"Education is the key to stemming illegal downloads of music and other content," concluded a new study.
Actress Suzanne Pleshette's recent death from "respiratory distress" was sad. Most of the articles about it briefly mention that she had been fighting lung cancer, but fail to mention that she had been a cigarette smoker in the past. Cigarette smoking is the single biggest cause of lung cancer.
It is rarely discussed, but tobacco has taken an extraordinarily heavy toll on Hollywood. The list of beloved celebrities killed by smokers' diseases is huge, and growing: George Harrison, Johnny Carson, Dana Reeve, Yul Brynner, Lucille Ball, Walt Disney, Nat King Cole, Joe DiMaggio, Michael Landon, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Betty Grable, and Babe Ruth to name just a few. Despite this, the failure to mention a person's smoking history in obituary columns is the norm in celebrity deaths. In just one glaring example, a four page obituary about the 2005 death of prominent news anchor Peter Jennings published by his own network, ABC, fails to mention the contribution that smoking made to Jennings' tragic and untimely death. A CNN's column about Jennings' death didn't mention it either. Something is up when major news organizations omit any mention the single most prominent cause of the death of a renowned news anchor.
After two Smithsonian Institution board members questioned the appropriateness of accepting oil industry funding for its "Ocean Initiative," the American Petroleum Institute (API) withdrew its $5 million funding offer. "Circumstances within the Smithsonian have changed, to say the least," said an API spokesperson.
The Harley-Davidson motorcycle company has arranged a deal with the film school at the University of California-Santa Barbara that recruits students as cheap labor to make Harley ads in the form of "short sponsored videos for online media or for downloading to other digital media platforms such as cell phones, iPods, and PDAs." Under the terms of the "partnership," students submit proposals to Harley-Davidson, describing the type of video they plan to make. If approved, the company pays a stipend of up to $1,200 for each proposal, and a prize of $5,000 to the winner.
There are many reasons why federal investigations might take some time to conclude. Perhaps the issues are complex. Maybe the parties under investigation are less than forthcoming. The investigating agency may lack the resources needed to resolve the matter in a timely fashion.
On the other hand, a stalled investigation may be part of a crisis management strategy. When an embarrassing ethical or legal transgression surfaces, launching an investigation sends the message that the matter is being taken seriously. Thanks to a rapid news cycle and a lack of follow-up reporting, public attention shifts elsewhere as the investigation continues. Closing the investigation can be seen as counter-productive, as it once again calls attention to the problem and creates the expectation that the findings will be acted upon.
Representative John Dingell (D-Mich.) may well have been pondering such matters on March 14, when he pointedly asked Federal Communications Commission Chair Kevin Martin about the status of the agency's ongoing Armstrong Williams investigation.