Dec 6, 2007
Women Who Rock Part 1: Sing my sisters sing - A Fall Guide to Must-have Music
In a time when artistic integrity seems all but lost on a generation of younger artists enslaved by recording contracts and corporate holders that value money OVER integrity, it can be easily forgotten that there are some artists with an independent streak who are releasing wonderful music in 2007. Here are my current favorites...
Annie Lennox: Songs Of Mass Destruction - Annie Lennox has returned with her fourth studio record since 2004's Bare. 'Songs tends to reflect Lennox's political view of the world. Always an outspoken artist, the album blends pop/rock with jazz and blues; "Coloured Bedspread" sees Lennox playfully re-visiting her earlier synthpop Eurythmics days. Songs Of Mass Destruction is a must have for any true music fan.
Me'shell N'degeocello: The World Has Made Me The Man Of My Dreams - Me'shell returns with her follow up to 2003's Comfort Woman, 'The World finds me'shell blending sulful balladry with a punk aesthetic. Not one to mince words "World' covers everything from Religious fanaticism, Politics and sexuality.
Joni Mitchell: Shine - After Leaving the music business and becoming a painter, Joni Mitchell returns with Shine, her first record in many years. Blending folk with jazz, Shine raises concerns about the environment and takes aim at the war profiteers. Always timely, Mitchell never misses a beat.
Jody Watley: Super Hits Live - After independently releasing The Makeover" (first ever deal through the Virgin Mega store's chain) in 2006, 2007 sees the entrepreneureul Watley releasing Super Hits Live through Sony/BMG – a live recording culling tracks from Watley's 'Makeover shows through the past year. Highlights Include the bossa nova version of Watley's "Don't You Want Me", the funk reworking of "Still A Thrill" and an accoustic version of "A Beautiful Life" (taken from The Makeover). Copies are hard to find, but worth the wait!
All of these women are changing the world in various ways simply be being themselves. Let's hope the world takes notice!
Posted at 11:05 am by CriticalC757
Dec 2, 2007
Point Blank : Why Prince Needs to Come Back To Planet Earth
I must have missed the memo that said it was okay to sue – or threaten to sue – fansites that are supportive of your work.That is what Prince is doing. He allegedly sent three of his most popular websites cease and desist orders to remove any and all likenesses of him. Now, while I'm certainly all for copyright protection, but I think this goes too far and potentially alienates fans. These are probably the last fans he has left – the people who spend their hard-earned money to chase this man when he's on tour. Its ONE thing to protect your copyright, but its another to moderate discussion and/or dissent over artistry. Artistry is, after all, subjective. How soon he forgets after dawning the word "SLAVE" on his cheek during the legendary contract disputes between himself and Warmer Bros. By taking THESE actions, Prince is becoming the very thing he hates – A SLAVE MASTER!
And there you have it – POINT BLANK!
Posted at 12:32 am by CriticalC757
Nov 29, 2007
Grace Jones to Return to the Music Scene...
Yahoo Music recently reported on the forthcoming return of singer/actress Grace Jones to the music world...
Taken from Yahoo Music (UK & Ireland):
Grace Jones plotting music comeback
(Friday November 23, 2007 11:15 AM)
Actress/singer Grace Jones is to release her first album in almost two decades.
The former Bond girl is planning to resurrect her pop career with a brand new record entitled Corporate Cannibal, featuring guest spots from rocker Brian Eno and dance star Tricky.
Jones, 59, whose last studio album was released in 1989, has been working on her new sounds with the help of her on/off lover, aristocrat Ivor Guest.
A source tells The Independent, "It has been touted to at least one label and is meant to be a remarkable record."
Posted at 12:20 pm by CriticalC757
Nov 9, 2007
Point Blank: Pat Robertson STRIKES AGAIN in Endorsing Rudy Giuliani!
Well, well, well – another "country" heard from! On Wednesday, Pat Robertson – founder of the Christian Coalition (and general nut-job) publicly endorsed former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani for president. His reasoning is that the former mayor [Giuliani] will introduce more conservative judges and that liberal judges are more dangeous than suicide bombers flying planes into buildings(!)
Isn't this the same man who believes that you can pray a hurricane away? And furthermore, isn't this the same man – who along with former seperationist, the late Jerry Fallwell –blamed pro-choice advocates, gays and the ACLU for the September 11, attacks on the world trade center?
It's still awhile before the '08 elections, so I hope and pray that the next president reinstates the Constitution and does away with the so-called Patriot Act. I miss the good 'ole days of the Seperation of Church and State...I miss the Constitution Period!
There you have it... POINT BLANK!
Tags: Rudolph Giuliani; Christian Coalition; Jerry Falwell; Pat Robertson
Posted at 04:47 pm by CriticalC757
Nov 7, 2007
Book Review : "Celebrity Detox" By Rosie O'Donnell
past year, controversy has unjustly followed Rosie O'Donnell at times. Never
has this been more well-documented than in her new book Celebrity Detox. The book follows her departure from the
highly-successful Rosie O’Donnell Show, to her polarizing year on The View. In
the book she explains how fame is like a drug and that every famous person should
take time and – in essence – live a normal life. The book covers Rosie's feud
with Donald trump – "the dump truck" – and the resultant tension between herself and Barbara Walters.
both heartwarming and sad, the Celebrity Detox lives up to the complex, but
big-hearted persona that makes Rosie who she is.
Posted at 12:35 pm by CriticalC757
Nov 6, 2007
The New York Times
is reporting that Rosie O'Donnell is in talks to join MSNBC:Rosie O'Donnell in Talks to Join MSNBC
By JACQUES STEINBERG and BILL CARTER
Published: November 5, 2007Rosie O'Donnell, who abruptly left "The View" on ABC last spring after drawing attention and ratings for her opinions on everything from the Iraq war to her co-hosts, is in serious discussions to return to television atop a new soapbox: a prime-time show on the cable news channel MSNBC, according to executives on both sides of the negotiations who have been briefed directly.Rosie O'Donnell Under one scenario, Ms. O'Donnell would be given the 9 p.m. slot each weeknight on MSNBC, where she would go head-to-head with two heavyweights of cable talk: "Larry King Live" on CNN and "Hannity & Colmes" on Fox News. Her show would replace "Live with Dan Abrams," a relatively low-rated program that only recently replaced "Scarborough Country," which was also little-watched.But NBC executives, speaking on condition of anonymity because the conversations are continuing, cautioned that there were many elements of a potential deal yet to be resolved. These include when such a show would appear, what Ms. O'Donnell would be paid, and whether she would also be seen on the NBC broadcast network.Ms. O'Donnell alluded somewhat cryptically to a possible new job in a speech she gave at a book-signing on Sunday night in Miami, according to a report that appeared on a website, lyingonthebeach.com. A podcast on that site described Ms. O'Donnell as saying that she would soon begin competing against "the guy with the suspenders and the long, long face," an obvious reference to Mr. King.NBC has been courting Ms. O'Donnell in recent months for any number of jobs, including host of a possible new game show.
Posted at 11:33 am by CriticalC757
Sep 26, 2007
Iranian Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Gays...
I know I'm running a little late with this – an understatement – but yesterday saw a lot of work and time occupied (with little to spare). In case you hadn't heard....
The Raw Story
had all the details:'No homosexuals in Iran': AhmadinejadIranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad skirted a question about the
treatment of homosexuals in Iran on Monday, saying in a speech at a top
US university that there were no gays in Iran.
"In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country,"
Ahmadinejad said to howls and boos among the Columbia University
"In Iran we do not have this phenomenon, I don't know who has told you that we have it," he said.
Ahmadinejad was challenged during his appearance on Amnesty
International figures that suggested that 200 people had been executed
in Iran so far this year, among them homosexuals.
"Don't you have capital punishment in the United States? You do too. In Iran there is capital punishment," he said.
Posted at 08:56 pm by CriticalC757
Sep 23, 2007
Out Now - "Alien Nation: The Ultimate Movie Collection"
Fans of this series – released January 3rd – will not necessarily recall the less-than spectacular film that this now cult TV show is based upon. After the series was cancelled – a decision that even Fox regretted – a telefilm Dark Horizons
was made. the film met with rave reviews and four other movies were made: Body And Soul
, The Enemy Within
and The Udara Legacy
; the four movies are now released on a boxed set.
Released September 11 (exclusively through BestBuy), each movie contains audio commentary by the creator Kenneth Johnson, gag reels and still galleries. These extras are not to be missed! I can't help but feel that these movies hold up very well – ESPECIALLY when one considers the state of the world! Topics such as slavery, bigotry, oppression – and even suicide attackers – are covered in these movies.
Go out and get your copy today!!!
Posted at 08:25 pm by CriticalC757
Sep 20, 2007
From the New York Times:
Rather’s Lawsuit Says CBS Made Him a ‘Scapegoat’
By JACQUES STEINBERG
Published: September 20, 2007
Dan Rather, whose career at CBS News ground to an inglorious end 15 months ago over his role in an unsubstantiated report questioning President Bush’s Vietnam-era National Guard service, filed a lawsuit this afternoon against the network, its corporate parent and three of his former superiors.
Mr. Rather, 75, asserts that the network violated his contract by giving him insufficient airtime on “60 Minutes” after forcing him to step down as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” in March 2005. He also contends that the network committed fraud by commissioning a “biased” and incomplete investigation of the flawed Guard broadcast and, in the process, “seriously damaged his reputation.”
The suit, which seeks $70 million in damages, names as defendants CBS and its chief executive, Leslie Moonves; Viacom and its executive chairman, Sumner Redstone; and Andrew Heyward, the former president of CBS News.
In the suit, filed this afternoon in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Mr. Rather charges that CBS and its executives made him “a scapegoat” in an attempt “to pacify the White House,” though the formal complaint presents virtually no direct evidence to that effect. To buttress this claim, Mr. Rather quotes the executive who oversaw his regular segment on CBS Radio, telling Mr. Rather in November 2004 that he was losing that slot, effective immediately, because of “pressure from ‘the right wing.’ ”
He also continues to take vehement issue with the appointment by CBS of Richard Thornburgh, an attorney general in the administration of the elder President Bush, as one of the two outside panelists given the job of reviewing how the disputed broadcast had been prepared.
In a statement CBS said, "These complaints are old news and this lawsuit is without merit." Mr. Heyward said he would not comment beyond the CBS statement. A Viacom spokesman said he had no comment.
For both Mr. Rather and CBS, the filing of the suit threatens to once again focus attention on one of the darker chapters in the history of the network and its storied news division, at a moment when it is already reeling. Mr. Rather’s permanent successor as evening news anchor, Katie Couric, has languished in third place in the network news ratings since taking over the broadcast a year ago, behind not only Charles Gibson of ABC and Brian Williams of NBC, but also the ratings performance of the “CBS Evening News” in Mr. Rather’s final years.
The portrait of Mr. Rather that emerges from the 32-page filing bears little resemblance to the hard-charging, seemingly fearless anchor who for two decades shared the stage with Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings as the most watched and recognizable journalists in America.
By his own rendering, Mr. Rather was little more than a narrator of the disputed broadcast, which was shown on Sept. 8, 2004, on the midweek edition of “60 Minutes” and which purported to offer new evidence of preferential treatment given to Mr. Bush when he was a lieutenant in the Air National Guard.
Instead of directly vetting the script he would read for the Guard segment, Mr. Rather says, he acceded to pressure from Mr. Heyward to focus instead on his reporting from Florida on Hurricane Frances, and on Bill Clinton’s heart surgery.
Mr. Rather says in the filing that he allowed himself to be reduced to little more than a patsy in the furor that followed, after CBS — and later the outside panel it commissioned — concluded that the report was based on documents that could not be authenticated. Under pressure, Mr. Rather says, he delivered a public apology on his newscast on Sept. 20, 2004 — written not by him but by a CBS corporate publicist — “despite his own personal feelings that no public apology from him was warranted.”
He now leads a weekly news program on HDNet — an obscure cable channel in which he is seen by only a small fraction of the millions of viewers who once turned to him in his heyday to receive the news of the day.
In filing his suit now — three years after the now-disputed report was first broadcast, and more than a year after he reluctantly left CBS, as his last contract wound down — Mr. Rather is following, by a matter of weeks, the announcement by CBS that it had settled a similar lawsuit by Don Imus.
Mr. Imus had sued CBS over his firing in the aftermath of derogatory remarks he made about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. While some Imus associates suggested last month that his final payment was at least $20 million, CBS Radio has characterized that figure as too high.
Mr. Rather’s suit seeks $20 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.
Among the pivotal points of contention in Mr. Rather’s suit are the definitions of the words “full-time” and “regular.” As quoted in the filing, Mr. Rather’s contract — which he signed in 2002, and which called for him to be paid a base salary of $6 million a year as anchor — entitled him to a job as a “full-time correspondent” with “first billing” on the midweek edition of “60 Minutes,” should he leave the anchor chair before March 2006, his 25th anniversary in the job.
As it turned out, Mr. Rather would leave the anchor chair a year early, and would indeed be reassigned to the midweek edition, known as “60 Minutes II.” When that broadcast was canceled a few months later, Mr. Rather’s contract called for him to be reassigned to the main “60 Minutes” broadcast on Sunday evening, where he would “perform services on a regular basis as a correspondent.”
Over the next year, Mr. Rather would have eight segments broadcast on the main “60 Minutes” — including reports that took him to North Korea, China and Beirut. While that would seem to be a substantial portfolio of work, Mr. Rather notes that other correspondents had more than twice as many reports appear on the program during the same period, and that several of his reports had been effectively buried, broadcast on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when far fewer people than usual were likely to tune in.
“He was provided with very little staff support, very few of his suggested stories were approved, editing services were denied to him, and the broadcast of the few stories he was permitted to do was delayed and then played on carefully selected evenings, when low viewership was anticipated,” the filing contends.
Among the most egregious indignities he suffered, Mr. Rather says, was the network’s response to his request to be sent as a correspondent to the scene of Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005.
“Mr. Rather is the most experienced reporter in the United States in covering hurricanes,” his lawyers write in the suit. “CBS refused to send him,” thus “furthering its desire to keep Mr. Rather off the air.”
Posted at 01:45 pm by CriticalC757
Hundreds Protest in Jena 6 Rally in Louisiana
From the Associated Press:
Hundreds Join Jena 6 Rally in Louisiana
Thursday September 20, 2007 1:31 PM
By MARY FOSTER
Associated Press Writer
JENA, La. (AP) - Hundreds of black-clad protesters, from college students to veteran civil rights activists, descended on this small town for a rally Thursday in support of six black teenagers who were initially charged with attempted murder in the beating of a white classmate.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said it could be the beginning of the 21st century's civil rights movement, one that would challenge disparities in the justice system.
``You cannot have justice meted out based on who you are rather than what you did,'' Sharpton told CBS's ``The Early Show.''
The six were charged a few months after the local prosecutor declined to charge three white high school students who hung nooses in a tree on their high school grounds. Five of the black teens were initially charged with attempted murder, but that charge was reduced to battery for all but one of them, who has yet to be arraigned; the sixth teen was charged as a juvenile.
``Six black kids indicted as adults for attempted murder, and the weapons charged in the indictment is their sneakers, this is the most blatant example of disparity in the justice system that we've seen,'' Sharpton said Thursday. ``You can't have two standards of justice. We didn't bring race in it, those that hung the nooses brought the race into it.''
District Attorney Reed Walters, breaking a long public silence, denied Wednesday that racism was involved.
He said he didn't prosecute the students accused of hanging the nooses because he could find no Louisiana law under which they could be charged. ``I cannot overemphasize what a villainous act that was. The people that did it should be ashamed of what they unleashed on this town,'' Walters said.
In the beating case, he said, four of the defendants were of adult age under Louisiana law and the only juvenile charged as an adult, Mychal Bell, had a prior criminal record.
``This case has been portrayed by the news media as being about race,'' he said. ``And the fact that it takes place in a small southern town lends itself to that portrayal. But it is not and never has been about race. It is about finding justice for an innocent victim and holding people accountable for their actions.''
The white teen who was beaten, Justin Barker, was knocked unconscious, his face badly swollen and bloodied, though he was able to attend a school function later that night.
Bell, 16 at the time of the attack, is the only one of the ``Jena Six'' to be tried so far. He was convicted on an aggravated second-degree battery count that could have sent him to prison for 15 years, but the conviction was overturned last week when a state appeals court said he should not have been tried as an adult.
Thursday's protest had been planned to coincide with Bell's sentencing, but organizers decided to press ahead even after the conviction was thrown out. Bell remains in jail while prosecutors prepare an appeal. He has been unable to meet the $90,000 bond.
Thousands of people were expected at the rally, an event that was heavily promoted on black Web sites, blogs, radio and publications.
Students were coming from schools across the region, including historically black colleges like Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Howard University, Hampton University and Southern University.
Tina Cheatham missed the civil rights marches at Selma, Montgomery and Little Rock, but she had no intention of missing another brush with history. The 24-year-old Georgia Southern University graduate drove all night to reach tiny Jena in central Louisiana.
``It was a good chance to be part of something historic since I wasn't around for the civil rights movement. This is kind of the 21st century version of it,'' she said.
Others supported the effort but worried that it could erode race relations in Jena even further.
``I don't think it will cause any major confrontations,'' said Odessa Hickman, 72, ``but there is probably going to be some friendships lost.''
In Jena, with only 3,500 residents, some residents worried about safety. Hotels were booked from as far away as Natchez, Miss., to Alexandria, La.
Local officials said they would provide portable toilets, water and medical facilities to ensure the safety and comfort of those attending the rally. Sharpton, who helped organize the protest, met Bell at the courthouse Wednesday morning. He said Bell is heartened by the show of support and wants to make sure it stays peaceful.
``He doesn't want anything done that would disparage his name - no violence, not even a negative word,'' Sharpton said.
Associated Press writers Michael Kunzelman in Alexandria, La., and Errin Haines in Atlanta contributed to this story.
Posted at 01:36 pm by CriticalC757