Clicking To Stardom
Watch out, American Idol. She may only be in kindergarten, but 5-year-old Nia Frazier has become an online singing sensation, attracting millions of fans -- and even celebrities -- to her videos on YouTube.
Frazier shot to fame after her mother began posting videos of her singing daughter on YouTube.com, simply so friends and family could stay in touch with Nia and know what she was up to. But many more people caught a glimpse of the singing sensation.
While there are about 30 videos of Nia on YouTube, her rendition of the Earth, Wind & Fire hit "Can't Find Love" has attracted over 2 million viewers. Later this month, she's actually set to perform with Earth, Wind & Fire in Las Vegas, the New York Daily News reports.
Mary J. Blige is also a big fan. "We sought out Nia, four year interpreter of Mary J Blige songs, and asked her to star in this commercial for Mary J. Blige's new album," MJBlige.com says.
Bloggers cheer the power of YouTube to create stars. "This clip demonstrates the power of Web 2.0 and YouTube," Krista blogs at Kristaphere. "Wonderful campaign, and quite remarkable considering, with Mary's body of work and fan base, she could have hired any actor or actress in Hollywood to be in her commercial."
Some are convinced Nia has a future in entertainment. "She's much too young for anyone to tell if she can actually sing, but I have a good feeling that this will be a classic clip 10-15 years from now," Whudat.com writes.
But some bloggers are mindful that she's only a child. "Her frazzled appearance on this morning's TODAY show proves that while she may be a talented web performer and singer, she is still just a five-year-old who has a lot of work to do when it comes to speaking on live television," a blogger at WebJunkTV writes.
The death of Deamonte Driver, a twelve-year-old boy who suffered from a toothache, has resonated with many people in his Maryland community, and throughout the blogosphere. As the Washington Post reported, by the time the tooth got any attention, bacteria spread from an abscess to his brain, and he died, despite two operations and over six weeks of hospital care.
The Post says a routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him, but his mother was not insured, his family had lost its Medicaid, and Medicaid dentists are hard to find. Deamonte's death and the ultimate cost of his care could have totaled more than $250,000.It was one of the most widely read stories on the Web.
Many are angry about the high cost of healthcare in this country.
"To many American workers, the thought of not having medical coverage for their family is unthinkable, but guess what, there are over forty five million of your fellow Americans who have no medical coverage," a blogger at African American (Black) Opinion writes. "And sadly, Deamante's mother was one of those individuals."
"The fact is, the young man didn't die really from the toothache--he died because this f****** country doesn't provide the most basic health care services to its most vulnerable citizens," Buddy blogs at Buddy's Books and Bait.
Even those gainfully employed sympathized with high healthcare costs, even with insurance. "This article hit home for me, since I recently shelled out $1820.00 to get two teeth extracted. I only expect to get about 60% of that back. That was nearly 7 weeks ago, and of course, I am still haggling with the damn insurance companies- and I have a 'good' job with 'good' insurance coverage," Nikkos blogs.
"How can this happen in what is supposed to be the richest nation in the world? Why -- in 2007 -- are we still held hostage to an inadequate health care system?," BAC writes at Yikes!.
But not everyone blames the healthcare system. Jamila Akil faults Deamonte's mother for not being more responsible. "It is noble and worthy to want to fix the system...but one question remains an elephant in the room: How do we fix the parents?," Jamila blogs.
Dirty Politics Online
Breaking news: Shortly before midnight February 26, a group of Republican Second Life users, some sporting "Bush '08" tags, vandalized the John Edwards' Second Life headquarters. They plastered the area with Marxist/Lenninist posters and slogans, a feces spewing obscenity, and harassed visitors.
That's right, this was on Second Life, not real life. Second Life is a virtual world where content is created by the people who "live" there. But it seemed all too real to bloggers.
As Delores Parker blogs at Download Squad, "Interestingly, dirty campaign tactics are now de rigeur for virtual communities as in real life."
"As though vandalism & paranoia weren't concern enough in the real world!," Odigo blogs at NI-Limits.
Some joke that Democrats should feel at home on Second Life. "The alternate reality that is Second Life offers a great haven for Democrats by the way," The Influence Peddler blogs. "Given their discomfort with the world as it is - with George Bush as President, and troops in Iraq, and all the rest - maybe they can make a home in Second Life. Over there, John Kerry can be President and John Edwards can succeed him."
"The real question: how will this scandal, surely on par with Watergate, or at least the Swift Boats, impact John Edwards' speaking fees at local colleges in 2009?," Ilya Malinsky mocks at Inside Video Games.
"Politicians obviously still have much to learn about the ways of trolls and other quaint customs of the internet tribes," Shameless blogs. "I predict many more such mishaps heading into '08 as both sides try to capitalize on the power of the 'net."
But perhaps Astro Rob said it best. "The '08 presidential campaign is already getting weird," he writes on MySpace.
Yup, A Woman's Work Is Never Done
If you think moving in with a partner may actually cut in half, or at least reduce, the time you spend on housework, think again. A new study has found that employed women living with their employed partner actually spend more time doing housework than single women. But men see the hours they commit to housework decline once they begin living as a couple.
Labor economist Helene Couprie found that on average, an employed woman does 15 hours a week of housework when she lives with her employed partner, up from 10 hours when single. Shocking? Not to many female bloggers.
"I guess this isn't a huge shocker," Jessica blogs at Feministing.com. "Another story that makes me glad I live alone," Zuzu adds at Feministe. "Though things have undoubtedly improved somewhat from past generations, when men weren't expected to do much at all once they cohabited with a woman."
Some bloggers weighed in with their theories about why this may be happening. "The problems arise when they decide to share a living-space. Typically, the woman will assume control of the space (with the exception of the TV remote) and the man, bowing to her female housework ethic, will not even contest this," an Irish blogger at Blogh An Seanchai writes.
But Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly dug up the original data from the study, and found that "the total amount of leisure time reported within couples is 128 for women vs. 124 for men." "The guys aren't quite so lazy after all!," Drum concludes.
By Melissa McNamara