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Billy West, voice of Ren and Stimpy, Futurama, on the rough start that shaped his life

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ren and Stimpy. Bugs Bunny. Philip J. Fry and Professor Hubert Farnsworth on Futurama. Sparx. Bi-Polar Bear. Popeye the Sailor Man. Woody Woodpecker. You may not think you have ever heard Billy West, but chances are on a television program, a movie, a commercial, or as Howard Stern’s voice guru in the 1990’s, you have heard him. West’s talent for creating personalities by twisting his voice has made him one of a handful of voice actors—Hank Azaria and the late Mel Blanc come to mind—who have achieved celebrity for their talent. Indeed, West is one of the few voice actors who can impersonate Blanc in his prime, including characterizations of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and other characters from Warner Bros. cartoons.

What is the fulcrum in Mr. West’s life that led him to realize a talent to shape personalities with his voice, and how did the discovery of that gift shape him? Wikinews reporter David Shankbone found that like many great comedians, West faced more sour early in life than he did sweet. The sour came from a physically and emotionally abusive alcoholic father (“I could tell you the kind of night I was going to have from the sound of the key in the door or the way the car pulled up.”), to his own problems with drug and alcohol use (“There is a point that you can reach in your life where you don’t want to live, but you haven’t made the decision to die.”).

I’m telling you stuff that I never said to anybody…

If sin, suffering and redemption feel like the stages of an endless cycle of American existence, West’s own redemption from his brutalized childhood is what helped shape his gift. He performed little bits to cheer up his cowed mother, ravaged by the fact she could not stop her husband’s abuse of young West. “I was the whipping boy and she would just be reduced to tears a lot of times, and I would come in and say stuff, and I would put out little bits just to pull her out of it.”

But West has also enjoyed the sweet. His career blossomed as his talent for creating entire histories behind fictional characters and creatures simply by exploring nuance in his voice landed him at the top of his craft. You may never again be able to forget that behind the voice of your favorite character, there is often an extraordinary life.

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with renowned voice actor Billy West, who for the first time publicly talks about the horrors he faced in his childhood; his misguided search for answers in anger, drugs and alcohol; and the peace he has achieved as one of America’s most recognizable voice actors.

Contents

  • 1 The use of celebrities for voiceovers
  • 2 Iconic characters and choosing projects
  • 3 Discovering his talent
  • 4 “It was a horror chamber where I grew up”
  • 5 West moves to Boston after his parents divorce
  • 6 How West dealt with his father’s abuse
  • 7 Rehabilitation and sobriety
  • 8 Is West glad he experienced addiction?
  • 9 West on his career
  • 10 West on politics
  • 11 Billy West on modern American society
  • 12 Billy West on telling it like it is
  • 13 Source

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Dec
12

International row after Spielberg quits 2008 Beijing Olympics

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International row after Spielberg quits 2008 Beijing Olympics

Friday, February 15, 2008

On Wednesday, United States film director Steven Spielberg withdrew from his position as artistic adviser to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. “Conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual,” he said.

“Sudan’s government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these ongoing crimes but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more to end the continuing human suffering there,” Spielberg’s statement said. “China’s economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan continue to provide it with the opportunity and obligation to press for change.”

China immediately expressed regret over his decision and suggested that “ulterior motives” may be at play. “It is understandable if some people do not understand the Chinese government policy on Darfur, but I am afraid that some people may have ulterior motives, and this we cannot accept. … China is also concerned about the humanitarian situation in Darfur. [But] empty rhetoric will not help. We hope that relevant people will be more pragmatic,” said Liu Jianchao, the Deputy-Director General of the Information Department in China’s foreign ministry.

Following Spielberg’s withdrawal, other organizations called for boycott of the Games. However, United Kingdom Minister for the Olympics Tessa Jowell rejected such calls. “The world has known for the last seven years that Beijing would host the Olympics,” Jowell told The Times. “Most progressive governments accept that there are wholly unacceptable aspects of Chinese policy, but that did not stop the International Olympic Committee awarding them the games. A call for a boycott doesn’t serve any purpose and it would be a great pity. This doesn’t mean, however, we should be distracted from the urgency of Darfur.”

“China is also concerned about the humanitarian issues there, but we have been playing a positive and constructive role in promoting peace in Darfur,” Liu said, adding that China is working with the United Nations to provide aid and resolve the crisis.

Critics of China contend that China supports the Islamic regime in Sudan because it buys two-thirds of the country’s oil exports and also sells it weapons. Further, China has been defending the government in Khartoum in the United Nations Security Council. Since 2003, fighting between government-backed militia and rebels in Darfur has led to the death of more than 200,000 people and displaced some 2.5 million others.

Meanwhile, United States President George W. Bush confirmed that he still plans to attend the Games in Beijing. “I view the Olympics as a sporting event. On the other hand, I have a different platform to Steven Spielberg, so I get to talk to Hu Jintao [President of China] and I do remind him he can do more to relieve the suffering in Darfur.”

Bush followed this by saying: “I’m not going to use the Olympics as an opportunity to express my opinions to the Chinese people in a public way because I do it all the time with the president.”

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Dec
11

Hser Nar Moo, missing Utah girl, found dead">
Hser Nar Moo, missing Utah girl, found dead

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Seven year old Hser Nar Moo, who went missing from her home in South Salt Lake, Utah Tuesday, has been found dead less than 100 feet from her home.

South Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Snyder said at a news conference, “Once inside the apartment, they observed some evidence that led them to the bathroom of the apartment, where they discovered the body of Hser Nay Moo.”

It has not been made public how the girl died. “There is some trauma present, and that’s all I’m going to say,” Snyder said.

As of Wednesday morning, police have five men in custody for questioning. Witnesses say that four of them are Burmese immigrants living in the same apartment complex as the child’s family.

Nar Moo was last seen alive at her home on Monday at around 2:00 PM MDT (UTC-6), and was reported missing at around 6:30 PM. An AMBER alert was issued at 9:42 AM yesterday, before her body was found in the bathroom of a neighbor.

The seven year old Asian girl was described as being 3 feet 8 inches tall, weighing about 45 lbs, with brown eyes and long black hair. She was wearing a pink dress to her knees and pink Croc shoes at the time when she went missing.

Police reported that she spoke very little English, though she did understand some. It is believed her family is from Burma.

The AMBER Alert issued yesterday is no longer active because of the discovery of the body.

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Dec
11

Category:Science and technology">
Category:Science and technology

This is the category for science and technology.

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  • 29 November 2018: NASA’s InSight Lander makes it to Mars
  • 26 November 2018: US National Climate Assessment warns of climate-related damages to economy, ecosystems, human health
  • 18 October 2018: U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren releases DNA test results, asks Donald Trump to make promised donation
  • 12 October 2018: Manned Soyuz space mission aborts during launch
  • 10 October 2018: UN Report on Global Warming calls for rapid ‘unprecedented’ changes globally to limit planetary warming to 1.5 degree C
  • 26 September 2018: Study suggests Mars hosted life-sustaining habitat for millions of years
  • 20 September 2018: NASA’s TESS spacecraft reports its first exoplanet
  • 25 August 2018: Fossil genome shows hybrid of two extinct species of human
  • 31 July 2018: Total lunar eclipse occurs in July 2018
  • 21 July 2018: Cretaceous baby snake fossil found in Myanmar
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Dec
10

Manitoba volunteers go to war against Red River flooding">
Manitoba volunteers go to war against Red River flooding

Monday, April 6, 2009

Over 1,600 volunteers registered to help build approximately 65,000 of the 500,000 sandbags to create dikes 20.5 feet (6.2 meters) high to protect the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba in the war against the Red River of the North flood.

700 volunteers answered at the rural municipality of St. Andrews alone. Once sandbags are filled for West St. Paul, St. Andrews, and Selkirk, then frozen culverts must be cleared.

The height of the river is expected to be Thursday, and predictions are that it will be less than Flood of the Century of 1997. There is no precipitation in the forecast, and snow in the province should be melted by the end of the week.

“The fear right now is we have to get that ice out of the river. The Amphibex [Excavators] are still working and breaking the ice apart, and everyday we buy with the warm weather and the current, it is thinning the ice down a bit, so when it does start to move, the better chance it’ll move right out into the lake,” said Paul Guyder, the emergency coordinator for the RMs of St. Andrews and St. Clements.

“I feel that we’ve done everything humanly possible to get ready,” said Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba, “But … there are fallibilities with human behaviour. We can take every preventative measure as human beings possible and we can still get Mother Nature proving again she is superior.”

Communities with ring diking will partially or fully close their dikes at the beginning of the week. Provincial officials are considering opening the Red River Floodway gates around mid-week before ice is fully melted.

Ice jams could cause flooding within the city, however opening the gates could spare neighbourhood flooding when the river rises to the estimated 6.3 meters (20.7 feet) height. The province does have back up plans for dealing with ice jams within the city if they do occur. The unpredictability of ice jams and the ensuing water level rise may cause neighbourhood flooding. The city is raising dikes where the river has jammed with ice in the past such as on tight curves and past bridges. Likewise there are excavators and backhoes positioned at these points.

Vulnerable neighbourhoods on the river banks have been reinforced with sandbag dikes at vulnerable areas from the massive volunteer effort over the weekend. Guyader feels no more extra volunteers are needed, however volunteers are still being asked to leave their names and number in case of unpredicted need. Existing personnel will assess roads, and help with clean up.

Approximately 400 of the 800 people who evacuated the Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation have returned to their homes.

Former Premier, Dufferin Roblin, brought forward the floodway as a protection for Winnipeg residents and economy following the 1950 Red River Flood. The Red River floodway, “Duff’s Ditch” was finally finished in 1968, and its floodway gates have been opened 20 times saving Winnipeg from an estimated CA$10 billion in damages. The floodway expansion began in 2005 at a price of $665 million.

Polish and Chinese experts have come to survey the Red River Floodway, and Dennis Walaker, mayor of Fargo, North Dakota recognises the need for Red River flood defences down river. “Every town that you drive by from the Canadian line up to Winnipeg is either elevated or ring-diked,” said Walaker.

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Dec
10

Hire A Demolition Crew In Minnesota For Your Next Construction Job

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byAlma Abell

Demolition services are very important to many different types of people in this day and age. Construction is an important part of today’s economy, and almost any type of construction job requires the use of demolition services to help you get the job done. Demolition services are varied in the types of jobs that they can do, and whether you are doing a remodeling job, a full blown take down to build a brand new building, or work on residential buildings, a good Demolition Minnesota crew can really help you get the job done quicker and easier.

There are many good reasons why hiring a quality Demolition Minnesota crew is important if you doing a commercial construction job, a home residential clean up or any other type of job. If you are doing work on your home, a new addition can really give it a brand new look. A good demolition crew is very important for these types of jobs. There will be a lot of clean up at a job like this, so a demolition crew can set you up with roll away dumpsters and trash containers which can be a big help when you are doing clean up on your home construction job. It may be found during the course of your work that your home or commercial office building contains asbestos. A demolition crew can help you remove the harmful asbestos that is inside your building to make sure the building is safe for many years to come.

If you are in the Minneapolis, MN area and are in need of a quality demolition crew to help you take care of your next construction job, you yards to match the size of the job that you are doing. If you are getting ready to start your next construction job, don’t forget to contact a quality demolition crew to help you handle your demo work.

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Dec
08

Rhode Island borrows $90 million from US for jobless claims">
Rhode Island borrows $90 million from US for jobless claims

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rhode Island will receive US$90 million in funding from the United States federal government to support unemployment benefits in the state.

Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training stated on Wednesday that it requested the line of credit because the account utilized to provide funding to unemployed individuals in the state had decreased to only $2 million; enough to last only a few days.

Unemployment insurance customers will not experience any delays in receiving their weekly payments.

In a statement released by the Department, the agency said: “Unemployment insurance customers will not experience any delays in receiving their weekly payments.”

Unemployment in Rhode Island was 12.8 percent in August 2009 – the third-highest rate in the United States. During the first eight months of 2009, Rhode Island’s state unemployment insurance trust fund has provided over $300 million in unemployment benefit funding.

In addition to Rhode Island, 20 other states have outstanding balances on money they borrowed from the Federal Unemployment Account of the United States Department of Labor. Rhode Island has an outstanding balance of approximately $90.68 million due to the account. The loans are interest-free until December 2010.

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Dec
07

Interview with Reggie Bibbs on his life with neurofibromatosis">
Interview with Reggie Bibbs on his life with neurofibromatosis

Friday, December 14, 2007

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a genetic condition causing benign tumors (neurofibromas) to grow along certain types of nerves and, in addition, it can affect the development of bones or skin. There are several variants of the disease but type 1 and type 2 NF account for the vast majority of cases.

The disease manifestations can vary from very mild to severe. Major symptoms include growths on and under the skin; skin pigmentations called café au lait spots in type 1; acoustic nerve tumors and consequent hearing loss in type 2. Growths can affect nearly all parts of the body, and pressure on nearby structures can cause a wide variety of complications. There is a small risk that the tumors transform into malignant cancerous lesions.

NF is one of the most common single-gene human diseases; around 1 in 2,500-4,000 live births are affected by NF-1, whereas NF-2 occurs in about 1 in 50,000-120,000. Both type 1 and 2 are autosomal dominant conditions, meaning that only one copy of the mutated gene need be inherited to pass the disorder. A child of a parent with neurofibromatosis and an unaffected parent will have a 50% chance of inheriting the disorder. The gene responsible for NF-1 and possibly NF-2 is thought to function as a tumor suppressor gene.

In most cases of neurofibromatosis 1, patients can live normal and productive lives. In about 25-40% of patients there is an associated learning disability with or without ADHD. In some cases of neurofibromatosis 2, the damage to nearby vital structures, such as the cranial nerves and the brainstem, can be life-threatening. When tumors are causing pain or disfiguration, surgery is thus far the only proven beneficial treatment option.

Reggie Bibbs is a 43-year-old-man living in Houston, Texas. Mr Bibbs was born with a genetic disease called neurofibromatosis (NF), which causes him to develop tumors on his body (see infobox on the right). NF can be a subtle disease, but in Bibbs’ case it has left him with a disfigured face and deformed leg. But he is happy with the way he looks, and doesn’t want to change his appearance to please other people. He has launched a successful campaign entitled “Just Ask”, and that’s just what Wikinews did in a video-interview.

The interview was prepared by Wikinews reporter Michaël Laurent with the help of Bertalan Meskó (who has a popular genetics and web 2.0 blog). Their questions were sent to a close friend of Mr. Bibbs, Lou Congelio, who kindly conducted the interview.

Contents

  • 1 Infobox: What is neurofibromatosis?
  • 2 The interview
    • 2.1 On neurofibromatosis
    • 2.2 Growing up
    • 2.3 A head to toe body tour
    • 2.4 The daily life of Reggie Bibbs
    • 2.5 Raising awareness and his campaign
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

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Dec
07

US Defense Secretary evaluates Iraq and the political climate">
US Defense Secretary evaluates Iraq and the political climate

Friday, April 6, 2007

U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates warned that limiting funding for the United States efforts in Iraq could lead to more bloodshed in the Middle Eastern country. In an interview with radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, he said it might even lead to ethnic cleansing in Bahgdad and elsewhere in Iraq.

Gates’ comment followed a proposal from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to end most spending on the Iraq war in 2008, limiting it to targeted operations against al Qaeda, training for Iraqi troops and U.S. force protection.

Sec. Gates also said that the duration of the troop increase is not clear and that evaluating whether the Administration’s new strategy was working will have to wait till mid-summer. The Army general charged with day-to-day operations has suggested that the increased deployment may extend to early next year.

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Dec
07

Considerations To Make When Selecting Custom Replacement

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byAlma Abell

There is no denying that owning a home can be an expensive undertaking. In order to keep a home functioning properly, you will have to invest time and energy into maintaining the vital parts of your residence. Making sure the windows in your home are working properly and sealed is important. There will come a time when you will need to buy custom replacement windows in Rancho Cordova. While selecting new windows may sound easy, it can be extremely complicated without the right help. Read below to find out about some of the considerations that should be made when choosing new windows.

What is the Window’s Main Purpose?

Before you can select the right custom replacement windows in Rancho Cordova, you need to think about the purpose it serves. Knowing what the window is designed to do is the only way to ensure the right choice is made. If the window is primarily for looks, then a person will be able to choose the most appealing option to fit their tastes. Some windows are designed to offer more natural light. If you are confused about what type of replacement windows you need, getting guidance from professionals is the best way to make this decision easier.

The Color of the Frames

The next thing to think about when selecting custom replacement windows in Rancho Cordova is the color of the frames. When having new windows installed on the exterior of your home, you want to make sure they match your existing color scheme. Neglecting to consider this can lead to an eyesore being created. Luckily, the window frames on the market come in a variety of different colors.

Working with the right custom replacement windows in Rancho Cordova professionals is the best way to get the guidance needed during this process.

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