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Conflicted About LeBron’s Return to Cleveland

Friday, July 11th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Four years ago this week, workers tore down the iconic, 10-story-tall  Lebron James Nike mural that had graced the side of the Landmark Office Tower in downtown Cleveland  for most of the Cavaliers star’s tenure with the team. The transparent mural covered the window of my husband’s office in the building and he watched as a part of Cleveland history fell to the ground in heaps that day, along with the hopes of hundreds of thousands of Northeast Ohioans. A handful of diehard fans stood on the sidewalk below that day, snapping pictures of what they thought was the last glimpse of their hero on Cleveland soil. It was a terrible day after a terrible week. In the hours following James’ announcement that he was “taking his talents” to the Miami Heat, angry fans hurled rocks at the mural, which featured a triumphant James with his head thrown back and “We Are All Witnesses” emblazoned on it.

It’s an indisputable fact that James handled his departure poorly, sticking a thumb in the eyes of fans — who had supported him since he was a standout at Akron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary High School — by turning “The Decision” into a national media event. It was tantamount to a high-profile Cleveland-shaming in the eyes of many fans, who burned #23 (and #6) jerseys in response, knowing that their hopes of a Cavaliers championship had just defected to Florida. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wrote a scathing, emotional letter to Cavs fans that week (which was still on the team’s website until last week) calling James a “former hero” who had “betrayed” the team. Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans and a major partner in several Ohio casinos, told fans at the time that they didn’t deserve James’ “cowardly betrayal.”

It was a painful episode in a long history of Cleveland sports disappointments. No Cleveland team has won a championship in half a century, not since the 1964 Browns won a (pre-Super Bowl) NFL title. The last time the Indians won a World Series was 1948 and the city has never won an NBA title. So perhaps it’s not difficult to understand, just a little, why LeBron found himself the repository of fifty years’ worth of pent-up frustration.

For the last two weeks Northeast Ohio has been on “LeBron Watch,” waiting for “The Next Decision.” On Thursday reporters and fans were camped outside his Bath Township mansion (just outside Akron, where LeBron has maintained a residence) after the media reported that an announcement was imminent. Fans and pundits speculated about factors the NBA star might be considering as he pondered his decision: money, family, roots, championship, legacy.

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VIDEO: Musical Interlude with John Kerry on China Visit

Thursday, July 10th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
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Secretary of State John Kerry was in Beijing today for a visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping and a little strumming…

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Will Obama Watch a Screening of Pro-Illegal Immigration Exploitation Movie While He Visits Austin?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama visits Austin, Texas today for a Democratic Party fundraiser with some of entertainment’s top names.

The president will not visit the Texas-Mexico border, despite the fact that it is currently in a state of crisis. An estimated 57,000 unaccompanied children have been caught at the border since October 1, 2013, a number that has overwhelmed the Border Patrol’s ability to process and care for them. That number could reach 100,000 by the end of the fiscal year.

The children are being shipped to camps at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, which is just a little over an hour’s drive from Austin, and to many other camps around the country.

Obama’s fundraiser stop has brought Austin’s already tight traffic to a grinding halt. Interstate 35, the main north-south artery through Austin, was shut down as the president’s motorcade made its way from Bergstrom International Airport into Austin proper. Residents couldn’t get to work or anywhere else.

Texas Democratic candidates and officials have elected not to allow themselves to be photographed with the unpopular president, even in deep blue Austin.

Movie director Robert Rodriguez hosts the president’s Austin fundraiser.

Rodriguez stirred massive controversy in 2010 when he directed the hyper-violent pro-illegal immigration movie, Machete.

Machete depicts the grindhouse tale of a Mexican Federale who gets caught up in a plot to assassinate a cartoonish, pro-border security Texas senator. Danny Trejo plays the role of the Federale. Robert DeNiro portrays the hick senator. Jessica Alba also stars as a US Border Patrol agent who switches sides and becomes a violent pro-illegal immigration advocate. Machete features a glittering cast of stars, including Don Johnson, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Cheech Marin and Lindsay Lohan. Machete calls illegal aliens “illegal Americans” and sends an unmistakable pro-illegal immigration message.

Rodriguez originally used incentives from the Texas Film Commission to fund the production of Machete, but once its contents became widely known, the Commission rescinded those credits and incentives. He proceeded to produce the film in Texas anyway. It cost over $10,500,000 to make, and grossed $26,593,646 according to Box Office Mojo. Its sequel, 2013′s Machete Kills, did even worse, despite its amazing cast that includes Trejo, Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, Sofia Vergara (who wears a metal bra machine gun), Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding Jr., Amber Heard, Bruce Campbell and other Hollywood stars.

Since the president refuses to visit the border, and clearly leans on the side of encouraging rather than stopping illegal immigration, and he enjoys his entertainment to the point of bragging that he gets advanced episodes Game of Thrones before they even air on HBO, perhaps Rodriguez will screen the film for him at today’s fundraiser. There’s nothing like watching a film when you have the director right there next to you to add his background commentary.

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Maybe they’ll make it a double feature.

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Machete don’t tweet, but Barack Obama does, so maybe he’ll live tweet the film fantastic for us.

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America’s Best Soccer Player Criticizes US Coach Klinsmann. Is He Right or Wrong?

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Another soccer post. Give in to your anger, soccer h8terz. Let the hate flow through you.

If you don’t really care one way or another, bear with me. Or bare with me if your grasp on language is a little loose or you’re into that sort of thing.

Landon Donovan is the leading scorer in US soccer World Cup history. He has scored more World Cup goals than Cristiano Ronaldo and Leonel Messi. If you know much about soccer, you know that that’s a big deal.

Donovan is 32 years old, not in his prime but still has a lot of gas in the tank, but was left off the US roster for this year’s World Cup. He isn’t shy and does have an arrogant streak. He is a player who already has a coach’s view of the game. He’s also probably the best that the United States has ever produced. So he has some credibility. I’ve seen him play in person once. He’s exceptional. He knows what he’s talking about, as long as he’s talking about soccer.

After the US crashed out by losing to Belgium, Donovan gave up some quotes that Yahoo! Sports is describing as a “bitter slam” on coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

“I think we’re all disappointed in what happened yesterday, Donovan told MLS Soccer on Wednesday. “I think the most disappointing is we didn’t seem like we gave it a real effort, from a tactical standpoint. I thought the guys did everything they could, they did everything that was asked of them, but I don’t think we were set up to succeed yesterday, and that was tough to watch.”

Cut from the World Cup squad in late May in a surprise move that prevented him from playing in his fourth World Cup, Donovan has never been one to mince words, but his detailed assault on the U.S. World Cup team’s flaws, and Klinsmann’s role in the developing of those flaws, was still pretty shocking.

“If you really look at the performances, there were some good performances by guys, some not-so-good performances by guys. As a whole, I think tactically, the team was not set up to succeed,” Donovan said. “They were set up in a way that was opposite from what they’ve been the past couple years, which is opening up, passing, attacking — trying to do that. And the team’s been successful that way. Why they decided to switch that in the World Cup, none of us will know.”

Donovan pointed specifically to how Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, the U.S. team’s two best field players, were used at the World Cup.

“Michael was put in the wrong position,” Donovan said. “He was put in a position that he’s not used to playing. He does a better job, as you saw with Julian Green‘s goal, being in a deeper position. And having someone in a front of him, someone to help Clint also, makes him that much better because he’s got more opportunity to pick out different passes, more attacking options ahead of him. I think that was clearly an error.”

Yahoo! adds:

Whether driven by anger at seeing his friends, and his national team, miss a golden opportunity to make a deep World Cup run, or driven by continued resentment at being denied his chance at playing in a fourth World Cup, and playing on the sport’s biggest stage one final time, Donovan decided to join the folks bashing Klinsmann rather than taking the high road and letting the court of public opinion cast a verdict on Klinsmann’s performance as coach.

it may have felt like something Donovan had to do, but in the end it smacked of petulance and bitterness and not the actions of someone who once said that he would be the U.S. team’s biggest fan even if he were left off the World Cup team.

I can’t agree with that. Donovan was asked questions and he answered them. He’s a soccer player, not a politician. If you don’t want his actual opinion, don’t ask for it.

A little perspective is in order. The USA looked great in qualifying but drew the worst group at the World Cup — Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Hardly anyone expected them to get out of that group. I didn’t expect them to get out of that group, with or without Donovan. Germany and Portugal were the favorites, but the latter got hammered by the former and never recovered.

The US did get out of that ghastly group, and that was a huge achievement, and Klinsmann deserves huge credit for that. His tactics mostly worked, even against Belgium. Very few defenses have been able to stop Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku even when they’re not tired. He came on when the US defense was already haggard and had stopped Belgium’s talented group, and he made the difference. That’s what great players do, and Lukaku is on track to become great.

Klinsmann rolled the dice by taking only one real big-body striker to Brazil, Jozy Altidore. Altidore has had a very off year at Sunderland. His selection was a bit of a surprise given how poorly he has played over the last year, when Eddie Johnson was available and they’re very similar players. Johnson was not selected for Brazil either. So the USA went into Brazil too thin at a very important position.

Altidore’s hamstring injury in the first game versus Ghana forced Klinsmann’s hand. He had to refigure the team. He had to push Dempsey into more of a lone striker role, and he chose to push Bradley, who is usually more of a deep-lying midfielder, farther forward into more of a center attacking role. Bradley is a very good player and has experience in Europe, but that position shift didn’t suit Bradley, and it showed — he was the guy giving the ball away all the time. His giveaway in the closing seconds against Portugal led directly to the tying goal, which cost the US two points and sent it into the knockout round against a tougher opponent. That’s what Donovan observes in the quotes above. He’s right.

Had Donovan been available — had Klinsmann taken him to Brazil, that is — Altidore’s injury probably would have hurt less. Donovan is not the same kind of player as Jozy Altidore. Altidore is a big, bullying striker. He’s a wrecking ball. Donovan is a creative midfielder who can score from just about anywhere. He pulls the strings. He unlocks defenses. He has loads of experience. He can change a game at any moment with the killer pass or an unexpected shot. He can carry a team that is struggling. He can be the creative outlet for a team under siege, as the US was for most of its games, because the US still isn’t a world power in soccer. But we’re getting there.

Klinsmann left Donovan out of Brazil. That had to hurt.

It’s hard not to have some sympathy for Donovan. He is better than almost every player that Klinsmann ended up taking to Brazil. Dempsey can claim to be better, maybe, on his best days. He is certainly very good. Tim Howard is definitely a world class keeper, but you can’t really compare a keeper to a creative midfielder like Donovan. Howard just seems to get better every year. But Donovan is a unique talent, not terribly big, not the fastest man out there, but he is extremely skilled, very elusive, and hyper aware of the game around him. He makes any team a little better, and sometimes a lot better. I mentioned his arrogance, which is real, but there is a selflessness about him too. He is a team player. Donovan could have played in Europe, and has at times, but he has chosen to play most of his career in the US to help grow soccer here by being the face of the sport. Playing in Europe pays more and offers the big trophies and endorsements. Donovan basically left those opportunities on the table to keep playing here.

And Klinsmann left him out of Brazil.

So I don’t read Donovan’s comments as bitter. They’re honest. He’s an athlete, not a politician.

Klinsmann probably won’t like them, mostly because they’re coming from Landon Donovan. But Klinsmann knows better than anyone else that Donovan is right, and he also knows why Donovan is right. He knows that not all of that has to do with Donovan, but some of it does.

Jurgen Klinsmann is a great coach and he’ll be great for American soccer. He’ll learn from this and build a better team for the next cup. And he will build it without Landon Donovan, unfortunately. It’s a shame that two of America’s top soccer brains will probably never end up working together again.

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Gary Oldman & the Right’s Latent Antisemitism

Monday, June 30th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

We all know by now that actor Gary Oldman denounced political correctness in his recent interview with Playboy magazine. However, if you’re only a reader of conservative news sources, you most likely aren’t aware of the fact that Oldman dropped the n-word repeatedly, used a grotesque and derogatory slang word for the female anatomy, and included one of the oldest and most offensive Jewish American stereotypes in his rant:

Mel Gibson is in a town that’s run by Jews and he said the wrong thing because he’s actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him—and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough. He’s like an outcast, a leper, you know? But some Jewish guy in his office somewhere hasn’t turned and said, “That f***ing kraut” or “F*** those Germans,” whatever it is? We all hide and try to be so politically correct. That’s what gets me. It’s just the sheer hypocrisy of everyone, that we all stand on this thing going, “Isn’t that shocking?”

Conservative news readers couldn’t possibly be aware of these immoral platitudes because the story was covered in right-wing media with the following headlines:

Conservative Star Gary Oldman Denounces Liberal Hollywood, Hillary Clinton

Scott Whitlock, the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center, published a report in NewsBusters that focused on Oldman’s anti-Hillary comments and criticism of Obama. Whitlock prefaced Oldman’s quote about Pelosi being a “c**t” with the statement, “In the Playboy interview, Oldman used offensive and vulgar language to complain about political correctness.” The article was promoted on Facebook with the following statement: “What this Hollywood Star Just Said About Liberals Will Make You Stand and Cheer.”

Gary Oldman Rails Against PC “Crap,” Liberal Double Standards in Hollywood

Josh Feldman at Mediaite made Oldman’s grotesque comment regarding Nancy Pelosi the centerpiece of his short coverage of the now infamous Playboy interview. But when it came to the Hollywood Jews, he summarized Oldman’s antisemitic rant down to, “He said so many ‘f***ing hypocrites’ condemned Gibson, but they privately use words like he did.”

Gary Oldman Attacks Outrage Culture in Playboy, Gets Outraged Response

Mollie Hemingway at the Federalist crowed about reading “the entire interview” and quoted several excerpts, except for the ones about the Jews who run Hollywood, n*****s, and f*gs. Because those wouldn’t really help support her point that “people lost their everliving minds” over Oldman’s belief that “political correctness is crap,” a belief Hemingway and her editors at the Federalist wholeheartedly share.

Famous Actor’s Fiery Rant Against “Political Correctness,” Hollywood Double Standards — and His Theoretical Nancy Pelosi Joke Will Make Jaws Drop

Jason Howerton’s story from The Blaze did not originally include the comments. It was later “updated with additional comments from Oldman’s interview,” including the Hollywood comment that every other conservative-leaning news outlet I’ve found so far has failed to print.

When I confronted conservative friends over their defense of Oldman’s commentary, I was told that I was “getting my panties in a bunch” over being “noogie’d” for the greater good of the anti-PC campaign. When I asked what the dividing line was between being anti-PC and pro-antisemitism, I was told that I was insinuating that my friends were antisemitic, and therefore I should issue them an apology. Again, I pressed the question and, again, I received the same response: In essence, I was being a touchy, oversensitive Jew.

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Will We Hear Hillary ‘Roar?’

Monday, June 30th, 2014 - by Leslie Loftis
kh_2952684bKaty Perry went to a Hard Choices book signing and met Hillary Clinton. After tweeting a picture of herself with Hillary, Perry tweeted an offer to do a campaign theme song. Two days later, Hillary tweeted back that she had already done so in “Roar”.
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“Roar”? Leaving aside the lack of gravitas problem in using any of Katy Perry’s work for a campaign song, Team Hillary thinks “Roar” would make a good campaign song? Have they listened to it? Not just the catchy hook, but the verses?
Since her divorce from Russell Brand, Perry’s songs have progressed from “Wide Awake” to “Roar” to “Dark Horse” to “Unconditional”.  Respectively, a how-am-I-going-to-put-my-life-back-together anthem, an I’m-free-of-that-jerk cheer, an I-dare-a man-to-try-and-tame-me boast, and an I’ll-love-this-new-guy-no-matter-what ballad. All of the hooks sound empowering. Cliches — Perry’s songs are collections of them—are good for sounding empowering by invoking ideas without triggering any critical reasoning. (I do love that Blues Traveler song: “It doesn’t matter what I say/As long as I sing with inflection/That makes you feel like I said/Some inner truth of vast reflection.)
Perry’s hooks hide the themes, few of which most pop feminists would want to own. For instance, pop feminists constantly lecture the rest of us that feminism isn’t anti-men. If that’s true, then “Roar” is a poor choice for a campaign song. 

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Amy Adams > Shia LeBeouf and Russell Brand

Friday, June 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Let’s work three trending celebrities into one post.

Shia LeBeouf is a giant idiot.

Actor Shia LaBeouf has been arrested for criminal trespass and misconduct after causing a disruption at a New York City theater, police reported.

As of shortly before 1 a.m. ET, LaBeouf, 28, had been processed and released, New York police officer Adam Navarro said.

LaBeouf was smoking inside the theater, Studio 54, during a performance of the Broadway show Cabaret, and also slapping random strangers on the rear end, according to ABC News and The New York Post. The Post also reported LaBeouf threatened police with some colorful words.

Russell Brand thinks he’s smart but he is an even more giant idiot.

Russell Brand has responded to Fox News legal analyst Jeanine Pirro, who delivered an unlettered rant about the Iraq War on Saturday by calling Rupert Murdoch’s network a “fanatical terrorist propagandist organization”.

Delivering his verdict via his YouTube channel, Brand took Issue with Pirro’s comment that ISIS is a “fanatical terrorist propagandist organisation”, accusing the news-entertainment channel of being exactly that.

“So is Fox News,” he said. “It’s a fanatical terrorist propagandist organisation.”

Brand concluded: “I’m not being just sensational. That is more dangerous than ISIS – that attitude. That’s far-reaching. That’s affecting millions and millions of people.”

But Amy Adams…she’s alright. More than alright.

Amy Adams made one American soldier’s flight to L.A. much nicer.

Before her plane from Detroit took off, the Oscar-nominated actress, who was booked for a first-class seat, noticed a man in uniform at the gate. She then privately asked to switch seats with the soldier, who had been ticketed for coach.

“I noticed Ms. Adams was in first class and as I was getting seated, I saw the flight attendant guide the soldier to Ms. Adams’ seat. She was no longer in it, but it was pretty clear that she’d given up her seat for him,” fellow passenger Jemele Hill, co-host of ESPN2′s “Numbers Never Lie,” told ABC News. “I was incredibly impressed, and I’m not even sure if the soldier knew who gave him that seat. I guess he will now!”

Adams’ father served in the military.

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Barack Obama’s Watching Mad Men, Rootin’ for Peggy and Joan

Friday, June 27th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Those tweets we published yesterday were all too real. They explain a lot.

You see, Barack Obama may be the President of the United States. But that doesn’t mean that he watches the news.

Do you see what he did there? The president who depends on low-information voters more than any previous president is telling his voters to go on ahead stewing in their lack of information. Don’t watch the news.

That’s convenient for him, with the polls turning against him and the networks climbing into the IRS scandal. Shorter Obama: “I’m news-stupid. You can be too!”

When he does watch TV news, Barack Obama learns about all the problems in his own government. That’s how he supposedly learned about the VA scandal. And the IRS scandal. And the scandal of his own Justice Department spying on the Associated Press. And Fast and Furious.

If Barack Obama was The Most Interesting Man In the World, the line might say “I don’t always watch the news, but when I do, I learn how bad a president I am.”

That’s not to say that this president doesn’t watch some TV. He let ABC’s George Stephanopoulos tweet out that pic of him watching the World Cup so he could present himself as just one of the folks.

He has bragged that he gets to watch Game of Thrones before you do.

And he’s a Mad Men guy too. But when he watches that, he’s a big pander bore.

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Auditions For ‘Rob Ford The Musical’ Were Held Today

Monday, June 16th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

I’m too old for the role.

They arrived in various states of blond, portly and pinstriped to the basement audition suites of the Second City training centre.

At least 40 candidates for Toronto’s next top mayor, the fictional variety, auditioned for a role in the upcoming production Rob Ford the Musical: Birth of a Ford Nation, which is slated to have a two-week run in September.

The casting call attracted serious actors, neophytes, fans of the Rob Ford spectacle and even one man who briefly played a part in the ongoing, non-fiction version of the political drama as it began to play out last year.

If this guy were an American he would either have been born a Kennedy or they would have adopted him by now.

And we all know who we wish were alive to play him:
Chris Farley                   comedian

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Al Sharpton Vs Reading, Round Zillion

Thursday, June 12th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

You’ll be JIDDY after seeing this! (h/t The Truth Revolt)
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#ForAmerica: Smart Car Tipping Craze Continues In San Francisco

Monday, June 9th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Because no cows.

Two more Smart cars were tipped overnight in San Francisco’s Twin Peaks and Cole Valley neighborhoods, according to police.

The latest tippings of the small two-seat cars were reported at 3:41 a.m. at Clayton Street and Parnassus Avenue and at 5:38 a.m. in the 1300 block of Clayton Street, near 17th Street, according to police.

These incident follow a series of tippings reported about two months ago.

Three Smart cars were tipped early one morning in April within a 10-block radius near Bernal Heights.

The prank is considered felony vandalism, according to police.

“Felony vandalism” seems a bit arbitrary. If graffiti is now “street art” couldn’t Smart Car tipping be considered “street sculpture”?

Off to work on my business proposal for my new Smart Car anchor manufacturing company…

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My Favorite New Actor Fired After Threatening A Heckler

Thursday, June 5th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

I’m going to watch every guest appearance this guy has ever made.

After John Lacy stopped in the middle of the show to confront a drunk man who called his co-star Anton Tory a “fag,” the actor says Repertory East Playhouse’s company director Ovington Michael Owston told him “go ‘F’ yourself” before firing him.

The doors at the Repertory East Playhouse in Santa Clarita, Calif. — roughly 27 miles north of West Hollywood — opened at 7 p.m. but the cast of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof didn’t take the stage until 8 p.m., leaving the audience plenty of time to have a drink and unwind in the 81-seat theater, or if you’re like one guest, get hammered before Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play about latent homosexuality and acceptance.

Well, there was little acceptance last Saturday night when ten minutes after the intermission, an unidentified heckler called actor Anton Troy a “fag.” Troy’s costar John Lacy stepped down off the stage and confronted him with a shove that sent the man to the ground. Lacy was cheered by the audience but fired by company director Ovington Michael Owston, who according to Lacy and Troy claimed the heckler’s friend threatened to return with a gun after he was thrown out.

I’m a comedian, so I’m predisposed to not liking hecklers, but at least I am allowed to deal with them from the stage. Theater actors don’t have that luxury. Theater crowds also used to be better behaved.

Here’s the thing about hecklers-they always think they’re being cute. In a stand-up show, many of the idiots believe they are adding something to the performance.

What they really do in any setting is ruin it for the other audience members. Theater and club owners are so desperate to hang onto every dollar that they’re willing to risk the polite people not complaining rather than kick one idiot out and refund his money. The idiot theater owner here had to cancel that night’s entire show after this and refund all the money because he wouldn’t corral one drunken moron.

Good.

Here is John Lacy’s IMDB page.

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Tracked and Targeted and Thrashed Without Mercy @ #TXOnline

Monday, June 2nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

TXOnline just might become a thing.

Americans for Prosperity (shhh — eeeevil Koch money!) put on a great conference in Houston this weekend that featured everything from Larry O’Connor and Matt Walsh trading verbal blows over whether and how conservatives ought to engage the culture, to Jim Geraghty hawking what sounds like a good read of a book, to me and Texas Public Policy Foundation’s David Guenthner briefly discussing the San Antonio Spurs win in the NBA West Final. Emily Zanotti admitted to engaging in cosplay on several occasions.

TXOnline also featured Stephen Kruiser, Tony Katz and Kurt Schlichter doing an experimental comedy/politics/interactive thing they’re calling Tracked and Targeted. That turned out to be the second most disturbing thing that occurred over the weekend, with the Obama administration’s bizarre swap of five high-level Taliban terrorists who had been held at Gitmo for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by the Taliban since 2009, being by far the most disturbing. The Obama admin negotiated with terrorists (which broke US law), releasing five of them without notifying Congress (which also broke US law), in exchange for a soldier who deserted his unit and was reportedly embarrassed to be an American, and whose father turns out to be a sympathizer with Islamists — at least. Now the Taliban are doing the happy dance while Americans wonder if there’s any law left that Barack Obama won’t just run through a shredder if he finds it inconvenient.

Very disturbing. Maybe the single most disturbing that the Obama administration has done so far, which is saying a lot.

Nothing quite so outlandish happened during the Tracked and Targeted session in Houston, but it did get pretty far out in the weeds — literally. To attempt to describe it would be to diminish it.

Happy hour and conversation and cigars followed that on Saturday night.

The weekend went by pretty quickly, which happens when you find yourself lunching between the likes of Jon Gabriel and Bruce Carroll or watching panels between Noah Rothman and Kathleen McKinley, and moderating panels with Dan McLaughlin, Logan Dobson and Jim Geraghty one day and Cory Crow, Lou Ann Anderson and David Guenthner on the other. If that’s a lot of name-dropping, it’s far from all the name-dropping I could do. Dana Loesch kicked things off with a speech that generated reaction and comment all weekend. Kruiser emceed and the amazing Kemberlee Kaye kept the whole thing organized and on time with ruthless efficiency. When you’re herding conservative bloggers, that’s a much harder job than it probably sounds like.

TXOnline was a sweet reunion.

Like many family reunions, it almost got violent.

(That tweet must be read with a proper British accent in a smooth baritone voice, otherwise it comes off a lot less sinister than it was intended.)

It got philosophical.

It got downright defiant.

And it got a little weird.

But one thing that TXOnline never got was boring. A great time was had by all, other than those who didn’t have a great time for one reason or another, and that was entirely their own fault.

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The Dude Dissects Disinformation

Sunday, June 1st, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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(Warning: Profanity)

After actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s untimely death, The Daily Beast ran an opinion piece by James Poulos, “Everything is Politics to the Right, Even Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death.” One need not point out the irony that the article itself, written from a presumably Leftist perspective, politicizes Hoffman’s death. In this instance, we are too busy being asked to contemplate the dearth of morality on the Right, a movement so committed to their politics that not even death can rest in peace. Poulos essentially took offense at Ben Shapiro’s critique of “‘the broken leftist culture that dominates Hollywood,’ allegedly ‘enabling’ the suicides of its great talents.’” He then spun that offense into a critique of the inhumanity among the stereotypical Christian Right (note: Shapiro is an Orthodox Jew).

Originally dismissed by my editor and friend, David Swindle, as a puff piece written by a “contrarian narcissist” looking to make a buck off of the latest political controversy on the web, I was half tempted to ignore the story myself. But, certain elements within Poulos’s writing smacked of more than self-congratulatory prose.

Firstly, I noticed that the author blames conservatives for what has been a Leftist problem for decades – specifically that, to a Marxist especially, “everything is political.” (The wording I first heard from a critical studies professor, but an avowed Communist later backed him up.) Secondly, I noticed how the author attempted to defend a religious point of view by claiming that conservatives have none – specifically that they have no mercy. It’s a rather abusive point of view given the history of Marxism, specifically the way socialist governments relate to their constituents. Yet, it works to elevate progressive liberalism/Marxism to a holy state of reverence.

The bottom line is that critiques like this are published consistently.  They seem fairly innocuous to most people because they address cultural issues as opposed to pressing political ones. But, I couldn’t help but wonder if they play an integral part in the broader disinformation campaign actively at work within our culture. So, I reached out to Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa for his take on the story.

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(Warning: Profanity)

Poulos’ story smacks of disinformation. Remember? There is a major condition for a disinformation to succeed: to be built around a “kernel of truth” that would lend credibility. Shapiro’s 130-word  post about Hoffman’s death provided that kernel of truth. The rest of Poulos’ story is, in my view, a diversion. Hoffman’s horrible death risked stirring up ugly debates about liberals’ legalization of drugs in the US, and Poulos did  his best to change the subject. In the process, he demonized Shapiro’s conservatism.

Poulos story looks to me like a version of  Hillary’s “It takes a Village.” That was another diversion. In 1996 she was  defending her involvement in Whitewater & Travelgate, and she changed the subject. Hillary also killed two birds with one stone — remember Obama’s “if you’ve got a  business, you did not build that”?

Hillary’s diversion worked–in spite of all her problems,  she became a US senator.

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The Saddest, Scariest Millennial Statistic You’ll See Today

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Who are the millennial generation, and what does their rise mean for the future of the country?

Everyone is trying to figure millennials out — what makes them tick, what they care about. Like previous generations, millennials aren’t monolithic. They don’t all agree with each other on society and politics anymore than previous generations did. There are some divisions among millennials that hinge on racial background — white millennials prefer less government, while non-white millennials strongly prefer more. While they are more liberal on average than previous generations, according to Pew Research’s most recent major study, we all tend to be more liberal when we’re young and don’t own anything, and haven’t yet met the iron hand of the taxman. Not all of today’s earnest young liberals will remain so.

A couple of statistics suggest that many millennials will never outgrow their youthful leftism. One stat suggests that they are bequeathing a generation that will be even more in favor of big government than their own generation.

According to Pew:

Millennials lead all generations in the share of out-of-wedlock births. In 2012, 47% of births to women in the Millennial generation were non-marital, compared with 21% among older women. … In 1996, when Gen Xers were about the same age that Millennials were in 2012, just 35% of births to that generation’s mothers were outside of marriage (compared with 15% among older women in 1996).

Millennials are slower to marry than previous generations. They have moved the median marriage age up to 29 for men and 27 for women. They are largely delaying marriage because they are loaded down with massive student debt, and because there are few jobs available to them upon which they can build their lives. The current Democratic administration’s anti-jobs policies are largely to blame for the latter. The lack of accountability in university practices and tuition is largely to blame for the former. Millennials are being squeezed by the Obama economy. Yet they remain more likely to vote for Democrats, if they vote.

I’m not here to slam single parenthood, but single parenthood has proven to be a very strong predictor of one’s economic outcome and one’s politics, meaning, one’s relationship to the government and the policies one tends to vote for. Simply put, single adults tend to vote in a certain way, and children of single adults tend to have poorer economic outcomes, which leads to a certain voting pattern. Marriage is a strong predictor of political behavior.

Currently just 26% of millennials — those between age 18 and 33 — are married. At the same age, 36% of GenX and 48% of the Baby Boomers were married. And 69% of millennials say they want to get married, but the lack of jobs is holding them back.

Children who grow up in single parent homes tend to have higher rates of incarceration, higher rates of drug use, lower academic performance, lower overall income — greater overall dependence on government, in one way or another — than children in two-parent homes. They tend to produce less for the economy and cost more taxpayer dollars.

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This Is Morgan Freeman on Helium, And These People Are Smarter Than You

Friday, May 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s Friday afternoon going into a holiday weekend. If you’re sane, you don’t care all that much about politics at the moment. Well, you care. You just care about other things too.

So here’s Morgan Freeman nipping helium and talking astronomy. Because, why not?

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As a drummer since the age of around 11 I guess, I’ve put up with a lot of crap from you people. We’re knuckle-draggers. We’re slow. We’re the guys who couldn’t sing and couldn’t play a chord so we picked up two sticks and started hitting stuff.

Well, it turns out, you’ve all been misjudging us. The science is settled: Drummers are smarter than you. You pretty much owe us drummers everything.

The research suggests that drummers have innate problem-solving skills and a positive impact on communities. Researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet found that, after playing a series of beats, drummers who had better rhythm scored better on a 60-question intelligence test. Seems using all the various parts of a drum kit to keep one steady beat is actually an expression of intrinsic problem-solving abilities.

Furthermore, other studies show that rhythmic music can actually make other people smarter. A University of Washington psychology professor found that his students got higher scores after undergoing rhythmic light and sound therapy. A University of Texas Medical Branch researcher using the same method on elementary and middle school boys with ADD noted an effect comparable to Ritalin. In fact, the boys’ IQ scores actually went up and stayed up.

It gets even crazier, and more primordial, with reports suggesting drumming played a role in our own civilization. Researchers at theUniversity of Oxford discovered that drummers produce a natural “high” when playing together, heightening both their happiness and their pain thresholds. The researchers extrapolated that this rhythmic euphoria may have been pivotal in mankind establishing communities and society. Essentially, drum circles were the very foundation that made human society possible.

You’re welcome. Enjoy last night’s drum off between Will Farrell and Chad Smith.

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When You Live Under Sharia, Being ‘Happy’ Is a Crime

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Mashable and Bloomberg report that Iran’s mullahs are unhappy with six Iranians who created a video of Pharrell’s infectious hit, “Happy.”

The video, which has been made private on YouTube on its original channel but has been grabbed and uploaded by others, shows three men and three women dancing to the deliriously joyous song. The women appear to have committed two crimes against the kings of mullahrky — they’re dancing with men, and they’re not wearing hijabs. Crime #3 is enjoying a single moment of life. The “Happy” six are seen dancing around in an apartment and on a rooftop. Their video picked up 200,000 views before the mullahs got mad about it.

Here is a screenshot from the video. Covering this face would be a crime. I’m not even kidding.

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The “Happy” six were paraded on Iranian TV this week, as examples of what making the mullahs angry can cost you.

Here’s the video that constitutes a crime against sharia law and all that the mad mullahs hold dear.

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See the Photo that Is Enraging Iran’s Tyrants

Monday, May 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has gone backward in time. What was a modernizing country in which many women avoided the burka, as in this photo from Tehran in the 1970s before the revolution…

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…has become a mullahcracy ruled by a few bearded men armed with sixth-century ideas.

This man, Ayatollah Khamenei, rules Iran behind its “elected” presidents and officials.

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Today, he is angry at Iranian actress Leila Hatami.

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Why? Because of the photo on the next page.

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“Moms’ Night Out” Spanks Spider-Man?

Monday, May 12th, 2014 - by Scott Ott

In its opening weekend, it grossed more than it cost to make. On the revenue-per-screen rankings it beat the “Amazing Spider-Man 2,” coming in second only to the R-rated comedy “Neighbors,” which stars Zac Ephron and Seth Rogen.

Moms’ Night Out” (PG) is a feel-good comedy about a harried young mother who just needs a little time away. It offers no hot superstars — unless you count Samwise Gamgee and “Everybody Loves Raymond’s” wife in supporting roles. (Granted, Sarah Drew played the Christian doctor on “Grey’s Anatomy,” but that’s not silver screen, and virgins are so not hot in Hollywood.)

The movie was shot in the glamorous state of Alabama, around Birmingham. Rotten Tomatoes says the critics find it “cheap-looking, unfunny and kind of sexist to boot…a disappointment from start to finish.” Despite the critics wisdom, 85% of the audience liked it. Why?

In a word: relatability.

Ok, I’m pretty sure that’s not a word, but it’s a thing.

For the vast majority of Americans, traditional family life connects. Unlike the typical Hollywood production, this film features husbands who faithfully love their wives, women who love to be mothers, people who attend church regularly (not just show up in an empty darkened sanctuary when they’re suicidal, on the lam or searching for Knights Templar treasure). As a bonus, it includes characters who can speak without cursing and cope without drinking.

My lovely bride and I took our teen boys — ages 18 and 15 — to see “Mom’s Night Out.” I laughed and cried. (I blame Trace Adkins for the weeping.) As we climbed the steps to the top of the theatre, I remember thinking, “Look, two parents with two older teenaged boys going to a movie together!” Our younger son liked it so much he took his 19-year-old sister to see it the next day.

The folks who made this movie will likely watch the Oscars from their living rooms, out of curiosity…after they put the kids to bed. And that’s just fine. Because they’ve done something special — they’ve bonded emotionally with the people who do the most important work in the country, and with those of us who admire our wives, mothers and grandmas.

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New Photo Caption Contest: Hollywood Movie Poster Parody – ‘Saving Barack Obama’

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
Credit: Washington Free Beacon

Credit: Washington Free Beacon

Drudge linked to this piece from the Washington Free Beacon:

Parody Obama Movie Posters Arrive in L.A. for President’s Visit

‘Saving Barack Obama: A Steven Spielberg Ploy’

Movie posters for a spoof entitled “Saving Barack Obama” have hit Los Angeles ahead of the president’s visit to the city.

The posters, which feature President Obama walking into the horizon between a pair of his teleprompters, have appeared on bus stops and benches throughout Los Angeles, including just outside Melrose Avenue, the main entrance to Paramount Pictures.

A parody of Saving Private Ryan the poster says it is “A Steven Spielberg Ploy,” and its tagline reads, “The mission is a fraud.”

The appearance of the artwork coincides with Obama’s visit to Los Angeles on Wednesday to receive a humanitarian award from Spielberg.

So, for all you loyal contest writers out there, here is your mission should you accept it:

Since the poster tagline reads, “The mission is a fraud,” you are instructed to write the second tagline.

Or, you could just caption the entire movie poster.

But,  be nice because you would not want to insult anyone in Washington or Hollywood now, would you?

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Things We Lost in the Unforgettable Fire

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It has been just about four years since British band Bastille formed and started storming the music world. They started as a six-piece but soon dropped the violinist and cellist, which is a pity. How huge might their biggest hit to date, “Pompeii,” sound if it had serious strings to go along with the monastery vibe in its towering vocals?

In the few years Bastille has been around and whittling themselves down to a four-piece, the two years they have been recording, they have produced one EP, Laura Palmer, and one full album. But that one album is incredible.

The aforementioned “Pompeii” was not the first single release from Bad Blood, but it has been the most successful release to date. It hit number 2 on the UK charts last fall, and number 5 in the US, helping Bad Blood to strong sales in both countries. It also helped Bastille rack up nominations and awards. It has pulled over 90 million views on YouTube. “Pompeii” is that song you keep hearing just about every time you turn on the radio.

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Dive deeper into Bad Blood, though, and “Pompeii” isn’t even the best song there. Neither is the title track. The best track has to be “Icarus.” Or maybe “Things We Lost in the Fire.”

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The first time I heard “Pompeii” I thought Baltimora was back from the musical grave. But Bastille are much, much better than that one-hit wonder.

Unlike most pop of all decades, Bastille’s work  so far has a lived-in feel to it. They’re new but they sound like they’ve been here before. There is a retro synth feel to their sound, and a dash of wit and wisdom in their lyrics. In “Pompeii” the singer tastes the end of the world all around him:

And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

Yet after admitting that the victims may have deserved their fate — “We were caught and lost in all of our vices” — he still asks himself, “How am I gonna be an optimist about this?” Good question.

Bastille’s members are young — singer Dan Smith is 27, keyboardist Kyle Simmons is 26, drummer Chris Wood is 28 and only bassist William Farquarson is 30 — but their lyrics carry a sense of history. It’s not every band that turns out a track about the destruction of an ancient city or a mythological figure. Kansas treated the myth of Icarus in “Carry On Wayward Son.” The Call is a bit closer to Bastille in sound, and treated the death of a city in the 1980s with “The Walls Came Down.”

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That song propelled The Call to a kind of underground stardom through the 80s into the 1990s, but they never broke out of that into the mainstream. The success they deserved constantly eluded them.

A couple of years after The Call dropped Jericho, a European band struck a global nerve with a song that was immortalized in one of the best videos of the age — A-Ha’s “Take On Me.”

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And at around that same time, an Irish band that had already established itself in New Wave dropped one of the greatest rock albums of all time, The Joshua Tree. U2 had already been around for a few years; War was already one of those albums everyone had at least heard of, and Live At Red Rocks was already a hit. “Pride: In the Name of Love” from The Unforgettable Fire album established them as a band that did a bit more with its music than most. Joshua Tree launched U2 to the edge of space.

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30 years later, U2 are rock billionaires and still the top rock act in the world. One secret to their success is their ability to write soulfully without alienating anyone. They’re deep, yet vague, serious yet unspecific. Another is their adaptability. Their sound has always grown into the times. Another is their creativity. Among U2 only Dave “The Edge” Evans can read a sheet of music, and as a guitarist he is far from the skillset of an Eddie Van Halen, yet U2 can pull off sounds that more musically gifted acts can’t touch.

U2 named themselves after a Cold War spy plane. Bastille took their name from the day of a prison’s revolutionary fall, and the date of singer Smith’s birthday — July 14th. Both names seem easy and even shallow, yet suggest something more.

It’s easy to overanalyze why a particular band’s music works for you and another’s doesn’t, and as a political writer I’m definitely prone to overanalyzing. Bastille seems to have a few things in common with these 80s bands that may be their sonic forefathers. They write with the sense of history of both The Call and U2. Their songs go places that most pop acts don’t, but the aforementioned do. Sonically, Bastille and A-Ha could easily share the same stage, though Dan Smith’s voice quality and control put him leagues beyond Morten Harket, Michael Been and even Bono (but maybe not early Steve Walsh). Had Bastille kept the violinist around they might have even come off with an arena rock feel along the lines of Kerry Livgren’s prog rock forerunners.

Bastille has a very, very long way to go before any comparison between them and Kansas and especially U2 should be taken seriously at all. After one album and into recording their second, they’re not there yet, though have already tasted more success than The Call and “Pompeii” stands a chance of sticking around like “Take On Me” has. But as debuts go, Bastille’s has been one of the more successful in a while. The depth in their writing and the qualities in their sound suggest that Bastille won’t fall anytime soon.

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Donald Sterling’s Execrable Ex Has Dragged Us All Into Another Stupid National Soap Opera

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Clippers owner Donald Sterling was recorded in a private conversation, or a series of private conversations, saying heinous and stupid things. If the things he said did not line up with his behavior that would be one thing, but in this case, they do. The NAACP humanitarian award winner has been sued for discriminatory housing practices in the past, and not even by the lawless Obama government. The federal lawsuit against Sterling was in 2006. The NAACP was set to honor him in 2014. Why the NAACP thought him worthy of honor ought to be asked, directly of those who made the decisions on that award.

Sterling remains married. His estranged wife, Rochelle, is suing the girlfriend who taped him, but not for taping him. The girlfriend’s identity depends on whom you ask. V. Stiviano has more aliases than your average spy. According to Rochelle’s lawsuit, she has been known as Vanessa Maria Perez, Monica Gallegos and Maria Valdez. At least. The lawsuit also charges that the woman with a dozen names sidled up to Sterling so she could love wrestle some of his gigantic pile of cash away from him. So to the occupation of professional shape-shifter with the $10k bubbles on her chest, we can add the world’s oldest profession, if the estranged wife’s allegations are true.

The lawsuit was filed last month by Rochelle Sterling, Donald Sterling’s estranged wife. It claims that Stiviano accepted gifts from Donald Sterling purchased with money jointly held by the Clippers owner and Rochelle Sterling without the wife’s knowledge. Rochelle Sterling maintains that Stiviano persuaded her husband to lavish her with expensive gifts, including a 2012 Ferrari, two Bentleys and a 2013 Range Rover totaling more than $500,000.

Well, that’s chump change to a guy who owns a basketball team. It’s lunch money. But if you’re the estranged wife, half of that lunch money is supposed to be yours, so you employ an army of attorneys to court wrestle it back. Those lawyers will end up costing more than the gifts, but it’s the principle of the thing, or something. These monied fools’ antics will soak up headlines for months to come.

It’s fair to note at this point that there doesn’t seem to be a rooting interest for any of us outsiders in any of this. Donald Sterling appears to be a man who believes his billions entitle him to everything and to live above the rules the rest of us live by. He proved, as if it needed proving again, the even an old toad can buy a sexy girlfriend if he has enough money. That girlfriend taped a private conversation and leaked it to one of the worst media outlets in the world. She didn’t even have the decency to stay bought. Her actions raise the question: Was she setting Sterling up from the beginning? The estranged wife may be motivated by noble views of marriage, but is more likely motivated by plain old greed, jealousy and revenge. The NBA, not known as the best-run sports league around, now has decisions to make. Should it deprive Sterling of his private property for being an awful human being? The NBA does have a brand to protect. When the Mavericks’ mad owner, Mark Cuban, is the voice of reason, perhaps it’s time for everyone to re-assess this whole thing and stop being played in what looks like a gigantic wallow in a collapsed marriage in decadent 21st century America.

Clippers players and fans have done nothing wrong. To the extent that there are victims in all this, they are the victims. The Clippers have risen from being one of the league’s worst franchises to playoff contention. I lost interest in professional basketball years ago, but if I cared about it I would cheer for them. The rest of these people don’t deserve our attention.

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Fox Developing TV Series About Jesus’ ‘Lost Years’

Monday, April 28th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

FX Productions is developing a sort of origins story series — think Smallville or any of the Avengers movies — for the life of Jesus. What can go wrong?

With popularity of Bible-themed projects showing no signs of subsiding, Fox has put in development Nazareth, an event series written/executive produced by David Franzoni (Gladiator) and executive produced by Bob CooperNazareth is the first project under an overall deal for event series that Fox has signed with Cooper and Tyler Mitchell’s Landscape Entertainment. It follows the formative years of Jesus of Nazareth. There had been a lot of interest recently in Jesus’ so called “lost years,” a lesser known period in his life because there is very little written about him from the age of 13, following a pilgrimage to Jerusalem he took with his parents, to age 30, when he began his ministry and was baptized by John the Baptist.

Why doesn’t a TV network try producing a Mohammed’s “lost years” TV show?

They could make it an animated cartoon show.

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Dallas Cowboys Release 2014 Schedule, Begin Early Preparations for Late Season Collapse

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There’s no way to sugar coat this: The Dallas Cowboys’ 2014 schedule is brutal. It would make Attila the Hun look away with trembling lower lip.

America’s Former Team open the season at home against the San Francisco 49ers. Show of hands, who thinks Jerry’s Boys will win that one?

Yeah, it’s at home and it’s the season opener, but Jerry World hasn’t exactly been a fortress for the home team. Going into last season the Cowboys had compiled a record of 17-15 at what is now AT&T Stadium. Last season they went 5-3 at home but lost key games against the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Great Cheesehead Debacle of 2013 was the most painful — the Cowboys capitulated after leading by 23 at halftime to a team that didn’t even have its MVP quarterback. It was a disgraceful result of failing to follow the law that you run the ball when you have the lead, especially when your running back is averaging well over 5 yards per carry.

Don’t get me wrong, AT&T Stadium is great for importing European soccer matches. But the sheer spectacle of Jerry World seems to motivate the NFL’s visiting teams while the home crowd is too busy watching the pole dancers and the gigantic TV to cheer in sync with what’s happening on the field. The Niners will come in ready to roll over their old nemesis, and will probably come out with a season opening win.

Let’s suppose that the Cowboys then reel off a string of wins and get to November 23 with a record of 9-1. They won’t — they face the Seahawks on Oct 12 at Seattle, for one tough match, and have the Saints at home for another. Realistically, the Cowboys will be 5-5 or at best 6-4 after the first 10 games. The Cowboys have been weak in games against non-NFC East opponents over the past couple of years. They face some very difficult non-NFC East opponents in the first part of this season, plus a tricky match against the Texans, who were terrible last season but are always up for the in-state rivalry game.

But again, let’s just say that the Cowboys are 9-1 through Nov 9.

November 23 begins a nasty run. They travel to New York to face the Giants, who might actually be good again this year, then home to the Eagles, at Chicago, at the Eagles, home to the Colts and finish the season at Washington.

Those six games will define the season. The Cowboys over the past few seasons have gone into the late run with a chance to win the NFC East and get to the playoffs. But they have dropped just enough games in the late run to see them miss the post-season. In 2012, they went 3-3 after Thanksgiving and lost to the Redskins in a game that decided their post-season fate. In 2013, they went 3-3 after Thanksgiving, and lost 3 of their last 4 games, including a Jerry World loss to the Eagles that, again, decided their playoff fate.

Now look at this year’s late season run again.

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The Bears will be in their usual dogfight for the NFC North. The Colts have Andrew Luck to pick apart the always generous Dallas D, which if anything got weaker in the offseason. And four NFC East games that will decide who takes the division, including near back-to-back games against the Eagles. The Cowboys were very strong against the East last season, going 5-1, but thanks to their non-divisional games they still went 8-8 and missed the playoffs. They’re not likely to run up a division record like that again this season. None of the East teams look particularly strong, but the Cowboys haven’t used the offseason to get stronger either. They lost two key veterans on the defense, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher, while also releasing WR Miles Austin. Austin has been injury-prone, but was still a threat when healthy. Hatcher went to Washington and is already talking smack.

The Cowboys could well go 1-5 during that late stretch, leaving them 9-7 even if they have gone into that stretch in command. The best realistic scenario is for them to get to that point at 5-5 and then break even, to end up with yet another mediocre 8-8 season and miss the playoffs by losing at the Redskins on Dec 28. Watch for Hatcher to close out the season by sacking Tony Romo and causing a fumble, when the Cowboys should have been running the ball anyway.

What the Cowboys will need in that run-in is someone on the sidelines and someone the field who can put some steel into the team and carry them across to the playoffs. But that’s the kind of personnel that the recent vintage Cowboys have lacked the most.

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Seth Meyers Isn’t Funny

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

When I’m watching late night talk shows, it’s generally Conan or Jimmy Kimmel. Fallon strikes me as lazy but he’s growing on me.

I caught last night’s Late Night with Seth Meyers show and, frankly, I wish I hadn’t. He’s terrible.

 

He should’ve lost me with the monologue, which was full of weak obviousness. He led with an Earth Day joke in which a guy scolded him about throwing away a banana peel.

Banana peels are biodegradable, but whatever. He did a joke about AOL, meatballs, the shrinking middle class, and a bunch of other totally forgettable one-liners. I challenge you to laugh at just one of his monologue jokes.

He did some canned bit about 1980s NFL pencils. I used to have several of those pencils, so I could identify with collecting them when you were a kid. But the bit was just bad.

He did a “Deep Google” bit which could’ve very been funny, but wasn’t funny at all. It came off as embarrassingly contrived. Maybe that’s his schtick?

He did a bit in which he got romantic with planet earth because of Earth Day. It was awful. Painfully unfunny. Here, watch it if you want to, but it’s 3:30 you’ll never get back.

Then he had Sofia Vergara on. She can light up a black hole, but Meyers’ segment with her — bad. No chemistry.

Then he had Natalie Dormer on. She’s on Game of Thrones and is now filming the next Hunger Games movie. Dormer has been on everything, from The Tudors to Elementary and now the most talked-about show on earth.

Meyers mostly talked with her about running.

So, Meyers had two gorgeous actresses who are at the top of their games on his set, one right after the other, and he still managed to not be very interesting. The show would have flowed better if he had been cut out of both of those interviews entirely.

I didn’t stick around after the Dormer interview.

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This Is An Actual, Serious CNN Headline

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s nice to see that the Clinton News Network has taken a break from Ancient Aliens Meets Flight 370 to cover Justin Bieber and the urgent stories of our day.

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First Photos Emerge from Star Wars VII Set

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A pair of photos from the set of Star Wars VII have hit the ‘net. They don’t show much, other than to confirm that shooting on the first true sequel to the Star Wars franchise since Return of the Jedi is underway. It’s set for release in December 2015.

The photos show a desert landscape in Dubai, which has replaced unstable Tunisia as the backdrop for Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine. The second shows what appears to be props to build the foot of an imperial AT-AT. They made their first appearance in 1979′s Empire Strikes Back, in the battle for ice planet Hoth.

Sightings Of The Set Of Star Wars

 

R2-D2 is the only confirmed character to return from the earlier films, but others are expected to make cameo appearances, at least. Disney now owns, and J.J. Abrams now directs, the Star Wars franchise.

h/t HuffPo

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What Kind of an Idiot Names His PAC ‘Boats ‘N Hoes’?

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This kind.

Political consulting firm employee Shaun Nowacki registered the political action committee, “Boats ‘N Hoes PAC,” with the Texas Ethics Commission on April 1, according to state records.

Nowacki is listed as comptroller for Blakemore and Associates Consulting Firm, whose namesake, Allen Blakemore, is the “senior strategist” for Republican Dan Patrick’s lieutenant governor campaign. The firm also advised Greg Abbott, the GOP nominee for governor, during eight previous campaigns from 1991 to 2004, according to Blakemore’s website.

The distance from that dope to major Texas GOP candidates is considerable, but not enough to keep Democrats from squawking about it. That’s politics. Republicans quickly distanced themselves from the idiotically named PAC, which seems to be named after a comedic, and probably offensive to many, rap in the 2008 movie Step Brothers, which starred Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.

Perhaps registering it on April 1 is supposed to make it some sort of prank, but whether that’s the case or not, it backfired. The Democrats pounced and commenced with the usual “war on women” bits.

That name constitutes a war on taste and good sense. It’s fair to seriously question the judgement of the individual who registered it, even as a joke.

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CBS Reveals that Stephen Colbert Will Replace Letterman

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s an odd choice, but CBS has made it official: Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as host of The Late Show once Letterman retires.

I say it’s an odd choice because Colbert plays a character on his Comedy Central show. He’s parodying Bill O’Reilly. Does he bring that schtick to a full talk show at CBS, or does he leave it behind and re-invent himself?

The safe bet would be to stick with what brought him success so far, but the safe bet would not have been to bring Colbert to The Late Show in the first place. Craig Ferguson would have made a good replacement, as he already has a talk show on CBS. He just would have had to move forward an hour, and probably polish up a thing or two. His show carries forward with the wackiness that Letterman had, a long time ago.

Colbert…I don’t know.

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Blame Obama: Archie To Be Killed Off

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Nothing is sacred.

Not even Archie Andrews is immortal in the world of comics.

Archie Comics says the famous comic book character will heroically sacrifice himself while saving the life of a friend in a July installment of “Life with Archie.” The comic book series tells the story of grown-up renditions of Archie and his Riverdale gang.

Archie’s final moments will be detailed in “Life with Archie” No. 36, while issue No. 37 will jump forward a year and focus on his friends Jughead, Betty, Veronica and Reggie honoring the legacy of their red-headed pal, who first appeared in comics in 1941.

If they are so determined to bring realism to comic books they should have Archie die while waiting for surgery that he can’t get because it isn’t covered on his Obamacare “Bronze” plan.

For the record: I was always a Veronica guy.

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Letterman Calling It Quits Next Year

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Has Leno called CBS yet?

David Letterman, the longest-running host in the history of late-night television, announced that he will retire from his CBS show next year, the latest shakeup in a rapidly changing late night talk-show lineup.

Mr. Letterman, who has always used his show as the outlet for discussing developments in both his life and his career, revealed his decision during a taping Thursday afternoon in Manhattan.

Mr. Letterman, 66, said he had informed the CBS president, Leslie Moonves, of his intention to step down from “The Late Show” at the end of his current contract, which expires in 2015. Mr. Letterman is considered by many to be the most original voice in the late-night format, and Mr. Moonves has been steadfast in his assurances in recent years that he would never ask Mr. Letterman to retire, saying at one point, “You don’t do that to a television legend.”

His departure will mean that the coveted 11:35 pm time slot will have a largely new lineup of hosts. In January of 2013, Jimmy Kimmel moved his ABC show from midnight to 11:35, and in February Jimmy Fallon replaced Jay Leno on NBC’s “Tonight” show.

Yes, I know that Letterman has been phoning it in for a few years and went off the lefty political deep end during the 2012 election, but for a good chunk of the ’80s and ’90s he knew how to bring it. I’ve been around so long I remember when he was doing stand-up even before he became a regular guest-host on The Tonight Show. The battle between him and Leno to take over Johnny Carson’s spot was some of the best behind the scenes television drama ever (Bill Carter, who wrote the above-linked article, authored a great book about it called The Late Shift).

I was only half kidding about Leno calling CBS. Jay is a noted workaholic and more than likely wasn’t thrilled with having to exit NBC this year.

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VIDEO — Fallon Rips Obama AGAIN, This Time Over Russia — With Sarah Palin at His Side!

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Russian President Vladimir Putin says “I come from strong genes, Obama comes from Mom jeans.”

His opposite in this Jimmy Fallon sketch: Sarah Palin. Showing solid comedic chops.

The Tonight Show audience seems to love her. Take a look.

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h/t Glenn Beck

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WATCH — Jimmy Fallon Mocks Obama’s 7 Million Triumphalism

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

While the mainstream media report the Obama administration’s Obamacare enrollment figure uncriticially, Jimmy Fallon pokes a few holes. Take a look.

Fallon didn’t even slow jam the bad news: “It’s amazing what you can achieve when you make something mandatory, and fine people if they don’t do it, and keep extending the deadline for months. It’s like a Cinderella story.”

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Rachel Ray Turns Her Show Over to Obamacare Propaganda, Tears Up While Pitching Sign-Up Deadline

Monday, March 31st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s more and more evident that much of the entertainment industry has merged itself with the Obama administration. Following Ellen, Funny or Die and many other entertainment outlets shilling for President Obama’s unpopular law, celebrity chef and talker Rachel Ray has done the same. She had Vice President Joe Biden on to urge Americans to sign up for Obamacare.

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Ray even thanked the Obama administration directly for imposing its unpopular and non-functional law on the American people. Neither Ray nor Biden mentioned any of the Americans who have lost their coverage because of Obamacare, or who have faced terrible problems because of it. Effectively, they don’t exist — just like Harry Reid said.

h/t NRO

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MSNBC’s Golden Boy Loses to Re-Run of Golden Girls, May Be Canned

Monday, March 31st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

MSNBC’s decision to hang its future on 28-year-old TV rookie Ronan Farrow never made a lot of sense. He has famous parents and lots of Twitter followers, but no TV experience and no background that suggests he’s anything other than a predictable Hollywood liberal bloviator.

The NYDN reports that Farrow’s show is performing poorly — very poorly — and may go away soon.

Ronan Farrow’s MSNBC talk show is facing cancellation amid poor ratings, sources exclusively tell Confidenti@l.

Farrow, 28 — the opinionated, blue-eyed son of actress Mia Farrow and either Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra (even Farrow’s not sure which) — has been a disaster for MSNBC. The channel took the frequent cable-show guest and handed him his own program, “Ronan Farrow Daily,” which premiered in late February.

“He sort of stinks on TV,” an MSNBC source told Confidenti@l. “He hasn’t turned out to be the superstar they were hoping for.”

The golden boy can’t even beat the 1990s comedy Golden Girls:

Even worse: Wednesday’s show was 708th among all programming ranked by Nielsen, in both total viewers and the 18-to-49 age group advertisers covet. The midnight airing of “Baggage” on the Game Show Network came in ahead of it, at No. 707, and the 8 a.m. “Golden Girls” on the Hallmark Channel (No. 700) crushed it.

It’s shocking, really, that Farrow’s story about Bronies — while war looms in Europe — didn’t turn his fortunes around.

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