Hard To Believe!

Pffffft!!!! I’m still going to watch it!!!

Pediatricians’ group finds fault with “SpongeBob”

LOS ANGELES ( – First it was the far right, which singled out the animated kids’ series “SpongeBob SquarePants” for promoting pro-gay and global-warming-awareness agendas.

And Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics will take aim at the 12-year-old Nickelodeon show, reporting a study that concludes the fast-paced show, and others like it, aren’t good for children.

According to an individual with knowledge of the AAP’s press strategy, the organization’s Monday announcement will be picked up by news organizations including ABC and NBC.

Nickelodeon didn’t have a comment on the matter, but did release this statement, questioning the seaworthiness of the study: “Having 60 non-diverse kids, who are not part of the show’s targeted demo, watch nine minutes of programing is questionable methodology and could not possibly provide the basis for any valid findings that parents could trust.”

A key issue for Nickelodeon officials: “SpongeBob” is targeted to kids 6-11, but the study focused on 4-year-olds.

An individual close to the network said the program’s broad awareness among parents has been leveraged before to gain noteriety and spur funding.

In 2005, James Dobson, head of the Christian right group Focus on the Family, said the cartoon’s tolerance themes were really code for gay-agenda promotion.

And just last month, Fox News personalities Steve Doocy and Gretchen Carlson criticized the series, as well as the U.S. Department of Education, for allegedly promoting global-warming science.

As for its study, officials for the American Academy of Pediatrics were unavailable for comment.

“People do studies all the time about the effects of media. This one will stress out parents unnecessarily,” said an individual close to Nickelodeon.

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Good luck to them all!!

8.9 magnitude quake triggers deadly tsunami in Japan
TOKYO (AP) ó A ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed Japan’s eastern coast Friday. Japanese police say 200 to 300 bodies have been found in a northeastern coastal area.
The bodies were found in Sendai city, the closest major city to the epicenter. The magnitude 8.9 quake and 23-foot tsunami were followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0.
Dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles from the epicenter.
Earlier, police confirmed at least 60 people had been killed and 56 were missing. The death toll was likely to continue climbing given the scale of Friday’s disaster.
The tsuanmi swept away boats, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control. Tsunami warnings blanketed the entire Pacific, as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West Coast.
The government ordered thousands of residents near a nuclear power plant in Onahama city to evacuate because the plant’s system was unable to cool the reactor. The reactor was not leaking radiation but its core remained hot even after a shutdown. The plant is 170 miles northeast of Tokyo.
“The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference.
Trouble was reported at two other nuclear plants as well, but there was no radiation leak at any.
Even for a country used to earthquakes, this one was of horrific proportions because of the tsunami that crashed ashore, swallowing everything in its path as it surged several miles inland before retreating. The apocalyptic images of surging water broadcast by Japanese TV networks resembled scenes from a Hollywood disaster movie.
Large fishing boats and other sea vessels rode high waves into the cities, slamming against overpasses or scraping under them and snapping power lines along the way. Upturned and partially submerged vehicles were seen bobbing in the water. Ships anchored in ports crashed against each other.
The highways to the worst-hit coastal areas were severely damaged and communications, including telephone lines, were snapped. Train services in northeastern Japan and in Tokyo, which normally serve 10 million people a day, were also suspended, leaving untold numbers stranded in stations or roaming the streets. Tokyo’s Narita airport was closed indefinitely.
Jesse Johnson, a native of the U.S. state of Nevada, who lives in Chiba, north of Tokyo, was eating at a sushi restaurant with his wife when the quake hit.
“At first it didn’t feel unusual, but then it went on and on. So I got myself and my wife under the table,” he told The Associated Press. “I’ve lived in Japan for 10 years and I’ve never felt anything like this before. The aftershocks keep coming. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t know whether it’s me shaking or an earthquake.”
Waves of muddy waters flowed over farmland near the city of Sendai, carrying buildings, some on fire, inland as cars attempted to drive away. Sendai airport, north of Tokyo, was inundated with cars, trucks, buses and thick mud deposited over its runways. Fires spread through a section of the city, public broadcaster NHK reported.
More than 300 houses were washed away in Ofunato City alone. Television footage showed mangled debris, uprooted trees, upturned cars and shattered timber littering streets.
The tsunami roared over embankments, washing anything in its path inland before reversing directions and carrying the cars, homes and other debris out to sea. Flames shot from some of the houses, probably because of burst gas pipes.
“Our initial assessment indicates that there has already been enormous damage,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. “We will make maximum relief effort based on that assessment.”
He said the Defense Ministry was sending troops to the quake-hit region. A utility aircraft and several helicopters were on the way.
A large fire erupted at the Cosmo oil refinery in Ichihara city in Chiba prefecture and burned out of control with 100-foot (30 meter) -high flames whipping into the sky.
From northeastern Japan’s Miyagi prefecture, NHK showed footage of a large ship being swept away and ramming directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city.
NHK said more than 4 million buildings were without power in Tokyo and its suburbs.
Also in Miyagi, a fire broke out in a turbine building of a nuclear power plant, but it was later extinguished, said Tohoku Electric Power Co. the company said.
A reactor area of a nearby plant was leaking water, the company said. But it was unclear if the leak was caused by tsunami water or something else. There were no reports of radioactive leaks at any of Japan’s nuclear plants.
Jefferies International Limited, a global investment banking group, said it estimated overall losses to be about $10 billion.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the 2:46 p.m. quake was a magnitude 8.9, the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since officials began keeping records in the late 1800s, and one of the biggest ever recorded in the world.
The quake struck at a depth of six miles, about 80 miles off the eastern coast, the agency said. The area is 240 miles (380 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.
A tsunami warning was extended to a number of Pacific, Southeast Asian and Latin American nations, including Japan, Russia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Chile. In the Philippines, authorities ordered an evacuation of coastal communities, but no unusual waves were reported.
Thousands of people fled their homes in Indonesia after officials warned of a tsunami up to 6 feet high. But waves of only 4 inches were measured. No big waves came to the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory, either.
The first waves hit Hawaii about 1400 GMT Friday. Officials predicted they would experience waves up to 6 feet.
In downtown Tokyo, large buildings shook violently and workers poured into the street for safety. TV footage showed a large building on fire and bellowing smoke in the Udayba district of Tokyo. The tremor bent the upper tip of the iconic Tokyo Tower, a 1,093-foot steel structure inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Osamu Akiya, 46, was working in Tokyo at his office in a trading company when the quake hit.
It sent bookshelves and computers crashing to the floor, and cracks appeared in the walls.
“I’ve been through many earthquakes, but I’ve never felt anything like this,” he said. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to get home tonight.”
Footage on NHK from their Sendai office showed employees stumbling around and books and papers crashing from desks. It also showed a glass shelter at a bus stop in Tokyo completely smashed by the quake and a weeping woman nearby being comforted by another woman.
Several quakes had hit the same region in recent days, including a 7.3 magnitude one on Wednesday that caused no damage.
Hiroshi Sato, a disaster management official in northern Iwate prefecture, said officials were having trouble getting an overall picture of the destruction.
“We don’t even know the extent of damage. Roads were badly damaged and cut off as tsunami washed away debris, cars and many other things,” he said.
Dozens of fires were reported in northern prefectures of Fukushima, Sendai, Iwate and Ibaraki. Collapsed homes and landslides were also reported in Miyagi.
Japan’s worst previous quake was in 1923 in Kanto, an 8.3-magnitude temblor that killed 143,000 people, according to USGS. A 7.2-magnitude quake in Kobe city in 1996 killed 6,400 people.

Hard To Believe!

I tend to drink “Schooners” when I am out, but a “pint” is the tradition!!

Could the days of the British “pint” be numbered?
LONDON (Reuters) ñ British pubgoers could soon ditch their traditional pint in favour of a “schooner”, a smaller measure of beer used in Australia, under government changes announced on Tuesday.
At the moment, pubs and restaurants are limited to selling alcoholic drinks in certain measures, but the government wants to introduce a new range in response to changing trade practices and consumer tastes.
Instead of choosing between halves or pints, drinkers would also have the option of a schooner, the equivalent of two-thirds of a pint. Wine glasses would also see a change.
“We have listened to consumers and businesses. They have called for fixed quantities to be kept but with greater flexibility. That is what this change will deliver,” Science minister David Willetts said in a statement.
“We are freeing businesses so they can innovate and create new products to meet the demands of their customers.”
Under the proposed change, a glass of wine could be sold in measures under 75ml, much lower than the current limit of 125ml.
The Daily Mail newspaper said the new pint rule, which also applies to cider and lager, represents one of the most radical changes since the pint was introduced by an Act of Parliament in 1698.

Hard To Believe!

Waaa waaa waaaaa!!!!

Artist wants to remove Tommy Douglas statue
Lea Vivot, the sculptor who revealed her statue of former Saskatchewan premier and Canadian health-care founder Tommy Douglas to the public last week, is threatening to take it down.
The artist is considering taking the statue back to Scotland after attending its Sept. 10 unveiling in Weyburn, Sask., an event she says was turned into a “circus” by the attendance of Douglas’s grandson, actor Kiefer Sutherland.
Born in Scotland in 1904, the politician grew up in Winnipeg but spent most of his life in Saskatchewan, raising his family in Weyburn.
Sutherland’s appearance, Vivot told the Regina Leader-Post, turned the ceremony into a “publicity stunt” and took the focus off both her and Douglas’s achievements.
“To me, the unveiling of a sculpture is like a baptism of a child. You honour the art and the spirit of life of the one that the monument is dedicated to,” Vivot told the paper.
“It was never about me, and it was not supposed to be about Kiefer Sutherland,” she continued. “It was about Tommy Douglas, the people of Weyburn and the sculptor who made the piece and why. It was supposed to be inspiring, not a Hollywood circus.”
Vivot said she will decide in the next few days whether she is going to move the statue.
The Czech native, who now resides in Ontario, decided to dedicate a piece of art to the politician after having surgery and discovering that health care is free in Canada.
Having researched Douglas’s history, Vivot contacted the residents of his hometown and asked them to help her raise the $30,000 she needed to create the statue honouring his legacy.
“His contribution [to Canada] … was monumental,” Vivot told CBC News last week. “I wanted his legacy to go on, to somehow preserve it for future generations.”

Hard To Believe!

Wow…I always thought Joni was a sweetie!!

Joni Mitchell slams ‘fake’ Dylan
Joni Mitchell has criticized Bob Dylan as a “fake” and a “plagiarist” – insisting the folk legend’s entire act is a “deception”.
Mitchell slammed the star during an interview with the Los Angeles Times, after her decision to change her name from Roberta Joan Anderson was likened to Dylan’s move to drop his birth name of Robert Zimmerman.
And the Canadian legend is adamant she is very different to the Blowin’ In The Wind hitmaker.
She tells the newspaper, “Bob is not authentic at all. He’s a plagiarist, and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception. We are like night and day, he and I.
“As for my name, my parents wanted a boy, so they called me Robert John; when I came out a girl, they just added two letter ‘A’s to that. Then I married Chuck Mitchell; I wanted to keep my maiden name – I had a bit of a following as Joni Anderson – but he wouldn’t let me.”

Hard To Believe!

What the what?!??!?

Lightfoot mulls new Edmund Fitzgerald lyrics
Gordon Lightfoot says he is ready to change some of the lyrics to The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald after seeing a documentary that disputes official findings on why the ship sank.
His ballad about the sinking of the iron ore freighter that led to loss of 29 lives is one of his most famous songs.
The Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior on Nov. 9, 1975, in what is considered the worst disaster in Great Lakes maritime history.
An official inquiry into the sinking attributed it to human error ó saying the rear hatches had not been properly closed.
However, the documentary Dive Detectives, part of a new series created for History Television, disputes that theory.
Lightfoot saw the documentary after agreeing to the use of his 1976 song as part of the soundtrack.
Father and son dive team Mike and Warren Fletcher say the most likely cause of the wreck was a rogue wave, a giant wall of water that could have toppled the ship. The captain of the Edmund Fitzgerald had radioed that he was experiencing near-hurricane-force winds.
The Fletchers spoke to experts, meteorologists and maritime historians to make their TV documentary.
Capt. Chris Hearn, director of Memorial University’s Centre for Marine Simulation, confirmed that such a wave could have sunk the Edmund Fitzgerald.
“Technically speaking, a rogue wave is a wave whose height is more than two times significant wave height,” he told CBC news. “The main issue about a rogue wave is it’s abnormally high for the existing sea state. A wave that’s that much larger exerts tremendous forces when it falls upon an object.”
The Great Lakes are large enough for such a wave to form, he said.
“In terms of the Great Lakes if you look at the depth of the water, the fact that it’s fresh water and therefore moving with the wind state or the sea state, a huge wave or a huge series of waves catching the Edmund Fitzgerald either in the trough or on the cliff certainly was a factor in the loss of the vessel,” Hearn said.
“When you experience a sea state of that kind, really the only thing the captain can do is to try and take the waves across his bow or keep his head into the wind,” he added.
Lightfoot’s song describes the high seas and has lyrics about a main hatchway caving in, but makes no reference to a rogue wave.
He’s not planning to record the song again, but says future concert performances will include new lyrics that reflect the show’s findings.
The Dive Detectives episode related to the Edmund Fitzgerald will air March 31 on History Television at 6 p.m. ET and PT and again at 11 p.m. ET and PT.

Hard To Believe!

Really?!?! Her?!?

Jessica Biel named `most dangerous celebrity’
NEW YORK ñ Jessica Biel is the most dangerous celebrity on the Web.
Security technology company McAfee Inc. on Tuesday reported that searches for the 27-year-old actress are more likely to lead to online threats such as spyware and viruses than searches for any other celebrity.
McAfee said fans searching for the actress have a one-in-five chance of ending up at a Web site designed to damage one’s computer. Its the third annual report on the subject from McAfee, which last year found that Brad Pitt was the “most dangerous” celeb online.
“Cybercriminals are star watchers, too,” said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee’s product development. “They latch onto popular celebrities to encourage the download of malicious software in disguise.”
Following Biel in the report, in order, were Beyonce, Jennifer Aniston, Tom Brady and Jessica Simpson. McAfee noted President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are curiously safe searches, ranking no. 34 and no. 39, respectively.

Hard To Believe!

Does this surprise you in any way?!

Michael Jackson May Be Buried At Neverland
What’s the hold up with Michael Jackson funeral arrangements? I am told that there is right now a discussion going on within his family and advisors about burying him at Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, California. Sources say that the proposal came from Tohme Tohme, Jackson’s former manager, the non-doctor and special ambassador to Senegal. Tohme works with Colony Capital LLC, the firm that holds the mortgage note on Neverland. Their idea is to turn Neverland into Graceland, with Jackson’s grave the central attraction.
This isn’t so easy. For one thing, as lawyers have pointed out, you can’t simply bury someone in your backyard. Permits are required. For another, the town of Los Olivos was sounded out about a “Graceland” idea a long time ago and rejected it. Neverland is on a two-lane country road across from a school way in the hills along the Santa Ynez Valley. The locals feel it’s not equipped for that kind of traffic.
But the Graceland plan is being pushed by Colony and Tohme, as Tohme agitates for it within a split and confused family. Much discussion is going on right now, especially among Michael’s brothers, about ways to maximize his estate — in other words make money.
“Michael would be mortified to know this,” one of his business associates said to me today.

Hard To Believe!

Stupid…yes, gosh yes!! Racist, I don’t know about that!!

Jive-talking twin Transformers raise race issues
LOS ANGELES ñ Harmless comic characters or racist robots? The buzz over the summer blockbuster “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” only grew Wednesday as some said two jive-talking Chevy characters were racial caricatures. Skids and Mudflap, twin robots disguised as compact hatchbacks, constantly brawl and bicker in rap-inspired street slang. They’re forced to acknowledge that they can’t read. One has a gold tooth.
As good guys, they fight alongside the Autobots and are intended to provide comic relief. But their traits raise the specter of stereotypes most notably seen when Jar Jar Binks, the clumsy, broken-English speaking alien from “Star Wars: Episode I ó The Phantom Menace,” was criticized as a caricature.
One fan called the Transformers twins “Jar Jar Bots” in a blog post online.
Todd Herrold, who watched the movie in New York City, called the characters “outrageous.”
“It’s one thing when robot cars are racial stereotypes,” he said, “but the movie also had a bucktoothed black guy who is briefly in one scene who’s also a stereotype.”
“They’re like the fools,” said 18-year-old Nicholas Govede, also of New York City. “The comic relief in a degrading way.”
Not all fans were offended. Twin brothers Jason and William Garcia, 18, who saw the movie in Miami, said they related to the characters ó not their illiteracy, but their bickering.
“They were hilarious,” Jason said. “Every movie has their standout character, and I think they were the ones for this movie.”
In Atlanta, Rico Lawson said people were reading too much into the characters. “It was actually funny,” said Lawson, 25, who saw the movie with his girlfriend in Atlanta.
That was the aim, director Michael Bay said in an interview.
“It’s done in fun,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s stereotypes ó they are robots, by the way. These are the voice actors. This is kind of the direction they were taking the characters and we went with it.”
Bay said the twins’ parts “were kind of written but not really written, so the voice actors is when we started to really kind of come up with their characters.”
Actor Reno Wilson, who is black, voices Mudflap. Tom Kenny, the white actor behind SpongeBob SquarePants, voices Skids.
Wilson said Wednesday that he never imagined viewers might consider the twins to be racial caricatures. When he took the role, he was told that the alien robots learned about human culture through the Web and that the twins were “wannabe gangster types.”
“It’s an alien who uploaded information from the Internet and put together the conglomeration and formed this cadence, way of speaking and body language that was accumulated over X amount of years of information and that’s what came out,” the 40-year-old actor said. “If he had uploaded country music, he would have come out like that.”
It’s not fair to assume the characters are black, he said.
“It could easily be a Transformer that uploaded Kevin Federline data,” Wilson said. “They were just like posers to me.”
Kenny did not respond to an interview request Wednesday.
“I purely did it for kids,” the director said. “Young kids love these robots, because it makes it more accessible to them.”
Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman said they followed Bay’s lead in creating the twins. Still, the characters aren’t integral to the story, and when the action gets serious, they disappear entirely, notes Tasha Robinson, associate entertainment editor at The Onion.
“They don’t really have any positive effect on the film,” she said. “They only exist to talk in bad ebonics, beat each other up and talk about how stupid each other is.”
Hollywood has a track record of using negative stereotypes of black characters for comic relief, said Todd Boyd, a professor of popular culture at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, who has not seen the “Transformers” sequel.
“There’s a history of people getting laughs at the expense of African-Americans and African-American culture,” Boyd said. “These images are not completely divorced from history even though it’s a new movie and even though they’re robots and not humans.”
American cinema also has a tendency to deal with race indirectly, said Allyson Nadia Field, an assistant professor of cinema and media studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“There’s a persistent dehumanization of African-Americans throughout Hollywood that displaces issues of race onto non-human entities,” said Field, who also hasn’t seen the film. “It’s not about skin color or robot color. It’s about how their actions and language are coded racially.”
If these characters weren’t animated and instead played by real black actors, “then you might have to admit that it’s racist,” Robinson said. “But stick it into a robot’s mouth, and it’s just a robot, it’s OK.”
But if they’re alien robots, she continued, “why do they talk like bad black stereotypes?”
Bay brushes off any whiff of controversy.
“Listen, you’re going to have your naysayers on anything,” he said. “It’s like is everything going to be melba toast? It takes all forms and shapes and sizes.”

Hard To Believe!

Kumar goes to the White House!!

Actor Kal Penn joining the Obama administration
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Actor and longtime Obama supporter Kal Penn is joining the Obama administration, the White House confirmed to CNN Tuesday.
The actor will be part of the White House Office of Public Liaison, which is run by Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Penn will be primarily involved in dealing with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and the arts community.
Penn’s new gig was first reported by, which shares parent company Time Warner with CNN.
Penn told that the new position comes after some soul-searching.
There was “‘something aching in me to do something completely different and take a break from the acting thing for a while'” Penn said he told the executive producers of the TV series “House” when he explained his decision to get involved with politics full-time.
The actor also said his interest in politics has deep roots. “I’ve been thinking about [moving into politics] for a while. I love what I do as an actor. I couldn’t love it more. . . . .probably from the time I was a kid, I really enjoyed that balance between the arts and public service.”
“It’s probably because of the value system my grandparents instilled in me. They marched with Gandhi in the Indian independence movement, and that was always in the back of my head. So the past couple of years I thought about it a little more.”
But Penn also is leaving the door open to returning to acting at some later point. “Who’s to say where any path leads? I still have a passion for it. But for the time being, I won’t be acting,” Penn told
Penn endorsed Obama’s White House bid in late 2007, and was a frequent campaign surrogate on the trail last year.