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June 21, 2011

Jackass star Ryan Dunn dies in car accident aged 34

Jackass star Ryan Dunn dies in car accident aged 34

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

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Dunn appeared in both the Jackass TV series and movies.
Image: David Greene.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Ryan Dunn, one of the stars of the TV series Jackass, has died in a car accident aged 34. The accident occurred near West Chester, Pennsylvania early yesterday morning, when the car Dunn was driving left the road and crashed into a tree.

The vehicle burst into flames; Dunn’s body was identified by his tattoos. An unidentified passenger also died in the accident. Police suspect speed to have been a factor.

Dunn’s death was announced by April Margera, the mother of one of his co-stars, Bam Margera. MTV released a statement saying “We are devastated by the tragic loss of Ryan Dunn — a beloved member of the MTV family for more than a decade.”

Jackass started in 2000 after a series of internet clips were released showing Dunn skateboarding and performing stunts along with Margera, Christopher Raab and Brandon DiCamillo. The show was created after Johnny Knoxville contacted the group to ask if he could use their videos on the show.

As well as the TV series and three Jackass movies, Dunn also appeared on Viva La Bam and presented his own shows, Homewrecker and Proving Ground.



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July 27, 2010

New Jersey governor calls television show \”Jersey Shore\” negative

New Jersey governor calls television show “Jersey Shore” negative

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

File photo of Governor Chris Christie.
Image: Walter Burns.

File photo of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi at James Madison University.
Image: Amy Nicole Waltney.

Chris Christie, governor of the US state of New Jersey, complained on ABC‘s Sunday morning talk show This Week that TV series Jersey Shore promotes a negative image of the state.

Prompted by a feature in The New York Times on Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, one of the stars of the MTV show, interviewer Jake Tapper asked the governor whether he thought the series was positive or negative for the state. Christie unequivocally answered that the show was “negative for New Jersey… It takes a bunch of New Yorkers, drops them on the Jersey Shore, and tries to make America feel like this is New Jersey”. He concluded, “I can tell people: they want to know what New Jersey really is? I welcome them to come to New Jersey any time.”

In a wide-ranging interview the governor also faced questions about local and national politics, including New Jersey’s US$11 billion budget deficit. Specifically, he was challenged over his plans to not pay $3 billion into public pension funds, payments described by the interviewer as a “legal obligation”. He said that he “wasn’t going to put $3 billion into a failing pension system” and that there would be further reforms of pensions and health benefits.

Christie was further questioned over his ongoing conflicts with teachers unions. He responded that “we can’t have one sector of our society sheltered from the ravages of the recession, at the cost to people who have been hurt by the recession the most”, citing the example of construction unions in New Jersey currently suffering unemployment between 35 and 50%.



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February 22, 2009

Adela Lupșe, outburst TV presenter, gives her side

Adela Lupșe, outburst TV presenter, gives her side

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Adela Lupșe
Image: Adela Lupșe.

The call-in quiz show is a staple of cheap programming throughout Europe. The format is simple: a question is displayed on screen, and callers phone in with their guesses – paying a premium rate to do so. The programs are often repetitive, the average question simple, the average prize small.

Once in a while, though, something unusual does happen.

On December 6 2008, Adela Lupșe, presenting the call-in quiz Telepremii on Național TV on Romanian television, had what The Daily Telegraph described as a “tantrum on air”. As the final prize became available, Ms Lupșe’s show had no callers. Already excited, she began to shout. Throwing the telephone down on the studio floor and stomping on it, she admonished her viewers, “I want the telephone to ring now. Now. Call me now!”

Various reports in the English-speaking press went on to state that Ms Lupșe had been fired, or fired and re-hired, that the show had been fined heavily, forced to move to a late-evening time slot, or given an adults-only rating.

After presenting the broadcasts of this morning’s call-in programs, including the same one she was supposedly fired from in January, Ms Lupșe spoke to Wikinews from her television studio in Budapest, Hungary to give her first full-length English interview and talk about her work and her version of events.

Adela Lupșe was born in 1988 to a miner’s family in the village of Poiana, Bihor in Transylvania, Romania. A member of Romania’s first post-Ceaușescu generation, she grasped the power of television at a young age: “I think television is the most interesting phenomenon that the modern day has given us….for my type of personality, I find it impressive, the power that television has worldwide….We dress like the people that television promotes. We want to look like the celebrities that television launches.”

Cquote1.svg I wanted to get some attention and get people to know my face. Cquote2.svg

Knowing television was the career for her, Lupșe moved to the city of Oradea to study journalism, and began a job at a local television station as a health reporter. Using that position as a launching board, she found her way onto the national reality program Noră pentru mama 1 (Daughter-in-law for Mom) on Kanal D, a show in which mothers of single sons attempted to matchmake for their children. Lupșe unabashedly admits she took part in the show only for exposure: “Actually my goal from the start was not to win this thing or to find someone. I wanted to get some attention and get people to know my face. I want this attention because I’m aware of the fact that it is not easy to enter this world! And I was doing all this in order to increase my chances to get my dream job in television.” That dream: to host a nationally-broadcast talk show.

After participating in Noră pentru mama, Lupșe was asked to audition for her first call-in program and was quickly hired. She describes a typical day: “One hour and a half before the show I’m in the make-up room. After I’m done with hair and make-up I go down to the studio for the before the show to talk to the producer. And then is the result that anyone gets to see.” All of her banter on-air is improvised: “Definitely there is no script! Everything that you see comes out spontaneosly during the show.”

On any given day, Ms Lupșe is on camera for between one and five hours, presenting a number of different call-in shows on several different networks: not only Național TV but also Prima TV and Antena 1, all broadcast from the same studio. Despite the repetition, she doesn’t get bored. “For me it’s always exciting. I enjoy it very much! If I’m tired at the end of the show it means I’ve done a good show. But I’m never tired during the show.” When I play a clip of one of her energetic show presentations – not the one she’s become best known for – she elaborates on her exuberance. “I’m always excited when I’m about to give big prizes! There is no show without winners!”

Cquote1.svg I was just involved in the moment! Cquote2.svg

Adela Lupșe’s December 6 broadcast was a normal day. She went to the studio, prepared her hair and makeup, spoke to the producer, and went onscreen. The only thing out of the ordinary, she says, was the size of the prize: 1500 leu, about $US 450, or roughly a month’s wage for a typical Romanian. She describes the critical moment in nonchalant terms:

Wikinews

How did you feel, then, when you began shouting? Many people have said you seemed angry…

  • Adela Lupșe: I was just involved in the moment! People have different opinions.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You weren’t angry at all?

  • Adela Lupșe: I would rather use the word excited.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Even when you put your foot on the telephone.

  • Adela Lupșe: Even then, the whole moment was just my way to express my excitement!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png All we in most countries have seen is those two minutes. What happened afterward?

  • Adela Lupșe: Well the show went on, I got my winner and moved on!

She says she and her show weren’t fired or fined. The first inkling she had, in fact, that there was something unusual about that day’s broadcast was when, on January 9 2009, MTV Russia aired the clip of her shouting and stomping on the phone, mixed with some dramatic orchestral rock music. That same clip, uploaded onto video service YouTube, quickly garnered over one million views.

Cquote1.svg I think also I’m a little bit crazy. So it’s all good! Cquote2.svg

Adela Lupșe says she’s happy with the attention brought her from her outburst: she’s been interviewed on talk shows in both Hungary and Romania so “people were able to see that I’m a normal, fun to be around person.” She’s occasionally recognized in the street, which she enjoys.

And as for the charge most frequently leveled against her, that she’s “crazy”: “I think it is normal that people have prejudicies, everyone is free to express his opinion in the same way that I’m free to do my job the best that I can! I’m hurt if my family is unhappy with people’s comments but I think I gain the wisdom to ignore the negative feedback!

“I think also I’m a little bit crazy. So it’s all good!”



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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October 4, 2008

Lordi release music video for Finnish chart-topper \’Bite It Like a Bulldog\’

Lordi release music video for Finnish chart-topper ‘Bite It Like a Bulldog’

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

The video features Lordi’s new costumes, as pictured
Image: Lordi.

Finnish theatrical hard rock band Lordi – who are known for their ‘monster’ personas – have released a music video for the single Bite It Like a Bulldog. The song rose to number one on the Finnish single chart.

The song is the lead single from Deadache, Lordi’s new album, which is due for release later this month. The album’s musical style is described as similar to the band’s previous work in that it is melodic hard rock, but with a ‘rougher’ quality to it and stronger horror themes. The band’s keyboardist previously compared some of the music to that of Rob Zombie.

The band have also introduced new incarnations of their costumes, as they do for the release of each album. According to the group’s frontman, part of the aim for the video was to showcase these to the world for the first time. “The modern horror film classics such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and Hostel were the starting points and the influence for the visual look,” he told MTV.

He also explained that the intention was to produce something different with the video. “We wanted to achieve something that breaks the tradition of Lordi videos… The idea was to have a video with a not-so-simple and easily understandable storyline. We wanted the clip to focus on the feeling of the song and the new, more grotesque look of the band.” The video was directed by Limppu Lindberg, who has worked on graphic design with Lordi and directed videos for Finnish metal bands such as Children of Bodom and Norther.

The video’s United States TV debut will be made tonight at 11pm on MTV2’s Headbangers Ball.



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March 28, 2008

Tom Cruise spoofed in film \’Superhero Movie\’

Tom Cruise spoofed in film ‘Superhero Movie’

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Miles Fisher impersonates Tom Cruise in Superhero Movie.
Image: Erwinfletcher.

Producers of the film Superhero Movie, out today, released clips from the film on the Internet parodying a Church of Scientology promotional video featuring Scientologist Tom Cruise.

Superhero Movie is written and directed by Scott Mazin, director of the 2000 comedy about superheroes The Specials. The film stars Drake Bell, Sara Paxton, Christopher McDonald, Pamela Anderson, Tracy Morgan, Regina Hall, Craig Bierko, Simon Rex, Leslie Nielsen, Marion Ross, Kevin Hart, Jeffrey Tambor, Ryan Hansen, Brent Spiner and Keith David.

Drake Bell plays Rick Riker, a young man figuring out how to use his superpowers. The film parodies blockbuster superhero movies including Spider-Man, Batman, X-Men, and Fantastic Four.

Tom Cruise in 2006.
Image: Kevin Ballard.

In the original Scientology video, Cruise discusses his faith and his opinion on what it means to be a Scientologist, while the theme music from his Mission: Impossible series of films plays in the background. The video, which was not intended for public distribution outside of the Church of Scientology, is nine minutes long and contains heavy use of Scientology terminology. The video appeared on YouTube January 15, two days before the release of a biography on Cruise by Andrew Morton: Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography.

The Church of Scientology sent legal letters to YouTube and to Gawker.com, sites which were hosting the Cruise video at the time, and requested that they take it down. YouTube complied, but Gawker.com did not, and Nick Denton of Gawker.com commented: “It’s newsworthy, and we will not be removing it.” The video later appeared on websites other than Gawker.com, including the New York Post, Independent Television News and the BBC.

Attempts by the Church of Scientology to remove the video from the Internet motivated an Internet-based group known as “Anonymous” to take action in a movement called Project Chanology. Members of Anonymous bombarded Scientology websites and were successful in taking some of them down, including Scientology.org. Anonymous later changed tactics towards legal measures, and held international protests against Scientology on February 10 and March 15, with another international protest planned for April 12.

According to Scientology critic David S. Touretzky, the Scientology terms used in the video by Cruise have “entered the national lexicon”, and the Scientology video itself has become something of an Internet phenomenon. Touretzky also referred to the negative effect on Cruise’s publicity as a consequence of the leak.

Cquote1.svg Miles Fisher does an eerily dead-on impersonation of Cruise’s infamous leaked Scientology indoctrination video. Cquote2.svg

—Liz Shannon Miller, NewTeeVee

In the excerpt released online from Superhero Movie, actor Miles Fisher imitates Cruise in what Liz Shannon Miller of NewTeeVee described as “an eerily dead-on impersonation of Cruise’s infamous leaked Scientology indoctrination video”. She also compared the clip to a different spoof of the Cruise video, by actor Jerry O’Connell. Craig Ferguson also spoofed the video in a clip on his show on CBS, The Late Late Show, as did the comedy website Super Deluxe.

Christopher McDonald plays the villain “Hourglass” in Superhero Movie, and told MTV News he was surprised at some of the parodies that successfully appear in the film: “The thing I didn’t think we’d get away with was the actual Tom Cruise stuff. There may be lawsuits there.”

A post at Slashfilm wrote positively of Fisher’s performance: “Slashfilm would like to salute young actor and Harvard alum Miles Fisher for easily giving the best impression of Tom Cruise we’ve ever seen in the yuk-yuk comic book spoof.” A post at MoviesOnline commented: “The actor hits every point he needs to and it is almost scary how close he is to the actual Tom Cruise way of thinking.” Thomas Leupp of ReelzChannel.com called the scene “a dead-on spoof of Tom Cruise’s now-infamous Scientology video”. Ryan Parsons of CanMag wrote that Fisher impersonates Cruise “perfectly”, and Ryan Tate of Gawker.com called the clip “the slickest crazy-Cruise imitation yet, as well as one of the funniest”.



Related news

Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about Tom Cruise and Superhero Movie on Wikipedia.
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March 26, 2008

Wikinews interviews German music video director Uwe Flade

Wikinews interviews German music video director Uwe Flade

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Screenshot of Uwe Flade’s music video for Franz Ferdinand’s song Michael.

Uwe Flade is a music video director from Germany. He has worked with numerous artists, including Depeche Mode, Rammstein, Apocalyptica, In Extremo, Nickelback, Franz Ferdinand and Tarja Turunen. Wikinews conducted an exclusive email interview with him, available below.

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.pngTell us about your work, and how you came to be involved with directing. What stands out about you, and what inspires you?

Uwe: I was into music videos for a while already, watching MTV for hours every day. Back in the 90ies it was very inspiring and exciting to discover all those new visual styles and watch people like Gondry, Glazer, Jonze, Mike Mills rising. I was then trying to set up a little film production company around 99 after being stuck in some office jobs at TV stations and other production companies. I shot a few little things and got the chance to pitch an idea to a friend who played in a rising German band. They took the concept and I directed my first video. It was a tough ride but the video got some airtime. The next jobs didn´t roll in easily but it was the genre I loved so I was fighting hard which got me more and more jobs.
I am collecting ideas all the time and I can´t really tell what inspires me. Sometimes taking a shower makes my mind work, sometimes I would just sit in front of my computer until the idea hits me. Travelling to places I haven´t been also often inspires me a lot.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngHow has the advent of the Internet—and the switch at networks (such as MTV) from almost exclusively music videos to original programming—changed the way that artists approach what they want from a music video? Has the “big budget” music video disappeared?

Uwe: The big budget hasn´t disappeared completely but the number of artist spending a lot is much smaller now and the budgets in general went down a lot. YouTube changed a lot too. The hypersuccessful homemade style video for Ok Go “here it goes again” was a landmark for this development. It got over 31 000 000 views on YouTube and counting, won lots of prizes and got a lot of press. So the homemade, handmade style since then is a big thing in music videos turning the budget shortage in creativity. Some years ago Fatboy Slims “praise you” was an outsider, now it is a big part of the whole picture.
I think the artists just want to look good on the videos, that comes first ever since. Some of them still want something original happening but with the generally shrinking budgets a new style had to appear to squeeze creativity out of the mostly very limited money available and actually the artists don´t have a choice.

Screenshot of Uwe Flade’s music video for Depeche Mode’s 2004 release of Enjoy the Silence.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIs it difficult to make a planned plot for a video fit the music and the short time on offer?

Uwe: For me it is a challenge and still the freedom of creativity in this genre is a blast. I learned so many things by just trying them out and playing around with them.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngYour credits span across many artists and genres. What’s it like working with such a broad range?

Uwe: It is a great broadband, I was thrilled by the very different demands and characters I met so far. I personally like to do different styles just to keep creativity running and being challenged instead of repeating the same receipy over and over again.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWhich of your works would you say you enjoyed working on the most?

Uwe: Besides the big international projects for Depeche Mode I enjoyed a lot to work with my friends Sportfreunde Stiller. I shot 10 videos for them and it is even harder to work for long term friends since the fear to fail is much more personal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWere there any projects that you didn’t enjoy making?

Uwe: Hmmmm. There are some;-)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngDo you have anything new in the works at the moment?

Uwe: I am setting up a mixed media collective of designers, animators and directors and planning a short film.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngDo you find commercial pressures, such as ensuring videos are not subject to censorship or filming deadlines, conflict with your interests as an artist?

Uwe: Actually I am feeling challenged by those things more then annoyed. The band and label pay for the whole thing so they set up the limits which is totally fine for me. The TV censorship in Germany is not very strict and I don´t have so much experience with these things in the United States. I saw some rules for US TV, very long lists of things to care for. My videos didn´t really break those rules anyway but there are a lot…that´s what I thought.

Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


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October 10, 2007

Obesity and the Fat Acceptance Movement: Kira Nerusskaya speaks

Obesity and the Fat Acceptance Movement: Kira Nerusskaya speaks

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

“When I was in Russia interviewing people, they said, ‘Why do you have to call your movie Under the Fat? Why do you have to use the word “fat”?’ Fat was equal to something negative.”
photo: David Shankbone

Opinions rooted in racism, sexism, homophobia are commonly unacceptable to express in public or in polite company. Michael Richards shouted down a black heckler by yelling, “Shut up!” followed by “He’s a nigger!” and gave his already dormant career less of a chance of ever reviving. When Isiah Washington called a co-star on Grey’s Anatomy a “fag,” his contract was not renewed.

None of this would have happened to either actor if instead of racist or homophobic terminology they had said, “Shut up, fattie!” or “Fat ass!” It’s not an easy time to be fat in America. A fat person is seen as weak-willed, as suffering from an addiction to food, as unhealthy and deserving of ridicule. It goes without saying that people who are overweight are, indeed, people with a full range of emotions and feelings that are as easily hurt as a thin person’s.

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone met Kira Nerusskaya, a documentary filmmaker, at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Her film The BBW World: Under the FAT! is in production and post-production. She is a self-described Big Beautiful Woman (BBW) and she hosts the website TheBBWWorld.com; she is also one of the leading voices that has recently emerged for fat acceptance. In researching her film she has traveled to Russia, London, Paris, Ireland and all over the United States to interview fat women about their obesity and their place in their respective societies.

Below is an interview with Nerusskaya about the health, issues, public reactions to and sexuality of a BBW.

Fat Acceptance

David Shankbone: What is “BBW”?

Kira Nerusskaya: It’s an acronym to describe large women that began in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s

DS: What is your website about?

KN: It was originally put up by my producer, Jonn Nubian. Jonn and I had a long, on-going conversation over five years. It was always my dream to do a documentary about this subculture that exists in America. It’s a movement that exists.

DS: What is the movement?

KN: It overlaps in a few areas. Size acceptance, fat acceptance, BBW movement.

DS: What exactly does the movement want?

KN: For people to accept us at the size we are. I was fortunate enough to be born on January 15th, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. He felt nobody should be discriminated against because of the color of their skin, and I extend that to nobody should be discriminated against because of the size of their skin. We are always looked at as sub-human or second-class citizens because of our size. Ironically enough, we outnumber everyone else. Over 60% of the population in America is overweight in some capacity. So there is more of us, and literally, there is more of us.

DS: How much do you weigh?

KN: 313 pounds and I’m 5’4.

DS: Do you have any desire to lose weight?

KN: Desire? It depends on the way it’s put. I think I have an interest in being a little bit smaller, but I don’t necessarily have an interest in being like Britney Spears. That’s considered the ideal beauty in America, even though she’s an unfit mother, God knows what else she does in her personal life, on top of the fact the woman has a hard time putting a sentence together beyond a fourth grade level.

DS: Her recent performance was widely criticized because she was seen as out-of-shape.

KN: Out of shape in the sense of not fit, or out of shape in the sense of not having a six pack?

DS: How are they different?

KN: Well, somebody can be fat and fit and somebody can be fat and misshapen.

DS: What do you think the Britney Spears MTV performance and comments about her physique sent out as a message?

KN: It was negative. It said you need to be rail thin in order to be considered beautiful and accepted. In order to be worthy. In order to be loved. Especially in America I find it ironic because we are the melting pot, and there are people from all over the world, different shapes, heights, skin tones, races, religions…you would think we’d see diversity in beauty. And we lack that. Isn’t it a crime that it took however many years for two African-American actors to win Academy Awards, and then it’s suddenly “The Year of the Black Actor” and it’s like, ‘No, those were really good performances that year and that’s who won.’ I don’t consider Britney Spears right, perfect and wonderful. I feel bad for her, but we should be celebrating everybody. It is and should be, to take a quote from a great interview I did with Carla Drew from FAT GIRLS!: The Musical…it’s the “Everybody Matters Revolution.” That’s the underlying feeling in fat acceptance: everybody matters. And we are tired of being excluded. Part of that is combating the media that portrays us as terrible, rotten, evil, no good, lazy, slovenly, etc., when that might not be the case. The stigma attached to fat people is prevalent. It’s hysterical: do you really think that’s what we do, sit around and eat all day? I remember reading a post from a British news source where women were celebrated for their curves, and there was a woman who posted thinking that they legitimately did nothing else but sit and eat all day. Ignorance, as they say, is bliss, but only to those it serves.

DS: What is beautiful about being fat?

KN: The difference in the shape of the body. The curves. The softness. It’s difference, which is the opposite of what you see in New York on a Saturday night with the ‘Blond Gaggle’: they all have straight blond hair, cut the same way, they are all wearing jeans with a little shirt and a little purse over their shoulder. It’s hysterical. They are all so similar that they are identical. When you look at fat women, it’s so not standard, which is one of the difficulties in finding clothing. She can be a pear shape, where she carries her weight below the waist. She can be an apple shape where it’s around the middle. She can be hourglassed where it’s big on top, slender in the middle and bigger in the hips. There’s so many different shapes, and when you look at a naked fat woman with the cellulite included, it looks like she was poured into a mold specifically in that shape, like that is the way she was created. Which is so different compared to straight Size 2 or Size 4.

Fat and health

DS: How do you respond to the argument that obesity is unhealthy?

KN: I can’t say that is 100% wrong. The one thing that I say about the size acceptance movement is that it’s as vast as we are. I’m a very practical, logical, reasonable person and this is what I say: The more weight on your body the harder your heart has to work, period, end of story. There are factors for heart disease, but you could be skinny and smoke three packs a day, which is just as unhealthy. There are many factors that come into the equation that determines whether something is unhealthy. There’s definitely evidence, though. I’m not a medical expert and it’s probably one of my weakest areas to talk about, because that’s not what I’m here for. At the same time, I’m 313 pounds, I have excellent blood pressure and good cholesterol, and I could walk five flights without getting all huffy puffy so what do you say to that? You know what I mean?
There are those who believe that you can be fat and that there’s no conclusive evidence in any way, shape or form that was ever put on this Earth by any medical study showing that fat is negative. They’ll tell you studies are not conclusive, and that fat is beautiful at any cost, in any extreme. They’re kind of like Fat Nazis.
And then you have people who are members of what Lynn McAfee calls the Obesity Mafia. They say we have to get those people thin, man, at any cost. Ironically, these diet places won’t submit their findings on how people do on their diets. That’s because diets are 98% ineffective so they don’t want to put it in writing anywhere because people will see that. It depends on how you feel and where you are.

DS: What do you say to people who say you’re a glutton? You’re addicted to food?

KN: I would probably tend to disagree. There are a variety of reasons of why people are fat and I think that’s also part of the stigma and the misconception. What did you eat for breakfast today, David?

DS: A bagel with bacon and cheddar and ice cream.

KN: And ice cream? Okay. I ate one piece of double fiber toast with Olivio, which is like fake butter — good for you fake butter — two egg whites, and a pear. So kind of different, right? You would say, ‘Gee, here’s this guy who’s 6’0” or whatever and 165 pounds or something and wow, isn’t a tables are turned kind of thing?’ I think a lot of times that’s what people think, that we are gluttons, but if they looked and analyzed my diet they would be pretty shocked.

DS: How do you keep your weight up then?

KN: Or maybe the question is how do I keep my weight down, how do I keep from getting bigger?

DS: It’s possible but…

KN: Right. I would say that there’s a variety of reasons. I think the better question would be, “Well, then why are you fat, right?”

DS: Sure.

KN: There are a couple of things. One, genetics: one side of my family more than the other have struggled with the weight issue. I became fat probably when I was about 5, 6 or 7, somewhere in there. That’s when my parents noticed my weight gain wasn’t necessarily based on what I ate. I grew up in a household that only ate dessert if we had company. We had soda occasionally. We never had chips or sugar cereal. If we went to sleep over at a friend’s house it was like, ‘Sugar cereal, wow! this is so cool!’
I was always on a series of diets to some degree. I was always a fairly active child but perhaps not as active as I could have or should have been. Increased activity would have been better for me.
I also suffer from something called PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which is a documented disease that affects the way insulin is used in your body to store fat. Look it up on Wikipedia! Take a look at it. It’s a pretty serious disease that has a broad spectrum of people suffering from it and it makes it difficult to lose weight. If affects the chemical reactions in your body.
Now, did I ever overeat in my life? Yes. But didn’t you overeat at Thanksgiving last year? Probably.

Public reaction to a fat woman

“Somebody who I dated was like, ‘Dating you is like dating a fucking celebrity because wherever we go people are turning their heads! A lot of times they’re not necessarily doing anything negative or they’re complimenting you or they’re coming up to talk to you and you have that energy that people are drawn to in whatever capacity.'”
photo: David Shankbone

DS: What sorts of things are said to you on the street?

KN: A lot of times people will say things like, “Fat ass!” or “Hey fatty,” or whatever.

DS: People will actually yell out to you, “Hey, fat ass!”

KN: Yeah. But there are also a lot of men that go, [makes kissing sound] “Mami!” or whistle or wink or whatever. It’s a spectrum, and I think if you’re confident in the way you’re holding yourself, smiling, you look nice, that kind of a thing, then you’re not buying into that. You’re not feeding that negative stigma of fat people, and of fat women in particular.

DS: How do you feel if people stare at you?

KN: It doesn’t bother me. I usually make eye contact with them, and then if it’s negative, they stop. In such a variety of ways and a variety of places people will stare at me and people will turn their heads. Somebody who I dated was like, “Dating you is like dating a freaking celebrity because wherever we go people are turning their heads! A lot of times they’re not necessarily doing anything negative or they’re complimenting you or they’re coming up to talk to you and you have that energy that people are drawn to in whatever capacity.” And he’s like, “I never met somebody so freaking exciting or been so excited to be out with somebody!’ We could be going out for coffee, we could be at a bar, just wherever we would be it would always happen and he just was so astounded about that, which is kind of an interesting thing.

DS: I think people reading that would think that people are looking at you because they’re disgusted that you’re fat.

KN: Well, some could be.

DS: But that’s not your experience? That’s not what you’re getting from it?

KN: Sometimes, but not always. I know what it’s like to walk into a store and have people roll their eyes at me or have somebody look at me on the subway and smirk talk to their friend and burst out laughing. It’s not because they’re saying, “Ooh, that lipstick looks horrible.” You know what it is. You know what it is. You’ve been fat long enough you know. It’s not like it’s some freaking secret.

DS: Do you ever confront people?

KN: Yes, I do and I’ve become more confrontational as times goes on.

DS: When you confront them what happens?

KN: It depends. Usually they shut the hell up.

DS: Do they apologize?

KN: Sometimes. Sometimes people are too scared to apologize because I’m calling them on it. They think you’re supposed to be defenseless because you’re fat. You’re not supposed to defend yourself because you’re fat. That’s one thing that I’ve noticed in my work. In my life I did not always defend myself, even though it would have been right. I think I was the better person on more than one occasion, and more polite on other occasions, but in a way I feel like I am defending everyone here. That’s one of the key components to my film: for us to defend ourselves. If something happens in the African-American community that’s discriminatory or racial, my friends Jesse Jackson and Reverend 9-1-1, which is my love name for Reverend Al Sharpton, will turn around and say, “This isn’t right. We demand justice.” But fat people don’t have a voice. There’s nobody coming to our aid when somebody says something negative. Or if they do, no one is hearing them, they aren’t getting the media attention– or maybe it isn’t loud enough. There’s nobody that’s coming to our aide when we are treated poorly because we’re fat. That we’re not getting health insurance or companies are badgering fat employees because of health insurance. I can’t tell you how many calls Lynn McAfee gets a day — from the Council on Size Discrimination — just because people are overweight. It’s really sad.
One of the reasons why I’m doing this film is to stop the fat-bashing. We’re fat. We know it, okay? You don’t need to tell us or point that out. It doesn’t mean that we are less than you. We’re equal. If God has given us inalienable rights according to the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, that all men are created equal here in the United States, well, you know what? We’re created equal no matter what size we are.

On America’s obesity epidemic

DS: When you read stories about an obesity epidemic in the United States what is your reaction to that?

KN: It’s absolutely true.

DS: What do you think should be done about the obesity epidemic?

KN: And I don’t like it. One piece of my film will talk about why we are the way we are. The great conveniences that have been bestowed on America are the things that are hurting us. When you look at the amount of sugar in an average diet, when you look at the convenience food, when you look at fast food and its availability, when you look at the American lifestyle; we’re rushing around all the time. We only have two weeks off to enjoy our life yet we have to work more, educate more, achieve a thinner body, a better relationship, a cooler car…we have to keep up with the Joneses and sometimes the Joneses are out of reach.

DS: How would you respond to somebody who said, “You’re a hypocrite?” How could you have a problem with obesity…

KN: I’m not saying I have a problem with it, what I’m saying is that I see why it exists. That’s my point. I see why it exists. It goes along with diet, with the same thing that we were talking about in regards to breakfast — I don’t drink soda, I don’t eat sweets or sugar, but a lot of people would automatically think that based upon my size I must eat x, y and z or that I don’t exercise-…

DS: That you’re just there shoveling fries down your face.

KN: Right. And that’s inaccurate for me and that’s inaccurate for a lot of people. But there are women who eat ice cream for breakfast and a donut for lunch and a bagel for dinner or whatever. That’s part of their freedom; that’s their right to do that and if that’s what they want to do, that’s great. But I would also say to those women: if you’re going to turn around and complain about being fat, shut up or put up. You can be fat and healthy; at least, healthy to a certain degree. But no matter the fact that I do have good blood pressure and I do have good cholesterol, people are going to turn around and say, “But you’re fat.” And you know what? I am. I can’t take those 313 pounds away.

DS: So your problem with the obesity epidemic and why it corresponds with what you’re saying is that there are large people who are just naturally large for a variety of reasons but the American lifestyle right now is creating obesity based upon reasons that are not particularly related to living slovenly?

KN: It’s the choices that exist in America. Choices. Look, David, how many people drink soda in America? What the hell is soda? It’s sugar water.

DS: It’s the only thing that has been proven to be linked with weight gain that you can consume.

KN: Soda, in and of itself, is sugar; water is better for you than sugar water is, correct?

DS: Yes.

KN: So where does it come from? It comes from the media, and money. Money behind these companies to advertise to youth. When you look at school lunches, they’re still heavily carb-based or poor nutrition. People want convenience. People are exhausted. They work hard, they come home, they want Hamburger Helper: boom! it’s in a pan and done to feed their family of four. I understand that woman, but I think that if healthier choices are made available to Americans then I they might choose it. If there’s nothing in the stores but healthy choices or organic choices then that’s what people are going to buy

DS: A glass of orange juice every morning is said to put on about four pounds a year.

KN:Why? Based on sugar.

DS: Are there any heroes of the Fat Acceptance/BBW movement? Like Camryn Manheim? Who are some of the people out there that larger people — fat people — look to as people who’ve been ground breakers, if you will?

KN: I would look at Marilyn Wann. I would look at Paul Campos. I would look at your average person who’s out there doing it on a daily basis, walking around with a smile, you know. Anybody who makes it and who makes a difference.

DS: Like a Mo’Nique?

KN: Yes, to some degree. I think that anybody that’s making a positive contribution is a positive contribution, simple as that. But many of the heroes I have within the movement are not known people.

Fat women and sexuality

“Our ability to achieve orgasm is much quicker and the ability to have multiple orgasms is generally always there…. Men are just so shocked at that.”
photo: David Shankbone

DS: Is there a typical kind of person that is attracted to an overweight woman?

KN: We fat girls have it hard. The majority of the pool of men just reject us because we’re large, and that’s because they were taught fat is bad. Therefore, the person inside is also bad. Then we have a portion of men who are fetishists, in that they only receive heightened sexual pleasure from being with a fat girl. Then you have people who might be ‘Feeders’, they have an interest in making you bigger. Then you have the guys who want to make you smaller; that’s their mission.

DS: Saviors?

KN: I don’t know if they would be saviors so much as wanting to dominate you, belittle you, into making you smaller. It’s a dominance thing.

DS: It’s not, ‘I’m going to help her be normal’ but ‘I want to have control over her and see a result of that’?

KN: It may be. You have to distinguish between all these types of individuals to find somebody you have something in common with, who has similar morals or values, or whatever it is that you want to find in somebody, and it’s really hard. You have some men who think it’s going to be so odd and different, and they are interested in trying it. There are men who like a larger bosom, the larger bottom, and they want more of it. They see in a BBW that we have more of it, and they want to try it. They are interested to walk down that road just to see what it’s like. Part fantasy, part interest, part curiosity. Maybe, to them, it’s just the freak factor– in their head we are freaks because we aren’t thin. So going through the whole spectrum, it makes the pool increasing smaller to find somebody who appreciate you for just being you. Likes you as a person and accepts or likes the package it comes in. And at the same time, there always seems to be someone new popping their head in to find out who/what we are. Funny how that is. It could be that he is coming to terms with what he likes, and trying to find it.

DS: But doesn’t objectify it…

KN: Well, who just accepts it. Who accepts that this is my friend, this is my girlfriend, this is my lover, this is my wife, as opposed to it being something that is only sexual. I can’t even tell you how many I have met in my experience over the last fourteen years in the BBW world who have skinny girlfriends, wives, lovers, whatever but are out there chasing fat girls because they actually like it. They like it in bed, they like the curves, they like the softness.

DS: Is there something someone has asked you to do in bed that you find offensive?

KN: I am open-minded enough that I don’t really get offended, but you also find people in those broad categories that would say something like, “I want you to sit on me.” There are people who like to be sqwooshed.

DS: What’s your reaction?

KN: It depends! It depends on what kind of mood you are in, or who the person is, or what your relationship with them is, as to whether or not you would do it. I think it defines who they are or where they are coming from, certainly. It might be they have a wonderful relationship with that woman, and that one particular action excites them greatly, and whether you are open to exploring that with them. Some women might not feel comfortable because they would feel objectified. It depends on the individual. It’s hard to say.

DS: Is it accepted when men fetishize fat women or is that seen as a negative?

KN: It depends. There are guys who are called an “FAs,” which stands for Fat Admirer. He likes women who are big. That’s what he likes. Amongst those you have to divide the line again, too. There are those FAs who find that that’s just their preference. That’s what they like for whatever reason. Why do some men date blonds? Why do some people like vanilla ice cream as opposed to chocolate? Not something you could maybe put in words exactly but you know you like it. Based on my research, it’s the same thing for them, from what I understood.
Then there are those for whom it’s kind of a — it’s a fetish. For example, one woman I know only wants men who are Fat Admirers because she feels that they accept or enjoy her body at another level than somebody else. But she’s also dated or been with people in long-term relationships who were not so-called FAs but we were with her for other reasons, and at the end of the relationship they told her they understood why men like the curves, like the softness or whatever the case might be.

DS: When you get messages on your MySpace or when you receive e-mails at TheBBWWorld.com that say, “I just love those big titties,” or “I just want to be all over that big ass,” you know, how do you feel when you read things like that?

KN: When I receive something like that I usually just delete it. I understand where they’re coming from. They’re not coming with an interest to date me. They have an interest to take me to bed, and that’s not happening. You find a lot of that. If I had to add up — I can’t even tell you how many calls — just last week I got a call from somebody who I dated three years ago. The good or bad part or or the interesting part is that I’m still single so it’s not like, “Yeah, you know what? I’m married,” click. Or, “I’m in a relationship,” click. But they come back and you’re wondering: why are they coming back? What’s the interest? Is it for me personally or is it because…

DS: Do you ask?

KN: I do because I’m bold that way. Often it’s based on personality and it’s a ‘I thought you were really cool, you were really nice to talk to, you know, it wasn’t working out at the time and stuff.’

DS: Why do you feel the need to know why they come back?

KN: Probably more as a time saver for me. If I have to go and meet somebody when all they’re interested in is just getting you in bed or whatever, that’s just not where I am in my life. If that’s a five-minute phone call, then it’s much better than a 20-minute coffee date.

DS: Do you think it’s good to sometimes question motivations and not just let things happen?

KN: I think that ultimately we know in some ways. There are some people that you’ve met in your life who you thought you would be perfect for or perfect with, but for whatever reason timing is poor and maybe you change within that time frame. You’re a different person and so it doesn’t work. It depends. A lot of times you know why somebody’s calling. You know, but it depends.

DS: Is it more challenging for a larger woman to orgasm?

KN: No, it’s quite the opposite and it’s been scientifically proven.

DS: Why is that?

KN: From reading and talking to women across the globe, it is true that fat women have higher hormonal levels and a much stronger libido than our skinny counterparts. Our ability to achieve orgasm is much quicker and the ability to have multiple orgasms is generally always there. There have been some articles that have come out about that I’ve read across the years. Men have a pretty strong libido from what I understand and are just so shocked by that. Would you concur? According to my research, and that being the case, they’re almost always shocked that they find a partner who matches them. According to the interviews I have done, if a man is more turned-on by somebody who is multi-orgasmic.

What do fat people want to be called?

DS: What do fat people prefer to be called? In Spain if you’re fat you’re gordo or gorda. It’s not ‘pleasantly plump’. It’s not ‘carrying a few extra pounds’. We have so many euphemisms in this culture—

KN: —that we’ve created ourselves—

DS: —to get around saying that somebody is fat. Do you think that trying to come up with so many euphemisms in the end stigmatizes the actual natural state to be able to just say someone is fat much like someone — gay people went through this, too — oh, he’s “light in the loafers,” or, “he’s funny,” as opposed to being like, “He’s gay.”

KN: And what are they trying to do? Are they trying to soften the blow for themselves or for the rest of America?

DS: It’s not speaking a taboo, basically. To be fat is taboo and to say someone is fat…

KN: But it doesn’t have to be taboo. We’ve created the taboo.

DS: Are you against these euphemisms?

KN: I don’t know because it’s one of those things. It’s kind of like…

DS: People think it’s polite.

KN: There’s a lot of ways around polite. I know in Ireland and England people can’t use the word “fat.” That’s extremely offensive. When I was in Russia interviewing people, they said, “Why do you have to call your movie Under the Fat? Why do you have to use the word ‘fat’?” Fat was equal to something negative. I was like, all right, they haven’t come full circle in the movement yet to understand that fat is just a descriptor. It’s like, am I curvy? Yes, I am. Am I fat? Yes, I am. Am I plus size? Yes, I am. Am I a big, beautiful woman? Yes, I am.

DS: What do fat people prefer to be called generally?

KN: I think it depends on each individual.

DS: Generally?

KN: I don’t know. A lot of people say, “I’m a fat chick.” You know, “Are you fat?” “Yeah, I’m fat.” Full-figured to me is someone of a certain weight. After full, then it becomes something else where there are terms like BBW, then we have Super-Sized BBW; it kind of all fits along that umbrella category of plus size. How people describe themselves depends upon where they are at with their own comfort, so it’s difficult for me to say that it’s one or the other.

DS: Is there a terminology that is definitely taboo? That you hear and it’s not okay. Aside from the obvious, like you know, ‘fatty’ or something…

KN: Oops, Dave just blew that one out of the water! She shows Dave Shankbone her pin that says, “Fatty.”

DS: Let me rephrase the question. For a person trying to be real but not wanting to be offensive, what advice would you give them when they’re trying to use a descriptor or trying to talk about a person who might be large?

KN: What about a conversation like this: “Yeah, I know this chick.” “Really?” “Yeah, I think you might be perfect for each other.” “Oh, okay. Well, what does she look like?” “Well, she’s a big girl. She’s a large girl,” you know. Voluptuous and shapely might not be cutting it unless she is voluptuous and shapely. “Well, she’s a big girl. She’s a fat girl but she’s really pretty and she’s really nice and she’s this, that and the other.” Do you know what I mean?

DS: Yeah.

KN: It depends. She might be offended at that because she’s not at that place yet; it’s one of those things. People say, “Well, is it wrong to be fat and proud?” I look at it this way: we are the size that we are for different reasons for different people, okay? We’re not here for a long time. We’re here for a good time but we’re not here for a long time so what are we going to do in the meantime? Are we going to stay in the Stone Age and think that we should be chained to a bed and not go out and not have jobs and not have personalities and not have careers and not have boyfriends and not have lovers and not have marriage and all those kinds of things? I think it’s terrible that people really feel like that, and that’s part of what I’m here to try to change. And if I’m here to do nothing else I’m here to inspire other women: You are worthy of those things, my sister, whether or not you think it or whether or not you know it, it’s true.

The film The BBW World: Under the FAT!

DS: What’s going on with your film?

KN: We’re still in production with some post-production on already filmed pieces.

DS: What is the idea behind the film?

KN: It’s a documentary film to let people in the world know about the BBW World. First, it is to let people know that there is a community of larger people here to support each other. Secondly, will show people that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there are some eyes that happen to find us beautiful. Third, it will address the negative stigma and fat bashing that exists, in America and, in some ways, worldwide. I’ve been to different countries to interview fat women, and it’s interesting that we are so similar. Even though we speak different languages and have a different culture, in some ways fat women are still different from the mass population of each one of those societies.

DS: You’re in production now?

KN: We’ve been in production since July 2, 2006. I’m in production and post-production at the same time. I’d like to have it completed by September 2008 so that it could be submitted for Sundance 2009 and the 2009 film festivals season. That’s my plan.

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September 10, 2007

Altercation erupts between rock musicians at MTV Music Video Awards

Altercation erupts between rock musicians at MTV Music Video Awards

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Tommy Lee (File photo).
Image: Joel Telling..

Rock musicians Kid Rock and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee were involved in a minor altercation at the 2007 MTV Music Video Awards (VMA), held on Sunday night in Las Vegas.

Both Lee and Rock were former husbands of Pamela Anderson, who was present at the VMAs and delivered her lines from the top of a table. Eye witnesses claim the fight started when Kid Rock, who was sitting next to rapper Diddy, walked up to Lee and slapped him. Tommy Lee stood up to fight back and Rock punched him in the face. Lee was dragged off by security guards before he was able to fight back.

Rap Producer Rich Nice said Lee had been antagonizing Rock before the altercation. The incident inspired many jokes from hip hop and rap artist, such as MTV VJ Sway who was quoted saying “They say it’s only rappers. I told you rockers fight too.” Police cited Rock for misdemeanor battery.


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July 3, 2007

Poll shows American youth more politically active, socially liberal

Poll shows American youth more politically active, socially liberal

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Politically active youth at Rutgers University

Younger Americans may be more receptive to traditionally liberal social policy than their parents, according to a recent poll conducted by the New York Times, CBS News, and MTV. The survey found those ages 17 to 29 to be substantially more interested in Presidential politics, with nearly 60 percent expressing interest in the 2008 race, compared to 35 percent at approximately the same point in the 2004 campaign.

Government-sponsored health care received strong support among the younger voters polled, at 62 percent, compared with just 47 percent support across voters of all ages. Younger voters appear more supportive of same-sex marriage, legalization of marijuana, and liberalized immigration policy as well.

Optimism about the outcome of the war in Iraq was higher among the young, with 51 percent of those surveyed predicting a successful outcome, although 87 percent opposed the institution of a draft. Among all adults, 45 percent envision a successful outcome of the war.

In stark contrast, younger Americans expressed a generally pessimistic attitude about their future personally and the direction of the country in general. Nearly half predict that they will not enjoy the same success as their parents, and 70 percent felt that the country was on the wrong track.

Despite differences on social policy, some similarities emerged in the poll. Survey data indicated that just 28 percent of those polled approved of the Bush administration’s performance, which is fairly consistent with other polls of the President’s performance, hovering around 30 percent. Support for abortion was also similar between youth and voters in general.

A majority of younger voters indicated that they would vote for a Democrat for President in 2008, reflecting previous trends. Voter turnout among the young has historically lagged turnout rates for all adults, although 2004 saw sharp increases in young voter participation. That year, 47 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds voted, compared with 36 percent in the 2000 election. A majority of the young have cast votes for the Democratic nominee in every Presidential race since 1992.

The poll surveyed 659 participants via telephone in mid-June, and has a margin of error of four percent.

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May 14, 2007

User-generated content, other high-bandwidth websites blocked for U.S. soldiers

User-generated content, other high-bandwidth websites blocked for U.S. soldiers

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Monday, May 14, 2007

The Department of Defense seal

The U.S. Department of Defense has announced that access to popular high-bandwidth websites, including user-generated content sites like MySpace and YouTube, will be blocked on military computers. The block takes effect on Monday and will apply worldwide for all military personnel using Department of Defense computers.

The block is targeted at sites that contain user generated content. Including MySpace and YouTube, a total of 12 sites will be off limits according to Robert Weller of the Associated Press: Metacafe, iFilm, StupidVideos, FileCabi, BlackPlanet, Hi5, Pandora, MTV, 1.fm, live365 and Photobucket.

According to U.S. Strategic Command officials the block is due to “bandwidth/network issues” resulting in possible “clogging [of] the network”.

The move affects soldiers’ ability to view content on these sites, but does not affect the military’s ability to provide content. Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, told Carmen L. Gleason of the American Forces Press Service in mid-March: “We want the American public, from an unfiltered vantage point, to be able to see what coalition forces and Iraqi security forces are doing here in Iraq.”



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