(but right now it's after 3am, so i really gotta get to bed...)
Charles Nelson Reilly, the Tony Award winner who later became known for his ribald appearances on the "Tonight Show" and various game shows, has died. He was 76.
Reilly died Friday in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia, his partner, Patrick Hughes, told the New York Times.
He gained fame by becoming what he described as a "game show fixture" in the 1970s and 80s. He was a regular on programs like "Match Game" and "Hollywood Squares," often wearing giant glasses and colorful suits with ascots.
His larger-than-life persona and affinity for double-entendres also landed him on the "Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson more than 95 times.
Reilly ruefully admitted his wild game show appearances adversely affected his acting career. "You can't do anything else once you do game shows," he told The Advocate, the national gay magazine, in 2001. "You have no career."
Reilly's openly gay television persona was ahead of its time, and sometimes stood in his way. He recalled a network executive telling him "they don't let queers on television."¶
Al Hurra television, the U.S. government's $63 million-a-year effort at public diplomacy broadcasting in the Middle East, is run by executives and officials who cannot speak Arabic, according to a senior official who oversees the program.
That might explain why critics say the service has recently been caught broadcasting terrorist messages, including an hour-long tirade on the importance of anti-Jewish violence, among other questionable pieces.
Facing tough questions before a congressional panel last week, Broadcasting Board of Governors member Joaquin Blaya admitted none of the senior news managers at the network spoke Arabic when the terrorist messages made it onto the air courtesy of U.S. taxpayer funds. Nor did Blaya himself or any of the other officials at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the network.
The station's gaffes have included broadcasting in December 2006 a 68-minute call to arms against Israelis by a senior figure of the terrorist group Hezbollah; deferential coverage of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial conference; and a factually flawed piece on a splinter group of Orthodox Jews who oppose the state of Israel, according to the Wall Street Journal, which has reported the network's travails for months.¶
Several pastors calling themselves the Indianapolis Clergy Committee said they would get themselves arrested if necessary today in a protest over low pay to janitors working at Downtown office buildings.
"We just feel compelled to use our last resorts in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King and provide a creative tension," said the Rev. C.J. Hawking, national organizer for Interfaith Worker Justice, which is helping organize the protest.
In March, the Service Employees International Union held a Downtown rally to call attention to contract negotiations in Cincinnati.
SEIU has sought to work out a "model" contract with cleaning companies employing several thousand office janitors in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.
Six clergy members engaging in what they described as civil disobedience were arrested today at a Downtown office building where they were protesting what they said were the "poverty wages" being paid to janitors who clean the building.
The clergy blocked the main entrance to the Market Tower, 10 W. Market St., by sitting in front of its revolving doors and crowding an area in front of escalators. About 40 protesters who followed them in a march from Christ Church Cathedral dispersed after police issued a warning.
The clergy gave police advance notice of the protest. They will likely be charged with a misdemeanor obstruction of right away, said Lt. Joe Finch of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Inside glitzy buildings occupied by law firms, plastic surgeons and insurance companies, janitors are being forced to work for poverty wages and no benefits and do double shifts under alias names without overtime, claims the union, which organized the Justice for Janitors campaign.
The charges are being made against Erlanger, Ky.-based Corporate Cleaning Systems, a janitorial contract company that cleans seven office parks in Carmel and on Indianapolis' Northeastside. Those include Castleton Office Park, Conseco Insurance's building and Meridian Plaza.
SEIU said that janitors working for CCS are paid $6 to $7 an hour, have no health insurance and most can get only part-time work. Some employees report unsafe working conditions and said they often must provide their own cleaning supplies.
This was a difficult decision for me because I did not want my opposition to the bill to be perceived as an endorsement of violence against the gay community.
As I was making this decision, I contacted Sheriffs and county prosecutors in all 18 counties of the 8th District because I wanted to hear from the people who investigate and prosecute violent crimes every day. I asked them whether this legislation would be a helpful tool for them, and those I heard from were unanimous that this legislation would not make our communities safer. I believe their responses were sincere.
I took many factors into consideration before ultimately deciding to vote against H.R. 1592. Not least of those factors was the input I received from my constituents. All told, I received nearly five times as many calls, emails and letters from opponents of the bill as I did from its supporters.
But that was not the only factor: I also question whether a federal hate crimes law would truly be effective in ending the abhorrent acts of violence that are fueled by hate.
The sad reality is that all violent crimes are in some way born of hate. I am sickened at the thought of any human being acting out in violence against any other human being. Thankfully, our society decided hundreds of years ago that acts of violence perpetrated against innocent individuals should be forbidden. These acts are criminal and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The chief law enforcement officers in our communities-our prosecutors-do their level-best to punish violent criminals for their actions. For this service, we owe them a debt of gratitude. However, prosecutors, whether at the local, state or federal level, cannot eradicate hate from our society. It is up to us-in how we raise our children and how we treat one another-to limit the impact hate has on our communities. But as long as there are people who hate, envy or are jealous or angry, there will be violent crimes against innocent people, regardless of whether a federal hate crimes law like H.R. 1592 is on the books.
Farmed fish have been fed meal spiked with the same chemical that has been linked to the pet food recall, but the contamination was probably too low to harm anyone who ate the fish, federal officials said Tuesday.
After pigs and chickens, the farmed fish mark the third food animal given contaminated feed. The level of contamination is expected to be too low to pose any danger to human health, said Dr. David Acheson, the FDA's assistant commissioner for food protection.
It wasn't immediately clear if any of the farmed fish entered the food supply. However, Acheson said at least one firm's fish were still too young and small to be sold. Investigators were visiting other U.S. aquaculture farms that used the contaminated feed. Farmed fish typically are sold for direct consumption or for stocking lakes and streams.
Melamine, a chemical found in plastics and pesticides and not approved for use in pet or human in the U.S., contaminated pet food that either sickened or killed an unknown number of dogs and cats. Since March 16, more than 100 brands of pet food have been recalled because they were contaminated with melamine.
U.S. investigators also have learned that the purported Chinese wheat gluten and a second ingredient, rice protein concentrate, were actually simple wheat flour. The flour was spiked with melamine and related, nitrogen-rich compounds to make it appear more protein rich than it was. In tests, nitrogen levels are measured to gauge the overall protein content of food ingredients.
"What we discovered is these are not wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate but in fact are wheat flour contaminated by melamine," Acheson said.
The FDA is considering enforcement options, he added. The ingredients came from two Chinese firms: Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. and Futian Biology Technology Co. Ltd.
The supposed wheat gluten was exported directly from China to Canada in a deal brokered by a U.S. company, ChemNutra Inc., Acheson said. ChemNutra also supplied the ingredient to a Canadian dog and cat food company, Menu Foods, that's since recalled dozens of brands.
Steve Stern, a ChemNutra spokesman, said the Las Vegas company actually only cobrokered the deal to supply wheat gluten to the fish meal producer: "We never owned it, we never sold it."
When asked why the company didn't disclose previously that it had had a part in that deal, Stern said: "I really haven't got an answer to that right now."
Menu Foods has said it faces more than 50 lawsuits. It in turn has sued ChemNutra. And the FDA has searched facilities belonging to both companies.
Happily, unlike Wired Magazine, they don't overuse the term "mash-ups" to describe what they're doing.