Warren Buffett, Business '51, returns to Columbia to chat with students and Bill Gates

By Gabriela Hempfling

Published: November 13, 2009

On Thursday, the world’s two richest men visited Columbia.

Bill Gates, who founded Microsoft Corp., and Warren Buffett, investor-at-large, told students that the worst of the recession had passed. Speaking in Roone Arledge Auditorium, they shared their optimism with students in the Columbia Business School and Earth Institute. Buffett graduated from the Business School in 1951.

At the town-hall-style event, CNBC’s Becky Quick moderated a dialogue between the two billionaires and roughly 700 students. Before the discussion began, Quick noted the context of the event. “I do know that these are unsettling times in the economy and the markets and there is a lot of uncertainty in where we stand,” she said. The event was to be broadcast on CNBC as a segment titled “Warren Buffett and Bill Gates: Keeping America Great” on Thursday night. [CNBC Video below and alternate link here]





Neither Buffett nor Gates acknowledged any of this uncertainty. “The economy is sputtering, but we are still at the beginning,” Buffett said. With his recent purchase of the Burlington Railroad, the single largest acquisition in history, Buffett put firm support behind that idea. “The railroads are cost-effective and environmentally friendly; each one supplants 280 trucks,” he reasoned. “If America has a core future, railroads have a core future, and I am willing to bet a lot of money on it—about $34 billion.” . . .

Continue reading the November 13, 2009 article from Columbia University's the Columbia Daily Spectator . . .

Read the eye, the weekly features and arts magazine of the Columbia Daily Spectator . .


By Alan Gillis

Going to college could be a life-threatening experience or about the best thing that ever happened. Basically you decide. To steer through the obstacle course without crashing, check out your college newspaper online before you parachute in as a freshman. Don't jump to any fatal conclusions. The paper ergo the campus could be dull and stupid, urbane, sensible, stuffed with monkeys in suits, friendly, goofy or off the wall. Or all of the above. Resist the temptation, that you've blown it already: I'm in the wrong school! Wait, you'll find out later. Doesn't matter anyway, but looking around the paper and then the campus maze will give you some idea of what you can expect and the operating do's and don'ts you might have heard elsewhere like from your parents or your big brother.

Be prepared for confusion and stress, but don't take it seriously. Everybody's going through it. Under all the conflicting emotions, the good and bad decisions, is the classic 3-way student dilemma. In the struggle between social life, grades and growing-up, who's going to win? If you're a Young Republican or a Nerd, you've already made your choices. But you might get a second chance. Socializing and sex is the over-riding factor on any campus. Beer is also big. It's a juggling act where you're bound to break a few plates.


RIT left: “Keep ahead, don’t fall behind.” Brandon Nowakowski. RIT right: “If you’re ever invited to anything, accept it.” Ben Vanderberg.


If you want it all, you've got to work hard and play hard. Being young and hopefully in good physical shape with a working brain, you could pull it off, unlike mom and dad who've burned that bridge already. If you take their advice at face value you could wind up safe and sorry. If you don't you could flunk out or worse. If you can't resist temptation or you faked it in high school or just scraped through, then load up on Mickey Mouse courses your first year. And good luck.

Here's your crib sheet on surviving college from one of the best student newspapers anywhere, the Rochester Institute of Technology's Reporter. Thanks you guys.

Click on article title links to continue reading each Reporter story in full. Artwork and photos courtesy RIT Reporter. Mouse-over for credits. Thanks to Andy Rees, Editor-in-Chief; Artists Robert Modzelewski, Jamie Douglas; Photographers Mathew Woyak, Megan Rossman.

From the Reporter's RIT Orientation X-Files





The Man. The Heat. The Fuzz. The...Helper?


By Laura Mandanas

There’s no escape. Whether they’re busting your parties, nagging you not to ride your bike down the Quarter Mile, and/or plastering your only-semi-illegally parked car with hundreds of dollars worth in tickets, you’re going to run up against our campus law enforcers at some point in time. But it’s not all bad — in fact, there are a lot of really helpful things that Public Safety will do for you! . . .

Alan Gillis adds: Lock yourself out? Lost something? In trouble? Adopt a Public Safety Officer. It depends on your campus, but overall there are more security issues in city colleges than at a campus in the country. If you have any concerns, talk to campus security. If there are hot spots, places and times to avoid, they'll tell you. At some colleges you could get into trouble just by walking alone or leaving your frat house door open. Take the same precautions you would anyplace you don't know well. Some campuses have student services where volunteers will pick you up and drive you home or walk with you. You're alone, it's late, it's cold, you're stoned. Get help. If that doesn't work call campus security. Put them and your other emergency numbers on your speed dial.

Things you shouldn’t do but, if you do, try not to get caught

By Kimberly Reeb with Andy Rees

Stay away from anything illegal: drugs, guns, robbery, and so on.

In the words of RIT’s student conduct rules, “Students neither relinquish civil rights nor acquire additional rights by virtue of being within an academic community; they do, however, take on additional responsibilities.”

In the 2007-08 school year, the three most common Public Safety referrals to the SCO [Student Conduct Office] centered around alcohol, drugs, and theft.

Every incident has a different outcome but, unfortunately, freshmen are most likely to be the ones getting in trouble this year. The 2007-08 year had 1,297 incidences and 39 percent of them were committed by first year students. So have fun, but be smart. . .

Alan Gillis adds: If some misconduct like alcohol and drug use leads to a medical emergency, you have to seek medical help for yourself or anyone who is with you. Since there is some fear seeking help because of legal and other consequences, many institutions have a policy that forgives such misconduct. Check the rules at your own school. Find out what emergency medical facilities there are on your campus. At RIT if it's only alcohol-related, there's room for leniency.

Roommate Issues

By Jess Kopitz

For many incoming freshmen, the most exciting and daunting experience in college is living in the dorms. On the one hand, you get more freedom than ever before: No more curfews or questions about where you’re going and when you’ll be back. On the other hand, you are now living with a stranger. This is the real world and, with it, come rewards and drawbacks.

Living with another person in the same room can be taxing no matter how well you get along with them. The truth of the matter is that living in the dorms gives you little to no privacy. A typical dorm room will resemble something like a closet and sharing it with another person may seem like being asked to never change your underwear again: uncomfortable and even unhealthy. . .

A Guy's How-To: Getting Girls

By Michael Barbato

Making the First Move

If you’ve ever wished the girl you like would do all the work and ask you out, chances are she won’t. 85% of the girls I polled revealed they had never asked a guy out. Most girls won’t make the first move out of fear of being too forward or depriving her would-be suitor of his ‘manly’ prowess. Although it does happen, it isn’t very often, so it is vital to make that first move. . .

The Approach

If you’re still using generic pickup lines, I have some magical love potions I’d like to sell you. By the way, neither pick up lines nor love potions work! In fact, pickup lines will hurt your chances; according to the spry young ladies, pickup lines are the most irritating tactics a guy can employ. . .

Where to Approach

Watch out for girls in a hurry or busy. Don’t approach a girl when she’s on her way to class or if she’s waitressing at a crowded restaurant. Bars and clubs are well fielded and usually not the best environment to start. Be spontaneous. Approach her in an unexpected place. Go up to her at the library and notice her reading the book you just read or want to read and go from there. . .

Alan Gillis adds: Advice for women on getting guys? Perhaps it's a question that doesn't need any big answer. All any girl needs to do is Ask. Guys are like that. 95% of the time that's enough, but if you want more ideas you'll find thousands in Cosmo. Of course ask the right guy and don't come on to him in a tiny halter showing off your big belly over short shorts and fishnet hose in spikes or boots unless that's your usual style. Don't beg either. It's embarrassing for him too. If it doesn't work the first time, try another approach. Guys are dense. They're not expecting a hook-up on short notice, as it rarely happens anyway. When it does, some aren't sure. Are you a tease making the rounds? Does the guy think he's being setup for a dumb joke? Serious or is she going to change her mind before she takes off her socks? Some girlfriend's girlfriend testing him? So try again if you're serious.

If all else fails whatever your gender, you need to practice more. Too shy, too slow on the uptake? Need a mega ice breaker? After a string of disappointments, or some success with disaster relationships, you might want to try speed dating. You could find that you've been stuck on your wrong type. Here's a chance to try somebody different. Some campuses offer a free version that might work out. See the Reporter's interesting experiment with speed dating at RIT in the article below.

Speed dating

By Madeleine Villavicencio

Reporter expanded its brand name into the dating service business by holding our very own invitation-only speed dating event. For this experiment, 18 hopeful singles piled into room 1829 in the Student Alumni Union (SAU) that evening, looking for a match. The night began with the consumption of snacks and refreshments — the Ritz Bits cheese sandwiches were a favorite — as the music of Tiger Idol finalists drifted through the walls of the neighboring Ingle Auditorium, doubling as entertainment for the night. At the same time, participants registered and left contact information with the assigned staff. . .

With speed dating, your options cover a wider range of people. Because of its random nature, you will probably meet at least one person you never would have walked up to at a party. . .

It isn’t just the quantitative data collected that’s interesting. If you take a look at the match sheets themselves, you start to notice a few things. More than half of the women’s sheets had multiple erasures, meaning they are more likely to change their minds more than once. Men, on the other hand, were more likely to avoid the decision all together by leaving boxes on their sheets blank. In addition, guys are more likely to vote “yes” [for a follow-up date] while girls are more likely to vote “no.” Some marks were darker than others, possibly indicating a greater intensity of like or dislike. . .

Alan Gillis adds: Nothing works? Buy a car. Make it available. Drive people around anywhere anytime. Right away you're scoring points big time. No car? Then find your own car guy. Find out how in the article below.

Triple P: How to Mooch a Ride

By Alex Salsberg

Hello, freshmen! You are currently enjoying the best moments of college. You like all your nveighbors (in three weeks your floor will be severely cliquey and probably on fire), and you are not yet fat. But to continue the fun, you must befriend a certain someone on your floor. We will call him “Car Guy.”

Maybe you thought that RIT’s quarter-mile long campus (complete with an ice cream parlor and a pretend SportsCenter set) would provide you with all the entertainment you needed for five years. But Car Guy knew better. He knew that someday he might actually want to explore the great city of Rochester, with its museums, restaurants and depressing zoo (did you know polar bears can cry?) So, when he found out that freshman were allowed cars, he proudly parked his white Dodge Spirit in B-Lot, which is just outside of Albany.

If you learn to take advantage of Car Guy effectively, you could enjoy a (literal) free ride through RIT. Just follow these three handy tips (I call it Triple P) . . .

Don't Forget: Balance is Best

By Joe McLaughlin

Most things are fine in moderation, but some things don’t lend themselves to “just a little bit.” World of Warcraft is the perfect example. Keep gaming within sane limits. Leave time for schoolwork and interacting with real people. Don’t, however, lock yourself in your room and do nothing but calculus. Leave time for goofing off. After all, you’re in college. You’re never going to have another chance to duct tape a friend’s chair to the ceiling. (Hint: The chairs in the dorms take a roll and a half.) . . .


And Make Friends

Alan Gillis adds: If you click with some people, make more room for them in your life. College probably is your best opportunity to make life-long friends who share your interests and your ideas. Once they're on their career path you'll find that you're all still in the same ballpark. You could wind up helping them or being helped yourself. Especially if you're a risk taker and are going into a tough game like filmmaking where contacts are essential. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg became friends at UCLA where they made a pact to help each other. It worked.

Reporter's Distorter: Brain Humping On Campus

By Alan Gillis

If the Reporter delivers about the best in student journalism, candid, relevant and interesting, other papers often fail. Even their dirty laundry stories look fairly clean, often apologetic too if a few stains remain to sully the old school name. Not at the Reporter. Why the Reporter will invent dirty laundry if it needs to, but that's for the annual April Fools Issue, the Distorter.

This year's Sexy Issue reached the limit of can-u-f******take-it, at least for RIT Admin, which pulled the magazine and closed down the Reporter's website for awhile. You can't find it anywhere except under the Editor's bed and Reporter Offices, but if you know where to look, there is now a secret website archive of a flip-through copy of Distorter 09.

It's not for the squeamish. Totally grossed-out humor on sex at its worst, but you get the same insane bits in your daily newspaper in small doses. They're brave at the Reporter, but they were slapped down hard for it. OK, Distorter 09 was trash, and it stunk, but it was also an attempt at satire. Still marginally better than Fellini's Satyricon, which wasn't very funny and made a lot of money. Fellini squeaked through in theaters along with Passolini that other Italian 30 years ago. Why not Distorter 09, an obvious First Amendment issue? Not that the case went anywhere either, not blazing freedom of speech for college kids. Imagine all the lawyers and the pain it would take to drag dirty Distorter 09 into court for a line-by-line dry cleaning. No your Honor, that horse in question was after the fact, from Oklahoma in USA Today.

For another more typical and less subversive Distorter there's last year's edition. Distorter 08, more your raunchy Animal House revisited: Sports Desk: Beer Pong, Bro! Can you re-rack that?

If there's a lesson here at RIT for Distorter fans or freshmen, its no flashing on campus, not even at the run through halftime at a Tigers' game. No Tigers, no streaking. When RIT's football team went 0-8-1 in 1977, the Tigers were permanently canceled for losing. One lousy year since 1922? Maybe some Distorters are still mad about it.

But there's hope. You can always join the Reporter staff for some laughs or your own college paper. If it stinks, all the more reason. They need you badly.





I can’t help it. I know every major media publication is providing massive coverage for Michael Jackson. I know there are timelines, retrospectives, etc available at every major media and news website. I feel like I have to write about Michael Jackson though. A little something at least.

By Chris Monigle, The Lost Blog
Published: June 26, 2009

His music was the music of my childhood. That’s no exaggeration. It was Michael Jackson, The Jackson 5, or the Jacksons. I listened to his music before I ever became aware of rock ‘n roll, before I purchased a Marcy Playground or Matchbox 20 CD in ‘97 or 3EB in the summer of 1998. His music informed what my later tastes would be as well. There’s really no going back once you hear “Off The Wall” or “Thriller.” Those two albums are near perfection. “Thriller” suffers from one weak track. The rest is gold after gold after gold. I opened a piece I wrote on Carolyn Leonhart with a quote from Shakespeare about the charms of music. There really is magic in music. There’s some intangible transcendental quality to music, in music. It exists within the creation. On those early solo albums, he combined disco (but good disco not that ABBA nonsense) with the soul of Motown and R&B. We all know “Thriller,” “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Rock With You” and a bunch of other songs that are too many to list. We can throw out adjective after adjective to describe the power of his music but in the end his music is indescribable and that’s what makes it as great, magical, and transcendent as it is. He just had the ability to tap into that part of our brain, something that is inherently within us and open it up (i hope you followed me there and understand what I mean). . . --NewsHammer 13/07/2009

Continue reading the June 26, 2009 article [plus more Jackson videos] from West Chester University's The Quad on their sister site, Quad Blogs.

Check out The Quad here.

The media storm around Michael Jackson is less about him and more about the media monster that makes and breaks our pop icons. We still don't know how or why he died. All we have is a lot of confusion from a lot of insane coverage.

Armies of journalists swoop down on him again. Drugs and death, the new postmortem, not quite as sensational as ruining him and his reputation with unsubstantiated charges of extreme moral depravity, the boy-man-god a pedophile, but drugs and death a suitable followup and a glorious media fire for the final end of a fallen star.

Questions, a lot of questions and conflicting and misleading answers and more doubt and misery. A lot of really great friends who weren't there for him. A lot of questions nobody asks. Journalists paid to ask them, but they don't.

Police slow to see that a simple death of the King of Pop doesn't make sense. Joe Jackson apparently, always say apparently when covering Michael, Michael's father ordering 2 moving vans to remove Michael's effects from the scene of his death, a rented mansion belonging to the Nation of Islam, rented at 3 or 4 times the going market rate for $100,000 a month. Janet, Michael's sister, dropping by the same day, but what was taken away from a possible crime scene two days after Michael dies? Does she know, does Joe estranged from Michael to boot, have any authority to mess things up for the inevitable police investigation?

Then a belated appearance by LA police confiscating 2 large bags of drugs after the moving vans have been long gone.

Then later still, the DEA shuffles in after nobody knows what happened at Michael's mansion before, during and after Michael's death, what was removed, what might have been planted later.

A lot of Diprivan found by the DEA, missed by the LAPD, unlabeled, IV anesthesia used only to knockout a patient for an operation, but what was it doing there? Michael couldn't sleep without it sometimes?

What doctor would prescribe it for insomnia when a small overdose is easily fatal, when ordinary doses are also sometimes fatal? It happens under ideal conditions in hospital operating rooms with an anaesthesiologist present monitoring vital signs.

Some very close to Michael say he wasn't a druggie, abhorred and never used recreational drugs and only took prescription drugs like anyone else would. Started with Pepsi, the hair on fire commercial, later a broken leg, broken vertebrae, performance injuries, then the painful cosmetic surgery and possibly skin cancer. And beat up badly twice for months by the media on unsubstantiated child molestation charges that would depress anyone. More and more people close to him thought he had a prescription drug problem. If he did, no one seems to have actually caught him doing drugs. One of his former bodyguards, Matt Fiddes, says he and Uri Geller often confiscated drugs and needles lying around. And Michael was in rehab once though what for exactly? The same people who say he was addicted to prescription drugs like the TV journalist Diane Dimond who broke the pedophilia allegations, say he also had a big drinking problem back then.

The more you repeat a story, the more people believe it, true or not, as the media and psychologists must know. If that's hard to swallow since we think we're not so easily fooled, remember when disinformation and propaganda were a daily routine made famous by Lenin who invented the formula: Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.

Even easier to smear anybody if you use unnamed sources. According to a close, but unnamed member of the Jackson family Michael took daily shots of the super-painkiller Demerol and had a shot an hour before he died.

Anyone see needle tracks on Michael's arms? An unnamed Jackson family source did. Noted on the autopsy? No info released yet. An unnamed source commenting on the body, "surprised at how healthy Jackson was."


Unnamed sources always seem to be very sure of themselves. Some very close to Michael say he lived on prescription drugs. Look how thin he was, how little he ate. Then one of the people he knew best, Grace Rwaramba from Rwanda on staff as an assistant and promoted to nanny his kids was reported as saying by Times Online that she often had to pump his stomach when he mixed his drugs. On a news video later she denied she ever said that she did, didn't know how to pump a stomach either. Then she went further in print, saying she never even spoke to Times Online. Her full rebuttal to the long and juicy Times Online article was published in The Huffington Post.

The two autopsies and the lab tests will finally tell us something about the cause of death when they're released in a month or so. For now, who and what can you believe?

Could Michael have been saved? The AEG concert promoter for Michael's comeback series in London, Randy Phillips and the tour's director, Kenny Ortega, both said he was in great shape the night before he died. The AEG This Is It video of Michael's rehearsal at the LA Staples Center 2 nights before he died [also at the above link] confirms he wasn't on a doped-up downer going into London. If he could have been saved, the only one who could have done it on the spot was his cardiologist, Dr Conrad Murray, who tried to resuscitate Michael when he found him collapsed in bed that catastrophic day in LA's Holmby Hills, still alive.

But Murray the cardiologist failed at CPR, and there was some delay in calling an ambulance. How long was that? 40 minutes until the ambulance arrived says The Guardian. Murray couldn't find a phone, but he had his own cell phone, but he didn't call because he didn't know the address where he himself was living, doctor in residence at Michael's Holmby Hills Estate, that any goofball at 911 would be able to track down by a street name or 5 blocks from you know where. Stupid shit if you're Michael Jackson's doctor and you're doing CPR on Michael's too soft a bed for CPR when Michael should be on the floor as the 911 Operator reminded him on the phone when Michael's security guy finally called 911. Stupid shit when you're supposed to be a cardiologist and you're not Board certified, letting that lapse last year, when you don't pay your debts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to creditors who were after you because your heart clinic was flatlining, like Michael who died under your care.

If CPR doesn't work it's a bloody emergency and you get help. Murray said he never gave drugs like Demerol to Michael, but if Michael took an accidental overdose himself of something or other, CPR isn't going to help. You pump his stomach, you get him to a hospital for life support, a heart-lung machine, maybe a total blood transfusion when you suspect poisoning by unknown drugs, but when the ambulance came the paramedics still did CPR for another 45 minutes, though the nearest hospital was 6 minutes away. Stupid shit, but shit happens when you're stupid.

The LAPD tow away Murray's BMW that same day, oddly not really his anyway. Great. Smart. Could be full of AMA Journals. Why not check the mansion first before 2 vans clear out a mountain of potential evidence in broad daylight with news cameras rolling?

The first sensible thing Murray does is he gets a lawyer. Then he talks to the LAPD for 3 hours. No one says what happened, just that he was cooperative. Not a suspect. Yeah, great.

A little later Dr Deepak Chopra talks to Larry King on CNN. He says Michael asked him for Oxycontin, another major painkiller back in 2005 and Deepak refused. Deepak warned Michael about getting hooked on prescription pain meds, but Michael didn't want to talk about it, didn't return his calls later. Deepak talked around the problem with Michael so he could stay in touch with him. Said to Larry that there were plenty of enablers in LA, doctors who liked to hang around celebrities and prescribe whatever narcotics they wanted. No shortage either of plastic surgeons I'd add, who turned Michael into a freak.

With all the bullshit flying, was Deepak right about Michael? If Michael had his own enablers would he bother Deepak about an easily obtainable prescription drug? With a lot on his mind, with things going badly since the embarrassing Bashir documentary and new allegations suddenly surfacing, Michael then was in over his head in the biggest fight of his life. $18 Million in legal fees for the child molestation case that consumed the nation and Michael too. Not guilty on all counts. Maybe all Michael wanted was a little help from a friend he was staying with to numb his pain? Michael was a child after all, as everyone who knew him well always said.

But then there's another screaming media report I saw on TV a few days ago, but oddly not archived on the corporate website, that said Michael was spending $48,000 a month on prescriptions and owed his pharmacy $100,000 when he died. But if true why isn't this big story plastered everywhere? Hope somebody at the DEA has been watching the megaTV investigation for leads. Can't be sure of that either after the LAPD apparently missed the televised Big Joe Jackson Moving Day.

If that's really $48,000 a month for Michael's drugs that's way more than 2 bags full collected by the LAPD. Enough to stuff an SUV every month and even so, how much can a single human being consume? 20 tabs of Demerol per day would turn you into a cataleptic couch potato for less than $1200 a month.

What's known? What's proven? Nothing really. Dead like Elvis.

Michael was married for awhile to Elvis' daughter Lisa Marie Presley. She said Michael told her years ago he was worried he'd end up dead like Elvis. "He Knew" she wrote on MySpace the day after Michael died. A premonition, a guess, or fate? More questions, no answers.

Michael Jackson's public funeral/ceremonial is set for tomorrow Tuesday 10AM Los Angeles time at the Staples Center. 1.6 million people applied for 20,000 free tickets, but all the major U.S. TV networks are covering it. If you're abroad and don't have access, you should be able to catch it on the Internet, on E! Online and CNN Live.

--Alan Gillis

Michael Jackson Videos



Moonwalkers from Sam Javanrouh on Vimeo. Toronto, the night after Michael's death.





From AEG, a hot promo video in advance of the London shows on the casting and rehearsals for This Is It [alternate link] at the LA Staples Center.



From AEG, a last look at Michael [alternate link] from the LA Staples Center rehearsal 2 nights before he died.


*****UPDATE July 10, 2009

BBC: Jackson foul play 'not ruled out'

The head of Los Angeles police has refused to rule out murder in the investigation into the death of singer Michael Jackson, two weeks ago. . . .


*****UPDATE June 25, 2010 One Year Later

LaToya 2009 Tribute to June 25, 2010

A day in the life of the Michael Jackson Legend lights a fire on TV with a dozen tribute shows and interviews starting 8AM Friday. NYC Radio kicks in right through the weekend with live shows from the Apollo Friday afternoon with the Rev Al Sharpton's Tribute on WBLS 107.5 FM (listen live), then at 9PM "Throwback Comes to Harlem" on WRKS 98.7 FM (no Internet live feed, but watch their MJ videos on KISS FM TV).

Try MTV in between for "Michael Jackson Top 10 Video Countdown" 5-6:30PM, and "Michael Jackson's Influence" 6:30PM. Here's the full Jackson Friday TV/Radio schedule.

In Los Angeles fans will be making a quiet pilgrimage to nearby Forest Lawn cemetery, though the mausoleum will be open only for family and their guests.

In Gary Indiana, Michael's mother Katherine will dedicate a monument to her son outside the old family home where the Jackson Five started out. A candelight vigil follows with the song "We are the World".


Michael Jackson: A Second Life

From the patchy, inconsistent and conflicting media reports on the death of Michael Jackson, that were better at knocking him down while destroying his reputation in a similar frenzy not so long ago, what do you get? Enough confusion to spin out his tragic death for million$ more. Sorry Michael. A year later and "What's Left Behind" we're nowhere near the truth. But the legend lives on.

See Jackson perform in this clean no yakyak video 2 nights before his death at the Staples Center LA rehearsal.

Since then Jackson videos on Youtube and even official promos of the Staples rehearsals have been taken down by the moneymen. Buy the CD, see the movie, get the the DVD. But Jackson fans keep uploading new stuff like this Jackson concert mix (sorry deleted) but watch this one.

On the official This Is It movie site, there's a nice surprise. Watch a clean stack of Tributes and oldie Jackson videos like They Don't Care About Us, Thriller, Beat It and more.



On michaeljackson.com there's another bonus. Listen to some great audio demos on this link that starts up with a fabulous a cappella Beat It and then click for more tracks from the new This Is It CD. Finally everybody's right. The London show would have been impossible to beat.

--Alan Gillis/ NewsHammer








More than ever before, the media is being controlled by those who have most money, power and influence, Guardian veteran Nick Davies tells Lee Bunce


By Lee Bunce
Published: September 26, 2008

You can’t believe everything you read in the papers - but what if we can scarcely believe any of it? That is the conclusion of Flat Earth News, the devastating new book by distinguished journalist Nick Davies, an explosive expose of the inner workings of the global press.


Working primarily at The Guardian for over 30 years, Davies’ investigations into everything from drugs policy to failing schools have put him amongst the most respected reporters of his generation, winning him numerous awards along the way. But in his latest book he investigates the profession that made him - with some truly alarming results.

Davies is puzzled by how British newspapers consistently follow a conservative ideology when there is no state censorship.

“I discovered that the average Fleet Street reporter is now filling three times as much print space as they were in 1985. This means on average they have only a third of the time for each story.

“Essentially reporters are no longer able to do the things they need to do to do their job effectively. They’re not out there finding stories, making contacts, or even checking facts. They’re just recycling second hand information - what I call churnalism.”

Davies research found that a staggering 54% of British news stories sampled were PR produced.

“More than half of the news stories in the best newspapers in the country are being written and produced by PR people acting for the government or corporations - that can’t be right.

“A second piece of analysis of more than two thousand UK news stories from four quality newspapers, plus the influential Daily Mail, showed that the central facts in the stories sampled hadn’t been thoroughly checked.

“You think you would find the answer is 100% because that’s what journalism is. The answer was 12% - a frightening conclusion.

“This is what happens when you don’t have time to do your job properly. Journalists end up recycling copy from press agencies and PR product, neither of which are reliable sources of information about the world.” . . .

Continue reading the September 26, 2008 article from the University of Edinburgh's The Student . . .

If you've graduated, here's Catch 22. You might have done everything right or wrong or half-way, but you won't know the results 'til later. By then you'll have your failure options open and a chance or two to screw up some more. About everybody's in the same boat in case you're worried. With a bit of luck you'll succeed in something or other.

It's not an overly pessimistic view according to both Joseph Heller and the better known, but ficticious Murphy of Murphy's Law. But they didn't invent the absurd. For all you non-English Majors, and some of those too who skipped classical allusions, you won't recall this 2500 year old Greek chestnut: "Call no man happy until he is dead." It's not the first citation of absurdity in human history, but you could Google back further and write a dissertation yourself if you're going nowhere on Punctuation in Middle English.

Sounds like a degree isn't much of a guarantee. Depends. Sure, Harvard beats Okiedokie Law School and even if you have no aptitude for law as a lawyer, it won't matter, except to your clients who'll never know that lousy lawyers graduate too from Harvard OMG. Always room for one more lawyer too. So there is a future at least in prestigious degrees and the Bar. Make that a Whisky Bar.

If you're in a serious quandary about what to do now, I beg your pardon. I've been there myself. Oddly I never got any good advice either. Of course good advice can be wrong, so luckily I didn't have to go through that. Bad advice was the big thing. It was everywhere.

The best bad advice I ever got at university was from three profs who independently agreed that there was no future in teaching as the competition was fierce, openings few, and even if you got in, tenure would probably be dangled forever like a carrot, leading you deeper and deeper into the infernal muck of extremely petty university politics on campus and the equally absurd descent into a meaningless social life at home, entertaining and toadying colleagues to death to score some points before you were dismissed for a trifle. Something downright Dickensian at best. They were right about a lot of moldy ivy colleges, but also very wrong to meddle in someone's future. What made it worse was they were all brilliant in their fields. Like Darwins telling you you had no future in Evolution.



So stick to your guns if you're still aiming for a teaching position or anything else of value to yourself. Ask around. Maybe you'll get some good advice. Not from people with a professional and sometimes secret egomania. They can do it. Nobody else can. Now with the economic meltdown, you'll probably hear the same thing from everybody. Don't waste your time trying to get a faculty position or a fellowship. Better odds with Powerball.

On the practical side you should have some passion and aptitude for your chosen field, beyond a high GPA. Here's where Oprah's Gut Feeling might make sense.

But most of you with your first degree are wondering what to do next, not sure you've landed in the right ballpark or in the right team. A BA or BSc doesn't open many doors. It opens personal ones at least, so there's always value in education even if no one else sees it.

Going on to a higher degree would seem best if you can. This I'd say is foolproof. You're bound to win as you've already got a minor degree in beating the system. Here too you might be able to change or refine your career focus. A complete change of direction is only for the brave. To go from Arts to Medicine via another Bachelor's Degree and wing it for another decade is OK if you're sure you're going to win the Nobel too.

But should you? If you're a nerd, get all the credentials you can. You'll need them. You might even grow out of this phase by working hard or at least convince everybody that you're some kind of genius. It could backfire if you go for multiple PhDs. Then the truth will probably come out, that you're a professional nerd. There's a nervous breakdown hazard too. A nerd space develops.

If you're happy-go-lucky and lucky to boot, there's not much you can't do if you've got some talent and ambition. In any field these are the people who make it. And they make it look easy. But if you want to be a rocket scientist you need a Master's at least. For an artist you can do just about anything as long as you produce. There are some rules.



If you're still not sure what you want to do, then play it safe and stay in school, but browse around and sit in on other classes you're curious about, until you hit something great. It's a U Turn that might work. If you're in a big rut it might be your school or the people you hang out with. Take a higher degree where you want to be, like trading the snowbelt for California.

Packing in education for awhile, to get a job or travel and get back in school later, is also better left to the brave.

Easy to get sidetracked if you can get a decent job by falling into the standard routine of making a living and going into more debt to make yourself comfortable, to reward yourself for working. Often a fatal career move, but if you're lucky you could discover something worth doing and do it. Here you'll be making it on your own. You're bound to get little encouragement and help if you're not so lucky. Your best chances are counting on the family fortune or the family spa business you can take over just in case. If not, you might wind up married with kids before you know it, and slaving away to make it work.

If you are working you'll be the junior and that means everybody will try to steal your ideas and get the credit for your work. Watch out for mentors who say they'll keep you under their wing. Nowadays they'll use you like the bosses you hate, but you won't know it 'til it's too late. Of course there are exceptions, but if you're not as astute as some writers of fiction, you'll be embarrassed at how gullible you can be.

Odds are if you leave school you're not going back, so think about it carefully. If it's too difficult to continue your education for financial or other reasons, then you could make something of your future if you're entrepreneurial or a budding impresario who can manage people and get them to work for themselves and you. Otherwise it's likely to be a 9-5 world.

Then there are those who are tired of school and want a break. See the world while they can. For dilettantes or artists, travel's a good way to find out where you stand. Others might fall in love with the Grape and go into viticulture. History comes alive when you travel and you could find that magic place and period that fills you with wonder. Architecture is best lived too in some fabled old city. If all you know is your own backyard you're likely not to have been exposed to much beyond a dry museum culture. The decaying beauty of Ancient Rome is still in Rome and could inspire you to be a conservationist, a restorer of antiquities, an antiques dealer or historian, maybe a romance novelist or why not an architect? Travel is about discovery.

The trick though about travel is if you save your money for that, you might not go if you have to work for it. Thousands in the bank. Should you go or spend it on an Alfa Romeo Spider? On an extreme makeover? If you want to breeze through Europe or check out some other fantasy for a few months it's expensive and exhausting. It's worth it in the end, but consider working abroad. In a lot of places you can teach English if you have a degree and the easy to get before you go TOEFL certificate. If you don't have these two, you'll be stuck on starvation wages tutoring and washing dishes.

So you've got options. Take one and investigate it first. Make a move when you get that gut feeling.

--Alan Gillis






















Tar Heels win fifth NCAA title


By David Ely
Published: April 26, 2009

APRIL 6, DETROIT — It started when they decided to come back.

Four players declining the riches of the NBA, motivated to make one more run at history. One more run at a national title.

And everything that happened this season — the expectations, the No. 1 rankings, the blowout wins — pointed toward this one moment.

Suddenly, that moment became reality.

Senior Mike Copeland wildly flung the ball into the air. Playersjumped up and down amid a blizzard of confetti. Tyler Hansbrough hugged coach Roy Williams as explosions rang throughout Ford Field.

In a truly dominant display, the North Carolina Tar Heels asserted themselves atop the college basketball world as national champions by defeating Big Ten regular season champion Michigan State, 89-72.

The win gives UNC its fifth NCAA title and second in five seasons.

“The first one was unbelievably sweet in 2005, and in some ways this is even sweeter,” Williams said after the game. “I’m so proud of this team.…

“My hat’s off to … the guys in the locker room, because they took Roy Williams on one fantastic ride, and it’s something that I’ll never forget.”

Right out of the gate, the Tar Heels (34-4) let MSU know that the Spartans wouldn’t dictate the game’s tempo as it did in past wins against Louisville and UConn. . . .

Franklin Street: The Celebration from The Daily Tar Heel on Vimeo.

Continue reading the April 26, 2009 article from the University of North Carolina's The Daily Tar Heel . . .

More game coverage and video: stories, photos, video game highlights / press conference / trophy presentation:

"A Tar Heel Triumph: North Carolina Takes Down Michigan State, 89-72" from the official Tar Heels and University of North Carolina Athletics website







Subdued atmosphere in E.L. after MSU loss; 21 arrested

Fires, arson reports following MSU loss Monday night: In a span of about two hours, 11 fire-related incidents were reported in East Lansing, which resulted in four arrests as of 3 a.m. Tuesday. . . .

By The State News Staff
Published: April 7, 2009

Spartans celebrated somberly following the MSU men’s basketball team’s loss to North Carolina in the NCAA national championship game on Monday night.

A police-estimated crowd of about 1,700 people gathered in Cedar Village around midnight, shouting and celebrating in cold, damp weather.



By the end of the night, 21 people were arrested citywide on various charges, East Lansing police Chief Tom Wibert said.

The Cedar Village-area crowd shrank significantly by 1:40 a.m., and the police asked all remaining people in the street to go home. The crowd dispersed within minutes.

Medical technology junior Ashley Allemon said the atmosphere was quieter than Saturday’s after the Final Four victory, and it’s a good thing people behaved.

“It gives our school a bad reputation with people throwing beer bottles and stuff,” she said. “I hope it’s more peaceful because we get looked down upon.”



The weather helped put a damper on what could have been a rowdy night, Wibert said. . . .

Continue reading the April 7, 2009 article from Michigan State University's The State News . . .


Spartans, Tar Heels to meet again in Big Ten /ACC Challenge

By Joey Nowak
Published: April 22, 2009

The MSU men’s basketball team will take the floor with North Carolina for the third time in a calendar year and for the second consecutive year in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

The two teams will meet in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Dec. 1 in the 11th rendition of the weeklong event that pits teams from each conference against one another. . . .

Continue reading the April 22, 2009 article from Michigan State University's The State News . . .


Big Ten/ACC Challenge schedule:

Nov. 30 2009
Penn State at Virginia

Dec. 1 2009
Maryland at Indiana
MSU at North Carolina
Northwestern at North Carolina State
Virginia Tech at Iowa
Wake Forest at Purdue

Dec. 2 2009
Boston College at Michigan
Duke at Wisconsin
Florida State at Ohio State
Illinois at Clemson
Minnesota at Miami

--NewsHammer 5/1/2009



Mixed reactions from the crowd, shoes and toast welcome former president


By Katy Anderson
Published: March 19, 2009

Perhaps the most powerful man in the world for the last eight years, former president of the United States George W. Bush, gave his first speech since leaving office in Calgary on Tuesday.

The setting outside the Telus Convention Centre was intense as approximately 200 shoe-baring protestors rallied outside-- four of whom were arrested-- and at least two snipers were visible on the rooftop of a neighboring building.

The Calgary Police Service separated the activists from the 1,500 guests who had paid $400 to hear the Texan speak. Guests included members of Calgary's economic elite-- one protestor suggested to a friend that these were the real capitalists, "all they were missing was a monocle"-- to two of Calgary's aldermen, John Mar and Ric McIvor, and former-Alberta premier Ralph Klein.



The lunch not only garnered front pages in the city, but across the continent. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann featured the event on his Countdown program, bringing Canadian Gail Davidson of Lawyers Against the War onto his program.

Davidson led the fight in calling for Stephen Harper, who declined to comment on Bush's visit, to bar the former American president from Canada.

Davidson told Olbermann (alternate link to YouTube clip) and his viewers that Canada has a legal obligation under the Convention Against Torture to either prosecute him or extradite him to a country that is willing and able to do so.

"The fact of the matter is, if we're going to look at stamping out torture, the torture created and administered by the Bush administration has to be remedied and one of the principal remedies is criminal prosecutions of those people that are responsible," she said. . . . --NewsHammer 3/27/2009

Continue reading the March 19, 2008 article from the University of Calgary's Gauntlet.

Read the Bush satire in NewsHammer, "Shoes For Bush World Tour" . . .



*****UPDATE

Lawyer: Ex-US officials must face torture charges

Associated Press / Boston Herald
Published: March 30, 2009

. . . The case against the American officials — including former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith — was brought by human rights lawyers before Spain’s investigative judge Baltasar Garzon, who has sent it on to prosecutors to see if the charges merit a full investigation.

It alleges the men gave legal cover to the torture of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by claiming that the U.S. president could ignore the Geneva Conventions . . .

Continue reading the March 30, 2009 AP article from the Boston Herald.


More Related News And Video


Torture Prosecutions Greenlit [by Obama], April 22, 2009 CBS News video

U.N. rep.: Bush lawyers must be prosecuted, April 25, 2009 AP article from MSNBC

John Bolton replies: Spain's illegitimate torture prosecution, May 7, 2009, The Guardian UK


More Student News And Comment On Bush Policies On Torture




If I don't see you, you don't exist: America the torturous

By Andrew Mendes
Published April 27, 2009

I came across an article this week entitled “Obama Stands Nuremberg on Its Head,” by Mike Farrell, a contributor for the progressive web magazine Truthdig. His opening paragraph:

“President Obama’s decision to spare CIA torturers from prosecution stands the Nuremberg principles on their head. ‘Good Germans who were only following orders’ are not exempt from the bar of justice. Individuals must be held responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”


Last week, United States President Barak Obama released four memos outlining the interrogation techniques authorised by the Bush Administration. Techniques included waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions, slapping, and covering a prisoner’s body in insects, Fear Factor style.

Just for some background information, waterboarding was among the torture methods used by the Japanese against American prisoners of war in World War II. I know people whose grandfathers were awoken in the night from nightmares of when they were prisoners of Japan.

Although President Obama has put a stop to the practices outlined in these memos, he said that he would not be prosecuting CIA agents who did the torturing. At Nuremberg, making sure that the Holocaust trains ran on time was found to be a crime. How flimsy the rule of law seems these days. . . .

Continue reading the April 27, 2009 article from Victoria University of Wellington's Salient.


"The only approach I stand against is doing nothing."

By Andrew Mendes
Published April 30, 2009

I received an email update this morning from my Representative, Congressman Robert Wexler from Floirda’s 19th congressional district. The subject line: Wexler Calls for Special Prosecutor on Torture

I wanted to share it with you to prove that some people on the Hill are trying to bring these offenses to light and attempt to begin repairing the many criminal and heinous acts form what history will remember as one of the darkest times in America’s history. Or perhaps I just want to prove it to myself.

I hope this catches on like a house on fire. If this initiative is blocked, it will happen at the Executive level, in which case I’ll have all faith in “change.” Still, this is a step in the right direction. The email begins below.

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, I signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate the Bush Administration and Justice Department’s role in authorizing torture. With the release of the so-called “Torture Memos” last week, and the instrumental role that Bush Administration Justice Department and Executive Branch officials had in orchestrating and approving these techniques, it is evident to me that we need an independent investigation into this troubling series of events that have damaged our national security and diminished our nation before the eyes of the world.

Click here to view the text of the letter I sent to Attorney General Holder. . . .


Continue reading the April 30, 2009 article from Salient.




Dispatches from the Ministry of Love

What at first appears to be a relatively innocuous memo lifted from the pages of George Orwell’s 1984 is in fact an accurate account of the treatment by US forces of two detainees


By Sebastian Henderson

Published May 12, 2009

Take a journey down into the depths of the Ministry of Truth’s Records Department and fact check history. Change the names of Julia and Winston to Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and Abu Zubaydah. Replace the names Ministry of Love to Joint Task Force Guantánamo, the Ministry of Peace with the Department of Defense and Emmanual Goldstein with Osama bin Laden. When life begins imitating literature in strange and dangerously coincidental ways, we must put the plagiarists on trial. . . .

Continue reading the May 12, 2009 article from Salient.



Free condoms, sex education games and raffles for free sex toys are just a few of the aspects of the Rutgers University Programming Association’s Latex Luau Tuesday evening


By Ariel Nagi
Published: March 11, 2009

The RUPA Latex Luau Spring Break: Sun, Sand and STDs was designed to promote safe sex and drug abuse awareness in a fun way through a Hawaiian-style luau with food, music, games and prizes, said Mayank Patel, vice president of RUPA’s Arts and Issues Committee.

“It’s especially important before people go on spring break to know about safe-sex facts,” said Bayruns, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

The event held in the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus featured a raffle to win prizes such as playing cards and whistles in the shape of a penis, lubricants, various sex toys, fishnet stockings and spring break beach gear like flip-flops, a beach umbrella, towels, sunscreen and candy.

“It’s usually always really popular,” said Castillo, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

About 40 people attended the event, where even the food table had a glass sculpture of a woman’s breast and torso and bowls filled with free condoms.

Games included “Pin the Macho on the Man” and “Pin the Boobs on the Babe,” where a person was blindfolded, spun around to get dizzy and then asked to pin the breasts and penis on photos of a man and woman with bull’s-eye targets.

Another game highlighted the consequences of being intoxicated while having sex. Participants had to put on vision-impairment goggles and try to put a condom on a rubber penis to show how difficult it is to practice safe sex while intoxicated.

But it was not all fun and games.

Tables around the Multipurpose Room such as the “Guess the Disease” game table featured real-life pictures of symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea and chlamydia. . . . --NewsHammer 3/24/2009

Continue reading this article from Rutgers University's The Daily Targum.