James Foley’s Mother Pays Heartbreaking Tribute To Her Son

August 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

The mother of James Foley, the journalist who was apparently beheaded by members of the Islamic State in Syria, paid tribute to her son on Tuesday, saying she had “never been prouder” of him.

Foley had been missing since late 2012 when a video purporting to show his horrific murder was posted to YouTube. Hours later, his mother, Diane, who has been part of a campaign to find her son, posted a wrenching message to the Facebook page of the “Free James Foley” group, appearing to confirm her son’s death and celebrating his life.

She also referenced the other hostages still held by ISIS, including Foley’s fellow journalist Steven Sotloff, who was identified as another man in the video which showed Foley’s killing.

Read Diane Foley’s full statement below:

We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.

We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.

We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.

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Getty Photographer Scott Olson Arrested At Ferguson Protest (UPDATED)

August 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

A photographer for Getty Images was arrested Monday during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, several eyewitnesses reported.

HuffPost’s Ryan J. Reilly captured a photo of photojournalist Scott Olson’s arrest, which took place across the street from the press area:

Getty Images photographer arrested #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/ScOaHO8bjY

— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 18, 2014

Getty later confirmed Olson’s arrest to NBC News.

In an Instagram video posted by journalist Amy K. Nelson, Olson said he was arrested because police “said the media is required to be in a certain area.”

It’s not Olson’s first brush with the law while on the job. In 2012, Olson was one of several journalists injured while covering protests at a Chicago NATO summit. Olson was bloodied after being hit on the head with a police baton.

In a Saturday interview with NPR‘s “All Things Considered,” Olson detailed his experiences covering the protests over the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed African American teenager killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. In the interview, Olson, a former Marine, said he was shocked by how heavily armed Ferguson’s police squads were.

“Most of these protesters are peaceful,” he said. “If you have several people there trying to disrupt the protest, you’re not going to shoot at them with a rifle. Not in a crowd like that.”

CNN’s Don Lemon, also reporting from Ferguson, was pushed by police while he was filming a live shot Monday evening. Watch the video:

UPDATE: 9:58p.m. on Aug. 18 — Scott Olson was released from police custody.

Scott Olson just released. He said “I want to be able to do my job as a member of the media and not be arrested for just doing my job”

— Pancho Bernasconi (@DailyLuca) August 19, 2014

Below, a gallery of Olson’s photos from Ferguson:

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Facebook Is Labeling Posts From ‘The Onion’ As Satire So You Don’t Get Confused

August 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Humor

Even the smartest among us can have a hard time detecting sarcasm on the Internet. We should all be able to identify jokes when we see them, though, r…

Read more: Clickhole, The Onion, Satire, Literally Unbelievable, Not the Onion, Facebook, Facebook Satire, Technology News

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Brian Williams Is Sometimes ‘Surprised’ At What His Rivals Are Putting Out

August 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

NEW YORK (AP) — Wearing shades as he walked back to work following a pizza lunch recently, Brian Williams ducked into Rockefeller Center and passed a tour guide who noted the celebrity sighting to his group: “Ladies and gentlemen, there’s Tom Brokaw.”

The television business can be humbling, even nearly 10 years after Williams succeeded Brokaw as NBC “Nightly News” anchor. Williams, 55, faces new competition from both ABC and CBS as they look to end NBC’s 256-week streak as the most popular evening newscast. David Muir takes over after Labor Day as anchor of the second-place “World News” at ABC. Steve Capus, former NBC news president and longtime Williams producer, is in charge behind the scenes as Scott Pelley’s executive producer at the “CBS Evening News.”

“When I started my competition was Dan (Rather) and Peter (Jennings),” Williams said. “That makes me feel old. That gets me on the treadmill every night after work. I am proud of what we’ve built here.”

So far this year, “Nightly News” has averaged 8.9 million viewers and widened its lead over ABC (8 million) and CBS (6.8 million). ABC has gained lately in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic, important to advertisers even as it is a minority of evening news viewers. ABC occasionally wins in that category and, in July, was up 5 percent over last year while NBC was down 4 percent, the Nielsen company said.

“Nightly” is the no-drama newscast at a network where “Today” seeks to regain its mojo against ABC’s ratings leader “Good Morning America” and David Gregory is being replaced by Chuck Todd as moderator of “Meet the Press,” as the venerable Sunday morning show has fallen from first to third place during Gregory’s tenure.

On a summer afternoon, “Nightly” executive producer Patrick Burkey and Williams presided over an afternoon news meeting to go over stories that might squeeze into that evening’s 22-minute news hole. Williams takes some ribbing from Todd over the anchor’s description of colleague Lester Holt “slappin’ the bass” while sitting in with the Roots on the “Tonight” show.

As if to prove a point, Williams repeats the reference on “Nightly.”

The biggest change in the job since Williams took over has been the immediacy. Burkey said “Nightly” is much more likely than it once was to change its lineup to reflect late-breaking news and frequently updates the telecast for the West Coast. With social media, if Williams says something mildly controversial or a graphic is misspelled, people at “Nightly” hear about it instantly.

While he’s anchoring, TV monitors out of sight of the cameras keep Williams informed of what ABC and CBS are doing on their simultaneous newscasts. Despite this, Williams said it’s important to program his broadcast “with blinders on.

“We don’t know what the competition is going to do,” he said. “While it is true that I am sometimes surprised at the alternatives being offered, it will in no way affect the choices I’m going to make the next day or the day after that.”

That’s polite anchor-speak. Privately, some at NBC express incredulity over some news decisions made over at ABC — such as a recent day when NBC led its newscast with the shooting death of an American two-star general in Afghanistan while “World News” opened with a collision between double-decker buses in New York’s Times Square.

These decisions bear watching, though, since ABC overtook NBC in the morning partly because of a breezier approach that caught NBC flat-footed.

Andrew Tyndall, whose consulting company monitors the content of evening newscasts, said NBC lately seems to be following ABC’s lead by introducing more morning-style elements into the second half of “Nightly,” including social media pieces by Jenna Wolfe and entertainment coverage.

Williams’ spot atop the ratings appears secure, although the change of an anchor lends some mystery to an area of TV where audiences are very loyal.

As Williams finished a second slice of pizza at lunch, he was interrupted by a fellow diner who said she was a fan and thanked Williams for positively representing New Jersey, the state where he has one of his three homes.

“I like that person who just came by,” he said after she leaves the hole-in-the-wall pizza joint Williams swears by. “That’s really meaningful to me.”

Health and ratings permitting, Williams doesn’t expect to move onto another job in television news.

“People don’t move on from these jobs voluntarily often,” he said. “When you’re like me, when you came up the way I did, why would you want to do something else?”

___

David Bauder can be reached at dbauder@ap.org or on Twitter @dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder.
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Dan Miles: 21 Things You Only Know If You’ve Worked in Restaurants

August 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Humor

A chef is someone who shouts at people. An executive chef is someone who shouts at other chefs. A TV chef is someone who never has to work in a restaurant again if they just keep smiling.

Read more: Chefs, Food, Hospitality, Restaurant, Humor, Satire, Restaurants, Comedy News

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Watch The Pokémon World Championship Finals Right Now!

August 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

We haven’t been this excited about Pokémon since we traded a Bulbasaur for a first-edition Charizard with that naive little kid at recess.

Yes, Pokémon is still a thing. Yes, thousands of people are watching both kids and adults play the Pokémon trading card and video games in Washington D.C. The Pokémon World Championships are going on right now, and you can catch ‘em all right here:

Here’s the schedule of Pokévents, according to Kotaku, in Eastern Time:

Sunday, August 17

  • 9:00 A.M. — TCG Masters top 4
  • 10:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. — Pokémon Trading Card Game Finals
  • 3:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. — Video Game Finals
  • 6:00 P.M. — Closing Ceremony

Who will emerge victorious? Who will get their Pokéballs crushed by the competition? Who’s reading this right now?

ONLY FATE WILL TELL.

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Big Media Aids Vital Girls’ Schooling in South Sudan

August 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

The world’s newest country, South Sudan, still struggles to end the internal conflicts that have marred its early life. This week, for instance, a deadline to reach agreement passed without success in peace talks between the warring factions. But nevertheless the country is still managing to make progress in the vital field of educating its young people.

And remarkably, one the world’s leading broadcasters, the BBC, is playing a role in that effort.

2014-08-14-GESSstudents.jpg

Crucial to the country’s new educational drive is GESS (Girls Education South Sudan) – a program aimed at transforming the lives of an entire South Sudanese generation, and generations to come. (Pictured above: a South Sudan school with girl students participating in the GESS program.) The concentration on girls comes in recognition of now well-documented evidence that educating young women is one of the most effective ways to lift families and communities out of poverty.

Until now the odds have been stacked locally against such progress, not least by cultural values that downgrade the idea of girls’ schooling. Traditionally only one girl in ten has completed primary education in South Sudan, and girls comprise just one-third of the secondary school population.

GESS is largely funded by the British government’s overseas aid ministry, and the US-based charity UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) is co-managing the program in the state of Northern Bahr el Ghazai. They work alongside the deep-rooted local agency, HARD (the Hope Agency for Relief and Development) which was formed in 1995 at the height of the civil war that eventually led to South Sudan’s creation as an independent nation.

In practicalities and logistics, resources available to local schools are being seriously ramped up — everything from computer equipment to solar electricity systems to classroom chalk. There’s been a boost, too, in recruiting and specialized training of appropriately skilled staff. “Sending women for teacher training clearly increases the number of teachers,” says UMCOR’s GESS Team leader Christine Meling, “and they in turn mentor and motivate girls to complete their education and achieve similar goals”.

But perhaps the most creative hallmark of the program is the use of radio broadcasting to aid the overall effort. As in many other African countries, radio is for the vast majority of South Sudanese people the most accessible source of information, according to the country’s first national media survey, conducted last year.

For the GESS program, 15-minute radio presentations (with production aided by the the BBC’s international development charity, BBC Media Action, a group that’s not exactly secret, but not exactly widely-publicized either) explore real-life village situations and dilemmas. They are used by a network of “listening groups” as a spur for discussion and mobilization of local communities who might not otherwise appreciate the value of girls’ schooling.

Since March this year, the popular series Our School has been airing in five languages, portraying the lives of girls and their families as they struggle with, and resolve, the challenges of going to school.

In one episode 17-year old Stella Nyoka, who wants to earn a living as an engineer, says she appreciates school because:

“I need to help my family, my community and especially fellow-girls like me, and to see that girls go to school and learn — instead of ‘whoosh’, straight into marriage”.

And in an accompanying public service announcement, the availability of GESS funding is made clear … but only after an everyday problem with school uniforms is addressed by two schoolgirl characters, Paite and Keji:

Paite: Oh, Keji. Today is only Monday, and already your school uniform is so very dirty.

Keji: Paite, don’t give me a hard time about my dirty uniform. In our school, we have to sit on the floor as there are no benches. Our books are also very dirty like this. I am even starting to lose interest in school.

Paite: Oh, in our school, we have benches to sit on. Our school applied for a grant from the government. And it is our right as students to tell our teachers how to use this money.

The broadcast explains just how to apply for the funding, giving a toll-free phone number to call.

The GESS organizers are at pains to ensure an ongoing process of monitoring and evaluation for their program. As part of this UMCOR has helped to develop a comprehensive school-attendance recording system and encouraged its widespread adoption. Daily attendance is recorded and collated electronically in real time.

This monitoring innovation is already enabling the state education authorities to accurately assess the impact of the new effort. The GESS finance, in the form of what are known as “capitation grants”, is made available to schools that report encouraging attendance records. The grants aim, says UMCOR’s Christine Meling, “to improve the learning environment that will attract more girls in school and retain them”.

Cash is also available to individual students, especially those from the poorest homes, to enable them to meet their essential needs like uniforms and shoes. As Meling also points out, “Girl children will also be motivated to attend classes since they will have the money to procure basic, yet so vital items such as comfort-kits, without which they can miss classes. Teenage girls have often missed classes for up to 5 days in a month because of their menstrual cycle. With the cash grants, this could be made a thing of the past.”
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‘The Onion’ Comments On Ferguson Tragedy With Striking ‘Unarmed Teen’ Cover

August 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

On Friday, “The Onion” gave stunning commentary on the shooting of young men like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin before him, with its “The Onion Magazine” cover on “Unarmed Teens.”

the onion unarmed teends

The image follows up a story the faux-news publication ran on Thursday, “Tips For Being An Unarmed Black Teen,” wherein young African-American men are encouraged to, among other things, “Shy away from dangerous, heavily policed areas.”

Friday’s image was published by “The Onion” the same day Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson released the name of the officer who shot Brown and stated that the deceased teen was a suspect in a robbery that took place earlier on the day of his shooting. (Jackson later held another press conference where he stated that Brown’s interaction with the officer in question was unrelated to the alleged robbery.)

In a statement following Jackson’s initial announcement, Brown’s family called the robbery allegations an attempt to “assassinate the character of their son.”

“The Onion” has often taken aim at gun violence in the U.S., creating headlines that are as haunting as they are darkly satirical. Earlier this year, the paper tackled the killing spree at UCSB that left seven dead with the story, “‘No Way To Prevent This’ Says Only Nation Where This Happens Regularly.”
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Lester & Charlie: Can This Southern Restaurant Prove It Isn’t Biased?

August 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Humor

Unlike those big corporations, Mary’s doesn’t hate! Mary’s simply wants to reward its favorite customers with a 15% discount. What could be wrong with that?

Read more: Church, Civil Rights Act, Woolworths, Frredom From Religion Foundation, Mary Haglund, Politics, Religion, Hobby Lobby, Political Humor, Restaurants, Taco Bell, Christianity, Chick-Fil-A, Discrimination, Athiest, Comedy News, Comedy, North Carolina, Comedy News

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Photos From Ferguson And 1960s Protests Side By Side Make It Clear How Little Has Changed

August 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Videos

A young black man in sunglasses holds a sign with bold print in full view of the camera: “I AM A MAN.”

The word “am” is underlined. He’s not just stressing the word, he’s insisting on it. Around him, there are others with similar signs, black ink on white paper. Some look into the camera lens, some stare ahead, defiant.

For years, this description would have fit the iconic Builder Levy photograph captured during the 1968 wildcat sanitation strike in Memphis, Tennessee, shortly after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. But as of a few days ago, people are finding a second photograph far too similar.

Still fighting to be recognized as human beings 50 years later. #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/VPpzhURS9b

— zellie (@zellieimani) August 14, 2014

Michael Brown, 18, was walking in his grandmother’s neighborhood in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9 when he was fatally shot by a police officer.

A crowd gathered around the site, as did a flock of police cars. Tensions grew. The “militarized” police response to the protests that followed set armored vehicles, tear gas and rubber bullets against civilians.

For many, the scene in Ferguson looks like something out of the 1960s, when such responses were far too common.

Internet users across the country soon began uploading photos of the police response to civil rights protests and photos from Ferguson and comparing them side by side. The similarities are striking, as are the questions they raise.

Someone please remind me what year it is again? #ferguson pic.twitter.com/33cebmojwV

— Brenna Muncy (@brennamuncy) August 10, 2014

Left: Police dogs attack protester in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. Right: A police dog in front of protesters in Ferguson.

The Civil Rights Act is 50 years old. These two pictures were taken 50 years apart. Behold our progress. #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/8PNn8eteO2

— Jackie Summers (@jackfrombkln) August 13, 2014

Left: Police officers stare down civil rights activists marching to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965. Right: Police officers stare down group of protesters.

The #Ferguson police look more militarized now than the actual National Guard, here from the 1967 Newark riots: pic.twitter.com/qk3CKqSp8o

— Mike Konczal (@rortybomb) August 13, 2014

Top: Armed National Guardsmen advance toward a little boy during the 1967 Newark Riots. Bottom: Armed police officers advance toward an unarmed protester.

Top: A sign reading “NO KILLER COPS IN OUR COMMUNITY” is held aloft by a protester. Bottom: Protester holds sign reading “KILLER COPS WILL NOT GO FREE!” during the 1964 Harlem Riots.

Ferguson has happened before. In America. A lot. Just didn’t get tweeted. pic.twitter.com/fvvePyvgRl

— Evan Hill (@evanchill) August 14, 2014

National Guardsmen march toward smoke from the 1965 Watt Riots’ streetf ires.
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