The best things in life are free. Unfortunately, the porn industry is learning that lesson the hard way as sales go soft (zing!). Down 20-30%, Larry Flynt and Joe Francis have asked for a financial fluffer to help adult entertainment companies in their time of need. But it’s not just magazines and DVDs that are feeling the squeeze; the Internet has been screwed up too! Thanks to amateur porn on YouTube-like sites, porn that doesn’t require payment is easier to find than a swinger party. In a recession, that’s good news for broke consumers who are worried they’re going to lose their jobs, but what about the billion dollar adult industry? Can porn still make a buck in this tight economy? If you ask an entrepreneur named Trixie, she’ll say, “F**k yes!”
Just like every other industry, the formula for success has changed. Instead of passively watching sex acts, women like live cam lady Trixie, say they’re surviving the downturn by being the mom and pop shop of porn. She has a web-cam filming her 24/7, and engages her customers in conversation to build client relationships. She likens her site, TastyTrixie.com, to a local coffee shop versus a big business Starbucks. “When money is tight, people feel more resentful towards anonymous corporate entities and want the dollars they spend to go towards people they can relate to,” Trixie explains. The girl’s got a point!
While adult entertainment has always been about finding your niche, technology has let customers take the reigns, literally. “Virtually Jenna,” a video game that features porn star (and now perfume maker) Jenna Jameson allows you to poke and prod her with her infamous friends, sex toys of your choice, and even has a “Pimp My P***y” mode. At $29.95 a month, Ms. Jameson and her team are part of a trend of gaming software sales that have trumped the DVD market. Plus, there is no threat of amateur competition since video games take millions of dollars to develop. Jenna really knows how to stick it to you! Read more…
Los Angeles, CA – Some call them video girls, some call them video royalty, but when the biggest names in music are looking for Hollywood’s hottest eye candy, these are the women they call. You’ve seen them featured in music videos with the likes of Kanye, Outkast, Will Smith, Jay-Z and Three 6 Mafia, but don’t let their supporting roles fool you – these women are anything but background players. In fact, to reach the career pinnacle of appearing in “A-list” music videos and gain access to the world of superstars, private jets and exclusive parties, you need to be able to play the game as well as you look. To add more chaos to this competitive world, the stage keeps changing. Now that every aspect of a superstar’s life defines their image, the casting process goes far beyond the traditional video set.
Musicians need to live their image and that includes surrounding themselves at all times with the beautiful women who are often featured in their videos. However, like runway models, these women know they need to get in early and make their money fast before time takes away the looks that make them so successful. To survive in this fleeting and mysterious world, you need to be much more than eye candy…you need to be a “Candy Girl.” E! gives viewers a never-before-seen look inside the explosive and sexy world of some of the most successful and desirable hip hop video divas and uncovers just how cutthroat and competitive their lives really are. “Candy Girls” (working title) is produced by the award-winning production company Good Clean Fun (“Run’s House,” “Life of Ryan”) in association with Coalition Media. The 30-minute, eight-episode series will premiere on Sunday, March 8 at 10:30pm ET/PT following the third season premiere of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
“This series introduces E!’s entertainment-obsessed viewers to an aspect of the industry that has not previously been revealed,” said Lisa Berger, Executive Vice President, Original Programming and Series Development, E! Entertainment Television. “While these women may be recognized for their sexy personas, viewers will find there is much more to them than meets the eye. With cut-throat attitudes, strong opinions and an unapologetic passion for luxury goods, these music industry divas are sure to create an exciting and dramatic series.”
Elaine Davidson recently came to news for creating a Guinness World Record for having 462 body piercings with almost half in her face. Now Elaine has bettered her record by having more than 6,000 body piercings. As Elaine Davidson Puts it,
“I don’t enjoy getting pierced, but to break the record you have to get to a high level…My family don’t even like tattoos or piercings. But I am happy. I decided to change myself and be me.”
via SF Gate
San Francisco — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is sending strong signals that President Obama – who as a candidate said states should be allowed to make their own rules on medical marijuana – will end raids on pot dispensaries in California.
Asked at a Washington news conference Wednesday about Drug Enforcement Administration raids in California since Obama took office last month, Holder said the administration has changed its policy.
“What the president said during the campaign, you’ll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we’ll be doing here in law enforcement,” he said. “What he said during the campaign is now American policy.”
Bill Piper, national affairs director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a marijuana advocacy group, said the statement is encouraging.
“I think it definitely signals that Obama is moving in a new direction, that it means what he said on the campaign trail that marijuana should be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue,” he said.
Piper said Obama has also indicated he will drop the federal government’s long-standing opposition to health officials’ needle-exchange programs for drug users.
During one campaign appearance, Obama recalled that his mother had died of cancer and said he saw no difference between doctor-prescribed morphine and marijuana as pain relievers. He told an interviewer in March that it was “entirely appropriate” for a state to legalize the medical use of marijuana “with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors.” Read more…
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. (AP) — The mayor of a small Southern California city says he will resign after being criticized for sharing an e-mail picture depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons under the title “No Easter egg hunt this year.”
Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose issued a statement Thursday saying he is sorry and will step down as mayor at Monday’s City Council meeting.
Grose came under fire for sending the picture to what he called “a small group of friends.” One of the recipients, a local businesswoman and city volunteer, publicly scolded the mayor for his actions.
Grose says he accepts that the e-mail was in poor taste and has affected his ability to lead the city. Grose said he didn’t mean to offend anyone and claimed he was unaware of the racial stereotype linking black people with eating watermelons.
Located in Orange County, Los Alamitos is a 2 1/4-square-mile city of around 12,000 people.
man from President Obama’s hometown of Chicago has been arrested for allegedly sending Obama and his staff envelopes containing HIV-infected blood, in the hopes of killing or harming them.
It’s only the second time ever that HIV-infected blood has been sent with malicious intent through the U.S. mail system, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said.
In the weeks leading up to Obama’s inauguration, Saad Hussein, an Ethiopian refugee in his late 20s, sent an envelope addressed to “Barack Obama” to offices of the Illinois government in Springfield, Ill., according to court documents. The envelope contained a series of curious items, including a letter with reddish stains and an admission ticket for Obama’s election-night celebration in Chicago’s Grant Park.
Court documents said Hussein, who takes drugs to treat a mental illness, later told FBI agents he is “very sick with HIV” and cut his fingers with a razor so he could bleed on the letter. Hazmat teams were called in after the envelope was opened, and offices of the Illinois Department on Aging and the Department of Revenue were locked down for nearly two hours, locking 300 staffers in their offices, court documents said.
Hussein, with his brother acting as an interpreter, told FBI agents he was actually “an admirer” of Obama and was “seeking help from the government,” according to court documents. He also told them he was hoping to obtain tickets to the Inaugural ceremonies in Washington, the documents said. Days after sending the letter to Obama, Hussein allegedly placed two more letters in the mail, one addressed to “Emanuel,” an apparent reference to Obama’s current Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. The two letters contained what appeared to be dried blood, the court documents said. Read more…
I guess we can put this story to rest. On the second thoughts it is probably just beginning.
The pair have reunited almost three weeks after Brown, 19, allegedly battered the “Umbrella” singer on Feb. 8, a source tells PEOPLE.
“They’re together again. They care for each other,” says the source. The on-again couple are currently spending time together at one of Sean “Diddy” Combs’s homes.
Adds the source: “While Chris is reflective and saddened about what happened, he is really happy to be with the woman he loves.”
In its latest issue, PEOPLE reports that Brown called Rihanna on her 21st birthday one week ago. “He called to wish her happy birthday,” a source told the magazine. “They’ve reached out to each other. It’s been mutual.”
Brown was booked by LAPD for making criminal threats but the case has not yet been presented to the District Attorney, who will ultimately determine which charges, if any, will be prosecuted.
Jaz-O is still pretty salty with his former protege Jay-Z and promises to turn it up until he gets some sort of reaction out of Jay. Dude sounds like he really just needs a hug and the beef will be all over.
Yeah looks like he finally let go of that crazy ass shag but he still has major problems with the paparazzi evidenced by this video courtesy of Hollywood.tv. The change of heart for Chris Brown [recently deleted from his VH1 storytellers special] will haunt him for another few weeks and give them reason to keep chasing him down.
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian fighters scrambled to intercept an approaching Russian bomber less than 24 hours before U.S. President Barack Obama‘s visit to Ottawa last week, Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay said on Friday.
The long-range Bear bomber did not enter Canada’s Arctic airspace but the two Canadian CF-18 fighters had to order the plane to “back off”, MacKay told a news conference.
Obama spent a few hours in the Canadian capital on February 19 on his first foreign trip since becoming president.
“I’m not going to stand here and accuse the Russians of having deliberately done this during the presidential visit but it was a strong coincidence, which we met with the presence, as we always do, of F-18 fighter planes … and sent a strong signal that they should back off and stay out of our air space,” MacKay said.
He also said Russia had stepped up its bomber flights toward the Canadian Arctic in the last few years, reviving a practice that was common during the Cold War.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was very concerned by the incident. Read more…
This is a MUST SEE! If more folks would think outside the box and invest faith and money in their team then trivial concerns like the recession would be an after thought. This segment is very inspiring.
“Total Recall” is totally coming back.
Neal H. Moritz and his Original Films banner are in final negotiations to develop and produce for Columbia a contemporary version of “Total Recall,” the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi action movie directed by Paul Verhoeven.
The original, based on the Philip K. Dick story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” follows a man haunted by a recurring dream of journeying to Mars who buys a literal dream vacation from a company called Rekall Inc., which sells implanted memories. The man comes to believe he is a secret agent and ends up on a Martian colony, where he fights to overthrow a despotic ruler controlling the production of air.
The movie explores one of Dick’s favorite topics, reality vs. delusion, as audiences never knew whether or not the story was a dream. Either way, the movie grossed a very real $261 million worldwide.
Carolco was behind the original movie, which was distributed by TriStar. Dimension picked up the rights for a reported $3.15 million with the aim of developing a sequel. Columbia secured the rights from Miramax, which retained them when Harvey and Bob Weinstein left to start their own company. Read more…
spotted @ nahright
Samuel L. Jackson is Marvel’s man. The actor, who just weeks ago was seemingly on the outs with the studio over reprising his role as Nick Fury, agent of spy outfit S.H.I.E.L.D., has signed an unprecedented nine-picture deal to play the character in a series of Marvel movies.
The movies include “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “Captain America,” “The Avengers” and its sequels. Also on the table is the possibility of toplining a “S.H.I.E.L.D.” movie, which is in development. The actor, repped by ICM and Anonymous Content, made a surprise appearance as Fury at the end of the first “Iron Man,” throwing geeks into a tizzy and showing the first glimpse of Marvel’s plan to link all their slate of movies into one filmic universe.
Jackson and Fury were expected to be part of the sequel, but as Marvel negotiated with its cast, deals proved hard to come by. Terrence Howard was replaced by Don Cheadle. Mickey Rourke still doesn’t have a deal for the part of a villain despite almost two months of negotiations.
via Live Science
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. recently unveiled its new, innovative solar powered full-touch screen phone, the “Blue Earth.” The Blue Earth phone is also part of “The Blue Earth Dream: Eco-living with SAMSUNG mobile,” an environmental initiative by the company to reduce its CO2 emissions, eliminate its use of hazardous substances and encourage cell phone recycling.
Symbolizing a flat, shiny pebble, Blue Earth can charge with the solar panel located on the back of the phone, generating enough power to complete a call.
The phone is made from a recycled plastic prodct called PCM, which is made from water bottles. The packaging for Blue Earth is designed to be small and light, is made from recycled paper and comes with a 5-star energy efficient charger that uses standby power lower than 0.03W. The phone and charger are also free from harmful substances such as brominated flame retardants, beryllium and phthalates.
Additionally, Blue Earth comes with a user interface designed to create eco-awareness for its users. It has a number of “eco settings,” which enable the user to easily set screen brightness, backlight duration and a Bluetooth to an energy-efficient mode. It also has an “eco walk” function that counts steps with a built-in pedometer. This mode calculates how much CO2 emissions have been reduced by walking, as opposed to driving, and reports the number of trees saved.
“Samsung’s ‘The Blue Earth Dream’ demonstrates our small but meaningful commitments for the future and our environment,” said J.K. Shin, executive vice president and head of mobile communication division of Samsung Electronics. “We are committed to achieving the highest eco-status with our customers and business partners by providing the best eco-products and promoting eco-activities.” Read more…
Harris and other colleagues report in the Feb. 27 issue of the journal Science on finding several footprint trails within two sedimentary rock layers. An upper sedimentary layer included two trails of two prints each, one group of seven prints, and a variety of isolated prints. The lower layer had a trail of two prints and a single isolated print likely from a smaller, juvenile human.
Please say the Baby
Let the mothaf*ckin’ dollas circulate!
NEW YORK Warner Bros. has partnered with the Web production studio For Your Imagination to launch an elaborate branded-entertainment campaign for the upcoming release Watchmen. The push includes a set of specially created crossover story lines for four different online series.
According to company co-founder and CEO Paul Kontonis, Warner agency MediaCom has crafted an online campaign for Watchmen — the movie adaptation of a beloved but hardly mainstream graphic-novel — that attempts to generate interest among potential new fans. “We want to go beyond comic-book fans,” said Kontonis.
The work debuted on the comic-themed series Kyle Piccolo — Comic Shop Therapist, a humorous show about a comic store clerk who offers unsolicited advice to patrons. For Your Imagination has scripted three original Watchmen-themed episodes, the first of which is titled “3 6 9” — the date of the movie’s release. A Watchmen trailer precedes the episode, which also features visual and spoken references to the film.
The next two Watchmen-infused installments are scheduled to be posted over the next week. Warner and MediaCom have already begun promoting the film and the Webisodes on sites like Starpulse.com and MovieWeb.com.
Targeting non-comics fans, For Your Imagination has weaved references to Kyle Piccolo in three other series from its Axis of Comedy content network, including the viral hit Abigail’s Teen Diary, which stars comedian Hayden Black as a 13-year-old teen girl who video blogs. During an upcoming episode, Abigail complains about her boyfriend’s interest in the movie, and actually directs users to watch episodes of Kyle Piccolo. Read more…
WASHINGTON: A group of liberal bloggers said it is teaming up with organized labor and MoveOn to form a political action committee that will seek to push the Democratic Party farther to the left. Soliciting donations from their readers, the bloggers said they are planning to recruit liberal candidates for challenges against more centrist Democrats currently in Congress.
The formation of the group marks another step in the evolution of the blogosphere, which has proved effective at motivating party activists to give money and time to political campaigns, especially in local races. But it also illuminates a deepening wrinkle for President Barack Obama, whose attempt to build a broad governing coalition — often by tempering some of his more liberal previous positions — has already angered some of his supporters on the left. The new organization is in many ways the liberal equivalent of the Club for Growth, a conservative group that has financed primary challenges against Republicans it deems insufficiently dedicated to tax cuts and small government.
Organizers of the new group, to be called Accountability Now, said their intention is to enable Obama to seek more liberal policies without fear of losing support from the more conservative members of his party serving in Congress. But they did not rule out occasional friction with Obama, as well. Read more…
In a swift about face from her views as New York’s senator, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now hammering Israel over its treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.
As First Lady, Clinton raised eyebrows when she kissed Suha Arafat.
Since she was then seeking a Senate seat the resulting brouhaha caused her to “re-think” her positions.
“I’m a very strong supporter of Israel,” Clinton said back in February 2000.
On Thursday, as Secretary of State she had yet another about face in the form of angry messages demanding Israel speed up aid to Gaza. Jewish leaders are furious.
“I am very surprised, frankly, at this statement from the United States government and from the secretary of state,” said Mortimer Zuckerman, publisher of the New York Daily News and member of the NYC Jewish Community Relations Council.
“I liked her a lot more as a senator from New York,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind, D-Brooklyn, said. “Now, I wonder as I used to wonder who the real Hillary Clinton is.”
Clinton’s decision to hammer Israel comes as the Clintons and President Barack Obama are planning to give the Palestinians $900 million toward the rebuilding of Gaza in the wake of the Israeli offensive that was sparked by Hamas rocket fire.
“We are working across the government to see what our approach will be,” Clinton said.
“I don’t believe that we should be in a position at this point to do anything to strengthen Hamas,” Zuckerman said. “We surely know what Hamas stands for as I say they are the forward battalions of Iran.” Read more…
WASHINGTON – Families of America’s war dead will be allowed to decide if news organizations can photograph the homecomings of their loved ones, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday. Gates said he decided to allow media photos of flag-draped caskets at Dover Air Force Base, Del., if the families agree. A working group will come up with details and logistics. The new policy reverses a ban put in place in 1991 by then President George H.W. Bush. Some critics contended the government was trying to hide the human cost of war.
“We should not presume to make the decision for the families — we should actually let them make it,” Gates said at a Pentagon news conference.
“We’ve seen so many families go through so much,” added Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said the goal is to meet family needs in the most dignified way possible.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama asked Gates to review the policy of media coverage of the fallen returning to Dover. He said Gates came back with a policy consistent with that used at Arlington National Cemetery.
Gibbs said it gives families the final say and “allows them to make that decision and protect their privacy if that’s what they wish to do. And the president is supportive of the secretary’s decision.”
Shortly after Obama took office, Democratic Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey also asked the White House to roll back the 1991 ban. Read more…
via ABC News
The Obama administration will seek to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 during the Bush administration, Attorney General Eric Holder said today.
“As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons,” Holder told reporters.
Holder said that putting the ban back in place would not only be a positive move by the United States, it would help cut down on the flow of guns going across the border into Mexico, which is struggling with heavy violence among drug cartels along the border.
“I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum.” Holder said at a news conference on the arrest of more than 700 people in a drug enforcement crackdown on Mexican drug cartels operating in the U.S.
NIPSEY HUSSLE- PAYBACK
CLICK [HERE] for AUDIO
Nipsey Hussle is back at it and this time he is banging on BUSH! A recent poll showed 90% of Americans think the Bush regime should be prosecuted for its war crimes both foreign and domestic so better late than never, the Slauson Ave representer let’s it be known the hood ain’t forget those hellish eight years we had to endure under Dubya. It’s PAYBACK!
I’ve never heard of this artist before a day in my life but according to nahright he supposed to be dropping an album sometime this year on SONY. What caught my eye was this creative video he put together for an “OK” song, if you know what I mean.
via Huffington Post
The Daily Show’s Jason Jones took a hilarious and frightening look at two religious leaders who think President Obama is either Hitler or the Anti-Christ. Reverend Daniel W. Blair, a Baptist minister whose likes include, “seeing people snatched from the fire of eternal damnation and transformed by the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” thinks Obama is “The Beast” who will usher in the end of times. Pastor James David Manning, on the other hand, thinks the President is Hitler (and also a bisexual…or bicycle). The key part of the segment though, is the main stream media’s coverage of these men and their “theories.” Sean Hannity even invited Manning on his show to discuss his Hitler comparison. Luckily Jones deflates both men skillfully with only a couple of references to Ashton Kutcher, “The Usual Suspects,” and “Howdie Do It.”
SNL will probably one-up Kimmel on Saturday.
[video] Brooklyn Police Go Hard: Police Officer Beats Man With A Stick In New York! (Victim Would Of Gotten 15 Years In Prison If It Wasnt For This Footage)
CBS reports “Brooklyn man facing charges for assulting a police officer has been vindicated after an anonymous video surfaced showing the man not as the aggressor, but as the victim”
Editor’s Note: As a victim of police brutality who also was vindicated due to video of my assault, I can only wonder how many thousands of individuals who don’t have video as proof are lingering in this country’s prisons because their word wouldn’t hold up next to a corrupt, filthy cop. Shame, shame, shame.
The official remix music video for Busta Rhymes hit single “Arab Money” featuring Diddy, Ron Browz, Swizz Beatz, Akon, and Lil Wayne), from his eighth studio album Back on My B.S. in stores March 24.Sidenote: Okay, I’ll the first to say it, Cordero needs to lay off the green screen til’ he masters it.
Cameos from Ron Howard, Quincy Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Forest Whitaker, Jake Gyllenhaal, Cedric The Entertainer, Morris Chestnut, Clifton Powell, Alex Thomas, Tatyana Ali, Bill Bellamy, and more. Directed by Hype Williams.
We’ve had these in the stash for a minute, so now with the firestorm generated by Rihanna’s BFF Amber Rose and her new beau, Kanye we thought it would be appropriate to show you what the hype was all about…
via Evil Collector
The Black colorway of the ‘Fortyfour‘ High collab with Vans is now available at the Crooks&Castles 8021 Flagship Store and at their online shop. A limited tee will be dropping this Friday in conjunction with its release. Read more…
via LA Times
Bono and the Edge of U2 are the latest mainstream musicians to pen songs for a Broadway show. They have teamed up with visionary director Julie Taymor to bring “Spider-Man” to Broadway next year. The show — titled “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” — will tell the story of the superhero’s origins. Beyond that there is no word as to which villains will appear, nor is there any official news of casting, though Evan Rachel Wood (“The Wrestler”) may be starring.
While this will be the first legit musical for these 22-time Grammy Award winners, they are in capable hands with Julie Taymor. Back in 1997, she transformed the Disney animated film “The Lion King” into a dazzling stage musical that is still running on Broadway. The show won six 1998 Tony Awards, including best musical, and Taymor became the first woman to win for directing a musical.
However, Elton John and Tim Rice — who won the 1994 Oscar for the film’s love song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” — lost the score award to Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (“Ragtime”). They won this award two years later for “Aida.” Though that show ran four years, John’s next musical, “Lestat” — which reunited him with long-time lyricist Bernie Taupin — ran only four weeks in 2006. However, this season John is back on Broadway with the smash hit “Billy Elliot,” which could well pull sweep the Tony Awards this June.
When other popular musicmakers have come to Broadway with new or improved works, they have usually landed at least a Tony Award nomination. For 1993′s “Tommy,” Pete Townshend tied with Broadway veterans John Kander and Fred Ebb (“The Kiss of the Spiderwoman”) for the score award. Paul Simon also competed for that 1998 score award with lyricist Derek Walcott for the critically dismissed “The Capeman.” In 2002, Harry Connick, Jr. was nominated for “Thou Shalt Not” but lost to Jeanine Tesori and Dick Scanlan, who came up with additional tunes for best musical champ “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Though “Taboo” was a 2004 flop, Boy George did contend for his score — he lost to Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, who wrote the songs for best musical winner “Avenue Q.” And last season, singer-songwriter Stew lost the score award to Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote and starred in best musical winner “In the Heights” but won the best book award for “Passing Strange.”
However, the road to success on Broadway is littered with flops based on hit song catalogs. Just three seasons ago, the success of “Jersey Boys” — a musical biography told through the songs of the Four Seasons that swept the 2006 Tony Awards — spawned a trio of misfires: “All Shook Up” (using the music of Elvis Presley), “Good Vibrations” (Beach Boys) and “Imagine” (John Lennon). Even acclaimed director-choreographer Twyla Tharp, who scored a hit in 2003 with “Movin’ Out” — a dance musical set to the songs of Billy Joel — flopped with her 2006 follow-up “The Times They Are A-Changin,’ ” based on the music of Bob Dylan.
This is NOT your mama’s White House…first Earth, Wind & Fire now Stevie?
via Chicago Tribune
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Wednesday thanked musician Stevie Wonder for creating “a style that’s uniquely American” as he presented the singer-songwriter the nation’s highest award for pop music.
Obama, who called Wonder the soundtrack of his youth, gave the star the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song during an East Room tribute that featured Tony Bennett, Martina McBride and Wonder himself. The president joked that the group was “the most accomplished Stevie Wonder cover band in history.”
Wonder was emotional at times, thanking Obama for the award and reflecting on what his election as the first black president means to the United States.
“What is truly exciting for me today is that we truly have lived to see a time and a space where America has a chance to again live up to the greatness that it deserves to be seen and known as, through the love and caring and the commitment of a president — as in our president, Barack Obama,” he said.
Wonder cited Martin Luther King Jr., his faith and his mother during an acceptance speech that flowed into a set of Obama’s favorite songs. The Grammy-winning musician — he has 25 of the awards — joked that he looked forward to writing more love songs — perhaps a soundtrack for “you know, maybe I’ll be a part of creating some more of those babies.” Read more…
To all the fellas planning a trip to Rio to find your own “Andressa” this is a must read
Gardênia Azul, a flatland slum in the scruffy west end of Rio de Janeiro, isn’t much to look at. But don’t tell that to Juliana. She moved there from Cidade de Deus (City of God), the bullet-riddled shantytown featured in the eponymous drugs-and-thugs film of 2002 that rattled polite Brazilians and earned Latin America’s fairest address lasting notoriety. At least in Gardênia there were no teenagers with Kalashnikovs or vendors hawking cocaine in the street. To Juliana, a manicurist with a four-year-old son, those things matter. “We can walk the streets any time of day or night,” she says. “I feel safe.”
In Gardênia Azul safety is relative, and comes at a price. It’s the six percent markup that residents pay on a bottled gas for cooking or the steep rents the slumlords charge. Or the fact that Juliana prefers not to use her real name when talking to a reporter. The reason for her reticence is “the militia”, a self-designated neighborhood police force that runs the favela with an iron heel and a hand in everyone’s pocket, taking a cut of all local business and services. No one is fond of the militia, which is often the corrupt twin of legitimate law enforcement with rogue cops acting as judge, jury and occasionally executioner. (Juliana won’t soon forget her neighbor’s 16-year-old, who was shot dead for smoking marijuana, his body dumped in the main square.) But to millions of people trying to get by in some of the meanest streets in the hemisphere, life involves hedging your bets by grabbing at whatever safety net you can. Cariocas, as city natives are called, light one candle to Cristo Redentor, the Art Deco Christ watching over Rio from the mountains, and another to the caveirão, the armored car police use to raid the outlaw favelas. And since neither authority has been up to the task, now the Cariocas are turning to the market. Read more…
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the longest-serving Democratic senator, is criticizing President Obama’s appointment of White House “czars” to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch.
In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd complained about Obama’s decision to create White House offices on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Byrd said such positions “can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.”
While it’s rare for Byrd to criticize a president in his own party, Byrd is a stern constitutional scholar who has always stood up for the legislative branch in its role in checking the power of the White House. Byrd no longer holds the powerful Appropriations chairmanship, so his criticism does not carry as much weight these days. Byrd repeatedly clashed with the Bush administration over executive power, and it appears that he’s not limiting his criticism to Republican administrations.
Byrd also wants Obama to limit claims of executive privilege while also ensuring that the White House czars don’t have authority over Cabinet officers confirmed by the Senate.
“As presidential assistants and advisers, these White House staffers are not accountable for their actions to the Congress, to cabinet officials, and to virtually anyone but the president,” Byrd wrote. “They rarely testify before congressional committees, and often shield the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of executive privilege. In too many instances, White House staff have been allowed to inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability.” Read more…