First of all, the No. 1 revelation supposedly censored by the press last year -- that the United States is the world's leading arms manufacturer -- is, well, just a little anticlimactic. Then there's the second item on the list: "Personal Care and Cosmetic Products May Be Carcinogenic." The ever-paranoid Dog Bites, a devotee of consumer scare stories, has been following this one, and can report that the Washington Post, the London Daily Mail, and Sacramento Bee have covered the topic, as did the Vancouver Columbian, which, helpfully, included a list of products consumers might want to avoid, including Mr. Bubble Bubbleberry With Aloe Liquid bath soap. (We threw ours out immediately.)
But the "censored story" that has us the most baffled is "Russian Plutonium Lost Over Chile and Bolivia." Forgive us, but we seem to have seen this news mentioned in a couple of places. Of course, the stories were in such little-read publications as the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and a small-town daily called the San Francisco Chronicle. So maybe it's understandable that the Project Censored researchers missed them.
We are pained to report that there have been no successful entrants in our Hackers vs. Rappers contest of last week. Several of you came close, in particular Alexander Clemens, who got seven out of nine right. Congratulations Alexander! The answers: TooShort is a hacker, MynBenda is a rapper, Analyzer is a hacker (he claims to have masterminded the Pentagon computer break-ins), ShdowGawd is a hacker, Cap'n'Crunch is a hacker (though, as Raju Agaskar, a student at UC Berkeley, pointed out, he could more properly be termed a phreaker), C-Style is a rapper, Xzibit is a rapper, KuRuPTion is a hacker, and Assassin is a rapper.
And Speaking of Contests
Dog Bites is thrilled to announce that the Weekly's own George Cothran has won Lincoln University's prestigious Unity Awards in Media trophy for his story "Aids Civil War." Everyone here is looking forward to the trophy's arrival, especially since our treasured cow pinata was recently and forcibly retired from its career as a joke prop. Congratulations George!
And, in further self-promotional news, the Weekly has been named a finalist seven times in the Maggie Awards, a magazine journalism competition administered by the Western Publishing Association. The nominees are: for best interview or profile, Matt Smith's "Esprit de Court" and Jack Boulware's "Murder at the Pink Tarantula." For best news story: "The Black Hole of San Francisco" by George Cothran, "The Great Bank Thievery" by Peter Byrne, "Giving Away the Hospital" by Lisa Davis, and "Falling for the Gap" by Chuck Finnie. Oh, and the Weekly itself is nominated as best in its class.
But of course.
-- Laurel Wellman
Sign away your rights, or don't work. That's the ultimatum the Associated Press is presenting to its free-lance photographers in San Francisco and across the country. The AP is demanding that photographers sign a contract that gives the wire service all rights to all photos that free-lancers take while on assignment for the AP.
That's all photos -- even the ones the AP doesn't use -- and all rights, electronic and otherwise. The contract would bar free-lance photographers from reselling their outtakes, a common practice and an important source of income for many.
But the AP seems determined to go ahead with the contract. Earlier this year, photographers in Cleveland and New Orleans were given two weeks to consider the new terms. San Francisco photographers have not yet been formally notified, but they expect to be given a similar time frame to decide.
Life Applauding Art Imitating Life
A few months ago, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a report showing that most Americans think managed care plans are more concerned with saving money than helping sick people.
The foundation could have saved a pile of money by going to the movies instead. In James Brooks' award-grabbing film As Good As It Gets, Helen Hunt's character, discussing her son's chronic health problems with a doctor (played by Harold Ramis), refers to managed care companies as, "Fucking HMO bastard pieces of shit."
A recent U.S. News & World Report cover story on managed care made passing reference to the remark having drawn applause "in some theaters." They must mean in San Francisco: A random Dog Bites survey found that audiences at the Kabuki and Vogue theaters are cheering wildly at the line.
Dog Bites welcomes tips. Write to Dog Bites, c/o SF Weekly, 185 Berry, Suite 3800, San Francisco, CA 94107, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.