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Friday, 14 August 2009
Sad hit: Les Paul: 1915-2009
Mood:  sad
Topic: Music
LOS ANGELES -- Les Paul, the guitar innovator and godfather of Steve Miller, has died. He was 94 years of age. Via the NY Times.
Les Paul, the virtuoso guitarist and inventor whose solid-body electric guitar and recording studio innovations changed the course of 20th-century popular music, died Thursday in White Plains, N.Y. . He was 94.

The cause was complications of pneumonia, the Gibson Guitar Corporation and his family announced. .

Mr. Paul was a remarkable musician as well as a tireless tinkerer. He played guitar alongside leading prewar jazz and pop musicians from Louis Armstrong to Bing Crosby. In the 1930s he began experimenting with guitar amplification, and by 1941 he had built what was probably the first solid-body electric guitar, although there are other claimants. With his guitar and the vocals of his wife, Mary Ford, he used overdubbing, multitrack recording and new electronic effects to create a string of hits in the 1950s.

Mr. Paul’s style encompassed the twang of country music, the harmonic richness of jazz and, later, the bite of rock ’n’ roll. For all his technological impact, though, he remained a down-home performer whose main goal, he often said, was to make people happy.

Mr. Paul, whose original name was Lester William Polsfuss, was born on June 9, 1915, in Waukesha, Wis. His childhood piano teacher wrote to his mother, “Your boy, Lester, will never learn music.” But he picked up harmonica, guitar and banjo by the time he was a teenager and started playing with country bands in the Midwest. In Chicago he performed for radio broadcasts on WLS and led the house band at WJJD; he billed himself as the Wizard of Waukesha, Hot Rod Red and Rhubarb Red.

His interest in gadgets came early. At the age of 10 he devised a harmonica holder from a coat hanger. Soon afterward he made his first amplified guitar by opening the back of a Sears acoustic model and inserting, behind the strings, the pickup from a dismantled Victrola. With the record player on, the acoustic guitar became an electric one. Later, he built his own pickup from ham radio earphone parts and assembled a recording machine using a Cadillac flywheel and the belt from a dentist’s drill.


From country music Mr. Paul moved into jazz, influenced by players like Django Reinhardt and Eddie Lang, who were using amplified hollow-body guitars to play hornlike single-note solo lines. He formed the Les Paul Trio in 1936 and moved to New York, where he was heard regularly on Fred Waring’s radio show from 1938 to 1941.

In 1940 or 1941 — the exact date is unknown — , Mr. Paul made his guitar breakthrough. Seeking to create electronically sustained notes on the guitar, he attached strings and two pickups to a wooden board with a guitar neck. “The log,” as he called it, if not the first solid-body electric guitar, became the most influential one.

“You could go out and eat and come back and the note would still be sounding,” Mr. Paul once said.

The odd-looking instrument drew derision when he first played it in public, so he hid the works inside a conventional-looking guitar. But the log was a conceptual turning point. With no acoustic resonance of its own, it was designed to generate an electronic signal that could be amplified and processed — the beginning of a sonic transformation of the world’s music.


In 1942, he had to stop making the music temporary as he was drafted to work for Armed Services Radio for about a year. He was then hired at KNBC as a staff musician. His trio also toured with the Andrews Sisters, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and others. He recorded It's Been a Long, Long Time" with Mr. Crosby in 1945. Mr. Crosby then convinced Mr. Paul to move to Los Angeles and build his own recording studio.

There he experimented with recording techniques, using them to create not realistic replicas of a performance but electronically enhanced fabrications. Toying with his mother’s old Victrola had shown him that changing the speed of a recording could alter both pitch and timbre. He could record at half-speed and replay the results at normal speed, creating the illusion of superhuman agility. He altered instrumental textures through microphone positioning and reverberation. Technology and studio effects, he realized, were instruments themselves.

He also noticed that by playing along with previous recordings, he could become a one-man ensemble. As early as his 1948 hit “Lover,” he made elaborate, multilayered recordings, using two acetate disc machines, which demanded that each layer of music be captured in a single take. From discs he moved to magnetic tape, and in the late 1950s he built the first eight-track multitrack recorder. Each track could be recorded and altered separately, without affecting the others. The machine ushered in the modern recording era.

He then met and teamed up with Colleen Summers, who had been singing with Gene Autry's band. Mr. Paul then changed her name to Mary Ford, a name he found in a Los Angeles telephone book. They were touring together in 1948 when Mr. Paul's vehicle skidded off an icy bridge. He shattered his right elbow in the accident and once set, it was immovable for life. It was the most prominent of his many injuries. In order to keep playing his guitars, Mr. Paul had the elbow set at an acute angle, or slightly less than 90 degrees. Mr. Paul's first marriage, to Virginia, failed and in 1949 he remarried -- this time, to Ms. Ford. The couple then started their own television show that lasted until 1958. They then recorded together, by mixing her vocals with his guitars and effects. The results became hits in the 1950s. Among their 36+ hits are “Mockingbird Hill,” “How High the Moon” and “The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise” in 1951 and “Vaya Con Dios” in 1953 -- each million-sellers.

Some of their music was recorded with microphones hanging in various rooms of the house, including one over the kitchen sink, so that Ms. Ford could record vocals while washing dishes. Mr. Paul also recorded instrumentals on his own, including the hits “Whispering,” “Tiger Rag” and “Meet Mister Callaghan” in 1951 and 1952.

The Gibson company hired Mr. Paul to design a Les Paul model guitar in the early 1950s, and variations of the first 1952 model have sold steadily ever since, accounting at one point for half of the privately held company’s total sales. Built with Mr. Paul’s patented pickups, his design is prized for its clarity and sustained tone. It has been used bymusicians like Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Slash of Guns N’ Roses. The Les Paul Standard version is unchanged since 1958, the company says. In the mid-1950s, Mr. Paul and Ms. Ford moved to a house in Mahwah, N.J., where Mr. Paul eventually installed both film and recording studios and amassed a collection of hundreds of guitars.

The hit streak ended in 1961, and the couple divorced in 1964 -- the second divorce Mr. Paul endured. Mrs. Ford died in 1977.

In 1964, Mr. Paul underwent surgery for a broken eardrum, and he began suffering from arthritis in 1965. Through the 1960s he concentrated on designing guitars for Gibson. He invented and patented various pickups and transducers, as well as devices like the Les Paulverizer, an echo-repeat device, which he introduced in 1974. In the late 1970s he made two albums with the dean of country guitarists, Chet Atkins.

In 1981 Mr. Paul underwent a quintuple-bypass heart operation. After recuperating, he returned to performing, though the progress of his arthritis forced him to relearn the guitar. In 1983 he started to play weekly performances at Fat Tuesday’s, an intimate Manhattan jazz club. “I was always happiest playing in a club,” he said in a 1987 interview. “So I decided to find a nice little club in New York that I would be happy to play in.”

After Fat Tuesday’s closed in 1995, he moved his Monday-night residency to Iridium. He performed there until early June; guest stars have been appearing with his trio since then and will continue to do so indefinitely, a spokesman for the club said.

At his shows he used one of his own customized guitars, which included a microphone on a gooseneck pointing toward his mouth so that he could talk through the guitar. In his sets he would mix reminiscences, wisecracks and comments with versions of jazz standards. Guests — famous and unknown — showed up to pay homage or test themselves against him. Despite paralysis in some fingers on both hands, he retained some of his remarkable speed and fluency. Mr. Paul also performed regularly at jazz festivals through the 1980s.

He recorded a final album, “American Made, World Played” (Capitol), to celebrate his 90th birthday in 2005. It featured guest appearances by Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Sting, Joe Perry of Aerosmith and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. The album brought him two Grammy Awards: for best pop instrumental performance and best rock instrumental performance. He had already won recognition from the Grammy trustees for technical achievements and another performance Grammy in 1976, for the album “Chester and Lester,” made with Chet Atkins.

In recent years, he said he was working on another major invention but would not reveal what it was.

“Honestly, I never strove to be an Edison,” he said in a 1991 interview in The New York Times. “The only reason I invented these things was because I didn’t have them and neither did anyone else. I had no choice, really.”

He is survived by four children, Lester (Rus) G. Paul, Gene W. Paul and Robert (Bobby) R. Paul, and Colleen West; his companion, Arlene Palmer; godson Steve Miller; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Les Paul has influenced every person in the contemporary music business today. He also has the best-selling guitar line today. Mr. Paul will be sorely missed by us all. The music truly did die today. 

Posted by jovan29853 at 6:44 PM EDT
Thursday, 25 June 2009
BREAKING NEWS: One of the 1980s Big Three dies

LOS ANGELES - And then there were two.

Michael Jackson passed away at 3:21 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time at the California-Los Angeles Hospital.  He is the second member of his family to die this decade.  A lesser-known brother of his was killed by a girlfriend at the Jacksons' birthplace of Gary, IN in 2006.

Mr. Jackson still holds the record for most albums sold worldwide and has the second-best selling album of all time, 1982's Thriller.

He was arrested in 2003, the same day that it was announced that Prince, one of the now-surviving Big Two from the 1980s, got his call to Cleveland.  He was acquitted of all the charges against him a few years later. 

Jackson began his career in the mid-1960s as part of the Jackson Five.  In 1975, Jackson began his solo career.

He was inducted twice to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, most recently in 2001.

Jackson would have been 51 on August 29. 

Posted by jovan29853 at 6:56 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 25 June 2009 7:12 PM EDT
BREAKING NEWS: Farrah Fawcett (1947-2009) loses battle with cancer

LOS ANGELES -- Farrah Fawcett, who played a battered 1970s wife on the 1984 movie The Burning Bed and posed naked for Playboy at 48 years of age, has died. She was 62.

Per a rep at Rogers & Cowan, Fawcett's publicity firm, the actress passed away at 12:28 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Ryan O'Neal, Fawcett's longtime leading man, and friend Alana Stewart with her, the statement said.

In an interview to air tonight on 20/20, O'Neal said he'd recently proposed to the ailing Fawcett, and that she'd accepted. The Love Story actor sounded certain the longtime unmarrieds would—finally—tie the knot.

"We will, as soon as she can say yes," O'Neal said. "Maybe we can just nod her head."

Fawcett, who in recent months had stopped receiving cancer treatment, talked frankly about her battle in Farrah's Story, a raw, camcorder-shot documentary that aired in May on NBC.

"I know that everyone will die eventually, but I do not want to die of this disease," Fawcett said in the film.

"I want to stay alive." 

 A turning point in Fawcett's career came in 1984, when she earned an Emmy nomination, and finally respect, as the battered wife in The Burning Bed. She went on to rate two more Emmy nods, one for the 1989 TV-movie, Small Sacrifices, and one for a 2001 guest appearance on The Guardian. She garnered Oscar buzz for playing a revenge-seeking rape victim in the 1986 film, Extremities, a project she first tackled off-Broadway.

If anything, Fawcett's Playboy pictorial was the highlight of the period. Age 48 and sans a red—or any other kind of—bathing suit, Fawcett posed nude, and brought Hugh Hefner's empire its best-selling issue of the decade.


Ms. Fawcett was an American icon. She will be sorely missed.

Posted by jovan29853 at 1:24 PM EDT
Sunday, 31 May 2009
Anti-choice terrorists assassinate America's OB-GYN
Topic: News
WICHITA -- I am absolutely livid right now with this brazen act of terrorism by the anti-abortion activists.

Dr. George Tiller, the person who I called America's OB-GYN for all the great work he did for women all over the nation, was assassinated by a 51-year-old man who was a member of numerous anti-choice terrorist organizations.

Dr. Tiller was shot around 11:05 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (10:05 a.m. Wichita time). He died instantly from the wound.

Along with the rest of the people who work for Planned Parenthood collectively, Dr. Tiller was named #7 on the list of the 106 best people of the year by this blog in 2008.

The terrorist was apprehended just after 3 p.m. EDT nearly 180 miles away from the crime scene.

Again, I am furious at these anti-abortion activists. Every anti-abortion activist in America bascially aided and abbetted this cold-blooded terrorist. They are the ones who fomented this violence for the last 27 years -- spending 24 of them plotting to assassinate Dr. Tiller.

Which brings me to another sickening trend: these doctors get terrorized by the anti-abortion movement every single hour for saving pregnant women from certain death during childbirth.

Yet, the anti-choice activists get mad whenever they are called out for their acts of terrorism, such as the case in 2007 in Albuquerque.

The anti-choice activists are now "condemning" this act. Let me tell you what they are doing right now. They are trying to avoid any responsiblity for their role in this blatant act of terrorism. Every single anti-choice activist in America has blood on their hands right now because every last one of them are equally as responsible for this terrorist attack as the 51-year-old man currently being questioned by Wichita authorites.

The anti-abortion movement likes to say that they are peaceful. Bullshit. The anti-abortion movement is a movement that engages in acts of terrorism on a strikingly similar scale to that of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

In fact, the anti-abortion movement is America's al-Qaida.

Posted by jovan29853 at 8:41 PM EDT
Monday, 25 May 2009
Ellen DeGeneres at Tulane
NEW ORLEANS -- Ellen DeGeneres spoke about the trials and tribulations of her 50 years (including coming out) during commencement exercises at Tulane University. Vid below:
Via Samhita of Feministing.

Posted by jovan29853 at 8:17 PM EDT
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Kelly Bensimon and her lawyer engages in blatant victim-blaming

NEW YORK CITY -- This is just like the Chris Brown-Rhianna situation, but the gender roles are reversed: the abuser (in this case, Kelly Bensimon) is blaming the victim (in this case, Nicholas Stefanov) for the abuser's actions.

Tuesday, Ms. Bensimon was in court for a hearing on the domestic violence charges that was filed against her 21 days earlier.


The lawyer for Kelly Killoren Bensimon - one of "The Real Housewives of New York City" - says her jilted beau was responsible for the lovers' quarrel that landed the reality star in court.

"I can't believe the guy went to the police," defense attorney Ed Hayes said Tuesday. "It is very, very mean-spirited. It's not like she's in his apartment. He's in her apartment."

Hayes said there was a break-up between Bensimon and Nicholas Stefanov, followed by a scuffle in her Manhattan apartment when he refused to leave.

"It's the reverse of a jilted girlfriend," Hayes said after a brief court appearance. "He's a rejected boyfriend."

While prosecutors asked for an extension of an order of protection for Stefanov, Hayes charged the ex-boyfriend was sending Bensimon threatening e-mails.

"I'm going to make your life misery," read one of the missives cited by Hayes.

Bensimon, 40, the ex-wife of famous fashion photographer Giles Bensimon, was dressed in black from head to toe for her courtroom appearance. The case was put off until June 8.

The mother of two girls was accused of punching 30-year-old Stefanov in the face, causing lacerations below the left eye and "substantial pain," according to a complaint he filed with police.

"I'm devastated my girls and I have to go through something like this," said Bensimon, sporting a gold watch and diamond stud earrings. "They don't need to be exposed to something like this."

Bensimon, a model and editor, was confident the case would be resolved in her favor. "The only time I'll ever be here again is for jury duty," she said.

She could face up to a year behind bars if convicted.



So Ms. Bensimon says that she's "devastated" that she and her daughters have to go through something like this? I call bullshit on that. She is NOT devastated that she and her daughters have to go through the legal proceedings. The ONLY thing Ms. Bensimon is "devastated" about is that she got jailed for abusing her boyfriend repeatedly.

Then, Mr. Hayes, her attorney, couldn't believe that Mr. Stefanov went to the police and called Mr. Stefanov's actions as "mean-spirited"? Again, that is bullshit. The ONLY thing I found that was mean-spirited was Mr. Hayes remarks. In fact, Mr. Hayes remarks were absolutely callous.

Then, Mr. Hayes shows his true colors by slandering Mr. Stefanov. Mr. Hayes claimed that Mr. Stefanov sent threatening e-mails towards Ms. Bensimon, Mr. Hayes's client.

I wish that the prosecutors would have pushed for a ten-year jail term for Ms. Bensimon and send a message that domestic violence will not be tolerated. Even if Ms. Bensimon is convicted and jailed for one year, it will still be a major injustice for male victims of domestic violence.

Ms. Bensimon and Mr. Hayes are sorry excuses for human beings. They would rather engage in callous victim-blaming instead of trying to resolve the charges against her. They would rather slander Mr. Stefanov instead of taking responsibility for her abusive ways.

It is time to send a message to the media that enough is enough!

Contact these media outlets and tell them to stop blaming Nicholas Stefanov for this incident! Also tell these outlets to stop giving Kelly Bensimon a free pass for her abusive ways!

New York Daily News: 1-212-210-2100


New York Times: 1-888-NYT-NEWS or

New York Post: Steve Cuozzo, Mike Shain, Richard Johnson or 1-212-930-8000

Wall Street Journal, The: 1-212-416-2000

Associated Press: 1-212-621-1500

Fox News:

NBC: TODAY -- also tell them to condemn Al Roker's remarks.


Disney: Contact Good Morning America

Also, please take action and demand that NBC and Bravo remove Kelly Bensimon from the Real Housewives of New York City.

Posted by jovan29853 at 12:26 PM EDT
Guiding Light's date of death is September 18
NEW YORK CITY -- The Columbia Broadcast System is pulling the plug on Guiding Light after 72 years.

CBS announced Wednesday the cancellation of the longest-running scripted program in broadcasting history, the soap opera “Guiding Light.”

The show has been on radio and television for 72 years, beginning on NBC radio in 1937 and moving to CBS television in 1952.

The show’s run will end with an episode Sept. 18.

The move came after many years of steeply declining ratings for the hourlong soap, which is owned by Procter & Gamble and thus was a link to the earliest days of daytime serial dramas on radio. The shows were eventually called soap operas because soap companies sponsored them.

A spokeswoman for P.&G., Jeannie Tharrington, said the company would seek to place Guiding Light elsewhere. “We’re looking at all our options,” she said. “This show started as a 15-minute radio show, and then it was a half-hour television show, so it has adapted over the years.”

Ms. Tharrington said P.&G. would look to any possible outlet to continue the series. A canceled NBC soap, Passions, moved for a time to the satellite service DirecTV, but it failed there and is now gone.

None of the producers or stars of Guiding Light would grant an interview Wednesday about the decision. “The news is too fresh,” Ms. Tharrington said.

In an official statement, Ellen Wheeler, the executive producer, said, “It will be difficult for all of us at the show to say goodbye.”

The CBS president, Nancy Tellem, said, “It was not an easy decision to make, but we talked it over with our partners at Procter & Gamble, and we agreed it was time.” Ms. Tellem said she had not heard that P.&G. was looking to place the show elsewhere but said that CBS would wish the company well in that effort.

The biggest star in the show’s current cast is Kim Zimmer, a four-time Emmy winner for best actress in a daytime serial. Another star, Justin Deas, has won six Emmys for his acting. The show also provided breakthroughs for many well-known actors, including Kevin Bacon, James Earl Jones, Calista Flockhart, Allison Janney and Cicely Tyson. Guiding Light claims the distinction of being the first network soap to introduce regular African-American characters, in 1966.

CBS and the producers of Guiding Light — which is shot on the East Coast, in the CBS Broadcast Center in Manhattan and on location in Peapack, N.J. — had taken several steps in recent years to keep the series alive, especially in switching the production to a digital format.

That move, last year, included the introduction of hand-held digital cameras and permanent, four-wall sets as opposed to the traditional, constantly reconstructed three-wall sets built by soaps to accommodate bulky pedestal cameras. Rather than expensive lighting and sound equipment, the show also began using hand-held lights and microphones.

The changes resulted in a look vastly different from the traditional soap, with more camera movement, more muted lighting and much more use of outside locations. The moves saved considerable money, according to CBS executives.

But not enough to save the series. This year the audience for Guiding Light had declined to an average of just 2.1 million viewers an episode. Its pattern over recent years had been steadily downward. Last year it averaged about 2.4 million viewers an episode. Five years ago the average was about 3 million viewers.

Guiding Light also had the smallest audience of any of the remaining network daytime soaps and a smaller audience than many of the game and talk shows that also fill network daytime hours. The most-watched soap, The Young and the Restless on CBS, is averaging about 5.26 million viewers an episode. The network’s game show The Price Is Right has an average of about 4.95 million viewers. ABC’s talk show The View averages about 4.25 million viewers.

ABC’s top soap, General Hospital, averages about 2.97 million viewers, and NBC’s only soap, Days of Our Lives, has about 2.76 million, though those shows have much younger audiences, making them more desirable to many advertisers.

Ms. Tellem said that the hour devoted to Guiding Light — its scheduling has varied in different cities from 10 a.m. in New York to as late a 3 p.m. in some cities — will be retained by CBS. The network is likely to fill it with another game show or talk show, she said.

When Guiding Light ends, another CBS soap, As the World Turns — also shot in New York — will become the longest-running daytime serial drama. It started in 1956.



I used to watch Guiding Light from 2002 to 2005 -- at about the time GMT in nearby Aiken closed. This is a big loss for CBS. There are options -- one such option is simulcasting the Tyra Banks Show along with the CW, a network that CBS owns 50% of. That is the only option I can think of for right now. In the meantime, let us shed tears for this soap.



Now playing: Genesis - Fading Lights

via FoxyTunes



Posted by jovan29853 at 11:57 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 2 April 2009 12:09 PM EDT
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Bravo still has abusive Housewife on program

NEW YORK CITY -- As you may well know, I have already posted thrice about Kelly Bensimon -- more times than any other person.

To date, Bravo is still condoning women hitting men by keeping her on. It is revolting and everyone should be outraged by Bravo's support for a domestic abuser.

Three weeks ago, Ms. Bensimon was arrested for hitting her boyfriend. Since then, nearly everyone in the media has publicly come out and basically condoned her abusive ways and laughed at the male victim of her abuse. One of the most disgusting example of this came from Al Roker, who called the male victim a "wimp" for getting punched by Ms. Bensimon.

The actions of the media surrounding this case has been nothing short of disgusting. I never knew that the media would be so heartless in treating male victims of domestic violence like non-humans.

Once again, I am calling for the removal of Kelly Bensimon form the Real Housewives of New York City. This time I am also calling for a boycott of ALL of the Real Housewives shows (including the Atlanta and Orange County series) until Ms. Bensimon is fired. I will keep on posting these action alerts until this abuser is off the show.

Send your thoughts to NBC Universal or to Bravo and tell them that you will be BOYCOTTING all of the Real Housewives episodes until they fire Ms. Bensimon!

Posted by jovan29853 at 1:49 PM EDT
Monday, 16 March 2009
Fighting over America's Next Top Model
NEW YORK CITY -- It's bad enough that people are pushing each other and fatally stampeding each other on the day after Thanksgiving in New York City, Barnwell and other locales big and small, looking to be the first to take advantage of the big sales.

On Saturday, things got a whole lot uglier at a casting call for the 5 foot 7 inch and under cycle of America's Next Top Model.

Three people were arrested and charged as the casting call became a free-for-all. It all started when an immature person yelled "Fire!" and "There's a bomb!"

The driver of the Beemer was Sedrick Myrtil, a student at upstate Binghamton University.

"People were really freaking out about the smoke," the 21-year-old said. "There was pandemonium, and the cops got really upset about my car."

His mom was also smoking Sunday - angrily demanding to know why he was in the city when he had told her that he wasn't.

"I thought he was in school," said Violette Myrtil, 64, of Rockland County.


Mr. Myrtil's mother has every right to be angry with him over his lies. His lying over his location directly caused the cancellation of the casting call.

There were a lot of disappointed women who never got to try out. And a lot more disappointed (and angry) fans.

Folks, has it come down to this?


Unbelievable that a 99-cent hamburger gets people murdered these days. Unbelievable that people would stampede each other at the shopping center during the annual day after Thanksgiving sale so that they are the very first to get to a sale. Unbelievable that a 21-year-old man lying about his location caused a bunch of people have to fight in order to get their shot at fame with the CW and Tyra Banks.

And speaking of, WPIX -- the flagship CW station -- said that they are cooperating with the New York Police Department and Nassau County Sheriff's Office in regards to this incident.

But it took the 5 foot-11 inch model another 19 hours in order to produce a statement of any kind, and she didn't answer her fans' accommodations. Instead, it was this statement:

"We appreciate the efforts of the NYPD and will assist them in any way possible in this matter," Ms. Banks and her executive producer Ken Mok said tersely.

What's more, evidence of the free-for-all is still at the location.

What has happened to order? What has happened to civil?

What a sad day for a lot of aspiring models.

Posted by jovan29853 at 3:09 PM EDT
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Domestic violence, celebrity style
Usually, I don't talk about the NFL anymore after the first winless season in 32 years. But, I have to bring up this story since it deals with domestic violence when celebs are involved. A Tampa Buccaneer linebacker is recovering after being stabbed in the neck by his girlfriend. Via.

The girlfriend of Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Geno Hayes stabbed him in the head with a pair of scissors and in the neck with a knife, Hillsborough County deputies say.

Hayes was taken to a hospital by a friend, and he was treated and released, Hillsborough County sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

Deputies arrested 19-year-old Shevelle Bagley at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Carter said.

Bagley was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

The incident began with an argument Saturday, and Bagley grabbed a pair of scissors, stabbing Hayes and causing a superficial wound to Hayes' head, Carter said. Hayes got the scissors away from Bagley.
Then Bagley "grabbed a knife and stabbed him in the neck," Carter said.

Bagley's bail was set at $25,000. She has since been released.

Hayes, 21, was a sixth-round pick by Tampa Bay in the 2008 NFL Draft. The former Florida State University player made eight tackles last season for the Bucs.

Reporter Josh Poltilove can be reached at (813) 259-7691.

Speaking of domestic violence amongst celebs, Oprah Winfrey warns Rihanna that Chris Brown will hit her again.

Oprah Winfrey has a message for pop princess Rihanna, who prosecutors say was beaten to a pulp last month by boyfriend Chris Brown: "He will hit you again."

Former Manhattan sex-crimes prosecutor Linda Fairstein's warning is starker: He also could kill you.

Fairstein compared the fist-happy crooner to O.J. Simpson, who repeatedly beat his wife without consequence before she was slain in 1994.

Rihanna's reported reconciliation with Brown after her Feb. 8 pummeling sparked an outpouring of debate, controversy and motherly advice.

"Love doesn't hurt," Winfrey said on her show Friday, while announcing she will dedicate a program this week to discussing domestic violence.

"I want to do a show about it, dedicated to all the Rihannas of the world."

Speaking directly into the camera, Winfrey said, "If a man hits you once, he will hit you again. He will hit you again."

Sex crimes expert Fairstein warned Rihanna - as 21-year-old Barbadian singer Robyn Rihanna Fenty is known - that she risks not just another bloodying, but her very life.

"Many of the circumstances in her case were like the early warning signs in the O.J. Simpson case," Fairstein said.

She pointed to several "red flags" that suggest Rihanna could be in the same danger as Nicole Brown Simpson was 15 years ago, getting hit repeatedly but not pressing charges and then reconciling with the former running back.

The allegation that Chris Brown choked Rihanna while saying "Now I'm really going to kill you" is a particularly bad sign, Fairstein said.

"Choking behavior is a very interesting factor. It's hands on, face-to-face. It's a very intimate type of violence," she said.

New police techniques that assess an offender's potential lethality based on a list of warning factors should be used in this case, Fairstein said.

Also, a Real Housewife of NYC was arrested for assaulting her boyfriend.

New York's newest "Real Housewife" is denying blockbuster charges that she beat up her boyfriend, but the bruised beau said it happened - and it wasn't the first time.

Kelly Killoren Bensimon, 40, was arrested last week for misdemeanor assault after 30-year-old Nicholas Stefanov called cops, saying she punched him.

Bensimon, who appears on Bravo's hit reality show "The Real Housewives of New York City," hit him "with a closed fist, thereby causing informant to suffer a laceration below informant's left eye and substantial pain," the criminal complaint he filed with police charges.

The model/editor/reality TV star - who is actually divorced - turned herself in Thursday, two days after the incident. She was released on her own recognizance.

"The allegations are by a jilted lover saying she struck him during the course of an argument," said her lawyer Stephen Turano. "We deny the charges, and we are hopeful this will be resolved."

In an exclusive interview, Stefanov said he still loves Bensimon, but blamed stress from their recent engagement and the pressure of being on the show for causing her to snap.

"She is a great girl," he said. "I do want to work it out. But what are you supposed to do when a girl is hitting you, just sit there like a punching bag?

"If I had hit her, I'd be sitting in a jail cell right now," he said, adding that it was not the first time he's been socked by Bensimon.

Stefanov said he called cops because he wanted the incident on the record, but that he doesn't want to press charges. It's out of his hands now, however, as cops are obligated to charge Bensimon and even filed a restraining order against her on his behalf.

Stefanov said the couple was fighting over the "usual stuff that couples fight about." Stefanov said Bensimon "sucker-punched" him during the fight, but noted that at least she "had the courtesy to take her [engagement] ring off first." She also returned it to him that night, he said.

Turano took issue with Stefanov's account.

"They are most certainly not engaged and his allegations of past abuse are false," the lawyer said.

Fellow "Housewives" co-star Bethenny Frankel stood by Bensimon: "I cannot imagine this being true, but all I can say is love shouldn't hurt."

Bensimon was married to famed fashion photographer Giles Bensimon until they split in 2006. They have two daughters.

In recent years, Bensimon and Stefanov have been staples of the society pages, photographed together at swanky celebrity parties.

Bensimon is due back in court March 31. Turano said he doesn't think the charges will stick.

A Bravo rep declined to comment, saying, "We don't comment on the personal lives of our talent."

Outside her posh SoHo home, Bensimon refused to comment Monday night as two doormen shielded her with an umbrella and tried to shoo a reporter away.

I shouldn't have to do this, but I applaud the NYPD for arresting the abuser in this case. And I really do hope that the charges stick. What better way to send a message that domestic violence will not be tolerated by sending the newest member of the Real Housewives of New York City off to jail for some time.

Also, the New York Daily News FINALLY had a common sense poll. It was about whether Ms. Bensimon should be charged. And the results were, to my surprise, very encouraging:

21 out of every 25 people who voted said that Ms. Bensimon should be charged with assaulting her boyfriend.

I think Mr. Stefanov should follow the EXACT same advice Ms. Winfrey and Ms. Fairstein gave to Rihanna. Because the fact and the matter is: Ms. Bensimon could indeed kill Mr. Stefanov the next time.

With that said, here is the problem I got with each one of these cases -- Samhita hit on this last month when it was first reported that Chris Brown was arrested for domestic violence.

Famous men, as well as famous women, have no right to privacy whatsoever. Almost as soon as Ms. Bagley and Ms. Bensimon were arrested for beating up their boyfriends, the media immediately released the names of the male victims.

That is the beef I have. And it is a huge one at that.

It is NOT OK that the media ran the name of the Bucs linebacker that was stabbed by his girlfriend. It is NOT OK that the media ran the name of boyfriend that was beaten by Ms. Bensimon. And it is NOT OK that the media ran the name of the Barbados music sensation after she was beaten up by Chris Brown.

The least these sleazy media outlets could do is respect the domestic violence victim's privacy.

Posted by jovan29853 at 3:16 PM EDT

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