Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jenifer Lawrence's wardrobe malfunction

Jennifer Lawrence’s mysterious wardrobe malfunction, examined

By | Yahoo! Movies Oscars Blog – Mon, Jan 28, 2013 12:16 PM EST
Jennifer Lawrence at Sunday night's SAG AwardsJennifer Lawrence at Sunday night's SAG Awards (Photo: Getty/TNT)Contrary to speculation, it appears Jennifer Lawrence's dress didn't necessarily rip at Sunday night's Screen Actor's Guild awards show in Los Angeles (above photo, right).
We did some due diligence and seem to have zeroed in on the issue -- though the case on this couture mystery can only be closed if Lawrence's dress tailor, stylist Rachel Zoe, Dior or Lawrence herself explain what really happened. 1/29 UPDATE: A Dior rep tells Entertainment Weekly that Lawrence's dress was "made with different levels of tulle and satin... It was not ripped and there was no malfunction… it was the design of the gown."
Here's the play-by-play (also see video below): Lawrence's name was called inside L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium when she won Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for her performance in "Silver Linings Playbook." The 22-year-old actress cupped her hands over her mouth in an expression of complete surprise. Lawrence got up, hugged a few comrades at her table, got a kiss and a hug from -- ooh la la -- her SLP co-star Bradley Cooper.
Examine Jennifer Lawrence's momentary wardrobe malfunctions as she walks up to the stage to accept her first SAG Award:
Mere moments later, we get our first hint at a possible dress disaster -- one that onlookers, including Nicole Kidman and Marion Cotillard, visibly reacted to. Wearing a navy Christian Dior couture gown, Lawrence negotiated a narrow passageway in between tables. She emerged with her thighs momentarily visible. Then they magically disappeared underneath the dress.
But as Lawrence walked up to the stage steps to accept her award from SLP co-star Robert DeNiro, the dress messed up again. She was visibly stunned as a lower tier appeared to simply drop -- again, momentarily exposing her thighs. Then, again, magically, the dress returned to normal.
Jennifer Lawrence SAG Dior dressLawrence's dress made a full recovery, seen here in the press room on Sunday (Photo: Getty)The fashion savvy have observed that Lawrence's Dior Spring-Summer 2013 dress is tiered. And when the award-winning actress hoisted up her dress to make extra room for walking, she unwittingly grabbed the top tier, leaving the bottom one still sagging low to the ground. The sheer panel that exposed her thighs was part of the lower tier and was not intended for our eyes.
Lawrence handled it like a pro and went on to deliver a touching and memorable acceptance speech. The irony is, she almost didn't make it to the show! She has been ill with walking pneumonia, which kept her from attending the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Awards the night before. The actress did, however, say she was feeling much better on SAG night, revealing in the backstage press room after she won her award, "I got a really cool inhaler."
Incidentally, Lawrence and fellow SAG winner of the evening Anne Hathaway were both styled by Zoe, who also styled a SAG winner's wife of the night, Jennifer Garner (hubby Ben Affleck's "Argo" won Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture). Zoe knows how to pick the winners! Lawrence's Dior gown, which Zoe styled with Chopard jewelry and Jimmy Choo heels, was by Belgian designer Raf Simons. Simons has some explaining to do today!

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One of those days

Its one of those moments again when you pray and you are not sure he is listening
Its one of those moments when day breaks and you are not sure why night still stays
In the place where day
Should wait
Its one of those days
When you hate
What you have become
Its one of those days when the wrong things, the wrong energy, the vibe your sinful body gives you
Comes back to bite you
Its one of those days I ask myself
Why my heavenly father loves me to death
Its one of those days I wish I could give him what would please him best
It is one of those days I wish that just once I would stop being me
Its one of those days that I wish I could completely be free
From the sin that so easily beset me
Its one of those days am reminded of how far he has brought me
It is one of those days that sleep eludes me
Its one of those days that clarity is my kin, is my
Soulmate and infact a given
It is one of those days I am tempted to cry to the heavens
For the blueprint for life
And the meaning behind the light
And it is one of those days that I hope these cries would resonate over seas, land and beyond the skies
One of those days that are hard to describe
One of those days when I look into his heart and I cry
Because of who I am inside 

If you liked his poem check out the rest of my books and writing here

and pls spread the word

Dreams and a need

I see their eyes
I see their smiles
It is easy to get sucked into them if you are not careful and you do not take your time
I see what matters and it is not in their arms
Neither is it in the erotic pleasures being with them may bring
What matters is HIM! And who he created me to be
These words are the reason I exist
They burn from a furnace so deep within my spirit
That the journey to Asgard would be mere moments to the depths and forges where these words are created just before they are wielded
That is what matters not ethereal pleasures that only last for moments and bring no succor or long term satisfaction
Her lips could haunt me for a spell
Make my footsteps seem stilted and my movements staggered
But I quickly snap out of it
I mean why bother with it
When the weight of glory waiting far exceeds her pitiful benefits
The race they say is not to the swift
Might cannot bring this into reality
Only a hunger and a looking up to the one who deserves it
Only he can stem the tides that want to stop the dreams from becoming reality
This is the truth as I see it
So if she blinks too fast and too hard
Am gone and I wouldn't feel too bad about it
Because the job he wants done must be fulfilled
If it isn't then I have failed myself
And more importantly I have failed HIM! And that must not be allowed to happen

I see your smiles and I see your eyes
I can almost see your arms wide open
But the call of the other thing I see is too strong
So you must bear with me if you blink too much and I run
My problem must be solved
Till it is..... Nothing you give will hold any value to me
Nothing matters but this
And in that knowledge I AM FREE!!

Something beyond me

I heard the call even before I was born
I heard the call even before the last song
I felt the tremors before you even came to being
I knew where I was headed before loneliness tried to become my kin
What I didn't hear was HIM!
What I didn't know was the depths that transcended time and space
What I didn't know was that nothing could replace
It was just a year ago or two that hunger and determination took the place
Of restfulness and indifference
It was a year ago that where the destination was became known and that made all the difference
Now all that matters is the journey ahead of me
All I picture is how the end will be
All that is needful is where he is taking me
That singular knowledge is what will bring freedom to me
Without that push and drive I am afraid I am nothing
Without you.... I am something, your beauty notwithstanding, the sky is my limit
All I must be is in time with his leadings!
All that matters is being one with my spirit
Anything asides from that is a wretched unforgiving
That my friends is my reason for breathing
Without that there is nothing!
Impact will be dead in the water
And I will be left without feeling
This is the true test for living

If you like this poem check out my books and the rest of my writing here
and here
Grab copies! You won't be sorry you did
The image above is from my soon to be released book centered on human trafficking. Spread the buzz pls

Korea Canibalism

Korea cannibalism: Claims famine behind North Korean cannibals (Photos)

While Korea cannibalism is not news to residents of the isolated country, allegations that families are eating children are shocking elsewhere, especially in developed countries. Sources say a "hidden famine" is behind cannibals eating their own and Korean officials are masking the human rights issue.
Citing a story on Jan. 28 from the Atlantic Wire, stories are cropping up in various news agencies about a disturbing revelation in the troubled country. Suggestions of Cannibalism in North Korea supposedly comes from eyewitness accounts.
"While his wife was away on business he killed his eldest daughter and, because his son saw what he had done, he killed his son as well. When the wife came home, he offered her food, saying: 'We have meat.'
"But his wife, suspicious, notified the Ministry of Public Security, which led to the discovery of part of their children's bodies under the eaves,'" one unnamed source explained about Korea cannibalism in their region.
Still, another witness told the story about a man who was arrested for digging up the remains of their grandchild. Allegedly, he was driven to hunger due to food shortages that he was forced to cannibalize the remains.
North Korea is notorious for sharing propaganda-driven news. As such, stories like this about humans eating the flesh of others are difficult to confirm. Most of the information has come from citizen reporters like the two shared above.
Because the country, led by Kim Jong-un, operates under a veil of secrecy, talk about thousands of people dying in "hidden famines" is unsettling.
The controversial country continues to be isolated and hit with sanctions that directly impact its ability to gather resources and capital from the outside. And with another nuclear test threat looming, the country's condition is not likely to improve in the near term.
With access to outsiders cut off, hopefully, Korea cannibalism is merely fable, not fact.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Jennifer Lawrence's SAG speech

The story behind Jennifer Lawrence’s SAG speech ‘son’ mention

"Silver Linings Playbook" has been described as director David O. Russell's most personal film to date, though the Oscar-nominated film is even more of a family matter than many people realize.
Jennifer Lawrence gave props to her director and his son on Sunday as she accepted the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role at the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. She thanked Russell for making the film for his son "so that he wouldn't feel alone and so that he could feel understood... you've helped more than your son."
Russell first became acquainted with Matthew Quick's novel "The Silver Linings Playbook" several years ago when he was given a copy of it by the late director-actor Sydney Pollack. The story of a young man struggling with bipolar disorder ended up being a perfect fit for the filmmaker, whose 18-year-old son Matthew struggles with the condition himself.
David O. RussellDavid O. Russell (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AIF)"I was looking for a story that I could tell that would reflect my older son’s experience in the world, and make him feel like part of the word," Russell said in an interview with Awards Daily in December. "That was the only reason I responded to it ... I said, 'Oh, I think is that story that I've been looking for.' It was perfect. It had all these elements that I loved, including an enchanting, hopeful journey that’s essential to the pain. I wouldn’t want to deliver it any other way, to my son or anybody like him."
Matthew even appears in a few scenes in the film, and his time on set seems to have been a very positive experience.
"I think it was a very healing thing. It was a very exciting thing. It was very healing of any shame, mostly," said Russell. "There's a lot of shame that people have about having to face certain challenges. That applies to everybody, but in particular to people who have to take a medication or have to have a strategy in how to deal with life. And to have it be with Robert De Niro, and Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence, and his father working together on a story that is about a person like him, I think that will be a lasting resource to him."
Ultimately, "Silver Linings Playbook" has not only been good for Matthew but for a lot of individuals and families who are affected by the disorder.
"There's nothing you want more as a parent than to let your son feel it's gonna be OK and they can be part of the world," said Russell during an event for the film at Le Cirque in December. "Many people have come to me and told me they have a member of their family [with problems]. Many movie stars and people outside the business have said thank you."
"Silver Linings Playbook" is also nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and all four acting categories.


It is closer
Every step, every breath
Brings me one step closer
So close in fact that I can almost smell her
Her sweet scent
Fantasy, heavenly sweet like valhalla!
Sometimes I feel that if I close my eyes hard enough I can see her
But the vision is conflicting
I know it could be clearer
I need her
Sounds corny
But its the truth
So I can ditch this wahala
Before I do however
I must find my laughter
And this laughter
Is something that could crown my desires

My eyes close
And once more I am taken closer
And this time like magic
I see her!
She is everything I ever imagined she would be
She is the other side of me
She is the one who sets me free
It is she that makes me breathe
And see peace!
Who is she?
Her name is peace
And I have found the one that completes me
She is a gift
With wisdom, power and mercy she came to be
A free gift God gave to me
Now I am free!!! This is the way things are supposed to be

 For more of my writing go here

The images above are the front and back covers of my new book. My take on human trafficking. It will be available on Amazon, kindle, mobi and a whole host of others. Much obliged if you pick a copy when it comes out. Peace

Argo rises, lincoln fades

‘Argo’ rises; ‘Lincoln’ fades like a sepia photograph at the SAG Awards

"Argo" continued to rise tonight at the Screen Actors Guild where, by awarding the film best ensemble, some 4,700 performers backed Ben Affleck as a director, actor and producer (with a little help from George Clooney). Meanwhile, the "Lincoln" fade continues – and it looks like Steven Spielberg’s passion project will not rise again.
Between tonight’s accolades for "Argo," with its cast of 150 speaking English and Farsi, and last night’s Producer’s Guild of America honors, Affleck's sharp period political thriller is now the Oscar frontrunner for best picture. Not only are Affleck and "Argo" both popular and respected, the money-maker may have received a backlash boost after the Academy shamelessly snubbed Affleck for best director. With the trifecta of standing ovations at the Golden Globes, the PGA’s and now the SAG’s, it’s clear that the tide has swung in "Argo’s" favor. Affleck is the epitome of the new Hollywood – a respected, married, multi-hyphenate who is smart, and smart enough to remember that movies are supposed to be entertainment.
Meanwhile, despite the expected win for Daniel Day-Lewis for best actor in the title role of "Lincoln," and the actor’s attempt to make it seem like his statuette is the sign of a successful collaboration, it’s pretty much a testament to a single and singular performance. The glory does not seem to be spreading to director Spielberg, for whom this was a pet project that took him over eight years to produce. In the end, like "War Horse" last year, "Munich," or "Amistad," the presidential biopic has earned respect but not love. It is a favorite of some but not beloved of the many that are needed to achieve best picture consensus.
The other hot race that everyone still has their eyes on is best actress. Jennifer Lawrence triumphed for “Silver Linings Playbook,” beating out Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty." Although J. Law is favored to win at the Oscars, this may be the closest acting race this year. Lawrence lacks the lock that Day-Lewis maintains. Remember, last year, Viola Davis scored the SAG for “The Help.” And then Meryl Streep took the Oscar for “The Iron Lady.” That was the only race of the four acting awards that didn’t synch up between the SAG’s and the Academy Awards in 2012.
With "Lincoln" weakening, tonight’s supporting actor winner Tommy Lee Jones may face some challenges at the Academy Awards, particularly from Christoph Waltz in "Django Unchained." And, as much as we love Hugh Jackman, it seems like the standard bearer for "Les Miserables" will be Anne Hathaway. Her win tonight as best supporting actress makes her nearly as much of a lock as Daniel Day-Lewis.
As the last cup is drained at the SAGs, and a big awards weekend comes to a close, "Argo" emerges as a stronger frontrunner than even Affleck imagined, given his stunned walk up to the stage with his joyous ensemble.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Michelle Obama's dress

First Lady Michelle Obama Chooses Thom Browne Dress Inspired by Necktie for Inaugural Event

Michelle Obama in Thom Browne on Monday (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)Michelle Obama is known for launching women's fashion trends worldwide, but it was a menswear that served as inspiration for the first lady during Monday's daytime Inaugural events.

The first lady's custom navy jacquard Thom Browne coat and dress chosen to kick of the festivities in Washington took its cue from the fabric of a silk men's tie, reports the Associated Press. Neckties, of course, are a trademark of her husband's first term.
"It's one of those moments when I just can't believe that happened," Browne told the New York Times' Eric Wilson. Known primarily for his suits, Browne was named GQ's Designer of the Year in the fall 2008, the same year as Obama's historical election to the presidency.
Michelle Obama's new haircut makes bangs trend official

The first lady has been a fan of Browne's dress collections in recent months. She wore a custom gray dress with a black lace overlay in October, during the Democratic National Convention.
The decision to wear Browne was  win for Michelle on Monday, according fashion critics.
@FLOTUS SO CHIC in her #ThomBrowne navy coat," Elle's Joe Zee tweeted.
"The overwhelming response within the fashion community is that she looks fantastic," Fashionista's Leah Chernikoff tells Yahoo! Shine. "Everyone is thrilled she chose such a high fashion designer for today."
Browne can't take all the credit. Mrs. O also called on her own famously high-low fashion sensibilities, pairing her navy coat with an embellished waist belt and port-colored leather gloves from J. Crew.

The first family is Inaugural-chic. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
The First Lady has made the mass market brand an unofficial designer for the first family over the past four years. Colorful J.Crew coats and gloves kept Sasha and Malia Obama warm during their dad's swearing-in ceremony in 2009.

On Monday, Malia kept the tradition going, dressed in a purple J.Crew wool coat. Her sister Sasha broke the trend with a lavender Kate Spade coat and dress.

But in the days leading up to the inaugural events, all eyes have been on the first lady, a fashion icon who launched the career of young American designer Jason Wu four years ago at the Inaugural Ball. Speculation on her choice of designer this evening remains. But already another sartorial choice is making headlines. At Sunday's private swearing-in ceremony, Mrs. O chose a royal blue cardigan and dress by designer Reed Krakoff. Krakoff also took credit for the winter-weather black suede boots Michelle changed into for Monday's outdoor Inauguration ceremony. (Those silver J. Crew heels she was wearing earlier Monday morning must not have been warm enough!)
Michelle Obama in Reed Krakoff at Sunday's private swearing-in
Fashionista's Chernikoff called the decision to wear Krakoff on Sunday "an interesting choice given that Ann Romney was criticized during the campaign for wearing Krakoff's $990 silk bird-print t-shirt."
Of course, her dresses are trumped by an even bigger style decision in recent days: those bangs.
On Sunday, President Obama called the first lady's new haircut "the most significant event of this weekend." And if there was any question, he offered his presidential seal of approval: "I love her bangs."

Obama embraces progress

Obama embraces progressive agenda in second inaugural address

President Barack Obama speaks during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. (Justin …
President Barack Obama delivered a forceful defense of the nation's safety net programs, and vowed to expand gay rights and tackle the problem of climate change in his second inaugural address Monday afternoon.
The speech was a bolder and more specific defense of the president's liberal governing vision than the address he gave four years ago. For his first inaugural address, Obama stuck to a broader outline of his ideals and called on politicians to overcome partisan differences and work together in the face of economic crisis.
On national television and before a crowd of hundreds of thousands of spectators who descended on the Mall, Obama staunchly reiterated his belief that gay people should be allowed to marry.
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law–-for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well," Obama said. He also mentioned the gay rights Stonewall Riots of the 1960s in the same breath as the Selma civil rights marches.
In the same section of the speech, the president made oblique references to gun violence, equal pay for women and immigration reform. He called for "all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown" to be kept safe from harm.
Earlier in the speech, Obama said to avoid the problem of climate change would "betray our children and future generations," signaling he may also make that issue a key piece of his second-term agenda. He abandoned efforts during his first term to push for so-called "cap and trade" legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The president challenged critics who have argued that the government must reduce its spending and cut back on social welfare programs, including Obama's health care reform law. Obama said that the country must reduce its deficit, but that the nation must work to protect equality of opportunity, in what seemed to be a reference to his battles with congressional Republicans over taxing and spending.
"We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own," he said.
Obama argued that the nation's entitlement programs make America stronger because they protect this chance at equality. "We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm," Obama said. "The commitments we make to each other–-through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security--these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great."
The president also warned in the 2,095-word speech that the country cannot succeed if a "shrinking few" succeed economically while the middle class suffers.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Anonymous message uplifts

Anonymous and encouraging message posted in university restroom

By | The Lookout – 2 hrs 3 mins ago
An encouraging message was posted in a university bathroom (Imgur)An encouraging message was posted in a university restroom (Imgur)
A Reddit user posted a photo of a poignant message that she found taped to the stall in a women's restroom at her university.
The user, chellylauren, wrote: "In a girls' bathroom stall at my university, girls have written about some of their most horrifying life experiences. This week, somebody replied."
The reply, written on notebook paper, is anonymous.
The reply in full:
To the girl who was raped: You are so strong. I cannot fathom the pain you must have gone through. The fact that you have the bravery to write it (even on a bathroom wall) gives me hope.
To the girl with eating disorders: I promise you, although I don't know you, you are beautiful, you deserve your health. You deserve freedom from that hell.
To the girl with the alcoholic father: I am so sorry for the agony it must cause. Again, such courage is remarkable you must be such a strong person to see such pain.
To the girl whose father died: Missing them never goes away. The ache of their absence never goes away. But the love they had, the memories you share surely must last. I am sure, out of the bottom of my heart, the people who have left you in this world are exceptionally proud of the person you are.
Everytime (sic) I see these walls, these confessions, I feel so blessed to know I have the priviledge (sic) of seeing them. Your moments, these secrets, are all precious even though they are sad. To all of you (including those I did not mention, and those who have not yet written)
-You are worthy.
-You are strong.
-You are brave.
-You are loved.
-Somebody cares.
Written below that, somebody penned a quick response: "To the person who wrote this, thank you."

Ark...woman dies

Ark. woman dies after 911 call not put in system

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas 911 operator did not enter a call into a computer system that would have notified police and fire dispatchers of a mother and son trapped inside a vehicle in a pond, authorities said Wednesday. The woman died hours later, and her 5-year-old son was in critical condition Wednesday, police said.
The Little Rock operator who handled the call from 39-year-old Jinglei Yi has been placed on paid administrative leave while authorities try to figure out what happened. The operator has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Yi called 911 about 8 a.m. Monday after her vehicle hit a patch of ice, went over a curb and ended up in the pond, Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Cassandra Davis said. A county dispatcher transferred the call to the 911 operator, who spoke with Yi briefly before hanging up and contacting an ambulance service.
An ambulance was dispatched a few minutes later to the west Little Rock pond, but police officers and firefighters weren't dispatched until about a half-hour later — after the ambulance service called to verify that they were en route.
It's still not clear whether the delay played any role in Yi's death. A doctor pronounced her dead at a local hospital at 11:45 a.m. Monday. A medical examiner is expected to determine the exact cause.
Laura Martin, who directs the city police and fire departments' communications branch, said the operator did not enter Yi's call into a computerized dispatching system that would have alerted police and fire dispatchers. The operator also ended Yi's call instead of using a transfer option that would have allowed her to keep Yi on the line while contacting the ambulance service, she said.
"Proper protocol would be ... we have a one-button transfer switch where you get (the ambulance service) on the line and you remain on the line with them until you're sure that they have handled the call," Martin said.
On the 911 call, which The Associated Press obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, a county dispatcher describes Yi's situation to the operator in Little Rock while Yi remains on the line.
Then, Yi describes her location and says there is water in her vehicle.
"The water is in my car right now," she said.
The Little Rock operator asked Yi for her name and asked her to hang on.
"OK, ma'am, we're going to get some help on the way for you, OK?" the operator said.
"OK. Thank you," Yi said. Then the call appears to end.
Neither Davis nor Martin would identify the operator, who was hired in March and completed a six-month probation period in September.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

White house slams NRA ad

White House slams NRA ad using Obama daughters to criticize new gun laws

By | The Ticket – 6 hrs ago
The White House on Wednesday blasted a web ad released by the National Rifle Association using President Barack Obama’s daughters to criticize the president on gun control as “repugnant and cowardly."
The NRA released the ad Tuesday, a day before Obama announced a package of proposals aimed at curbing gun violence in the wake of a mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., last month.
In strikingly personal terms, the ad calls Obama an "elitist hypocrite" for allowing Secret Service protection for daughters even as he calls for tighter gun laws.
"Why is [Obama] skeptical about putting armed security in schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?" the ad asks.
As the president's children, Malia and Sasha Obama are entitled to Secret Service protection. Obama has never said he opposes more armed security guards at school, which the NRA recommended in the wake of the Newtown massacre. But the president has said such a step is not sufficient in curbing gun danger.
White House spokesman Jay Carney released a statement responding to the ad shortly before Obama outlined his new gun proposals.
“Most Americans agree that a president's children should not be used as pawns in a political fight,” Carney said in a statement emailed to reporters. “But to go so far as to make the safety of the president's children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.”

Obama's sweeping plans for gun laws

Obama unveils sweeping plan to battle gun violence

By | The Ticket – 5 hrs ago
(Left to right): Hinna Zeejah, 8, Taejah Goode, 10, Julia Stokes, 11, and Grant Fritz, 8, who wrote to President …Invoking the painful memory of the schoolchildren killed in Newtown, Conn., a month ago, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced the most ambitious gun-control drive in generations. Proposals include universal background checks as well as bans on assault weapons and ammunition clips that hold more than 10 bullets. Some of his proposals are sure to run headlong into fierce opposition from Republicans and some Democrats in Congress, as well as the powerful National Rifle Association lobby.
"I will put everything I’ve got into this,” Obama, standing alongside Vice President Joe Biden, promised an audience that included relatives of the first-graders slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, survivors of other mass shootings and elected officials.
"While there is no law, or set of laws, that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there’s even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try," Obama said in his speech. "And I’m going to do my part."
The president declared himself a firm believer in the Second Amendment and denounced those who will cast his "common-sense" approach as "a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty." He also warned those inclined to support his strategy that passage "will be difficult."
“This will not happen unless the American people demand it. If parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, if hunters and sportsmen, if responsible gun owners, if Americans of every background stand up and say, ‘Enough, we’ve suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue,' then change will come," he said. "That’s what it’s going to take."
Bowing to political reality, Obama’s proposals include a wave of 23 executive actions that circumvent Congress, where most Republicans and a few Democrats have balked at sweeping new restrictions they say could trample constitutional gun rights. The potent NRA has also pledged to defeat new gun control measures.
The executive actions include requiring federal agencies to report more information to the federal background check system and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence. But Obama acknowledged that his more ambitious proposals would have to clear Congress.
Biden, in his introductory remarks, said, "I have no illusions about what we're up against." But "the world has changed, and it's demanding action."

Administration officials who previewed Obama's proposals on a conference call with reporters fleshed out some important details (on condition that they not be named)—and left some important questions unanswered:
- They wouldn’t say whether any of the steps the president is recommending would have prevented the massacre at Sandy Hook and other recent mass shootings. One senior official on the call did say, "There’s no question that both the actions that he’s taking and the legislation that he’s proposing will save lives.”
- They did not provide an estimate of how many lives would be saved annually if the president got everything he wanted, saying the social science on gun deaths is not precise enough to do so.
- Obama isn’t sending “specific legislative language” to Congress, the officials said, instead he's following his usual blueprint of laying out principles and then letting lawmakers craft a bill.
- The proposals to limit the manufacture of new assault weapons and ammunition clips with more than 10 bullets would not affect those already on the market.
- How did they settle on 10 bullets (and not seven, or 15)? One official said that number was taken from the 1994 assault weapons ban that Obama hopes to renew and strengthen.
- Was the so-called "Fast and Furious" gun trafficking scandal a factor in shaping the president's proposals? "It was not," said one official.
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, talks about proposals to reduce gun violence, …
House Republicans gave the proposals a supremely cautious welcome. A spokesman for Republican House Speaker John Boehner, Michael Steel, said, "House committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations. And if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that."
After the president's speech, Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, often cited as a possible presidential contender in 2016, vowed to oppose the proposals.
“Nothing the president is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook. President Obama is targeting the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens instead of seriously addressing the real underlying causes of such violence,” Rubio charged in a statement.
And the NRA blasted Obama's approach, saying: "Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation."
The organization also noted that "only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."
Sounding almost as cautious as Boehner, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared himself “committed to ensuring that the Senate will consider legislation that addresses gun violence and other aspects of violence in our society early this year.” That stopped well short of embracing the president’s actual recommendations.
But Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence President Dan Gross praised the White House’s “tremendous leadership” and vowed to “work with the administration over the coming months” to promote key proposals.
And retired congresswoman and mass shooting survivor Gabrielle Giffords plans to lobby her former colleagues, while national public opinion polls have shown a surge in popular support for new gun laws.
The president has long said he seeks a comprehensive strategy for preventing future mass shootings while diminishing the death toll from smaller-scale daily killings. Some of what he unveiled would require congressional action, like the assault weapons ban. Some could be achieved with merely a presidential signature—a step that could, in some cases, inflame opposition in Congress, notably among House Republicans.
(Some of those are decidedly small-scale, however: One of the 23 "executive actions" trumpeted by the White House was that Obama will "clarify" that Obamacare "does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.")
Obama scolded the Senate for failing to confirm a director for the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in six years and said he would nominate the agency's acting director, Todd Jones, to the post.
The proposals were the fruit of extensive discussions, led by Biden, with victims' groups, organizations that represent gun owners, elected officials and law-enforcement leaders.
Obama also wants to boost anti-bullying campaigns in schools, and training for educators. Additionally he wants to give schools the ability to use some federal funds to improve safety—but did not explicitly echo the NRA’s demand for armed guards in schools.
Key steps also included imposing background checks on all gun purchases. Right now, an estimated 40 percent fall outside existing law, including those at gun shows and other "private" sales, according to gun-control advocates. The existing system has stopped an estimated 1.5 million improper gun sales, according to an Obama aide, but "there's still too many loopholes." The president directed Attorney General Eric Holder to take a "fresh look" into whether the categories of people prohibited from buying firearms needs to be expanded or updated.
Obama also aimed to thaw what the White House called a "freeze" in scientific research of gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control. And he urged Congress to bankroll the CDC to do research into possible linkages between violent video games and other media images and real-life violence, to the tune of $10 million.
“We don’t benefit from ignorance," Obama said. "We don’t benefit from not knowing the science of this epidemic of violence.”
The total cost of the president's proposals was estimated at $500 million.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Zero dark thirty rules box office

'Zero Dark Thirty' Turns Political Firestorm Into $24M Box-Office Triumph

"Zero Dark Thirty," fueled by a firestorm of criticism and five Academy Award nominations, captured the top spot at the domestic box office Sunday with $24 million in its nationwide expansion over the weekend.
It easily beat out the weekend's two debuting movies, the horror spoof "A Haunted House," which finished second with $18.8 million, and Warner Bros.' star-studded "Gangster Squad," which was third with a disappointing $16.7 million.
Kathryn Bigelow's tale of the hunt for Osama bin Laden has been an awards and critical favorite, but has been pilloried by politicians and others who claim that the film portrays torture as being an effective tool in the hunt for the al-Qaeda leader.
Also read: 'Outraged' Amy Pascal: 'Zero Dark Thirty' Does Not Advocate Torture
The box office success of "Zero Dark Thirty" can be seen as a measure of vindication for Bigelow, writer Mark Boal and Sony executives, who have staunchly defended the film's portrayal of the U.S. government's pursuit of the al-Qaeda leader as accurate. Audiences' embrace of the film -- they gave it an "A-" CinemaScore -- must be gratifying for Bigelow, who was snubbed for a Best Director Oscar nod despite the film's five nominations, including Best Picture.
"The controversy surrounding this film is absolutely helping it," Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations told TheWrap. "It's turning into a red and blue state movie, because it's been so in the news, that people want to see it so they can form their own opinion."
Sony Pictures spokesman Steve Elzer agreed.
"The film has triggered an enormous amount of off-entertainment page media coverage and inspired a national conversation," he told TheWrap Sunday morning. "It is the movie of the moment and there have been just as many supporters as there have been critics weighing in on some of these subjects.
"Yes, the controversy has created a higher profile for the film but almost all of those pieces mention the outstanding reviews and awards pedigree, so the message consumers are receiving is that the film is great and it is important -- worthy of conversation and debate."
"Zero Dark Thirty" played particularly strongly in the Washington, D.C. area, where much of the criticism of the film has come from. Two of the three top-grossing screens on Friday and Saturday were in McLean and Alexandria, Va.
Also read: Megan Ellison: Kathryn Bigelow 'Robbed' By Oscar Voters (Exclusive)
Analysts had projected a weekend in the $22 million range for the thriller from Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures. It was on 2,937 screens, up from 60 last week. Audiences were 59 percent male and 38 percent under 30 years of age. It averaged $8,172 per location. A strong turnout from African-Americans and Latino moviegoers helped propel the second-place finish of "A Haunted House," a send-up of the "Paranormal Activity" franchise and the found-footage horror genre. African Americans accounted for 48 percent of the film's audience, Latinos 30 percent. Fifty-eight percent were women.
The success of the low-budget film is a coup for distributor Open Road Films, Wayans Brothers Entertainment and IM Global's Octane genre label, which financed and produced it.
"We picked what turned out to be a great date for us," Jason Cassidy, Open Road's marketing president, told TheWrap Sunday. "There hadn't been an outrageous comedy in the market for some time, and there was pent-up demand."
He said that the film's success had a lot to do with the efforts of Marlon Wayans, who wrote and starred in the film. "He was everywhere before the opening, and it's nice to see his efforts and the work of everyone involved pay off."
IM Global had pushed the film into profitability via pre-sales last year at Cannes, where the name of Wayans, who wrote the first two "Scary Movie" spoofs, still resonates with many foreign distributors.
Warner Bros. and analysts, who had projected a $20 million first weekend, expected more from "Gangster Squad," which was hurt by the strong "Haunted House' showing.
Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Sean Penn star in the violent period drama about the Los Angeles Police Department's battle with mobster Mickey Cohen for control of the city in the 1940s.
It was to have opened in September, but Warner Bros. pushed it to January in the wake of the July theater shootings in Aurora, Colo., which occurred at a midnight screening of another of the studio's films, "Dark Knight Rises." A scene involving a shooting at a movie theater was cut from "Gangster Squad."
Audiences, which were split evenly between male and female and were 58 percent under 35 years old, gave it a "B+" CinemaScore.
"Django Unchained" and "Les Miserables," which also received Best Picture Oscar nominations Thursday, finished fourth and fifth. Quentin Tarantino's slave saga took in $11 million from 3,012 theaters for the Weinstein Company. Universal's musical took in $10.1 million from 2,927 screens over the three days. That's a 42 percent drop from last week for "Django," 37 percent for "Les Miz."
Two other Best Picture nominees, "Lincoln" and "Silver Linings Playbook," got a box-office boost from Thursday's announcement. Disney upped its screen count on the DreamWorks historical drama directed by Steven Spielberg by 126 locations to 2,027 and brought in $6.3 million. That's a 16 percent increase from last week and raised the overall domestic total for the film, which led the Oscar nominations with 12 nods, to $152 million.
The Weinstein Company's dark comedy "Silver Linings Playbook," starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, took in $5 million -- a 42 percent jump from last week -- after adding 65 screens for a total of 810. Weinstein plans to go nationwide with the film for the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend on Jan. 18.
Fox' is also targeting next weekend for its expansion of Best Picture nominee "Life of Pi." Ang Lee's lyrical epic brought in $2.5 million from 767 locations. Its domestic total now stands at $94.7 million.
Warner Bros.' "Argo," another Best Picture nominee, was up 55 percent from last week after adding 319 theaters. It took in $1.2 million from 621 locations for the weekend. Ben Affleck's Iran hostage thriller is in its 14th week of release and has an overall domestic total of $111.6 million.
Last weekend's No. 1 film, "Texas Chainsaw 3D" from Lionsgate, took a tumble. It brought in $5.1 million, more than 76 percent off from last week.