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Keeping the faith since '78
Easter Bunny Gets Pummeled by Boy at Mall

1 hour, 11 minutes ago

 Strange News - AP

BAY CITY, Mich. - The Easter Bunny is hopping mad. Bryan Johnson, who portrays the furry character at the Bay City Mall, says he was pummeled in an unprovoked attack on the job. Police say the attacker was a 12-year-old boy who sat on Johnson's lap the day before the March 18 incident.


Johnson, 18, suffered a bloody nose. He kept his cool during the attack, deeming it inappropriate for the Easter Bunny to fight back. But he's not willing to forgive and forget.

"They (the sheriff's deputies) told me it was up to me, and I feel that the boy should be prosecuted," Johnson told The Bay City Times.

Johnson told Bay County Sheriff's deputies that the boy hit him in the face at least six times before running away.

Bay County Sheriff John E. Miller said the youth has been in trouble in the past. The case will be forwarded to the Bay County prosecutor's office next week for action, he said.

Johnson, meanwhile, is back on the job at the mall, where he had been working as the Easter Bunny for about a week before the attack.

"I just like getting the kids to laugh and have fun," he said. His job is to get his picture taken with children and make them laugh. That can be difficult because he is not allowed to speak while in costume.

Johnson said his 12-year-old attacker seemed perfectly happy the day before the incident. "Yeah, he came up and said, 'Hi,' and was sitting on my lap and talking," Johnson said. "He seemed OK."

But when he saw Johnson the next day, the boy didn't want to talk.

"He just started hitting," Johnson said.

Current Mood: amused amused

Tiny Dancer
Study Warns of Junk-News Diet

Mon Mar 14, 7:55 AM ET

 Top Stories - Los Angeles Times

By James Rainey Times Staff Writer

American consumers confront an ever-broader river of news from myriad sources, but the standard for gathering and presenting the information tends to be "faster, looser and cheaper" than in the past, according to a survey of the news business to be released today by a media watchdog group.

Latimes.com home page

Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times


Internet blogs and cable TV programs have led the trend toward a "journalism of assertion" that relies less on reporting than personal opinion, reported the Project for Excellence in Journalism, which is affiliated with Columbia University.

That trend makes it more important for journalists "to document the reporting process more openly so that audiences can decide for themselves whether to trust it," the organization concluded in its annual report.

On two of the top media stories of 2004, newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the Internet merited a mixed verdict, the study found.

On one hand, the study's review of 250 randomly selected stories buttressed the complaint that President Bush (news - web sites) got worse coverage than Sen. John F. Kerry (news, bio, voting record) in the 2004 presidential race. Coverage of the war in Iraq (news - web sites), on the other hand, tended to be far more neutral than some critics had charged — with 2,200 stories containing roughly an even mix of positive, negative and neutral accounts.

The second annual report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, which is based in Washington, focused more on trends and prospects than on content. The considerable change facing the industry is revealed in a few facts: Online advertising has increased 30% to almost $10 billion in one year and estimated readership of blogs has increased 58% in six months. About 32 million Americans say they have obtained information from the Web logs, or journals, known as blogs.

Tom Rosenstiel, director of the research project, said that with the growth in Internet commentary, the culture of opinion journalism has expanded exponentially. Blogging has its value — exposing, the report said, hasty reporting by CBS News on memos that referred to Bush's military service during the Vietnam War. But it can also lead the public astray, the report found, such as when it fomented the "unfounded conspiracy theory" that Republicans stole the presidential election in Ohio.

Rather than taking the time to gather and scrutinize each piece of information — the model for the mainstream media — the report said some bloggers hewed to another philosophy: "Publish anything, especially points of view, and the reporting and verification will occur afterward in the response of fellow bloggers."

Although the traditional media continue to have struggles of their own, the public's view of the believability of news organizations has stabilized somewhat in the last two years, according to the study, which relied on research by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. About 35% of Americans said the media get the facts straight.

Only better reporting and increased transparency about its tactics will help the media regain credibility, the study concluded.

"Since citizens have a deeper range of information at their fingertips, the level of proof in the press must rise accordingly," it said. "In effect, the era of trust-me journalism has passed and the era of show-me journalism has begun."

For its analysis of media content in 2004, the study team partnered with researchers at four universities to review coverage of two big stories and other trends.

The presidential race

Days were randomly selected from throughout the race to profile the equivalent of one month of coverage. Two hundred and fifty stories were then dissected. Any that had twice as many positive comments as negative ones were deemed "positive" and the reverse for negative references. The review found 36% of the stories about Bush to be negative, compared with 12% negative about Kerry. It found 20% positive stories about Bush, compared with less than 30% positive about his Democratic challenger.

The study did not try to assess whether the outcome reflected partisan bias against the Republican Bush, a tendency to view incumbents more harshly, or some other cause.

The war in Iraq

Using a similar methodology on 2,187 stories, the study found reporting of the conflict had slightly more stories with a clearly negative tone than stories with a clearly positive tone — 25% negative, compared to 20% positive. The largest number, 35%, had no decided tone and another 20% were on multiple subjects with no apparent tilt.


Newspaper coverage most closely mirrored that balance, while Fox had the most pronounced slant. The cable TV outlet aired twice as many positive as negative pieces about the war.

That finding may be partly related to a larger tendency at Fox on all kinds of stories that allows on-air personalities to offer their personal opinions. Seven out of 10 Fox stories reviewed in the study included opinions not attributed to reporting. That happened in less than one of 10 CNN stories and in less than one of three stories aired on MSNBC.

Rosenstiel linked the opinionated nature of Fox programs partly to big-name personalities such as Bill O'Reilly, whose programs are built largely around his musings. But even field reporters on the network employ a colloquial style. In one instance, a Fox journalist expressed hope that Iraqi forces, rather than Americans, capture a terrorism suspect. In another, a reporter speculated that Martha Stewart (news - web sites) might want to buy back her company's stock.

Despite the many issues raised about the media's reliability and challenges in holding audiences (newspaper readership dropped again in 2004 and the audience for cable television stopped growing), the mainstream media continued to be a big moneymaker.

Corporations have been slow, however, to fold that money back into newsgathering. The number of editorial employees at American newspapers shrank by 500 in the most recent year studied. Local TV stations employ fewer news people than they did in the boom economy of 2000.

The study found surprising the lack of investment in websites devoted to news; 62% of those working for Internet news outlets said their newsrooms had suffered cuts in the last three years, far greater than the 37% of news people at traditional outlets who said their staffs had been cut.

The reductions came despite the spiraling Internet audience and seemed tied to a larger trend in American journalism that emphasizes "prepackaging and presenting information, not … gathering it," the study concluded.

The study recommended that news consumers, like dieters, become more discerning.

"The real crisis may be news obesity," the study said, "consuming too little that can nourish citizens and too much that can bloat them."

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

Tiny Dancer
i dig kimonos...

read on..

Wearing kimono means free subway, museums in Japan's ancient city

Tue Mar 8,10:12 AM ET

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's ancient capital Kyoto will give free transport and museum entry to anyone who wears a kimono in a bid to support the traditional but infrequently worn garment, a city official said.

"We will offer free tickets for subways, buses and 20 sites in the city for 11 days from Friday to anyone wearing a kimono," said Ami Tsujii, Kyoto official in charge of promoting traditional industries.

Foreign tourists are eligible and can rent a kimono for 3,000 yen (28 dollars) a day, she said.

Kyoto, home to hundreds of temples and shrines, served as Japan's main seat of government from the eighth to 17th centuries and remains one of the few places where people in kimonos are a common sight.

It is also a major center of the textile industry that makes kimonos, which in 21st-century Japan are primarily worn for special occasions such as official holidays and are usually more intricate and expensive than modern clothing.

Tsujii said Kyoto was concerned that "people have fewer opportunities to see or wear kimonos."

Sites with free admission include museums, the Kyoto Tower overlooking the city and the Nijo Castle which was the residence of the shogun rulers of the 17th-18th centuries when they visited the western city from Tokyo.

Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic

Tiny Dancer
this is clearly whats wrong with America. these are the people who voted for Bush....

Wisc. Hunter Wants Open Season for Cats

Mon Mar 7, 1:49 PM ET

 U.S. National - AP

MADISON, Wis. - Hunter Mark Smith welcomes wild birds on to his property, but if he sees a cat, he thinks the "invasive" animal should be considered fair game.


The 48-year-old firefighter from La Crosse has proposed that hunters in Wisconsin make free-roaming domestic cats an "unprotected species" that could be shot at will by anyone with a small-game license.

His proposal will be placed before hunters on April 11 at the Wisconsin Conservation Congress spring hearings in each of the state's 72 counties.

"I get up in the morning and if there's new snow, there's cat tracks under my bird feeder ... I look at them as an invasive species, plain and simple," Smith said.

Smith's proposal has horrified cat lovers, but is seen by others as a way to stop cats from killing wild birds.

University of Wisconsin-Madison wildlife ecology professor Stanley Temple, who trapped more than 100 cats and analyzed their stomach contents during a four-year study, has estimated that between 7.8 million and 219 million birds are killed by rural cats in Wisconsin each year.

"It's obviously a very controversial proposal," Temple said, but added, "I think there really is a basis for having a debate about it."

The Conservation Congress is a five-member elected body whose duty is to advise the Department of Natural Resources and the Legislature on natural resources issues.

DNR attorney Tim Andryk said the vote would simply be "an advisory recommendation" to state lawmakers.

"We (the DNR) don't have authority to regulate domestic animals. Legislation would have to be passed to accomplish this," Andryk said. "You might also have to amend laws relating to abuse of domestic animals."

But Temple said he thinks legislation is not needed. He said the department does have the authority to declare rural cats an unprotected species — because unclaimed cats can be considered nonnative wildlife species like house mice, Norway rats, pigeons and starlings.

"If they are not a pet, if somebody doesn't claim ownership, they become a nonnative wildlife species and not entitled to protection by the state," he said.

Cat enthusiasts Cheryl Balazs, Ted O'Donnell and Adam Bauknecht are trying to organize opposition to Smith's proposal. O'Donnell, a co-owner of MadCat Pet Supplies, recently set up a Web site, dontshootthecat.com, to inform people about it.

O'Donnell said Smith's proposal "is a callous response" to the problem of cats preying on wild birds.

"There's more humane solutions," he said. "We as citizens should step up and solve the problem humanely."

Sheri Carr, senior humane officer at the Dane County Humane Society, said the group has not yet taken a position on the proposal, but wants cat owners to abide by their local ordinances and not let their animals roam.

"I would hate to think that tame, owned cats who happen to slip out would be at risk of being deemed a wild, unprotected species," Carr said. "It's a delicate (ecological) balance out there, but does that me

Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic

Tiny Dancer
I didn't even know it was IWD, shows what a feminist I am, I am more of a humanist anyhow, but read on if you like. I think women's history is important. damn it.

An international celebration of education and empowerment

Around the world, International Women's Day (IWD) marks a celebration of the economic, social, cultural and political achievements for women. 

The first IWD was held on 19 March 1911 in Germany, Austria, Denmark and further European countries. German women selected this date because in 1848  the Prussian king had promised the vote for women. Subsequently over one million leaflets calling for action on the right to vote were distributed throughout Germany before IWD in 1911. Now IWD is always celebrated on 8 March and is an occasion marked by women's groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. Women in every country, often divided by  ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate this important date that represents equality, justice, peace and development.

International Women's Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women seeking to participate equally in society on an equal footing with men. In ancient Greece, Lysistrata initiated a sexual strike against men in order to end war; during the French Revolution, Parisian women calling for "liberty, equality, fraternity" marched on Versailles to demand women's suffrage.

The idea of an International Women's Day first arose at the turn of the century, which in the industrialized world was a period of expansion and turbulence, booming population growth and radical ideologies. 

Until women are fully represented at senior leadership levels of public, professional and economic life, women do not have equal rights nor an equal voice.
Following is a brief chronology of the most important events:



In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman's Day was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate it on the last Sunday of that month through 1913. 1910 The Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women's Day, international in character, to honour the movement for women's rights and to assist in achieving universal suffrage for women. The proposal was greeted with unanimous approval by the conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, which included the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament. No fixed date was selected for the observance.

As a result of the decision taken at Copenhagen the previous year, International Women's Day was marked for the first time (19 March) in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, where more than one million women and men attended rallies. In addition to the right to vote and to hold public office, they demanded the right to work, to vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job. Less than a week later, on 25 March, the tragic Triangle Fire in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working girls, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This event had a significant impact on labour legislation in the United States, and the working conditions leading up to the disaster were invoked during subsequent observances of International Women's Day.

As part of the peace movement brewing on the eve of World War I, Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. Elsewhere in Europe, on or around 8 March of the following year, women held rallies either to protest the war or to express solidarity with their sisters.

With 2 million Russian soldiers dead in the war, Russian women again chose the last Sunday in February to strike for "bread and peace". Political leaders opposed the timing of the strike, but the women went on anyway. The rest is history: Four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. That historic Sunday fell on 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia, but on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere. Since those early years, International Women's Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike.

The growing international women's movement  has helped make IWD a special day for promoting women's rights and participation in political and economic processes. Increasingly, International Women's Day is a time to reflect on the progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of women's rights.

Current Mood: happy happy

Tiny Dancer
Smelly Readers Banned From Calif. Library

Mon Mar 7, 5:44 PM ET

 Top Stories - AP

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - A new county law aims to keep readers from reeking. Libraries in San Luis Obispo County have had their own rules banning offensive body odor since 1994, but the policy became law after the Board of Supervisors last month adopted an ordinance that lets authorities kick out malodorous guests.


Visitors to 14 libraries and a bookmobile also could be asked to leave for fighting, eating, drinking, sleeping, playing games, and printing or viewing illegal materials on library computers.

"The point is to make the library a comfortable, safe place for everyone to use," said Moe McGee, assistant director of the San Luis Obispo City-County Library.

A strict code of conduct, officials argue, is needed to ensure one patron's right to use a public library doesn't infringe on the rights of another.

Yet the law can raise tough questions for librarians, said Irene Macias, Santa Barbara's library services manager.

"What is bad odor?" Macias asked. "A woman who wears a strong perfume? A person who had a garlicky meal?"

Current Mood: happy happy

Tiny Dancer
Experts Uncover Ancient Mayan Remains

Sun Mar 6, 7:03 PM ET

 World - AP Latin America

By FREDDY CUEVAS, Associated Press Writer

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - Scientists working at the Copan archaeological site in western Honduras said Sunday they have unearthed the 1,450-year-old remains of 69 people, as well as 30 previously undiscovered ancient Mayan buildings.


Copan, about 200 miles west of Tegucigalpa, the capital, flourished between A.D. 250 and 900, part of a vast Mayan empire which stretched across parts of modern-day Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador (news - web sites) and Honduras. The site was eventually abandoned, due at least in part to overpopulation, historians believe.

Seiichi Nakamura, one of a team of Japanese scientists working alongside Honduran counterparts, said the human remains likely belong to people who inhabited Copan around 550.

Nakamura said offerings were discovered in and around the sites where the bones were buried and artifacts found near the remains of a 12-year-old child were among the richest ever discovered in Copan, meaning the youngster was likely an important member of Mayan society.

Scientists hope to open the area to tourists in 2007, Nakamura said.

The first European report of Copan is believed to be that of Diego Garcia de Palacios, a representative of Spain's King Felipe II. On March 8, 1576, he wrote to the crown with news of the archaeological site. Accounts published by U.S. explorers John L. Stephens and Frederick Catherwood made the site an international phenomenon in the 1840s.

Once a thriving commercial center, the ancient Maya are thought to have first settled in Copan around 1200 B.C.

UNESCO (news - web sites) declared Copan a world heritage site in 1981.

Current Mood: happy happy

Tiny Dancer
Death Worshippers March in Mexico

Fri Mar 4, 8:08 PM ET

 World - AP Latin America

By MARK STEVENSON, Associated Press Writer

MEXICO CITY - Hundreds of Mexican devotees of Saint Death — a cult worshipping the skeletal figure of death — marched through downtown Mexico City Friday to demand respect for their religion and its followers.

AP Photo

Slideshow: 'Saint Death' Worshippers March in Mexico


Holding banners reading "Respect Religious Freedom" and "We are not criminals or drug addicts," marchers drawn from some of the city's roughest barrios carried statues of the elegantly-clad Grim Reaper down the city's main boulevard.

The march was called in response to an investigation launched last month by Mexico's Interior Department into complaints that the church falsely registered itself as an offshoot of Roman Catholicism, which neither recognizes nor approve of the death cult.

Some of the anger was directed at the government — which has not yet decided whether to sanction the group — but there was also resentment at the official Catholic church and society at large for looking down at the Death worshippers.

"In many parishes, they say our people are all drug addicts or criminals," said Juan Manuel Cortes, 27, who officiates masses at the main Mexico City death shrine in a crime-ridden section of the old downtown. "That's not true, but we also don't close our doors to anybody."

"They say we have some bad characters, but don't they also in the Catholic church, where they worship San Judas Tadeo?" Cortes noted, referring to an official Catholic saint, St. Jude Thaddeus, who has been informally adopted in Mexico as the patron of lost causes, thieves and police.

Lucia Sanchez, a street vendor who, like many on the march, carried white gladiolas in the procession behind the grinning skeleton shrines, said, "The Catholic church should remember it was once the new religion on the block here, too," Sanchez said.

Many of the faithful recount miracles performed for them by Saint Death — depicted as a smiling female skeleton known as our "Our Little White Girl," the right-hand servant of God.

Perla Almanza said her brother had been jailed on murder charges, but he was released on lack of evidence three months after she prayed to Saint Death. Asked why she didn't pray to San Judas Tadeo like many other inmates' relatives, she said, "San Judas already has too much on his plate."

While the official Catholic church did not file the complaint, some priests have accused the Saint Death, or Santa Muerte, cult of seeking to profit from people's faith.

The group registered as a religious group in 2003 under the name The Mexico-US Tridentine Church, also known as the Traditional Mex-USA Church, allowing it to legally raise money and own property.

But the Mexican government said it was considering withdrawing official recognition of the church after an excommunicated member accused the cult of forcing its members to worship death and failing to stick to its bylaws.

If recognition is withdrawn, the religion could continue but would lose money-raising and other privileges.

The faithful regard La Santa Muerte as an angel or saint who only kills based on God's orders. "It's better to make her you're friend," Almanza noted.

Current Mood: horny horny

Tiny Dancer
Return of the Backstreet Boys

Fri Mar 4, 3:30 PM ET

 Entertainment - E! Online

By Sarah Hall

Backstreet's back, all right!


The Backstreet Boys (news - web sites), whose hits such as "Everybody" and "As Long As You Love Me" catapulted them into popster superstardom in the '90s, are ready to stage a comeback.

The megaselling quintet announced plans to play a string of U.S. club dates starting Mar. 21 in New York in preparation for the release of their as-yet untitled upcoming studio album in July--their first album since 2000's Black and Blue.

As of now, the club tour is set to wrap in St. Louis on Apr. 10, but more dates are expected to be added.

Once the album is released, Backstreet plans to launch a nationwide tour.

The "boys"--A.J. McLean (news), 27; Brian Littrell (news), 30; Howie Dorough, 31; Kevin Richardson (news), 33; and Nick Carter (news), 25--have undoubtedly done some growing up since their days of '90s heartthrob status.

Both Richardson and Littrell are married, and Littrell is even the proud papa of a wee Backstreet boy. The Backstreet daddy also recently signed a contract with a Christian recording label and plans to get back in touch with his gospel roots.

Meanwhile, McLean and Carter have faced some growing pains along the way to adulthood.

After fighting alcohol abuse and depression, McLean did a stint in rehab in July 2001, causing the Boys to postpone several tour dates.

More recently, Carter wound up the subject of tabloid speculation after his ex-girlfriend Paris Hilton turned up in public covered in bruises shortly after their breakup last year.

The question is: Will fans be able to process the band's transformation from Backstreet Boys to Backstreet Men? Or will they not want them that way?

Seeing as the group's club dates are selling out as fast as Backstreet fans can log onto Ticketmaster, it seems that the Boys still have what it takes.

Before they hit the club circuit, the Backstreeters are set to head to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to perform in the Mar. 18 Force of Nature for Tsunami Aid concert, along with the Black Eyed Peas, Lauryn Hill, Boyz II Men and Wyclef Jean.

Current Mood: calm calm

Tiny Dancer
An amazing peice on Bobby Beausoleil and the 60s/now by my ultra-talented friend Shana Ting Lipton... read it!http://www.disinfo.com/site/displayarticle9694.html

Current Mood: calm calm

Tiny Dancer