Raul Rand (Dr Paul) Supports Racial Discrimination?


Rand Paul and Congressional Power to Secure Civil Rights

David Gans/Huffington Post

Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul created a firestorm recently by stating that he opposed the portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibit racial discrimination by private businesses providing public accommodations. The outrage following his comments quickly forced Paul to backtrack at least somewhat, though he has still not said, unequivocally, that he supports federal laws banning discrimination by privately-owned establishments and believes these laws are constitutional. This lingering dispute compels this post to set the record straight.

Constitutional Accountability Center’s report entitled The Shield of National Protection: The Text & History of Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, available here, shows why Paul’s arguments cannot be squared with the Constitution’s text and history. Focusing on Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states “[t]he Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article,” The Shield explains why the power of Congress to legislate against private actors who discriminate against racial minorities is firmly rooted in the text and history of the Constitution.

As The Shield demonstrates, through Section 5, the American people deliberately and dramatically shifted the federal/state balance of power. The second of the post-Civil War amendments, the Fourteenth Amendment made protection of civil rights a national commitment, giving Congress a central role in ensuring that our foundational document’s promise of liberty and equality is a reality for all Americans.

The framers of the Fourteenth Amendment wrote Section 5 to give Congress authority to regulate the actions of state officials and private persons to protect the liberty and equality of the newly freed slaves and their allies. Acting against the backdrop of efforts to re-establish slavery as well merciless violence perpetrated by former rebels and white terrorist groups against the freed slaves and their Union allies in the South, the framers sought to ensure that Congress would have broad legislative authority to protect civil rights, whether under attack by private actors or government officials. In fact, Congress’ very first piece of civil rights legislation, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, applied to both state actors and private persons, and it is universally recognized that the Fourteenth Amendment was written to ensure that Congress had the power to pass the 1866 Act.

The framer’s basic constitutional theory — reflected in the text of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause — was that the states have a constitutional obligation to protect all persons, citizens and noncitizens alike, which Congress could enforce. The Fourteenth Amendment, they explained, “gives to the humblest, the poorest, and most despised of the race the same rights and same protection before the law as it gives to the most powerful . . . .” Thus, states could not turn a blind eye to criminal or discriminatory acts committed against a disfavored group. As the framers recognized, “[a] State denies equal protection whenever it fails to give it. Denying includes inaction as well as action.” Thus, when states sat idly by while the freedmen and their allies were murdered and lynched, and had their rights trampled, Congress had clear constitutional authority to provide the protection the Fourteenth Amendment secured.

The framers’ also drew heavily on the Supreme Court’s own understanding of federal power under the Fugitive Slave Clause of the Constitution. In the 1842 case Prigg v. Pennsylvania, the Court had held that Congress had the authority to regulate the acts of both states and private actors to enforce the constitutional right of slaveholders to have their slaves returned to them, even though the text of the Fugitive Slave Clause only limited state action, and did not give Congress any legislative power. Prigg, the framers argued, “fix[ed] the interpretation of the Constitution . . . as authorizing affirmative legislation in protection of the rights of federal citizenship under federal law . . . .”

Sadly, the Reconstruction-era Supreme Court — brimming with hostility to the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of racial equality — refused to follow this text and history, and set the stage for the Jim Crow era in America in a series of rulings that sharply limiting congressional power and effectively left African Americans without any protection against Klan violence or assaults on their civil rights.

For the purposes of Paul’s argument, the most important of these was the 1883 decision in the Civil Rights Cases, in which the Court invalidated the public accommodations provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1875, reasoning that because the Fourteenth Amendment only limits state action, Congress could only legislate to fix constitutional violations by the states. In so doing, the Supreme Court wrote protection out of the Fourteenth Amendment and ignored its own precedents permitting federal regulation of private persons under the Fugitive Slave Clause. The Court’s theory did not even fit the facts — Congress only stepped in because states were running roughshod over basic legal and constitutional principles in keeping African Americans out of railroads, hotels, and other places of public accommodation.

It took 90 years and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — the landmark statute Paul appears to oppose — to finally outlaw racial discrimination in the provision of public accommodations in America. In 1964, in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, the Court unanimously upheld the public accommodations provision of the Civil Rights Act under the Commerce Clause, pointing out that racial barriers thrown up by Jim Crow were hampering the free flow of interstate commerce. Although the Court did not correct the grievous error committed in the Civil Rights Cases, the Court’s unanimous opinion left no doubt that Congress has broad authority to require private persons and businesses to respect the civil rights of all Americans.

The text and history recounted in The Shield demonstrate that Paul is wrong about Congress’ authority to enact civil rights legislation applying to private persons and businesses. Paul’s already had a chance to rethink his opposition to the Civil Right Act. Now he needs to rethink his flawed understanding of Congress’ constitutional power to protect civil rights.

U.S. Senate (Tea Party Candidate) Dr Paul is not a board certified Physician but a self certified……


Asked by a Louisville reporter when he would explain his dubious certification, Rand Paul said: “Uh … never”

About Rand Paul

Rand Paul is a candidate for the U.S. Senatefrom Kentucky. On May 18, 2010, he won the Republican Party’s nomination, defeating Trey Grayson, Kentucky’s secretary of state, by a 59-36 percent margin. He will face Democrat Jack Conway, the state’s current attorney general, in the general election on November 2.

Libertarian ideology rejects most of the modern regulatory systems that protect consumers, because everyone should be responsible for determining whether the hamburger contains E. coli on his own. But does that do-it-yourself dogma apply to the regulation of medicine, too? If you’re Dr. Rand Paul, practicing ophthalmologist, the answer is emphatically yes.

According to an amusing story in today’s Louisville Courier-Journal, the Kentucky Republican Senate candidate bills himself as a “board-certified” physician even though he is not actually certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology — the only recognized body that certifies doctors in his specialty.

Paul’s only certification was provided instead by something called the National Board of Ophthalmology, which is very convenient because he operates that organization himself. As the Courier-Journal explains drily, the American Board of Ophthalmology, which maintains a fully staffed headquarters in Philadelphia, has existed for roughly a century and currently lists about 16,000 doctors on its rolls. (Most hospitals and insurance companies strongly prefer doctors who are board-certified because certification indicates that they have kept up with changes in technology, best practices and so on.) The National Board of Ophthalmology has existed since 1999, when Paul “founded” it, lists no more than seven doctors, and its address is a post-office box in Bowling Green, Ky. He had claimed to be certified by both boards, but Courier-Journal reporter Joseph Gerth quickly discovered that claim was false.

When Gerth tried to ask Paul why he claims to be board-certified when he isn’t and why he set up the National Board of Ophthalmology, the candidate stonewalled:

“I’m not going to go through all that right now,” Paul said while at the Great Eastern National Gun Day Show and JAG Military Show, in Louisville. Asked when he would talk, Paul said: “Uh, you know, never … What does this have to do with our election?”

Gerth replied in his column in Sunday’s Courier-Journal, after Paul’s campaign manager said he would only answer questions in writing. His explanation is pithy and his questions seem almost too reasonable:

Rand Paul misses the point. He is right that the questions about his National Board of Ophthalmology have nothing to do with issues of national policy.

They have nothing to do with the federal debt. They have nothing to do with the decision to go to war in Iraq or Afghanistan. And they have nothing to do with plans to shutter the U.S. Department of Education.

They have to do with trust.

Patients have come to expect that a doctor who holds himself out as a “board certified” specialist, as Paul does, meets rigorous standards created by an independent body?

And, if the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Medical Association, the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure and the American Academy of Ophthalmologists don’t recognize Paul’s National Board of Ophthalmology, exactly what are the standards required for certification by that board?

You can find the requirements of the American Board of Ophthalmology at http://www.abop.org. Paul’s group maintains no such website.

Raising even more questions is that when asked more than a month ago which board he was certified by, Paul incorrectly said that he is certified by both his own group and the widely recognized American Board of Ophthalmology.

Though we won’t provide Paul with a full list of questions, we will present a few of them here, just so you know a little bit about what we’re looking for.

What does the National Board of Ophthalmology certification process require? Does it require additional continuing medical education classes — over and above what is required by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure — like the American Board of Ophthalmology requires?

Do doctors have to take a proctored exam to earn or maintain their certification? If so, what does that exam entail and who wrote the test?

The American Board of Ophthalmology recertification process costs about $1,500 every 10 years. How much does the National Board of Ophthalmology charge, and where do any proceeds from the organization go?

Those questions aren’t that tough. Neither are the rest of them we’d like to ask.

will we ever escape FACEBOOK


Forget the privacy scandal. The social network is here to stay, and it might just take over the world

Love it or hate it, Facebook is now the undisputed king of online socializing. Since its inception in 2004 as a Harvard University-based social experiment, the website has recruited 500 million users in 95 countries — and in doing so, fundamentally changed the way friends, casual acquaintances and sometimes total strangers interact with one another. For the younger generations, it’s becoming hard to remember a time before wall posting, Facebook event RSVP-ing and photo tagging were part of our everyday lexicon, and even for the rest of us, its become a major center for news consumption and social activism — from advocating same-sex marriage to Betty White’s “Saturday Night Live” gig— and got us to stay in touch with our high school friends, whether we wanted to or not.

But things have gotten a little rocky for the 6-year-old company in recent weeks, when changes in its privacy settings caused outrage among users, talk of a “Facebook exodus,” and, finally, backpedaling by the company’s 26-year-old CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The incident raised prickly questions about how the social network is changing the modern view of privacy — one of the many that David Kirkpatrick, the former senior editor for Internet and technology for Fortune magazine, explores in his new book, “The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World.” With unprecedented access to Facebook’s creators and headquarters, Kirkpatrick tells the story of the company’s rise from collegiate project to cultural phenomenon.

Salon spoke to Kirkpatrick about the company’s privacy scandals, the keys to its success, and the reasons most of us probably won’t be leaving Facebook any time soon.

Why is the story of Facebook important?

Facebook grew so big so fast, and people got used to using it so quickly, that a lot of them haven’t stepped back and given much thought to how it’s different from what came before, and that’s something I hope my book will do — give perspective. It’s extremely powerful technology and, frankly, we should all understand how it works.

Facebook is known for having a tightly run P.R. machine, and in this book you seem to have bypassed it completely.

I think Mark Zuckerberg knew I was somebody who was convinced it was an important phenomenon, and he knew it needed to be explained a lot better than he was capable of explaining it. Also, Facebook was founded on his own belief in a growing transparency that he thought was going to envelop all of modern life, and he really does believe in transparency, so he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the full story of Facebook coming out. They had no right of approval on this. I like to say it was authorized, but not approved. They gave me access, but they asked for nothing in return, and I think there are very few companies that would give me that kind of access and not ask to see anything before it comes out.

In the earlier sections of the book, you go into the evolution of online social networking — the history of websites likeFriendster and MySpace. Why does Facebook seem to just keep growing while other sites have either had really modest success, by comparison, or failed completely?

I think it was a confluence of things. Starting it at Harvard was a big factor: Because [Zuckerberg] was at a university, he was able to create a system based on genuine identity, that was authenticated with the university-issued e-mail address that each student had. They could make an ironclad identification between the e-mail holder and the name in the profile, and that created a culture from Day One that was based on using your real name and being who you really were on the server. That was something none of the predecessors had been successful at — Friendster tried to have real names but it was thwarted, MySpace didn’t even really try. The concept of real identity became central to how Facebook worked — knowing that your friends are the people they say they are.

Another important factor was digital photography, which was taking off just around the time Facebook launched. More people were starting to have cellphones they took pictures with, and Facebook really took advantage of that with the photo application. At the same time, broadband Internet had just started to penetrate more American households. I also think Mark Zuckerberg is a pretty uniquely visionary leader, and he made a lot of really good calls over the years as the service encountered problems. And some of it is luck. It’s design, it’s smarts, but it’s a lot of luck.

You quote a former engineer at one point as saying that Zuckerberg just “doesn’t believe in privacy.” In the wake of the recent privacy scandal, do you think that’s true?

What we’ve seen lately isn’t even outrage from users — it’s a reasonable pushback from the experts, like journalists, privacy advocates, government officials asking about the implications of some very complicated changes Facebook was initiating that would lead to its features and functionality being available across the Internet. I think Mark did begin to recognize that those complaints were largely justified, and that he had to take them seriously and redesign the privacy settings.

Does he believe in privacy? I think the answer’s yes — he believes that people have the right to keep control of where their data flows on the Internet, and I think he would argue that Facebook was the very first major service that really gave you control over that. As opposed to Google, which basically has the attitude that they will observe you without your knowledge, and sell data about you to their advertisers. With Facebook, it’s a blank slate — you decide what information goes where, and I think there’s no place else you would have that confidence. I think that raised expectations that Facebook would keep their standards extremely high for how that data was handled.

I do think Zuckerberg has made some big mistakes in the past. The Beacon episode [in which an advertising tool broadcasted information about its users’ activity on other websites] was one instance where they clearly did not design a service properly, and it really did exploit and abuse information about individuals and they had to ultimately turn that off entirely. Even he, today, admits they totally screwed up on Beacon.

But he also thinks fewer and fewer people are really going to want or need the new privacy controls.

I think Mark believes we are entering a world where we are all becoming more and more comfortable with information about us being disclosed. Scott McNealy [co-founder of Sun Microsystems] said 10 years ago, “You have no privacy, get over it.” I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing, but it’s almost inarguable because of the nature of a marketing-led society, the nature of consumerism, the nature of the Internet.

Look, Facebook has photos, and a lot of people can see them, but you can put protections on them. Whereas you could take a picture of me walking down the street, and put it on Flickr and put my name on it, and it would show up in a Google search of me and there would be nothing I could do about it, There are cameras pointing at us everywhere we go in modern life. Google has Street View, and they drive a truck down the street and they take a picture of your house and they don’t ask your permission. This is the world we live in, and information is getting out, period, end of story. Mark observed that long ago, and he’s been designing Facebook for that world all along.

There was a lot of hype about “Quit Facebook Day,” when all these people pledged to cancel their accounts on May 31 of this year, and not very many people actually wound up quitting. Do you think a mass Facebook exodus is even possible at this point?

I do think people could leave Facebook en masse. They could screw up on privacy enough, or the government could force them to do things that are awkward enough that it becomes a pain in the neck to use, and people just leave — that’s the nature of the Internet. But for the moment, most of what you do on Facebook can’t really be replicated anywhere else, and the network effect — the more people that are on there, the more people want to be on there — acts as this sort of intrinsic sort of glue holding the thing together.

Then there’s a switching cost: Once you’ve established this whole network of friends and put data and photos up there, to reassemble that elsewhere is a heck of a lot of work. So even if there were another platform that came along that enabled you to do that, I don’t think it’s something most people would want to do. I see Facebook remaining the colossus of social networking for the foreseeable future.

Having spent so much time in the company headquarters, what surprised you the most?

I didn’t know how many older people had come and gone over the company’s history. Particularly in 2005 and 2006, there was a revolving door of experienced technology executives coming in and staying for six or nine months, and then getting fed up because they thought Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t focusing enough on making a profit, or they didn’t like the culture, or it became obvious that they weren’t going to ever get to run the company. There’s a really intellectual, capable group of leaders there, and they share the same values. Profit has really never been the primary goal of the people building the product at Facebook.

You emphasize in the book that Facebook has a wide range of uses. It can be used to create everything from Darfur protests to “If this group reaches 100,000 people my boyfriend will quit World of Warcraft.” Do you think Facebook is a force for good?

On balance, I have to say my view of Facebook is as a positive force in modern life. I think it’s a new form of communication, of exchanging information, and that leads to good stuff. It certainly has allowed people to organize politically more efficiently, and I think over time Facebook and other similar tools will change the nature of politics and democracy.

I think we’re just seeing the beginning stages of that. If you are upset about something anywhere in the world today and you want to protest it Facebook is likely the first place you’re going to go, because it lets you aggregate a bunch of people who agree with you faster than any other means — and that’s whether you’re protesting a new parking lot in a small town in New Zealand, or the government repression of election results in Iran. Or showing your support for Sarah Palin — who’s the second most popular politician on Facebook after Barack Obama, and a master user of Facebook. I think it’s a tool that helps people connect with other people, and that is almost inevitably a good thing. To that degree, I’m a believer.

What do you know about the company’s plans for the future?

They’ve been pretty explicit that their goal is to become infrastructure that lives across the Internet, where you maintain your identity and make every Internet experience social, where you bring your friends with you everywhere you go — both on the Internet and on our mobile devices — whether you’re making commercial transactions, consuming media, expressing opinion, or just walking down the street. Facebook sees itself as being in the position as a company to facilitate the socialization of all modern experience. It sounds grandiose, but I think that’s where they see themselves headed

BY EMMA SILVERS/Salon

Pick up Truck Sales and the Economy


At first blush, May’s full-sized pickup sales — up 24.4% — are cause for excitement.

Big pickups have long been an economic indicator, especially since most are bought by working men: contractors, plumbers, electricians, farmers and small business owners.

So after three straight months of smaller pickup sales increases, the big May increase must be a sign the economy is on the upswing, right?

The day after sales were released, Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the nation’s largest chain of dealerships, noted that pickup sales “have taken off.”

“When you want to know when this economy is going to turn, just watch the pick-up sales, because all those are small business, entrepreneurs, and when they see the prospect for better business, they want to go out, and finally buy a new pick-up truck,” Jackson said.

“This is a key indicator,” he added. “ … This is small business America, small entrepreneurs, saying ‘the worst is over, I see opportunities in the future, I feel confident enough to go out and get a new pick-up truck.’ ”

And, indeed, this is usually how most industry insiders view pickup truck sales.

Especially since the so-called pickup truck “image buyers” — people who buy trucks for looks alone and not capability — have traded in their F-150 Harley Davidson and GMC Sierra Denali trucks for something more practical.

That has left mostly hard-core truck users in the market, the ones who will most reveal when the market has taken a turn for the good.

F-Series pushes gains

But while the uptick looks promising, a close examination of the numbers still gives cause for caution.

The economy is surely on the mend — but most experts believe we’re looking at a slow, slow recovery.

For the year-to-date, big pickups are up 14.3%. But the entire market is up 17.2%, so the big May jump in truck sales didn’t even bring the segment up to the industry trend.

What’s more, a deeper look at the numbers shows something even more revealing.

While U.S. consumers bought 24,030 more trucks in May than they did the same month of 2009, 68.6% of those sales went to one automaker: Ford, with its best-selling F-Series lineup that now includes 9 models.

The other five big truck sellers had much smaller improvements in May. Sales were up 9.3% for the Chevy Silverado, 7.4% for the Dodge Ram, 4.3% for the GMC Sierra, 8.6% for the Toyota Tundra and 1.8% for the Nissan Titan.

If this were a real recovery, you’d expect it to lift all boats, George Pipas, Ford’s top sales analyst, tells me.

He credits the pickup sales gain more to Ford’s new Super Duty, part of the F-Series lineup, in April. Super Duty sales, he said, were up 82% in May.

That means the new Super Duty, which is being touted as the most capable, fuel-efficient heavy-duty truck on the market — helped Ford capture 40% of the full-size truck segment, which also happens to be one of the most profitable categories of vehicle sales.

That’s a gain of 6 percentage points and it has to have Ford’s rivals running scared, especially when one considers the automaker’s strong growth in passenger cars, too.

But on the whole, these numbers don’t seem like the strongest sign the U.S. recovery is about to soar — especially not with the nation’s high levels of unemployment and a housing market that isn’t expected to recover until 2013.

If we see double-digit growth in pickup sales for the next few months, however, it just might be time for celebration.

Sarah A Webster/Detroit Free Press

Move Over Jessie, Meet Shannon Price (the former Mr’s Gary Coleman) A REAL Piece of ****Work!


Gary Coleman and Shannon Price married in 06 and divorced in 08.   Shannon Price continued to live in the home after the divorce in  Santaquin about 65 miles from  Salt Lake City,Utah.   On May 26, when she called 911 she refered to him as her husband.

First the 911 transcripts…………

He just got home. I heard this big bang and I went downstairs. There’s blood everywhere,” Coleman’s wife, Shannon Price, told emergency dispatchers.

“I don’t know what happened. He fell and I don’t know. There was blood all over and I can’t do anything.”

When the dispatcher asked her to go downstairs to check out Coleman’s condition, Price resisted, saying, “I’ve just been kind of sick. I don’t want to be traumatized right now.”

Price says she “can’t really help him” and can’t drive or handle too much stress because she has seizures.

The operator says help is on the way.

“I just can’t be here with the blood,” Price says. “I’m sorry, I can’t do it. I can’t. … There’s blood all over and I can’t do anything.”

Price then says, “I can’t drive” because she’s been sick with a fever. “I can’t do anything right now.”

Right before a crew arrived at their house, she said, “I’m gagging, I got blood on myself, I can’t deal.”
He just got home. I heard this big bang and I went downstairs. There’s blood everywhere,” Coleman’s wife, Shannon Price, told emergency dispatchers.

“I don’t know what happened. He fell and I don’t know. There was blood all over and I can’t do anything.”

When the dispatcher asked her to go downstairs to check out Coleman’s condition, Price resisted, saying, “I’ve just been kind of sick. I don’t want to be traumatized right now.”

Price says she “can’t really help him” and can’t drive or handle too much stress because she has seizures.

The operator says help is on the way.

“I just can’t be here with the blood,” Price says. “I’m sorry, I can’t do it. I can’t. … There’s blood all over and I can’t do anything.”

Price then says, “I can’t drive” because she’s been sick with a fever. “I can’t do anything right now.”
Right before a crew arrived at their house, she said, “I’m gagging, I got blood on myself, I can’t deal.”

May 28

24 year old Price orders removal of life support, Gary Coleman Dies….

June 2

Rumors of  pictures taken of  a dead  Gary Coleman, Price says not true.

JUNE 8

Pictures of  a  dead Gary Coleman surfaces on the front cover of a national tabloid. Price denies receiving money.

JUNE 10

Price files petition in court to be appointed as the special adnistrator of her ex’s estate.  The petition filed in 4th district court in Provo,Utah,said that even thought Coleman and Shannon Price were divorced in Augst 2008, she is still his common law wife and that she should be the one to make funeral arrangement.

Among, the exhibts attached to Price’s affidavit is a 2007 handwritten with Coleman’s signature that’s intended to amend any earlier wills and names Price as the sole heir of his earnings,home, toy trains and other property.

” I made this change of  free will and was not coerced in any way” says the note dated Sept 4,2007 less than a month aftrer Coleman and Price married. ” This I have done because of my personal selfishness and my weakness and i love her with all my heart”

 

 

Why does Hollywood’s heat of the summer box office feel so ice cold?


When a Lakers game was well into the fourth quarter, with Magic Johnson and Co. trouncing some hapless opponent, the legendary basketball announcer Chick Hearn would say, “This game’s in the refrigerator!” If Chick was around today, he’d probably be saying the same thing about this summer’s movie box office, which is so cold right now that you half expect to see people wearing fur coats and hoodies into the theaters.

As my colleague Ben Fritz noted in his Monday box-office story, this past weekend had the smallest total grosses of any May, June or July weekend in more than two years. That follows an awful Memorial Day weekend that earned the dubious distinction (once you adjust for ticket price inflation) of having the lowest total number of tickets sold in 17 years. Total movie attendance for the year is only down nearly 3% over last year’s banner season, but if you took “Avatar’s” 2010 numbers out of the mix, attendance would be off nearly 13% from 2009.

This weekend saw four new movies open, none of which came close to dislodging “Shrek Forever After” from the No. 1 slot. Universal had hoped its raunchy comedy “Get Him to the Greek” would be another “Hangover,” but after seeing its humdrum opening weekend numbers, the studio is now hoping it might emulate “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” a far, far more modest comedy hit from 2008. “Killers,” which was the most expensive release in Lionsgate’s history, opened at No. 3 with $16.1 million, which by Lionsgate’s own benchmarks makes it a potential money loser, especially after receiving a giant splatter of bad reviews.

Fox’s family film “Marmaduke,” which opened to a weak $11.3 million, actually got worse reviews than “Killers,” earning an 11 Fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes, and isn’t expected to find any bigger audiences in the coming weeks. Warners’ horror film, “Splice,” only made $7.5 million, a number that will plunge further downward, since most horror films drop off considerably from their opening weekend performance.

To give you an idea of how bad things were this past weekend, if you put the weekend’s numbers up against the same weekend in either 2009 or 2008, “Shrek Forever After” would’ve finished a distant third. Against similar competition from 2007, it would’ve finished fourth.

So why the cold shoulder from audiences? This is the time of year when all we hear about are the remakes and sequels and rebooted franchises coming off the studio assembly lines. But the real problem with this summer’s box office is that it hasn’t spawned a really good original movie, since it’s the original movies — like last year’s “The Hangover,” “Up” and “The Proposal” — that bring a broader swath of eager new moviegoers into the theaters. In fact, the movies from the first week of June in 2009 and 2008 that would’ve finished ahead of “Shrek” were all original films — “Up” and “The Hangover” from 2009, “Kung Fu Panda” and “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” from 2008.

Ask any box-office expert: If all you had were sequels and remakes, you could pretty easily chart the flow of moviegoers into the theaters. Even though some films would over-perform and some would fail to meet expectations, the end results would be pretty predictable. It’s the original films that are the wild cards. Year after year, from “Star Wars” to “The Blair Witch Project,” from “The Sixth Sense” to “The Passion of the Christ,” from “The Matrix” to “Twilight,” they are the surprise hits that really drive the business.

Original movies create a palpable sense of verve and excitement that not only propel themselves to box office glory, but expand the audience for films that follow in their wake. A strikingly original film — and there is no better example than “Avatar,” which almost singlehandedly launched the 3-D revolution earlier this year — works its magic by injecting good vibes into our moviegoing collective subconscious. Whether its a groundbreaker like “Avatar” or simply a feel-good surprise like “The Blind Side,” the buzz generated by an original film can essentially persuade reluctant moviegoers to make an extra trip to the multiplex instead of staying home and watching TV.

Right now, that sense of excitement and high expectation is missing in action. The best way to gauge moviegoer dissatisfaction is by looking at how the current crop of summer movies have performed with CinemaScore, the firm whose poll of opening-night moviegoers around the country has become a leading industry barometer to assess a film’s word of mouth. If a movie gets an A, it will likely have a long and prosperous stay in the theaters. But if it gets a B or worse, its prospects are limited, since a B from opening-night audiences is a lot like a C from regular fans. As CinemaScore founder Ed Mintz told me when I interviewed him last year, he often feels as if he’s grading on a curve. If a film gets a B from its most hard-core fans (the people who show up to see a film on opening night), then it probably would only earn lukewarm support from less loyal fans who would take more of a wait-and-see approach about making a trip to the theaters to see it.

So it hardly comes as a surprise to discover that the summer’s two major hits, “Iron Man 2” and “Shrek Forever After,” were the only films to earn an A from CinemaScore. The films that have been box-office disappointments, including “Robin Hood,” “Prince of Persia” and “Killers,” all got Bs. “Splice,” the horror film that opened this past weekend, earned a lowly D, which tells you all you need to know about what kind of grosses it will have next weekend.

Despite the grim news so far this summer, I’m not predicting a box-office recession. It’s way too early for that. But if the box office rebounds, it will be for the same reason that it is now slumping. It won’t be the sequels that will save the summer, it will be the original movies. In fact, most of the films that have the best buzz right now are original movies, led by Christopher Nolan’s “Inception,” which is pretty much everybody’s pick for the breakout movie of the summer, followed by the Tom Cruise-starring thriller “Knight & Day,” the Adam Sandler comedy “Grown Ups” and the Steve Carell comedy “Dinner For Schmucks.”

No one’s saying that a sequel like “Toy Story 3” or remakes like “The Karate Kid” and “The A-Team” won’t be big hits too. But the difference-makers — the films that will help decide whether this is a miserable summer or just a modestly disappointing one — are going to be the original movies. There are still a host of other factors impacting the business these days, not the least of which being the steep rise in ticket prices, especially for 3-D movies, which could be keeping marginal moviegoers away from all but the most obvious most-see releases.

(If I was a betting man, I’d be very worried about a 3-D film like “The Last Airbender,” which judging from audience reaction to its trailers looks like exactly the kind of film most likely to be hurt by lack of moviegoer willingness to pay top dollar to see it in 3-D.)

But what really counts here isn’t so much sticker shock as the shock of the new. Even in the summer, when we’re accustomed to expect a never-ending deluge of reworked ideas and retro-fitted story lines, it turns out that it’s the movie that delivers something startlingly new that reminds audiences why they started going to the movies in the first place.

Below the Radar “Friday Night Lights”


Every now and then, a television network believes in a show, the National broadcasting Network believes in “Friday Night Lights” now in its fourth season. 

Every once in a while there is a Soprano’s The West Wing,, a show that can stand alone on writing and talent.    

Friday Night Lights, chronciles  a small Texas town where high school football is the thing.  My family is from East Texas where the high school stadiums are huge and the passion about the game rivals any professional team.   

Friday Night Lights was one of the most critically acclaimed shows of  2006.  Virginia Hefferman of the New York Times gushed : ” Lord, is “Friday Night Lights” good. In fact, if the season is anything like the pilot, this new drama about high school  football could be great-and not just televison great,but great in the way of a poem or painting, greatin the way of art witha single obvseeive creator who doesn’t have to consult with a commitee and hs months or years to go back and agaonize over line breaks and the color red;  it could belong in a league with art that doesn’t have to pause for commericals ,or casually recap the post-commerical actiopn, or sell viewers on the plot and characters in the first five minutes , or hew to line -item budget, or answer to union and studios, or avoid four letter words and  nudity. 

Melanie Mcfarland of  the Seattle Post-Inteliger writes: 

By now you’ve seen most of what the fall television schedule has to offer. You’ve probably made your decisions as to what new series are worth sticking with and what to abandon. Your weeknight viewing schedule, therefore, is set.

Wrong.

We hope that’s not the case, anyway, because this week brings the arrival of two new series, “Friday Night Lights” and “The Nine,” both of which have virtually unimpeachable premieres. One even improves upon that near-perfection in the second episode. 

“Friday Night Lights” represents the new school of family-friendly programming — stylish, intelligent and blissfully free of teen caricatures. 

Granted, the teenagers in “Friday Night Lights” are TV beautiful, but the characters are steeped in an authenticity that serves as an antidote to all the MTV reality images that have been pumped into our culture. (Except, maybe, for the similarly themed “Two-A-Days”)  

To augment that idea, series creator Peter Berg, who co-wrote and directed the 2004 film version of “Friday Night Lights” (which, in turn, was based on H.G. Bissinger’s non-fiction best-seller) uses shaky hand-held shots 

Finally 

  

By Tom Shales

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Extraordinary in just about every conceivable way — but especially in the quality of its cast — NBC’s “Friday Night Lights” expands upon and extends the 2004 movie of the same name about high school football in a Texas town where the game is only nominally a game. It’s also a community obsession, a religion, a way of life, a source of energy and an excessively cherished institution. 

Onto the harshly lit field of dreams each Friday night come the young Panthers — the No. 1 team in the state — in whom the townsfolk place entirely too much importance. Even though “Friday Night Lights” exposes the banalities of the central ritual and its reverberations, it isn’t judgmental or prone to ridicule. The production is so skillfully done that even skeptics, even people who hate football, could easily be caught up in the drama and the melodrama, the grand opera and the soap opera, that come with the game and with the territory. 

Catch Friday Night Lights – Friday Nights at 8PM on NBC 

Seasons One, Two and Three are on DVD 

The current Season is available from the beginning on Hula and NBC 

tell us what you think? 

CITYFELLA 

   

   

Sandra-Sandra-Sandra-WE LOVE-Sandra B.


No long mourning, no black veils, lets get on with it….  Take shot’s at me….    I’m ready to move on….. Let’s go back to making fun of me.      This is the Sandra, we love….

At Spikes TV Guys Awards Monday night    ” Let’s be honest here, just for a moment. We’re all going to be honest, right?” Bullock asked the crowd. “Did I win this for being entertainer of the year, or did I win this because of the spectacular I.E.D. explosion that became my personal life?”

But only in Hollywood do improvised explosive devices come with tattoos and text messages — the self-deprecating Bullock also made a seriously classy move in acknowledging …. the intense demands of being a member of the U.S. military.

“I would do it over again if it was to entertain our troops,” Bullock said, “and our extraordinary troops deserve something much more than some actress in a tight dress talking about herself.”


Target “Natomas” adds Supermarket


Is Target going after the Wal Mart Supercenters?  A row of Target shopping carts sit in the parking lot outside of a Target store May 20, 2009 in Daly City, California. Target reported a 13 percent drop in first quarter profits with earnings of $522 million, or 69 cents per share compared to $602 million, or 74 cents per share one year ago.

The relatively new Target in Natomas has been remodled, the food section has been increased by 70%.  The Store now sells meat and produce, with pricing similar to Wal Mart.       The fresh meat and produce areas are significantly smaller than your traditional supermarket.

With the exception of the meat and produce departments, this store competes with the Supercenters and Grocery Stores.

The next Sacramento area Target store remodle will be the Roseville Fairway Target..

The “Wal Mart effect” is now affecting many Sacramento Area Supermarkets, as many as six area supermarkets could close by the end of the year.          With Target converting their store to include food centers , could this affect other area  stores ?

Hey, I’ve got Pictures of you with a Man…. I can keep your secret for 25grand


JUNE 7

-While on a business trip last month to Washington, D.C., a married Michigan man was awoken one morning when an unidentified caller dialed his hotel room. The caller announced that he was in possession of photos showing the businessman “participating in homosexual acts from the evening before,” and demanded $25,000 in hush money, or the images would be forwarded to the man’s wife and business associates.

Upon flying back to Detroit and conferring with his spouse, the man contacted the FBI about the shakedown plot. While claiming not to recall any “homosexual liaison” in his hotel room, the man told investigators that he “felt woozy and unclear” the morning after the purported encounter. He also reported that his $20,000 Rolex was missing, along with a credit card and $200 in cash.

At the FBI’s direction, the Michigan man recorded a series of telephone calls with the extortionist, who e-mailed photos taken in the hotel room. According to the below FBI affidavit, the images showed the businessman (who is referred to as “Victim 1”) in “compromising positions with a man.” One image, an agent noted, showed “a black male’s hand holding Victim 1’s driver’s license,” while in another photo, “Victim 1 is leaning over a sink and the black male’s hand is placed on his back.”

In short order, FBI agents traced the phone number from which the photos were sent to Shawn Lightfoot, a 46-year-old Virginia man. Lightfoot, a married father of four, is a veteran chef who has worked at several Washington restaurants and now runs a D.C. catering firm (an online bio notes that he has attended a Culinary Institute of America boot camp).

Lightfoot is also a convicted felon who was once sentenced to five years in prison following a Virginia extortion conviction. The details of that 2003 case mirror the shakedown of the Michigan man. According to an Alexandria Police Department report, Lightfoot sought to extort $15,000 from a New York man who had traveled to Washington, D.C. on a business trip. Lightfoot threatened that unless he received the payoff, he would release photos of the victim in “compromising positions” with a black male. Lightfoot was accused of swiping the man’s credit card and laptop computer, which contained the incriminating photos.

Last Wednesday, the Michigan businessman received two calls from a phone subscribed in Lightfoot’s name. The caller warned that unless the $25,000 payment was wired immediately, “he would make sure Victim 1’s life was destroyed.”

While FBI agents in Washington surveilled Lightfoot, the businessman dialed the extortionist’s phone number. “The surveillance agents witnessed Lightfoot speaking on a bluetooth headset while driving his vehicle,” reported Agent Michael Lubisco. At this point, the surveillance team approached Lightfoot’s vehicle “with their lights and sirens on. Victim 1 was able to hear the siren on his end of the phone call, which was recorded.”

Lightfoot, pictured above in his chef’s whites, was then arrested. He was charged in a June 2 criminal complaint with extortion. The Alexandria resident is scheduled to appear in a Detroit courtroom on June 17. A federal magistrate last Thursday released him on a personal recognizance bond, directing Lightfoot to avoid contact with the victim and his family. Additionally, he was ordered to not “disseminate information that is subject of complaint.”

Contacted on his cell phone, Lightfoot declined to answer TSG questions about his case.

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