Sunday, May 31, 2015

Why the U.S. should disclose Osama bin Laden’s porn stash

The U.S. government recently released a collection of documents seized during the 2011 raid on terrorist Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The collection includes now-declassified correspondence as well as English-language material found at the compound. The tranche of documents was extensive.
The news media took great interest in the English-language books, think tank reports, U.S. government documents and other materials bin Laden collected.
In addition, the Office of the Director of National Defense confirmed for the first time that bin Laden had an extensive pornography collection. But they declined to release any details about it.
When U.S. forces raided bin Laden’s hideout and killed the leader of al-Qaeda on May 1, 2011, they seized a cache of documents, computer files and other materials. The goal of that seizure was to learn about bin Laden’s terrorist network, activities and possible future attacks.
After the successful raid, unnamed high-ranking Pentagon officials told Reuters, ABC News and other media that pornographic videos had been discovered at the compound. Reuters reported that the pornography “consists of modern, electronically recorded video and is fairly extensive.”
On May 20, the ODNI publicly confirmed that bin Laden had a porn stash.

Bin Laden was a hypocrite

The disclosure provided evidence that bin Laden was a hypocrite. Bin Laden presented himself as a pious Muslim, waging a holy war against what he considered a morally corrupt and decadent Western world.
“We have no plans to release that at this point in time,” Brian Hale, a spokesman for the DNI, told The Telegraph about bin Laden’s porn. “Due to the nature of the content, the decision was made not to release it.”
DNI spokesman Jeffrey Anchukaitis gave a similar comment to the Guardian.
I’m sorry, but that reasoning doesn’t cut it. That’s not a legal reason for refusing to disclose details of bin Laden’s pornography collection.
In June 2013, I made a Freedom of Information Act request for information on the porn collection, an interesting footnote to history. My FOIA request was rejected on questionable grounds. As were my appeals.
At the time, the CIA refused even to admit that porn was found in the bin Laden raid.
My requests were denied under the FOIA exemptions (b)(1) and (b)(3). I do not believe those exemptions are valid in this case.
The CIA’s FOIA denial letter claimed that “the existence or nonexistence of requested records is currently and properly classified and is intelligence sources and methods information that is protected.”
The claim that this information is somehow mission sensitive or pertained directly to the operations of the bin Laden raid is laughable. This information reportedly was swept up by U.S. agents in the hunt for information on terrorist activities, but it stretches the imagination to believe that this pornographic material should be classified or is pertinent to national security.
The CIA’s response to my FOIA request also stated that the CIA is prohibited from mailing obscene matter. I have two responses to this. First, as I stated in my original request letter, I am based locally and able to view documents and records in person in the Washington, D.C., area.
Secondly, documents summarizing the pornographic contents of flash drives and other media could most certainly be mailed. This would include descriptions and lists of what the content seized in the raid shows.

President Obama is protecting bin Laden’s reputation

It seems like the Obama administration is trying to protect bin Laden’s reputation for some reason.
The type of pornography he watched could speak volumes about a man who terrorized the U.S. and other countries for years.
Did he enjoy Western pornography from countries he despised, especially the U.S.? He publicly hated those countries in part for their openness toward sexuality. (He had criticized the United States’ culture as sexualized in a 2002 “letter to America”).
Did he enjoy mainstream commercial pornography or something really twisted?

A report out of India claims bin Laden was addicted to the porn movies of Sunny Leone. (See above photos.)
It’s a fascinating footnote in history about a man who terrorized the U.S. at home and abroad for more than a decade.
Reports of the adult videos found in his compound prompted a flurry of mockery from newspapers and comedians.

The New York Post front page from May 14, 2011, carried the headline “Osama Bin Wankin’! It’s Whora Bora – Porn found in Laden’s foxhole.”

The Post also included a funny graphic of possible porn titles found in his lair.

The New York Daily News front page on May 14, 2011, had the headline “Osama Porn Laden.”

The now-defunct iPad newspaper The Daily headlined the story “Osama Bin Spankin’”

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” joked about the discovery of porn at bin Laden’s compound in a segment titled “Whackistan.”

Political cartoonists had a field day with the bin Laden porn story.
Matt Bors did a cartoon on the hypocrisy of bin Laden’s porn stash for Daily Kos.

Editorial cartoonist Jimmy Margulies also poked fun at the news.

So did Canadian cartoonist Cam Cardow.

As did South Florida Sun Sentinel editorial cartoonist Chan Lowe.

Houston Chronicle editorial cartoonist Nick Anderson did a funny comic on it too. Blogger Denny Lyon included it with a compilation of late-night comedians’ jokes on the bin Laden raid.

Hope n’ Change mocked the story as well.

And finally, even Someecards joked about it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Hillary Clinton ahead in the presidential race of porn parodies

Former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton has been a candidate for president in the 2016 election officially since April 12. But she’s already had two porn parodies released this election season.
Last October, Filly Films released a lesbian porn parody called “Between the Headlines,” starring Nina Hartley as Hillary. In the movie, Hillary gets caught in a lesbian tryst with First Lady Michelle Obama, played by Lotus Lain.
Hartley also just finished playing Hillary in an interracial porn parody for Dogfart.com called “Hillary Gets the Black Vote.” (See articles by the Huffington Post and Xbiz.)
The porn flick also stars James Bartholet as Hillary’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, and a cast of 12 black staffers who advise Hillary on her campaign and tend to her needs.
Hartley has played Hillary at least three times. In addition to the two new films, Hartley played Hillary Clinton in the 2008 porn parody “Who’s Nailin’ Paylin? Adventures of a Hockey MILF.” That movie featured a sex scene featuring porn actresses playing Hillary, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Photos: Promotional photos for the political porn parody “Hillary Gets the Black Vote.”


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A resurgence in Kim Kardashian porn parodies

Famous-for-being-famous celebrity Kim Kardashian first made a name for herself through a leaked sex tape featuring hip-hop artist Ray J. (It was released by Vivid Entertainment as “Kim Kardashian Superstar” in February 2007.)
She parlayed that exposure into a successful reality TV series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” which premiered in October 2007.
Lately Kim K. seems to get the most press when she poses naked for magazine pictorials, like she did last fall for Paper magazine’s “Break the Internet” promotion.
In February, she posed naked for Love magazine, according to the Daily Mail and Huffington Post. In March, she posed naked to promote the season 10 premiere of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” the Daily Mail said. And this month she posed naked for her website and topless for the Vogue Brasil.
For someone who flaunts her sexuality as brazenly as she does, it’s no surprise that Kardashian is a prime target for porn parodies.
This week saw the release of the latest Kardashian porn parody called “Keeping Up with Kiara Mia.” It stars Kiara Mia who bears a resemblance to the big-bootied socialite.
Here’s a synopsis of the skin flick:
Kiara Mia is a youthful, sensual, sex icon whose fame arose from a sex tape release with a former hot artist Ray (John Johnson). Kiara Mia has also skyrocketed her two sisters Court (Yuri Beltran) and Chloe (Allison Moore) along side her for the stargazing ride. Meanwhile, their mother Kris (Veronica Av Luv) manages Kiara Mia while balancing the rest of the household.
“Keeping Up with Kiara Mia” marks Kim’s sixth porn parody. That puts her in a tie for fifth place among celebrities with the most porn parodies. (For a running list, check out “Top 40 real-life targets for porn parodies and exploitation.”)

Here are the names of the six Kim Kardashian porn parodies to date:

Getting It Up With the Kardassians (2008)
Keeping It Up for the Kard-Ass-ians (2008)
Keeping It Up for the Kard-Ass-ians 2 (2011)
Break the Internet (2014)
Break the Internet: For Real This Time (2014)
Keeping Up with Kiara Mia (2015)

Related articles:

Kim Kardashian Made Sex Tape For Fame, Sources Say (Hollywood Life; June 21, 2012)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

6 actresses who have played Tinker Bell and 2 more who will

Actress Reese Witherspoon has signed on to play Pixie Hollow fairy Tinker Bell in a live-action movie for Walt Disney Co. called “Tink.”
Witherspoon will produce and star in “Tink,” which is based on a script by Victoria Strouse, who wrote Disney’s upcoming “Finding Nemo” sequel “Finding Dory,” the Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly reported recently.
Comic actress Melissa McCarthy also is slated to star as Tinker Bell in an untitled comedy adventure for Fox to be directed by Shawn Levy, according to Deadline.
Best known as Peter Pan’s tiny sidekick, Tinker Bell currently headlines the Disney Fairies media franchise, which includes animated direct-to-DVD movies. The latest is “Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast.”
Witherspoon and McCarthy will join a small group of actresses who have portrayed Tinker Bell in movies and TV shows.
What follows is a list of actresses who have portrayed the classic literary character on screen.

Virginia Browne Faire

Virginia Browne Faire played Tinker Bell in the 1924 silent adventure film “Peter Pan.”

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts played Tinker Bell in the 1991 fantasy movie “Hook,” which also starred Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman. “Hook” was directed by Steven Spielberg.

Ludivine Sagnier

French actress and model Ludivine Sagnier played Tinker Bell in the 2003 film “Peter Pan,” which was directed by P.J. Hogan.

Kari Wahlgren

Kari Wahlgren played Tink in the 2003 indie film “Neverland,” a dark and surreal modern re-telling of the Peter Pan tale.

Charlotte Atkinson

Charlotte Atkinson played Tinker Bell in the 2011 TV mini-series “Neverland.” British actress Keira Knightley provided her voice.

Rose McIver

New Zealand-born actress Rose McIver, now starring on the CW’s “iZombie,” played Tinker Bell on ABC’s fairy tale drama “Once Upon a Time” during the 2013-14 season.

Photo of Reese Witherspoon from Draper James, her new retail brand for fashion, accessories and home decor.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Feverish TV trend: Disease outbreak shows

At least five TV shows are airing or in production that attempt to portray somewhat realistic outbreaks of deadly diseases.
It’s a hot new trend for the entertainment medium.
In April, I posted a list of the best-reviewed disease outbreak movies and documentaries. My list included only those films going for relative realism, not ones about zombies or diseases from outer space.
What follows is a list of TV shows about disease outbreaks using the same criteria.

Between

On Thursday, Netflix will premiere a new series called “Between.”
It’s a Canadian drama in which a mysterious disease kills every resident of a small town over the age of 21. The government quarantines the young survivors who must fend for themselves. The first season consists of six one-hour episodes. (See articles on Metacritic and Wikipedia.)

The Last Ship

The second season of “The Last Ship” will premiere on June 21 on TNT.
“The Last Ship” takes place after a global viral pandemic wipes out over 80% of the world’s population. The show centers on the crew of an unaffected U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer.

Containment

“Containment” is an upcoming series for the CW based on the Belgian TV series “Cordon.” It will air as a midseason replacement, most likely premiering in January or February next year.
“Containment” is a drama revolving around a flu-like epidemic that breaks out in Atlanta, leaving some people stuck in a city quarantine zone.

The Day After

Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video are currently streaming a Russian TV drama called “The Day After” (or “Vyzhit posle”).
“In an attempt to create a new race of perfect humans – a drug company unleashes what turns out to be a deadly virus. Now as thousands are killed in Moscow, it’s up to 11 individuals to figure out the future of mankind,” the synopsis says.

The Hot Zone

Producer Lynda Obst and director-producer Ridley Scott are developing a mini-series about the Ebola virus based on Richard Preston’s 1994 nonfiction best-seller “The Hot Zone.”
The story likely will be update with information from last year’s deadly Ebola outbreak in Africa.
(See articles by the Hollywood Reporter and io9.)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Best bets for upcoming TV shows: Blindspot, Containment, The Muppets

When it comes to TV shows, I like ones that surprise me. That explains why I prefer science-fiction and fantasy programs to police procedurals and lawyer dramas. Too many shows on television today have a been-there-done-that feel to them.
After previewing shows for the summer and fall TV seasons, I have selected a few that I think have a shot at making my must-watch list. My initial impressions are based on watching trailers and reading synopses and media reports.
Those shows are: “Blindspot” (NBC), “Containment” (CW), “The Expanse” (Syfy), “Fear the Walking Dead” (AMC), “Humans” (AMC) and “The Muppets” (ABC).
Some shows I currently watch likely will have to fall off my viewing list to accommodate them.
Here are the main shows now on my viewing list:

12 Monkeys (Syfy)
The 100 (CW)
Adventure Time (Cartoon Network)
Dig (USA Network)
Extant (CBS)
Falling Skies (TNT)
Hannibal (NBC)
High Profits (CNN)
Homeland (Showtime)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Gold Rush: Alaska (Discovery)
iZombie (CW)
The Last Man on Earth (Fox)
The Last Ship (TNT)
Marvel’s Agent Carter (ABC)
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (ABC)
Orphan Black (BBC America)
The Strain (FX)
Supernatural (CW)
The Walking Dead (AMC)
Z Nation (Syfy)

Thankfully, they’re spaced out by different seasons.

Photo: Production photo from the NBC series “Blindspot”; promotional art for “The Muppets.” 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Electronics recycling still much too difficult

Last weekend, a church in Great Falls, Va., held an electronics recycling event. There I was able to get rid of a trunk load of old PCs, peripherals and consumer electronics that had been cluttering up my home office.
I had been looking for a while for a way to properly dispose of the gadgets. I didn’t want the toxic metals they contain to end up in a landfill or the water supply.
Based on my difficulty in trying to find a responsible method of disposing of electronics, I am convinced that most people just dump old PCs, mobile phones and other devices in the garbage.
Frankly it’s too much of a hassle to get rid of old electronics today. You usually have to find a store like Best Buy that’s willing to accept your items and then find an employee who can take them off your hands. Some locations will only take a couple of items at a time and not all kinds of devices.
I’ve said before that the best solution is to have curbside recycling of electronics, just like we do today for paper, plastic, glass, aluminum and steel. That’s the only way to make it easy and convenient.
The group holding the recycling event, the St. Francis Episcopal Church’s J2A Youth Pilgrimage, sorted through the PCs and accessories for items that could be reused and had the rest disposed of in “an environmentally safe manner.”
A local company called Shred Station Express, a mobile recycling service, was on hand to collect computers and other electronics for destruction.
I was happy to make a donation to the church group for organizing the event.

Photo: My trunk load of PCs, monitors, accessories and consumer electronics.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Rise up, my Twitter followers

I’ve always found the notion of Twitter followers to be a little odd.
I can understand why celebrities, politicians and other public figures would have followers on Twitter. People want to hear what they have to say: their opinions, witticisms and asides.
But not little old me.
Sure, I’m a technology business journalist at a national newspaper, but I have a separate Twitter account for work (See @IBD_PSeitz).
My personal Twitter account (@PatrickSeitz) is basically me just retweeting tech and pop culture articles that I find interesting. I’ll occasionally make a comment about something in the news or about a TV show I like. But that’s about it.
The other day I passed 800 followers on Twitter. Some cult leaders don’t have that many followers.
I’ve got a few ideas about who a lot of my followers are.

1. Spammers and scammers

A lot of shady businesses lurk around Twitter trying to entice users to click on their weblinks. Sometimes they’ll mention your Twitter name in a tweet that shows up in your Notifications. Other times they’ll follow you, hoping you’ll check out their profile to learn more about them.
A review of my Twitter Faker Score on Status People shows that 52% of my followers are “good” active users. But 9% of my followers are “fake” and 39% are “inactive.”
In January 2014, Status People reported that 76% of my followers were “good,” 8% fakers and 16% inactive. A big chunk of my followers went inactive on Twitter in a little over a year.
Meanwhile, Twitter Audit says 86% of my followers are “real.”
I would tend to believe Status People in this regard.

2. People hoping for a reciprocal follow

I have colleagues with many more Twitter followers than me, but they also follow hundreds of Twitter accounts.
There seems to be an unspoken etiquette on Twitter that if someone follows you, you should follow them back. That’s fine for casual Twitter users, but not for people like me who actively use Twitter as a news feed.
This behavior likely started with Facebook where people try to accumulate as many Facebook friends as possible to boost their image.

3. People mistaking me for anime voice actor Patrick Seitz

If you do a Google search for Patrick Seitz, the top results are for voice actor Patrick Seitz of Los Angeles.
He has many fans who occasionally mistake my Twitter account for his. For the record, his Twitter handle is @Seitz_Unseen.
What’s worse is that he isn’t even a true Googleganger. His full name is David Patrick Seitz, according to his Wikipedia page.
There can be only one!

Photos: Twitter headquarters in San Francisco at night; voice-over artist Patrick Seitz.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How my use of Twitter has changed in 6 years

I signed up for Twitter in April 2009 to see why so many of my media colleagues were talking about the new microblogging service.
I was intrigued by Twitter, a short-message social network built around 140-character posts called tweets. But I was skeptical about its prospects as a business.
I initially used Twitter to promote my articles on Investors.com and my personal blogs. I later started documenting my travels, thoughts on TV shows, complaints about businesses, and random observations.
But always my main use of Twitter has been as a news feed.
I follow a limited set of news organizations, pop culture websites and pundits so I can have a manageable Twitter feed. I “follow” 25 Twitter accounts today. I legitimately follow them and scan just about every tweet they send.
Compare that to people who “follow” hundreds or thousands of Twitter accounts. They’re not following those accounts so much as liking them. That many accounts in a Twitter feed is unmanageable.
In the last year or so, I’ve noticed that I’ve done a lot less posting on Twitter. I still retweet a lot of posts with weblinks to interesting articles. But my use of Twitter for personal observations has gone down.
I still use Twitter to promote my IBD articles and blog posts. And I like to retweet and comment on others’ tweets. But I don’t write many standalone tweets any more.
There’s too much noise on Twitter already. I’d rather not add to it.

Photo: Twitter artwork in the company’s San Francisco headquarters. (Twitter photo)


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Celebrities who have quit Twitter

Yesterday the news media reported that movie director Joss Whedon and actor Jaden Smith each had quit Twitter.
It’s a common story: a celebrity gets fed up with social media because of the time suck and all the haters on the Internet and decides to quit posting. But usually those same celebrities end up crawling back to Twitter to promote their work and themselves.
(See Entertainment Weekly articles: “Joss Whedon just quit Twitter” and “Jaden Smith deletes his Twitter.”)
Singer Miley Cyrus famously quit Twitter in October 2009.
But she later returned and remains quite active on the site as @MileyCyrus.
What follows is a sampling of celebrities who have quit Twitter over the years. Most have returned. A few now have a PR person post on their behalf, such as Simon Pegg.

Celebrity Twitter quitters

Adele, singer
Alec Baldwin, actor
Ashton Kutcher, actor
Chris Brown, singer
Chrissy Teigen, model
Deadmau5, DJ and music producer
Demi Levato, singer and actress
Emma Roberts, actress
Iggy Azalea, rapper
Jaden Smith, actor
James Franco, actor
Jennifer Love Hewitt, actress
John Mayer, musician
Joss Whedon, writer-director
Kanye West, rapper
Lady Gaga, singer
LeAnn Rimes, singer
Lena Dunham, actress
Louis C.K., comedian
Lupe Fiasco, rapper
Megan Fox, actress
Minnie Driver, actress
Naya Rivera, singer and actress
Nicki Minaj, rapper
Patton Oswalt, actor and comedian
Stephen Fry, actor and comedian
William Shatner, actor
Zelda Williams, daughter of actor Robin Williams

Photo: Megan Fox joined Twitter on Jan. 3, 2013, and quit five days later. “What’s the point?” she said in her final tweet.

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