Thursday, March 12, 2015

2 officers shot in 'ambush' outside Ferguson PD

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP)Two officers were shot in front of the Ferguson Police Department early Thursday while demonstrators were gathered across the street — an attack the county police chief described as "an ambush" that could easily have killed both men.

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The shots were fired just as a small crowd of protesters began to break up after holding a demonstration in the wake of the resignation of the Ferguson police chief, who stepped down Wednesday.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said one officer was shot in the face, just below his right eye, with the bullet lodging behind his ear. The other officer was hit in the shoulder, and the bullet came out his back.
Both men were expected to recover without suffering any long-term damage, Belmar said, but the wounds might have been mortal.
"We could have buried two police officers next week over this," he said.
The 32-year-old officer who was shot in the face was from nearby Webster Groves. The second officer, 41, came from the St. Louis County force.
Both were taken to a hospital, where Belmar said they were conscious.
Authorities believe the shots came from a handgun fired about 120 yards away. There were no suspects in custody.
Based on where the officers were standing and the trajectory of the bullets, the shots appeared to be aimed directed at the police, Belmar said.
"This is really an ambush," he said. "You are basically defenseless. It is hard to guard against."
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Asked whether the gunman played any part in the protest, Belmar said he was "very confident that whoever did this was there for the wrong reasons."
"There was an unfortunate association with the gathering," he added.
The protest unfolded just hours after Ferguson announced that Police Chief Tom Jackson would resign. His resignation followed that of City Manager John Shaw earlier in the week.
The protest was a familiar scene in Ferguson, which saw similar and much larger demonstrations after the shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown last summer by city police officer Darren Wilson. A state grand jury cleared Wilson, who is white, in November, sparking further protests, looting and fires. But Thursday morning was the first time an officer at a protest had been shot.
In amateur video accessed by the Associated Press, two shots ring out and a man is heard screaming out in pain.
Someone at the scene, unseen and unidentified in the video, says: "Acknowledgement nine months ago would have kept that from happening."
Marciay Pitchford, 20, was among the protesters. She told The Associated Press that the protest had been mostly peaceful until she heard the shots.
Image result for st louis police officers shot"I saw the officer go down and the other police officers drew their guns while other officers dragged the injured officer away," Pitchford said. "All of a sudden everybody started running or dropping to the ground."
Belmar said the shots were fired from across the street from the police department.
After the shooting, officers with guns and in riot gear encircled the station, and more than a dozen squad cars blocked the street.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill urged "healing and reform," calling the shooting a "criminal act that jeopardized the lives of police officers and protesters both."
Jackson was the sixth employee to resign or be fired after a Justice Department report last week cleared Wilson of civil rights charges in the shooting. Wilson has also resigned. A separate Justice Department report released the same day found a profit-driven court system and widespread racial bias in the city police department.
Mayor James Knowles III announced Wednesday that the city had reached a mutual separation agreement with Jackson that will pay him one year of his nearly $96,000 annual salary and extend his health coverage. Jackson's resignation becomes effective March 19, at which point Lt. Col. Al Eickhoff will become acting chief while the city searches for a replacement.
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Jackson had resisted calls by protesters and some of Missouri's top elected leaders to step down over his handling of Brown's shooting and the weeks of protests that followed. He was widely criticized from the outset for the aggressive police response to protests and his agency's erratic and infrequent releases of key information.
He took nearly a week to publicly identify Wilson as the shooter and then further heightened tension in the community by releasing Wilson's name at the same time as store security video that police said showed Brown stealing a box of cigars and shoving a clerk a short time before his death.
Knowles said Jackson resigned after "a lot of soul-searching" about how the community could heal from the racial unrest stemming from the fatal shooting last summer.
"The chief is the kind of honorable man you don't have to go to," Knowles said. "He comes to you when he knows that this is something we have to seriously discuss."
The acting head of the Justice Department's civil rights division released a statement saying the U.S. government remains committed to reaching a "court-enforceable agreement" to address Ferguson's "unconstitutional practices," regardless of who's in charge of the city.
Jackson oversaw the Ferguson force for nearly five years before the shooting that stirred months of unrest across the St. Louis region and drew global attention to the predominantly black city of 21,000.
In addition to Jackson, Ferguson's court clerk was fired last week and two police officers resigned. The judge who oversaw the court system also resigned, and the City Council on Tuesday agreed to a separation agreement with Shaw, the city manager.

Marvin Gaye Family Lawyer: How I Won the 'Blurred Lines' Trial (Guest Column)

Richard Busch describes overcoming a disadvantage heading into court against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke — who he says are "bullies" — plus what he regards as the other side's biggest mistake.

Richard Busch, attorney for the Marvin Gaye family
The column appears in the March 21 issue of Billboard.
I was surprised. When Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams decided to launch a lawsuit seeking declaratory relief that “Blurred Lines” wasn’t a copyright infringement of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” I didn’t know they’d do this. My opinion is that they believed the Gayes didn’t have resources and the wherewithal to fight. My belief then was they were being bullies. I bet now they regret it.
At the time, Marc Levinsonwas the Gayes’ transactional lawyer who reached out to their side to discuss trying to resolve the issue. He then brought me on board. We had worked together on the Eminemdigital download case.
After Mr. Thicke and Williams filed the lawsuit, it was our opinion that Pharrell Williams and his lawyerHoward King wanted to litigate this in the press by continually saying that all they did was take a feeling. And if they did any copying, it was only a genre. We didn’t view it like this at all. Yes, it involved a big, popular song, but this was a straight-up copyright claim over compositional elements that we believed had been taken.
That’s not to say we weren’t handicapped. In fact, we tried this case with one-and-a-half arms tied behind our back thanks to the judge’s ruling to not allow the full Gaye recording to be played to the jury. The court held that our claim was limited to elements  found on the lead sheet deposited with the Copyright Office, and had we lost, there certainly would have been an appeal. But we were able to overcome the disadvantage by preparing excerpts from the recording of what the court found to be arguably protected and have it compared to excerpts from “Blurred Lines.” In the end, this focused the jury on the music and allowed for a good comparison.
The court’s ruling may have contributed to the other side’s biggest mistake in my view.  They focused heavily on allegedly specific note-for-note differences between the lead sheets and the recording, arguing that because there supposedly wasn’t identicality, there wasn’t protection, but I don’t think this was a good idea because the jury instructions didn’t say there needed to be identicality. I knew I could highlight this in closing arguments and say what they were doing was a colossal waste of time. Plus, I don’t think it’s a good idea to tell the jury, “Yes, we may have copied, but don’t find us liable because there’s not a perfect match.”
The key to victory for us was the music. We had two great musicologists — Judith Finelland Ingrid Monson — who broke down the songs and showed that there was copying, not just of feeling. Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams also were not able to keep their story straight. Most people paid attention to Thicke’s inconsistency — he went from saying he told Pharrell to create a song like  “Got to Give It Up” to saying he wanted to have that feeling to saying he wanted to evoke the era to not having any conversations at all. They might have had an excuse for Thicke, but what was Pharrell’s explanation for what I believe were inconsistent and irreconcilable statements? We showed his taped deposition at trial. It was powerful.
I am my own biggest critic who broods over any mistakes, and if I was nervous, it was only because of how strongly I wanted to do right by Nona and Frankie Gaye, but let me tell you something: When I do a trial, it’s like an individual battle each day amid a larger war. And we felt we won each day.
On the Friday before the verdict, when the jury had a specific question on damages regarding the calculation on how to award profits, I felt really confident. But by the end of the day, when the jury hadn’t reached verdict, I wondered if we were maybe too excited. It was the longest weekend of my life. I did everything possible to distract myself. Iwent to the movies. I walked on the beach. I did a Sons of Anarchy marathon on Netflix.
Then, Tuesday finally came. We didn’t start this case. But we made sure to finish it.
(As told to Eriq Gardner)

Live Nation Inks 26-Festival Sponsorship Deal With Smirnoff For EDM

Nearly two years after acquiring a 50% stake  in promoter Insomniac Events, Live Nation continues to expand its electronic dance-music business on both the touring and festival circuits worldwide. 

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Adding to the boom this year will be the company's largest EDM branding deal to date, a partnership with Diageo's Smirnoff vodka to become the official vodka sponsor of 26 festivals, including the Electric Daisy, HARD and Wonderland franchises.
"Smirnoff as a brand is all about inclusivity, enjoying life and having a great time, so we saw a natural fit in the electronic music genre and lifestyle," says Matt Bruhn, global brand director for Smirnoff. "What we're trying to do is not just advertise our way to success but act our way to success."
Smirnoff will provide intimate experiences at each festival that will vary by territory, each anchored in interactions between artists and fans inspired by the Smirnoff Sound Collective, a platform the brand started in 2014. EDM acts like Steve AokiZeds DeadHayden James and Tommy Trash have already been involved, through Smirnoff's relationship with THUMP and previous sponsorship of three SFX festivals, with another 10 more expected to be featured throughout the 26 Live Nation festivals. "We've been trying to build some cred and really be part of the scene," Bruhn says. "I believe as a musical movement because of what it does, in terms of breaking artist and giving access to people who don't have instruments, EDM is just so genre-neutral. Look at Jack U's latest album, it's such an eclectic mix of people, and shows how dance music is a positive, fun world. We want to be a part of that."
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Russell Wallach, Live Nation's president of media and sponsorship, says the Smirnoff deal "is a great model where we can develop consistencies around the world. They said to us from day one, 'We want to create a great experience and bring the artist and fans closer together. And we're now working closely with them to bring that to life."And just as the Live Nation deal will help Smirnoff unify its brand message worldwide amid growing competition (Diageo has said Smirnoff is the number-one selling vodka), Live Nation continues to elevate its positioning as a global sponsorship player. In January, the company announced a global deal with Hilton as its new hotel partner, reaching 42 million HHonors guest-program members, and key Live Nation client Citi has been staffing up its international entertainment teams to better position itself for global pre-sales. In EDM, Live Nation inked two multi-festival sponsorship deals with 7 Up and Bud Light Platinum in the U.S. last year that will return in 2015, with Bud Light expected to fill Platinum's role on the festival circuit. In total, Live Nation reported $300.3 million in sponsorship and advertising revenue in 2014, a 5% increase from 2013.
The full list of Smirnoff-sponsored festivals is below:
EDC – New York (U.S.)
EDC – Las Vegas (U.S.)
EDC – Orlando (U.S.)
Nocturnal Wonderland – Los Angeles (U.S.)
Beyond Wonderland – Los Angeles (U.S.)
Beyond Wonderland – San Francisco (U.S.)
Escape from Wonderland – Los Angeles (U.S.)
White Wonderland – Los Angeles (U.S.)
HARD Red Rocks – Denver (U.S.)
HARD Summer  – Los Angeles (U.S.)
HARD Day Of The Dead – Los Angeles (U.S.)
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience – New Orleans (U.S.)
Wireless – London (UK)
EDC – London (UK)
Latitude – Suffolk (UK)
Reading (UK)   
Leeds (UK)
V Festival North – Shropshire (UK)
V Festival South – Chelmsford (UK)
Creamfields – Liverpool (UK)
Glasgow Sessions (UK)
SonneMondSterne (Germany)
Rock'n'Heim (Germany)
Pinkpop (Netherlands)
We Are Electric (Netherlands)
Dcode (Spain)

Mariah Carey Signs with Epic Records

By  and 

The ink is dry on Mariah Carey's new recording contract with Epic Records, a spokesperson for the Sony label confirms.

Mariah Carey Butchers "Fantasy"As first reported by Billboard on Jan. 30, the singer is reteaming with Antonio "L.A." Reid for a multi-album deal that would begin with a greatest-hits set to coincide with her upcoming residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Dubbed "#1's," the concert series booked by Creative Artists Agency begins May 6 and will include all 18 of Carey's Billboard Hot 100 chart-toppers, from 1990's "Vision of Love" to 2008's "Touch My Body." Likewise, her forthcoming album for Epic is expected to feature updates and possibly duets of her classic songs.
Although Carey left Sony some 15 years ago on tumultuous terms, there are plenty of reasons why rejoining makes sense now. Doug Morris, current chairman/CEO of Sony Music, brought Carey to Island Def Jam in 2003 when he was running Universal Music Group. It was there that Reid, then head of IDJ, oversaw her 2005 comeback, The Emancipation of Mimi. FinallyJoey Arbagey, a collaborator of Carey's during the making of the six-times platinum Mimi, is now executive vp A&R at Epic. Indeed, Carey is already recording new music in Los Angeles, says a source.
No word yet on a potential release date for her first Epic effort.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015



It’s called Palcohol, it’s meant to be used as a mixer for an instant alcoholic beverage and the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has finally approved it for sale

Image result for powdered alcoholBut it’s powdered alcohol, and it would be available in a small, easy to carry pouch. All you’d need to do is add water (or not) and “instant buzz.”
Alcohol, despite being ubiquitous, is a drug that is already super easy to abuse. Won’t making it a straight up pack of old school “Lik-M-Aid” be a problem? Won’t people bypass adding water and straight up snort it? And won’t that get you instant drunk and isn’t that dangerous? Isn’t anyone worried it’ll be used to drug people unknowingly? Isn’t anyone concerned that some folks are not responsible enough to handle nearly undetectable powder liquor? They can’t hold their liquid liquor!
I’m not alone being like “the government approved this? Have they ever been to a college campus?!” Some states are already like, nah, son. We’re not ready.
Wrote the Associated Press:
Several states have already moved to ban powdered alcohol, including lawmakers in Colorado who last month advanced legislation to temporarily halt its sale. Concerns have included abuse by minors and whether Palcohol’s light weight would make it easy to sneak alcohol into public events.
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A spokesperson for the bureau that approved Palcohol said that because some people might abuse it that shouldn’t be reason enough to ban it. Not a shocking line of thinking since, again, regular liquid alcohol is abused and legal everywhere. But should we be making it easier for people to sneak liquor in places where liquor is not supposed to be?
The inventor of the substance said he had the idea because he wanted to be able to have an alcoholic drink after a hike, but didn’t want to have to lug heavy bottles. But it’s the ease of carrying around a light-weight powder to get tipsy that has people freaked. Time will only tell how it all pans out.
I predict it will pan out face-down “drunk.”

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Jay Z's Bid for Swedish Streaming Company Reportedly Accepted

Jay Z's $56.2 million bid for Swedish streaming company has been accepted, according to a report in Swedish news outlet E24

Roc Nation representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

There's been little indication of Shawn Carter and Roc Nation's plans for his new acquisition, though artist exclusives from Roc Nation's long list of major stars is a reasonable expectation. As well, Aspiro's WiMP platform already provides ample space for editorial, which would dovetail nicely with Carter's Life + Times blog.