Daily Archives: January 12, 2010

An Open Letter from Conan O’Brien

People of Earth:

In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.

Yours,

Conan

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Discoveries: The First Women in Antarctica

Posted by: Audiegrl

Forty years ago, a pioneering research team from Ohio State made history as the first U.S. women in Antarctica

Terry Tickhill (light hat) and Eileen McSaveney (red headband) use a hand augur to drill Lake Vanda, Wright Valley, Antarctica, during the 1969-1970 field season. Water collected during this effort was used to date the lake. The green tent in the background was of the same type as the field crew used for housing during their work in Wright Valley. (Credit: Lois Jones)

Terry Tickhill (light hat) and Eileen McSaveney (red headband) use a hand augur to drill Lake Vanda, Wright Valley, Antarctica, during the 1969-1970 field season. Water collected during this effort was used to date the lake. The green tent in the background was of the same type as the field crew used for housing during their work in Wright Valley. (Credit: Lois Jones)

January 11, 2010~~In the spring of 1969, Terry Tickhill Terrell was 19 and an undergraduate chemistry major at Ohio State University, bored with her lab work and restless. She had never traveled more than 250 miles from the Barnesville, Ohio, farm where she grew up.

One day, after reading an article in the school newspaper about a graduate student who had just returned from Antarctica, Terrell decided that that was where she wanted to go.

I couldn’t understand why all this awful lab work was important,” Terrell said. “So I walked into the Polar Studies office and said: ‘I want a job in Antarctica.’ The room fell dead silent. The secretary took pity on me and said: ‘There’s a group of women going this year. Dr. Lois Jones is in her office right now, and I’ll call her.”‘

The secretary was referring to geochemist Lois Jones, the leader of the four-woman Ohio State team scheduled to leave in October for four months in Antarctica. Terrell wanted to be a part of it.

Dr. Jones said, ‘We have everyone we need, but tell me about yourself,”‘ Terrell recalled. “I said, ‘I’m a chemistry major. I grew up on a farm. I am a hard worker.’ She asked if I’d done any camping. I said, ‘I’m an outdoor person, and took outdoor cookery at 4H.’ The next day she called me up and said: ‘One of the ladies is unable to go. I need a cook and field assistant.”‘

In addition to Terrell and Jones–who passed away in 2000–the team also included Kay Lindsay and geologist Eileen McSaveney. McSaveney, the other surviving member of the group, had graduated from the University of Buffalo and came to Ohio State for graduate work in landscape changes and glacial geology.

One day, Lois asked me if I would be interested in going to Antarctica as one of her field assistants,” McSaveney said. “I said yes without any hesitation–many fellow geology grad students were involved in polar work. Also, my fiancé, Mauri, had already been to Antarctica that year. Going to the Antarctic didn’t seem an unusual thing to do.”

At the time, neither woman thought much about the fact that their forthcoming journey would mark the triumphant end to a decade-long struggle. Until then, no one could convince the U.S. Navy to rescind its long-standing policy against transporting women onto the Antarctic continent.

The Navy, which had established McMurdo Station, the main American base in Antarctica, as a military outpost in 1956, had been adamant in its refusal to allow women there. Moreover, the National Science Foundation (NSF), which funded the program, did not challenge the Navy’s position.

The U.S. Navy was in charge of field operations and they regarded Antarctica as a male-only bastion,” McSaveney said. “Eventually they agreed to allow women to go, but specified an all-female field team.”

Now, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of that pioneering expedition, about a third of Antarctic scientists are women. Hundreds of women have worked in the program, some of them leading research stations and heading major expeditions. More than 50 are working at the South Pole during the 2009-2010 summer season.

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Fed posts record profit of $46.1B for last year

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve made a record profit of $46.1 billion last year, reflecting money made off its extraordinary efforts to rescue the country from the worst economic and financial crisis since the 1930s, the central bank announced Tuesday.

The windfall gets turned over to the Treasury Department.

It marks the biggest profit on record dating back to 1914 when the Fed was created. The previous record profit – of $34.6 billion – was registered in 2007. In 2008, the Fed reported a profit of $31.7 billion.

The Fed says the bigger profit was primarily due to increased income from the securities it held last year.

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Palette Narrows to 7 in Oscar® Make-up Race

Posted by: Audiegrl

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that seven films remain in competition in the Make-up category for the 82nd Academy Awards®.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

District 9
In 1982, a massive star ship bearing a bedraggled alien population appeared over Johannesburg, South Africa. Twenty-eight years later, the initial welcome by the human population has faded. The extraterrestrial race is forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth and find a kindred spirit in a government agent that is exposed to their biotechnology.

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Il DivoIl Divo
The story of Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, who has been elected Prime Minister, by Parliament, seven times since it was established in 1946. The narration spans the period since the seventh election of Andreotti as Prime Minister of Italy in 1992, until the trial in which he was accused of collusion with the Mafia.

Watch the trailer

The Imaginarium of Doctor ParnassusThe Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Immortal thousand-year-old Doctor Parnassus leads a travelling theatre troupe offering audience members a chance to go beyond reality through a magical mirror in his possession. Parnassus had been able to guide the imagination of others through a deal with the Devil, who now comes to collect on the arrangement.

Watch the trailer

Night at the Museum: Battle of the SmithsonianNight at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
When the Museum of Natural History is closed for upgrades and renovations, the museum pieces are moved into federal storage at the famous Washington Museums. The centerpiece of the film will be bringing to life the Smithsonian Institution, which houses the world’s largest museum complex with more than 136 million items in its collections.

Watch the trailer

The RoadThe Road
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing: just a pistol to defend themselves, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food–and each other.

Watch the trailer

Star Trek
The film follows James T. Kirk enrolling at Starfleet Academy, his first meeting with Spock, and their battles with Romulans from the future, who are interfering with history. Together, the new crew of the USS Enterprise will have an adventure in the final frontier where the old legend is altered forever even as the new version of it is just beginning.
Watch the trailer

The Young VictoriaThe Young Victoria
The film is Jean-Marc Vallee’s dramatization of the turbulent early years of Queen Victoria’s rule, which began when she was just 18 years old, and her enduring romance and marriage to Prince Albert. The film brings their relationship to life, all while playing out against a background of family strife and political wrangling.
Watch the trailer


On Saturday, January 23, all members of the Academy’s Make-up Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Following the screenings, members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.

44-D’s Virtual Red Carpet to the Oscars® Main PageBack to 44-D’s Virtual Red Carpet to the Oscars® Main Page

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TRMS: Navigating Race in America

Op-Ed by: Audiegrl

Rachel Maddow ShowLeave it to our girl Dr. Rachel Maddow to have the most meaningful, informative, substantive, and thought-provoking discussion on ‘race‘ during the MSM’s ‘Harry Reid said ‘negro dialect’…so now we have a shiny new ratings toy‘ moment. She actually had the fore-sight to invite a professor of Africana Studies on her show to discuss what could be a teachable moment for our country. And gasp! She even went as far as to criticize, in the way only Rachel can, the MSM in general, including her employer MSNBC, for their so far shallow and ultimately meaningless coverage of this moment. In just one 10 minute segment, Rachel and Professor Rose made more sense than all the talking-heads have for the last 72 hours. This is just one more reason that MSNBC needs to give Rachel ‘Meet the Press‘, so we can start watching it again, and have an open and honest debate of the political topics of the day. And please, give us more Professor Rose! Hers is a voice that needs to be heard. 🙂

In the video below, Rachel and Professor Rose discuss racial gaffes and insensitivities in politics and why some politicians suffer more severe consequences than others.

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Professor Tricia Rose, Professor and Chair, African American Cultural Politics and Gender Studies, Brown University

Professor Tricia Rose

Professor Tricia Rose

Tricia Rose (Ph.D, Brown University, American Civilization, 1993) is Professor of Africana Studies. She specializes in 20th century African-American culture and politics, social history, popular culture, gender and sexuality. In addition to her scholarly interest in black cultural production, the role of new technologies and ideologies about race in U.S. life, and the politics of intimacy and social justice, a central facet of her work reflects a deep interest in examining the current legacies of racial and other forms of structural relations and exploring the creative and visionary strategies developed by artists, communities and movements to build a more just society.

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It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week!

Posted by: Audiegrl

This past weekend, President Obama issued a proclamation identifying the week of January 10-16, 2010, as National Influenza Vaccination Week. He encouraged Americans to observe the week by getting the H1N1 flu vaccine, if they have not yet done so, and by asking their families, friends, and co-workers to do the same. Here’s an excerpt from the proclamation:


Every American has a role to play in fighting the H1N1 flu. Expectant mothers, children, young adults, and all those under the age of 65 with chronic health conditions are at high risk for H1N1 flu-related complications and should get the vaccine as soon as possible. Those not at high risk can protect themselves and prevent the virus from spreading to more vulnerable members of their families and communities by getting vaccinated as well.

This week presents a window of opportunity for us to prevent a possible third wave of H1N1 flu in the United States. I strongly encourage those who have not yet received the H1N1 flu vaccine to do so. Visit flu.gov to find vaccination sites in communities across our country and to stay informed. Together, we can all fight the H1N1 flu and help protect our families, friends, and neighbors.

Read the full proclamation.

In support of National Influenza Vaccination Week, there are a number of national and regional vaccination activities happening this week, including: school-based H1N1 vaccination clinics in Alabama; a day-long vaccination event for the Navajo Division of Health employees in Arizona; a “Spread the Word, Not the Flu” media campaign in Florida; Medical Reserve Corps volunteers coordinating with local health departments, town emergency planners, local police, and emergency medical technicians to provide vaccinations in Massachusetts; free immunizations for children without health insurance in Washington; and a live appearance by the ‘Flu Bug’ at a vaccination clinic in Wyoming.

With so many ongoing activities, it is easy to get involved. Read the blog post from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for additional details about National Influenza Vaccination Week and visit Flu.gov to locate a vaccination clinic in your area, learn more about this week’s events, or list your community event.

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