Wii Outpaces Competition This Holiday Season

via CNET

Remember Sony and Microsoft? No? Well, neither does the average Amazon customer.nintendowii_console

According to a release sent out by the online retail giant Friday, the Nintendo Wii and all its accessories dominated video game sales during the holiday shopping rush and not one mention was made of Sony’s Playstation 3 or Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

“Nintendo Wii dominated the top sellers in video games and hardware, including the Wii console, the Wii remote controller and the Wii nunchuk controller,” the release reports.

What about all its competitors? Have they somehow entered the realm of irrelevance?

I’m starting to wonder if they have.

A quick glance at console sales over the past year tells you everything you need to know about the video game hardware business. With 43.75 million units sold, the Wii easily dominates the market, which is also home to 26.49 million Xbox 360 units and 18.82 million Playstation 3 consoles. Continue reading

Walmart Publicly Confirms iPhone Sales, $197 Price

via Ars Technica

Rumors had been flying for months that retail juggernaut Walmart would be selling iPhones in its US stores. That rumor had all but been confirmed when leaked memos revealed that sales would begin on December 28. Today, Walmart officially confirmed that Sunday, December 28 was the day that sales of Apple’s iconic smartphone would begin. walmart_iphone_price

Walmart will sell the 8GB iPhone for $197, and 16GB models will sell for $297. All phones will still require a two-year contract with AT&T. “We are delighted to bring customers this ground-breaking mobile technology,” Gary Severson, Walmart’s senior vice president of entertainment, said in a statement. “Our electronics associates have been preparing for many weeks for the arrival of iPhone 3G. We are excited to now help new customers learn more about the features and services that make the iPhone unique.”

Though it had been rumored that Walmart would sell a 4GB iPhone for $99 (though, oddly, not for $97), the company’s announcement makes no mention of that model or any other model at a lower price point. Continue reading

Police: At least 6 dead in Christmas Eve shooting

This dude was just plain sick. Please somebody tell me what the f*ck possesses somebody to do a heinous crime such as this, let alone during the holidays?

Bruce Jeffrey Pardo is seen in an undated photo provided Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008, by the Covina, Calif. Police Department. Covina Police have identified the 45-year-old Prado as a "person of interest" after a man in a Santa suit opened fire at a Christmas Eve party in a suburban Los Angeles home that subsequently caught fire, leaving three people dead. (AP Photo/Covina Police Department)

Bruce Jeffrey Pardo is seen in an undated photo provided Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008, by the Covina, Calif. Police Department. Covina Police have identified the 45-year-old Prado as a "person of interest" after a man in a Santa suit opened fire at a Christmas Eve party in a suburban Los Angeles home that subsequently caught fire, leaving three people dead. (AP Photo/Covina Police Department)

via Breitbart

COVINA, Calif. (AP) – Six bodies were found Thursday in the ashes of a home where a gunman in a Santa Claus costume opened fire during a Christmas Eve party before setting the house ablaze, police said.

Three others, including the couple who own the home and the alleged gunman’s ex-wife, remain missing, Covina police Chief Kim Raney said.

Officers found the body of suspect Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, 45, at his brother’s home early Thursday in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles. Pardo had died from a single gunshot wound to the head, Los Angeles police Sgt. Martin Guerrero said.

“He was going through some type of marital problems, and we believe that this residence is a relative’s residence,” Lt. Pat Buchanan said.

The gunman arrived at the party in Covina late Wednesday and immediately opened fire with a handgun, Buchanan said.

Raney said he then used a homemade incendiary device to set the home on fire.

Witnesses told police that the man took off the Santa suit and left the scene of the burning house in street clothes.

Jan Gregory, a neighbor, said about 25 people were at the party when the gunshots rang out and people started running from the house.

She said she saw a teenage boy flee the house, screaming, “They shot my family.”

Buchanan said three other people were injured. A woman in her 20s and an 8-year-old girl had gunshot wounds that were not life-threatening, and a third person had a broken ankle.

Firefighters had extinguished the blaze by about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, fire Captain Mike Brown said.

The two-story home on a cul-de-sac was destroyed in Covina, a quiet suburb 25 miles east of Los Angeles.

“This neighborhood is really quiet,” said Jeffrey Barrientos, who lives half a block from the house that burned. Barrientos said the neighborhood’s residents were mostly retirees and elderly people.

Eartha Kitt,sultry singer and dancer, dies at 81

Another legend passes on Christmas. We also send out a heartfelt salute to the Godfather of Soul James Brown.

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via Breitbart

NEW YORK (AP) – A family friend says Eartha Kitt, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, has died. She was 81.Andrew Freedman says Kitt died Thursday of colon cancer and was recently treated at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York.

Kitt, a self-proclaimed “sex kitten” famous for her catlike purr, was one of America’s most versatile performers, winning two Emmys and getting a third nomination. She also was nominated for two Tony Awards and a Grammy.

 

[video] Father Accidently Runs Over His 2 Year Old Daughter At Lil Boosie’s House!

WFAB reports “BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – In what deputies say was a horrible accident, a man backed his car over his own little girl Tuesday afternoon. It happened just before 5:00pm. She died an hour later at a local hospital. The accident happened on Pompey, in Centurion Place subdivision. Neighbors say it is the home of local rapper Lil’ Boosie. They say he often has fun gatherings for kids. The child was reportedly at the home to play on a trampoline. Reportedly, the girl’s parents have five children and after loading them in his car, the girl’s father backed out of the driveway and unknowingly hit his little girl. Deputies did not release the name of the driver or the victim and say no charges will be filed in the case.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “ Father Accidently Runs Over H…“, posted with vodpod

 

Homeland Security Coming to Reality TV

TV Homeland Security

 via My Way

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Ratings champion “American Idol” will face serious competition when it returns next month: the Department of Homeland Security.

“Homeland Security USA,” an ABC reality series debuting Jan. 6, tracks the daily efforts of the federal workers responsible for safeguarding the nation’s airports, borders, waters and anyplace else threats might arise.

While viewers see the mechanics of agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration, absent is discussion of such hot-button issues as post-Sept. 11 security programs or immigration policies. That’s by design, said series executive producer Arnold Shapiro, whose credits include “Rescue 911” and “Big Brother.”

“It doesn’t have a political point of view,” Shapiro said. “It’s not meant to show the (department) higher-ups …. just the average men and women on the front lines protecting our country from various things illegal and dangerous.”

“Homeland Security USA” has a week to win viewers before it has to face Fox’s hit singing contest, back Jan. 13. Continue reading

World’s Richest Woman Caught in Madoff Scam

And all this time I thought the Queen of England was the wealthiest on the planet

via Times Online

Liliane Bettencourt, the world’s wealthiest woman and heiress to the L’Oreal empire, entrusted part of her $22.9 billion (£15.5 billion) fortune to Bernard Madoff through the fund manager found dead in New York yesterday.

Ms Bettencourt, the daughter of L’Oreal founder Eugene Schueller, was the first investor in a fund managed by Access International Advisors.

Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, the co-founder and chief executive of Access International, was found dead in his office in New York yesterday.

It appears that he committed suicide. bettencourt

Mr Villehuchet was said to be “devastated” when news of the $50 billion Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Mr Madoff – the biggest corporate fraud in history – emerged, and he feared clients would turn against him in the courts.

He had been trying for a week to recover at least $1.5 billion in European funds that Access International had invested through Mr Madoff’s business, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Access, which had $3 billion under management, raised money mainly from wealthy European investors.

It admitted in a letter to clients on December 12, the day after Mr Madoff’s arrest, that funds including its LUXALPHA SICAV-American Selection were invested solely with Mr Madoff’s investment firm.

Ms Bettencourt, 86, joins a list of wealthy individuals from all over the world who have been hit by the biggest ever financial fraud. Continue reading

Mass Orgy in Israel Canceled After Pressure Mounts

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via YNet

After weeks of preparations for the largest sex event of its kind in Israel, organizers were forced to cancel it this week due to public pressure and threats exerted on the owner of the venue where the sex fest was to take place.

The event in question, which was scheduled to take place on “International Orgasm Day,” aimed to bring together some 250 participants seeking to promote world peace through multiple orgasms reached by masturbation or sex.

The orgy was organized by the Raelian movement, a UFO religion whose followers believe humankind was created by aliens. The group’s spokesman, Kobi Drori, said that the orgy was meant to include straights, gays, lesbians and bisexuals, all of them over 18.

“The purpose of the event was to try and bring world peace through mass orgasm, this by experiencing consensual sex and natural, uninterrupted pleasure. It was important to make love without feeling guilty or shy,” he explained. Continue reading

NAME YOUR PRICE: Shoppers Haggle for Deals from Desperate Retailers

slash_sale

via Yahoo

NEW YORK (AP) — If you’re looking for an extra bargain before the holidays, you may only have to ask. With holiday sales shaping up to be the lowest in years, possibly the worst since the industry began annual comparisons in 1969, retailers say they’re taking consumers’ demands for good deals seriously. Some are extending return policies, while others are matching competitors’ prices. Many are volunteering on-the-spot discounts and even letting customers haggle prices well down from what’s marked in a desperate bid to make the cash register ring.

You’d have to be a moron not to ask for a discount,” said Stephen Hoch, a retailing expert at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

More and more consumers are doing just that, treating a trip to the mall like a visit to the used car lot.

Allen Chen, a part-time cashier at a J. Crew store in White Plains, N.Y., said shoppers with two-month-old receipts are asking for partial refunds for items now on sale. Normally, the store’s policy is to refund the difference between an item’s purchase price and a later sale price only if it goes on sale within seven days of the purchase. Continue reading

DIDDY AND CÎROC VODKA RING IN The “Blue Year” With Million Dollar Offer To New York

cirocvodkadiddynewyearsmall

via HHP

“Official Vodka of New Year’s Eve” Wants to Take Over Times Square on December 31

New York, NY, 12/23/08 (Hip Hop PR Wire) — CÎROC Ultra Premium Vodka, the Official Vodka of New Year’s Eve, and Sean “Diddy” Combs have made an unprecedented offer to the City of New York : the brand and the hip-hop mogul plan to donate $1 million to a charity on behalf of the city in exchange for a New Year’s Eve ball takeover.

The brand has already secured an enormous presence in Times Square this holiday season with its impressive billboards, but in true Diddy fashion, the plan doesn’t stop there. The vodka brand wants to change the historic crystal ball to reflect its iconic blue sphere. The color of the sphere originates from a unique plant that grows in the Gaillac region of France , where CÎROC is still produced, and serves as a symbol of prosperity for the area even today.

“As the ‘Official Vodka of New Year’s Eve,’ it’s only fitting that we take over New York, the most iconic New Year’s city in the world,” said Combs, who entered into a strategic marketing alliance with the ultra-premium spirit more than one year ago. “I’m going to give every adult in America a taste of what it’s like to enjoy a sophisticated celebration with Diddy, and what better time than while ringing in the New Year.” Continue reading

Souljah Boy Flops, Album Sells 46,000 copies…Ice T Pops Champagne!!

So it seems all of you who were up in arms when Ice T spoke on what he thought about Souljah Boy’s music and it’s effects on Hip Hop, obviously did not go out and buy his new record.

And who was the genius who put Souljah Boy up to the unrealistic commercials with him saying that he was trying to sell a million copies in a week? The AP video where he now claims to care for his young fans and won’t use terms like “superman that hoe?” The Charles Hamilton beef was even worse. Hopefully this kid has his head on straight and will rebound with another hit but chances are slimmer than his first week sales.

picture-15via Billboard

Teenage rapper Soulja Boy’s “ISouljaBoyTellEm” (ColliPark/Interscope) debuts at a disappointing No. 43 with 46,000; his 2007 debut, “SouljaBoyTellEm.com,” began at No. 4 with 117,000, on the strength of the No. 1 Hot 100 hit “Crank That.”

Good News for Project Playlist: Sony BMG Strikes Deal

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via CNET

Project Playlist has struck a deal with Sony BMG to bring the label’s catalog to its streaming-music service. It’s the first major-label deal for Project Playlist, which recently brought former Facebook exec Owen Van Natta on as CEO but has been dealing with legal problems that have seen its widgets banned from social network MySpace.

Currently, Project Playlist has been sued by Warner Music, EMI, and Universal Music Group, as well as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), because of the amount of unauthorized content that members have uploaded to the service. Industry rumors have persisted that Project Playlist was interested in a merger with Imeem, a similar service that has deals with all the major labels.

Reports had surfaced in April that unlike the other labels, Sony BMG was negotiating with Project Playlist rather than seeking legal action against it. Now, months later, that deal has come to fruition.

“Collaborating with Sony BMG is a significant milestone in our effort to improve the access and quality of content on Project Playlist, and enhance the overall user experience,” founder Jeremy Riney said in a release. “We hope that we soon will be able to provide our users with ready access to even more of the music they want in the way that they want it.”

There are a ton of social music sites out there, but Project Playlist is growing fast: Traffic firm ComScore pegs its user base at 40 million.

Man Sentenced to 66 Years For Killing T.I. Associate

via Thisis50

picture-191

Earlier this morning Hosea Thomas – the man who was found guilty last month of murdering T.I.’s close friend and personal assistant Philant Johnson – was sentenced to 66 years behind bars.
According to the Associated Press, Thomas, who was also found guilty of felonious assault and illegal possession of a firearm after a felony conviction, will not be up for parole until 2074.

T.I., who was with Johnson at the time of his death, took the stand during the trial detailing the night of the shooting.

Despite Tip’s testimony, Thomas’ brother Pardon turned out to be the prosecution’s star witness, as he testified against Hosea.

Johnson was murdered in a shootout after a club altercation spilled onto a Cincinnati highway. T.I. and his entourage were in town for a concert.

Russia to Raise Nuclear Missile Output Fourfold

nukehead

via Guardian Co

Russia has thrown down a new gauntlet to Barack Obama with an announcement that it will sharply increase production of strategic nuclear missiles.

In the latest of a series of combative moves by the Kremlin, a senior government official in Moscow said the Russian military would commission 70 strategic missiles over the next three years, as part of a massive rearmament programme which will also include short-range missiles, 300 tanks, 14 warships and 50 planes.

Military experts said the planned new arsenal was presumed to consist of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) rather than submarine-launched missiles. If this is the case, the plans represent a fourfold increase in the rate of ICBM deployment. The arsenal will include a new-generation, multiple-warhead ICBM called the RS-24. It was first test-fired in 2007, with first deputy prime minister Sergei Ivanov boasting it was “capable of overcoming any existing or future missile defence systems”.

The new missiles will be part of a £95bn defence procurement package for 2009-2011, a 28% increase in arms spending, according to Vladislav Putilin of the cabinet’s military-industrial commission. There will be further increases in spending in the following two years. Continue reading

Why Obama Really Might Decriminalize Marijuana

dr_cannabis_plant11

via Esquire

The stoner community is clamoring to say it: “Yes we cannabis!” Turns out, with several drug-war veterans close to the president-elect’s ear, insiders think reform could come in Obama’s second term — or sooner.

Famously, Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved the United States banking system during the first seven days of his first term.

And what did he do on the eighth day? “I think this would be a good time for beer,” he said.

Congress had already repealed Prohibition, pending ratification from the states. But the people needed a lift, and legalizing beer would create a million jobs. And lo, booze was back. Two days after the bill passed, Milwaukee brewers hired six hundred people and paid their first $10 million in taxes. Soon the auto industry was tooling up the first $12 million worth of delivery trucks, and brewers were pouring tens of millions into new plants.

“Roosevelt’s move to legalize beer had the effect he intended,” says Adam Cohen, author of Nothing To Fear, a thrilling new history of FDR’s first hundred days. “It was, one journalist observed, ‘like a stick of dynamite into a log jam.'”

Many in the marijuana world are now hoping for something similar from Barack Obama. After all, the president-elect said in 2004 that the war on drugs had been “an utter failure” and that America should decriminalize pot: Continue reading

(pic) Hef’s Christmas Card: Bodypainted Twins

via Huffington Post

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Hugh Hefner has sent out his annual holiday card, and in 2008 the 82-year old doubled the Christmas cheer by posing with topless, bodypainted twin girlfriends Karissa and Kristina Shannon in a photo on the front.
Hefner, 82, is in his standard uniform of silk robe and pajamas while the girls, 19, have pink paint and the word “hef” written across their chests and matching cloth shorts.
Hefner recently took up with the twins after splitting from his trio of “Girls Next Door” girlfriends Kendra, Holly and Bridget. Scroll down to see the twins’ mugshot from a pre-Hef January battery arrest.

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MTV To Reshuffle Lineup to Coincide with ‘Obama’ Generation

mtv_logo

via Variety

In trying to keep its hold on young and fickle audiences, MTV over the decades has undergone some fundamental programming shifts, but never before on this scale.

The cabler’s recent ratings declines include a 23% fourth-quarter drop in its core demo of 12- to 34-year-olds. So MTV is embarking on a major programming overhaul, with 16 new unscripted series over the next 4½ months.

The series come from high-profile producers including Sean Combs, Matt Stone & Trey Parker, Donald Trump and Nick Lachey. And they represent a major thematic shift for the channel — more toward the meta-scripted reality of MTV’s “The Hills,” one of the cabler’s few success stories these days.

While MTV pioneered reality series with 1992’s “The Real World,” that genre has become ubiquitous, so the network is offering a slate that avoids the backbiting and bitchery of most nonfiction fare. Continue reading

Mexican Beauty Queen Bagged in Truck of Guns w/Gangsters

via Huffington Post

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico — A reigning Mexican beauty queen from the drug-plagued state of Sinaloa was arrested with suspected gang members in a truck filled guns and ammunition, police said Tuesday.

Miss Sinaloa 2008 Laura Zuniga stared at the ground, with her flowing dark hair concealing her face, as she stood squeezed between seven alleged gunmen lined up before journalists. Soldiers wearing ski masks guarded the 23-year-old model and the suspects.picture-124

Zuniga was arrested shortly before midnight Monday at a military checkpoint in Zapopan, just outside the colonial city of Guadalajara, said Jalisco state police director, Francisco Alejandro Solorio.

Zuniga was riding in one of two trucks, where soldiers found a large stash of weapons, including two AR-15 assault rifles, 38 specials, 9mm handguns, nine magazines, 633 cartridges and $53,300 in U.S. currency, Solorio said.

picture-74Zuniga told police that she was planning on traveling to Bolivia and Colombia with the men to go shopping, Solorio said.

When the former preschool teacher won Miss Sinaloa in July she gave an impassioned speech about how society should value women more, especially mothers. In October, she won the Hispanoamerican Queen beauty contest in October against competitors from across Latin America.

She placed third in the Nuestra Belleza Mexico pageant in Monterrey in September. That pageant sends its winner to the Miss Universe contest. For placing third, she was expected to represent Mexico in the 2009 Miss International contest.

Zuniga is from the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa, the home of the powerful cartel of the same name. It was not immediately known whether Zuniga and the men were being investigated for drug ties.

Lupita Jones, the national director of Nuestra Belleza Mexico, released a statement distancing the organization from Zuniga. Jones also said Nuestra Belleza knew nothing about “any illicit activity in which she could be involved.”

The organization also says it will await the results of the investigation before making any decision about whether to strip Zuniga of her crown.

Continue reading

Madoff Investor Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

via LA Times

Reporting from New York — The founder of an investment fund that lost $1.4 billion with financier Bernard L. Madoff was discovered dead Tuesday in an apparent suicide at his Madison Avenue office, marking a grim turn in a scandal that has left investors around the world in financial ruin.madoff_3

Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, 65, was found sitting at his desk about 8 a.m. with both wrists slashed, New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said. A box cutter was found on the floor along with a bottle of sleeping pills on his desk. No suicide note was found.
De la Villehuchet was one of several fund managers to be hit hard in Madoff’s alleged $50-billion Ponzi scheme. Investment funds that lost big to Madoff are also facing backlash, including investor lawsuits, for not protecting their clients from the alleged fraud.

It is not immediately known what kind of scrutiny de la Villehuchet was facing over his Madoff losses through his Access International Advisors, located a couple of blocks from Rockefeller Center. Continue reading

Details Emerge in Youtube/Warner Bros Riff

warner_utube

via LA Times

The removal of Warner Music Group’s videos from YouTube over the weekend highlights the growing tension between music labels and websites over what is becoming an important source of revenue for the beleaguered recorded-music industry: advertising and licensing fees from music videos, the foundation that built MTV but which has now largely migrated to the Internet.
The impasse comes at a time when all four major labels — Warner, Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and EMI Music — are renegotiating their licensing deals with YouTube, the largest video site.

YouTube and social networks such as Last.FM pay for the rights to stream music videos. Typical licensing agreements pay either a minimum fee based on the number of times a video is viewed or, if the sum is greater, a share of the ad revenue, helping to make music videos a small but fast-growing source of revenue for the labels. One label executive estimates that music videos will generate about $300 million for the industry this year.
Record labels are eager to explore ancillary revenue to help offset free-falling CD sales. This year’s album sales are down 45% from 2000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. A recent Forrester Research report projects that disc sales will continue to decline by an annual rate of about 9% over the next five years, as retailers reduce the shelf space allotted to CDs and music fans shift their purchases online. Continue reading

[video] Kissinger Speaks Openly About “New World Order” on Charlie Rose

Now, I really don’t want to come across as a conspiracy theorist, but as of lately these dudes are super bold and they’re openly talking about their plans of implementing a “New World Order” and they are detailing how they are going to do it with Obama as the quarterback. When you got pointmen like Kissinger running around the globe on your behalf, people need to really start scratching their heads and stop romanticizing the fantasy of these bureacrats working in their best interests.  [go in about 10:15]

When you talk about a new structure, I’m not sure, you’ve used the term new world order, what is it? Is it simply a world order that is defined by new interest and new mutuality of interest?” Rose asked.

“That’s certainly how you have to start. I know the view that you start by converting the whole world to our political philosophy. I don’t think that can be done in one or two terms of an administration. That is an historic process that has its own rhythm.” Kissinger replied.

“There are so many elements in this world at the moment that can only be dealt with on a global basis, and that’s unique,” Kissinger continued. “Proliferation, energy, environment, All of these issues necessitate a global approach, so you don’t have to invent an international order. So every country has to mitigate its pure national interests by the global necessities, or define it’s national interests by global necessities But it cannot push its own technically selfish interests only by throwing its own weight around.” he stated.

New Media to Look Out for in 2009

yournewmedia001_3

via NY Times

For many people, the end of the year brings a spate of New Year’s resolutions. Generally, those resolutions revolve around breaking bad habits – which isn’t so easy. So how about we give you an easy one to check off the list? Your newest resolution can be to “try new things.” And here are three new music services – one radio, one mixtape, and one single track – where you can start fulfilling that resolution, already.

One Llama is a new take on the online radio station – but with a twist. Unlike purely user-driven selection, One Llama throws “collaborative filtering” and “audio similarity” into the mix. Designed by scientists from National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), this technology has lofty goals to “anticipate and predict what’s most unpredictable — human behavior and sensibility.” Will it work? It’s still too early to say. There aren’t a ton of folks using the service, currently, so the streaming quality is good. The music selection is interesting, with a wide variety of genres. It’s worth a try.

Audiolizer offers a library of musical selections for creating playlists – the mixtape concept we all know and love. It’s rather limited at this point, but it shows promise. Currently, you have to know the artists or songs you’re seeking, but Audiolizer has a discovery option in the works. And there doesn’t yet appear to be a way to save and share your mixtapes with friends – aside from walking over and setting up a playlist on their machines. While there is no information on where the tracks originate, the selection is extremely broad. I searched on a number of random artists and was able to find a bunch of music from each one. But your tastes may be more eclectic than mine, so give it a shot. Continue reading

Young Muslims Build a Subculture Around an Underground Book

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via NY Times

CLEVELAND — Five years ago, young Muslims across the United States began reading and passing along a blurry, photocopied novel called “The Taqwacores,” about imaginary punk rock Muslims in Buffalo.

“This book helped me create my identity,” said Naina Syed, 14, a high school freshman in Coventry, Conn.

A Muslim born in Pakistan, Naina said she spent hours on the phone listening to her older sister read the novel to her. “When I finally read the book for myself,” she said, “it was an amazing experience.”

The novel is “The Catcher in the Rye” for young Muslims, said Carl W. Ernst, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Springing from the imagination of Michael Muhammad Knight, it inspired disaffected young Muslims in the United States to form real Muslim punk bands and build their own subculture.

Now the underground success of Muslim punk has resulted in a low-budget independent film based on the book. Continue reading

Shoplifting is on Rise as Economy Tanks

Um, any boosters reading this, if you got Gap Gift Cards or Saks Credit, please holla!

via NY Times

Richard R. Johnson is the first to admit it was a bad idea.

Recently laid off from a job building trailers in Elkhart, Ind., Mr. Johnson came up a dollar short at Martin’s Supermarket last month when he went to buy a $4.99 bottle of sleep medication. So, “for some stupid reason,” he tried to shoplift it and was immediately arrested.shoplifting

“I was desperate, I guess,” said Mr. Johnson, 25, who said he had never been arrested before. As the economy has weakened, shoplifting has increased, and retail security experts say the problem has grown worse this holiday season. Shoplifters are taking everything from compact discs and baby formula to gift cards and designer clothing.

Police departments across the country say that shoplifting arrests are 10 percent to 20 percent higher this year than last. The problem is probably even greater than arrest records indicate since shoplifters are often banned from stores rather than arrested.

Much of the increase has come from first-time offenders like Mr. Johnson making rash decisions in a pinch, the authorities say. But the ease with which stolen goods can be sold on the Internet has meant a bigger role for organized crime rings, which also engage in receipt fraud, fake price tagging and gift card schemes, the police and security experts say. Continue reading

[video] This Week With Jasiri X

Now, Maazi‘s walking blog and Crooked I’s weekly blog was trailblazing, I’ll give ’em that but this is just plain slick marketing. Summing up the news events in a weekly rhyme complete with visuals has me hooked on this clip from Jasiri X. I will keep y’all posted with the next episode.

Michael Jackson not dying, working on a new album

This was fishy from the start because too many high level artists from Will.I.Am to Akon spoke highly of MJ‘s new project and nothing about his detoriating health. Could these guys really keep a dying Michael Jackson under wraps? Then these reports surface out of the blue that he is dying a slow death and needs a lung transplant. The Zorro pictures really did not look like someone taking their last breath and that is saying a lot for Michael Jackson. Anyway a statement from his reps are debunking the recent rumors saying Michael is about do his last moonwalk.

picture-171via GG/Perez Hilton

Despite reports from the U.K. to the contrary, Wacko is in good health, his publicist reveals exclusively to PerezHilton.com.

M.J. was said to be battling A1AD — alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency, a rare disease which has left him half blind and needing a lung transplant.

But, not so, his publicist tells us!

Dr. Tohme, Jackson’s rep, says, “Concerning this author’s allegations, we would hope in the future that legitimate media will not continue to be exploited by such an obvious attempt to promote this unauthorized ‘biography.’ The writer’s wild allegations concerning Mr. Jackson’s health are a total fabrication. Mr. Jackson is in fine health, and finalizing negotiations with a major entertainment company & television network for both a world tour and a series of specials and appearances.

Nice to know Wacko’s not sicko!

As for the world tour, though, yeah right! The likeliness of that happening is slimmer then the days Janet used to be skinny!

Energizer to Unveil Solar Paneled Battery Charger

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via Engadget

You don’t usually equate CES with big time Energizer introductions, but this year is going to be different. While our fingers are still crossed that a 50-foot drum-toting bunny is seen storming around in the Vegas heat, we do know that said outfit will be bringing along its minty fresh Zinc Air Prismatic batteries, not to mention the newly unveiled Rechargeable Solar Charger. The above pictured device will boast a USB port to power an assortment of devices, and it can also be charged from an AC outlet if you just can’t seem to locate the sun. Better still, its weatherproof nature should make it suitable for argonauts, and it’ll only run $49.99 with a pair of rechargeable cells when it lands next summer.

U2 Takes Live Nation to the Bank to the Tune of $25 MILLION

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via WSJ

The Irish rock band U2 hasn’t toured since 2006, but it stands to make $25 million in a sweetheart stock deal, according to SEC filings Wednesday and people familiar with the matter.

In March, the band struck a 12-year deal with Live Nation Inc., that called for the concert promotion giant to pay U2 partly with stock. Live Nation promised to pay tens of millions of dollars to high-profile artists in exchange for several years’ worth of revenue from a broad range of their work, including concerts, online fan clubs and t-shirt sales. The idea was pitched as a novel way to make money in the ailing music business.

[Rockers U2 Score With Stock Deal] 

The company had held up the stock component of the U2 deal as evidence of the band’s faith in Live Nation, as well as confidence in its new business model. Continue reading