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Fronnie Lewis - Editor

Archive | November, 2008

Welcome home space shuttle Endeavour

NASA TV   Strong crosswinds and thunderstorms in Florida forced a change of plans for the space shuttle landing today. So this afternoon, Endeavour returned to Earth with what NASA called a “safe and successful” landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California’s Mojave desert. Years ago, I was a TV news field producer assigned to cover the landing of a space shuttle at this base. I will never forget what an incredible sight it was to see the shuttle appear in the sky, float down, and land like a giant bird. Oh, a... Read More →

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“Four Christmases” wins the race at the holiday box office

Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon has quite a bit to smile about this Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Witherspoon stars with Vince Vaughn in the new romantic comedy, “Four Christmases” and it’s the number one movie in the country. Witherspoon won the best actress Oscar in 2006 for playing June Carter in “Walk the Line.” Nevertheless, the actress knows her way around a chick flick. The Tennessee native’s breakout film was the 2001 comedy, “Legally Blonde.”  The next year, she had another hit with the romantic comedy, “Sweet Home Alabama.” Witherspoon’s... Read More →

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Obama campaign book goes into second printing

Another Obama book is racking up the dough for another publisher — even before it’s official release date. PowerHouse Books reportedly has sold all 55 thousand of the first edition of “Yes We Can: Barack Obama’s History-Making Presidential Campaign,” by photographer Scout Tufankjian. The publisher has now ordered up 25 thousand copies of a second printing by the book’s release set for early December. The book includes more than 200 color photos by Tufankjian, who has a degree in political science from Yale University and  has worked for major newspapers and magazines like... Read More →

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Black Friday: from bargain shopping to violence and death

I will no longer be able to think of Black Friday as just the day after Thanksgiving that kick starts the holiday shopping season. Yesterday, the crowds showed up to hunt for bargains, but some really ugly incidents marred this yearly tradition.   About a 100 miles or so away at a Toys ‘R’ Us in Palm Desert, horrified shoppers watched two women go at each other in a bloody fistfight. Then, their two male companions upped the violence by engaging in a shootout that left both dead. Another shopping tragedy erupted across the nation... Read More →

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Thanksgiving blessings and Danielle Steel’s blog

Bestselling author Danielle Steel has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 550 million books. However, she’s never popped on the Internet to write a blog, until now.  Daniellesteel.net went online with its first post on Wednesday, October 29, 2008. Yesterday, I dropped by Steel’s blog and came across her touching November 26 post about Thanksgiving. Steel writes about being thankful when life is less than perfect. It’s a good reminder that fate throws some nasty blows at us all; even the rich and famous.   Steel’s latest hardcover is called... Read More →

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Writers dispute settled at Tyler Perry Studios

Terence Long/WGA –  Writers picket Tyler Perry Studios, October 4, 2008   Super-successful independent producer and now studio owner, Tyler Perry, has reached an agreement with the Writers Guild of America-West to allow his writers to work under a WGA contract. The settlement was reached with the aid of the NAACP-Hollywood Bureau and was announced on the WGA-West website Wednesday, November 26. It was a hard fought, bitter battle, which cost a handful of writers on the Perry produced TV shows, “House of Payne” their jobs. Frequently, some of the... Read More →

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Thanksgiving, Barack Obama, and the dreams of black folks

The political landscape of our country has changed dramatically since last Thanksgiving. Back in 2007, many of us were just trying to survive the last leg of the George Bush administration; keeping our fingers crossed that the glaring domestic and foreign policy problems would hold until a new president could be elected. That did not happen. We’re in the middle of two foreign wars that are getting worse and the country is in the depths of a recession, but there is hope with the election of Barack Obama. In aRead More →

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A jury reaches a decision in the MySpace hoax trial

Today a Los Angeles jury came back with mixed verdicts in the first ever so-called cyber bullying case. Lori Drew, a Missouri mother, is accused of conspiring with her daughter and a business assistant to send harassing Internet messages to 13-year-old Megan Meier who later committed suicide. Prosecutor says Drew helped orchestrate a ruse to have a make-believe boyfriend humilate the emotionally fragile Meier on the MySpace social network. Meier was once a good friend of Drew’s daughter, Sarah. Meier hanged herself in 2006, after receiving a message from the hoax boyfriend saying the world would be a better place... Read More →

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Serious rain on the way; evacuations in Southland burn areas

   While some folks scramble to find their rarely used umbrellas today, others in the Southland are either sandbagging or shoring up their properties in the areas charred by the recent wildfires. The threat of mudslides is so serious in Orange County, volunteer evacuations are recommended in the most fire-ravaged  canyon areas of Yorba Linda. Earlier this month, wind-whipped wildfires destroyed hundreds of homes and scorched thousands of acres in Santa Barbara, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties. Meanwhile, other communities like Sierra Madre are sandbagging as well because nearby hillsides were victimized... Read More →

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Missouri, McCain, and President-elect Obama

Three weeks ago today, Illinois Senator Barack Obama won the November 4 presidential election; he gave a gracious victory speech and his challenger, Arizona Senator John McCain, delivered an eloquent concession. However, the presidential election of 2008 did not wrap up until a few days ago when Missouri, the last state to complete counting presidential votes, announced its results.   Missouri’s ballot count did not change the outcome, but it was a record breaker. Barack Obama’s winds of change blew across the nation, but apparently missed a  chunk of red states in the middle of the country, in particular,... Read More →

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Bush administration bails out another financial high-roller

  The bigwigs running Citigroup, Inc. can rest easier in their plush offices, now that the Bush administration has tossed them $20 billion of taxpayer money. This is the second money lifeline for this mega-financial services company. Earlier, the government pumped $25 billion of our money into Citigroup. During a news conference this morning, President George Bush defended the rescue of Citigroup saying, “We have made these kind of decisions in the past. We made one last night. And if need be we will make these kind of decisions to safeguard our financial system in... Read More →

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“Twilight” lights up the Box Office

Google Image — Cast of “Twilight”   The vampire flick “Twilight” took a huge bite out of the Box Office over the weekend to become the number one film in the country. “Twilight” had an incredible debut with a haul of $70 million. The film version of Stephanie Meyer’s best selling teen vampire romance novel, “Twilight,” had eager moviegoers lining up at theaters nationwide for midnight screenings on Thursday. “Twilight” got off to a fast start, racking up $7 million from those midnight shows and close to $36 million on Friday.  Fans of the... Read More →

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A book deal for another Trump

  Google Image – Donald and Ivanka Trump   Ivanka Trump is following in the footsteps of mom and dad. The 27-year-old daughter of billionaire real estate mogul, television reality show host, and mega-personality Donald Trump has signed a book deal with Touchstone, according to the Publishers Weekly website. The former model is now an executive for the Trump Organization as well as the founder of her own line of jewelry. Ivanka reportedly will be writing a motivational book for women of her generation with the aid of co-author, Chris Morrow. The... Read More →

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Negotiations break down between SAG and the Producers

            Even with the help of a mediator, negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild and the producers imploded early this morning. SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have been haggling over a contract for months. The meeting with federal mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez was seen as a last ditch effort to avoid a strike by the union’s 120,000-plus members. SAG’s contract expired June 30, 2008. Today, SAG sent out a statement to the rank and file saying it had “…made difficult decisions and sacrifices... Read More →

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Another Metrolink train crash blamed on a blown red light

It’s happened again. Federal officials are now investigating yet another Metrolink crash in the Southland. This time, a Metrolink commuter train and a freight train banged metal in Rialto on Thursday. Five passengers on the commuter train were injured. This accident was not the catastrophe that occurred in Chatsworth back in September, when 25 people died and more than a 100 were injured after a Metrolink train and a freight train collided head-on. However, in both cases, investigators say the Metrolink train ran a red light. The Metrolink train in... Read More →

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Joe the Plumber becomes Joe the Author

  Joe the Plumber is really stretching his 15 minutes of fame. He’s that Ohio plumber who had a chat with then Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on the campaign trail, early last month. Joe, whose real name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, came away from that encounter criticizing Obama’s tax plan. Republican Presidential candidate John McCain leaped on this and outed Joe and his experience with Obama during the third presidential debate. It put Joe in the spotlight and despite his complaints about the media attention, he has been clinging to the fringes of... Read More →

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The stock market falls off a cliff and Treasury Secretary Paulson speaks out

Wall Street investors are getting very nervous about the economy and that makes the rest us pretty jumpy as well. Today the stock market tumbled off a cliff with a drop of 445 points, closing at 7,552. Apparently a host of bad economic news, including the failure of congress to come up with a solution to the Big Three automakers’ copped plea for a $25 billion bailout, sent stocks into a dive. Meanwhile this morning, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson spoke to a gathering at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in... Read More →

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Bill, Hillary, and that Obama cabinet job offer

Google Image -Bill and Hillary Clinton   I’m not feeling the Bill and Hillary Clinton love like I have in the past. Rumors are flying that President-elect Barack Obama is considering his former rival for Secretary of State. Senator Hillary Clinton has not said publicly if she is interested, but actions by her husband suggest she is. There are reports that Bill Clinton has agreed, for the first time, to release the names of big donors to the Clinton Foundation, submit to strict ethics review of his speeches, as well as... Read More →

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California high court to hear challenges to gay-marriage ban

FLLewis / A Writer’s Groove – Burbank Today the California Supreme Court handed opponents of Proposition 8 a partial victory. The high court agreed to review several lawsuits that challenge the anti-gay marriage measure, which passed by 52 percent in the General Election earlier this month. A hearing is set for next March. The proposition amends the state constitution to restrict marriage to “a man and a woman.” Since the November 4 election, angry gay-rights activists have marched in the streets and mounted legal action. Even though the high court will review the appeals, it will... Read More →

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Gas prices and the debate over the auto bailout

FLLewis / A Writer’s Groove – Burbank Gasoline prices are looking real good these days, but consumers are too busy struggling to stay afloat in the sinking economy to enjoy the bargains at the pumps. I was out this morning and found self-serve regular at two gas stations on Glenoaks Boulevard in Burbank selling at $2.39 a gallon. The Auto Club of Southern California website reports the average price of regular in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area today is $2.36 a gallon: it was $2.39 yesterday and $3.40 a month ago.... Read More →

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Officials call the Santa Barbara County wildfire an accident

  Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times — A Montecito home is destroyed by last Thursday’s wildfire.   Late today, officials announced last week’s destructive wildfire in Santa Barbara County was caused by a bonfire in the Tea House Garden area above the upscale enclave, Montecito. Some young people reportedly created the bonfire and thought they had put it out before they left. Sundowner winds of 70 miles an hour apparently whipped some of the remains of that bonfire into a firestorm on Thursday night.  More than 210 homes, including one owned by actor Christopher Lloyd, were... Read More →

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President-elect Obama touched by the plight of Southland fire victims

  Barack Obama greets the crowd at his victory rally in Chicago on election night.   President-elect Barack Obama is not in charge yet, but that has not stopped him from showing compassion and exerting his influence. At a news conference late yesterday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced he had received a phone call from President-elect Obama, “.. he and his transition team are in contact with the White House.” Mayor Villaraigosa cautioned there is only one president at a time, but indicated he was hopeful that Mr. Obama could... Read More →

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