Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

The Death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman: A Tragedy Being Used as a Political Opportunity

February 7, 2014

phillip seymour hoffmanI first saw Phillip Seymour Hoffman in his role as the likable storm chaser “Dusty” in the movie “Twister”. His character was a salt-of-the-Earth kind of guy, a “Roadie” if you will, a normal guy, chasing tornadoes with a bunch of scientists.

Of course, during the following years, he played an assortment of roles, coming into his own with an Oscar Award-winning turn as the famous author and Hollywood personality, Truman Capote.

And now, he’s gone…much too soon.

Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has been found dead in his Manhattan apartment after suffering a suspected drugs overdose.

One of the most-highly regarded actors in America, Hoffman won a series of awards including a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in the 2005 film Capote.

Hoffman was found dead in his Greenwich village apartment on Sunday morning.New York City Police Department is at the scene and investigating.

He was 46 and leaves behind his long-term partner, the costume designer Mimi O’Donnell, and three children.

Watch some of the best moments from Philip Seymour Hoffman’s career here.

A family spokesperson said: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone.

“This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving. Please keep Phil in your thoughts and prayers.”

Hoffman had previously undergone treatment for heroin use and dependency to pills but sources close to the Hollywood star said he was struggling to beat his addiction.

Last night a policeman was photographed leaving the scene with a clipboard containing a photograph and details related to the case, including phone numbers.

The files contained the words “syringe” and “hypodermic” and the names of Hoffman’s friend David Katz and partner Marianne O’Donnell, known as Mimi.

The picture appeared to show an empty office or living room. 

Last year it was reported he had fallen off the wagon 23 years after he first quit booze and drugs, fearing his substance abuse would kill him.

The Capote and Boogie Nights star left a clinic on the east coast of America in May last year where he had spent 10 days being treated.

Hoffman started using prescription drugs in 2012 before moving on to heroin.

Heroin. When I think of that drug, I picture all the television shows I used to watch as a teenager in the 70s, where someone was strung out, like “Hutch”, played by David Soul, in the legendary Cop Show “Starsky and Hutch”. A Crime Lord got Hutch hooked on the drug because he was jealous of the relationship that the blonde heartthrob had with the mobster’s girlfriend. Starsky, played by Paul Michael Glaser, hid out with Hutch in a room supplied by their friend and informant, “Huggy Bear” (Antonio Fargas), and got him off the drug, cold turkey.

However, this is not the 1970s. This is 2014! How in the world could a guy who had it all, lose his life to a drug which has been known to be a killer, for decades?

Word is coming out now that this new “brand” of Heroin is even more potent than its predecessors, having caused several deaths in the New York City Area, already. The NYPD has already taken into custody three potential suspects, in a frenzied search for whoever sold Hoffman his final “high”.

Given the fact that Hoffman was known as a “recovering” Heroin Addict and traveled among the New York “Party Circuit”, he probably knew that fact. However, he still had to have another hit of heroin, which turned out to be his last.

Besides the  obvious reality of Hoffman’s untimely demise, you know what else chaps my…err…well…you know?

Politically-minded reprobates, referring to themselves as “libertarians” with a small “l”, immediately started opining that this tragedy was a “victim-less” crime, which hurt nobody but Hoffman, using Hoffman’s Death as a springboard to bolster their campaign to legalize ALL drugs, not just marijuana, as they have been successful in doing in Colorado and Washington.

The reality is there are many victims in this situation.

1. Hoffman’s 3 children will now grow up without a father in their lives.

2. His significant other, Mimi O’Donnell, now has to explain to her children where “Daddy” went.

3. Hoffman’s fans and fellow thespians, both in Hollywood, and on Broadway, will not have the pleasure of watching or working with him anymore.

4. And last, but not least, Philip Seymour Hoffman is a victim of his own addiction.

Now, the “libertarians”, would say that I’m an ignorant, old “SoCon” (Social Conservative), who should mind my own business and that Hoffman’s life was his own, and he owed nothing to anybody.

Quite frankly, I find that point-of-view, political ideology, philosophy of life, or whatever you want to to call that bunch of b.s., to be selfish, irresponsible, and immature.

As a friend of mine, ” Johnny Mac”, once observed,

Liberty is Freedom…with Responsibility.

“Little l” libertarians suffer from a case of arrested development. As I just described their “philosophy of life”, I could just as easily have been describing a spoiled 14-year-old.

Their world revolves around them and to Blazes with everyone else. It is time for these “Good Time Charlies” to grow up.

No man is an island. No man stands alone. (Hey. That could be a nifty song title. But…I digress.)

When you become addicted to drugs or alcohol, you are harming more than just yourself. You are harming and/or affecting your family, friends, co-workers, and, potentially, even strangers.

People struck and killed by a stoned driver, are just as dead as those killed by a drunk driver.

So, stop eating your Cheetos, slackers, and listen tight: Your actions affect others. You are responsible to others. You are not alone in this world.

So, get up out of your bean bag, turn off the TV, move out of Mom’s Basement, and get a job.

Useless, clueless, and stoned is no way to go through life, son.

…Unless, of course, you’re the president.

Until He Comes,

KJ

The War Against Christianity: The Academy Awards

February 2, 2014

acadeny awardsHollywood, affectionately known by average Americans nowadays, as “Hollyweird”, has grown increasingly out of touch with those of us living in America’s Heartland, or “Flyover Country”, due to their excessive pandering to those who worship at the altar of a Liberal Political Ideology, and a Godless, decadent Society in general.

 

Gerald Molen, an Oscar-winning producer of Schindler’s List, has accused the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences of discriminating against a Christian movie by revoking its nomination in the best song category, in the upcoming Academy Awards. According to The Hollywood Reporter,

 

In a feisty letter to Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, a copy of which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Molen attacks the group’s Jan. 29 decision to rescind the nomination for Alone Yet Not Alone, an overtly faith-based film, over allegations that its songwriter Bruce Broughton, a former Academy governor, improperly lobbied members of the song branch. If Broughton and co-writer Dennis Spiegel are ineligible for an Oscar merely for asking people to give their tune a listen, he argues, more Oscar winners should be required to return their statues because they all promoted their work to some degree or another.

 

“Every film, director, writer, cinematographer, actor, art director, costume designer and efx house finds a way to pitch or promote their work. Many will see this decision as faith-based bigotry pure and simple,” Molen says in the letter to Boone Isaacs.

 

…In the movie, the song is sung not by a professionally trained singer, but by Joni Eareckson Tada, a 64-year-old woman who has been without the use of her arms and legs for 47 years and runs a charity that provides wheelchairs to needy children. She also authors Christian books and broadcasts Christian radio.

 

“Critics will pounce and accuse us of being out of touch and needlessly offending middle America by stripping this song — a song sung by a quadriplegic hero to evangelical Christians who has captured the imagination of the American people — of its nomination,” Molen writes. “In my humble opinion, it seems to me that this has turned a Cinderella story that America loves into a story of the wicked stepmother who wants to keep her daughter from the ball, with we the Academy cast as the villain.”

 

After its nomination, several songwriters affiliated with other films expressed dissatisfaction with the selection, and a PR firm representing a song not nominated hired a private investigator to research whether Alone Yet Not Alone should be disqualified for not meeting advertising requirements, but the Academy wasn’t convinced on those grounds.

The Los Angeles Times reports reports the Academy’s side of the story…naturally…

Cheryl Boone Issacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, clarified Saturday why the academy revoked the original song Oscar nomination of composer Bruce Broughton earlier this week.

“It’s not about a punishment,” Isaacs told The Times, “but protecting the integrity of our voting process.” Broughton became the first person to have his Oscar nomination revoked on ethical grounds after he emailed about 70 members of the academy’s 240-member music branch, calling attention to “Alone Yet Not Alone,” a song that was co-written by lyricist Dennis Spiegel and sung in the movie of the same name by Agoura Hills pastor Joni Eareckson Tada.

“I’m dropping you a line to boldly direct your attention to entry #57,” Broughton wrote in his email, alluding to the track’s number on a DVD of contending music. “I’m sending this note only because it is extremely unlikely that this small, independent, faith-based film will be seen by any music branch member; it’s the only way I can think of to have anyone be aware of the song.”

Isaacs told The Times that the “key point” in the academy’s nullification of Broughton’s nomination was its violation of Rule 5.3, requiring that the credits of composer and lyricist be removed from the DVD of eligible songs sent to members of the music branch.

“The idea,” Isaacs says, “is that people are voting solely for the song and not who wrote it.” By emailing branch members, Broughton, a former academy governor and current member of the music branch’s executive committee, violated that anonymity.

“He exerted undue influence,” Isaacs says, “using information that only an academy insider would have.”

Isaacs said the decision to revoke Broughton’s nomination came Tuesday at a scheduled board meeting. She would not reveal whether any lesser forms of punishment for Broughton were discussed, citing the confidentiality of academy board meetings. She did note that she had heard from a number of academy members after “Alone Yet Not Alone” was nominated for the original song Oscar on Jan. 16.

Over the last few several decades, Hollywood has vied for the title of “Sin City” with “Lost Wages (Las Vegas” through its glorification of the decadent and demonic. The family-friendly, morally-based classic horror films such as “Dracula”, “Frankenstein”, and “The Wolf Man”, have long since been replaced by Jason, Freddy”, Twilight”, and “Insidious”.  War Epics which paid tribute to our Fighting men and Women, such as “The Green Berets” and “We Were Soldiers” have been replaced by Anti-American Propaganda Pieces such as “Redacted”. And, Love stories like “The Notebook” ae being pushed aside for celebrations of carnality, like “Nymphomaniac”.

What is interesting to note, though, is the backlash to the attempted shaping of our American Culture and Society by Hollyweird. Please note the overwhelming popularity of Super Hero Movies, in which Good triumphs over Evil. You see, Americans, even though, like all mankind, are sinful in nature, that still, small voice in us still glows with that knowledge of Right and Wrong.

Hollyweird, in their licentious little hearts, has noticed this trend. Later this year, they will premiere a Biblical Epic about Noah and the Flood, starring Russell Crowe of “Master and Commander” and “Gladiator” in the title role. If it scores big at the Box Office”, you can be sure that there will be more to come, not for the purpose of glorifying God, but, to fill their pocketbooks.

However inadvertently, if the script for “Noah” is Biblically-based such as Cecil B. Demille’s classic “The Ten Commandments”, it should not only do well at the Box Office, but may even turn out to be evangelistic.

Could it be that The Creator is using this backlash against the Romanesque decay and decadence of the Left’s Hollywood Idoltary and corrupt culture to bring glory to Himself?

Mmmm…could be.

 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28

Even, if we don’t realize it…at the time.

Until He Comes,

KJ

 

From Child Stars to Train Wrecks…What Happened? (A KJ Rant…Err…Analysis)

January 23, 2014

Miley and JustinWhat is it with child stars nowadays?

Every time you turn on the news, one of the little critters is losing their mind and doing something stupid. Whether it is Miley Cyrus riding “nekkid” on a wrecking ball, Britney Spears shaving her head, or Lindsey Lohan…errr…umm…being Lindsey Lohan, each and every one of them nowadays seems to grow out of their common sense.

Take Justin Bieber… Please.

Alright, I know that was cheap shot, but he’s got it coming. Just yesterday, the moron was arrested racing down a neighborhood street, which his buddies had blocked off with their cars.

While this clown was being arrested, he launched into a stoned-out-of-his-mind verbal tirade against the police officers, that made “The Wolf of Wall Street” seem like “The Sound of Music”.

So, what is the reason that all these former child stars are losing their minds in such a fashion, as they get older? Is it the “Bird in a Gilded Cage Finally Free” Syndrome? Is it hormones? Are their chakras out of alignment? Have they all joined up with Barack Obama on the Choom Gang?

I truly believe that the rising occurrence of child stars losing their minds as they grow older, coincides with the breakup of the Family Unit and the moving away from Christianity in this nation.

The difference between the child stars of today and the child stars of the 1960’s is very evident. Yes, there were a number of those 1960s stars who lost their way, as they got older, but, it was nowhere near as commonplace as it is now.

What part does the child star’s parents play in their flame-out?

We have all heard the expression “stage mother”, or in the case of Billy Ray Cyrus, “stage father”. These are parents who want to manage their offspring’s career, much to the chagrin of Hollywood professionals. Often, the professional aspirations of the parents exceed those of their child and they push their little darling into show business, whether the child wants to be there or not. In these instances, where the child star is actually living out their parent’s dream, it comes as no surprise that they lose their mind when they reach the age of consent.

Then, you have those parents who want to be their child star’s best friend, just like in the real world. I know you have seen them. These are the parents whose child runs over them and they cannot figure out why they do not mind. The difference between a normal parent and child relationship and the relationship between a child star and their parents is the number of people who see the child when they misbehave. When a normal person’s child misbehaves, their actions are only seen by and influence a limited number of people. When a child star misbehaves, the whole world knows about it.

And, by the time they reach the age of Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, those permissive parents have no control over their offspring, whatsoever.

Billy Ray often has referred to the style of parenting which he used with Miley as laissez faire parenting.

I call it lazy.

Billy Ray’s, and his estranged wife’s lack of parental guidance has produced a degenerate young woman, joining the infamous ranks of  Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan.

Think about this: a young fresh-faced, pre-teen girl, who was once marketed as the role model for young teens, with her likeness on clothes, lunch boxes, notebooks, and backpacks, in the center aisle of Walmarts around the world, transformed into a then-20 year 0ld, with her rear up in the air, on all fours, like she was a canine in heat, on the MTV Video Music Awards, seen around the world.

The 24-Hour News Cycle does not help matters one bit. These young stars are under the spotlight from dawn to dusk…. and are then chased around town by the paparazzi, late into the night.

Add unscrupulous “handlers” to the mix, and you have the definition of a Walking Disaster, waiting to happen.

Without  the support of a strong family unit and a belief in Christ, the only place for these young people to learn values and morals are from all of their “Bad Idea” Friends out there in Hollywood. And, unfortunately, as we are seeing in the cases of Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, along with their common sense, their fresh-faced innocence goes straight out the window.

Like the unfortunate Britney Spears, they become  has-beens before their time. That is, if they don’t die from an overdose first, like Heath Ledger and River Phoenix did.

There seems to be a lot of Americans out there who enjoy watching these once seemingly-innocent child stars become degenerate train wrecks.

I don’t. I see the washed-out shell that they have become and wonder what might have been.

I remember watching black comedian, D.L. Hughley, perform. When someone in the audience would get too rowdy, he would tell them that they need Jesus. Of course, he meant that as a joke.

However, in the case of these rapidly falling stars, it is a fact.

Until He Comes,

KJ

Political Correctness and the Washington Redskins

October 21, 2013

political correctnessWhen ol’ Billy Shakespeare wrote,

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

He most assuredly was not talking about an athletic team.

As you probably heard by now (if you’re now living under a rock like those guys in the Geico Commercial), the Forces of Political Correctness are aligning themselves in a concerted effort to force the NFL’s Washington Redskins to change the name of the storied franchise.

However, just as Liberals are wont to, they disregard whether as many people are as offended as they think there  are.

Foxnews.com reports that

Two Washington D.C. radio stations have pulled advertisements paid for by a group calling on the NFL’s Washington Redskins to change their name.

The ad was scheduled to air this weekend on WJFK-FM, a sports-talk station, and WPGC-FM, a so-called “Rhythmic” station. Paid for by the Oneida Indian Nation, the spot called for Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change the team’s nickname, which it has had since 1933.

“By changing his team’s name, Mr. Snyder can create a better historical legacy for himself — one of tolerance and mutual respect, not of racial epithets,” reads part of the ad’s script. “Native Americans do not want their people to be hurt by such painful epithets. We just want to be treated as what we all are: Americans.”

According to the Washington Post, Steve Swenson, senior vice president of CBS Radio Washington, said in an e-mail to the Oneida Indian Nation that “[b]ased on the amount of on-air debate, adding paid commercials from one side is not something that we think is beneficial for this discussion and for our audience.” Both WJFK and WPGC are owned by CBS Radio.

“It is unfortunate and un-American that the station permits the team to slander Native Americans on the public airwaves with the use of the r-word, but doesn’t permit Native Americans to use the same airwaves to object to the use of a racial slur,” Oneida Indian Nation spokesman Ray Halbritter told the Post.

Ads calling on the Redskins to change the team’s name have aired in every market where Washington has played this season. The Redskins host the Chicago Bears Sunday afternoon. Snyder has vowed never to change the team’s name.

The Oneida Indian Nation may Object, but that doesn’t mean that all Indians object to the name, as ABC News Reports…

There are Native American schools that call their teams Redskins. The term is used affectionately by some natives, similar to the way the N-word is used by some African-Americans. In the only recent poll to ask native people about the subject, 90 percent of respondents did not consider the term offensive, although many question the cultural credentials of the respondents.

All of which underscores the oft-overlooked diversity within Indian Country.

“Marginalized communities are too often treated monolithically,” said Carter Meland, a professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota.

“Stories on the mascot issue always end up exploring whether it is right or it is wrong, respectful or disrespectful,” said Meland, an Ojibwe Indian.

He believes Indian mascots are disrespectful, but said: “It would be interesting to get a sense of the diversity of opinion within a native community.”

Those communities vary widely.

Tommy Yazzie, superintendent of the Red Mesa school district on the Navajo Nation reservation, grew up when Navajo children were forced into boarding schools to disconnect them from their culture. Some were punished for speaking their native language. Today, he sees environmental issues as the biggest threat to his people.

The high school football team in his district is the Red Mesa Redskins.

“We just don’t think that (name) is an issue,” Yazzie said. “There are more important things like busing our kids to school, the water settlement, the land quality, the air that surrounds us. Those are issues we can take sides on.”

“Society, they think it’s more derogatory because of the recent discussions,” Yazzie said. “In its pure form, a lot of Native American men, you go into the sweat lodge with what you’ve got — your skin. I don’t see it as derogatory.”

Neither does Eunice Davidson, a Dakota Sioux who lives on the Spirit Lake reservation in North Dakota. “It more or less shows that they approve of our history,” she said.

Political Correctness is actually nothing more than censorship.It’s a censorship of words, thoughts,  even dreams, by people who believe that not only are they the “smartest people on the room” but also the most caring.

And, because, in their own minds, they are the “smartest people on the room”, Liberals do not care what you and I think about the efforts toward changing the name of an NFL Franchise, they just want to show America and the wide, wide World how enlightened they are.

Pay no attention to the storied history of the Washington Franchise.,, say the Liberals, it is more important that those aggrieved get the notoriety that they deserve…and possible some remuneration.

Who will the Liberals try to get to get of their name, next? The Atlanta Braves, the Florida State Seminoles?

Distinguished actor Gary Oldham, Commissioner Gordon of Batman fame said that,

Political correctness has become a straightjacket.

Indeed it has.

archiesammyIf there had been this straightjacket in place back in the 1970s, Archie Bunker’s chair would not be sitting in a place of prominence in the Smithsonian Museum, as a tribute to one of the most successful, ground-breaking shows in television histor. “All in the Family”, revolved around an average working class stiff in New York. The program, produced by Norman Lear (himself a politically-active Liberal) made us laugh at our own misconceptions, while showing us that “sticks and stones, or life’s vicissitudes, may break our bones, or our hearts, but words will never hurt us”, and turned a character, who was originally planned to be an example of a  hateful bigot, into a beloved television icon, as Americans identified with Archie…laughing with him, instead of at him.

This push to change the name of the Washington Redskins, led by a bunch of wussified “smartest people in the room”, including President Barack Hussein Obama, is , as ol’ Billy Shakespeare would have described it,

“Much Ado About Nothing”.

Until He Comes,

KJ

Jerry Lewis and the MDA Telethon: A Metaphor for Modern American Society

September 2, 2013

jerry-lewisSo, here we are, September 2nd, Labor Day, 2013…and there is a huge gap in today’s television programming.

For 45 years, American families would, while spending time together, watch the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon. The telethon would begin on Sunday Evening and continue for 21 1/2 hours, ending on Monday evening at 5:00 p.m. Central. Co-hosted in later years by Ed McMahon and Norm Crosby, stars of stage, screen, and television would appear, alongside corporate executives, all there to raise money for “Jerry’s Kids”.

And, when I say “stars”, I mean STARS.

Jerry’s good friend, Sammy Davis, Jr. would come on every year, on Monday afternoon, and do a solid 30 minutes of entertaining., usually badgering Jerry, until he would come out and do a couple of songs with him, usually ending in a tap dance “challenge”.

Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton, would come on after that and bring down the house, with several high energy numbers, wearing his huge American Eagle Belt Buckle, and “TCB” Necklace, which Elvis Presley gave him as a sign of friendship and respect.

Speaking of the King, while Elvis did not appear live every year, usually, also sometime Monday Afternoon, Ed McMahon would say,

Jerry, we just received a call from Graceland.

Which meant that Elvis. known thoughout my hometown of Memphis for his great generosity, had just phoned in a huge donation.

Perhaps, one of the most poignant moments in the history of the telethon came when  the Chairman of the Board, Francis Albert Sinatra, showed up, Frank told Jerry that he had brought a friend with him and asked him to come out. That friend was Jerry’s ex-partner, Dean Martin. The two had been estranged for years. Jerry became emotional. He hugged Dino, and, when everyone became silent, he asked,

So, you been working?

2 years ago, after 45 years of magnanimous service, raising untold millions for the MDA, the 85 year old Lewis was cruelly and unceremoniously dumped. In fact, the MDA did not even have the guts to tell Jerry Lewis that they dumped him!

Last year, Before the 2012 MDA Program, showbiz411.com posted this report about the results of the 2011 trimmed-down “telethon”,

The 2011 telethon, shrunk to six hours from 21, was ghastly. When it was over MDA trumpeted that they’d made $61 million– up 4 percent from the prior year when Lewis was at the helm. MDA boasted it did better without Jerry.

Alas, it wasn’t true. MDA has just posted its 2011 federal tax form 990 on its website and this tells a much different story. MDA was only able to collect $31 million of that much publicized amount. Without Jerry Lewis to cajole or persuade or inveigle, exactly half the amount came in that was promised by the public. Whether people simply reneged, or never actually pledged that amount at all, remains to be seen.

MDA will argue this happens every year: the tote board total is never what actually comes in. But in 2010, MDA crowed about $58 million at the end of the telethon with Jerry; $48 million came in. In 2009, the first telethon after the recession, the shortfall was about $15 million–$60 million announced, $45 million arrived.

For last year, MDA lists gross receipts from the first non Jerry Lewis telethon at $30,683,816. The charitable contribution portion was 18,059,876 . This left a gross income of $12,623,940.

A 50% shortfall is unprecedented. Because of it, the Form 990 shows a running $30 million loss or more in all categories stated on the MDA return from the beginning of 2011 to the end. Net assets and fund balances seem severely depleted.

And public support dropped overall, not just with the Telethon. In 2010, MDA claimed it received over $174 million in gifts and grants (including the telethon). In 2011, there was a big drop: the number was only $157 million.

Even more disturbing: revenue less expenses left MDA in the red for 2011 at $19 million.

MDA’s now deposed CEO, the man who got rid of Lewis, Gerald C. Weinberg, still pulled down his nearly $400K a year salary in 2011, which he’d been making fo years. The top staff at MDA all make decent six figure salaries as well. Weinberg and most of that staff are no longer working at MDA.

To be fair: MDA divides up the millions that do come in to dozens of worthy hospitals, universities, research programs, and facilities. The halved $61 million is still a sizeable chunk for these donation-starved groups. However: without the bad publicity and the controversy around Jerry Lewis, MDA might have been able to collect a higher percentage of pledges which would have benefited these groups even more.

Something happened at MDA in 2011 that’s never quite been explained. They committed a kind of hari-kari, taking an established brand and flushing it down the toilet. On Sunday night, the so-called remnants of the annual telethon are down to three hours. Almost everything is pre-taped except for local cut ins. The acts have no relationship to the history of the MDA.

Because it’s taped, there will be no drama to see if they can top last year. Of course, last year doesn’t really exist since the actually collected $31 million is far below the amounts from preceding years.

In 2012, the MDA Program was renamed the “MDA Show of Strength”. It was scaled down to a 3 hour program, featuring mostly pre-taped segments.

This year’s program, was once again referred to as a “telethon”. However, it was only a 2 hour program featuring Ryan Seacrest introducing pre-taped segments.

After MDA gave Lewis the Fickle Finger of Fate, they continued to insist

We honor Jerry Lewis, we admire the work he’s done for us, and we respect his decision to retire.

That particular quote came from Valerie Cwik, the MDA’s interim president, at the time. She replaced Gerald Weinberg, who was reportedly behind Lewis’s ouster and who stepped down as president, after 54 years with the organization.

She made the lame argument that the changes in the telethon were part of a necessary evolution in fundraising strategy, to put less emphasis on the once-a-year event.

It has to change because the American audience has changed. A 21.5-hour show doesn’t fit in a 140-character world.

Okay. I know that Lewis had a reputation as an ego-maniacal pain-in-the-rear to work with, but, these were people’s lives that the MDA was messing with. It could have, and should have, been handled differently.

It showed no respect whatsoever.

What happened to Jerry Lewis, seems to be happening to American Society in general.

This lack of respect seems to be an epidemic in this country. In the workplace, I have noticed that there sure does seem to be a lot of 20-somethings who have no respect whatsoever for decorum, their co-workers, or authority.

Now, I may just be a 54 year old fuddy-duddy Cracka, but I have no desire to see your brand new shoulder tattoo in the business office, ladies…nor your neck tattoo with Pookie’s name on it, young Skillet.

And, when older folks in your place of business try to tell you how the world works, kiddies, you had better listen to us. We’re trying to help.

This is real life. You’re not playing “World of Warcraft” or “Final Fantasy”. People’s families depend on their paycheck. And, when you do not “pull your weight” at your job, you affect everyone’s incomes.

As the MDA is learning the hard way, the “young and culturally hip” are usually not as reliable as the “experienced and professional”.

Of course, as it always has been…some folks have to learn things the hard way.

Until He Comes,

KJ

The Summer of Hollywood’s Hiroshima

July 19, 2013

lone ranger and tontoTo say that Hollywood is having a bad summer would be an understatement. The Liberal Intelligentsia, in all of their pompous glory, incorrectly assumed that Americans would pay our hard-earned money to go see anything they put out on a movie screen, schlock or not.

Once again, the “smartest people in the room” turned out to be the dumbest.

The costliest failure so far has been The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp, which cost $250 million (£165 million) to make, and had a huge marketing budget. It was savaged by critics as a “bloated, unfunny, sometimes downright bizarre train wreck” amid a “summer of garbage blockbusters.”

Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in The Lone Ranger (Rex Features)

Disney may have to write off up to $150 million losses on the movie, which was largely ignored by cinemagoers despite being released over the July 4 holiday weekend. It took in just $29 million that weekend in North America, losing out heavily to the animated comedy Despicable Me 2.

Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum in White House Down (Rex Features)

White House Down, starring Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum, took just $25 million on the June 28 weekend, while Pacific Rim, a story of alien monsters, while praised by many critics, still brought in only $38 million over the July 11 weekend. More people went to see the Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups 2.

R.I.P.D, a $130 million science fiction film about police officers fighting villains in the afterlife, is predicted to take in only around $20 million this weekend.

To be considered successful, blockbusters aim to take in about half their budget over the first weekend.

The movie is being released at the same time as Red 2, a tale of retired hitmen starring Bruce Willis and Dame Helen Mirren, which is expected to split the audience.

The series of big budget disappointments has come just a month after Steven Spielberg warned that Hollywood was facing a “meltdown” because of its over-reliance on blockbusters.

Speaking at the University of Southern California in June, Spielberg predicted “an implosion where three or four, or maybe even a half dozen, mega-budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground.”

Analysts said the failures were partly a result of competing studios trying to release too many big movies at the same time. There are more than 20 films with a budget of more than $100 million being released this summer, six more than last year.

The studios have ploughed resources in to so-called “tent pole” films, which are accompanied by costly marketing, and are expected to make large profits. But, to do so, they all need to arrive in cinemas over the summer months.

Until late June, Hollywood had been on course for a record summer, following the success of early hits including Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness. and Fast & Furious 6.

However, as fatigue set in with audiences the movie industry entered what has been labelled the “dud zone,” in which big releases have fared less impressively than lower budget productions. A slew of expensive films remain to be released in late July and August.

One exasperated studio head told The Hollywood Reporter: “You had too many $100 million-plus movies, not to mention $200 million-plus movies, jammed on top of each other. There isn’t enough play time, and the result has been more movies that wipe out.”

I believe that there are other reasons for the horrible summer movie receipts.

First, Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Why should we blow $50 dollars at the movies, when we can stay at home, and watch our cable or satellite television programs, or watch a movie on DVD or Blu Ray? There are other downsides, to going out to watch a movie besides the outrageous cost: The idiots you have to sit next to.

When my bride and I went to see Iron man 3, earlier this summer, I was seated next to a woman who played and talked on her cellphone, sighed loudly, and talked to her friends during the movie, all in an effort to make us move somewhere else in the crowded theater. My crime? Do the words “creepy a@@ cracka” ring a bell?

The other problem that these summer movies have, is simple: They aren’t worth seeing.

Hollywood has been losing their collective mind for a while now. While our soldiers were fighting and dying in Iraq, they were releasing films that criticized our brave military and our country. Those movies bombed spectacularly as a result.

Earlier this summer, There was a movie about Liberace and his young protegé/confidant/lover Scotty Thorson, featuring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, in those roles. The studio released it to Europe first, where the heathens over there, gave it rave reviews.  It was never released to American theaters, because American capitalists refused to distribute it. They knew that Americans would not pay their hard-earned money to watch a movie denigrating an American Icon, like the legendary, beloved showman, Lee Liberace.

One of the movies expected to be a blockbuster this summer, “The Lone Ranger, cast Johnny Depp as Tonto, and rewrote the legend to center around him, instead of the title character.

The audience simply did not buy Captain Jack Sparrow as Tonto.

When we envision the crime fighting duo of the old west, Americans see Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. Two outstanding gentlemen, both on and off the television screen.

The last point I want to make, is the total disconnect of “Hollyweird” from the average American’s belief system of ethics, values, and faith. All the great movies and television shows my generation watched growing up, reinforced those values.

We knew that the Ranger and Tonto would beat the snot out of the bad guys, and rescue the rancher’s daughter. We knew that James Bond would defeat SPECTRE and get the beautiful Bond Girl.

We smiled when we heard that Superman fought for “truth, justice, and the American Way”. We threw our rubber tomahawks at the trees in our front yards, just like “Daniel Boone”. We knew that John Wayne would rescue Dean Martin in “Rio Bravo”.

And, all the guys wanted a red Gran Torino with a white stripe down the side, like “Starsky and Hutch” drove.

You want to know why the Sherlock Holmes movies, the Iron Man movies, and the Star Trek movies have all done so well? It’s simple.

They are throwbacks. They are entertaining. They are not dirty or vulgar. There is plenty of action with a great story line wrapped around it, and GOOD TRIUMPHS OVER EVIL.

Americans have to deal with enough ugliness trying to survive under the harsh reality of America under Obama. 

We go to movies to be entertained, not to be lectured to by a bunch of snotty-nosed, America-hating, relative morality and situational ethics-loving Liberals. 

Average Americans are more perceptive than Liberals think we are.

This summer’s movie failures have proved it.

Until He Comes,

KJ

Father’s Day 2013: A Legacy of Love

June 16, 2013

Today, all across the world, Fathers will be honored by their children, natural, adopted, foster, and those that they took in as one of their own. Did you ever wonder how this Global Remembrance got started?

There are two stories which are attributed as being the origin of Father’s Day.

According to the first tale, it all began in 1910, when Sonora Smart-Dodd of Spokane, Washington, tried to figure out a way in which to honor her dad, a remarkable man, who had single handedly raised six children. Sonora, naturally, loved her dad with all her heart, and wanted everyone to recognize him for what he had done for her entire family. She made the decision to declare day of tribute, a Father’s Day, if you will, on her father’s birthday – June 19.

The next year, Sonora contacted the local churches in an attempt to get them to throw their support behind the celebration, but they simply laughed her off. After that setback, it took a while before Sonora’s proposal once again started gaining attention.

A bill in support of a national remembrance of Father’s Day was introduced in 1913. The bill was approved by US President Woodrow Wilson three years later. The bill received further support from President Calvin Coolidge in 1924.

This brought about the formation of a National Father’s Day Committee in New York within the next two years. However, our Federal Government, not exactly being strong in the pursuit alacrity, took another 30 years before a Joint Resolution of Congress officially recognized Father’s Day. Then, implementation of the bill was postponed another 16 years until President Richard Nixon declared third Sunday of June as Father’s Day in 1972.

The second story of the origin of Father’s Day involves Dr. Robert Webb of West Virginia. According to this version, the first Father’s Day service was conducted by Webb at the Central Church of Fairmont in 1908.

Around my house, we always thought that Hallmark and Walmart invented it.

I have written before about my Father. At the time, I focused on his service in World War II.  However, there was more to my Daddy than that. He was an American Hero at home, as well.

Daddy married my mother in 1948. They were both working at Sears and Roebuck at the time, and they were both divorced. My mother had a young daughter from her first marriage, whom Daddy raised as his own.

My beloved sister came along shortly thereafter, and, nine years later, I was born. To this day, I swear that they were going to name me “Oops”.

My earliest memories of my Daddy were of him making me breakfast, while singing hymns around the kitchen. My Daddy sang in church choirs, and had a glorious tenor voice.

My Daddy is the one who made sure that I was in Sunday School every Sabbath morning, and in his own, gentle way, he led me to the Savior.

My father, uprooted us to Florida when I was a toddler, and ran a Pure Oil Station with my uncle Mallory, a Pensacola cop, for a short while. When we returned to my hometown of Memphis, he and my mother went back to work at Sears, where they stayed until their retirement in the early 80s.

My sister used to take me with her to pick up our Daddy, and I would have a big time sitting on the tractors and go karts there in the Farm Store, which he managed.

The great thing about Sears back in those days, was the fact that they had a candy counter. Every payday, he brought home to me “a prize”, of either malted milk balls, chocolate-covered raisins, or fresh, warm cashews.

On the days when Daddy didn’t work, he spent time with me. We would go to Court Square in Downtown Memphis, and feed the squirrels, or he would take me to the Memphis Zoo, and walk me around while I was sitting on top of a pony.

As I got older, he ferried me back and forth to school and school events.

He also was there for me, during all those hours spent in the Doctor’s Office and the Hospital, as I struggled to breathe with severe asthma.

My Daddy’s name for me was “Brother”, as in “Baby Brother”

He loved to say,with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye,

Hold on to something, Brother. I’m taking the garbage out.

On Saturdays that he was off, our ritual included Saturday Morning Wrestling, at 11:00 a.m., starring the Fabulous Jackie Fargo, Tojo Yamamoto, Don and Al Greene, and some  smart-aleck kid named Jerry Lawler.

That was usually followed by a Tarzan or Jungle Jim movie starring Johnny Weissmuller.

I got my love of music and comedy from my Daddy, spending hours watching The Three Stooges, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, and The Lawrence Welk Show.

If there was one thing, in this life, I was certain of, from the day I was born, until he went to be with God on December 29, 1997, was that my Daddy loved me.

Right now, in America, it is harder than ever to be a Dad.  Any male, who is not impotent, can sire a child…as is being proven daily across our country.

However, it takes a man to be a Daddy, a Papa, a Pop, a Pops, somebody’s Old Man, or, simply, Dad.

I’ve had the privilege of having a hand in raising three step-sons, one nephew, and one very special daughter.  I would not give back one moment of those experiences for anything that this world can offer.

I was not a perfect role model.  I made mistakes.  But, looking back, I know, in my heart, that I’ve made a difference in their lives. And I thank the One who made me for that opportunity.

I pray that I was able to pass along at least some of my Daddy’s legacy of Christian Love to those I have had a hand in raising. I now have a 5 year old grandson, whom I get to spoil, every now and then.

Dads…it costs nothing to pay attention….and give love.

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Happy Father’s Day!

Requiem for a Bad Dog: John McCormack 1955-2011 (2nd Anniversary Edition)

March 10, 2013

Prologue: Today marks the two year anniversary of the death of a Mid-South legend, larger-than-life Radio Personality John “Bad Dog” McCormack.  Here is a tribute which I wrote, upon hearing of his passing.  One man CAN make a difference. He is truly missed.

If, when we’re standing before God, the amount of good we do with our lives, and the amount of joy and happiness that we are able to bring to this world of pain is brought up, then, Thursday afternoon, the Pearly Gates shook with the infectious laughter of one giant of a man.

John “Bad Dog” McCormack lost his long battle with AML late Thursday Afternoon at Methodist University Hospital in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.  Bad Dog was an on-air personality for 22 years at WEGR Rock 103, a Classic Rock Station.

Bad Dog began as a part of the Wake-up Crew with Tim Spencer and Bev Hart.  Dog was basically a 14-year-old kid in a man’s body.  He was a natural-born prankster, and became known for his creation of “The Twilight Phone”, an anonymous prank call he would make to unsuspecting citizens.

In one memorable call, he impersonated an Apartment Manager, calling a guy who dumped his fiance’s dead pet Piranhas into the apartment lake, claiming that they came back to life and the poor sap had to reimburse the apartment $2,8000 for draining and restocking the lake.  And then, there was Bad Dog”s possibly most famous call, where he talked to an older gentleman named Mr. Lannum, impersonating a collector attempting to collect on a  past-due cable bill.  Mr. Lannum went ballistic, cussing a blue streak that is still talked of in hushed tones to this day, 20 tears later:

When he finally clued the individuals in to whom they had been talking to, each one of them eventually forgave him, because, after all, it was Bad Dog.

Another routine that Bad Dog came up with, was remarkable.  In a city known for racial polarization, he came up with the idea of numbering their show’s Black listeners, thinking that actual black listeners would be few and far between.  Well, Bad Dog received a big surprise.

The routine became very popular among Memphis’  Black Community, as people called in to talk to Bad Dog.  He would make up a hilarious “oath” for the listener to say, and from then on, whenever this individual would call in to talk about the subject of the day, they would self-identify as Black Listener Number So-and-So.  Everyone loved Bad Dog.

However, the most incredible thing that this man accomplished during his time with us started when he, Spencer, and Hart decided to begin a yearly Radiothon in support of St. Jude Hospital’s Ronald McDonald House.

Over the last 20 years, Bad Dog and his co-workers have raised over $7 million dollars to help build and maintain the refuge for cancer-stricken kids and their families, so they could have some semblance of normal life while they undergo treatment at St. Jude.

Bad Dog McCormack was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia in late October 2009.  He was still working mornings, though his new partner was Ric Chetter.  Clear Channel Communications, in their infinite wisdom, had split up the popular Wake Up Crew in November of 2006, firing Newsperson Bev Hart, and, eventually moving Rock 103 Program Director Tim Spencer to mid-days.

Bad Dog continued to work as he underwent treatment, as he felt that this was the best medicine for him and was what God had called him to do.  His courage in the face of his own mortality was an inspiration to the entire Mid-South, as his barrel-house laugh continued to reverberate through the car speakers of the Mid-South every morning.  He also continued to work the annual Rock103 Radiothon, letting nothing stand in his way of helping the kids.

Bad Dog underwent a bone marrow transplant in November of 2010.  He seemed to be doing better, and, in December, an online poll of Memphians voted him The Most Noteworthy Memphian of the Year.

On February 10-11th, Bad Dog was at the mic, around the clock, for the 20th Annual Rock103 Radiothon.  When it was over, he announced that more Leukemia had been found.  He remained upbeat, and said that this was just par for the course.

Meanwhile, Clear Channel Communications, again in its infinite wisdom, fired Ric Chetter, and moved Bad Dog and Tim Spencer to afternoons, while bringing in a morning show named Free Beer and Hot Wings, 5 guys syndicated out of the Great White North, whose humor about hockey games is about as relevant to the Mid-South as hunting moose. (They have since been pulled from the Memphis Market. Quel suprise!)

Bad Dog took this change in his usual good-natured stride, happy to be back with his old partner-in-crime, Tim.

Then, last Thursday, Bad Dog took a turn for the worse.  He was rushed to Methodist University Hospital in Downtown Memphis, where he passed away from an aneurysm, brought about by his Leukemia.

In an interview with the Commercial Appeal, Bad Dog made this comment about his battle against Leukemia and his love for the kids at St. Jude:

When I see what they are going through, I have no reason to complain. They are so young and have so much pain. I’ve lived a blessed life. If I died tomorrow, I’d go with a smile on my face.

He also, in his usual big-hearted, gentle way, left a statement to be released after his death:

I have gone to be with God and he is holding me tightly and I am surrounded by many of the Ronald McDonald’s House kids. Do not say you have lost a friend… One is only lost when you don’t know where they are… you know where I am. I thank each and every one of you for your support and prayers. I love all of you and that will never go away. When you are having a bad day… think of my laugh or a Twilight phone or the time we met. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow, make every day great, be the spiritual leader of your family. May peace be with you. Your friend, Bad Dog.

John”Bad Dog” McCormack, 55,  leaves behind his two sons, Buck and Tucker, a huge family, and thousands of fans.

As one of those fans, please allow me to say thank you, Bad Dog, for brightening up a lot of dreary mornings.

A sign currently on display outside  a local jewelry store says it all:

BAD DOG MADE MEMPHIS A BETTER PLACE.

My 1,000th Post: Whodathunkit?

December 16, 2012

Christian America Fish LogoI am an anachronism.

I was told that, in no uncertain terms, the other day, by a bunch of young “Libertarians”, on a Facebook Page I had posted and commented on the last few years, created for Conservatives and Libertarians.

My crime? I refused to be in favor of legalizing marijuana, and I had the nerve to say that I felt that it was more dangerous than alcohol. What’s more, I refused to say that there was a moral equivalency between them.

But, that’s a discussion for another day.

Dictionary.com defines an anachronism as

something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, especially a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time.

I suppose that’s me.

I started this Blog as a way to vent my frustrations with the ever-evolving “societal norms” and political mayhem around me. A lot of things just grated on my nerves. They still do.

I was “reared” (as we say in Dixie) by a Mother and Daddy (Southern colloquialism for a Male Parental Unit) who were members of the Greatest Generation. In fact, I was born 3 days before my mother’s 40th brithday. To this day, I believe that they were going to name me “Oops”.

My view of the world around me was shaped and nurtured by my Daddy, a Christian American, and the finest man I’ve ever known, who served with an Army Engineering Unit, as a Master Sergeant, in World War II, and who jumped off of a perfectly good boat into a hail of gunfire to join his American Brothers in the tide-turning American Victory known as “D-Day”.

Between him and my Mother, they taught me what it was to be a hard-working, Middle Class Christian American Conservative….and, to be proud of it.

But now, at 54 years old, having just seen an anti-American, Muslim-sympathizing, political-pandering, class warfare-preaching, card-carrying Communist, get re-hired for a job in which, if he were in the private section, his butt would have gotten canned  within the first 3 months, I’m beginning to feel like I’m beating my dadgum head against the wall until it’s bloody, and for no cotton-pickin’ reason at all.

Why am I feelng that way?

Well, there are several reasons.

1. This country re-elected an idiot. Now, I realize that’s been done before. But, they all paled in comparison to this guy. I believe that “Scooter”, my pet name for Barack Hussein Obama (mm mmm mmm), burnt up the vast majority of his gray matter during his “Choom Gang” days in Hawaii, and now, as an old friend, a former Meth-head, who, sadly, later committed suicide this time of year, used to tell me, he has “2 brain cells left and they’re fighting to the death”. I pray we survive the next 4 years.

2.  Evidently, Americans, at least the majority of the ones that actually got up off the couch (Pookie, included) to vote on November 6th, want the Federal Government to take care of them, cradle to grave. Rush Limbaugh labelled this symptom, “The Baracky Claus Effect”.  I pray, that, just as the Proletariat eventually figured out in the old Soviet Union, Americans are going to wake up one day, to find that mega-dependence on The State to run your life, leads to the loss of personal freedom. And those, who believe that they are “the most enlightened people in the room”, will be the first ones hollering, when they discover that their freedom has been taken away.

3. America seems to be devolving into a collection of Libertines. Notice, I did not say “Libertarians”, although, both descriptive words come from the same root word. A Libertine is, per Merriam-Webster.com,

a person who is unrestrained by convention or morality: one leading a dissolute (lacking moral restraint) life

Being a Libertarian used to mean you wanted less Government in your life and less restrictions on your personal happiness. Notice I said used to mean. Now, Libertine and Libertarian both seem to mean the same thing to the majority of posters self-identifying as members of the latter group on Internet chat boards.

Caligula’s Horse approves.

I suppose I could pontificate on the fallen nature of Man at this point, but, that’s fairly self-evident…and, as the late Freddie Prinze used to say, “Ees not my yob, man.”

4. Finally, I was told the other day, during the before-mentioned “discussion” on that Facebook Page, that my blog was considered a “joke”. I allowed this to hurt me very deeply. You see, since April of 2010, I have devoted a lot of time and effort to putting my ideas, however old-fashioned and cornball they are, down on paper. I truly enjoy doing it. I must. I haven’t made a dadgum dime off of it. Although, as I’ve previously written, it did help me land my present job.

So, where do I go from here? Do I run away, with my tail between my legs, and live out the rest of my days in quiet desperation?

To any of you who repled, “yes”…you don’t know me very well.

Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world.

My Creator, while endowing me with certain inalienable rights, also endowed me with an indomitable will. Then, somewhere along my journey, He gave me the gift of being able to express my thoughts and feelings on this computer keyboard.

I will not give up. I will not surrender my Christianity, my love of the greatest nation on God’s green Earth, or my Conservatism, to appease those who wish everybody would just get in line and acquiesce to the prevailing “societal norms”.  I follow another set of guidelines, written a long time ago, but which remain as relevant as the moment in which the Hand of God guided those who wrote them down.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, – Colossians 3:23 (ESV)

In conclusion, there are people I wish to thank, who have invested a lot of time in me and my blogging.

First, I wish to thank my dear friend, Gene Hoyas, aka Col. Manly Rash/The Bulldog Pundit, who allowed me to be a regular contributor to any Blog in which he was involved, and whose guidance and writing tips were such a help.

I thank my lovely bride (I married up), who, since April of 2010, has put up with losing me to this endeavor every evening at 9:00 p.m.

I thank the rest of my family, my extended family of friends and faithful readers, and those of you who just drop in from time to time to check out what my latest rant is.

I thank my Earthly Father, who made me all that I am, and led me, in The Way in which I should go.

Finally, but most importantly, I thank my Heavenly Father, from Whom all blessings flow. Without Him, I would be nothing at all.

May God Bless you all.

Until He Comes,

KJ

Obama Campaign’s Bird-Brained Idea Backfires

October 10, 2012

…and the feathers are flying.

First, let’s hear from the rather large fowl in question:

Big Bird, it seems, isn’t thrilled about his cameo in the presidential race.

The folks at Sesame Street are asking the Obama campaign to pull down a TV ad released Tuesday that mocks Mitt Romney for vowing to yank the subsidy to PBS.

At the presidential debate in Denver last week, Mr. Romney said he would end the subsidy in view of the nation’s fiscal troubles.

“I love Big Bird,” the Republican challenger said “… But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”

Up went an ad by team Obama called “Big Bird’’ that suggests Mr. Romney is targeting children’s programming rather than legitimate threats to people’s economic interests.

The ad shows images of Bernie Madoff and others implicated in various financial and corporate scandals. A narrator then intones: “And the evil genius who towered over them?”

A silhouette of Big Bird flashes on screen.

“Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about, it’s Sesame Street,” the narrator said.

The ad is airing on national cable and broadcast TV, in time slots devoted to comedy shows, the Obama campaign said.

Sesame Street isn’t amused. Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit educational organization that produces and owns the show, issued a statement Tuesday saying “we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down.”

A blog post on the Sesame Workshop website said that “Sesame Street would not exist were it not for PBS and its local stations, which is the distribution system for Big Bird and friends to reach all children across the United States, particularly the low income children who need us most.”

Of course, everyone has an opinion on this issue. No one wants to be seen as being chicken:

From Obama for America: 

Big. Yellow. Loved by kids everywhere. And only one candidate has the courage to go after him. Today, Obama for America is out with a new TV spot because, while President Obama passed historic Wall Street reform to hold big banks accountable and give consumers tools to make informed decisions for themselves, his opponent, Mitt Romney, has shown true conviction by vowing to take down Big Bird and keep Sesame Street under control.

From Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein:

Watching the “Big Bird” ad… I couldn’t help but think back to this part of Obama’s February 2007 speech in Springfield, Ill. when he launched his first campaign for president: “What’s stopped us from meeting these challenges is not the absence of sound policies and sensible plans. What’s stopped us is the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics — the ease with which we’re distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our preference for scoring cheap political points instead of rolling up our sleeves and building a working consensus to tackle big problems.”

And Chuck Todd notes on MSNBC:

Serious question though: We’re six days later. The Obama campaign, on their own, seems to be looking back at the debate, not yet figuring out how to turn the page from the debate. Maybe it’s understandable given what we’re seeing given the bounce in the polls, and that it’s part of the entire campaign conversation. But of course they’re the ones running these look-back-at-the-debate ads. And you have to ask yourself, every time they bring up the debate, is that good for Obama or is that good for Romney?

Finally, the Republican Candidate, himself, got in a zinger yesterday:

Mitt Romney, speaking to a crowd of about 1,200 on a farm here in Van Meter, Iowa, criticized President Obama’s recent focus on Big Bird on the campaign trail.

“You have to scratch your head when the president spends the last week talking about saving Big Bird,” he said. “I actually think we need to have a president who talks about saving the American people and saving good jobs.”

But, Mitt…Obama can’t explain how his domestic policies have brought us to this point. That would be claiming responsibility for his own mistakes. Didn’t you know…after 4 years…it’s still Booooosh’s fault?

Anyway, kiddies, don’t feel sorry for the Bird. He aint exactly hurtin’ for money:

The 2011 IRS 990 form for Sesame Workshop (formerly the Children’s Television Workshop), the producers of Sesame Street, revealed that they received $7,968,918 in government grants last year. That sounds like a hefty amount, but the 990 also revealed that Sesame Workshop received $44,984,003 in royalties last year, which includes sales of Sesame Street brand merchandise like “Tickle Me Elmo” dolls. That means Big Bird made five times in merchandise sales than what he received in government grants.

An even closer look at Sesame Workshop’s finances shows the government funding Romney wants to cut is only a small part of their budget and may not be necessary at all. In 2011, Sesame Workshop received $31,555,192 in grants and donations last year apart from the U.S. government. They also raised over $2 million in additional funds from various fundraising events. In all, Sesame Workshop raised almost $34 million in private funds for Sesame Street, aside from government grants.

In addition, Sesame Workshop brought in almost $30 million in revenue from content distribution and media production. In total, Sesame Workshop brought in over $122 million in revenue, not including government grants. On their website, Sesame Workshop claims corporate, foundation, and government support make up 35% of their budget. Realistically, however, government funding only accounts for just over 6% of their budget.

Sesame Workshop has faced drops in revenue in recent years and seems to have weathered it. Recent tax returns reveal a drop of 3% to 5% in budgets in recent years, so a loss of government funding would certainly not mean the end of Big Bird. In 2009, they laid off 20% of their workforce in a cost-cutting move, and still survived. However, salaries still make up a large part of their budget. In 2011, they paid out over $54 million in salaries, a high percentage of their budget for a non-profit.

And, if he needs to, he can always do commercials.

Big Bird: Future Spokesperson for Church’s Fried Chicken.


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