Sunday, March 05, 2006

Lying On Resume May Be Illegal in Washington State If Bill Passes

I'm not kidding at all. Read below, or click the title post for the article.

Lying on resume could land you in jail
Bill would make it illegal to pass off fake degree as real


Not only would it become illegal for people to lie on their resume about their academic credentials, but according to a bill lawmakers passed Friday, the move could land those liars in jail.

State senators unanimously amended and approved a bill that would make giving or using a fake or otherwise unaccredited degree a class C felony, a crime of fraud that could warrant five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The legislation also would make it illegal to lie orally, as well as in writing, when trying to get a job or other kind of benefit.

Once final, the law would take effect in July.

An earlier version of the proposal, known as the diploma-mill bill, would have made someone subject to a civil penalty of $1,000 for falsely claiming in writing to have an accredited degree, including a high school diploma, if it wasn't granted for actual coursework, the kind normally recognized by higher education standards in the United States.

The new version has increased penalties, but isn't harsh, said Rep. Phyllis Kenney, D-Seattle, who sponsored the original proposal.

The term "diploma mill" or "degree mill" is used to describe businesses that purport to be educational institutions, but really only sell consumers a paper degree and a verification service, should potential employers inquire.

These businesses typically operate on the Internet and overseas, where it is difficult for American authorities to track them.

Diploma-mill degrees supposedly from the United States have aided foreign nationals seeking immigration status, which is also a concern for state lawmakers, said state Sen. Mark Schoesler, a Republican from Eastern Washington.

"When they're using them, they're actually perpetrating a fraud," said Schoesler, who previously introduced legislation in the Senate that would criminalize both issuing and using bogus degrees and diplomas.

"We are very interested in protecting consumers and making sure our schools and institutions of higher learning keep the credibility that they have earned," Kenney said. "This law was written with deliberate research."
Washington had become known recently as a haven for diploma mills because education officials had authority only over schools that had physical building in the state. Most degree mills today operate in cyberspace and tout distance learning by correspondence. Sometimes the only correspondence is from a student asking for a degree and the school asking for a credit card number.

There also are thriving Internet businesses that sell "novelty" or otherwise counterfeit degrees and diplomas from academic institutions.

In October, eight people were indicted in Spokane on federal wire and mail fraud charges, accused of selling worthless degrees from Web sites that issue degrees and offer verification services to people with enough money and life experience. The supposed schools involved were Saint Regis, James Monroe and Robertstown universities.

There are countless others in cyberspace. They generally have names that sound just close enough to a real school that employers, and even government agencies, have been easily fooled.

In 2004, the federal Government Accountability Office released a report that found that at least 28 senior-level federal workers had claimed degrees from diploma mills and other unaccredited schools.

Steelers' Hines Ward travels to mom's homeland, Korea


PITTSBURGH -- Growing up in suburban Atlanta, Hines Ward often felt he was a victim of double discrimination. Not only did some of his white classmates make fun of his biracial heritage, his South Korean mother felt ostracized by her homeland because she had a son with a black American soldier.

Since the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver won the Super Bowl MVP award last month, Ward has become a huge celebrity in Korea - cheered by those who know little about American football and once may have shunned him for being less than pureblooded.

To learn more about his heritage, Ward and his mother, Kim Young-hee, plan their first trip together to Korea next month - a country he knows little about and, until recently, knew little about him. Partly because of his recent accomplishments, Ward said Friday he hopes to find a land that may be more receptive to others of mixed blood than it might have been not long ago.

"I'm proud of my mom and proud of our Korean heritage," said Ward, whose name is tattooed in Korean on his right arm. "It's something I should have done a long time ago ... and it's going to be very emotional. And I hope they accept me for who I am."

The 29-year-old Ward, a four-time Pro Bowl receiver and the Steelers' career receiving leader, was born in Seoul but left with his mother and father at age 1 and settled in the United States, where Ward's mom hoped society would be more accepting of the multiracial family.

Ward's parents did not stay together long but, even after they split up, his mother remained in America to be with her son. Despite knowing no English before arriving, she worked as many as three jobs at a time - among them, at an airport, a convenience story and in a school cafeteria - to support her son and give him some of the things his wealthier classmates enjoyed.

At times, he felt embarrassed by their background, but he soon came to appreciate what his mother was doing for him. Now, Ward thinks some of the traits that made him into one of the NFL's top receivers, including a willingness to block with the passion of a lineman while playing a skill position, came from his mother's commitment to hard work.

Even after Ward began making millions in the NFL, his mother returned to her school cafeteria job in Forest Park, Ga., after quitting for a couple of months, saying she felt bored and depressed while not working.

"I want to see where she grew up. I want to see where I was born. I want to see where she played hooky and hung out ... I want to learn more about my heritage," said Ward, who has never returned to Korea since leaving as a toddler, though his mother has gone back 3-4 times. "I want to learn everything."
Ward and his mother planned the weeklong trip before the Super Bowl, where Ward made five catches for 123 yards and a touchdown in a 21-10 Steelers victory over Seattle. But what was supposed to be a "private" trip for Ward devoted to sightseeing, shopping, meeting relatives and eating Korean food has since become a media event.

Ward is expected to meet Korean dignitaries during a trip that begins April 1. He also wants to spend time with some of the children being helped by Pearl S. Buck International, an organization that aids biracial children in Korea.

"When I was there, it wasn't cool to be a mixed kid. There probably was some hatred there," Ward said. "Some of the kids are treated badly and, sadly, it happens, but it's not the kids' fault."

Ward is encouraged because his success has led to considerable media attention in Korea of how society treats those of multiracial backgrounds. A recent editorial in the JoongAng Daily, the country's largest newspaper with a circulation of more than 2 million, cited the praise being heaped on Ward and urged the end to the "embarrassing habit of discrimination against mixed-blood people."

The editorial concluded, "We should open our minds and hold their hands to raise the second and third Hines Ward in Korea."

Ward plans to help fund a scholarship in his mother's name for Korean-American children. He was chosen for a similar scholarship while attending the University of Georgia, even though he was also on an athletic scholarship.

"It's like my mother still tells me, `Always be humble, never forget where you came from,' " Ward said. "My story is kind of a perfect story, of how I was able to overcome all that. Maybe some other kids can use that as motivation."

NFL Labor Negotiations Resume, Deal Close - Wash Post

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 5, 2006; 12:24 PM

Labor negotiations between representatives of the NFL's team owners and the players' union resumed late this morning in New York amid renewed optimism that a settlement was within reach, a day after the talks had collapsed yet again.

A union official said just before 11:15 a.m. that the bargaining session was about to begin. Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the Players Association, and Richard Berthelsen, the union's general counsel, traveled back to New York from Washington this morning after leaving New York when talks broke down yesterday.

Upshaw said via e-mail early this morning that the parties were "now in the area where we will get a deal. I think it may be there. It comes down to a few final points."

Another participant in the talks said just before today's bargaining session began that any optimism should be tempered, however, because the sides had not yet resumed face-to-face negotiations and there still was plenty of work to be done. He said he was hopeful but less than certain that a settlement was imminent.

It seemed possible that the two sides could agree to a second postponement of the opening of the free-agent market, scheduled for midnight, if they made progress today but could not complete a deal.

Even if the parties emerge from today's negotiations with a tentative agreement, the owners and players would have to ratify the deal. It could be particularly difficult for NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to get a consensus among the owners. The labor deal would have to be ratified by at least 24 of the 32 teams.

If the labor deal is accompanied by an agreement among the owners for clubs to increase the degree to which they share locally generated revenues, it's possible that nine high-revenue teams would band together to block approval of the labor settlement. If the labor deal isn't accompanied by a revenue-sharing accord among the owners, it's possible that nine low-revenue clubs could block it.

Tagliabue had informed the owners they would meet Tuesday in Dallas if there's a labor agreement with the union up for ratification.

The players' executive board is scheduled to meet this week in Hawaii, and the union could put any settlement with owners up for the players' approval then.

The negotiations broke off yesterday with Upshaw saying the owners were unable to compromise, and he left New York and returned to Washington. But the owners were meeting via conference call when Upshaw departed, and league spokesman Greg Aiello said the owners expected negotiations to resume today.

The talks ended yesterday with the owners offering 56.6 percent of an expanded pool of league revenues to the players as compensation under a salary-cap system. Upshaw had dropped his demand that the players receive at least 60 percent, but he would not specify exactly what percentage his latest proposal called for.

Upshaw has maintained that any labor deal between the players and owners would have to be accompanied by an agreement among the owners to increase the degree to which the 32 NFL teams share locally generated revenues. Otherwise, Upshaw has said, lower-revenue clubs could not afford the salary commitment they would be making to the players. Owners have said they could complete a labor deal with the players without finishing a revenue-sharing agreement immediately.

The compromise might be a provision in the labor deal to limit the amount of money that teams can spend above the flexible salary cap. That would address the concerns of lower-revenue teams that the high-revenue clubs could gain a competitive advantage by using their wealth to consistently outspend the salary cap and get better players. The sides had been negotiating about such "cash over cap" before talks broke off yesterday.

The league's free-agent market is scheduled to open at midnight. Teams must be under next season's $94.5 million salary cap by then. If they must release players to get under the cap, they must do so by 6 p.m.

But Upshaw and Tagliabue, facing a similar deadline, agreed Thursday to push back those deadlines by 72 hours, and they could agree to another postponement today if more time is needed to complete the deal or an agreement must be ratified.

The current labor deal keeps the salary-cap system in place through the 2006 season, then there would be a season without a salary cap in 2007 before the deal expires. Tagliabue said Thursday, just after the owners had a 57-minute meeting in New York to officially reject a players' proposal, that the owners had proposed an extension that would run through the 2011 season.

A labor settlement would push next season's salary cap as high as $108 million per team and would alleviate the salary-cap crunches being experienced by many teams.

Wonder Woman: If This Variety Article's Any Indication, I May be Right: Whedon's Too Busy for Her

See. This article shows that Wonder Woman writer / director Josh Whedon has too much on his plate to give Wonder Woman the time she needs. Yes, he has time given by the exec producers, but he lacks the passion to really get it done.

Whedon's a goner for U
Universal pacts with 'Buffy' man for spec script

By MICHAEL FLEMING - - Thursday, Sept 22, 2006

Universal Pictures has paid seven figures for "Goners," a fantasy thriller spec script Joss Whedon wrote and will direct.

Film will be produced by Mary Parent and Scott Stuber. The studio premiered Whedon's directorial debut, "Serenity," on Thursday night at Universal City Walk. Pic opens Sept. 30.

Whedon was cryptic in describing the project, but the title conveys that it will tread on supernatural turf comparable to his series creations "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and the bloodsucker spinoff "Angel."

"It's the story of a young woman's journey that involves a great deal of horror and some heroics," he said. "It's certainly darker than 'Serenity,' and there are a lot of left turns along the way. It is something I had in mind for a while, and it just poured out of me when I finished my film."

Timing isn't clear, since Whedon is writing to direct "Wonder Woman," the Warner Bros. film based on the DC Comics heroine. That may take some time, as Whedon started his script from scratch.

"I was given license to purely make it my own and yet she is already an iconic Amazon princess," Whedon said. " 'Goners' has some similarities, but the heroines could not be more different, and the story is a bit more intimate and less complicated than 'Wonder Woman.' "

Whedon, who began his career writing features "Speed" and "Toy Story," shuttered his TV operation this year to focus on features. He will continue to spend the majority of his time with bigscreen fare but acknowledged he has been toying with a TV project that would continue the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" universe, focusing on Spike, the punk-haired vampire played by James Marsters.

Whedon's challenge is to figure a way to do it and be able to keep directing movies.

"Directing a film was as exciting and daunting as it was supposed to be," said the CAA-repped Whedon. "I learned a lot on 'Serenity' and hope I hid that from the audience."

"Wonder Woman" Writer / Director Josh Whedon Still Working on Script After One Year

This is an excerpt from the interview from Empire, which can be read with a click on the title post. It's the only part that mentions Wonder Woman, but when I combine it with other comments of his I've seen, it reads as if he's got his time divided between the Amazon Princess and other tasks, which doesn't make for a good story. I'm concerned that he's not really committed to the project.

How about Goners and Wonder Woman? Can you tell us more about those?
Not a whole lot. I am still writing Wonder Woman. It is very awesome but incredibly unfinished, but I should be finishing that in a little while and then I’ll have a better idea of which film is actually going into production. But I can tell you that the film will be about introducing you to Wonder Woman. She'll be wearing the outfit and there will be the bracelets, the golden lasso and Greek gods. She comes from a civilisation where she's rather perfect, so she's the opposite to Buffy in many ways, but she's going through an adolescent rite of passage because she's new to the world.

2006 Independent Spirit Awards uplifts 'Brokeback'

Western nabs feature, helmer prizes


Ang Lee and his oater romance "Brokeback Mountain" rode off with the top ribbons at the 2006 Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, while tyro director Paul Haggis' "Crash" took best first feature.

Although Focus Features' "Brokeback" scored as best feature and best director, the wealth was spread among a quartet of films. Receiving two awards each were "Brokeback," Lionsgate's "Crash," Sony Pictures Classics' "Capote" and the Weinstein Co.'s "Transamerica."

Indie Spirits, administered by Film Independent and held at a beachside tent in Santa Monica, came just one day before the Academy Awards, where the same pics were set to compete in an awards year dominated by smaller indie titles.

"Transamerica" star Felicity Huffman picked up the Indie Spirit for best female lead for her portrayal of a male transsexual about to become a woman.

Best male lead went to much-honored "Capote" star Philip Seymour Hoffman for his portrayal of Truman Capote.

The other "Capote" Indie Spirit went to scribe Dan Futterman for best screenplay. Award for best first screenplay went to Duncan Tucker for "Transamerica."

Matt Dillon won the award for best supporting male for his role as a racist cop in "Crash," while "Junebug" star Amy Adams was recognized as supporting actress for her role as a Chicago art dealer who visits her new in-laws in North Carolina. Pic was distribbed by Sony Classics.

Another awards favorite this season, helmer George Clooney's "Good Night, And Good Luck." picked up one Indie Spirit award, for Robert Elswit's cinematography.

Warner Independent Pictures' "Paradise Now," the Palestinian film directed by Hany Abu-Assad, won best foreign film.

Director Alex Gibney's "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," from Magnolia Pictures, was voted best documentary.

The John Cassavetes Award, which recognizes the best feature made for under $500,000, went to writer-director Mora Stephens "Conventioneers" from Cinema Libre Studios. Stephens co-wrote the screenplay with Joel Viertel, who produced the film.

Sony Pictures Classics nabbed three Indie Spirit Awards, the most of any distrib. Focus, Lionsgate, TWC and Warner Independent each took two.

"Brokeback" producers are Diana Ossana and James Schamus. "Crash" producers are Cathy Schulman, Don Cheadle, Bob Yari, Mark R. Harris, Bobby Moresco and Haggis.

And the winners are...

"Brokeback Mountain"

Ang Lee, "Brokeback Mountain"

Dan Futterman, "Capote"

"Crash," Paul Haggis

Duncan Tucker, "Transamerica"

(for the Best Feature made for under $500,000)

Amy Adams, "Junebug"

Matt Dillon, "Crash"

Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica"

Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"

Robert Elswit, "Good Night, and Good Luck"

"Paradise Now"

"Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room"

Caroline Baron, "Capote" and "Monsoon Wedding"

Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana, "Cavite"

Ian Olds and Garrett Scott, "Occupation: Dreamland"

Cinema Libre Studio 1
Focus Features 2
Lionsgate Films 2
Magnolia 1
Sony Pictures Classics 3
Warner Independent Pictures 2
The Weinstein Company 2

What Will Halle Berry Wear at The Oscars?

Well I hope it's a repeat of this dress! Wow, what an eye-popper! I'd like to carry that train. We will see tommorrow night.

If You Open Your Heart To God, You Can See Beyond Your Eyes!

I know this to be true because last Monday, I was on my way to pick up my Mom at Oakland Airport. We agreed that she was going to call me as soon as the plane was on the ground, which was to be about 6:30 PM. So, I arrived a bit early so that I would be at the terminal at the time I thought she would get her bags and be ready to come out. I did this because it was a driving rain storm.

Only, I didn't get a call from her. I immediately felt something was wrong. I felt it.

So, I drove up and parked the car in front of the terminal. A police officer walked over and told me that I would have to move the car. I explained "I can't. I was supposed to get a call from my Mom, and I didn't. Something's wrong." He told me I would get a $47 ticket if I left the car there.

"I can afford it," I said.

So, I walked in, and asked the person at the counter about the flight she was to come in on from Reno. "It's been diverted to San Jose," she informed me. So, I went back to the car and drove over to Francesso's Restaurant to wait for my Mom to call. She did, and I drove down to San Jose to get her.

What if I had not listened to my inner voice? The point is, I did. It's taken me all my life to finally be able to "hear." It comes when you let your feelings take over. It comes when you are able to trust yourself. It comes when your feelings and decisions come from a place of clear love and not clouded anger.

That doens't mean you can't be upset. You can. But it must come from a place of caring -- that's love. If it comes from that place then you will "see" things that were not visible before, and act swiftly.

But you must open your heart and free your mind to love. And believe in God.

Transvestite King Kong billboard attacks L.A.


LOS ANGELES, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- An underground global movement called the "Guerrilla Girls" has rankled Oscar officials with a billboard of a transvestite King Kong in Los Angeles.

The billboard -- near the Kodak Theatre where the Oscars will be handed out next Sunday -- depicts Kong wearing a dress and makeup holding an Oscar statuette, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

The sign -- which cost $4,500 a month -- reads: "Unchain the Women Director. Women directed only 7 percent of the top 200 films of 2005," and "No woman director has ever won the Oscar. Only 3 have been nominated."

The sign was created and funded by 13 women's organizations, including Women in Film and the Fund for Women Artists.

The "Guerrilla Girls" have been around more than 20 years, pushing the worldwide entertainment industry to be more female-friendly, the newspaper said.

The latest attempt to ruffle feathers at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences drew a terse, "No comment," the Times reported, noting that the Oscar in the billboard is a trademarked image.

"King Kong" DVD Release March 28th 2006

I can't wait for this one, and I'm not kidding. I still think "King Kong" was unfairly snubbed by the Academy in the nominations process. Time will prove that it's one of the best movies ever made. The only massive error was releasing it in December, rather than in August, thus drawing summer box office traffic.

"King Kong" Set To Sweep Sony Empire Awards


KING Kong is set to sweep the board at this year's Empire awards - after receiving five nominations.

After being snubbed by the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Bafta's, the remake of the 1933 monster movie has been nominated for a host of top honours, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor.
Pride and Prejudice, Crash, and Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit also faired well with four nominations each.

The Best Actor category will be a fight between Matt Dillon for his performance in Crash, Batman Begins' star Christian Bale, Johnny Depp for his portrayal of Willy Wonka in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Viggo Mortensen in the critically acclaimed A History Of Violence.

Similarly, the Best Actress category will be an equally tough choice between Dillon's Bafta-winning Crash co-star Thandie Newton, Pride and Prejudice's Keira Knightley, Renee Zellweger for her role in Cinderella Man, Hilary Swank for turn in Million Dollar Baby and King Kong star Naomi Watts.

The Sony Ericsson Empire Awards - which will be presented by British comedian Bill Bailey - will take place at the Hilton London Metropole on March 13.

Full list of Sony Ericsson Empire Awards nominees:

Best Newcomer

Leo Gregory (Stoned)
Kelly Reilly (Mrs. Henderson Presents/Pride & Prejudice)
Georgie Henley (Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe)
James McAvoy (Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe)
Nathan Fillion (Serenity)

Sony Ericsson Scene of the Year

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit - The Dogfight
War Of The Worlds - Arrival of the First Tripod
The Descent - First Attack of the Crawlers
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith - Birth of Vader
Crash - The Car Rescue

Best Comedy

The Wedding Crashers
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
The League Of Gentlemen's Apocalypse
Team America: World Police
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Best Thriller

The Constant Gardener
Sin City
Batman Begins
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
A History Of Violence

Best Horror

The Skeleton Key
The Descent
Land Of The Dead
Wolf Creek

Best Sci-fi/Fantasy

King Kong
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

Best Director

Steven Spielberg - War Of The Worlds
Peter Jackson - King Kong
Christopher Nolan - Batman Begins
Ron Howard - Cinderella Man
Nick Park and Steve Box - Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit
Joe Wright - Pride & Prejudice

Best Actor

Christian Bale - Batman Begins
Johnny Depp - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Andy Serkis - King Kong
Matt Dillon - Crash
Viggo Mortensen - A History of Violence

Best Actress

Naomi Watts - King Kong
Keira Knightley - Pride & Prejudice
Thandie Newton - Crash
Renee Zellweger - Cinderella Man
Hilary Swank - Million Dollar Baby

Best British Movie

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
The Descent
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Pride & Prejudice
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

Best Film

King Kong
War of the Worlds
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Sin City