Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween gift for Lil Wayne? A Lawsuit.

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It's said when it rains, it pours, and it's really coming down for poor rapper Lil Wayne. Just a week removed from his court appearance after pleading guilty for weapons posession, Lil Wayne, who just released a free download of his song No Ceilings mix tape, is being slammed with a lawsuit.

According to the Associated Press, Florida resident Thomas Marasciullo filed a copyright infringement lawsuit because in 2006 he gave them "'Italian-styled' spoken word recordings" and used them without pay or permission by Marasciullo.

But this is a more tangled web than presented because Marasciullo's son worked for Cash Money Records, the label where Lil Wayne's signed to perform with. When the elder Marasciullo demanded payment, Cash Money Records fired his son. Yikes.

As of this writing, there's no reaction from Cash Money Records or Lil Wayne.

In closing, I remind all that Lil Wayne's February sentencing for gun possession should be creative and have him create a song or album that tells people not to use guns.

Taylor Swift and A Swastika? What was Taylor Swift thinking?

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According to, Taylor Swift took a photo with a young man she did not know, but was wearing a t-shirt with a Swastika painted right on its front where you can't miss it.

What the heck was Taylor Swift thinking?

Her representative told the following:

"Taylor took pictures with about 100 people that night ... she doesn't know who this guy is and she didn't realize what was on his shirt."

She didn't know who the guy was? He's a Hollywood-based model named AJ English who's 22 years old according to his MySpace page and who's hometown is Boise, Idaho.

How did this all start?

Taylor Swift was invited to a birthday party at The Beach On Sunset in West Hollywood thrown by singer Katy Perry, who turned 25. The attendees were told to wear white shirts and they would be spray painted in accordance with the "Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory" theme that Perry called her "extravaganza." 

Here are two videos from the party, just to give you a good visual of the scene:

Taylor Swift's white dress had the words "JH" on them which some bloggers believed to mean "Jew Hater" because of the photo, but actually refer to her friend Julianne Hough.

Taylor Swift and AJ English 

According to the The UK Daily Mail his shirt design "started out as an 'X' but was 'perverted' as the night went on." English says he's not at all racist and is not a Neo-Nazi.

And while he did apologize to Swift on Twitter...

Front page of TMZ.... sorry Taylor...11:21 AM Oct 29th from web

He's clearly enjoying his new-found fame:

LOVE YOU RT @grekotv my bestie involved in first hollywood scandal with taylor swift: kind of amazing.2:54 PM Oct 29th from web

What bothers me is that Taylor Swift herself has (as of this writing) not put out a statement regretting the photo she is in. She could solve the problem with a single tweet or website statement, but nothings there on her Twitter page or site!

That, to me, shows that she doesn't really get the gravity of what she's done. The Swastika is the Worldwide symbol of hate and stands for a period of World history where Nazi Germany worked to systemically exterminate Jews.

I don't care that Taylor Swift is 19, she should know that.

Jay-Z dissed by Beanie Sigel while Lil Wayne gives free download

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A quick Hip Hop News roundup of some interestingly hot info.

First, Beanie Sigel, reached Internet mainstream stardom today by dissing his former boss Jay-Z. Smart marketing, but what did he say?


According to MTV, Siegel, (real name Dwight Grant according to Wikipedia) who's part of the Roc-A-Fella records label with Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Jadakiss, has a long and rather sad history with Jay-Z, so much so that he's essentially airing Roc-A-Fella's "dirty laundry" in public.

His new musical riff, called "What You Talkin Bout (I Ain't Your Average Cat)", contains these words: "I'm a grown-ass man, I don't sit on n---as' laps/ I ain't looking for no gifts out of Santa Claus' sack. "How it feel to get exposed?" "Don't you feel naked?/ I was a fly on the wall, sh-- I witnessed/ I can say sh-- that will make B look at you different."

In the song Beanie Siegel says that Jay-Z reportedly called the Philadelphia Police to stop him from performing at the recent Powerhouse concert. I can't find a confirmation of his claim as of this writing, but it's clear something's wrong because Beanie Sigel also says that Jay-Z did not visit him in jail (where he was for a probation violation) and will not return his calls.

This is a real sea change in their relationship, which goes back to 1998, when he was Jay-Z's 1998 album Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life in a song called Reservoir Dogs. Since then he's quit Roc-A-Fella, then resigned with them and brought several new artists to the label.

Jay-Z's Twitter page has no tweet on his take on Beanie Sigel's claims. Meanwhile, Beanie's Twitter page (with just 937 followers versus 81,090 for Jay-Z), has this:

The richest man ain’t the one with his first dollar dog, its the one who still got his first friend, Rocafella for life, ITS THE ROC.about 5 hours ago from web

Stay Tuned as I monitor for Jay-Z's response. Meanwhile, Lil Wanye's giving a free download of his song "No Ceilings mix tape". You can get it here. I continue to hold the view that Lil Wayne's February sentence for weapons possession should be to make a song that tells people not to use guns:

Bay Bridge update - closure hurting San Francisco restaurants

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Closed Bay Bridge  hurts SF

We're entering the third full day of the Bay Bridge closure after the Bay Bridge Cable Collapse disaster and the new World without an open Bay Bridge is hurting San Francisco restaurants according to the manager I talked to.

One person who didn't mind being quoted but without name or his establishment mentioned, said that along the Embarcadero, the walk-in traffic they're used to getting has just dried up. You'd think people would just take BART but "they want their cars", he said, "otherwise they just stayed home.

He's right. After 9 PM some parts of the Embarcadero, especially between AT&T Park and Howard Street seem devoid of humans on the weeknights that the bridge has been closed.

And that's likely to remain the case through next week as CalTrans just announced the Bay Bridge will be closed through the weekend and perhaps on Monday, too.

Again, a 24-hour BART service plan would help ease the economic pain San Francisco's going through.

Oakland parking problem: Noel Pinto, Susan Bergmann's upset with you!

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I got the email below from Susan Bergmann, who's a very upset Oakland small business owner, and especially with Oakland Parking Director Noel Pinto.

Susan Bergmann gave me permission to present the email in full to you and she wants Noel Pinto to see it. (I'm telling you, she's really pissed). I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who's really in a lather about the City of Oakland's "misery industry."

If you have a problem with Oakland parking you want to share with the World, send it to me at with the words, "please print for your blogs" in the subject heading.

Hi Zennie,

I am engaged in a battle with Noel Pinto, new head of parking. He insists on giving me parking tickets on MacArthur Blvd, in front of my office, for violation of 2 hour parking, despite the fact that I come and go all day long. After 11 months, I finally got my "hearing" yesterday and it was very humorous (if its not your life). I would love to get publicity for what has happened. Eventually, I will prevail in small claims court, because what the city is doing to me is outrageous. But I have to jump through many, many hoops before I can see a real judge.
Here is my story of yesterday's hearing:

My Day in Court

Today, I went to the Parking Bureau in downtown Oakland to fight a series of parking tickets I have received in the past eleven months. One ticket has disappeared from the system, one had a wrong address on it, so I think it will be thrown out. One has not yet been processed. So that left just one of the four.

My first question to the "Administrative Hearing Officer" (Rudy Villegas):

"How is this the same and different from a court?"

Hearing Officer: "It's just the same."

Me: "Is there the presumption of innocence?"

Hearing Officer: "What's that?"

Me: "It means the burden of proof is on the City to prove I violated a law."

Hearing Officer: "Oh, of course not. I have the file from the parking bureau right here, and you have to convince me that you're not guilty."

Me: "Then this is not like a court of law. In court, you are innocent until proven guilty."

Hearing Officer: "Well, not in traffic court. You have to prove that you didn't do it."

It was an inauspicious start. We got to the ticket in question, a violation of the two hour parking limit.

Me: "I came to my office at 11:00 am. I left at 12:00 noon to go to swim team. I returned at 1:30 pm, parking at a different spot. I got a ticket for violating 2 hour parking at 2:00. The total time I was parked was one and a half hours."

Hearing Officer: "It says on the ticket that your car was parked there at 11:43 am. But I don't see that verified."

Me: "I was parked there at 11:43. I'll stipulate to that. I was also parked in front of my office, at a different place, at 2:00 pm. But I was not there for a large part of the time in between."

Hearing Officer: "Well, that doesn't matter. Because the way the system works, they just record whether your car was there or not."

It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland. I would present the facts, and the White Rabbit across the desk from me would sing "La la la la".

At the end of the hearing, the officer asked me, "Why don't you just park someplace else?"

When I was in the bathroom, Mr. Villegas told my husband, "I just took this job to get the money for greens fees {golfing]. I thought it would be easy, no stress. Then, I get cases like today."

When I got home from court, a notice was in the mail saying my latest parking ticket has been sent to a collections agency.

Zennie, I do have other outrageous details, particularly relating to Jean Quan's office (that is the district where my office is located).

Might you be interested in any of these details? If not, any ideas about how to publicize any of this?
Thanks! Keep fighting the good fight.

Susan Bergmann

OSCAR ALERT - Animated Feature Entries Due November 2nd for Academy Awards

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I just received an alert from AMPAS (The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) explaining that filmmakers who want to qualify for the Animated Feature Film category for the 2010 82nd Annual Academy Awards must get their entry forms and supporting information and materials in to AMPAS by Monday (this Monday) November 2nd at 5 PM. The deadline to get your film prints in is November 13th.

If you need more information visit, and if that's not enough, call Wil Goldenberg via phone at (310) 247-3000, ext. 190, by fax at (310) 247-2600, or by e-mail at (He's not in the office today, but there's someone else there who can help you.)

Getting your information in on time for this awards segment is a big deal. Past winners include Finding Nemo in 2003 and WALL-E last year. Both films were by Disney / Pixar, and Pixar's located in Emeryville, just up the road (Oakland's Telegraph Avenue) from me.

Currently, here's the list of possible contenders in this category (they've got to make the deadline) as posted over at AwardsDaily earlier this month:

Astro Boy
Battle for Terra
A Christmas Carol
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Mary and Max
Monsters Vs. Aliens
Planet 51
The Princess and the Frog
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure

Five of these films will be nominated for the award. One of them may not be my personal favorite Monsters v. Aliens, but then given its box office performance I could be wrong here. Astroboy will not be in the final five as it's just a disappointingly empty story to many, myself included here.

Stay tuned.

Tom Hayes: Has Senator Lieberman jumped the shark?

Shining the light on those who game the system and talk out of both sides of their mouth has given some in Congress fits. D.C. has never liked public attention to focus on influence peddling: the facts about campaign contributions, or how congressional spouses (such as Mrs. Joe Lieberman) earn money from sitting on boards of directors, or working for lobbying firms, etc., never sit well with constituents. But in times of economic crisis the appearance of financial improprieties becomes even more politically dangerous.
Salon's Joe ConasonIn a year when "lobbyist" may replace "liberal" as the dreaded L-word, the wise politician draws no attention to any connections with the corporate shills who infest Congress like a biblical plague. Any elected official whose spouse is paid to represent or advise an unpopular special interest should observe that simple caution even more carefully. Naive voters may not understand that this is simply how business is done in their corrupt capital these days -- so it is best to say nothing and hope that nobody asks too many questions.
~Joe Conason
In bed with Big Pharma
September 2006
What connects the Senator to GlaxoSmithKline, and lobbying firms APCO and Hill & Knowlton? What's the effect of drawing so much attention to the undue influence big insurance companies have via contributions to his campaign and PACs? Will his threatened defection on the public option cost him his precious committee chairmanship?

For-profit insurance is unique to the U.S. health care system. No other developed country has a profit motive warping the payment of health care. Activists have had more influence than predicted, and information flowing from "new media" sites that aren't being influenced by relying on profits from advertisers with an agenda is shining a lot of unwelcome light on influence peddling in D.C.

Will the changes move from health insurance reform to ethics reform?  Remember, both were on Obama's agenda when he was elected a year ago...

Thomas Hayes is an entrepreneur, journalist, and political analyst who contributes regularly to a host of web sites on topics ranging from economics and politics to culture and community.