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Rock and roll chameleon David Bowie dies at 69!

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NEW YORK (PNN) - January 10, 2016 - David Bowie, the genre- and gender-bending British music icon whose persistent innovations and personal reinventions transformed him into a larger-than-life rock star, died Sunday after a battle with cancer, his rep confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 69.

"David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief," read a statement posted on the artist's official social media accounts.

The influential singer-songwriter and producer excelled at glam rock, art rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk, and electronica during his eclectic 40-plus-year career. He just released his 25th album, Blackstar, January 8, which was his birthday.

Bowie’s artistic breakthrough came with 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, an album that fostered the notion of rock star as space alien. Fusing British mod with Japanese kabuki styles and rock with theater, Bowie created the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust.

Three years later, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the No. 1 single Fame off the top 10 album Young Americans, then followed with the 1976 avant-garde art rock LP Station to Station, which made it to No. 3 on the charts and featured top 10 hit Golden Years.

Other memorable songs included 1983’s Let’s Dance - his only other No. 1 U.S. hit - Space Oddity, Heroes, Changes, Under Pressure, China Girl, Modern Love, Rebel Rebel, All the Young Dudes, Panic in Detroit, Fashion, Life on Mars, and a 1977 Christmas medley with Bing Crosby.

With his different-colored eyes (the result of a schoolyard fight) and needlelike frame, Bowie was a natural to segue from music into curious movie roles, and he starred as an alien seeking help for his dying planet in Nicolas Roeg’s surreal The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). Critics later applauded his three-month Broadway stint as the misshapen lead in 1980’s The Elephant Man.

Bowie also starred in Marlene Dietrich’s last film, Just a Gigolo (1978), portrayed a World War II prisoner of war in Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983), and played Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). He also starred opposite Jennifer Connelly as Jareth the Goblin King in the 1986 cult favorite Labyrinth, directed by Jim Henson. In another groundbreaking move, Bowie, who always embraced technology, became the first rock star to morph into an Internet Service Provider with the launch in September 1998 of BowieNet.

Born David Jones in London on January 8, 1947, Bowie changed his name in 1966 after The Monkees’ Davy Jones achieved stardom. He played saxophone and started a mime company, and after stints in several bands, he signed with Mercury Records, which in 1969 released his album Man of Words/Man of Music. That featured Space Oddity, his poignant song about an astronaut, Major Tom, spiraling out of control.

In an attempt to stir interest in Ziggy Stardust, Bowie revealed in a January 1972 magazine interview that he was gay - though that might have been a publicity stunt - dyed his hair orange and began wearing women’s garb. The album became a sensation.

Wrote rock critic Robert Christgau, “This is audacious stuff right down to the stubborn wispiness of its sound, and Bowie's actorly intonations add humor and shades of meaning to the words, which are often witty and rarely precious, offering an unusually candid and detailed vantage on the rock star’s world.”

Bowie changed gears in 1975. Becoming obsessed with the dance/funk sounds of Philadelphia, his self-proclaimed “plastic soul”-infused Young Americans peaked at No. 9 with the single Fame, which he co-wrote with John Lennon and guitarist Carlos Alomar.

After the soulful but colder Station to Station, Bowie again confounded expectations after settling in Germany by recording the atmospheric 1977 album Low, the first of his “Berlin Trilogy” collaborations with Brian Eno, which was co-produced by Tony Visconti.

In 1980, Bowie brought out Scary Monsters, which cast a nod to the Major Tom character from Space Oddity with the sequel Ashes to Ashes. He followed with Tonight in 1984 and Never Let Me Down in 1987 and collaborations with Queen, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, The Pat Metheny Group and others. He formed the quartet Tin Machine, but the band didn’t garner much critical acclaim or commercial success with two albums.

Bowie returned to a solo career with 1993’s Black Tie White Noise, which saw him return to work with his Spiders From Mars guitarist Mick Ronson, then recorded 1995’s Outside with Eno and toured with Nine Inch Nails as his opening act. He returned to the studio in 1996 to record the techno-influenced Earthling. Three more albums, 1999’s Hours and 2002’s Heathen and 2003's Reality followed.

Bowie also produced albums for, among others, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and The Stooges and Mott the Hoople, for which he wrote the song All the Young Dudes. He earned a lifetime achievement Grammy Award in 2006 but never again performed on stage.

Bowie was relatively quiet between the years of 2004 and 2012, re-emerging in 2013 with the album The Next Day. Its arrival was met with a social media firestorm, which catapulted it to No. 2 on the Billboard 200, his highest-charting album.

While demand for a tour by the reclusive rock star had been relentless, Bowie kept a decidedly low profile, maintaining a residence in New York but rarely seen.

In December, Bowie opened the rock musical Lazarus in New York City, in which he revisits the character he played in The Man Who Fell to Earth. The project - directed by Ivo van Hove and starring Michael C. Hall - was initiated by Bowie, who long nurtured the idea of a return to the character he played on screen in the Roeg film based on American writer Walter Tevis' 1963 science fiction novel.

A video of the song Lazarus, which is included on the album Blackstar, was released on January 7.

Survivors include his wife, the model Iman, whom he married in 1992; his son, director Duncan Jones; and his daughter Alexandria.

New computer virus warning!

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URGENT PLEASE CIRCULATE!

December 16, 2015 - In the coming days, DO NOT open any message regardless of who sent it to you with an attachment called: BLACK MUSLIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE. It is a virus that opens an Olympics torch that burns the whole hard disk of your computer.

You should send this message to all of your contacts. It is better to receive this e-mail 2 dozen times than to receive the virus and open it.

If you receive a message called BLACK MUSLIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE, even if sent by a friend, do not open and shut down your machine immediately.

It is the worst virus ever announced by CNN. It has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. This virus was discovered yesterday afternoon by McAfee. There is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus destroys the Zero Sector of your hard disk, where vital information function is stored.

Verified by snopes.com

Famed tax protester Irwin Schiff dies in prison!

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October 17, 2015 – Irwin Schiff, grandfather of the contemporary tax protestor movement, dies Friday, according to the Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator.

Schiff educated those who would listen that the federal income tax was very limited in its application and that ordinary Amerikans are tricked into paying it. He is the author of How Anyone Can Stop Paying Income Tax, Federal Mafia: How It Illegally Imposes and Unlawfully Collects Income Taxes, and The Biggest Con: How the Government is Fleecing You.

Schiff, 87, had been diagnosed with lung cancer and his son Peter had been seeking compassionate release. Both Peter Schiff and his brother Andrew believed that their father’s positions were correct but advised people to not follow them.

Irwin Schiff’s position on the extremely limited applicability of the income tax was based on readings of Supreme Court decisions from the period near the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment. Most important were probably Merchants’ Loan and Trust Co. v Smietanka and Brushaber v Union Pacific.

Noted broadcaster Stan Solomon dies!

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (PNN) - June 5, 2015 - Stan Solomon, who has graced the broadcast airwaves with his unique form of political humor while pointedly attacking the lies, corruption and injustice of the Amerikan political system, and promoting freedom and constitutional Rule of Law, died of a massive coronary infarction - a massive heart attack - on Friday May 22. He was found in his garden, having collapsed.

Stan hosted the long running Talk to Solomon radio show, heard on the Creative People’s Network. He effectively used the radio airwaves to promote the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution for the United States.

He will be sorely missed.

OpEd: Stay away from Scenic Hotels in Tonga!

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By Brent Johnson

June 5, 2015 - I have been traveling in the South Pacific seeking places where people can go if they want to leave the Fascist Police States of Amerika. I have made a couple of trips to the island of Tongatapu in the kingdom of Tonga.

On my most recent trip, I missed my flight out of Tongatapu and was in an emergency situation where I needed a place to stay for the night. I went to the Scenic Hotel, which is located at the airport (I had stayed there once before) and checked into a room.

Several minutes later there was a knock on the door, and I was told that the General Manager - Graeme Horsley - had instructed that I was not to be allowed to stay the night. Apparently, Graeme Horsley does not like me for personal reasons (it would be lengthy and somewhat irrelevant to go into why here). Therefore, he used his “power” to prevent me from staying at his hotel in an emergency situation.

As it happens, I ended up in a better hotel at a lower price, so all was well. But Tonga is known as the Friendly Island, and Graeme Horsley does not adequately reflect the spirit of the Tongan culture by his childish attitude.

I must say that I would never stay at the Scenic Hotel in Tonga, and I would advise anyone who visits Tongatapu (and it is a lovely island and would make a good place to go if you should wish to leave the Fascist Police States of Amerika) to stay as far away from the Scenic Hotel as possible.

B. B. King, defining bluesman for generations, dies at 89!

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada (PNN) - May 15, 2015 - B. B. King, whose world-weary voice and wailing guitar lifted him from the cotton fields of Mississippi to a global stage and the apex of American blues, died on Thursday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 89.

John Fudenberg, the coroner of Clark County, Nevada, said the cause was a series of small strokes attributable to Type 2 diabetes. King, who was in hospice care, had been in poor health but had continued to perform until October, when he canceled a tour, citing dehydration and exhaustion stemming from the diabetes.

King married country blues to big-city rhythms and created a sound instantly recognizable to millions: a stinging guitar with a shimmering vibrato, notes that coiled and leapt like an animal, and a voice that groaned and bent with the weight of lust, longing and lost love.

“I wanted to connect my guitar to human emotions,” King said in his autobiography, “Blues All Around Me” (1996), written with David Ritz.

In performances, his singing and his solos flowed into each other as he wrung notes from the neck of his guitar, vibrating his hand as if it were wounded, his face a mask of suffering. Many of the songs he sang - like his biggest hit, “The Thrill Is Gone” (“I’ll still live on/But so lonely I’ll be”) - were poems of pain and perseverance.

The music historian Peter Guralnick once noted that King helped expand the audience for the blues through “the urbanity of his playing, the absorption of a multiplicity of influences, not simply from the blues, along with a graciousness of manner and willingness to adapt to new audiences and give them something they were able to respond to.”

B. B. stood for Blues Boy, a name he took with his first taste of fame in the 1940s. His peers were bluesmen like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, whose nicknames fit their hard-bitten lives. But he was born a King, albeit in a shack surrounded by dirt-poor sharecroppers and wealthy landowners.

King went out on the road and never came back after one of his first recordings reached the top of the rhythm-and-blues charts in 1951. He began in juke joints, country dance halls and ghetto nightclubs, playing 342 one-night stands in 1956 and 200-300 shows a year for a half-century thereafter, rising to concert halls, casino main stages and international acclaim.

He was embraced by rock ’n’ roll fans of the 1960s and ’70s, who remained loyal as they grew older together. His playing influenced many of the most successful rock guitarists of the era, including Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.

King considered a 1968 performance at the Fillmore West, the San Francisco rock palace, to have been the moment of his commercial breakthrough, he told a public-television interviewer in 2003. A few years earlier, he recalled, an M.C. in an elegant Chicago club had introduced him thus: “O.K., folks, time to pull out your chitlin’s and your collard greens, your pigs’ feet and your watermelons, because here is B. B. King.” It had infuriated him.

When he saw “longhaired white people” lining up outside the Fillmore, he told his road manager, “I think they booked us in the wrong place.” Then the promoter Bill Graham introduced him to the sold-out crowd: “Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the chairman of the board, B. B. King.”

“Everybody stood up, and I cried,” King said. “That was the beginning of it.”

By his 80th birthday he was a millionaire many times over. He owned a mansion in Las Vegas, a closet full of embroidered tuxedos and smoking jackets, a chain of nightclubs bearing his name (including a popular room on West 42nd Street in Manhattan), and the personal and professional satisfaction of having endured.

Through it all he remained with the great love of his life, his guitar. He told the tale a thousand times: He was playing a dance hall in Twist, Arkansas, in the early 1950s when two men got into a fight and knocked over a kerosene stove. King fled the fire - and then remembered his $30 guitar. He ran into the burning building to rescue it.

He learned thereafter that the fight had been about a woman named Lucille. For the rest of his life, King addressed his guitars - big Gibsons, curved like a woman’s hips - as Lucille.

He married twice, unsuccessfully, and was legally single from 1966 onward; by his own account he fathered 15 children with 15 women. But a Lucille was always at his side.

Riley B. King (the middle initial apparently did not stand for anything) was born on Sept. 16, 1925, to Albert and Nora Ella King, sharecroppers in Berclair, Mississippi, a hamlet outside the small town of Itta Bena in the Mississippi Delta. His memories of the Depression included the sound of sanctified gospel music, the scratch of 78 r.p.m. blues records, the sweat of dawn-to-dusk work, and the sight of a black man lynched by a white mob.

By early 1940, King’s mother was dead and his father was gone. He was 14 and on his own, “sharecropping an acre of cotton, living on a borrowed allowance of $2.50 a month,” wrote Dick Waterman, a blues scholar. “When the crop was harvested, Riley ended his first year of independence owing his landlord $7.54.”

In November 1941 came a revelation: “King Biscuit Time” went on the air, broadcasting on KFFA, a radio station in Helena, Arkansas. It was the first radio show to feature the Mississippi Delta blues, and young Riley King heard it on his lunch break at the plantation. A largely self-taught guitarist, he now knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: a musician on the air.

The King Biscuit show featured Rice Miller, a primeval bluesman and one of two performers who worked under the name Sonny Boy Williamson. After serving in the Army and marrying his first wife, Martha Denton, King, then 22, went to seek him out in Memphis, looking for work. Memphis and its musical hub, Beale Street, lay 130 miles north of his birthplace, and it looked like a world capital to him.

Miller had two performances booked that night, one in Memphis and one in Mississippi. He handed the lower-paying nightclub job to King. It paid $12.50.

King was making about $5 a day on the plantation. He never returned to his tractor.

He was a hit, and quickly became a popular disc jockey playing the blues on a Memphis radio station, WDIA. “Before Memphis,” he wrote in his autobiography, “I never even owned a record player. Now I was sitting in a room with a thousand records and the ability to play them whenever I wanted. I was the kid in the candy store, able to eat it all. I gorged myself.”

Memphis had heard five decades of the blues: country sounds from the Delta, barrelhouse boogie-woogie, jumps and shuffles and gospel shouts. King made it all his own. From records he absorbed the big-band sounds of Count Basie, the rollicking jump blues of Louis Jordan, the electric-guitar styles of the jazzman Charlie Christian, and the bluesman T-Bone Walker.

On the air in Memphis, King was nicknamed the Beale Street Blues Boy. That became Blues Boy, which became B. B. In December 1951, two years after arriving in Memphis, King released a single, “Three O’Clock Blues,” which reached No. 1 on the rhythm-and-blues charts and stayed there for 15 weeks.

He began a tour of the biggest stages a bluesman could play: the Apollo Theater in Harlem, the Howard Theater in Washington, and the Royal Theater in Baltimore. By the time his wife divorced him after eight years, he was playing 275 one-night stands a year on the so-called chitlin’ circuit.

There were hard times when the blues fell out of fashion with young black audiences in the early 1960s. King never forgot being booed at the Royal by teenagers who cheered the sweeter sounds of Sam Cooke.

“They didn’t know about the blues,” he said 40 years after the fact. “They had been taught that the blues was the bottom of the totem pole, done by slaves, and they didn’t want to think along those lines.”

King’s second marriage, to Sue Hall, also lasted eight years, ending in divorce in 1966. He responded in 1969 with his best-known recording, “The Thrill Is Gone,” a minor-key blues about having loved and lost. It was originally recorded in 1951 by Roy Hawkins, one of its writers, but King made it his own.

King is survived by 11 children. Three of them had recently petitioned to take over his affairs, asserting that King’s manager, Laverne Toney, was taking advantage of him. A Las Vegas judge rejected their petition this month.

The success of “The Thrill Is Gone” coincided with a surge in the popularity of the blues with a young white audience. King began playing folk festivals and college auditoriums, rock shows and resort clubs, and appearing on “The Tonight Show”.

Though he never had another hit that big, he had more than four decades of the road before him. He eventually played the world - Russia and China as well as Europe and Japan. His schedule around his 81st birthday, in September 2006, included nine cities over two weeks in Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Luxembourg.

In addition to winning 15 Grammy Awards (including a lifetime achievement award), having a star on Hollywood Boulevard, and being inducted in both the Rock and Roll and Blues Halls of Fame, King was among the recipients of Kennedy Center Honors in 1995 and was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006, awards rarely associated with the blues. In 1999, in a public conversation with William Ferris, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, King recounted how he came to sing the blues.

“Growing up on the plantation there in Mississippi, I would work Monday through Saturday noon,” he said. “I’d go to town on Saturday afternoons, sit on the street corner, and I’d sing and play.

“I’d have me a hat or box or something in front of me. People that would request a gospel song would always be very polite to me, and they’d say, ‘Son, you’re mighty good. Keep it up. You’re going to be great one day.’ But they never put anything in the hat.

“But people that would ask me to sing a blues song would always tip me and maybe give me a beer. They always would do something of that kind. Sometimes I’d make 50 or 60 dollars one Saturday afternoon. Now you know why I’m a blues singer.”

Is your family's health being traded for profit?

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