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Scandalous

Michael Vick Book Signings Spark Barnes & Noble Boycott

Bookselling giant Barnes & Noble is taking some heat for hosting multiple signings this month for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and convicted animal abuser Michael Vick. Vick is scheduled to appear at the stores to promote his new book, Michael Vick: Finally Free An Autobiography.

A petition was started last week asking Barnes & Noble to cancel the signings, and the bookseller’s Facebook page has since been flooded with comments from angry customers. Many readers are vowing that they will never shop at B&N again if the company doesn’t cancel Vick’s scheduled appearances, and several have called for B&N to stop selling the book altogether.

While we at FishbowlLA aren’t generally in favor of boycotting bookstores, it’s hard to see gruesome photographs of the victims of dogfighting and remain impartial.

We’ve reached out to Barnes & Noble for their reaction to the controversy, and will let you know if we hear back.

Former Boss Comes to the Defense of Embattled BuzzFeed Reporter

Before Tessa Stuart joined BuzzFeed, she worked at LA Weekly. Today, that publication’s editor-in-chief Sarah Fenske has done what very few elsewhere in the media have dared to up to this point: firmly take Stuart’s side.

The crux of Fenske’s argument is that she feels there’s no way, under any circumstances (logged by the CPB or not logged), that Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat could have been detained for the amount of time Michael Moore first claimed (1.5 hours). From her op ed:

The Atlantic revealed that Burnat’s plane arrived at LAX at 4:59 p.m. , fourteen minutes behind schedule. Even if the plane was blessed with a relatively quick deboarding, it’s hard to imagine that Burnat could have possibly first encountered federal agents any earlier than 5:20 p.m.

Weirdly, The Atlantic lets Moore suggest otherwise: “In the half-hour between Burnat’s arrival and the first log entry cited in BuzzFeed’s post, Moore says Burnat and his family had already been taken to two other holding areas.” Oh really? So the plane landed at 4:59, and somehow magically everyone was ushered into various holding areas within just a few minutes, only to be detained and shuffled to room after room in just 29 minutes?

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Another Very Sad Scientology Tale

At the end of his latest blog piece, Church of Scientology watchdog reporter Tony Ortega writes the following:

CODA: The Bunker just wants to add, on a personal note, that back in the day, this was the kind of story you would find on the front page of the LOS ANGELES FREAKING TIMES, and not on the blog of some dude in New York City.

We know things are tough at the formerly great newspaper out there, but it was once the leading journal of all things Scientology. Doesn’t it bother anyone there that so many Los Angeles Scientology stories are broken here rather than in the city’s supposed paper of record?

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The Onion Apologizes for Quvenzhané Wallis Tweet

As predicted by yours truly last night, The Onion’s tweet about Quvenzhané Wallis still has the Internet in full wrath mode. Not only was the offending tweet removed, this morning Onion CEO Steve Hannah issued a rare apology on the paper’s Facebook page.

“On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive—not to mention inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting.

“No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.”

That Wallis is 9 and utterly adorable is obviously what has everyone so worked up. It’s also why the joke is so funny. It probably wouldn’t fly on TV, with its mass mainstream audience. But it’s an appropriately crude, tongue-in-cheek joke for a disposable, largely-adult, medium like Twitter.

Hannah’s letter in full after the jump:

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TheWrap Asks Bauer Media to Explain the Nazi Porn

Who is Andrew Gumbel? That was our immediate first question upon reading TheWrap’s provocative look at some of the less well-known tentacles of Bauer Media, the Hamburg, Germany-based publishing giant that puts out weekly glossies In Touch and Life & Style. Gumbel, the author of the piece, is a veteran British-born LA journalist who worked for London’s The Independent for many years and authored the 2005 book Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America.

He’s zeroed in on some extremely unsavory bits of Bauer media activity. When asked about the following, company spokesperson Claudia Bachhausen had no comment:

A wholly owned Bauer subsidiary publishes Der Landser, a military adventure magazine that specializes in World War II stories sympathetic to Hitler’s armies and that enjoys brisk sales among skinheads and neo-Nazis. The respected German magazine Der Spiegel once described it as “a specialist journal for whitewashing the Wehrmacht”…

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NBCLA Lands the Early Front-Runner for Car Chase of the Year Video

Plenty of stupid car chases find a way to infiltrate our local TV news, but none quite like this. NBC informs us the suspect above was wanted by police on suspicion of “drunk driving.”

Are you sure about that?

Not that he couldn’t have been drinking before he got in the car, but based on the mania with which he’s huffing those balloons, we’re going to go ahead and say that he’s under a different kind of influence. NBC’s story does get a quote from the suspect’s father claiming his son has nitrous habit.

Love how he was sucking on those balloons even with a small army of police officers pointing shotguns at him. That’s dedication! Either that or the most stubborn addiction we have ever seen.

New York Times Magazine Gets Old-School Access to The Canyons

It’s the kind of piece that just doesn’t happen anymore in this era of hyper-PR. Stephan Rodrick‘s behind-the-scenes piece in the New York Times Magazine on the making of Paul Schrader‘s film The Canyons is definitely the read of the day. It may just be the most Hollywood thing we have ever read: porn stars, desperation, and plenty of Lindsay Lohan. And dream access.

A (slightly out of context) taste about filming a four-way sex scene with LiLo and three porn stars:

Schrader worried that the early-morning sunlight would begin streaming through the house. He thought of sending everyone home. But then he realized that there was one thing he hadn’t yet tried. He stripped off all of his clothes. Naked, he walked toward Lohan.

“Lins, I want you to be comfortable. C’mon, let’s do this.”

Lohan shrieked.

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San Diego Videographer Helps Friend Recover Stolen iPhone

Generally speaking, Greg Torkelson has no direct connection to the mayhem he films as a stringer for local TV stations and services like sandiegonewsvideo.com. But in the case of his friend Kenneth Schmidgall, Torkelson was instrumental in helping track down a stolen iPhone and then filming away as the theft victim (Schmidgall) violently confronted the thief.

The pair used the Find My iPhone App to pinpoint the whereabouts and identity of the alleged culprit. As ABC Channel 10 reporter Hannah Mullins dramatically reminds in her report below, pepper spray was also involved.

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PBS Talk Show Host Tavis Smiley Tangles with KFI’s Mo ‘Kelly

In his latest Journal-isms column, Richard Prince retraces some contentious recent chronology involving Tavis Smiley and Mo ‘Kelly (a.k.a. Morris W. O’Kelly, pictured).

Kelly, who once worked for Smiley, has been accusing Smiley of using a national poverty-focused outreach tour as a means of personal grandstanding. The feud went public and got nastier last week when The Wave newspaper’s Betty Pleasant reported that Smiley had sent Kelly a cease-and-desist letter. From Prince’s item:

Smiley publicly remained silent, but the story by Pleasant gained steam as its message was repeated on at least two black-oriented websites, the black entertainment outlet EUR Web and radio host Tom Joyner‘s Black America Web.

Then, on Sunday, EUR Web published an “open letter” to Smiley from Najee Ali, director of Los Angeles-based Project Islamic HOPE (Helping Oppressed People Everywhere), siding with O’Kelly.

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Bloomberg News Outs California’s Highest Paid State Worker

For those lucky enough to have a ticket, “America’s Great State Payroll Giveaway” is right up there with the Powerball lottery. In California, the individual most profitably cashing in is all over the local LA media this week as a result of the first of a six-part segment of the ongoing Bloomberg News series.

From the article by LA based news research team leader Rodney Yap together with east coast Bloomberg colleagues Freeman Klopott and Terrence Dopp:

Mohammad Safi, a graduate of a medical school in Afghanistan, began working as a psychiatrist at a California mental hospital in 2006, making $90,682 in his first six months. Last year, he took home $822,302, all of it paid by taxpayers.

Safi benefited from what amounted to a bidding war after a federal court forced the state to improve inmate care. The prisons raised pay to lure psychiatrists, the mental health department followed suit to keep employees, and costs soared.

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