thought the story about Ware, who has been a tough reporter, heckling and laughing at McCain in Baghdad was a bit odd. I think I read it on Drudge. Turns out it's fictional spin, according to the videotape. Americablog has transcripts and links.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Comics Reporter's Top 50 Comics Pubs for 2006

The Comics Reporter: "Here are my choices for the top 50 books of 2006, an extraordinary and deep year in comics publishing. These are English-language books with the single exception of a webcomic (and thus accessible from North America) that I've been able to enjoy with rudimentary knowledge of French. I could rattle off another 25 books, series or single efforts nearly as good as the ones on this list, and there are a few books in the 40s that I could conceivably see in the top 10 if I were to approach the project in a slightly different way. It's that kind of year." Check 'em out.

Follow Up on EMI-Apple deal... hmmm

EMI, Apple to Sell DRM-Free Songs Online | The Huffington Post: "Breaking from the rest of the recording industry, EMI Group said Monday it will begin selling songs online that are free of copy-protection technology through Apple Inc.'s iTunes Store. The deal, however, doesn't include music from the label's biggest act, The Beatles.

ITunes customers will soon be able to buy songs by the Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Coldplay and other top-selling artists for $1.29, or 30 cents more than the copy-protected version. The premium tunes also will be offered in a higher quality than the 99-cent tracks.

EMI Chief Executive Eric Nicoli said The Beatles music catalog is excluded from the deal, but said the company was 'working on it.' He declined to set a time frame for negotiations over the catalog."

Doohan's Ashes to Be Blasted Into Space

Doohan's Ashes to Be Blasted Into Space | AccessAtlanta: "The ashes of James Doohan, who played chief engineer Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott on the original 'Star Trek' TV series, have been loaded into a rocket that is set to launch in New Mexico later this month.

The remains of Doohan, Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper and some 200 others were loaded into the rocket Friday by Charles Chafer, chief executive of Celestis, a Texas company that contracts with rocket firms to send cremated remains into space."

Martin Marty reviews Krista Tippett's new book, Speaking of Faith

The University of Chicago Martin Marty Center: "I seethe and sulk when I find the media giving space and time to the Ann Coulters on the nut-right, and a good deal of space and time to those whom reviewer Brad Robideau refers to as the battle criers of 'the end of faith' and 'the God delusion.' Meanwhile, Tippett, and others like her, while by no means out of view, still do not generate the audiences and responses that the noisy extremists do. So I seethe and sulk a bit when those who complain that they are alienated by the extremes in religions often do not bother with Tippett and her kind.

Tippett has interviewed a large and diverse cast of characters, and draws on that experience in her book, which is, in some sense, like a first draft of a memoir -- she's too young to be taking a long look back. The book offers a concise look at her Southern Baptist childhood, a temporary drift from faith, political correspondence years, learning at Yale Divinity School, and the invention of her NPR program. The result is not an egocentric program or book, but a set of testimonies filtered through her experience. Tippett neither hides her own faith nor parades it, but uses it as a base for drawing out the personal experiences of her interviewees and quotees."

New clues in 70-year-old disappearance of Earhart |

New clues in 70-year-old disappearance of Earhart | "Seventy years after flier Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific, clues still turn up.

> Long-dismissed notes of a shortwave distress call beginning, 'This is Amelia Earhart . . .'

> The previously unknown diary of an Associated Press reporter, surfacing after decades.

> Old notes on a now vanished partial skeleton, re-examined by a University of Georgia forensic osteologist.

> Aircraft parts and a woman's shoe on a remote South Pacific atoll.

If what's known now had been known to searchers then, might Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, have been rescued? It's one of a thousand questions that keep the case from being declared dead, as Earhart herself was a year and a half after she vanished."

NYT on Ian Rankin's new Inspector Rebus novel

The Naming of the Dead - Book - Review - New York Times: "It’s been 20 years since Ian Rankin started writing about Inspector John Rebus, the lone-wolf Scottish police detective who lives by his own set of rules. Rebus has a preferred way of conducting himself: any way he wants, and too bad if his superiors don’t like it. Over time this attitude has brought Rebus exactly nothing, unless you count the satisfaction he takes in settling scores, one criminal miscreant at a time. He is now a year from retirement and not exactly resting on his laurels."

I've read a few of these and enjoyed them a lot.

BBC: EMI, Apple 'deal on music locks'

BBC NEWS | Technology | EMI, Apple 'deal on music locks': "EMI is to hold a media event on Monday with Apple boss Steve Jobs as special guest, prompting speculation of a deal over digital locks on music.

There was initial speculation that Beatles songs were to finally go online on download service iTunes.

In an invite to media sent out on Sunday, EMI said it was announcing an 'exciting new digital offering'."

Sunday, April 01, 2007

C&L: Crier: If George Were King!

Crooks and Liars - The Crier Wire: If George Were King!: "Catherine Crier has some really good monologues at the end of her show and this was one of them. She takes a look at Bush's abuse of power." Great video, check it out.

Editorial: The Rovian Era - New York Times

The Rovian Era - New York Times: "Turn over a scandal in Washington these days and the chances are you’ll find Karl Rove. His tracks are everywhere: whether it’s helping to purge United States attorneys, coaching bureaucrats on how to spend taxpayers’ money to promote Republican candidates, hijacking the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for partisan politics, or helping to organize a hit on the character of one of the first people to publicly reveal the twisting of intelligence reports on Iraq.

Whatever the immediate objective, Mr. Rove seems focused on one overarching goal: creating a permanent Republican majority, even if that means politicizing every aspect of the White House and subverting the governmental functions of the executive branch."

U.S. Churches Go ‘Green’ for Palm Sunday - New York Times

U.S. Churches Go ‘Green’ for Palm Sunday - New York Times: "Mr. Corzo is one of the indigenous farmers who puts palms in the hands of North American churchgoers on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. He is also on the cutting edge of a new movement to harvest what are being called “eco-palms.”

Slightly more expensive than the average palm, eco-palms are the rage in churches across the United States because of the social and environmental benefits they represent. They are collected in a way that helps preserve the forest, and more of the sale price ends up in the pockets of the people who cut them."

Ex-Aide Details a Loss of Faith in the President - New York Times

Ex-Aide Details a Loss of Faith in the President - New York Times: "Looking back, [Michael] Dowd now says his faith in Mr. Bush was misplaced.

In a wide-ranging interview here, Mr. Dowd called for a withdrawal from Iraq and expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bush’s leadership.

He criticized the president as failing to call the nation to a shared sense of sacrifice at a time of war, failing to reach across the political divide to build consensus and ignoring the will of the people on Iraq. He said he believed the president had not moved aggressively enough to hold anyone accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and that Mr. Bush still approached governing with a “my way or the highway” mentality reinforced by a shrinking circle of trusted aides.

“I really like him, which is probably why I’m so disappointed in things,” he said. He added, “I think he’s become more, in my view, secluded and bubbled in.”

In speaking out, Mr. Dowd became the first member of Mr. Bush’s inner circle to break so publicly with him."

AJC: The Art of the Hoax

the Art of the hoax - Phil Kloer at "On April Fools' Day, let us pay homage to the hoax, a venerable form of gotcha humor that is alive and well, uploading a staged video to a Web site near you, faking a best-selling book, posting a bogus blog, pulling your leg, yanking your chain.

'The Internet has democratized the phenomenon of hoaxing,' says Boese, the author of 'Hippo Eats Dwarf: A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S.'"