Daily Archives: May 21, 2007

Strong women dominate new US TV shows

The Observer | May 20, 2007

Prime-time viewing has ditched male-led programmes to aim at a loyal female audience that increasingly controls the family

She can leap across rooftops, lift huge objects and knock down a man with one blow. Meet the new Bionic Woman: updated for the modern era in a gritty, realist style that already has television insiders anticipating a hit. Bionic Woman, which stars the former EastEnders actress Michelle Ryan, had plenty of strong female company last week as America’s TV executives gathered in New York to unveil their new shows. US television is preparing a huge chunk of prime-time programming based on strong women characters who are more than a match for any men that come their way.

Old stereotypes are being cast out and a new audience – dominated by women – is being catered for. Beyond the new serious Bionic Woman – far removed from the kitsch 1970s original – are the Women’s Murder Club, with four amateur women detectives solving crimes. Then there is Lipstick Jungle, with Brooke Shields, and Cashmere Mafia, starring Lucy Liu, based on groups of successful, strong women. A medical series, Private Practice, starring Kate Walsh, centres on a woman doctor. ‘It is all about having female leads at the moment,’ said Professor Tina Pieraccini, broadcasting expert at the State University of New York.

The shows that the networks killed off or suspended also show the change from male leads to women. Gone are comedies and dramas like George Lopez, What About Brian and According to Jim. Both Lipstick Jungle and Cashmere Mafia are inspired by Sex and the City but, instead of dating and obsessing over fashion, the women are successful in their jobs and struggle to balance work and family lives.

Nor is it all about glamour. One of the biggest recent TV hits was Ugly Betty, whose main character is distinctly unglamorous and played by America Ferrera, who first gained recognition in the film Real Women Have Curves. Experts say female-centric programming is breaking new ground with characters displaying foibles viewers can relate to. ‘These new characters are strong women. But they are also strong, flawed women. That’s a reflection of society wanting a more realistic portrayal of life,’ said Pieraccini.

Women characters are also set to become more prevalent in the world of US sitcoms. Apart from Ugly Betty, one of the biggest critical hits is The New Adventures of Old Christine, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Sitcoms coming later this year with female leads are Sam I Am, starring Christina Applegate, Miss/Guided with Judy Greer, and Parker Posey in The Return of Jezebel James

It is not only in TV where women are making their strength felt. One of the most successful, and male-dominated, areas of American media is the talk radio industry, home to legions of ‘shock jocks’ stirring up controversy with live debates. In recent weeks three shock jocks have seen their careers collapse after making derogatory comments about women. Last week two hosts, known as Opie and Anthony, were suspended after airing offensive remarks about the rape of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

‘Any woman who hears the clip will be seething at the misogynistic diatribe. Both hosts knew what they were doing when they treated assault and rape as a joke,’ said Kim Gandy, of the National Organisation for Women. It followed the sacking of Don Imus – one of the biggest names in radio – after he made disparaging comments about a women’s basketball team. Much of the Imus controversy centred on the racial element, but it was as much about his sexism. Women’s organisations campaigned against him, attacking his show’s advertisers. ‘We just got through this with Imus … profiting from hate will cost you,’ said Gandy.

The main reason behind the rise of women is money. US women have more purchasing power than ever before and, in an industry that needs advertising, that gives them increasing influence over airwaves. Women head about 40 per cent of US households, make 85 per cent of purchasing decisions and run 40 per cent of US companies. Its an economic clout that can only get stronger.

‘The baby boomer generation of women got power. But what advertisers really want are the boomers’ daughters. They’re in their twenties and thirties, have careers and can spend lots of money,’ said Pieraccini. At the same time broadcasters are facing a decline in the number of young men watching TV. The key 18-24 group has shrunk by at least 12 per cent as they turn to DVDs and video games. Women now make up more than half of all prime-time viewers and watch four hours more TV a week than men.

The colossus in the new landscape is Oprah Winfrey. She has made millions dominating female daytime television and is branching out into evening prime-time with a reality TV show on ABC called The Big Give, featuring celebrities in acts of philanthropy. She is also making inroads into talk radio with a satellite show called Oprah & Friends, while GreenStone Media has started a talk radio network with an ‘all female, all talk’ format. Partly backed by actress and liberal activist Jane Fonda, some in the industry have dubbed it ‘respect radio’, reflecting its less confrontational style.

There is, of course, a long way to go. Katie Couric’s appointment as the evening news anchor at CBS was a great moment for women in broadcasting. But she has failed to haul the show past the ratings of rivals at ABC and NBC. CBS ratings are at 7.3 million viewers, down about 5 per cent on a year ago, despite Couric’s high profile and $15m salary.

US broadcasting bosses remain as male, middle-aged and white as the rest of corporate America. But changes are afoot. One of the most humorous signs is a commissioned TV comedy about some newly discovered cavemen and the prejudices they face. Being called a caveman used to be a badge of male chauvinism. Now it is being used to explore the experiences of a misunderstood minority. Things really have started to change.

RELATED

Hollywood director and documentary film maker Aaron Russo has gone in-depth on the astounding admissions of Nick Rockefeller, who personally told him that the elite’s ultimate goal was to create a microchipped population and that the war on terror was a hoax, Rockefeller having predicted an “event” that would trigger the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan eleven months before 9/11.

Rockefeller also told Russo that his family’s foundation had created and bankrolled the women’s liberation movement in order to destroy the family and that population reduction was a fundamental aim of the global elite. 

[Googlevideo=http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=1263677258215075609&hl=en]

Many Wonder, Did Giuliani Profit From 9/11?

CBS 3 | May 18, 2007

giuliani_kbe

When Rudy Giuliani left office in 2001, he was worth a little less than $2 million. But official filings show he now could be worth 30 times that amount. And that has critics charging he’s exploited a tragedy.

Giuliani’s become a multi-millionaire since Sept. 11. And that’s not sitting well with FDNY Deputy Fire Chief Jim Riches.

“He’s making all this money on the backs of my dead son and all the other dead victims that day,” Riches said.

That’s a serious charge, but it’s echoing among Giuliani’s critics in wake of his financial disclosures this week. It turns out the former mayor could be worth up to $66 million.

Last year he collected speaking fees of $11.4 million, consulting fees of $4.1 million and fees from his Texas law firm of $1.2 million.

Giuliani biographer Wayne Barrett said he’s attended some of Giuliani’s lucrative speeches.

“He’s recycled his 9/11 talk for up to $200,000, you know, (based on) what happened that morning and then he has the six principals of leadership, and the seventh should be milk a tragedy for millions,” said Barrett, the co-author of “Grand Illusion.”

But not everyone agrees.

Giuliani biographer Fred Siegel said Giuliani deserves all the applause he’s received since 9/11.

“You need to remember when he went about this terror protection for five years he took a lot of flack because people thought it was an imaginary problem,” Siegel said.

The issue arises as Giuliani is having the best week of his campaign. Not surprisingly, it happened when he invoked 9/11.

“I’ve heard some pretty absurd explanations for Sept. 11,” Giuliani said at the second GOP debate.

Voters usually don’t care if a candidate has money — just look at Michael Bloomberg — but profiting from a tragedy is another matter. If voters decide that’s the case here, it could dog Giuliani’s campaign for months to come.

Giuliani will lay out his case for the presidency on Thursday night at a Midtown fundraiser for the state GOP. His closest rival for the Republican nomination, Sen. John McCain, will appear as well.

Former Al Qaeda member to fight climate change instead of infidels

Canberra Times | May 21, 2007

david_hicks

Australian David Hicks holding a bazooka in undated photo taken in Kosovo. Hicks, an Al Qaeda member, was captured by Northern Alliance fighters in Afghanistan, spent five years in Guantanamo Bay and has now been released into Australian custody.
 
From terror to fighting climate change

Now he has been removed from the war on terror, David Hicks wants to join the fight against climate change.

His lawyer David McLeod said yesterday that the confessed terrorism supporter wanted to complete his high school education before studying ecology at university and hopefully getting a good job.

Hicks had asked him to stop all legal proceedings in his name and said he would not challenge his sentence.

“He proposes to honour the one-year media gag, irrespective of whether it is a legal condition, and … he has no intention of profiting in any way from the sale of his story and will have absolutely nothing to do with anyone who endeavours to profit from it in his name,” he said.

Hicks would take advantage of social workers and teachers at his new home of Yatala prison to try to continue the education he had begun again at Guantanamo.

“He is up to about Year 11 and he wants to do his [matriculation] and then go on to do something in the ecology area, to do with battling climate change,” he said.

“… He wants to educate himself and then he wants to get a good job. He doesn’t want any handouts, he doesn’t want to be seen to be profiting from his situation.

“He recognises that in order to do that he has to work hard and in that way demonstrate that he is capable of being a productive member of society.”

In the more immediate term, Hicks was just happy to be home and was looking forward to seeing his family again.

Mr McLeod said there were about a half dozen members of Hicks’s family who were keen to see him as soon as possible. This was likely to take about a week.

His father, Terry Hicks, said he was prepared to wait.

“We are going to be patient. It has been 5 years, we’ll just wait and see what happens and see what their protocol is,” he said.

He was not surprised at his son’s new desire to study ecology, saying his son had “always been interested in animals and plants”.

Hicks, who has not been a practising Muslim for almost four years, hoped to redeem himself to the Australian people and to show that he was not, had not been and would not be a danger, he said.

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The Great Global Warming Swindle

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Global Warming Doomsday Called Off

[Googlevideo=http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-3309910462407994295&hl=en-GB]

Military leaders declare war on climate change

Seattle Times | May 21, 2007

Massive refugee migrations, bloody conflicts over water and other essential resources, and the U.S. military called in for huge relief efforts or as peacekeepers — this is one global prediction if governments don’t curb greenhouse-gas emissions.

Because that warning is coming from a growing number of retired generals and security experts, the notion that dealing with global warming is a national-security imperative that requires international cooperation is gaining currency as Congress debates legislative remedies.

Using the military’s risk-assessment practices, 11 retired generals and admirals issued a recent report saying that climate change is a “threat multiplier” that makes instability worse in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and could spark a greater refugee flow into Europe.

Their warnings are having an impact, from Congress to intelligence agencies and the Pentagon. One of the retired generals, former Army Chief of Staff Gordon Sullivan, said “it’s not a hard sell” because the Defense Department already is assessing instability around the world.

“The impacts of climate change will be huge — deserts move north, coastal areas threatened, the dislocation of people,” said retired Adm. T. Joseph Lopez, who commanded peacekeeping forces in Bosnia. “I’m a student of instability, and instability is the enemy. It helps religious extremists and terrorists.”

The former military leaders urge the United States “to commit to a global partnership” to reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions and to help developing countries deal with climate change.

The House voted two weeks ago to direct intelligence agencies to conduct a formal assessment of the impact of climate change. Rep. Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat and member of the Intelligence Committee, requested the study in an intelligence spending bill after she read that the retired military chiefs recommended it.

“When you have a former Army chief of staff and Gen. Tony Zinni (former commander of Central Command in the Middle East), people know it’s serious, that this is a national-security threat,” Eshoo said.

Some House Republicans warned that focusing on global warming could distract agencies from the threat of terrorism, or suggested it was a marketing ploy designed to help military and intelligence officials defend bigger budgets. Some belittled the initiative.

“Let other federal agencies cover the bugs and bunnies, but let our spies be spies,” said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican and former Intelligence Committee chairman.

The “bugs and bunnies” comment was a reference to former CIA Director George Tenet, who said some analysts used that disparaging label when Vice President Al Gore requested studies on climate change in the late 1990s.

But times have changed. Michael McConnell, director of national intelligence, wrote Eshoo that “it’s entirely appropriate” for intelligence agencies to assess “the geopolitical and security implications of global climate change.”

McConnell’s statement and the vote in the House “were good indications that people see this as important,” said Sullivan, a former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The military leaders warned that climate change already is having an impact on such crises as Somalia and Darfur, and causing more Africans to flee to Europe. Lopez warned that even stable governments, such as Turkey and Syria, could “one day go to war over water.”

The voice of military leaders is an important new element in the climate-change debate, environmentalists say.

Russell Train, a longtime leader of the environmental movement, said activists “could easily be dismissed as the fringe, or a group of elitists, but that’s not the case with the military leaders, so it’s refreshing to see them speak out.”

RELATED

The Great Global Warming Swindle

[Googlevideo=http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=4499562022478442170&hl=en]

Global Warming Doomsday Called Off

[Googlevideo=http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-3309910462407994295&hl=en-GB]

Congressman Ron Paul has the most YouTube subscribers of all presidential candidates

Ron Paul 2008 | May 20, 2007

Paul #1, Obama #2

As of 9:59 a.m. ET today, Congressman Ron Paul has the most YouTube subscribers of all presidential candidates — Republican and Democrat.

Paul – 5,679
Obama – 5,678
Clinton – 2,998
Edwards – 2,750
Romney – 1,977
Kucinich – 1,685
Giuliani – 1,370
McCain – 1,233
Gravel – 824
Richardson – 756
Biden – 582
Hunter – 381
Dodd – 221
Huckabee – 187
Tancredo – 166
Brownback – 86
Gilmore – 40.

Santa Fe Police Department looking into hiring Mexican nationals

Associated Press | May 16, 2007

The Santa Fe Police Department is considering the possibility of recruiting Mexican nationals to fill vacant police jobs.

Sgts. Gillian Alessio and Marvin Paulk, who are in charge of the department’s recruiting and training, said Tuesday they are considering alternative approaches to fill 20 vacancies on the city’s 155-person police force.

But Police Chief Eric Johnson said New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy regulations prohibit non-citizens from serving as police officers.

Alessio said the Santa Fe police force, like others around the country, is vying to recruit the same 21- to 30-year-olds as the U.S. military, whose need for recruits is taking a toll on the police department.

“Every day, we get approached by young men and women from Mexico who are in the country legally but are not naturalized,” Alessio said.

“There is a huge pool of people who are dedicated, hardworking and trying to become citizens of this country. They would like nothing better than to devote their time to protecting the communities that they live in,” she said.

The United States speeds up naturalization for foreigners who enlist in the U.S. military, and Alessio asked, “Why can’t we do that with law enforcement?”

Ron Paul 2008 – The Voice Of The People On CSPAN

Calls For Support Of Congressman Ron Paul On CSPAN The Day After The May 15th GOP Debate.

Join Us In The YouTube Group “Ron Paul for US President in 2008” & We’ll Talk About The Next President Of The United States Of America! Congressman Ron Paul. http://www.ronpaul2008.com

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5VeaUW12pY]