STAFF & GUEST BLOG
March 30th, 2012, by

Donald Trump blasts Paul Ryan's latest plan. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Can’t members of the GOP just all get along? Whether it’s Newt fighting against Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum undermining Romney, folks in the GOP just don’t seem to get along these days. Now, it’s Trump forging ahead with the latest GOP criticism.

According to a recent interview on CNBC, Donald Trump weighed in on the release of the Ryan budget plan that recently passed in the House of Representatives.

The former presidential hopeful thinks the timing of the release was a bad idea. The plan as it stands is also slated by political analysts to be DOA in the Senate. The Ryan plan calls for tax cuts for the wealthy and deep spending cuts, including in Medicare.

Trump ultimately cancelled his bid for the White House, citing his part-time gig as celebrity host of NBC’s The Apprentice as too much of a good thing to leave behind.

Back in 2011, Mr. Trump filed as an independent, in order to preserve his ability to run for the Oval Office should he find himself still interested in the 2012 election. However, his political adviser states that Mr. Trump still has strong Republican roots. Check out the full interview to hear more of The Don’s political viewpoints.

Speak Out: Was Trump being too critical of Ryan’s plan, or does his argument have some merit?

PRIMER
March 30th, 2012, by

Photo courtesy: Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.


Airdate |
Monday, April 2, 2012

Hometown | Lansing, MI

Birth name | Earvin Johnson

Parents | Christine and Earvin Johnson, Sr.

Why You (Should) Know Him

  • He was drafted first overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979 and played alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. All 13 years of his NBA career were with the Lakers.
  • Johnson and Larry Bird symbolize the Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics rivalry in the 1980s.
  • His retired #32 Lakers jersey is still worn by fans across the globe.
  • His November 7, 1991 press conference, where he announced testing positive for the HIV virus and his subsequent retirement, was named as ESPN’s seventh most memorable moment of the past 25 years. He is an HIV activist, working under the Magic Johnson Foundation to spread awareness and educate people about the disease. ESPN Films recently aired “The Announcement,” which outlined that event and what followed.

Why He’s Buzzing

  • He’s part of Guggenheim Partners, a group that, as of March 27, agreed to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt for a record-shattering $2 billion.
  • His rivalry with Boston Celtic Larry Bird is the pulp of the stage production Magic/Bird, which will premiere on March 21, 2012 at the Longacre Theatre on Broadway in New York City.
  • ESPN Films’ The Announcement premiered on March 11, 2012. (See trailer below)
  • He’s recently linked up with Comcast to launch Aspire, his own 24-hour “inspirational-themed” cable television network. The channel will target African Americans and is scheduled to launch on June 30 of this year.

Magic Johnson Trivia

  • He was dubbed “Magic” after he scored 36 points, 16 rebounds and 16 assists while playing at Everett High School. He was only 15 years old. Furthermore, his mother thought the nickname was blasphemous.
  • The Johnson-Bird rivalry didn’t start with the Lakers and Celtics. The rivalry traces back to the 1979 NCAA finals, when Johnson and Michigan State defeated Bird and the Indiana State ball club. The two men became friends while filming a Converse show advertisement in 1984. Bird inducted Johnson into the Hall of Fame, and Johnson attended Bird’s 1992 retirement ceremony.
  • In 1980, he became the first rookie to start in an All-Star game.
  • According to his NBA.com biography, his on-court skills “inspired the addition of the term ‘triple-double’ to basketball’s lexicon.” (A triple-double is when a player accrues a double-digit number total in any of three categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots.)
  • At 6 ft. 9 in, he is the tallest point guard to play that position in NBA history.
  • He hosted his own talk show on Fox called The Magic Hour in 2008.

The Magic Johnson Empire

Under Magic Johnson Enterprises, subsidiaries include: his promotional company, Magic Johnson Productions; Magic Johnson Theaters, a chain of movie theaters around the U.S., his movie studio, Magic Johnson Entertainment; and the Magic Johnson Foundation, a charity that, according to their mission statement, ‘works to develop programs and support community-based organizations that address the educational, health and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities.’

Selection of Honors

Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2002)
NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
NBA Most Valuable Player (1987, 1989, 1990)
Nine-time All-NBA First Team (1983-1991)
All-NBA Second Team (1982)
All-Star Most Valuable Player (1990, 1992)
Olympic Gold Medalist (1992)

Bibliography

  • Magic’s Touch: From Fundamentals to Fast Break with One of Basketball’s All-Time Greats (1992)
  • What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS (1996)

ESPN Films: The Announcement Trailer

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ybwYvzBNjKI]

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
March 30th, 2012, by

When hip-hop lost a brother, Ms. Voletta Wallace lost a son. (Photo credit: H.Depot)

Voletta Wallace mourns the loss of her son the way any mother would. Her son Christopher Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed in California in 1995.

It’s been 15 years since the smooth rapper extraordinaire was taken away from us. Since that time, Voletta Wallace’s quest for justice has been unwavering.

Unfortunately to this day, no arrests or convictions from the 1995 shooting and subsequent death have been made. Now, Biggie’s Mom says it’s time for justice to prevail, and there’s talk of new information that may finally lead to just that.

L.A. Weekly journalist Chris Vogel writes that a former police detective, Greg Kading, recently wrote and self– published his account of the L.A. investigation in his newest book, Murder Rap.

In the article, Vogel goes on to write that Kading’s information may provide new evidence, which can hopefully lead to some closure and justice for the Wallace family. No mother or family should ever have to go through that.

It’s a tragic case that has been cold for too long. And while the hip hop community felt as if they lost a brother, it’s important to remember that Ms. Wallace in fact, lost a son. My hope is that the new information leads to an actual arrest and conviction soon.

March 26th, 2012, by

Today the fight for job creation, home ownership and sustainable living is at the forefront of many Americans’ lives. Often times when listening to news reports of the number of men and women facing unemployment and foreclosures in this new economy, it’s important to put a real face to these issues.

Yahoo’s Remaking America is an exploration of people in the country living, working and fighting to survive. It is an extraordinary journey into the lives of Americans who are at a financial and, at times, emotional crossroads in their lives.

These families have shared their stories for the world to see in an effort to put a face on the real issues many Americans are facing throughout the country. The courage displayed in sharing their stories is a testament to the American spirit of perseverance and excellence. Hopefully it will inspire you to dig deep and overcome any challenges you may face in your life.

Check out the clip below.

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
March 24th, 2012, by

Even with the glut of excellent TV soon to be upon us–the return of Mad Men this weekend and Game of Thrones next–I was disappointed to hear about the recent cancellation of HBO’s newest series, Luck. Created by David Milch (of Deadwood renown) and starring Dustin Hoffman, among other notables, Luck looked like it might have the goods to become a hit.

Sadly, after two horses died on set during the filming of season 1, and a third perished during the filming of season 2, HBO pulled the plug on the series. Some speculated that HBO’s reasoning had more to do with the buzz-diminishing effect of the deaths, while others pointed out that groups like PETA had been critical of Luck since the beginning.

What’s clear is that HBO entering into the unwinnable debate on the ethics of horse racing wouldn’t have been good for business.

The irony of this situation, of course, is that Milch is an outspoken lover of horses and horse racing, and Luck is something of a love letter to his lifelong devotion to the sport. A sad, seedy love letter, but a love letter nonetheless. The other irony is that horses regularly die in the course of horse racing and training, often at a far greater rate than they did on the show. Nonetheless, the argument that one horse death for the sake of entertainment is one too many seems to prevail here. The animal rights activists have won this battle, but the war is ongoing.

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
March 24th, 2012, by

A new solo show by Canadian photographer Stan Douglas takes a look at the culture of the 1970s through the lens of a fictional photojournalist. Douglas’ latest works examine two seemingly disparate 1970s cultural scenes–disco-era New York City and post-war Angola–and shows how common elements in dance, fashion and politics suggest they are closer linked than we might think. Juxtaposing scenes carefully set up to resemble ’70s-era New York City’s vibrant disco scene with images recreating Angola in its heyday, Douglas comments on war, dance and the cultural crossovers between those far-flung locations in that turbulent decade.

Apart from Douglas’ convincing art direction, which flawlessly and artfully recreates both of these places and times, the show is a great starting point for a discussion on the distinctions between journalism and art. How apropos.

Disco Angola, at New York’s David Zwirner Gallery, runs through April 28th. Or check out the slideshow on Cool Hunting.

March 23rd, 2012, by

Hmm, so just what are the candidates saying? Credit:Ondrejk Wikimedia commons

There’s a coded language between friends, inside jokes between co-workers and a lexicon or lingo that goes with every industry. The realm of politics is no different.

Politicians and candidates alike have long used a series of words and phrases that have meant the difference between winning the next primary and election cycle or being thrown in hot water. So just what are the politicians truly saying?

Well, you’re in luck. The good folks at Yahoo took the time to investigate just what candidates truly mean when they’re in an interview or speaking to potential voters.

Just think of it as the Rosetta Stone of political jargon. Take a look at these findings from the Yahoo team online. You’ll be glad you did.

March 23rd, 2012, by

Recently, talk show legend Montel Williams sat down to talk with CNN’s Piers Morgan on a host of issues.

Most notably was his ever present passion and fervor on the issue of personal accountability with respect to those in office, including the GOP presidential candidates.

Williams is a no nonsense kind of guy who tells it like it is. He’s passionate about the issues and comes from the heart. His remarks are not bombastic, nor are they said to create headlines. What he does offer however is an honest, raw emotion that comes from a place that I think most people can appreciate if they give it a chance.

The exchange between Morgan and Williams was engaging to say the least. Whether discussing issues of health, politics or the state of affairs in American society, the two brought an energy and an awareness that is severely lacking in mainstream media at times.

Personally, I find it interesting anytime two talk show hosts get together. In my opinion, it always leads to good conversation. The night’s exchange was no disappointment. Check out the clip below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRIMER
March 21st, 2012, by

Photo courtesy: Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

Airdate | Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hometown | Baltimore, MD

Notable Accomplishments | Writer-producer for the fifth and sixth seasons of The Sopranos and creator-executive producer-head writer-show runner for Mad Men. The former racked up an impressive 21 Emmys and 5 Golden Globes in its six-year run.

Why He’s Buzzing | With the long Mad Men hiatus that ended on Sunday, March 25, 2012, audiences anticipated the premiere of season 5. The series received critical acclaim for its historical authenticity and visual style, resulting in 15 Emmys and 4 Golden Globes and making Mad Men the first basic cable series to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series for all fours years of broadcast (2008-2011).

Matthew Weiner Trivia

  • Wrote the pilot of Mad Men as a spec script while working as a writer on Becker.
  • Not only did he earn an MFA from the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television (now School of Cinematic Arts), but he also taught an undergraduate screenwriting class in 2004.
  • His son, Marten, plays the recurring role of Glen Bishop in Mad Men. Furthermore, the scene where Glen walks in on Betty Draper in the bathroom (then later asks for a lock of her hair!) is based on an experience from Weiner’s childhood.
  • Was a one-day champion on the trivia-quiz show Jeopardy!

Selection of projects

Television

2000-2002 Becker, Co-producer/producer, writer
2002-2003 Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Supervising producer, writer
2004-2007 The Sopranos, Supervising producer, co-executive producer, executive producer, writer, actor (Episodes “Stage 5” and “Two Tonys” as Manny Safer)
2007-present Mad Men, Executive producer, writer, director
2011 The Simpsons, (Episode “The Man in the Blue Flannel Pants” as businessman [voice])

Mad Men Season Five Trailer

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2k18vJj1Cs]

Season Five Promotion Art

March 19th, 2012, by

Image: Korean Central News Agency

Daily life for the citizens of North Korea, a notoriously secretive, closed society, is as mysterious to most as the goings on at the bottom of the ocean. We hear stories of famine, human rights abuses and extreme corruption, but given the country’s mistrust of outsiders, details are few and far between.

Recently, Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder has taken a bold step towards giving the West a glimpse at daily life in the socialist state by opening a news bureau in Pyongyang this past January. Not only does Guttenfelder have unprecedented access to the country, he has begun acting as an informal ambassador on behalf of the West.

A new show at The 8th Floor gallery in New York City, billed as “A Joint Exhibition by The Associated Press and the Korean Central News Agency,” displays some of Guttenfelder’s photos alongside images provided by the North Korean state media service. While the photojournalist’s images are somewhat restrained compared to others that have emerged from North Korea recently, alongside the super-glossy shots provided by the state, the exhibit tells another story — of the beginning of a relationship between the secretive regime and the West.

In a story on the New York Times‘ website, Santiago Lyon, the AP’s director of photography, describes it as a “trust-building exercise.” “Of course, the nature of the society means that you can’t just go wandering around as you might be able to on the streets of New Delhi or London. You ask for permission, you get to see certain things and you do the best with the access you have. On that front, we’re making progress.”

 

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