Journalist gets up close and personal with killer-quintet

Radio journalist Nancy Mullane has gone behind the walls of California’s infamous San Quentin state prison to chronicle how life unfolds for five inmates convicted of murder.

Andreessen Horowitz Partner Margit Wennmachers introducing Don Cronk, Jesse Reed, Ed Ramirez and author Nancy Mullane

The five-year investigative effort by the freelance reporter and producer who does a lot of work for NPR is now chronicled in her book,  Life After Murder

Mullane follows Don Cronk, Ed Ramirez, Rich Rael, Phillip Seiler and Jesse Reed as they work through the complicated system of obtaining parole, and tracks their travails once outside. Each of the men have been convicted of murder.

Mullane said she received unprecendented cooperation from the prison staff and the quintet of convicted killers  as they sought parole for good behavior decades after their crime.

from Fan Fare:

John Lennon’s “Instant Karma” a curious choice for Chase

John Lennon's "Instant Karma" is an unlikely choice for an advertising jingle. With future murderer Phil Spector manning the boards, the angry ex-Beatle wasted no time warning listeners, "You better get yourself together, Pretty soon you're gonna be dead." Which in fact Lennon was a decade later.
peterCut to 2009, and Chase has dusted off the song for an advertising campaign, but it has focused on the shiny, happy chorus, "Well we all shine on, Like the moon and the stars and the sun, Well we all shine on..." 
That's not Lennon singing on the new version, by the way. Instead Chase went edgy with British goth singer Peter Murphy, who used to front Bauhaus, a rock group famed for the song "Bela Lugosi's Dead" and for inspiring Nine Inch Nails. Cindy Mizelle, who once toured with Mick Jagger, does the backing vocals.
The spot heralds Chase's arrival in California following the purchase last fall of Washington Mutual's banking operations by its JPMorgan Chase parent. The black-and-white clip depicts such outdoor pursuits as surfing, swimming and ballooning, and a biker couple riding off into the sunset.
"This spot heralds a bright new day and so we chose a song that is upbeat, well known and classic," a Chase spokesman said in an email. "'Instant Karma' is an iconic song and the chorus, 'We all shine on', reinforces an emotional connection with the brand but also demonstrates that 'we're going to get through these trying times together.'"
The spokesman declined to discuss financial terms, and a spokesman for Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, did not return an email seeking comment.
Murphy recorded the song in full, and hopes it will see the light of day, said David Baron, who produced and arranged the tune with Murphy at a converted church in Woodstock, New York.
"Peter is currently working out the details for the new record and the final tracks have not been decided on," Baron said. "Peter would like to release Instant Karma in some fashion so I am sure it will surface."
Murphy does not appear in the Chase ad, but he can be seen as "the Blown Away Guy" in a 1980s British ad for Maxell cassettes.

(Peter Murphy photo credit: Koray Birand)

from Fan Fare:

California battle over video game violence rages on

MEDIA TAKETWOThe video game industry may have won another battle over whether violent games should be labeled as such and kept away from minors, but the author of a California video game labeling law that was struck down on Friday by a federal appeals court says the war is far from over.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the controversial law violated free speech protections that prevent the government from forcing its opinions on citizens -- in this case by requiring video game makers to label games the state describes as violent. The court said lawmakers also failed to show a link between virtual violence and real acts among children who play the ultra-violent games.

The judges sided with the video game industry in finding that  the industry's voluntary ratings system and stepped up parental controls were the best way to keep inappropriate games from kids.