Saturday, December 31, 2011

'FYE Live' talents undergo vocal stage fashion and style workshop

By Alex P. Vidal


SURREY, British Columbia -- Nineteen FYE (For Your Entertainment) Live talents recently underwent a day-long workshop on Fashion and Style and Vocal Stage Performance Coaching supervised by their advisers and trainors at the Reyfort Media Group Studio here.
FYE managing director Socorro "Babes" Newland said they conducted the workshop in order to make the young singers as total performers.
"We want to train them not just to develop their good voice but to teach them how to project themselves with audience, to have an attitude while they perform," Newland said.
"We don't want them to be stereotyped only as singers but to also learn how to host and act on stage."
Floor director Debbie Arkoncel, who also acts as group fashion and set consultant, said they taught the FYE stars the basic of fashion.
"We wanted to make sure that the talents were aware how to fuse the colors together and make their attires well-coordinated with their performances because they aspire to become entertainment people," Arkoncel explained.
Talent and program coordinator Jackie Diy described all the FYE talents as "great performers."
"It is very informative, dynamic, eye-opener for all the paricipants. The information shared was based on wisdom and experience by the two mentors (Babes Newland and Debbie Arkoncel). It's definitely a good opportunity for all the talents to learn the proper way to carry themselves and to realize that as performers they uphold the standards that FYE Live are soon to be known for. This is aimed to set the bar really high and for this reason constant development of the talent are the big focus of MaxiPro Entertainment," Diy stressed.
FYE Live talents are composed of Nhemy "J.J." Cepeda, Jr., 12; Andre Legaspi, 11; Dominique Mailloux, 10; Mia Torres, 9; Bella Acero, 16; Ria Diy, 14; Vanessa Hillman, 15; and Sarah Cantuba, 18. 
Also in the group are Angel Escabarte, 15; JP Olin, 25; Martin Torres, 23; Nikki Pangilinan, 28; Vernice Paysan, 23; Charice Curata, 15; Russel Fegueroa, 26; Chantel Cruz, 10; AC Bonifacio, Marlowe and Mikaela Reyes.  
FYE Live is produced by Refort Media Group chairman Rey Fortaleza. It was formed on November 27, 2011. 
Other team members are floor director Jonathan Alday, logistics Benilda Fortaleza, assistant logistics Denise Diy, assistant program coordinator Jerry "PapaBear" Legaspi, videographer/editor Rolly Fortaleza and assistant Alvin Barrera.
Hosts include Winnie Chan, Andre Enriquez, Missey Reyes, Ronn Reyes, Miguel Maravilla, Tisha Newland. Performing comedians are Jojo "Bean" Alpuerto, Jerry "PapaBear" Legaspi and Aldo Endique. 


Friday, December 16, 2011

Why Canada's withdrawal from Kyoto Protocol is a big deal

"In some cases, in order to protect global issues some sacrifice for national interest is worth it in the long run. Global warming, these things, they suffer everybody." 
—DALAI LAMA


By Alex P. Vidal


VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- When reports started crisscrossing the news websites recently that Canada has decided to formally withdraw from Kyoto Protocol, I experienced my first global warming-generated chill while I was in Toronto.
It happened again Wednesday evening before I flew here when I picked up a daily paper in the bus from Toronto's St. Catherine of Siena Church: Canada is getting pummeled from pillar to post as a result of Environment Minister Peter Kent's announcement, following a marathon UN climate conference in South Africa, at which nations agreed to a new roadmap for worldwide action, that "We are invoking Canada's legal right to formally withdraw from Kyoto."
Kent said: "Kyoto is not the path forward for a global solution to climate change. If anything, it's an impediment. We believe that a new agreement with legally binding commitments for all major emitters that allows us as a country to continue to generate jobs and economic growth represents the path forward."


AGREEMENT


The Kyoto protocol, which was put in force on February 16, 2005, is an international agreement that sets a target reduction of GHG emissions for 37 industrialized countries and European communities starting from 2008 to 2012. Specifically, it requires an average reduction of five percent from the GHG emission recorded in 1990. 
To aid the countries in achieving their targets, the Kyoto Protocol allows “emissions trading” or the selling of excess allowable emission of carbon dioxide of a country to another country that is still behind its target reduction of GHG emission. The protocol also offers the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which allows Annex I countries to meet their targets by implementing emission-reduction projects in Non-Annex I countries. These projects can earn saleable credit emission reduction (CER) credits where each credit is equivalent to 1 ton of CO2 that can be accounted in attaining the Kyoto target. Through CDM, Annex I countries are able to not only meet their emission reduction target but also assist Non-Annex I countries in attaining sustainable development through partial profit from CER. 


MECHANISM


Another mechanism implemented by the Kyoto Protocol is Joint Implementation where an Annex I country can earn emission reduction units (ERU), each unit equivalent to 1 ton of CO2, from emission reduction projects of another member country of Annex I. 
However, the Kyoto Protocol is not a complete success because some of the member countries have failed to meet the agreed targets. 
It was reported that Canada agreed under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce CO2 emissions to 6.0 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, but its emissions of the gases blamed for damaging Earth's fragile climate system have instead increased sharply.
Saying the targets agreed to by a previous Liberal administration were unattainable, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government last year unveiled its own measures aimed at curbing emissions, in line with US efforts.


PENALTIES 


Pulling out of Kyoto now allows Canada to avoid paying penalties of up to CAN$14 billion (US$13.6 billion) for missing its targets.
Kent also cited major impacts on Canada's economy that will be avoided by withdrawing from the treaty.
"Under Kyoto, Canada is facing radical and irresponsible choices if we're to avoid punishing multi-billion-dollar payments," Kent said, noting that Canada produces barely two percent of global emissions.
"To meet the targets under Kyoto for 2012 would be the equivalent of either removing every car, truck, ATV, tractor, ambulance, police car, and vehicle of every kind from Canadian roads or closing down the entire farming and agricultural sector and cutting heat to every home, office, hospital, factory, and building in Canada."
AFP reported that for Kyoto supporters, the anticipated Canadian pullout was expected to be a symbolic blow and badly damage a UN climate process already weakened by divisions.
Last week at the UN climate conference in Durban, South Africa, Kent had already said that Kyoto was "in the past" for Canada.
"It is an agreement that covers fewer than 30 percent of global emissions, by some estimates 15 percent or less," the Canadian minister said.


CONFERENCE


The conference on December 11 approved a roadmap towards an accord that for the first time will bring all major greenhouse-gas emitters under a single legal roof.
If approved as scheduled in 2015, the pact will be operational from 2020 and become the prime weapon in the fight against climate change.
But environmentalists have called it porous.
Kent said that in the meantime, Canada would continue to try to reduce its emissions under a domestic plan that calls for a 20 percent cut from 2006 levels by 2020, or as critics point out, a mere three percent from 1990 levels.
AFP said the latest data last year showed that Canadian carbon emissions were currently up more than 35 percent from 1990.


PHILIPPINES


Under the Kyoto Protocol, developing countries such as the Philippines are called to pass and implement national measures that shall advance the international community’s agenda pertaining to environmental preservation through the reduction of greenhouse emissions (GHGs) in the atmosphere. 
Pursuant to the provisions in this treaty, the Philippines passed national legislations to uphold the agreements embedded in the Kyoto Protocol. The Clean Air Act of 1999, otherwise known as Republic Act 8749, was enacted in order to arrive at an effective air quality management program that will mitigate the worsening problem of air pollution in the country. 
Reinforcing the country’s drive towards a healthier environment was the enactment of the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (RA 9003) that aimed at providing a comprehensive solution to the country’s garbage problem.

Couple caught having sex inside train scandalizes Toronto

By Alex P. Vidal


TORONTO, Ontario — The story of a man and a woman caught having sex inside a train last December 11 grabbed headlines and continued to occupy prominent spaces in major dailies here even as train officials described the incident as “scandalous” after it was witnessed by children.
Police have charged the couple, believed to be homeless and intoxicated, with engaging in a lewd act on both the subway car and platform in the middle of the afternoon.
Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) chief general manager Gary Webster said in a statement he was relieved the couple in the impromptu tryst were not TTC employees.
“On the same light note, we were just pleased it wasn’t two TTC employees involved. That was our first concern when that happened,” Webster was quoted as saying by The Toronto Sun.


VIDEO


The incident was caught by video taken by a fellow passenger. “Sex in the city–there has to be a better way,” screamed Toronto Metro’s December 13 issue.
“The incident happened aboard a southbound train around 2:30 p.m. Sunday. A rider saw the couple–described as intoxicated and ‘old enough to know better’ by TTC spokesman Brad Ross–having sex and activated the passenger assistance alarm, said Ross,” reported the Toronto News Service. “The train stopped and a TTC guard boarded and kicked the couple off at Spadina station.”
They clearly weren’t satisfied and continued on the platform, it was reported.
“A video apparently shot by a passenger shows the train stopped as a man lies on top of a woman, moving rhythmically with his bare buttocks exposed. A TTC employee stands at a reasonable distance and appears to curse at the couple to stop,” added the report.


PASSENGER


A passenger described to The Toronto Sun what he saw: “Everybody sort of turned around and looked, then they’d look at the person across from them, then look back (at the couple). We couldn’t believe what we were seeing.”
Report said after the couple got off the subway car, “it was cleared of passengers and cordoned off before the train pulled out of Spadina station. The train car was taken out of service and cleaned once it reached the end of the line.”
They were charged and transported to the hospital due to their inerbriation, it was learned.
The TTC is the quick, convenient and safe way to get around Toronto. The subway system is linked with buses and streetcars.

In times of sorrow, Pinoys in Toronto unite

By Alex P. Vidal


TORONTO, Ontario — The gestures displayed by members of the caregiver community here in assisting the two caregivers who passed away recently is very admirable. In times of sorrow, we can always count on the benevolence and humility of our compatriots in this part of the world.
Before Maria Cleofe Tadia, 41, and Maria Precy Limpiado, 40, succumed to illnesses one after the other, “their legacy has touched so many lives especially among the caregiver community,” Faye Arellano wrote in the community news of the Filipino Bulleting here.
“Everyone agrees that the two certainly impressed upon them a new and meaningful relationship founded on the real spirit of love and friendship.”
Arellano narrated that “the death of Cleofe on November 1 brought together members of the community from far and wide in an overwhelming support to repatriate her remains to her native town of Oton in Iloilo, Philippines.
“The concerted efforts of the faith community, led by Fr. Ben Ebcas Jr., Pastor of the Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, made it possible to satisfy fully the cost of the funeral arrangements which amounted to $7,500. An additional $4,000 was also sent to Cleofe’s aging mother, Magdalene, in Iloilo shortly following the wake in Toronto.”
Arellano wrote further that “despite having no family or relatives in Canada, Cleofe’s friends demonstrated an outpouring of support in order to fulfill her mother’s plea to see the remains of her daughter for one last time.


FIVE YEARS


“It has been more than five years ago that Magdalena last saw her daughter who left home to work overseas. Cleofe first worked in Taiwan then Hong Kong prior to coming to Canada in September of 2009.
“Filipino staff from Balmoral Funeral Homes assumed the responsibility of preparing the funeral service for Cleofe without seeing any deposit to do the work. A word from Fr. Ebeas was good enough for them to start the necessary work from picking up Cleofe’s body from the hospital morgue to rendering a dignified funeral service at a North York chapel.
“By the evening of November 6th, a throng of people from the Legion of Mary; OLA; St. Joseph Convent, to name a few, attended the chapel together with Cleofe’s personal friends for a one-night vigil service led by Fr. Ben who will visit Cleofe’s mother and deliver in person any remaining donation for the latter’s welfare when he goes home to the Philippines early next year.”
Cancer-stricken Limpiado, on the other hand, passed away in her mother’s arm on October 7, added Arellano. “It was so beautiful and touching to see everyone in the community do their part to help someone in need,” Arellano quoted Caregivers’ Ministry volunteer Marife as saying during the wake. “This is very reassuring to see especially by those of us working as caregivers who do not have families and relatives in Canada.”


LOVED ONES


Limpiado was surrounded by her loved ones in Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines when she died. Arellano said Limpiado’s plight came to light when she appealed for help to the Filipino community in 2009.
“Without a job,” Arellano disclosed, “stripped of OHIP coverage and with mounting hospital bills, Limpiado sought the help of the community through the Caregivers’ Resource Centre (CRC) led by Terry Olayta. The community appealed to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to grant Limpiado permanent status on the basis of humanitarian and compassionate ground.
“Limpiado also actively took part in the community consultation with Minister Kenney, who eventually granted her permanent residence status. The consultation, along with community mobilization, resulted in reforms to the immigration laws and regulations in April 2010.”

Reject friend requests from pedophiles

By Alex P. Vidal

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — I am not against members of the “third sex”, but I am against pedophiles who sexually abuse and expose children to danger and violence.
When a suspected pedophile recently tarried in my Facebook wall and made a “friend request” (he probably thought I had many children friends), I did not only reject him, I also blocked him. 
I also warned “Art Jimeno” a.k.a “James Fabella” and “Rocky Leung” that if he did not disappear permanently, I would see to it that he was manacled and thrown to the calaboose.
I vowed to call authorities as soon as he attempted to think of invading the social network for his bestiality.
Pedophiles are everywhere. 
They are in sports leagues, churches, schools, fraternity groups, scout organizations, social networks, among other “sanctuaries.”


MORNING NEWS


I recalled this incident while watching the news this morning (December 9). 
The CBC News lady anchor described as “major” the news that Scouts Canada has issued a blanket apology to former scouts sexually abused by its volunteer leaders.
This was accompanied by the video of a high-ranking official of Scouts Canada apologizing before the Canadian TV. 
The story was indeed “major” because it dislodged the other controversial story about an RCMP officer accused of assaulting and sexually harassing four female colleagues in the 1990s.
The youth organization also announced that it has hired an outside company to review its past records and appointed an expert panel to examine whether its current child protection policies are working.
Scouts Canada’s announcement came nearly two months after an investigation by CBC News.


‘SINCERELY’


It was reported further that Steve Kent, the organization’s chief commissioner, mentioned in a video and written statement that the organization “sincerely and deeply” apologizes to any and all former scouts who suffered harm at the hands of leaders.
“Our sincere efforts to prevent such crimes have not always succeeded,” said Kent, who is also a Newfoundland politician. “We are sorry for that. We are saddened at any resulting harm.”
The announcement came nearly two months after an investigation by CBC-TV’s The Fifth Estate found that Scouts Canada kept a “confidential list” of pedophiles barred from the organization and also signed confidentiality agreements with child sex abuse victims.
The investigation revealed that Scouts leaders abused about 340 children from the 1940s until present.
Body of woman swept over 
Niagara Falls never found


BY ALEX P. VIDAL


NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — A group of Japanese tourists recently visited the place here where their compatriot had been swept over and presumed to have drowned last August 15 this year to offer flowers.
The group, composed mostly of students from Japan and led by Akira Kawabata, 28, lamented that four months since 20-year-old victim Ayano Tokumasu was swept over the falls while holding an umbrella, her body was not yet recovered until today.
The young Japanese woman, who disappeared after she lost her balance and fell, studied English at the Hansa Language Centre in Toronto.
Niagara Falls police confirmed surveillance footage from the visitors centre showed a young woman believed to be Tokumasu holding an umbrella, straddling a safety railing and looking at the falls.


CLIMB BACK


“But when she got up to climb back over the railing, she lost her balance and slipped into the rushing waters near the brink of Horseshoe Falls,” CBCnews Toronto had reported.
Police searched the waters below the falls on for several days but were unable to find the woman, report added.
Some of her friend and family members in Japan, which was immediately notified of the accident, had also visited the place.
The Associated Press reported that according to Niagara Parks Police in Ontario, “two female students in their 20s from the Toronto area were visiting the falls around Sunday night when one of them climbed onto a railing near the river’s edge and sat on a block pillar, with her legs straddling the railing.”


ENJOYING


According to the Los Angeles Times, she was enjoying the view from Table Rock when she was swept over Horseshoe Falls.
Police report said the woman stood up, lost her footing, and fell from the railing, which was located along the Canadian side of the Niagara River. The river is estimated to be 80 feet upstream from the edge of the falls.
The Montreal Gazette reported that “the strong current is what carried the woman to the falls.” After Niagara Parks police examined surveillance video, they claim “it appears that no one else was involved in this tragic accident.”

Law enforcement in Canada an inspiration for Philippines

BY ALEX P. VIDAL/December 9, 2011


EDMONTON, Alberta — In Canada, it’s the system that works, not power and influence wield by big shots and prominent politicians like in the Philippines and other Asian countries.
The biggest story in this Canadian city here today should inspire law enforcers in the Philippines and teach them to enforce the law without fear and favor.
For violating the law — or for having been accused of violating the traffic law — Edmonton MP Peter Goldring has voluntarily withdrawn from caucus after he was charged with refusing to take a breathalyzer test early Sunday following a fundraiser at the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex in north Edmonton.
“Our government takes drinking and driving very seriously,” Edmonton Journal quoted Sara MacIntyre, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s press secretary as saying.
She couldn’t comment further while the case is before court, except to say Goldring, 66, has withdrawn until charges are resolved, reported the Journal which has not received return call from Goldring as of this writing.


BREATH SAMPLE


Edmonton police spokesman Chad Orydzuk reported that Goldring was charged with refusing to provide a breath sample using the roadside screening test. Orydzuk said police pulled over the car near 95th Street and 153rd Avenue about 12:30 a.m. Dec. 4, three blocks from where Goldring held his annual constituency fundraising dinner at the Ukrainian Youth Association near 97th Street and 153rd Avenue.
Report said more than 100 people attended the Saturday night dinner, which featured a roast beef and perogy dinner along with a silent auction and a cash bar.
Edmonton-Castle Downs MLA Thomas Lukaszuk was the keynote speaker and sat at the same table as Goldring. He declined to say whether he saw Goldring drinking or whether the MP was intoxicated.
“I’m not qualified to judge that,” Lukaszuk said, adding he was talking to constituents for much of the evening.
The patrol that pulled Goldring over was in support of a broader Checkstop program, which wrapped up before individual police units spread out to do roving checks.
“They’re tasked with identifying and arresting suspected impaired drivers,” Orydzuk said. He couldn’t say if Goldring’s vehicle was seized, which is only done when safety is a concern. Someone drove Goldring home, Orydzuk said, since the charge brings an immediate 24-hour licence suspension, followed by a 21-day grace period and then a three-month licence suspension.


FINE


If convicted, Goldring faces a minimum $1,000 fine, up to five years in prison and potential restrictions on driving.
University of Alberta law professor Steven Penney said the charges of refusing a breath demand and that of impaired driving are “of equal seriousness.”
Under the Criminal Code, both charges carry the same penalties, including a driving suspension and fine.
Penney said refusal charges are actually easier for the Crown to prove than impaired charges, and aren’t often taken to trial.
“We don’t see them challenged very often, except when there is a charter argument that the police did not have the proper grounds to demand a sample,” he said.
Goldring has been a member of Parliament since 1997. In 2009, Goldring opposed proposed legislation changes that would allow police to screen all drivers with roadside breathalyzer tests, whether or not officers suspected the drivers had been drinking.
“It is safe to say everyone is opposed to drunk driving — but there are civil liberty issues involved,” Goldring posted in an article on his website at the time. “There is the presumption of innocence and the right to not self incriminate.”
Leila Moulder, president of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Edmonton chapter, said she was surprised to hear about the charge.


DISAPPOINTMENT


“It comes as a huge disappointment especially in light of the new legislation that’s around and all the buzz in the media right now, just to have this as one more challenge that we’re faced with,” Moulder said, making reference to proposed legislation under Premier Alison Redford to suspend the licences of motorists charged with having more than .08 blood alcohol content. Drivers who blow between .05 to .08 blood alcohol content will also face tougher sanctions.
“It’s unnerving, especially when somebody is in an elected position, a position of authority in the public eye,” Moulder said. “You need to have that greater responsibility and there was a lack of such responsibility in this issue.”
New Democratic Party MP Linda Duncan said Goldring has set a poor example.
“It’s disturbing in a number of areas,” the MP for Edmonton-Strathcona said.
“Of course, everyone in Alberta’s aware of the government pushing for stricter standards for impaired driving. So one would think elected officials would set a higher standard. Coming from a youth event? That’s pretty incredible.”
Duncan said the incident exposes the tough-on-crime federal government “for the hypocrites they are,” and noted that one Edmonton volunteer organization has in the past asked MPs to help drive intoxicated people on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
“This is the opposite of what we should be doing as elected officials,” she said of Goldring’s alleged actions on the day of the incident.
She also said it was “pretty reprehensible” that Goldring, in 2009, wrote that he was concerned about the risk to civil liberties of a proposal by Mothers Against Drunk Driving to require drivers to provide breath samples even if there is no grounds for suspicion.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sentencing of Dr. Murray and my text message to the Philippines

By Alex P. Vidal

LOS ANGELES, California
– Sometime in July this year, I made a promise to Health and Wealth publisher, Herbert Vego, not to disturb his sleep by sending a text message early in the morning in the Philippines (between 2 to 4 o’clock) if the news I wanted to relay was not a matter of life and death or something earthshaking, to say the least.
I did disrupt Mr. Vego’s trip to dreamland on June 26, 2009 (June 25 US time) morning when I sent a “flash” report through a text message in both his Globe and Smart cellphones: American pop star Michael Jackson had been declared dead upon arrival at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after his body arrived at around 1:14 o’clock in the afternoon.
At around 9:58 o’clock this morning (November 29 US time), I again roused him from sleep when he became the first beneficiary of my text message that screamed, “Flash report: Dr. Conrad Murray sentenced to four years in jail for death of Michael Jackson. Dramatic scene here in L.A. court!”
Having been at the Stanley Mosk Los Angeles Super Court several times in the past, it was not hard for me to worm my way inside the courthouse when 58-year-old Murray was handed a four-year jail term for “involuntary manslaughter” in the celebrity’s death by Judge Michael Pastor, who called the doctor’s treatment of the singer a “cycle of horrible medicine” and “medicine madness.”

EXPRESSION

I observed Dr. Murray’s facial expression from start to finish. 
He had a somber mood like John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a giant black man convicted of raping and killing two young white girls, arriving on death row in a 1999 Tom Hanks movie, The Green Mile
Coffey showed all the characteristics of being a "gentle giant": keeping to himself, soft-spoken, fearing darkness, and crying often.
The doctor was teary eyed and fighting back tears; he was aware being videoed inside the courtroom.
Last November 7, Murray was convicted by a jury.
Jackson's death had triggered grief around the world, creating unprecedented surges of Internet traffic and causing sales of his music and that of the Jackson 5 to increase dramatically.
Jackson, 50, was treated like a "medical experiment," the judge exploded, which factored into his decision to hand down the maximum sentence of four years, which the Jackson family had requested.
Jackson died of acute propofol intoxication after he suffered a respiratory arrest at his home in the Holmby Hills neighborhood in Los Angeles. Murray, his personal physician, said he found Jackson in his room, not breathing, but with a faint pulse, and that he administered CPR on his bed to no avail.
After a call was placed to 9-1-1 at 12:20 pm, Jackson was treated by paramedics at his home, and later pronounced dead at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. On August 28, 2009, the Los Angeles County Coroner ruled Jackson's death a homicide.
It was immediately reported that jail overcrowding could result in the four-year sentence being cut at least in half.

NOT ENOUGH

"Four years is not enough for someone's life," Katherine Jackson, the singer's mother, told a TV crew after sentencing. "It won't bring him back but at least he got the maximum."
"One hundred years is not enough," quipped Jermaine Jackson who said he would miss playing music with his brother Michael and being a family.
Along with Jermaine, Katherine, siblings LaToya, Tito, Rebbie and Randy were present at the sentencing, but did not speak, instead allowing family friend and attorney Brian Panish to read a statement on behalf of Jackson's three children and family.
In the statement, Jackson's children told the Los Angeles court that they lost their "father, best friend, and playmate" when the singer died, but stressed they were not seeking "revenge".
The statement asked the judge to "impose a sentence that reminds physicians they cannot sell their services to the highest bidder."
"As Michael's parents, we never imagined we would live to witness his passing," Panish read, on behalf of the singer's parents Katherine and Joe Jackson. "There is no way to describe the loss of our beloved brother, son, father and friend."

PLEAD

Murray's defense attorney pleaded with Pastor to consider the cardiologist's humble beginnings and good deeds, stressing that this was an unfortunate, tragic chapter in the doctor's life.
"Whether he's a barista or a greeter at Walmart, he's still going to be the man who killed Michael Jackson," Ed Chernoff said.
The defense lawyer also put some of the blame on Michael Jackson. "Michael Jackson was a drug seeker... He was a powerful, famous and wealthy individual."
The judge's tone grew sterner as he gave a scathing review of Murray's actions while treating Jackson, saying the doctor “violated his sworn oath for money, fame, prestige." He said there was a "recurring, continuous pattern of deceit, lies," and cited a "longstanding failure of character" by Murray.
Murray "unquestionably violated the trust and confidence of his patient," Pastor said.

TAPE


The judge also mentioned the tape that Murray made of a drugged up Michael Jackson who was slurring his words so badly he could barely be understood and suggested that Murray was contemplating a new tactic if he needed at a later date.
"That tape recording was Dr. Murray's insurance policy. It was designed to record his patient surreptitiously at that patient's most vulnerable point," Pastor said.
The judge called the recording a "horrific violation of trust," and asked, "What value would be placed on that tape recording if it were to be released?"
Prosecutor David Walgren read from a statement Katherine Jackson made shortly after her son's death, telling of how the family's world "collapsed" after Jackson died.
Walgren described how Jackson's daughter Paris was crying at the hospital. "I want to go with you," she told her father after he had passed.
"He trusted he would be cared for by Conrad Murray so he would see another day," Walgren said.
He mentioned that Jackson had plans to go into film making with his children, a passion they had recently developed.
The Jackson family watched from the packed court room.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Woman’s Evolution

"The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?'" 
--SIGMUND FREUD


By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY – Never mind that she was a veteran socialist. 
What will attract us to Evelyn Reed’s book, Woman’s Evolution, was the research she made for over 20 years for the book dubbed as “an impressive and absorbing reconstruction of human history” by Sociology. 
She takes us on a million-year expedition through prehistory from cannibalism to culture, and covers the world of the ancient matriarchy.
Tracing the origins of the “incest taboo,” blood rites, marriage, and the family, she reveals the leading role women once played. 
By pinpointing the relatively recent factors that led to patriarchal domination, she offers a fresh insight into the issues raised by today’s feminist movement—and refutes the myth that “human nature” is to blame for the male supremacy, greed, wars, and inequalities of modern society.
According to Reed, the early history of half the human species—womankind—has largely been hidden from view. “To bring it to light requires a reinvestigation of anthropology, where the role and accomplishments of women in prehistoric society are buried,” she explains. 
Her book is a contribution to unveiling that remarkable record.

RESURGENCE

She stresses that the resurgence of the women’s liberation movement in the 70’s has thrown the spotlight on certain dubious assumptions and disputed questions regarding the past. 
Foremost among these is the subject of the matriarchy. Reed asks, “Was there a period in history when women held a highly esteemed and influential place? 
If so, how did they lose their social eminence and become the subordinate sex in patriarchal society? 
Or is the matriarchy, as some say, a myth that has no historical basis?”
She contends that the matriarchy is one of the most hotly contested issues in a hundred-year controversy between contending schools in anthropology. 
Reed’s book affirms that the maternal clan system was the original form of social organization and explains why. 
It also traces the course of its development and the causes of its downfall. 
Such partisanship on the side of the matriarchy would alone make her book controversial. 
But it contains other challenges to long-held opinions on prehistoric society.
“Disagreements are to be expected in a field that covers so vast a stretch of human evolution, extending from the birth of our species to the threshold of civilization, and where the available data derived from biology, archeology, and anthropology is fragmentary and uncoordinated,” Reed writes.

SCIENCE

Anthropology was founded as a distinct science in the middle of the 19th century. 
Most of the founding fathers (women entered the profession only later) had an evolutionary approach. Reed says Morgan, Taylor, and other pioneers regarded anthropology as the study of the origin of society and the material forces at work in its progress. 
They made brilliant beginnings in illuminating the main stages in human development.
Reed says Morgan delineated three great epochs of social evolution—from savagery through barbarism to civilization. Each was marked off by decisive advances in the level of economic activity. 
The most rudimentary stage, savagery, was based on hunting and food-gathering. 
Barbarism began with food production through agriculture and stock-raising. 
Civilization crowned the development of the ancient world by bringing it to the point of commodity production and exchange.
These three epochs, she explains, were of extremely unequal duration. Savagery is sometimes differentiated into an earlier “primeval” and a later “primitive” stage, both of these rested upon a hunting and gathering economy. Savagery had a span of million-odd years, comprising more than 99 percent of human existence. 
Barbarism began about 8,000 years ago; civilization only three thousand years ago.

SAVAGE

The early investigators of savage society, to their own surprise, came upon a social structure totally different from ours, adds Reed.
“They found a clan and tribal system based on material kinship and in which women played a leading role,” she elaborates. 
“This stood out in sharp contrast with modern society which features the father-family and male supremacy. Although they were unable to tell how far back the maternal system went, we propose to show that it dates from the beginning of humankind.”
They made other astonishing discoveries. 
They observed that savage society had egalitarian social and sexual relations, arising from collective production and communal possession of property.
Reed says these features too were at odds with modern society, based on private property and class divisions. 
Thus the maternal clan system, which gave an honored place to women, was also a collectivist order where the members of both sexes enjoyed equality and did not suffer oppression or discrimination.
“Subsequently, these discoveries evoked doubts and resistance from the schools of anthropology that became dominant in the 20th century,” Reed points out. 
“There arose a deep division between evolutionists and anti-evolutionists that has persisted to the present day. It is only through the evolutionary approach, however, that the concealed history of women –and of men—can be uncovered.”

UNIVERSAL

The principle of universal evolution had already been applied to the problem of the genesis of Homo sapiens with the publication in 1871 of Charles Darwin’s book The Descent of Man.
After he demonstrated that the earliest sub-humans, the hominoids, arose out of the anthropoids, the question was posed: How did this transformation come out? In the following decades, biology, archeology, paleontology, and anthropology jointly assisted in the detective work required to clarify this problem.
Reed’s book adheres to the evolutionary and materialist method in utilizing these findings. 
It also presents a new theory about totemism and taboo, among the most enigmatic institutions of primeval and primitive society. 
Anthropologists of all persuasions have held the view that the ancient taboo on sexual intercourse with certain relatives, like our own taboo, arose out of a universal fear of incest. 
Reed’s book challenges that assumption. The ancient taboo existed—but it was primarily directed against the perils of cannibalism in the hunting epoch.

THEORY

Reed says the elimination of the theory of a universal incest taboo removes one of the most serious obstacles to understanding other savage institutions, such as the classificatory system of kinship, exogamy and endogamy, segregation of the sexes, rules of avoidance, blood revenge, the gift-exchange system, and the dual organization of the tribe. 
It clears the way toward an understanding of how society arose--and why it arose in no other from than the material clan system or matriarchy.
“The question of the matriarchy is decisive in establishing whether or not the modern father-family has always existed. The very structure of the material clan system precluded it,” Reed explains. 
“Instead of being the basic social unit from time immemorial, as most anthropologists contend, it is a late arrival in history, appearing only at the beginning of the civilized epoch.” 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our differences in taste

“All of life is a dispute over taste and tasting.” 
--FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

By Alex P. Vidal


HOLLYWOOD, California
– What is bad taste? How do we differentiate it from good taste? Who determines whether my taste, your taste, their taste is the better taste over someone else’s taste?
That people differ in their tastes is itself an indisputable fact. It is also true that there is no point in arguing with a man about what he likes or dislikes. But it is still quite possible to tell a man that he has poor taste and that what he likes is in itself not excellent or beautiful. Here there is plenty of room for argument.
Those who say there is no disputing about tastes usually mean more than they say. In our judgment they are wrong not in what they say but in what they mean. They start from the fact that people differ in taste, in what they like and dislike, and conclude that that is all there is to it.
They conclude, in other words, that in talking about works of art of things of beauty, the only opinions which people can express must take the familiar form of “I don’t know whether it’s beautiful or not, but I know what I like.”

SUBJECTIVE


This conclusion makes beauty entirely subjective or, as the saying goes, entirely a matter of individual taste. People sometimes take the same position about truth and goodness. The truth, they say, is merely what seems true to me. The good is merely what I regard as desirable. They thus reduce truth and goodness to matters of taste about which there can be no argument.
Let us illustrate the mistake they make. If a man says to us, “That object looks red to me,” we would be foolish to argue with him about how it looks. The fact that it looks gray to us has no bearing on how it looks to him.
Nevertheless, we may be able to show him that he is deceived by the reddish glow from a light shining on the object and that, in fact, the object is gray, not red. Even after we have proved this to him by physical tests, the object may still look red to him, but he will be able to recognize the difference between the appearance and the reality.

ILLUSTRATION

This simple illustration shows that while there is no point in arguing about how things look, there is good reason to argue about what things are.
Similarly, if a person insists upon telling us what he likes or dislikes in works of art, he is expressing purely subjective opinions which cannot be disputed. But good critics try to express objective judgments about the excellences or defects of a work itself. They are talking about the object, not about themselves.
Most of us know the difference between good and bad workmanship. If we hire a carpenter to make a table for us and he does a bad job, we point out to him that the table is unsteady or that its legs are too light for the weight of the top. What is true of carpentry is true of all the other arts. Like tables, works of fine art can be well made or poorly made. Well-made things have certain objective qualities which can be recognized by those who know what is involved in good or bad workmanship in the particular field of art.
To recognize excellence in a piece of music, one must have some knowledge of the art of composing music. If a man lacks such knowledge, of course, all he can say is that he likes or dislikes the music. The man who insists that that is all he or anyone else can say is simply confessing his own ignorance about music. He can go expressing his likes and dislikes in music, but he should not, in his ignorance, deny others the right to make objective judgments based on knowledge he does not have.

QUESTION


The question to ask anyone who insists that the beauty in works of art is entirely a matter of personal taste is whether some people have better taste than others. Do some men have good taste and others quite bad taste? Is it possible for a person to improve his taste?
An affirmative answer to these questions amounts to an admission that there are objective standards for making critical judgments about works of art. Having good taste consists in preferring that which is objectively more excellent. Acquiring good taste in some field of art depends on acquiring knowledge about the art and learning to recognize excellence in workmanship.
If there were no objective differences which made works of art more or less beautiful, it would be impossible to say that anyone has good or bad taste or that it is worth making a great effort to improve one’s taste.
Whether we like it or don’t
we have differences in taste

“All of life is a dispute over taste and tasting.” FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE



By Alex P. Vidal

HOLLYWOOD, California – What is bad taste? How do we differentiate it from good taste? Who determines whether my taste, your taste, their taste is the better taste over someone else’s taste?
That people differ in their tastes is itself an indisputable fact. It is also true that there is no point in arguing with a man about what he likes or dislikes. But it is still quite possible to tell a man that he has poor taste and that what he likes is in itself not excellent or beautiful. Here there is plenty of room for argument.
Those who say there is no disputing about tastes usually mean more than they say. In our judgment they are wrong not in what they say but in what they mean. They start from the fact that people differ in taste, in what they like and dislike, and conclude that that is all there is to it.
They conclude, in other words, that in talking about works of art of things of beauty, the only opinions which people can express must take the familiar form of “I don’t know whether it’s beautiful or not, but I know what I like.”

SUBJECTIVE

This conclusion makes beauty entirely subjective or, as the saying goes, entirely a matter of individual taste. People sometimes take the same position about truth and goodness. The truth, they say, is merely what seems true to me. The good is merely what I regard as desirable. They thus reduce truth and goodness to matters of taste about which there can be no argument.
Let us illustrate the mistake they make. If a man says to us, “That object looks red to me,” we would be foolish to argue with him about how it looks. The fact that it looks gray to us has no bearing on how it looks to him.
Nevertheless, we may be able to show him that he is deceived by the reddish glow from a light shining on the object and that, in fact, the object is gray, not red. Even after we have proved this to him by physical tests, the object may still look red to him, but he will be able to recognize the difference between the appearance and the reality.

ILLUSTRATION

This simple illustration shows that while there is no point in arguing about how things look, there is good reason to argue about what things are.
Similarly, if a person insists upon telling us what he likes or dislikes in works of art, he is expressing purely subjective opinions which cannot be disputed. But good critics try to express objective judgments about the excellences or defects of a work itself. They are talking about the object, not about themselves.
Most of us know the difference between good and bad workmanship. If we hire a carpenter to make a table for us and he does a bad job, we point out to him that the table is unsteady or that its legs are too light for the weight of the top. What is true of carpentry is true of all the other arts. Like tables, works of fine art can be well made or poorly made. Well-made things have certain objective qualities which can be recognized by those who know what is involved in good or bad workmanship in the particular field of art.
To recognize excellence in a piece of music, one must have some knowledge of the art of composing music. If a man lacks such knowledge, of course, all he can say is that he likes or dislikes the music. The man who insists that that is all he or anyone else can say is simply confessing his own ignorance about music. He can go expressing his likes and dislikes in music, but he should not, in his ignorance, deny others the right to make objective judgments based on knowledge he does not have.

QUESTION

The question to ask anyone who insists that the beauty in works of art is entirely a matter of personal taste is whether some people have better taste than others. Do some men have good taste and others quite bad taste? Is it possible for a person to improve his taste?
An affirmative answer to these questions amounts to an admission that there are objective standards for making critical judgments about works of art. Having good taste consists in preferring that which is objectively more excellent. Acquiring good taste in some field of art depends on acquiring knowledge about the art and learning to recognize excellence in workmanship.
If there were no objective differences which made works of art more or less beautiful, it would be impossible to say that anyone has good or bad taste or that it is worth making a great effort to improve one’s taste.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New estimates of universe's age

"Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work." 
--A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

By Alex P. Vidal

HOLLYWOOD, California – A major goal of astronomy has been to determine the age of the universe. Astronomers have been forced to accept imprecise estimates because of uncertainties in the data used in their calculations, according to The Five Biggest Ideas in Science co-authors Charles Wynn and Arthur Wiggins.
One technique for making estimates involves running the expansion of the universe in reverse, as though it were a movie film, they explain.
In the reversed movie, instead of moving away from each other, galaxies approach one another. 
They explain that the age of the universe in this scenario is the time it takes for the galaxies to meet simultaneously, re-creating the primeval fireball.

EXPANDING

“Assuming that the rate at which the universe is now expanding has been constant (and, thus, the rate in reversal is constant), the age of the universe can be calculated from the distances separating the galaxies now and the rate at which the universe is expanding,” write Wynn and Wiggins.
According to early data, the age of the universe was estimated at 2 billion years. 
But this value was inconsistent with the Earth’s estimated age of over 4 billion years! 
Subsequent data gave the universe an age of about 20 billion years.


QUESTION

Recently, the previously accepted age of the universe came under serious question because of more precise data obtained from the Hubble space telescope.
These data resulted in a much lower estimated age, 12 to 15 billion years. 
This age has created a crisis in astronomy as earlier estimates and the theories associated with them are reconsidered in light of the new findings.

Monday, November 21, 2011

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

National Union of Journalists 
of the Philippines
November 22, 2011

STATEMENT


The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) joins media organizations and other groups worldwide in commemorating the first International Day To End Impunity.

The massacre, considered the worst ever single attack against journalists, has become an infamous symbol of impunity as justice continues to be denied to the victims and their families.

Fifty-eight women and men died on November 23, 2009 after they were waylaid and slaughtered in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao by armed men believed to be under orders of the Ampatuan clan.

Thirty-two were media workers while six were passers-by. The body of media worker Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay remains missing.

Two years after the gruesome crime, 103 of the 196 suspects remain at large and only two of the principal suspects have been arraigned. The case remains snagged on hearings on petitions for bail of the accused.

Protest actions will be held nationwide on Nov. 23 to be led by NUJP chapters and other media groups and multi-sectoral organizations including in the United States, Dubai and Canada.

Around the world, protests and other actions will be held by affiliates of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) and other groups.

Similar activities will be held nationwide including Quezon, Cagayan de Oro, Baguio, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bacolod, Iloilo, Aklan, Leyte, Bukidnon, Davao, Sorsogon, Pagadian, Kidapawan, Agusan del Norte and in Canada and the United States.

In  Cagayan de Oro City, journalists will join a “walk for peace and press freedom” from Rodelsa Circle to the Press Freedom Monument where an ecumenical prayer rally to be led by Archbishop Antonion Ledesma will be held.

Media groups including the NUJP in Baguio City will hold a tree-planting activity at the Convention Center grounds before a torch parade along Session Road to the Peoples' Park.

In Iloilo City, the NUJP chapter will lead journalists in a Mass and motorcade of media vehicles, Balloons will be released after the Mass.

Media groups led by NUJP in Bukidnon will also hear Mass and hold a candle-lighting activity and motorcade.
           
Other activities include photo exhibits, film-showing, release of joint statements, wearing of black shirts, airing of public service ads calling for justice for the victims and their families and an end to impunity.

Reference:

Nestor Burgos Jr.
Chairperson
0917.7256.333

Rowena Paraan
Secretary General
0910.4950.095