CBS correspondent Thalia Assuras touted the celebrity status of the Obamas on Wednesday: "The paparazzi and the press corps treat them like movie stars. They're on magazine covers and in fashion spreads. Even the presidential pooch is a celebrity. The Obamas are helping turn staid old Washington into Hollywood on the Potomac." [audio available here]
During the Early Show, Assuras reported on numerous upcoming reality TV shows being set in Washington D.C. and credited the first family for turning the nation’s capital into a celebrity hot spot. She cited Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn, who declared: "All of the power is concentrated here and power is a great aphrodisiac. And so, Washington has become the place to be." Assuras added: "And be seen. Even film stars are flocking here for a chance at the spotlight. Now the latest proof that the nation's capital is indeed the new hot spot, the arrival of reality TV."
To the extent that it is being reported, actor Jon Voight's remarks to last night's Republican House-Senate fundraising dinner are being selectively chosen to fit the media's talking points about conservatives and the GOP.
Robert Dougherty of Associated Content News, for example, has latched onto some red meat lines to portray the actor as a thorn in the side of some Republicans who don't want to rock the proverbial boat:
Though the Republicans tried in vein [sic] to heal the recent divides in the party, Jon Voight had no such words of reconciliation in regards to the President. As host of the dinner, Voight spoke against the "Obama oppression" and called the President a "false prophet" among other things.
But that doesn't do justice to Voight's 10-minute speech -- which I've embedded above at right -- wherein the veteran actor noted how Democrats and the media were content to wear down public opinion of George W. Bush with a never-ending flood of negativity while building up Barack Obama as a near-messianic savior who dare not be questioned:
On Sunday, CBS’s Bill Whitaker praised the liberal activism of former TV producer Norman Lear: "But in 1980, the king turned his back on his TV empire. He grew alarmed as evangelical Christian preachers grew more visibly and vocally involved in politics with views and tactics he found divisive. He responded the way he knew best, on TV."
Whitaker, reporting for CBS Sunday Morning, went on to describe Lear’s efforts: "His ads spawned People For The American Way, his grass roots civics organization to keep Americans aware and protective of their rights." No liberal label was given for the left-wing "civics organization." Whitaker asked Lear: "What is it about the approach of the Religious Right that so rankles you?" Lear responded: "Politics and religion are not the American way. My contention is every individual's compact with God, with that, is different from every other individual's. So don't come to me with your compact and insist it must be mine. America is open to all of them."
At the top of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith cast doubt on talk show host and major Obama supporter, Oprah Winfrey: "And call it the ‘Oprah Effect.’ She speaks, people listen. But is her show actually leading her audience astray?" Oddly, no mention was made of Winfrey’s very public endorsement Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign.
Later, co-host Julie Chen also teased the upcoming segment with similar declarations: "Still ahead in this half hour, it is no secret that Oprah is a great sales person, but just because she's selling, the question is should you be buying?...Well up next, the Oprah Winfrey seal of approval. Is it all that it's cracked up to be? We're going to look at the pros and the cons of Oprah's power." During the latter tease from Chen and briefly in the report that followed, footage of Oprah speaking at an Obama rally was shown, but not discussed.
The report, by correspondent Michelle Miller, featured Syracuse University pop culture professor Robert Thompson, who explained: "She has managed to put the Oprah seal of approval, which is a really powerful seal of approval, on some things that I think most people would call real crackpot ideas." Miller cited Newsweek magazine’s reporting on the topic and quoted senior editor Weston Kosova: "Some of the advice she gives on the show, especially with regard to health matters and medicine, is not good advice. Sometimes the advice that guests give on the show could actually hurt you."
'The Goode Family,' a new half-hour animated comedy show which spoofs the politically-correct and environmental do-good thinking of a liberal family which considers its lifestyle superior to “abstinence people” who “wear flag pins,” debuted this past Wednesday night on ABC. The opening scene showed a “Support Our Troops...And Their Opponents” bumper sticker on the family's hybrid.
When the 16-year-old son who the parents adopted from Africa and presumed he'd be black, but to their surprise was a white South African, wants to start driving, the father cautions: “With greater emissions, comes greater responsibility.” In another scene, the mother declares “nothing brings a mother and daughter closer together than shopping at a high-end, organic grocery store.” And inside the store an intercom announcement alerts shoppers: “Check out the big board to see how you can limit the impact of your existence.”
I won't give away all that's in the accompanying video in which I cobbled together a little under three minutes of what I thought were the funnier and most-damning parodies of liberal thinking .
Displaying a caricature of a celebrity enraptured by President Barack Obama, although apparently quite serious in the underlining attitude he conveyed in an over the top manner, on Friday's Larry King Live actor Denis Leary (IMDb page) proclaimed: “I think that President Obama is the greatest President in the history of all of our Presidents and that he can do no wrong in my book.”
Asked about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Leary, co-producer and star of FX's Rescue Me, exclaimed: “Fantastic!” Guest host Joy Behar prompted him to affirm: “You love her?” He repeated his earlier mantra: “Everything you ask me about President Obama I'm just going to say it's the greatest thing ever. I love the guy!”
Leary, who made the appearance ostensibly to plug his book, 'Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid', as a Father's Day gift, also related how he likes to “torture” pro-Bush friends and colleagues by gloating over Obama. “I do have to say that I enjoy upsetting people -- friends of mine who might be in the Republican world” by telling them: “President Obama is the greatest thing that ever happened.”
ABC’s new series "The Goode Family" poking fun at liberalism and political correctness has predictably been greeted with disdain by the establishment media.
The running theme in reviews of the series is that it is unoriginal, flat, and not funny. Not that the folks at the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle are able to laugh at themselves, anyway…
But the show feels aggressively off-kilter with the current mood, as if it had been incubated in the early to mid-’90s, when it was possible to find global-warming skeptics among even the reasonable and informed. Who really thinks of wind power — an allusion to which is a running visual gag in the show — as mindless, left-wing nonsense anymore?
With television hosts unwilling to joke about President Barack Obama as those comedians regularly ridicule conservatives, there’s a bright spot coming up this week in a new TV show set to debut on ABC which will mock leftist environmentalism. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday:
The new animated television series ‘The Goode Family’ is a send-up of a clan of environmentalists who live by the words ‘What would Al Gore do?’ Gerald and Helen Goode want nothing more than to minimize their carbon footprint. They feed their dog, Che, only veggies (much to the pet's dismay) and Mr. Goode dutifully separates sheets of toilet paper when his wife accidentally buys two-ply. And, of course, the family drives a hybrid.
In a classic example of a dog-bites-man non-story, the Associated Press is dutifully furthering the "censorship" whine of a rock band that laments that Wal-Mart won't stock its new album, "21st Century Breakdown."
Of course the discount retailer's standards for music fit for its shelves are hardly new nor are they being applied out of the blue to the rockers. Nonetheless, Moody stacked the deck by quoting two of the band's three members against one Wal-Mart executive.
The big problem with renewable energy is that it just doesn’t renew itself. The sun does not shine enough and the wind doesn’t blow enough to power the towns, cities, factories, hospitals and schools that make our lives so livable. No environmentalist would ever allow their child to be treated in a hospital fully powered by “renewables”. They would not take the risk that the wind might stop whilst their baby was on the operating table. They would insist that the hospital and the life support systems had a fossil fuel powered back-up.
And so it is with “sustainable development”. It just isn’t sustainable. At least it does not sustain a lifestyle that those who promote it would consider acceptable for themselves. But of course that is the key. Renewable energy and sustainable development are for “other people”. Even though environmentalists come from societies and very often families that became rich because of their use of non-renewable energy and unsustainable development they will not allow these opportunities to be extended to the poor in the developing world.
Environmentalists come from wealthy societies and families who cut down forests and burned coal and oil to make their families and societies healthy and prosperous. But, nowadays, for the poor in Africa and Asia and even middle America their path out of poverty must be “sustainable.” No fossil fuels or factories for them. But what this really means is sustainable poverty. It is a system that condemns people to a lifetime of drudgery and subsistence farming because modernity and industrialisation is “unsustainable.”
Which brings me to Bono, the lead singer of rock band U2 and more lately a campaigner for sustainable development in Africa, Asia and south America.
In addition to the anti-Catholicism present in the forthcoming release of "Angels & Demons", there's another politically correct element to the movie adaptation of the Dan Brown novel that's worth noting: Hollywood's aversion to portraying radical Muslims as the bad guys.
I confess I love popping all over the iTunes Store. On the home page today, they were plugging a new single by Jordin Sparks, a recent American Idol. Click through to that, and they're featuring an "i-Tunes Essentials" playlist called "Hope & Change."
For the iPod-less, there are many playlists that are created by users, but the "Essentials" lists are made by Apple. It says it was posted April 28, but sounds like it was posted January 20. See the goopy Obama-loving text that came with the songs:
Welcome to the beginning of a new era in the U.S. – Barack Obama's history-making win is really a victory for all those who keep the faith and firmly believe that people have the power to make a change. John Lennon was one of rock ‘n' roll's most determined dreamers, and the better world he dared to "Imagine" may finally be within our grasp. ["Imagine there's no Heaven," and Obama makes it happen?]
Four weeks after FX's Rescue Me featured a New York City firefighter telling a French journalist how the 9/11 terrorist attacks were part of “a massive neo-conservative government effort” to enable “American global domination,” Tuesday night's episode gave the French character “Genevieve,” interviewing firefighters for a book on 9/11 first-responders, a platform to rail against how the U.S. failed to heed France's advice in starting “two new wars” in the name of “revenge.”
Discussing 9/11 with firefighter “Tommy Gavin,” played by show creator Denis Leary, “Genevieve” agreed “9/11 was a tragedy. To most of the world it was a tragedy,” but she fretted, “to Americans, it was the beginning of the end of the world.” As the two walked along a Manhattan street following a visit to Ground Zero, she lectured, presumably alluding to Iraq: “France warned the U.S. government because of their experience with Algeria. And then told them that maybe this was not a good idea and they didn't want to send their people to die.” As to why she wants to write about 9/11:
It's an amazing story, it's a story about how so many people in the world came to support America and its people, to say, “hey, you know what? You've done so much to help us and to support us, we want to give back to you.” But what did your government do with all that good will? Hell, you went right back to war. You started two new wars. In the name of what? Revenge?...Every goddamn war is about revenge -- and the French don't believe in guns.
I just cannot get behind this Star Trek rebirth. The whole thing is just so unrealistic. Not the warp speed or phasers or beaming about the universe - those are at least remotely plausible. I am talking about the fact that the starship Enterprise is composed entirely of officers and yet it still seems to function. Where are the non-commissioned officers (NCO), the petty officers and sergeants who actually make any military organization run? No, I can suspend disbelief over Klingons and tribbles, and I actively support the notion of green alien hotties. But the idea of a functioning military unit without sergeants is just a wormhole too far.
Hollywood movies often focus on the commanders, the captains and colonels, but they have also managed to highlight some great sergeants as well. When you are picking out DVDs for next weekend, remember that May 16th is Armed Forces Day and consider a few selections that show the sergeant in all his gruff and grumbling glory.
If you have never experienced the joy of going through basic training and do not plan to, your first stop should be Full Metal Jacket, with R. Lee Ermey’s legendary portrayal of a Marine drill instructor who must have missed out on the block of instruction on sensitivity. I saw this in the theater about a week before I reported to Basic. That was a poor idea.
The latest nuisance is J. Freedom du Lac's analysis of why country music radio is so chock full of songs about small town America. To you and me, the answer might be obvious, but du Lac set out to paint the trend as "divisive" and reactionary. In this excerpt, du Lac sets out to discredit the professional opinion of a D.C.-area country music station programmer:
Says Meg Stevens, the WMZQ program director: "It's a global theme: Wherever you're from, that's your place. You see what's happening with the economy and what's going on in the world, and people are getting in closer to their roots and their community, whether you're from rural Virginia or downtown D.C."
But the Atkins song and others of its ilk -- from Jason Aldean's "Hicktown" and Miranda Lambert's "Famous in a Small Town" to Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried" and Josh Turner's "Way Down South" -- are narrowcasting to a specific community: the core country audience, whose roots aren't exactly in America's urban centers.
The symbolism and prideful sentiments of the songs are intended to create a sense of belonging among people with similar backgrounds and lifestyles, or at least people who romanticize life in the rural South. (It's not a place; it's a state of mind.) To some listeners, though, it might sound as if the artists are closing ranks.
Nobody wants to be mocked. And if you’re a rock star, surrounded by sycophants for the better part of 35 years, it must be especially hard to deal with being mocked. It makes sense, then, that Don Henley does not like the parody of his song “Boys of Summer,” penned by Chuck DeVore, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, and Justin Hart, his advisor. But Henley’s copyright-infringement lawsuit is far bigger than one rock star or his feelings. Henley’s lawsuit undermines the First Amendment right to speak freely.
Don Henley makes no effort to hide his political leanings. In addition to performing at scores of fundraisers, Henley has given about $750,000 to partisan, liberal causes, including $10,000 to Barack Obama and $9,000 to DeVore’s soon-to-be opponent, Barbara Boxer. Henley also exploits his music to advance a liberal, political agenda.
In 2004, coalition forces in Iraq launched Operation Phantom Fury, the battle for control of Fallujah. American troops battled through a city of enemy insurgents, fighting house to house and street to street to seize control of the most dangerous city in the world.
Narrated by Senator Fred D. Thompson, “Perfect Valor” [view trailer at right] is the story of the high price paid by US forces and the legacy of that campaign as seen through the eyes of the men and women who were there, risking their lives in service to their country.
We meet a Navy Cross recipient, recognized for extraordinary gallantry under fire during the assault on Fallujah. A true American hero still haunted by his experience in Iraq. We listen to the family of a fallen Marine as they tell the story of their sacrifice. We hear the harrowing tale of a battalion surgeon who risked his own life to move an aid station forward, into the middle of the fight - a decision that saved thirty lives.
Today's Los Angeles Times has a story about freelance comedy writers who get paid for their jokes submitted to late night comics that actually make the cut and air in a monologue. Times staffers Matea Gold and Richard Verrier report that "For some late-night hosts, the laughs come cheap."
But alas, it's actually a violation of labor contracts for late night shows to pay freelancers. What's more, with Conan O'Brien acceeding to Leno's throne in June, the practice is expected to stop altogether for NBC's "Tonight Show."
O'Brien is one of the few late-night hosts to refuse freelance jokes, and East Coast guild officials usedhis move to privately remind their California counterparts of the prohibition.
"Conan is one of the key players in this industry, and we knew he was pure on this issue," said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA, East. "This was just an opportunity to let the West know that this was a culture that was moving west. We just want to encourage that culture."
Watching “24” this week, I realized that our number one threat is multi-national corporations with battalions of hired killers on the payroll. Similarly, “Michael Clayton,” “The International,” the new “State of Play” and many others have taught me that big companies assassinate their rivals, whistleblowers, policemen and random passersby with astonishing regularity.
I wish. But then, I’m a trial lawyer and I could use a new house.
Sadly, the real world is much more esoteric than the portrait Hollywood paints, and the real threat is not quite so picturesque. Instead of corporate death squads composed of hardboiled mercenaries with high tech assault rifles, the real killers are boring jihadi doofuses with dusty AKs, booby-trapped Fiats and the occasional boxcutter.
Let’s stop and check the numbers. Real terrorists, counting the victims of 9/11 and American losses in Iraq and Afghanistan: Over 7900 murdered. Victims of corporate murder: Zero. Nada. Zip. I would add in the number of Iraqis and Afghanis murdered by these folks, except that toll is beyond counting. And to many liberals, their lives don’t seem to count anyway.
Someone needs to sue Santa Monica High School for education malpractice on behalf of the ill-educated Sean Penn. I mean, the man is nearly illiterate and he certainly has no grasp on history, philosophy, or statecraft. But his wacko left-wing inanities aside, it is his illiteracy that seems the most lamentable. Oh, it isn't Rosie O'Donnell illiterate. Hers is a special class of insensibility all by itself, but Penn's brand is proof of the lowest quality of education. I mean the man can barely put two words together sensibly much less exhibit a grasp of grammar and syntax. It really is a crime how badly he's been educated.
Take for instance his latest Huffington Post blathering where he seems to be saying that all we need to win the day in international relations is to give a "smile." Aside from being childishly simplistic in concept, it has some of the worst word usage and syntax I've seen for a long time in what is supposed to be a leader of opinion (again, Rosie aside).
The attacks on Miss California Carrie Prejean have gotten so bad that even same-sex marriage champion and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is taking notice.
Prejean, the runner-up of last Sunday's Miss USA pageant, has been the target of reports from the Hollywood media intelligentsia after her feud with gossip blogger Perez Hilton for the stance she took on same-sex marriage. And Newsom, who had just announced his intentions to run for governor of California, has noticed.
"I want to challenge her on her point-of-view," Newsom said in an appearance at Sapphire Energy, a bio-tech company, which aired on NBC's San Francisco affiliate on April 23. "She challenged me on my point-of-view and she spoke her conscience. What more can you ask? I speak my conscience, she should speak hers. So, I think she's being a little unfairly maligned."
Proving the old adage that instead of sitting quietly letting everyone think you are an idiot one should speak up and prove it, funnyman John Cleese and Kung Fu action star Jackie Chan recently did some talking that they should probably have avoided. Apparently unaware that they've left office, Cleese unloaded on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and seemed to say U.S. Marines weren't very sophisticated at a recent visit to Cornell University. For his part, Jackie Chan announced to the world that Chinese people "needed controlling" because all that darn democracy is just too "chaotic" for them. One wonders where Jackie thinks all his many millions of dollars have come from: communism or democracy?
Chan's comments were so ridiculous that even the communist Chinese government thought they were foolish enough to denounce in the Chinese press.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks were part of “a massive neo-conservative government effort” to enable “American global domination,” a character on FX's "Rescue Me" argued on Tuesday night's episode. In the drama about firefighters in New York City, firefighter “Franco Rivera,” played by actor Daniel Sunjata, a real-life 9/11 “truther,” laid out his theory for a French journalist interviewing firefighters for a book on 9/11 first-responders. As noted in a February NewsBusters post, in a New York Times story about the then-upcoming storyline, Brian Stelter reported the ludicrous theory “may represent the first fictional presentation of 9/11 conspiracy theories by a mainstream media company (FX is operated by the News Corporation).”
During the episode, “Franco” outlined the four-point plan by the Project for a New American Century, starting with how Bush-Cheney “came to power with plans already made to attack Afghanistan and Iraq.” Second, “we have to make huge technological advances with our armed forces, that for some reason include the capability to fight wars from outer space.” Third, “huge increases in military spending” to the neglect of “sick and dying first-responders, 9/11's heroes, who can't even pay their light bill let alone their medical bills.” Fourth, “we changed the definition of pre-emptive attack so we can unilaterally bomb the shit out of, invade and occupy countries even if they pose no credible threat or had nothing to do with 9/11.” Finally:
How you going to put it into action? I mean, the American people are never going to go for shit like that, right? You're damn straight. No, what you need is an event, an event that gets everyone's heads turned around the right way. What you need is a new Pearl Harbor.
In a case of entertainment imitating entertainment, Arron Sorkin -- maker of the faux president series West Wing -- has hinted that he is soon to start development of another one of those behind-the-scenes TV shows, this one to be the goings on with a TV pundit show ala Keith Olbermann's Count Down spectacle on MSNBC. So says Entertainment Weekly this week at least.
So, what are we going to be subjected to? Another ponderous show where a lefty bleeding-heart host that is soooo "concerned" with the whole wide world? A salute to the "seriousness" of an Olbermann type? Or are we going to see the tale of a nearly insane, egomaniacal freak that terrorizes everyone with whom he works? If they are going for fantasy probably the former. Reality... who knows?
OK, now by that headline you are most likely assuming that I am calling del Toro, Carrey and Penn Hollywood stooges and making fun of them. Of course, we already know that Penn and del Toro are stooges on the "useful idiot" level, but you may wonder why I am slapping Carrey? Well, I mean it in the strictest sense -- that Hollywood is casting for a new 3 Stooges team and these are the three Nyucks under consideration. It is del Toro as the new Moe, Carrey as the next Curly and Penn as our favorite nebbish, Larry.
But leave it to Hollywood to take the funniest threesome in Hollywood history and make a muck of it. This isn't really the 3 Stooges at all. See, it is a "new" one, set in modern day, where three guys sortta, kinda like the 3 Stooges find each other in an orphanage and start a comedy team bringing them fame and fortune.
The self-aggrandizing denizens of Hollywood constantly scold Americans over a lack of national healthcare. It is the biggest failure of American society ever that there is no cradle to the grave program for free health care, they constantly tell us. And now, in keeping with these nearly universal Hollywood "principles," to prove how Hollywood is far more moral than we lowly citizens of flyover country, and to show that they are better than the great unwashed in the backwaters of America... Hollywood is closing its nearly 90-year-old Motion Picture Fund hospital and accompanying long-term living facilities for aging actors.
Yep, dumping it. Walking away from the facilities for free healthcare for actors. Fuggedaboutit.
If you thought you couldn't care less about tonight's Academy Awards you're not alone for many of Hollywood's top stars are refusing to participate in Sunday's festivities other than just being in the audience.
So wrote Deadline Hollywood Daily's Nikki Finke Saturday:
With so much populist outrage at bankers and other corporate types these days, Hollywood is predictably trying to capitalize on it (TNT's "Leverage" is just one example.) "The International," from Relativity Media was just the latest to hit theaters with its Feb. 13 opening.
In the slow-moving thriller "The International," the executives of the fictional International Bank of Business and Credit (IBBC) aren't just crooked, they willingly hire assassins - the executives call them "consultants" - to get rid of anyone about to expose their crimes. The protagonists are Louis Salinger, an Interpol agent played by Clive Owen, and Eleanor Whitman, a Manhattan District Attorney played by Naomi Watts.
Owen made the morning talk show rounds hitting CBS "Early Show" Feb. 11 and ABC's "The View" on Feb. 13. In both cases, the hosts sought to find out if this story was grounded in reality.
"This is based roughly on a true story," CBS's Harry Smith queried. Owen replied that the script was "well-researched" and "well-informed." Owen's comments on "The View" were similar, but at least on ABC the actor admitted that the script was in fact "fictional."
"Now this movie, it really shows you that banks are terrorists in many ways, you know. I mean they do the same things to people in this movie that real terrorists groups like al-Qaida would do. Is this based on fact?" Joy Behar asked Owen.
“A coming episode of the acclaimed FX drama Rescue Me will tackle what may sound like a far-fetched plot line: that the attacks of Sept. 11 were an 'inside job,'” Brian Stelter reported in the New York Times, noting the ludicrous plot “may represent the first fictional presentation of 9/11 conspiracy theories by a mainstream media company (FX is operated by the News Corporation).” Actor Daniel Sunjata (IMDB page), who plays New York City firefighter “Franco Rivera” -- and who in a photo with the Times story sported a shirt emblazoned “INVESTIGATE 9/11” -- “predicted that the episode would be 'socio-politically provocative.'”
In the episode, the second in the new season starting in April, “Mr. Sunjata’s character delivers a two-minute monologue for a French journalist describing a 'neoconservative government effort' to control the world’s oil, drastically increase military spending and 'change the definition of pre-emptive attack.' To put it into action, he continues, 'what you need is a new Pearl Harbor. That’s what they said they needed.'” Now that's some crazy paranoia.
The message has made it everywhere else - Hannah Montana songs, every night on the news, in books and cartoons, so why not video games? If you want a preview of tactics that could be on the way in the name of curbing global warming, take a look across the pond at what they're doing in Europe.
"Serious games based upon real-life geography should be vital tools in our fight against climate change," said Lord Puttnam in a statement. "Educating people about the impact of prolonged changes to our climate in an accessible way is the best catalyst for action I know."
British politicians have been actively promoting various ways to curb the effects of so-called anthropogenic global warming. On Feb. 4, Lord Turner, the British climate czar, told the U.K. Environmental Audit committee that climate laws may be needed to restrict airplane flights and reduce carbon emissions.