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Oh No They Didn't! -

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    Don’t count Britney Spears out of The X Factor judging panel just yet.

    Despite reports swirling of the pop star's imminent firing from the show, which just completed its second season, an X Factor official tells The Hollywood Reporter that nothing has been decided.

    “No one has discussed next year's judging panel yet,” said a spokesperson. “Any reports otherwise are complete speculation."

    A story published Thursday in US Weekly cited sources claiming that Spears’ time as a judge is coming to an end.

    “Britney will get the boot," the article reported, with an additional claim that the "Toxic" singer hadn't earned her $15 million paycheck. "Producers wanted her for the long haul, but it isn't working."

    However, in an interview with E! Online this month, Simon Cowell said he hadn’t talked to Spears about the show's 2013 season.

    "I don't know yet, to be honest with you," he said. "I haven't had the conversation with her whether she'd want to, what other commitments she's got.”

    Cowell certainly doesn’t fear change on the judging panel. In just two seasons, the panel already has said goodbye to Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, Cheryl Cole and L.A. Reid, who felt he needed to return to his main job as chairman of Epic Records. Cowell said that Demi Lovato has expressed interest in returning to the show, and he wouldn’t be opposed to Spears returning.

    "Yeah, I think I do, yeah,” he told E! “But like I said, and it goes back to L.A. -- it all depends on how much time they can give us."


    really would prefer an 8th album instead

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    Fostering Activism and Alternatives NOW’s (FAAN) brought this incredible talkback video regarding 2 Chainz “Birthday Song.” Check out the group’s website for more of their incredible media work, especially their campaign to the CEO of 2 Chainz’s record company, Universal Music Group, about this song and video.


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    Album Countdown 2012
    encircled the weekly charts from
    January 14, 2012 till January 5, 2013
    the figures are cumulative sales of an album
    included sales outside the weekly top 40
    copyright (C) 2012 - all rights reserved

    mediatraffic.jpg (4494 bytes)

    01.jpg (794 bytes) Adele - 21
    XL Recordings - 9,2 million copies
    02.jpg (911 bytes) Taylor Swift - Red
    Big Machine - 3,8 million copies
    03.jpg (905 bytes) One Direction - Up All Night
    Syco Music - 3,6 million copies
    04.jpg (876 bytes) Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
    Stranger / Interscope - 2,9 million copies
    05.jpg (904 bytes) One Direction - Take Me Home
    Syco Music - 2,8 million copies
    06.jpg (908 bytes) Mumford & Sons - Babel
    Glass Note / Island - 2,7 million copies
    07.jpg (841 bytes) Pink - The Truth About Love
    RCA - 2,4 million copies
    08.jpg (917 bytes) Justin Bieber - Believe
    Island / Def Jam - 2,3 million copies
    09.jpg (905 bytes) Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto
    Parlophone / Capitol - 2,2 million copies
    10.jpg (1033 bytes) Maroon 5 - Overexpose
    A&M / Octone - 2,0 million copies
    11.jpg (925 bytes) Michael Bublé - Christmas
    Reprise - 1,9 million copies
    12.jpg (1055 bytes) Emeli Sande - Our Version Of Events
    Virgin - 1,9 million copies
    13.jpg (1066 bytes) Gotye - Making Mirrors
    Universal Music Australia - 1,8 million copies
    14.jpg (1009 bytes) Ed Sheeran - Plus
    Asylum - 1,7 million copies
    15.jpg (1071 bytes) David Guetta - Nothing But The Beat
    EMI Music - 1,7 million copies
    16.jpg (1074 bytes) Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
    Columbia - 1,6 million copies
    17.jpg (970 bytes) Linkin Park - The Living Things
    Warner Bros. - 1,6 million copies
    18.jpg (1053 bytes) Rod Stewart - Merry Christmas Baby
    Verve - 1,6 million copies
    19.jpg (1056 bytes) Black Keys - El Camino
    Nonesuch - 1,6 million copies
    20.jpg (1111 bytes) Fun. - Some Nights
    Fueled By Ramen - 1,6 million copies
    21.jpg (1021 bytes) Madonna - Mdna
    Interscope - 1,6 million copies
    22.jpg (1127 bytes) Rihanna - Unapologetic
    Island / Def Jam - 1,6 million copies
    23.jpg (1123 bytes) Rihanna - Talk That Talk
    Def Jam - 1,6 million copies
    24.jpg (1099 bytes) Adele - 19
    XL Recordings - 1,5 million copies
    25.jpg (1133 bytes) Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
    Cash Money / Island - 1,4 million copies
    26.jpg (1135 bytes) Lionel Richie - Tuskegee
    Mercury - 1,4 million copies
    27.jpg (1068 bytes) Katy Perry - Teenage Dream
    Capitol - 1,4 million copies
    28.jpg (1137 bytes) Whitney Houston - The Greatest Hits
    RCA - 1,3 million copies
    29.jpg (1128 bytes) Muse - The 2nd Law
    Helium 3 / Warner Bros. - 1,3 million copies
    30.jpg (1104 bytes) LMFAO - Sorry For Party Rocking
    Interscope - 1,3 million copies
    31.jpg (1062 bytes) Florence & The Machine - Ceremonials
    Universal Republic / Island - 1,3 million copies
    32.jpg (1126 bytes) Bruno Mars Doo-Wops & Hooligans
    Elektra / Warner Bros. - 1,2 million copies
    33.jpg (1120 bytes) Mr.Children - 2005-2010 Macro
    Toy's Factory Japan - 1,2 million copies
    34.jpg (1097 bytes) Carrie Underwood - Blown Away
    Arista Nashville - 1,2 million copies
    35.jpg (1130 bytes) Luke Bryan - Tailgates & Tanlines
    Capitol Nashville - 1,1 million copies
    36.jpg (1129 bytes) Mr.Children - 2001-2005 Micro
    Toy's Factory Japan - 1,1 million copies
    37.jpg (1054 bytes) Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day
    Atlantic - 1,1 million copies
    38.jpg (1141 bytes) AKB 48 - 1830m
    King Records Japan - 1,1 million copies
    39.jpg (1125 bytes) Of Monsters & Men - My Head Is An Animal
    Universal Republic - 1,1 million copies
    40.jpg (1077 bytes) Amy Winehouse - Lioness: Hidden Treasures
    Island - 1,0 million copies


    bow at two 1d albums being in the top 5 & take me home being #5 after only being out for 6 weeks <3

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    Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin are teaming up for the sixth straight year to co-host CNN's New Year's Eve coverage.

    The duo will broadcast live from New York City's Times Square on Dec. 31 from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for their New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin program.

    Correspondent Isha Sesay will report from the ground in Times Square, while John Zarrella will join from Key West, Fla. and Gary Tuchman from Eastport, Maine.

    At 12:30 a.m., CNN's Brooke Baldwin in New Orleans' Jackson Square and HLN's Susan Hendricks in Nashville will take over the telecast to ring in the new year for the central time zone.

    Prior to the the three-hour New Year's Eve coverage, CNN will air a "best and worst of 2012" Anderson Cooper 360 special at 8 p.m. Correspondents Sesay and Tom Foreman will be joined by Aisha Tyler, Ben Stein, radio host Pete Dominick, Julie Mason and Buddy Valastro


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    It's a very special holiday season for The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Phaedra Parks and her husband Apollo Nida!

    The reality star couple tell PEOPLE exclusively they're expecting a second child together next year.

    Parks showed off her growing baby bump while on the beach in the Bahamas, where she's vacationing with her family and friends.

    The Atlanta entertainment lawyer married Nida, a certified personal trainer, in 2009 and the couple welcomed son Ayden a year

    The pair recently released their first fitness DVD, Phine Body on


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    Wikipedia isn't self-involved enough to release information on the most popular pages of 2012, but, if you're interested (and have the time, energy and skill set to peruse log files), you're able to see what people wiki-ed this year. Swedish software engineer Johan Gunnarsson was kind enough to go ahead and take care of that for everyone. He published a list of the top 10 visited pages on the English version of Wikipedia. The results won't surprise you. Facebook finished on top with more than 32.5 million views. The page for "Wiki" earned the second spot (how meta). Also, people wanted to know who died this year ("Deaths in 2012" came in at No. 3) and everyone was trying to figure out what the heck a One Direction is. Apparently it's a band? Go figure.

    1. Facebook - 32,647,942

    2. Wiki - 29,613,759

    3. Deaths in 2012 - 25,418,587

    4. One Direction - 22,351,637

    5. The Avengers - 22,268,644

    6. 50 Shades of Grey - 21,779,423

    7. 2012 phenomenon - 20,619,920

    8. The Dark Knight Rises - 18,882,885

    9. Google - 18,508,719

    10. The Hunger Games - 18,431,626


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    It’s common for American networks to copy successful shows with inferior knock-offs. But in Israel, a new series is taking The New Normal one step further.

    Debuting in November on the cable channel Hot, Ima and AbaZ (or Mom and Dads) is also about a gay couple raising a child with a single woman.

    But where The New Normal goes for the giggles, Mom and Dads “focuses on the complex dynamics of the parental triangle, layering their insecurities and complicated emotions with wry humor,” according to the New York Times.

    Series creator Avner Bernheimer, who also wrote 2002′s Yossi & Jagger, says the show avoided the wrath of Israel’s religious conservatives by focusing on the family. And insiders agree:

    “As soon as the gay community became a parental community, I think acceptance by society became smoother,”said Doron Mamet-Meged, founder of Tammuz, a business that helps couples, the majority of them gay men, have children via surrogates in India.

    One reason may be a heavy cultural focus on making families, and the subtle social pressure (and not-so-subtle familial pressure) to procreate that stems from tradition as well as modern Jewish history… In building families gay parents contribute to the national project of maintaining a Jewish majority.

    “For Israelis it doesn’t matter how you make a family,” said Mirit Toovi, who heads Hot’s drama department and gave the green light to “Mom and Dads.” “If you make a family, you’ve done the right thing.”

    Though Next to Normal also airs in the land of Milk and Honey (on a rival network), Bernheimer didn’t crib his concept from Ryan Murphy, or even Modern Family: He initially pitched the series way back in 2007, when he and his partner were trying to have a child themselves.

    And the show coincides with advances for LGBT families in Israel, as the courts have expanded adoption and surrogacy options for gay men. (As the Times notes, “lesbians and straight single women have been having children for decades, thanks in part to the state’s generous policies, which provide free in-vitro fertilization procedures for up to two children until parents are 45.”)

    Another difference from American gay dramedies: Moms and Dads isn’t afraid to get intimate: The show features nudity from on-screen spouses Yehuda Levi and Ifrach Klein (YESSSSS)—as well as some continental kissing. “I told him ‘let’s do it the American way… [with no tounge],” says Klein, “but Yehuda wanted it the European way, so I had to give in.”

    Let’s get Logo to air this puppy!


    Sorry mods! Forgot the cut.

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    AMPAS opened electronic voting on Dec. 17, and the system was immediately buggy, with voters unable to login with their passwords. The issue was so widespread that AMPAS sent out an apology note. Via

    Thank you for contacting us regarding electronic voting. I am sorry to hear that you encountered problems when logging in to vote. While there were a few minor issues that caused problems for a small group of members, those are now cleared up so you are free to log in and vote.

    I apologize that it occurred to you but rest assured that it wasn’t system wide and everything has been cleared up. We hope that you are still looking forward to voting electronically this year and encourage you to do so at your convenience.

    According to Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter, Academy members are still having difficulty with the voting system, perhaps owing to the fact that the older members of the body aren't used to operating websites. (As Feinberg notes, the median age of Oscar voters is 62.) Per the AMPAS, a large number of the issues stem from users "forgetting or misusing passwords."

    One member says, "There will probably be a large percentage of people who will just say, 'Screw it,' and not even vote this year."

    Says another: "I have heard from several that it’s been a disaster and they wanted to give up. Confused and frustrated people will just not vote.”


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    Chad's Johnson is leaving the Internet -- slowly -- courtesy of an angry cease and desist letter fired off to the 2 websites that originally posted the ex-NFL star's sex tape ... TMZ has learned.

    Sources close to Chad tell us the sites removed the video late Thursday after they received the letter from his attorneys ... which stated the tape was stolen property which they did not have the right to publish.

    We're told CJ's attorneys are now taking aim at several other smaller websites that have posted still images from the sex tape -- and they are threatening legal action against any sites that refuse to pull the material.

    As TMZ first reported, Johnson has contacted the FBI because he believes the tape was hacked from his phone
    I didn't even realize he had a sex tape ontd detectives find me that tape.

    I didn't even realize he had a sex tape ontd detectives find me that tape.

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    Heterosexual Actor Reconciles His Homophobia In Piece Decrying Homophobia. Or Something.

    By Nicholas Brown

    I am not gay. I have no shortage of gay friends. My uncle is gay. I've marched in a gay pride parade. More than half of the roommates I have lived with are gay. I support marriage equality.

    So it comes as a shock to me when I realize that, actually, if I am honest with myself, I'm not comfortable with kissing another man on camera. I really don't want to book this part.

    The effect of multiple strangers asking you to take off your clothes is uncomfortably intimate—like walking around a doctor's office with a glass of your own urine.

    That's what I'm thinking when, for the third time in a day, a woman asks me: "So, you are comfortable taking your shirt off?"

    I nod and hand her a headshot.

    The script she gives me in exchange is for an AIDS awareness advertisement for Logo, Viacom's gay-targeted network. It has two lines: 1. "Did you hear that? We have chemistry!" and 2. "When were you last tested?"

    The woman says "And you know that, if you book this, you'll have to kiss another man?"

    "Yes," I say.

    "And you're comfortable with that?"

    "Yes," I say.

    I have worked as a model and an actor for eight years now. Part of the job is making yourself comfortable in situations that are not familiar.

    The casting director, another woman, emerges from inside the studio where they are filming the audition, and she asks me to take my shirt off and stand in front of a blazing white light. I am reminded that I really ought to work out more. It's as if my metaphorical glass of urine spilled a bit and we can all see the carpet stain.

    I am not gay. I have no shortage of gay friends. My uncle is gay. I've marched in a gay pride parade. More than half of the roommates I have lived with are gay. I support marriage equality. (I hear that he also has a black friend)

    So it comes as a shock to me when I realize that, actually, if I am honest with myself, I'm not comfortable with kissing another man on camera. I really don't want to book this part.

    I don't want people to think I'm gay. And I'm even more uncomfortable because that isn't a thought that I want to have.

    Acting is a curious profession. The Oscars tend to award actors who transfigure themselves. Think of Charlize Theron in Monster or Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote. And most actors actively want to stretch outside of themselves. That is, after all, why we tried to make a career out of pretending. But people tend to assume things about you after they have seen you onstage. The character and the person are conflated.

    Still, I wouldn't turn down a commercial that required me to pretend to slap a child, or one where I played a Nazi. And—assuming the ad wasn't advocating child abuse or Nazism—I don't think I would feel odd about the audition.

    I ask my theatrical agent if there is any industry stigma about doing a gay role."No," he says, "not since Will and Grace in the '90s."

    I call my commercial agent to ask him the same question. "No," he says. "Ikea was doing ads with gay couples in the '90s. Will and Grace really changed things." "But you had to ask me two times if I was comfortable," I protest. "We would do that on any spot where you have to kiss," he tells me.

    Gigi Nicolas, the director of on-air promotions at Logo, tells me that at least I was not alone in my discomfort. "We had to do a second round of casting," she says. "Far fewer people auditioned than I expected. Most of my top choices just didn't show up."

    If you ever want to feel really wretched about what a big jerk you are, there are worse ways to do it than logging onto Harvard's Project Implicit. Psychologists at Harvard created a series of tests that measure your reaction time when you associate positive and negative concepts with different social groups. The results give you an indication of how racist or sexist or agist or generally prejudiced you are on a subconscious level.

    My implicit association scores tell me that I have a moderate subconscious preference for lighter skinned people (like 27 percent of all test takers, 70 percent of whom show a slight, moderate, or strong automatic preference for lighter skin). I also moderately prefer young people to old people (like 29 percent of all test takers; 80 percent prefer young people to old). And I moderately prefer straight people to gay people (like 27 percent of test takers; 68 percent show some preference for straight people.)

    I take some solace in the fact that my preferences are only moderate. But even if it's temperate about it, my subconscious is essentially racist, agist, and homophobic. It is the backwater redneck of my brain. And, apparently, I'm prejudiced against backwater rednecks.

    My uncle spent 20 years of Christmases leaving his partner at home while he visited my grandparents. He pretended to be single. At my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary, my grandfather tried to introduce my uncle to single women. My uncle came out of the closet only a few years before my grandfather died. There were tense days, but then he was accepted.

    Christianity imagines the period leading up to Christmas as one of great joy. It encourages us to offer good will towards men, which is a start, but it seems to me that the Jews have it right to place the emphasis of Yom Kippur, their big holiday, on just apologizing.

    The essential, uncomfortable, flaw with all the progress on gay rights is that even after legislation is passed and everyone's rights are equal on paper—which still sometimes seems a long way off—there is the longer, trickier work of trying to divest each person of the ugly human prejudices we all inherited when we were born.


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    The left-leaning actor/activist/Hugo Chavez BFF has been adding a new title to his résumé: journalist. Michael Moynihan takes a read.

    In 1997, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck presented to America, via the lead character in their film Good Will Hunting, a shared political worldview. Will Hunting, a wicked smaht South Boston janitor with a talent for mathematics and humiliating his social betters—especially pampered, right-wing Harvard elites unfamiliar with radical historian Howard Zinn—was a Dalton Trumbo character with a Massachusetts accent. The film’s message was blindingly simple: the establishment is lying to you and the rich are screwing over the working class.

    Fifteen years later and both actors are still steeped in bourgeois radicalism—Damon’s latest film is a didactic drama about fracking—though according to an interview in the January issue of Playboy, Will Hunting has finally given up on organized politics. “[T]he game is rigged,” Damon told the magazine. “And no matter how hard you work to change things, it just doesn’t matter.”

    For his part, Affleck ended speculation that he would run for John Kerry’s vacated Massachusetts Senate seat, writing on Facebook that he would instead devote his energy to “using filmmaking to entertain and foster discussion about issues like our relationship to Iran.” And there I was, thinking that Argo was just a bit of fun.

    But fear not, handful of people who take political cues from actors. Because while Damon and Affleck have spurned Washington, there are still plenty of politically engaged thespians to guide us through the thicket of global politics. Indeed, it seems that everywhere one turns these days the craggy face of Sean Penn appears, ready to offer another boring bit of political heterodoxy.

    In an interview in the January edition of Esquire, the Shanghai Surprise star complains that America has become “pussified” and says that his movie work is inextricably linked with his political activism (“I don’t separate my movie career from [my work in] Haiti … It’s all one fucking thing”). When Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez was carted off to Cuba this month for cancer treatment, Penn informed the world of his deep emotional distress. With a warbling voice, his long hair cinched back in a ponytail, and clad in an absurd “Bolivarian” tracksuit, he offered a pre-eulogy for Chavez. From a candlelight vigil in La Paz, Bolivia, Penn blubbered that el comandante is “one of the most important forces we’ve had on this planet, and I’ll wish him nothing but that great strength he has shown over and over again.” His praise was delivered “in love” and “gratitude”—and in English.

    It might seem odd that a fabulously wealthy American was expressing gratitude to the leader of one the most corrupt (ranking 172 out of 182 in the latest Transparency International index) and violent (with a record 21,000 murders this year) countries on Earth.
    But then again, according to Penn, I’m merely a foot soldier in America’s media war against the “progressive” autocracies of Latin America. Because when he isn’t miming chavista talking points, Penn is sounding suspiciously conservative in his criticism of the dreaded “mainstream media.”

    Those who report critically on the Chavez regime are variously guilty of “demonizing,” “demonization,” and “manufactur[ing] demons.” The mustache-twisting American media works overtime to “demonize perceived enemies” like Chavez and Fidel Castro (The Castro brothers are “demonized” in the American press for, among other outrages against decency, neglecting to have a free election since they seized power in 1959).

    So what should one do about this ceaseless propaganda campaign against Venezuela? In a 2010 appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, Penn again complained that the media is addicted to lying about Chavez, frequently referring to him as a “dictator” who is contemptuous of the democratic process. “Truly,” Penn said, “there should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies.”

    No one can accuse Penn of not learning from his mentors.

    But perhaps I should give Penn a measure of credit. Rather than merely complaining that “corporate” journalists are corrupt handmaidens of imperialism, he has attempted to fix journalism by becoming a journalist; a sort of reverse George Plimpton.

    Indeed, the actor now also self-identifies as a writer. In his 2009 paean to Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez published on the Huffington Post, Penn begins with typical humility: “The disadvantages of being a writer, who is often written about, are numerous.” And another disadvantage is that, because you are often written about, certain editors allow you to write.

    Reading Penn’s journalism is not unlike consuming a Castro speech: it’s unbearably long, always rambling and tedious, and frequently incoherent. Take this latest dispatch from Penn’s Huffington Post blog, where he coughs up this furball: “Ostreicher, whose innocence was maligned by an arrest where only vague illusions to money laundering have been shown to be fabricated by corrupt officials within the Bolivian judiciary, whose motivation has proven to be extortion.”

    Or how about this stew of words, which is apparently related to the shootings in Newtown, Conn.: “This can, and is, being very easily exampled with newly invigorated discussions with attention on the recognition and treatment of mental health, and certainly that is a priority. And to be responsible to that priority, we too have to recognize its applicability to the mental health of our American community at large.”

    It’s difficult to improve upon the brutal verdict of New Yorker writer George Packer, who wondered why “someone like Penn think[s] he can do this job [journalism], which isn’t his job?” Criticizing his sycophantic dual profile of Castro and Chavez, published in The Nation, Packer concluded that “Perhaps because he can write down and relay the words of famous people to whom his own fame gives him access, and because certain thoughts pass through his mind while he’s writing them down.”

    While the media occasionally give Castro and Chavez a rough time, Penn might acknowledge that they play slow-pitch softball with him. Bill Maher didn’t flinch—or ask a followup question—when he demanded journalists be sent to the gulag for questioning Chavez’s democratic bona fides. In conversation with Penn’s chum and Gangster Squad costar Josh Brolin, Charlie Rose offered this insight into the actor’s curious choice of international friends:

    JOSH BROLIN: People perceived him as being too cool. But he’s not too cool. He’s open. He’s a true humanitarian.

    CHARLIE ROSE: And curious.

    JOSH BROLIN: Very curious.
    CHARLIE ROSE: …and curious and curious and curious. He goes off to Venezuela and Cuba.
    JOSH BROLIN: Exactly.

    This is exactly backward. If anything, champagne chavistas like Penn suffer from a distinct lack of curiosity, mixed with a heavy dollop of Hollywood orientalism. One can’t help but wonder how Penn would react if a female blogger wrote of her opposition to President Obama’s drone strike policy and was subsequently arrested by the FBI and threatened with gang rape. Or if President George W. Bush packed the Supreme Court with loyalists (and arrested judges who ruled against his cronies), withheld passports and other public services to those who voted against him, and fined or effectively shuttered media outlets that opposed his rule.

    In response to such criticisms, Penn has a predictable—and condescending—defense: the wretched of the Earth do not care for democratic niceties. “[W]hile our own cultural and constitutional conditioning would lead us to serious concerns in the powers of [Chavez’s] office,” he wrote in the Huffington Post, “there must be an informed adjustment to give our analyses a context that may extend beyond our borders” (This is a mirror image of an argument made by defenders of Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet: it would have been impossible to rehabilitate Chile’s broken economy without the Generalissimo’s steady and firm hand, a point not understood by finger-wagging gringo liberals).

    The kulturwelt usually has an acute sensitivity to those who maintain shady political allegiances. Argentinian novelist Jorge Luis Borges was denied the Nobel because of his support of Pinochet. Economist Milton Friedman, whose Nobel was bitterly debated in faculty lounges and feuilletons, was routinely accused of similar sympathies. On the Waterfront director Elia Kazan was persona non grata in Hollywood for testifying as a friendly witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Sean Penn’s associations with Castro and Chavez have brought no such professional censure.

    Perhaps there is some truth to his complaint that the press is frivolous. After all, they appear to take him seriously.


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    Ready to learn more about Fox's upcoming series "The Following"? We hope so because the network has released four new videos that go "Inside The Following": "What Is The Following?,""Other Characters,""Research & Style," and "The Thrill Ride."

    "The Following" will premiere on Monday, January 21st, at 9/8c.

    THE FBI estimates there are currently over 300 active serial killers in the United States. What would happen if these killers had a way of communicating and connecting with each other? What if they were able to work together and form alliances across the country? What if one brilliant psychotic serial killer was able to bring them all together and activate a following? Welcome to THE FOLLOWING, the terrifying new thriller from creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Dawson’s Creek,” the Scream franchise) and director Marcos Siega (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Dexter”).


    The buzz on this is great and the more that the cast and Kevin talk about this the better that it sounds. I can't wait.

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    Abrams and Cumberbatch tease his Star Trek Into Darkness villain


    Seems to us that the more we're getting closer to Star Trek Into Darkness' release date, the more we're getting tantalizing bits and pieces about J.J. Abrams' highly anticipated sequel and its extremely enigmatic villain, John Harrison, played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

    The Sherlock actor and Abrams are at it again and are once more teasing us about the upcoming Trek sequel's Big Bad.

    In video interviews from Korea (from the Korean site Naver Movies), brought to us by TrekMovie, both Cumberbatch and Abrams have offered more enticing details about "John Harrison."

    About his villain character, Cumberbatch says:

    He is an extraordinary terrorist of sorts. He uses himself as a warrior with weapons and close hand combat to just reap devastation and havoc wherever he goes and a trail of destruction follows him. What is interesting from an acting point of view — beyond doing the stunts and choreographed fight sequences....was also the psychological warfare that he acts out. He has an incredible ability to control people's minds to his bidding and make them — well confuse the radar of their loyalties and prerogatives, so that was great fun. So it was a great mixture of intense acting scenes and action scenes.

    Trek director Abrams also pondered Cumberbatch's villain and what the actor brings to the role:

    Benedict is an amazing actor. He is someone who brings this incredible intelligence and depth and truth to whatever he does. When I saw Sherlock I thought "here is a guy who is making Sherlock Holmes into a character that I absolutely relate to, love watch, makes me laugh — I really feel for him. It's Sherlock Holmes but someone Benedict Cumberbatch is completely bringing it to life and making it real. We needed someone for this character who is going to ground the character and make him relatable and be frightening and intense and believable. Not because he is raving and insane but because he is rational. And he brought this incredible sense of sophistication and psychological complexity to the role and we were very luck to get him.

    The best and greatest Star Trek villains have always been the ones we've been able to somewhat relate to, such as Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban) from the original series' episode "Space Seeds" and The Wrath of Kahn and even Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo) from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine—villains who always think they're actually doing the right thing and believe that THEY are the heroes of the story.

    We don't know about you guys, but this is making us even more excited for Star Trek Into Darkness to finally hit the screens full warp speed ahead. Are you?

    Star Trek Into Darkness will be released on May 17, 2013.


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    Matthew McConaughey's wife just popped out baby #3 ... TMZ has learned.

    Sources tell us ... Camila Alves gave birth earlier this morning at a hospital in Austin, TX. We're told Matthew was there, he was ecstatic for the new arrival (clearly) ... and even looked like he'd packed on a few pounds.

    You'll recall ... the actor announced news of the pregnancy back in July, tweeting "Happy birthday America, more good news, Camila and I are expecting our 3rd child."

    We haven't confirmed yet, but sources close to the situation tell us ... it's a baby girl!

    FYI -- The duo met in 2006, but didn't get married until June 2012. They have two other children: Levi (4) and Vida (2).

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  • 12/28/12--16:00: FFAF: December 28, 2012

  • [Unknown LJ tag]

    Hello ONTD! Happy Kwanzza! I do hope all holidays that have ended for you were happy as well. Might I warn you to be careful showing what you got, if you choose to do so here, as you might be seen as "privileged bitch" whether or not it is true.

    Anyway! Please enjoy FFAF with your usual comments of twitters, tumblrs, and last eff ems. Please try to refrain from fighting, advertising for monetary gain, spamming, posting lewd photos, or posting comments which might cause havoc on the computers of others who have an outdated machine (i.e. not a privileged bitch.)

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    It appears that Eli Roth and director Nicolas Lopez hit it off during their collaboration on the upcoming Aftershock, because Roth is flexing his thespian chops once again under his tutelage.

    Lopez has a comedy opening in Chile next week called Que Pena Tu Familia, and the characters in the film watch a Telenovela entitled “Ataque Al Corazon” (“Attack The Heart”). So, in ongoing the tradition of fake TV shows being shot in order to give movie characters something to watch, we’ve got a trailer from the show. It brings the gore and more than a little bit of “Grey’s Anatomy” style sexual friction.

    Warning. Bloody.


    "MY HEAD IS FiNE!"

    my homey fwee_prower will be the judge of that.

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  • 12/29/12--11:07: Book Post!

  • Books to Look Forward to in 2013

    If there's a common moral that binds together some of the most exciting releases of 2013, it's that it's a small world after all.

    Khaled Hosseini's welcome return brings with it a family story set in several parts of the world; David Sedaris bumbles around the globe, collecting tales of both the poignant and the absurd. And other novelists and scholars give voice to planet-spanning stories especially pertinent in the age of globalization: Tracy Chevalier and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tell intimate accounts about immigration, Marie Arana delivers the authoritative account of Simón Bolivar's map-altering political revolutions in South America, and Ruth Ozeki offers a sad, lovely tale about the accidental, intercontinental connection between a teenage author in Tokyo and her only reader.

    Meanwhile, foodie extraordinaire Michael Pollan takes on the anthropology of cooking, and Stephen King revisits the universe of The Shining for the first time since he created it 36 years ago. In other words, it's about to be a big year in books. Below, read more on what these and other notable authors are up to in 2013.

    The Last Runaway
    by Tracy Chevalier

    The best-selling author of 1999’s acclaimed Girl With a Pearl Earring makes her first foray into historical fiction set in America. When Honor Bright, a young English Quaker woman, moves to Ohio in 1850, she’s disappointed by the lack of commitment to equality in America—until she gets drawn into the mysterious activities of the Underground Railroad.

    Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong
    by Dave Walsh

    2012 must have been a year of redemption for Dave Walsh. For 12 years, the London-based Sunday Times journalist chased a hunch that Lance Armstrong’s success story was too good to be true. Seven stripped Tour de France titles later, it turned out to be more than a hunch. Seven Deadly Sins tells the story of Walsh’s struggle to make the truth about Lance Armstrong’s steroid use known.

    See the rest here

    Books to Help You Write the Next Contagion

    The germs have been busy. In the United States this year alone, we’ve lost people both to old enemies such as whooping cough and to relatively new spillovers from other animals, such as hantavirus and West Nile virus, which killed more than 240 Americans this year, a record. Diseases we've come to think of as utterly foreign, such as dengue fever, are spreading through the United States. Meanwhile, further afield but far too near, we’ve seen two separate Ebola outbreaks; one of Marburg; alarming blips of Q fever; an unsettling and unsettled game of whack-a-mole in the Mideast with a new SARS-like coronavirus; and the news that because gonorrhea has now developed resistance to yet another antibiotic, we possess just one that still gives pause to this old intimate. If that drug stops working before we develop a better one, expect a steady drip of ugly cases.

    More bad-bug news pops up almost weekly, and it stands to get worse for a while, maybe for decades. More bacterial strains will develop antibiotic resistance, and our continuing disruption of virus-rich and fungus-rich ecosystems worldwide will invite yet more pathogens to make us part of their life cycles. We will live increasingly in a world where you might die because a bat happened to sleep in a certain tree in Tanzania or a particular robin landed in your backyard.

    Pandemic diseases hold an irresistible allure for both writers and readers, as they involve threats both universal and personal, deep scientific mysteries from cellular to ecosystem levels, and urgent scientific sleuthing with high stakes. If the subject sometimes lends itself to oversimplified and sensationalistic journalism, it has also inspired a bounty of writing that is riveting while being thoughtful, nuanced, and deeply informed. And this work comes in every form and length, from 140-character tweets to 600-page global tours.

    Here I offer a guide to the best of this work. I’ve drawn from my own reading and from the suggestions of top infectious-disease writers (more on them shortly). We’ll start long, with books, and end, as we should, with tweeted expirations of germ-inflected wisdom.

    Best Books
    We face an embarrassment of riches here, and if it’s hard to know where to start, it’s easy to name a fivesome that will immerse you in the drama of pandemics both past and future while giving a fine understanding of the science.

    Leading the way almost 20 years ago, and still absolutely trenchant today, is Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance, which vividly and judiciously reports the global forces creating a new infectious age. It remains essential reading, with astounding prescience.

    Warm from the presses, meanwhile, comes David Quammen’s Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic—one of the year’s best books of any kind. This rich, engrossing work entrances as much with its darting literary elegance and deep humanity as with its exquisitely measured, layered reveal of the global strands binding us to a world of beauty and death.

    Equally riveting is Maryn McKenna’s way-too-close-to-home SuperBug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA. This bacterium (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is everywhere these days, including, perhaps, on your keyboard and almost certainly on your nose. As McKenna makes vivid, its spread and its increasing resistance to antibiotics can turn a routine cut or hospital visit into a deadly saga.

    Finally, there are the classics Microbe Hunters, Paul de Kruif’s 1934 account of how the bug-hunters got started, and John Barry’s The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, which makes scary reading anytime near flu season.

    "The First Alert," from Maryn McKenna's SuperBug, tells of a 13-year-old boy's battle with MRSA. “Where Will the Next Pandemic Come From? And How Can We Stop It?,” in Popular Science, opens the puzzle box that David Quammen explores at more length in Spillover. In “The Hunt for the Origin of AIDS,” in the Atlantic, Jon Cohen sifts through AIDS-origin theories both well-founded and weird.

    The Flu Hunters,” a classic piece by Gretchen Reynolds in the New York Times Magazine, follows the hunt, far from over, to figure out how to prevent future flu pandemics on the scale of the one that killed 20 million to 50 million people in 1918. “Undead: The Rabies Virus Remains a Medical Mystery,” in Wired, an excerpt from the new book by Monica Murphy and Bill Wasik, Rabid, shows how bizarre this old affliction is; some of the comments are as unsettling as the story. Bruce Barcott's "Death at Yosemite,” in Outside, shows how zoonotic diseases such as the much more obscure hantavirus can pop up, suddenly and fatally, even in the most sublime settings.

    Finally, “The Rise of Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea,” by Jerome Groopman at The New Yorker, has some unsettling news about the human pharynx. And his colleague Michael Specter, in “A Deadly Misdiagnosis,” shows how misguided attempts to fight tuberculosis—possibly the disease that most threatens us—may actually strengthen its hand. Don’t read this while you have a cough.

    Source & the rest

    10 Things Kvothe Absolutely Needs to Do in Day 3 of Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles Books 

    If you're a fan of Patrick Rothfuss' wonderful The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear, the first two books of The Kingkiller Chronicles, you know two things: 1) it's a wonderfully grounded tale set in an elaborate world of high fantasy, and 2) it seems like it's going to be completely impossible for Rothfuss to finish Kvothe's story in just one more book.

    Kvothe is a young magician and troubadour who's already a legend in his world, but has since mysteriously retired to become a humble innkeeper with the name of Kote. He is reluctantly telling his life history to a Chronicler over the course of three days (one day per book), but at the end of The Wise Man's Fear, Kvothe seems to have barely begun his story. But unlike other authors (*cough*GRRM*cough*) Rothfuss is sticking firm to his three-book structure — meaning Kvothe has so much he needs to do in the eventual final volume The Doors of Stone, a.k.a. "day 3."

    Here are the 10 things we hope Kvothe crosses off his "To Do" list whenever The Kingkiller Chronicles finally concludes. Spoilers ahead...

    1) He's got to kill a king.

    The books are called The Kingkiller Chronicles after all, and now that Kvothe has told two-thirds of this story — although he's only up to his late teens — he hasn't met a single king yet, let alone killed one. The popular rumor on the internet is that Kvothe's archnemesis at the University, the noble brat Ambrose, will end up being king, although as it stands Ambrose is so far the way down the line of succession Kvothe can fight him pretty significantly and not get himself beheaded (not that Ambrose wouldn't like to).

    2) He has to figure out the mystery of the Amyr and the Chandrian.

    In a story about a story about stories, there are tons of tales that remain half-told, but the one that has to reach some sort of conclusion is what is going on with the Chandrian, the mysterious, seemingly cursed, possibly immortal group of seven who serve as the Chronicles' main antagonists — as well as the Amyr, the order of church knights that had fought them until they also seem to have inexplicably disappeared. While most people regard the Chandrian as legends, Kvothe has first-hand knowledge of them — so it stands to reason the Amyr exist, too. But what happened, and where did they go?

    3) He has to confront Cinder.

    Kvothe's search for the truth behind the Chandrian isn't just out of curiosity. He and his parents were Edema Ruh, a gypsy-esque, wandering people who often travel from town to town as wandering minstrels and entertainers. Kvothe's father began composing a song about the fall of the ancient hero Lanre, who lost his love, went mad and became the first of the seven Chandrian. But since the Chandrian are determined to erase (violently, if need be) almost all mention of themselves, Kvothe's entire troupe was murdered by them, and his parents killed specifically by than Chandrian named Cinder. Kvothe has been hunting him down ever since - only to randomly defeat a group of bandits who he later learned was led by Cinder. But for what possible purpose?

    4) He has to talk to Gods (probably).

    In Kvothe's famous quote to the Chronicler at the beginning of his story, he says:

    "I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs to make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me."

    So far he's burned down the town of Trebon (more or less; he actually stuffed a dragon full of heroin accidentally, and the dragon burned down the town), he's been expelled from the University (the bastion of education and magic on Kvothe's world, although the expulsion was almost instantly repealed) and slept with the faerie queen Felurian (not a metaphor, he went to the Faerie realm and did a lot of sex). But talking to Gods? We're not sure that's happened yet. Unless Kvothe is referring to the time he talked to Ctaegh, the hateful faerie tree that destroys the lives of everyone it speaks to (you really need to read these books).

    The rest

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    Lord Julian Fellowes has admitted he would have loved to keep Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey, after he was left with no choice but to kill off the nation’s favourite character at Christmas.

    Lord Fellowes, who writes the award-winning series, has disclosed he “didn’t really have an option” but to make Matthew Crawley die in a motoring accident, after actor Dan Stevens chose to leave the show.

    After trying to persuade him to stay, Lord Fellowes said he would have kept the central character alive “without question” had there been any alternative.

    Since Stevens was determined to pursue his acting career elsewhere, no other way of leaving the show during the ITV Christmas Day special would have been believable enough, he added.

    “We would have loved to keep him,” he told th Daily Telegraph. ldquo;We would have loved to keep Jessica [Brown Findlay] too.

    “We have always tried to persuade him to stay. He had done fantastically well for the series and his creation of Matthew was terrific.

    “But this is life. Dan felt that this was right thing for him, and the right moment to move on to different areas.”

    Lord Fellowes, who won an Oscar for his screenplay of Gosford Park, disclosed he would have written an alternative ending for Matthew’s character had circumstances been different.

    “If he [Stevens] had been prepared to come back for maybe two or three episodes in a series, that would be different. Then we could have had a foreign posting or invented a career that would have made it possible for him to be away.

    “Otherwise we would have had to make this tremendously successful love affair between Mary and Matthew unhappy, which I didn’t feel would be believable.

    “For them to then separate and Matthew never set eyes on his son again would not be believable either.

    “So we didn’t really have any option. By him dying, their love can remain in tact.”

    He emphasised there had been no “fall out”, saying: “I’m pretty sure he’s got a terrific future. We will miss him.”

    Lord Fellowes, who said he found the popular notion that writers and producers made all the decisions about scripts “charming”, added: “I’m rather amused by the idea that these plot decisions are taken by producers and writers rather than the actors.

    “In truth, they are taken entirely by the actors."

    Despite his reluctance to kill off the heir to Downton, Lord Fellowes promised viewers there would be no miraculous Dallas-style re-appearance for Matthew.

    “Matthew will be dead,” he joked. “Mary will not find Matthew in the shower; that I can promise.”

    The makers of Downton Abbey have already moved to console devastated viewers about the "untimely and tragic death" of character Matthew Crawley, after an outpouring of furious complaints about the Christmas special.

    Viewers complained it was "travasty", a "tragedy" and an "outrage", with some saying the ending had "ruined their Christmas".

    The makers of the programme yesterday released a statement explaining the decision, reassuring fans the death was the only credible exit for the heir to Downton.

    His "solid and loving marriage" to Lady Mary had meant a separation would be inconceivable, they said.

    The explanation follows a barrage of complaints about the plot, which saw character Matthew Crawley killed in a motoring accident as he drove to share news of his happy wife and newborn baby.

    Within moments of the episode being broadcast, thousands of distressed viewers took to social networking sites and forums to complain about the ending.

    One accused the writers of "killing my soul" while another said the plot "shattered my heart". A third noted: "I AM 100% DONE WITH THIS SHOW. I CAN'T BREATHE." Oh Tumblr, you deliver].

    Others were seemingly too distraught to speak, saying: "I don't even want to discuss what happened in the Downton Abbey Christmas special. I just don't."

    One mournful fan wrote "I love Downton Abbey but they have just made me very angry", as another claimed: "Downton Abbey you have just ruined my Christmas Day!"

    Some attempted to put on a brave face, saying: "I'm still not over the Downton Christmas Episode, so I'm just going to rewatch all the happy episodes and pretend everything is swell."

    A spokeswoman for ITV, which broadcasts the award-winning programme, last night issued a statement to explain the decision to kill the character off and comfort fans.

    Saying actor Dan Stevens had chosen not to renew his contract beyond the initial three years, she said the "solid and loving marriage" between characters Matthew and Mary has left writers with no choice about his inevitable departure.

    The relationship between the two was so strong that they could not "simply be estranged or parted", she said, meaning he had to be dramatically killed off in the surprise twist.

    Speaking of his departure exclusively to the Daily Telegraph, Stevens said he had chosen to leave the popular show after the second series to pursue "a desire for freedom".

    "So there is a strange sense of liberation at the same time as great sadness because I am very, very fond of the show and always will be," he said.

    The death of Matthew Crawley in a motoring accident is the second unexpected twist in Downton Abbey this series, with Lady Sybil passing away following childbirth in emotional scenes earlier this year.

    The two surprise deaths have already led to speculation about the future of the show, with some fearing it will struggle to recover from the loss of two popular characters.

    Last night, a spokeswoman for ITV said: "After three successful series and two Christmas editions of Downton Abbey, Dan Stevens decided not to renew his contract beyond the initial three years he had been contracted.

    "We wish him every success for the future. Michelle Dockery will be returning to her role as Lady Mary in series four which begins production in February.

    "Over the last three years, audiences across the world have been captivated by the ups and downs of Mary and Matthew’s relationship, culminating in their wedding.

    "Fans have enjoyed what has become a solid and loving marriage. It is for this reason that the Producers decided Matthew and Mary could not simply be estranged or parted, resulting in his untimely and tragic death at the end of the Christmas episode.

    "In the next series, alongside all the usual drama, comedy and romance involving the much loved cast of characters, viewers will see Mary adjusting to her life and attempting to move on without the man she loved."


    My reaction to Dan's 'career' post DA:

    Whatever, I'll just crack!ship Mary and Thomas now.

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    Gwyneth Paltrow flashes a smile for the cover of her upcoming cookbook “It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great,” out in stores on April 2, 2013!

    For the new book, the 40-year-old actress put together 185 delicious, easy recipes that followed her doctor’s guidelines to lose weight and feel more energized.

    “It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great” follows Gwyneth‘s first cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness,” released last year.

    No Cup-of-Soup plz

    Can we please get a white celebrities tag?

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