Breaking Down Oscar Nods by Community
By Jennifer Cheng
January 11, 2014
Following the announcement of the 2012 Oscar nominations yesterday, the community and ethnic press zoomed into the stories of nominees from their respective communities, or of films that were particularly relevant to their readers. From "Life of Pi," director Ang Lee's nod to his native Taiwan, to a documentary about ACT UP and analyses of slavery-themed films, community and ethnic publications offered their angle on the Oscar nominations.
Gay City News profiled two nominated documentaries related to the LGBT community. Also among the five nominated for Documentary Feature were two Israeli films, reported the Jewish Daily Forward, and Irish Central reported that two people from Ireland were nominated, for cinematographer for "Anna Karenina" and one of the producers for "Head Over Heels," nominated for Short Film (Animated). Racial justice news site Colorlines took a graver look at the Oscar news, pointing out that only two out of the 20 acting nominations were for people of color. Both however made a bit of history with their nominations.
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At Disney Parks, a Bracelet Meant to Build Loyalty (and Sales)
By Brooks Barnes
January 7, 2013
Disney World guests currently plod through entrance turnstiles, redeeming paper tickets, and then decide what to ride; food and merchandise are bought with cash or credit cards. People race to FastPass kiosks, which dispense a limited number of free line-skipping tickets. But gridlock quickly sets in and most people wait. And wait.
Soon Disney will begin introducing a vacation management system called MyMagic+ that will drastically change the way 30 million Disney World visitors do just about everything. These so-called MagicBands will function as room key, park ticket, FastPass and credit card. They can also be encoded with all sorts of personal details, allowing for more personalized interaction with Disney employees. The company already collects personal data, but parts of MyMagic+ will allow Disney to track guest behavior in minute detail. Disney is aware of potential privacy concerns, especially regarding children, and the plan could be troublesome for a company that some consumers worry is already too controlling.
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N.Y. officials, newspaper duel over gun data
By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY and John Ferro, Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal
January 4, 2013
The Westchester-based Journal News published a report and interactive map identifying the names and addresses of those who legally hold pistol permits in Westchester and Rockland counties. But Putnam County officials, who also initially agreed to provide the information to the Journal News, said in a press conference here Thursday they would defy New York State's open records law and refuse to provide the controversial information. Janet Hasson, publisher of The Journal News Media Group, responded that the company will take legal action if necessary. "We will aggressively pursue the community's right of access to public record information."
New York law on firearms licensing specifies that "the name and address of any person to whom an application for any license has been granted shall be a public record." The Journal News editors said they made the Freedom of Information requests in the wake of the Newtown CT killings because readers were "understandably interested to know about guns in their neighborhoods."
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NY newspaper hires armed guards after publishing gun permit names
By Chris Francescani
January 5, 2013
A suburban New York newspaper that ignited a furor by publishing the identities of thousands of residents who hold gun licenses has hired armed security to guard its staff after receiving an intimidating e-mail, a police report said. The guards are protecting the newspaper's staff and Rockland County offices in West Nyack, New York. The menacing e-mail was reported to police on December 28.
The newspaper's editor and publisher have said they expected the publication of the information to be controversial. State gun-owner groups have called for an advertising boycott of the newspaper until it takes the map and identities off its website.
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`Demand a Plan' Gun Control Campaign Launches Viral Video
By Elizabeth S. Mitchell
December 28, 2012
The Demand a Plan campaign launched by social advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, urges supporters to sign a petition, contact their legislators and mayors, write letters to editors of major publications and voice their support on Twitter and Facebook. The multifaceted project has all its PR bases covered-and now it has a celebrity-filled viral video to boot.
The spot, which features such familiar names and faces as Jon Hamm, Beyonc, Chris Rock and many others, made it to number 6 on the Ad Age Viral Video Chart this week. Like all of the campaign's content, the video's simple, straight-forward, no- frills style serves to promote its overall message: less rhetoric, more action.
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Idle No More spreads beyond border as aboriginal activists ramp up pressure
By Benjamin Shingler, The Canadian Press
January 1, 2013
The Canadian aboriginal movement known as Idle No More continued to gain strength beyond Canada's borders on Tuesday as activists embarked on a public relations blitz in the United States. Pamela Palmater, one of the leaders of the movement, travelled to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness internationally and force Prime Minister Stephen Harper to act.
In addition to recent events held across Canada, rallies have already been staged as far off as Texas, Hawaii and New Zealand with plans for more in the coming days. Palmater said Chief Theresa Spence's hunger strike, now in its fourth week, is part of a much larger protest movement. The initial spark was the federal government's omnibus budget legislation but it has now become about broader issues like inequality and treaty rights, she said.
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A Chinese Web censor snaps, goes on public rant
By Max Fisher
January 9, 2013
As controversy over a censored newspaper grows into one of China's biggest and potentially most significant free-speech fights in years, party officials are likely seeking greater control at exactly the moment that outraged Web users are making that task most difficult. At least one censor on Weibo, the popular Twitter-like service that often serves as the closest China has to a public national conversation, seems to have snapped.
A rant was posted from a Weibo account belonging to @Geniune_Yu_Yang, which is identified as belonging to a Weibo manager, about the pressure from government officials and complaints from regular users. The message, translated into English by Global Voices blogger Oiwan Lam, compares Chinese government censorship to a famous scene in the 1988 Italian film "Cinema Paradiso," in which a priest watches each movie before it can be shown in public, and indicates which scenes the theater staff should censor by cutting them out.
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New York literary magazines - start spreading the news
By Hermione Hoby
January 5, 2013
According to a band of ambitious young New York writers and editors who are shaking up the publishing world, publishing is undergoing something genuinely exciting in New York, a new, post-digital dawn in which a web-literate and politically engaged generation is re-energising journalism with fierce- thinking in stylish print and online publications.
The new publications include "Triple Canopy", a digital journal of arts and culture, as well as the radical online magazine, "the New Inquiry". The newest title to generate heat is "the American Reader," which has already been hailed as "the New Yorker's younger, cooler sister". Also part of this movement is "Jacobin", a left-leaning magazine founded in 2010 by Bhaskar Sunkara when he was 21 and an undergraduate at George Washington College. Two years on, his site has a quarter of a million unique users per month and has expanded into print.
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Yes, `All My Babies' Mamas' Looks Awful - But That's Not the Whole Point
by Jamilah King
January 3 2013
Just in case you needed a new reality TV show to loathe, there's this: Oxygen Network's "All My Babies' Mamas." The show is set to debut later this spring and stars the rapper Shawty Lo (of `Laffy Taffy' fame) and his encounters with the various different mothers of ten children. Folks are pissed - and now there's an online petition aimed to stopping the show before it starts.
An online petition started by Change.org has gathered close to 4,000 signatures. According to Sabrina Lamb, the petition's author, "By pushing these degrading images, your company seeks to profit from the humiliation of girls and women and the blatant stereotyping of African-Americans." The network, of course, begs to differ. "Oxygen will give fans an intimate look at unconventional families with larger than life personalities and real emotional stakes... All My Babies' Mamas' will be filled with outrageous and authentic over-the- top moments that our young, diverse female audience can tweet and gossip about."
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Savile: the full shocking truth revealed in official report
By Paul Peachey , Jonathan Brown
January 11, 2013
Police have recorded 34 rapes against Jimmy Savile and 126 indecent assaults with the vast majority of them against children, the youngest of whom was aged eight, a report into the activities of the former DJ revealed today. The earliest allegations against the presenter who died in 2011 surfaced as far back as 1955 when Savile worked in Manchester. The final report came in 2009, also in Manchester.
During more than half a century in which he was never directly challenged over his activities, victims reported being abused in 14 different medical establishments including hospitals, psychiatric units and one hospice. The Crown Prosecution Service apologised today after it admitted that Jimmy Savile could have been charged in connection with three cases involving sexual assault and other offences dating back to the 1970s.
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Welcome to the new Civil War
By Andrew O'Hehir
January 5, 2013
You can't boil one of the most tumultuous periods of American history down to one paragraph, but here goes: Lincoln was assassinated by a domestic terrorist and replaced by Andrew Johnson, who was an incompetent hothead and an unapologetic racist. Within a few years the ambitious project of Reconstruction fell victim to a sustained insurgency led by the Ku Klux Klan and similar white militia groups. By the late 1870s white supremacist "Redeemers" controlled most local and state governments in the South, and by the 1890s Southern blacks had been disenfranchised and thrust into subservience positions by Jim Crow laws that were only slightly preferable to slavery.
So even though it's a truism that the Civil War never ended, we face a new Civil War, one focused on divisive political issues of the 21st century - most notably the rights and liberties of women and LGBT people - but rooted in toxic rhetoric and ideas inherited from the 19th century.
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2012: The Year Our Sports Broke
By Dave Zirin
December 21, 2012
To read the Associated Press's list of "Sports Stories of the Year" is to be assaulted with crime, corruption and obscene villainy. The number-one sports story of the year was the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky child rape scandal and subsequent trial. Number two? Lance Armstrong having his titles, his trophies and his tailored reputation methodically stripped away. Number three was the horror of "learning" that the NFL's New Orleans Saints put bounties out on opposing players, only to have these charges revealed as groundless. The number-four story is listed as "NFL concussions," including the growing class action lawsuit of now 4,000 former players, and the suicides of four current and former NFL vets. The number-five story may seem cheerier: the London Olympics. But part of what made this iteration of the Olympiad a story wasn't just Michael Phelps and Gabby Douglas. It was the cost overruns and the bloated, malfunctioning security apparatus.
Our sports broke this year. They self-destructed under the twin weights of greed and a bloated sports media conditioned to look the other way. There is a real crisis when our entertainments no longer entertain and our sweet distractions turn sour.
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Preppers Are Getting Ready for the Barackalypse
By Tim Murphy
Obama's second term is very bad news for survivalists. It's also very good news for the industry catering to their worst fears. James Talmage Stevens, a 73-year-old Texan, is America's most celebrated self-reliance guru and his book, Making the Best of Basics, may be the closest thing the survival industry has to a bible (aside from the actual Bible). It has sold more than 800,000 copies since hitting the shelves at Kmart during the gas crisis in 1974.
Stevens is somewhat paranoid about where the United States is headed (he foresees a borderline tyrannical second Obama term that begins with massive gun confiscation and ends who-knows- where), so he's rolling with it. I met Stevens at the Self Reliance Expo in Mesa, Arizona, one of the nation's leading "readiness" trade shows, where attendees (about 5,000 over two days) shop for bulletproof vests and dehydrated peas or practice suturing an open wound on a severed pig's foot.
Welcome to the doom boom.
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Ed Asner Adds His Voice to `Zero Dark Thirty' Protest
By Michael Cieply
January 13, 2013
LOS ANGELES - Sunday dawned crisp and clear here, with wintry (for Southern California) temperatures lingering in the 40s and 50s. But the rhetoric was already hot, as Hollywood got ready for a Golden Globes ceremony at which the table talk - if not the stage banter -- almost inevitably will turn to the political flare-up around "Zero Dark Thirty."
"I would like to condemn the movie" for making it appear that torture was effective in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Ed Asner said in a telephone interview on Sunday morning. Mr. Asner said he and fellow actor Martin Sheen planned to join in a letter, drafted by yet another actor, David Clennon, asking fellow members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to factor in matters of conscience when casting awards votes.
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