Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Diversity Above Achievement: Affirmative Action Comes to the Academy Awards

January 23, 2016

Academy-Awards-Board-Changes-400x267

I can do more than anyone suspects. I pride myself on my versatility. It took 32 years of difficult parts, second leads, villains and juveniles. The Oscar changed the quality of the roles I was being offered. – Louis Gossett, Jr.

Affirmative action  sprang out of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. It was intended to provide equal opportunities for members of minority groups and women in education and employment.

In 1961, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the first to use the term “affirmative action” in an Executive Order which forced government contractors to take “affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” That Executive Order also established the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, now known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

An institution or organization engages in Affirmative Action when it attempts to improve opportunities for historically excluded groups in American society by establishing a “quota system” to make up for perceived “past transgressions”.

These policies usually involve employment and education. In institutions of higher education, affirmative action involves admission policies that seek to provide equal access to education for those groups that have been historically excluded or underrepresented, such as women and minorities, at times, skipping over a more qualified candidate, in order to promote “Diversity”.

Needless to say, questions concerning the constitutionality of Affirmative Action has made the topic one of heated debate.

Affirmative action policies initially focused on improving opportunities for African Americans in employment and education.

In the past several years, several states have discontinued their Affirmative Action Policies because Affirmative Action has become outdated, and causes a form of reverse discrimination by favoring one group over another, based on racial preference rather than academic or business achievement. Additionally, there is a concern that minority groups may be stigmatized and treated differently by peers and professors who may believe that the success of minority groups in higher education institutions is unearned.

Now, just as “Mr. Smith Came to Washington”, Affirmative Action is coming to Hollywood.

The Academy Awards or “Oscar” Awards is the paramount awards ceremony originating out of Hollywood, which is held on an annual basis. Over the years, it has become a mega-event, with everyone associated, directly or indirectly, with Hollywood eagerly awaiting for the handing out of the golden statues.

The popularity of the Academy Awards has increased as the years have passed.

The awards were the brainchild of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), formed in 1927. The AMPAS was created through collaborative effort of 36 most prominent individuals, who worked within the motion picture industry.

Film actor Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. was chosen as the first president of the Academy. The awards were established to honor the talented artists of the Motion Picture Industry. The first Academy Awards ceremony was held on May 16, 1929, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. It was a very private affair, with only two hundred seventy people as guests. The awards were given in the banquet, set up at the hotel’s Blossom Room. The tickets for the guest tickets cost $5.

The first Oscar Ceremony consisted of the handing out of awards in 12 categories and two special honors.

The awards were meant to honor people responsible for cinematic achievements in 1927 and 1928. There was a very little element of surprise at the first Oscar Awards ceremony, as the names of the winners had been declared three months in advance. The entire affair was a lengthy one, filled with speeches. However, Douglas Fairbanks, the Academy President, moved things along as best he could, handing out the golden statues to the winners like a modern-day McDonalds Employee at the Drive-Thru Window.

Yes, boys and girls, once upon a time the Academy Awards celebrated individual achievement in the field of Professional Cinema.

That was then. This is now.

The New York Times reports that

LOS ANGELES — Confronting a fierce protest over a second straight year of all-white Oscar acting nominations, theAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Friday that it would makeradical changes to its voting requirements, recruiting process and governing structure, with an aim toward increasing the diversity of its membership.

The changes were approved at an unusual special meeting of the group’s 51-member governing board Thursday night. The session ended with a unanimous vote to endorse the new processes, but action on possible changes to Oscar balloting was deferred for later consideration. The board said its goal was to double the number of female and minority members by 2020.

“The academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” the academy’s president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, said in a statement. Ms. Isaacs referred to an often-repeated complaint that the academy, in its lack of diversity, reflects the demographics of a film industry that for years has been primarily white and male.

The most striking of the changes is a requirement that the voting status of both new and current members be reviewed every 10 years.

I wonder what the swashbuckling man’s man, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., would have thought about The bunch of no-talent crybabies who have politicized the award show that he worked so had to get off the ground?

He would probably echo the sentiments expressed by Veteran Actor and True Professional, Michael Caine.

Breitbart.com reports that

Two-time Oscar-winning actor Michael Caine has weighed in on the Oscars diversity controversy, saying in a recent interview that while he personally believes that one black actor in particular should have been nominated at this year’s ceremony, “you can’t vote for an actor because he’s black.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has come under fire for nominating exclusively white actors in top acting categories at this year’s Oscars, marking a repeat of last year’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Filmmakers Spike Lee and Michael Moore and actors Will and Jada Pinkett Smith have vowed not to attend the February 28 ceremony in protest, while others have simply spoken out to denounce the Academy for the lack of diversity in its nominating process.

But in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Nick Robinson, Caine said that the quality of a performance, rather than the color of an actors’ skin, is paramount when considering Oscar nominations.

“There’s loads of black actors,” the 82-year-old Youth star said. “You can’t vote for an actor because he’s black. You can’t just say, ‘I’m going to vote for him. He’s not very good, but he’s black. I’ll vote for him.’ You have to give a good performance.”

Caine, who has been nominated six times for Oscars and won twice, said that he thought Idris Elba would be nominated for his role as the sadistic Commandant in the Netflix war drama Beasts of No Nation. When Robinson pointed out that Elba wasn’t nominated this year, Caine demurred.

“Well, look at me,” Caine said. “I won the [European Film Award] for best actor, and I got nominated for nothing else.” Caine’s film Youth was nominated for just one Oscar, for Best Original Song.

Caine said the best advice he could give to minority actors is to “be patient.”

“Of course it will come,” he said. “It took me years to get an Oscar.”

Since the Academy announced its nominations last week, a slew of actors, actresses and producers have spoken out to blast the awards show for its lack of diversity, including David Oyelowo, George Clooney, Lupita Nyong’o, Dustin Hoffman and Mark Ruffalo. Straight Outta Compton executive producer Will Packer has called the lack of nominations for people of color a “complete embarrassment,” while the Rev. Al Sharpton has called for Americans nationwide to “tune out” of the broadcast in protest.

However, some have defended the Academy in the wake of the media firestorm.

In an interview with Variety, Boyz ‘N The Hood director John Singleton said that “there are only so many slots” for nominations, and those nominations will go to those films and performances that the Academy feels should be recognized. Singleton, who became the first African-American to earn a Best Director nomination for the 1991 film, said that the Academy’s nominating process is “almost like the lottery.”

“It’s like every year people complain,” the director said. “People even complain even when we have a lot of nominations. It is what is is. I’ve been in the game for 25 years. You never know – it’s the luck of the draw for you. To me, I’m not surprised. I’m not disappointed either, as much as other people are disappointed. There’s a whole elevation of work that happens.”

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter on Friday, Oscar-winning Schindler’s List producer Gerald Molen also defended the Academy and called the growing boycott movement against the Oscars “ridiculous.” Molen said it would be tough to believe that Academy members are not voting for minority actors because of their skin color.

“In a liberal town like Hollywood, that makes about as much sense as saying all members of the Academy vote Republican,” he joked.

Back in 2010, Dan Gainor, in an op ed for foxnews.com, observed that

Hollywood can’t have a big night any more without pushing the Left Coast agenda. It isn’t always big name awardees that reflect a political view. The anti-God, anti-Christian “Golden Compass” took home a Visual Effects Oscar in 2008. The Tommy Lee Jones anti-Iraq War movie “In the Valley of Elah” didn’t even win, but it was honored just by being there. In 2003, many in the audience even gave a standing ovation when child rapist Roman Polanski won Best Director for “The Pianist.”

Sometimes, good movies win. The pro-life “Juno” won and even one of the pro-Christian Narnia movies got an Oscar for make-up. But those are the exceptions that prove the rule. And on Oscar night, the Hollywood left most certainly rules.

As always, the Academy will claim it’s giving us a feast of film, only it isn’t. It’s not even baloney. It’s just the rest of the bull.

So is Modern American Liberals’ battle cry of “Diversity!”

If they are truly “Champions of Diversity”, why are the Liberal Democrat Party’s leading Potential Presidential Candidates both old white folks from the Northeast?

Liberals have been acting for years as if they cherish Diversity for Diversity ‘ s sake.

Perhaps they all deserve an Oscar Statue, too.

Until He Comes,

KJ

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Today’s Pop Music and American Society: From “All You Need Is Love” to Keying Your Boyfriend’s Car

November 30, 2015

thBWVX9WHUMusic hath charms to soothe the savage breast,
To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak. – William Congreve (1670-1729)

Can music also bring out the evil in mankind, as well?

On Thanksgiving Day, as I was watching the Macy’s Parade with my family, I suddenly realized that I did not know any of the performers lip syncing their songs on the floats, except for Pat Benatar (bless her heart).

Additionally, I heard at least one song that was entirely inappropriate for that family-friendly, nationally-televised event.

What is going on with Pop Music?

John Stonestreet, writing for his website, breakpoint.org, posted the following article on November 12, 2015…

Good guys are out of style. If you’ve been to the movies any time in the last decade, you know that Hollywood has replaced the superheroes of yore with antiheroes—depressed, broody, supposedly “relatable” characters with a past. Whether it’s the angst-filled teenage protagonists of “Twilight” or a black-suited Spiderman doing Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever strut, it’s become almost cliché to bring our heroes down to our level rather than aspiring to theirs.

With a handful of exceptions like Marvel’s Captain America, the entertainment industry just doesn’t create uncomplicated, morally straight characters anymore. Even Superman recently got a makeover. Director Zack Snyder’s reboot offered us a troubled Clark Kent in a bleak, visually desaturated film where the Man of Steel doesn’t hesitate to kill. And the same holds true in pop music, where artists who once sang about falling in love now storm on stage and sing about wrecking their ex’s life.

A quick glance over YouTube’s top music videos reveals a wall of singers grimacing, glowering, and growling at us. Heavy eye-shadow, aggressive postures, black clothing, red smoke, sneering expressions make it look like these performers—many of them young women—want to mug us instead of entertain us. Writing at the Daily Mail, Jo Tweedy asks the obvious question: Why do all of these singers look so angry?

Whether it’s Beyonce’s now-infamous Super Bowl halftime performance or Miley Cyrus’ descent into “Wrecking Ball” wrath, these performers “prove that rage is very much all the rage for pop stars.”

But it’s probably Taylor Swift, the 25-year-old country singer who took the pop scene by storm a few years back, who best illustrates how angry modern music has actually become. Swift started out a few years ago writing songs about unrequited love and teardrops on guitars. But in more recent hits like “Blank Space,” “Shake it Off,” and “I Knew You Were Trouble,” the music icon tells haters and potential heartbreakers to back off. “Boys only want love if it’s torture,” she complains, and warns would-be suitors that she’s “got a blank space” on her “long list of ex-lovers,” and would be glad to write in their names.

And then there’s her biggest new hit, “Bad Blood,” a breakup number accompanied by an especially warlike music video that won the VMA’s top honor last year. It features guns, explosions, rocket-launchers, even mixed martial arts. I’m not kidding. Swift herself looks every bit as angry as the Amazon that she plays.

“So why does white hot anger seem to be such a big feature for today’s stars when they’re on stage?” asks Tweedy. One London pop choreographer answered: “…the anger is simply a way of getting noticed,” a way of “trying to stand out,” she said. “[It’s a way of] saying, ‘…you will book me for that next job.’”

So, no surprise, a lot of it comes back to marketing and publicity. We saw this with the release of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” that sexy has taken a sadomasochistic turn in order to sell more books and movies.

But what if there’s more to it than just marketing? In “The Screwtape Letters,” C.S. Lewis’ professorial devil offers advice on how to get humans, especially men, to confuse aggression for beauty.

“…the felt evil is what [the patient] wants,” he explains. “It is the visible animality or sulkiness, or craft, or cruelty which he likes,” and which “play[s] on the raw nerve of his private obsession.”

And I can’t help wondering if on another level all this bad blood is due to the sexual revolution itself. Could it be that some pop stars—especially women—really do resent the way the industry has objectified and turned them into sex symbols? Attempting to tether human dignity to sexual freedom leaves many feeling as if they must be sexually aggressive to be known, and others as if their value is secondary to other’s desires. Either way, it helps explain why pop culture seems to be popping a gasket lately.

I remember the summer after I graduated college in December 1980. I bought a brand new 1981 Mazda GLC, had a Pioneer Tape Deck installed to play in all four hidden door speakers (a big thing back then), bought a cassette tape of “The Beatles Love Songs”, and played it until the tape broke.

Music has always affected my life and played a major part. I sang in church choirs, leading services, singing in quartets, and solo, for over 30 years and have played acoustic rhythm guitar since the age of 19…a long time ago.

Music can indeed soothe us. It can inspire us…in both good ways and in bad.

It has the power to bring us to our knees in worship of the Living God…or make our hands “clinch in fisteous rage” (American Pie, Don Mclean)

It can advise us to “treat her like a lady” or find us hanging out, “down on Main Street”.

At this time in our country’s history, when morality has become relative and ethics situational, we find our souls crying out for soothing, but instead, we find Pop Music and “so-called” Country Music, actually manufactured in New York City (pronounced like they do in the Pace Salsa Commercials), advocating meaningless one-night stands and encouraging the debasement of the human soul, instead of its ability to rise above any obstacle in its path that might hinder individual achievement.

With all of today’s over-produced, under-written Pop and Country-Pop Music flooding the airwaves of both broadcast and satellite radio, Americans my age wonder where all the great songwriters have gone to?

Where are the “Good Vibrations” that the young people of this generation so desperately need?

Evidently, even though “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, we have left them “Sittin’ On The Dock of The Bay”.

Until He Comes,

KJ

 

 

Dan Rather Movie “Truth” Bombs at Box Office. Americans Don’t Buy the Lie…Again.

November 9, 2015

Redford-truth-Poster-640x480I remember growing up in the 1960s, during the Cold War. Every news story that came out of Russia, through their state-controlled News Service, Pravda, was a lie. Lie after lie, told in such a brazen fashion, that if you did not have access to other news sources, you would have sworn it was the truth.

Every lie that was told, was told with the express purpose of masking the inner corruption of the Politboro, or Government, of the Soviet Union, which in turn was designed to reinforce the pablum that they fed their working-class citizens, or the Proletariat.

Since the ascent to the presidency of William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, thanks to the New Media, it has become more and more apparent that the United States of America has a Pravda of its own: The Main Stream Media.

Self-identified “Broadcast and Print Journalists” foresook the ideology of objectivity for subjectivity a long time ago. The main reason Americans began to notice was the advent of cable and satellite television, and, later, the World Wide Web.

In the past, the MSM would only interject themselves overtly, every now and then, as in the case of Dan Rather’s blatant falsification of George W. Bush’s National Guard Service Records in 2004.

Speaking of that fiasco,

The Christian Post reports that

In its failed attempt to validate discredited CBS reporting on President George W. Bush’s alleged preferential treatment in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, the new movie “Truth” is flopping at the box office and failing to convince viewers that news anchor Dan Rather got his facts straight.

Months before the 2004 presidential election, CBS’s “60 Minutes Wednesday” ran a story which claimed that Bush, the son of a congressman, was given special treatment during the Vietnam War. It alleged that Bush was taken into the Texas Air National Guard to avoid being sent to Vietnam, that he failed to complete his assignments and that he had been released early so that he could go to business school.

However, the report was based off National Guard documents and memos that were widely believed to be forgeries. As the narrative didn’t include opposing views concerning the documents, many believed the report was a partisan attempt to smear Bush and cost him re-election. The report ultimately resulted in the demise of Rather’s career and also cost producer Mary Mapes her job.

Based off of Mapes’ book Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power, the movie “Truth” was released in over 1,100 theatres in the U.S. last weekend. However, the film doesn’t settle the question of the documents’ authenticity and instead runs with the premise that even if the documents weren’t real, Bush was still given preferential treatment.

Although Sony Pictures Classic acquired a star-studded lineup — Robert Redford as Rather, Cate Blanchett as Mapes and Dennis Quaid as Colonel Roger Charles — the film has tanked thus far at box offices.

“Truth” was just the 16th highest-grossing movie of the weekend, earning a mere $875,935. Combined with proceeds from the previous two weeks when the movie was out on limited release, the film has grossed just $1,126,512 in the first three weeks since its release.

Additionally, moviegoers and critics have not been impressed with the film. An average of nearly 1,000 viewers on IMDb rated “Truth” with only a 5.9 out of 10,  while Metacritic gave the movie a 66 out of 100, Meanwhile, Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 58 percent.

With the film still relying on documents allegedly taken from the personal files of Bush’s commander, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Killian — which typewriter and typography experts deemed to be forgeries — some critics claim the movie doesn’t have the right to call itself “Truth.”

“The movie came across as self-serving tripe, with the insulting audacity to call itself Truth. That’s the marketing equivalent [to] pissing in the audience’s ear, and telling them it’s raining,” one critic for The Rebel wrote. “Audiences don’t mind stupid movies as long as their entertaining, but they won’t pay to see a stupid movie that also calls them stupid.”

William Campenni, a retired engineer and 33-year Air Force/Air National Guard fighter pilot who served in the same unit as Bush, wrote a lengthy op-ed for The Daily Signal explaining how it’s impossible for the Killian documents to be anything more than fakes.

Campenni explained that he first came across the alleged Killian documents months before the CBS report when he stumbled on a blog called “The AWOL Project,” which was run by a Democratic activist from Philadelphia named Paul Lukasiak. He further explained that the blogger did “yeoman’s job in assembling released Bush Air Force records and relevant Air Force regulations.”

“He distorted and dissembled them to reach egregiously wrong conclusions to incriminate Bush,” Campenni asserted. “It was like examining the Old Testament in great detail and then concluding that Moses was an Egyptian who helped the Pharaoh cast the Jews into barren lands in some ancient holocaust.”

“Those of us who actually were in the Texas Air Guard quickly pointed out other discrepancies and impossibilities in the memos exclusive of the typos and fonts … wrong dates for exams; orders to report on a date the base was closed; use of outdated serial numbers; and our personal knowledge of Jerry Killian, his actions, and his behaviors, which conclusively flagged these memos as sick frauds,” Campenni wrote.

The Liberals who run “Hollyweird” are totally disconnected from the average American’s belief system of ethics, values, and faith.

All of the great movies and television shows my generation watched while we were growing up, reinforced those values.

We knew that the Lone 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 in admiration 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 in the 1970s wanted a red Gran Torino with a white stripe down the side, just like “Starsky and Hutch” drove.

You want to know why Americans go to see the Marvel-produced Superhero Movies and movies like the new James Bond Film, “SPECTRE”, which had a $75 million weekend?

They are throwbacks. They are entertaining. There is plenty of action with a great story line wrapped around it, and GOOD TRIUMPHS OVER EVIL.

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

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

And, the overwhelming majority of us knew that Dan Rather and his crew  at CBS were a bunch a lying weasels, back in 2004, when they tried to discredit

President Bush, and stop his re-election, by any means necessary.

Like what Politico tried to do to Dr. Ben Carson last week.

But, I digress…

Americans have to pick and choose very carefully the movies they go to, simply due to the high price of tickets, refreshments, and gasoline and Obama’s stagnant economy.

There is a reason that Redbox is so popular.

Once again, in the case of the ironically-named movie “Truth”, Liberals overestimated their popularity among average Americans.

…And, their intelligence.

Until He Comes,

KJ

Jerry Lewis and the MDA Telethon: A Metaphor for Modern American Society 2015

September 7, 2015

jerry-lewisSo, here we are, September 7th, Labor Day, 2015…and there is a huge gap in today’s television programming.

In what has become a metaphor for Modern American Society, a Labor Day Tradition of almost 50 years, has been tossed aside, having been deemed to have “outlived its usefulness”, shortly following the disrespectful and dishonorable discarding of its creator.

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 throughout 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?

4 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!

In 2013, before the 2012 MDA Program, showbiz411.com posted this report about the results of the 201 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 past May, the Muscular Dystrophy Association sent out the following Press Release:

MDA, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, today announced that the new realities of television viewing and philanthropic giving have made this the right time for the organization to move beyond its historic Labor Day telethon. It will discontinue production of a broadcast telethon effective this year.

Julie Rhoad, mom of two boys with muscular dystrophy, speaks from her heart to the 2008 Telethon audience about the tough challenges faced by MDA families. Host Jerry Lewis offers emotional support.

MDA plans to invest more in digital and mobile channels for consumer engagement and activation. The organization will continue to share the inspirational stories of MDA families on Labor Day and throughout the year via digital channels as part of an emerging year-round plan to revitalize its brand, connect with donors more frequently, strengthen family support, and attract and recognize sponsors in new ways.

“The decision to end our beloved telethon was not made lightly,” said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. “In the last few years, the show was adjusted to reflect changes in viewership and donor patterns, and last summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge once again affirmed for us that today’s families, donors and sponsors are looking to us for new, creative and organic ways to support our mission.”

The first telethon aired in 1956 and has attracted America’s most famous celebrities over the years, none more prominent than the legendary Jerry Lewis, who emceed the event through 2010. For decades, the telethon was instrumental in raising awareness and donations to save and improve the lives of kids and adults fighting muscular dystrophy, ALS and other life-threatening diseases that severely limit muscle strength and mobility.

Frank Sinatra orchestrated one of the most surprising and touching moments in television history when he reunited estranged partners Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis on the 1976 Telethon.

MDA will transition from the television-based telethon, most recently named the “MDA Show of Strength Telethon,” to personal shows of strength, building on its rich tradition around consumer activation and compelling stories that inspire, entertain, and most importantly, incite urgent action.

“We have ambitious plans to leverage our history, the compelling stories of our families and our record of innovation — just like we did decades ago when we introduced the telethon and cause-marketing for nonprofit organizations — as we continue to use creative ways to connect with supporters and deliver more value for our sponsors, never forgetting the families who are at the very heart of our mission,” Derks said.

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.

I swear, “The Smartest People in the Room”. a.k.a., Modern American Liberals, screw up everything.

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.

However, Jerry Lewis also devoted over half his life for “his kids”, visiting them in hospitals around the nation, with no cameras around, and calling and visiting Corporate CEOs and A-List Celebrities, getting them to help him raise money for those kids and adults struck down by these debilitating Muscular Disorders.

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  “millennials” who have no respect whatsoever for decorum, their co-workers, or authority.

Now, I may just be a 56 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 learned 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.

And, that’s when they find out that they are not as smart as they think they are.

Until He Comes,

KJ

Of “Car Wrecks” and “Caitlin” (Original Parody Song Included)

August 21, 2015

thTCMDP1A8People will always slow down for a car wreck.

It’s human nature.

We are simply fascinated by something out of the ordinary.

By watching the “car wreck”, we can reflect on our lives and “count our blessings”.

It is this axiom that explains the popularity of so-called “reality” television programs, whether they are actually scripted, or not.

But, what happens when one of these “car wrecks” has a car wreck?

Then…actual REALITY intrudes.

According to variety.com,

Caitlyn Jenner could face a manslaughter charge following her car accident in Malibu earlier this year that left one dead. 

“The case will be submitted to the district attorney next week,” Lt. Shaun Mathers of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

Detectives are set to present evidence to the prosecution that could lead to a misdemeanor manslaughter charge against Jenner. Because there’s “nothing really egregious” in the case, Det. Richard Curry of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. said there’s a “50/50” chance that she will be charged.

A misdemeanor manslaughter charge usually carries a one-year jail sentence.Jenner was driving down Pacific Coast Highway at an unsafe speed on February 7 when her Escalade hit another car, causing a chain-reaction crash. Det. Curry said her violation of the vehicular manslaughter law ultimately led to a death.

Although Jenner was not speeding, she was driving at an speed considered unsafe considering the day’s road conditions.

According to authorities, Kim Howe’s Lexus rear-ended Jessica Steindorff’s Toyota Prius and Jenner’s Escalade rear-ended Howe’s car, pushing it into oncoming traffic near Corral Canyon Road. A Hummer then struck Howe’s Lexus, causing her to die at the scene.

Steindorff and Howe’s families separately sued Jenner, claiming that her negligent actions sparked the fatal crash. Steindorff alleges that she suffered more than $25,000 in damages.

Detectives will also present evidence against Steindorff as well, as she was driving on a suspended license at the time. 

When Jenner first announced that he/she/it was “transgendered”, Liberal Pundits and the Main Stream Media hailed the Former Olympic Decathlon Winner as a “hero”.

Bruce Jenner is no hero. For that matter, neither is Caitlin, his alter ego.

The Old Timers would have called him a “Glory Hound”.

My late Daddy would have been very confused, as he was in the middle of Old Country Buffet, in his late 70s, one night at dinner, when my sister and I told him that the person that he saw bussing the table in front of us was not really a girl, but a guy, because you could tell by the Adam’s apple. In response, he declared loudly,

That can’t be a guy. He’s got headlights!

Back in his day, the “King of the Humbugs”, PT Barnum, would have offered Jenner money to be a sideshow attraction.

For the past five years of writing this blog, I have been pointing out how our nation has been traveling sown the Slippery Slope of Relative Morality and Situational Ethics. And, how this country seems to have resigned itself to the notion that “whatever gets you through the night…it’s alright…it’s alright”, as the late John Lennon sang.

However, where does “self-realization” end and honesty and simply being a good person begin?

Is Bruce…Caitlin…Whatever…Jenner being true to him/her self themselves or to his pocketbook?

Or, is he just “Mentally Irregular”?

With those questions in mind, sitting here on a hot Saturday Morning in Dixie, earlier this summer, I put fingers to keyboard, and came up with this little ditty.

Everybody sing…

WEIRDO (Sung to the tune of “Lola” by the Kinks)

“I saw her in the paper just the other day
She was on the front cover and certainly did look weirdo…
W-e-i-r-d-o
Her picture looked so familiar to me
Didn’t I see her on a box of Wheaties?
Wheaties W-h-e-a-t-i-e Wheaties…

Now, that threw me and I wasn’t sure
But, wasn’t she a guy and now she’s a girl?
Oh how weirdo wa-wa-wa-wa weirdo
Well I’m not dumb but I can’t understand
Why she looks like a woman, but lusts like a man
Ol’ Bruce Jenner…J-e-n-n-e-r…Jenner…

Here in the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free,We can be anything that we want to be,
For wealth or fame or pride or money
We can even change from a dude to a honey

Now, I’ve a big heart and am a compassionate guy
But, I think ol’ Caitlin’s pullin’ a con. She’s still Bruce Jenner.
Ja-ja-ja-ja Jenner Ja-ja-ja-ja Jenner
Jenner Ja-ja-ja-ja Jenner

Is it identity or fame?
Either way, it’s so lame
His inner “woman” came out
Please put “her” back in
I can’t look anymore…I may throw up

Well that’s the way that this story goes
I still think that “her” story blows. Ol’ Bruce Jenner
Ja-ja-ja-ja Jenner
Bruce was a boy and now he’s a girl
Was it for contentment or his pocketbook?
Ja-ja-ja-ja Jenner

And, now we have another weirdo hack
Her folks say she’s white, but she says she’s black
I guess this weirdness goes all the way to Spokane
Now, the N-double A-C-P will never be the same again

Well I sure do miss the Good Ol’ Days
When the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave
Was not so weirdo
Wa-wa-wa-wa weirdo Wa-wa-wa-wa weirdo
Wa-wa-wa-wa weirdo Weirdo Wa-wa-wa-wa weirdo…”

In conclusion, in my opinion, Bruce “Caitlin” Jenner is not that brave.

Everything he has done to himself, is reversible.

His new chassis is only completed from the waist up.

Jenner’s messed-up life, can indeed, be viewed as an object lesson.

But, not in the way that the Hollywood Liberals intended.

However, if Jenner does wind up in the “Iron Bar Hotel”,

I predict that he/she/it will be very popular.

Now, boys and girls, please excuse me. I have to go hurl.

Until He Comes,

KJ

Fathers Day 2015: My Wish For Fathers Day

June 21, 2015

D-Day, also called the Battle of Normandy, was fought on June 6, 1944, between the Allied nations and German forces occupying Western Europe. To this day, 70 years later, it  still remains the largest seaborne invasion in history. Almost three million troops crossed the English Channel from England to Normandy to be used as human cannon fodder in an invasion of occupied France.

Among the young men who stepped off those boats, in a hail of gunfire, was a fellow named Edward, whom everyone called Ned, from the small town of Helena, Arkansas.  Already in his young life, Ned had been forced to drop out of school in the sixth grade, in order to work at the local movie theatre to help support his mother, brother, and sister, faced with the ravages of the Great Depression.

He later went on to help build the US Highway 49 Helena Bridge across the Mississippi River.

He was a gentle man who loved to laugh and sing, having recorded several 78 rpm records in the do-it-yourself booths of the day. And now, he found himself, a Master Sergeant in an Army Engineering Unit, stepping off a boat into the unknown, watching his comrades being mercilessly gunned down around him.

Ned, along with the rest of his unit who survived the initial assault, would go on to assist in the cleaning out of the Concentration Camps, bearing witness to man’s inhumanity to man.

The horrors he saw had a profound effect on Ned.  One which he would keep to himself for the remainder of his life.  While his children knew that he served with an Engineering Unit in World War II, they did not know the full extent of his service, until they found his medal, honoring his participation in the Invasion of Normandy, going through his belongings, after he passed away on December 29, 1997.

He was my Daddy.

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.

Like you other fathers out there, I was asked what I want for my Father’s Day Gift, today.

The one present I want…I can’t have.

I wish that I had one more day with my Daddy.

My Daddy was the most important man in my life, and remains so to this day.

He taught me how to love others, through his actions, every day of his life. He was a wonderful Christian man, who led me to Christ.

He was also the bravest man I have ever known, landing at Normandy Beach on D-Day.

My Daddy worked hard all of his life. He worked for Sears for 20 years. He taught me what hard work was, and yet, he always had time for me.

I wish that I had one more day to walk through Court Square Park in Memphis, Tennessee feeding the pigeons and the squirrels with my Daddy.

I wish that I had another opportunity to sit on the living room floor at Christmas and play Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots with him.

I wish that I had another chance to stand over to the side on Thanksgiving Afternoon and watch him, as he played Penny-ante Poker, “cutting up” with my mother and my aunts and uncles.

I wish that I could hear him singing “The Old Rugged Cross” in the kitchen again, with his beautiful tenor voice.

I wish that I could watch him again, sitting at the breakfast table simultaneously looking through his old Cokesbury Hymnbook and his Book on Hymnology, researching those great old hymns and making notes, so that he could tell his 150 member Sunday School Class about the hymn, which he was going to lead them in singing that Sunday Morning.

I wish that I could watch my Daddy playing with my little daughter again, sticking out the lower plate of his dentures, as she tries to grab it.

I wish that I could see them again out in the driveway, sitting in his 1978 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, with her in the driver’s seat, as they waited for the school bus to pick her up for pre-school.

I wish that I could spend another Christmas Morning with him, to watch the fun, as he gave my sister her yearly “gag gift”, just to watch her jump and squeal as the “snake” or “mouse” jumped out of the box.

I wish that I could sit and watch Saturday Morning Memphis Wrestling and then, another Johnny Weissmuller “Tarzan” movie with him on a Saturday afternoon…or, maybe a Three Stooges Short, just to hear him laugh.

It’s funny, y’know.

I look in the mirror at 56 years old…and, I see him.

I look back over the years at the things that I did with the children that God brought into my life to care for, and then, I see the things I’m doing now with my 7-year-old grandson, and I see my Daddy in myself.

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, a Father.

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…a lot of them.  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.  

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

Daddy, I wish you were here so I could tell you how much I love you and miss you.

I hope you’re proud of me.

Every good thing that I am, came from the life lessons which I learned from you, and the Love and Amazing Grace of my Heavenly Father.

Today, while you’re up in Heaven, I hope you hug Mother and tell her,

That’s “Baby Brother”!

I love you very much, Daddy.

Happy Fathers Day.

Love,

“Brother”

Until He Comes,

KJ

Bruce “Caitlin” Jenner: “Hero”, Troubled Soul, or Sideshow Attraction?

June 3, 2015

 

This is a Hero.

This is a Hero.

This is NOT.

This is NOT.

Several years ago, as I was applying for a job as the manager of a gas station, which also sold fried chicken, like every other candidate, I was handed a questionnaire to fill out.

Now, this was a standard questionnaire. It was like every other one that I had seen, except it was around 32 pages long. Or, at least it seemed to be.

One of the questions on that long, long form, asked me who did I consider to be my “hero”.

That took me aback for a moment, and then, I answered, Jesus Christ.

A “hero”, by definition, is someone who does something out of the ordinary, or takes extraordinary measures, to save lives, and/or make the world a better place to live in.

Of course, I did not get the job, as I probably freaked them out. But, I was being totally honest, as Jesus Christ is not only my personal Savior, but he is my Hero, for saving me.

That same Amazing Grace is no less available for Bruce Jenner.

Now, from the sublime to the ridiculous…

I, like you, have been inundated over the last several days, with news story after news story about the transformation of an Olympic Decathlon Gold Medal Winner , into American Popular Culture’s “Brave New Hero…err…Heroine…err…Transvestite”.

Ohhh…forget it.

Quite frankly, when Bruce Jenner won the 1976 Olympic Decathlon, he became a hero to a lot of American boys. His sudden fame, as everyone knows, got him on a box of Wheaties, got him television appearances, and even got him a movie role, starring in that awful Village People movie, “You Can’t Stop the Music”, which actually turned out to be an ironic title for that movie, because that catastrophe of a cinematic experience, almost single-handedly stopped the Disco era.

But, I digress…

Jenner once again became a celebrity in the last several years through his marriage to the matriarch of the Kardashian Clan, Kris, which, in turn, spawned a trainwreck of a television series titled, “Kepping Up With the Kardashians”, a series which followed the trials and tribulations of the blended family of the Kardashians and the Jenners.

Women tuned in to the series, because, somehow, they escaped their hum-drum lives by empathizing with the out-of-control, self-gratifying, hedonistic lifestyles of the Kardashians and Jenners.

Plus, their mates got to see the Kardashian sisters nekkid (as Jeff Foxworthy would say) on a regular basis…or, at least as much as television allows nowadays.

Eventually, though, all “good” things must come to an end, and so it was with Bruce Jenner’s marriage to Kris Kardashian.

As they did all during the television series, the paparazzi followed Bruce, after the divorce, wherever he went.

Finally, the gossip television shows and websites trumpeted that Bruce Jenner was going to have a sex change, and that the masculine image, which the Olympic Decathlon Winner  had shown the public all these years, was nothing but a mask, and that there was a woman inside of Bruce Jenner that just had to get out.

I wish she had stayed in there.

“Caitlin” Jenner made her triumphant appearance on this month’s cover of Vanity Fair magazine, featuring him/ her/it in a white dress with makeup on, showing off some newly-installed cleavage.

A publicity stunt, which both of paparazzi and all those on the Left Side of the Political Aisle, immediately hailed as bold, brilliant, and heroic.

Are you kidding me?

As I stated before, a hero is someone who does something to save somebody’s life or lives and/or to make the world better.

A hero does not do something for money or publicity, which is why I think that Jenner pulled this stunt, quite honestly.

He knew that Liberals would jump on this like ugly on an ape….and, he is reaping the benefits of his renewed celebrity status, both monetarily and egotistically.

Additionally, he has now become the poster boy… err.. girl for the latest cause celebre, LGBT Rights.

Bruce Jenner is no hero. For that matter, neither is Caitlin, his alter ego.

The Old Timers would have called him a “Glory Hound”.

My late Daddy would have been very confused, as he was in the middle of Old Country Buffet, in his late 70s, one night at dinner, when my sister and I told him that the person that he saw bussing the table in front of us was not really a girl, but a guy, because you could tell by the Adam’s apple. In response, he declared loudly,

That can’t be a guy. He’s got headlights!

Back in his day, the “King of the Humbugs”, PT Barnum, would have offered Jenner money to be a sideshow attraction.

Come to think of it… that’s exactly what Vanity Fair did.

In conclusion, in my opinion, Bruce “Caitlin” Jenner is not that brave.

Everything he has done to himself, is reversible.

His new chassis is only completed from the waist up.

Now, boys and girls, please excuse me. I have to go hurl.

Until He Comes,

KJ

Whitney, Bobbie, and the Cost of “Generational Sin”

February 1, 2015

Whitney and KristinaRight now, a young woman lies in a coma in a hospital, in a medically induced coma, brought about by addiction.

How did this happen?

Have you ever heard of “Generational Sin”?

Deuteronomy 5:9b-10 states, “I do not leave unpunished the sins of those who hate me, but I punish the children for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generations. But I lavish love on those who love me and obey my commands, even for a thousand generations.” (NLT)

How it works. When a person has sinned, that sin stands in need of being confessed. If the person doesn’t confess it, then his children must confess it in order to break the generational pattern. Like an “outstanding” debt, the person’s sin “hangs out there,” impacting his descendants, until it is addressed through confession and cleared away. We are not required to take responsibility for our ancestors’ sins, but we are to acknowledge and confess their sin. (We agree with God that they were wrong and that God was right.) God asks us to accept responsibility for our own sin and to repent and be humbled. Understand that the passing down of iniquity (sin) is just that – the passing down of iniquity (sin). My parents’ sin does not become my sin, until I have made the choice to sin myself in the same way.

And, even the children of the Rich and Famous are not exempt.

Pagesix.com reports that

The daughter of late pop queen Whitney Houston was found unconscious in a bathtub at her Georgia home Saturday — nearly three years after her mom died tragically in a tub in a Los Angeles hotel.

Bobbi Kristina Brown was clinging to life after apparently suffering a drug overdose, just as her mother had, “Entertainment Tonight’’ reported, quoting a source who insisted it was not a suicide attempt.

Whitney Houston accidentally drowned in a bathtub inside the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 11, 2012, with cocaine, Xanax, marijuana and muscle relaxant in her system.

A second source told the magazine it was “no coincidence’’ that the 21-year-old aspiring singer was found in eerily similar circumstances.

Brown’s husband, Nick Gordon, and a friend found her underwater in her home in the Atlanta suburb of Roswell, Ga., and administered CPR until help arrived.

Paramedics took her to a local hospital, where she was in a medically induced coma and breathing with the assistance of a ventilator, police sources said.

Brown’s father, R&B singer Bobby Brown, was at her bedside Saturday.

Brown had recently hinted at wanting to pursue her own music career.

“Promise to release some thangs for your enjoyment. . . One thing you CAN depend on is my mother taught me well,” she tweeted.

On Thursday, she added: “Let’s start this career up&&moving OUT to TO YOU ALLLL quick shall we!?!???!!!!!!!!” along with several music emojis.

She also appeared on the Lifetime reality show “The Houstons: On Our Own” in 2012. She inherited millions of dollars from Houston.

Nick Gordon and Bobbi Kristina BrownPhoto: ZumaPress

But Brown was battling demons of her own.

On her 18th birthday — as well as after Houston’s funeral — she was accused of doing cocaine, the Daily Mail has reported.

Months after Houston’s death, she got engaged to Gordon, whom Houston raised with Brown as an adopted brother.

But her family criticized the relationship, with grandmother Cissy Houston calling it “incestuous.”

And in November 2012, she was busted for speeding after slamming her Chevy Camaro into an embankment in Alpharetta, Ga.

Per additioninfo.org,

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, having a parent who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can lead to lifelong problems if the child or teen doesn’t receive help and support.

About 25 percent of U.S. children younger than 18 years are exposed to alcohol abuse or dependence through a family member, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Exposure to drug abuse affects countless others.

More Likely to Become Addicts Themselves
Research shows that these children are more likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders during their teen years. And the likelihood that they will use drugs or alcohol early, and – for both genetic and environmental reasons – become addicted to these substances, is higher than those who do not grow up in these environments. In fact, this population is at the highest risk to become drug and alcohol abusers, according to the National Association for Children of Alcoholics.

Foster Care, the Juvenile Justice System, and Therapy
Children of addicted parents are also more likely to end up in foster care, the juvenile justice system, and – once they reach adulthood – therapy for mental health disorders, marital problems, and trouble parenting their own children.

Addicted parents often lack the ability to provide structure or discipline within their families, according to the National Association for Children of Alcoholics. They also tend to be less patient and to expect more from their children than do non-substance-abusing parents.

Child Abuse
The majority of child welfare professionals report that substance abuse is a factor in at least half of all child abuse cases. More than one-third of these workers say it contributes to at least 75 percent of the cases.

In today’s culture, more and more young people, usually raised in non-Christian Homes, and identifying themselves as “libertarians”, espouse the view, as frequently seen in their posts on Facebook, that drugs should be legalized., and the use of them has no effect on anybody but the user themselves.

And, they are very, very wrong.

Whether you are a Christian or not, one fact is certain, as study after study shows, parents are role models for their children, right or wrong.

If they see you drinking around them, they are more likely to take up drinking.

If they see you using drugs, including smoking pot, they will be more likely to model that behavior, as they get older.

I have always observed that alcoholics and addicts are very selfish people, consumed by a very selfish behavior.

This selfish behavior consumes them to the point where it becomes the priority in their life, requiring more attention that anything else in it, including their children.

In the case of Bobbi, now on Life Support, her self-involved parents, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, failed her.

Their sin became “Generational”, when she adopted their lifestyle of drug and alcohol abuse.

God’s Word admonishes us, as parents, to

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.- Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)

If her parents had changed their lifestyle and publicly repented of their drug and alcohol abuse, perhaps Bobbi would not be lying in that Hospital Bed, floating between here and the Afterlife.

And, perhaps her mother would be standing with her father, guiding her in “the way in which she should go”.

Actions have consequences…to more than just the individual acting irresponsibly.

Until He Comes,

KJ

“American Sniper”: Why America Is Supporting It

January 25, 2015

American Sniper“American Sniper”, the movie about American Hero, Chris Kyle, continues to play to sold-out crowds at movie theaters across America.

According to deadline.com,

With Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s American Sniper shooting down more box office records this weekend with an updated industry projection of $61.2M, another star-studded bomb went off at the B.O. following last weekend’s Blackhat debacle: Johnny Depp’s $60M R-rated comedy Mortdecai flatlined with an estimated $1.6M on Friday at 2,648 theaters, on track for a horrendous $4.6M weekend in eighth place – far below the $10-$12M that distributor Lionsgate was expecting for the OddLot co-production. Among Depp’s wide releases, that bow is lower than his 2011 Hunter S. Thompson adaptation The Rum Diary, which posted $5.1M and was also overpriced ($45M) in relation to its final domestic cume ($13M). It’s Depp’s fourth flop domestically after Alcon/WB’s Transcendence ($100M budget, $23M domestic B.O.), The Lone Ranger ($215M budget, $89M domestic) and Rum Diary (This is outside his ensemble work in Disney’s Into the Woods which is looking to take tenth this weekend with a projected cume through Sunday of $121.29M).

In fact…

Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper is proving both a big draw and talking point in Iraq and across the Arab world, where the film opened wide yesterday. In Iraq, where much of Chris Kyle’s story takes place, the film has reflected the bitter political divisions in the country. In capital city, Baghdad, the management of Iraqi Cinemas, which operates a four screen theatre there, pulled the film ahead of its scheduled bow Jan. 22 for fear of inciting protests and violence.  In the semi-autonomous north of the country in the Kurdish cities of Irbil, Suleimaniya and Dohuk, however, American Sniper has opened strongly, second only to Liam Neeson-starrer Taken 3.  To give  a sense of the complexity of politics in the country, Iraqi Cinemas actually operates the three screen theatre in Dohuk and had no problem releasing the film there, despite its own self-imposed Baghdad ban.

“The Kurds don’t like the Baghdadis that much so they have no big problem seeing them getting shot by an American,” said one film exec who operates theaters in Iraq. “So far, the film is working well for our screens in Kurdistan.”

In Lebanon, American Sniper opened uncut and at number one with over 3100 tickets sold on its first day alone, comfortably ahead of Taken 3 and local Lebanese hit Single, Married, Divorced.  

Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, recently posted the following on Facebook:

God bless our troops, especially our snipers.

Hollywood leftists: while caressing shiny plastic trophies you exchange among one another while spitting on the graves of freedom fighters who allow you to do what you do, just realize the rest of America knows you’re not fit to shine Chris Kyle’s combat boots.

May the epic “American Sniper” bring nothing but blessings to Taya and the children of this true American hero.

Thank you Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood for respecting the United States Military.

– Sarah Palin

There are several reasons for the popularity of “American Sniper”.

First, there is a reason that Hollywood has having more misses than hits, in the last several years.

The Liberals who run “Hollyweird” are totally disconnected from the average American’s belief system of ethics, values, and faith.

In other words, “Truth, Justice, and the American Way”.

All of the great movies and television shows my generation watched while we were growing up, reinforced those values.

One of the movies expected to be a blockbuster a while back, “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 Americans 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.

We knew that the Lone 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 in admiration 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 in the 1970s wanted a red Gran Torino with a white stripe down the side, like “Starsky and Hutch” drove.

Even though they “underperformed”, you want to know why  Americans go to see movies like “American Sniper”, the Captain America Movies, the Spider-Man Movies, the X-Men Movies, and  “Guardians of the Galaxy”?

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.

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

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

American Sniper shows very plainly that we can triumph against Radical Islam, the Political Ideology masquerading as a Religion, which Obama dares not call out by name.

Heck, as the article explained, “American Sniper” is even doing well in Islamic Nations.

Why? As President Ronald Reagan realized, all those decades ago, the followers of Mohammed respect strength, not weakness.

So, why are Americans flocking to see this movie in record numbers?

Americans are living vicariously through the late American Hero Chris Kyle.

Americans respect his legacy of heroism. That is why, when Former Professional Wrestler, and lunatic Jesse “The Body” Ventura sued Chris’ widow, Americans wanted to string him up in the middle of the Town Square.

As I have written several times, America is still a Majority Conservative Nation.

Look at an Electoral Map. America is a Sea of Red, with little Blue Enclaves, up in the Northeast and on the Left Coast.

Finally, the last reason that “American Sniper” is blowing the doors off at the Box Office, is the fact that average Americans are being forced to cut back on their Entertainment Budget.

Americans have to pick and choose very carefully the movies they go to, simply due to the high price of tickets, refreshments, and gasoline and Obama’s stagnant economy.

There is a reason that Redbox is so popular.

Americans can choose to view the movies they like to watch.

A while back, my bride and I made the mistake of renting “Noah”. Thank the Lord, we only paid $1.28 for it. Even at $1.28, it was still over-priced. But, I digress…

Hollywood needs to pay attention to which movies the American public is watching at home…and make more just like them.

Average Americans are more perceptive than Liberals think we are.

Until the Liberals in Hollywood (and New York City and Washington, DC) realize that, they will continue to fail.

Until He Comes,

KJ

The Death of Country Music

November 22, 2014

Hee HawNobody saw him running from sixteenth avenue
They never found the fingerprint or the weapon that was used
But someone killed country music, cut out its heart and soul
They got away with murder down on music row

The almighty dollar and the lust for worldwide fame
Slowly killed tradition and for that someone should hang
They all say not guilty, but the evidence will show
That murder was committed down on music row

For the steel guitars no longer cry and fiddles barely play
But drums and rock ‘n’ roll guitars are mixed up in your face
Old Hank wouldn’t have a chance on today’s radio
Since they committed murder, down on music row

They thought no one would miss it, once it was dead and gone
They said no one would buy them old drinking and cheating songs
Well I’ll still buy ’em
Well there ain’t no justice in it and the hard facts are cold
Murder’s been committed, down on music row

Oh, the steel guitars no longer cry and you can’t hear fiddles play
With drums and rock ‘n roll guitars mixed right up in your face
Why, the hag, he wouldn’t have a chance on today’s radio
Since they committed murder down on music row
Why, they even tell the posse to pack up and go back home
There’s been an awful murder down on music row

“Murder on Music Row”. George Strait/Alan Jackson, 2000

On this Saturday Morning, right across  Stateline Road, from the home of Elvis Presley,Memphis, Tennessee in Northwest Mississippi, I sit here reflecting on Saturday nights, growing up with my Mother and Daddy.

Every family, to this day, have rituals that they observe like clockwork.

Our Saturday Night Ritual was to eat homemade hamburgers, spaghetti, or crockpot beans off of TV trays and watch Hee Haw, the syndicated country music variety show, out of Nashville, which starred Buck Owens, Roy Clark, and a “cast of thousands”.

The snotty folks up in the Northeast Corridor never could figure out what made that “hick show”, that lasted 25 years,  so popular.

After all, it was about traditional American Values, love of God and Country, respecting our American Musical Heritage, and featuring talented performers who wrote songs, sang, played their own instruments, loved and appreciated their fans, and actually behaved like average Americans.

Plus, they had the good grace and common sense to keep their private lives, private.

This week foxnews.com reported that…

The country star opens up about his past, present and future in an interview with Entertainment Tonight’s Nischelle Turner that rivals ABC’s country soap “Nashville” with its real-life drama. Herndon discussed everything from his former drug use, his failed marriages and his current relationship.

“I have an awesome relationship that I’ve been in for a good number of years,” Herndon tells ET in a new sit-down airing Thursday. “[I] love him very much and he loves me.”

Married twice before, Herndon reveals that both of his ex-wives were “absolutely” aware of his sexuality.

“I had a lot of people around me that I trusted at a time and I was like,’Hey, you know this about me but the world doesn’t. So I’m gonna need to call on your services for a little while,'” he confessed. “It was unfortunate that I had to do that, but I felt that’s what I had to do to have my career. Standing on some pretty solid legs today, so I get to tell my truth today.”

The news brings new meaning to the singer’s latest album, “Lies I Told Myself,” which was released in 2013. Today, Herndon reveals that the biggest lie he told himself is “that I couldn’t be gay in country music.”

“I’ve dreamed about being in country music since I was 6 years old,” he said. “It’s my life, it’s what I do, it’s who I am, and I went to great lengths to cover up that fact to be to be a country star.”

Rumors surrounding Herndon’s sexuality first surfaced back in 1995, when an undercover male police officer alleged that the star exposed himself in a park.

“I wish I had really great recall or memory about that,” Herndon said of the allegation. “I think I had been up for like 6 days doing drugs the night and the day was really a huge blur for me.”

Now fully clean and sober, Herndon is looking forward to a future with his partner of five years, joking with ET that he hoped a proposal might follow his big reveal. “God, I’m hoping he asks me right after this interview!” he said.

“I do want children one day, you know,” he added. “I do want to be married one day.”

But for now, Herndon says he’s thrilled to be seeing increasing levels of acceptance in Nashville.

“Traditionally in country music, we don’t see a lot of support for the LGBT community, but that’s changing so much,” he said. “Nashville is changing so much. I mean my goodness… Kacey Musgraves won Song of the Year for [the lyrics] ‘follow your arrow, wherever it points’ and two amazing songwriters that happened to be gay wrote that song.”

Herndon continued, “It gives me a lot of hope that that Nashville is ready for this. I get to be free today. I’m born again today, and I feel like I’m not gonna have any trouble sleeping tonight.”

Herndon’s story inspired fellow country singer Billy Gilman to come out as well.

“It was in that moment that I knew that I’d rather it be from me, than you reading it from somewhere else,” Gilman said in a YouTube video Thursday.

Actually, boys, y’all could have kept your lust for hairy-legged gents to yourselves. America ain’t New York City.

What is happening to country music reflects a lot about the culture we live in.   Artists who actually lived what they sung about like Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, The Statlers, Jim Ed Brown, Porter Waggoner, Bocephus, Randy Travis, Jeannie C. Riley, and Elvis Presley have been replaced by fashion model wannabes and burned-out rock stars.

Please don’t get me wrong.  There is still a lot of great talent in country music.  Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, the Zac Brown Band, Toby Keith, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, Clint Black, Carrie Underwood, and Rascal Flatts, among others, are very talented performers.

However, in our culture of fast lives, fast food, and instant gratification, superficiality sells.  That’s how we got stuck with Barack Hussein Obama (mm mmm mmmm).

It is easier and more profitable for a record company to sell someone who looks good and can sing a little, or release a country music album made by a fading rock star, than it is for them to market someone who is unbelievably talented and writes their own songs, but resembles your next door neighbor.

Remember the Kid Rock, Bruce Springsteen, and Van Morrison country music CD fiascos?  No?  I don’t blame you.  I wouldn’t admit it, either.

Can you imagine Hank Williams, Sr., Patsy Cline, or Buck Owens trying to get a record deal today?

I’m sorry Mr. Williams.  Your vocalization is way too twangy and you drink way too much.  “I Saw The Light”?  What kind of song is that?  A song about redemption?  Get real.  “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”?  Who Cares?  You’re just not marketable.

Miss Cline, we can’t use you.  You look like somebody’s next door neighbor.

Mr. Owens, what is the “Bakersfield Sound” that you’re talking about?  That won’t get any airtime in New York City.   “Act Naturally”?  That’s a song?  Next thing you know, you’ll tell me that the Beatles will want to record it.

Now you know why Toby Keith formed his own record label. 

The big recording companies like RCA Nashville and Arista are run like any other business.  Executives are transferred from other cities and other divisions within the company and are judged to be successful by the amount of revenue they generate.  The decision was made several years ago to turn country music into pop music.  Country music started the transition from Kitty Wells to Miranda Lambert and from George Jones to Kid Rock in an effort to claim a bigger share of the CD-buying public.  The disconnect arises when you take a genre that has traditionally sung  about God, America, family, and heartache and try to make it about fashionistas, MTV, and shallow people with situational morality and ethics. 

That dog don’t hunt.

Allow me to close with this video from Alan Jackson and George Strait, of the song featured at the beginning of today’s blog.  As you read earlier, they expressed the situation much more eloquently than I can.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgiILl_F7O8]

Until He Comes,

KJ