Glazer: Battle of the Political Losers

Obama-s-Puppet-Hillary-Clinton-42948Hillary Clinton‘s been backed into a corner with the FBI’s Computergate‘ report and her many scandals…

It’s really overwhelming and that will make it difficult for her to build much excitement over the next few months. She just isn’t very trustworthy and her past more than illustrates that.

On the other hand, Donald Trump continues to be all over the road. He did choose an excellent vice presidential partner in Indiana governor Mike Pence. Pence is the conservative many thought Trump needed to mend the fences with the right wing of the Republican party.

However in typical Trump fashion the announcement and his handling of it was shaky. Plus it appears that he had second thoughts on his pick up until the last day and hardly let the guy talk when they were interviewed all day. Trump continues to say many of the same things with little in the way of specifics to back up his plan to make America Great.

So while the Clinton’s have tried to hand this race over to Trump, he just can’t calm down enough to make people feel at ease with him. You really don’t see much of Clinton in the media compared to Trump. And with all the civil unrest and terror attacks everywhere, Trump sounds the tough guy candidate.

However no one knows exactly what the hell Trump would do to fix anything.

Trump continues to talk about Trump and not much else.

Yes, the polls have them in nearly a dead heat right now.

And if Cleveland isn’t a disaster Trump should pull ahead of Clinton in the polls following the convention. Clinton will then pull even or up after her convention. Way it works.

Thus America is left with a tough choice. Continue reading

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Chuck Lowe: Obama & Black Lives Matter Help Propel Violence Against Police

 Unknown-1In a Huff Post piece, Christopher Lamb took Republicans and Ben Carson to task for criticizing Obamacare at a National Prayer Breakfast…

I won’t go into the specifics, accuracy or prescient premonitions of the coming ACA disaster, but, suffice it to say, umbrage was taken, feathers ruffled. So offended by Carson’s contumacious conniptions in the presence of the presidential demiurge, Lamb penned the following:

“Rudeness is the raison d’etre of the far right, where bluster is preferable to rational discourse, hyperbole beats knowledge, and what one feels in one’s gut is more important than the facts.

Rudeness is a form of currency that provides those with shrill voices and cynical minds their own talk-radio programs or Fox News appearances, or maybe a future in politics, where they can scream their way to fame and fortune like carnival barkers and snake oil salesmen by appealing to the vilest of our instincts.”

In other words, Lamb found Carson’s comments at the National Prayer Breakfast “rude”. Continue reading

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New Jack City: Discouraged by Current Filmfare? There’s Hope!

FlorenceNot into spandex sporting superheroes, animated fowl or fighters of paranormal nostalgia?

Cheer up, Hollywood’s not forgotten you.

Here are four movies set to open during the next month with adult tastes in mind.

Upfront: ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE featuring the big screen debut of (BBC) TV’s Edina and Patsy fleeing penniless to the glamorous playground of the super-rich (the French Riviera) with a plan to make the resort their permanent residence and live the high life forever more.

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS opens this weekend.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

One week later—on July 29—Woody Allen teams Jesse Eisenberg with Steve CarellKristen StewartJeannine Berlin and Blake Lively in his 1930’s-set romantic-comedy CAFE SOCIETY.

Woody writes, directs and narrates but does not appear in the period piece.
Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: Bryan Cranston At His Best As ‘THE INFILTRATOR’

TI_D032_NW_00334 (l to r) Simón Andreu stars as Gonzalo Mora Sr., Bryan Cranston as undercover U.S. Customs agent Robert Mazur and Juliet Aubrey as his wife Evelyn in THE INFILTRATOR, a Broad Green Pictures release. Credit: Nick Wall / Broad Green Pictures

What genius decided to release THE INFILTRATOR during Hollywood’s popcorn summer?

It’s one of Bryan Cranston’s best screen roles yet and a true story to boot.

Set in the mid-80’s THE INFILTRATOR tells the intriguing story of undercover U.S. Customs agent Robert Mazur who became a pivotal player for drug lords laundering their dirty cash.

Mazur laid his life on the line to bring down the largest cartels not to mention the Bank of Credit and Commerce as he shook the underground economy to its core.

The film ends with an incredible sting that none of the bad guys EVER saw coming—and did them ALL in! Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘Ghostbusters’—The Action-Comedy Classic That DIDN’T Need A Reboot

empiregbcoverWhere’s the laugh track when you need it?

At the GHOSTBUSTERS screening earlier this week mine was two rows behind me where a couple of older gals shrieked at just about every line coming off the screen.

The rest of the audience not so much.

To suggest that this re-imagined version of GHOSTBUSTERS has its share of haters is a giant understatement.

The badmouthing began when the project was first announced and went into overdrive after the film’s first trailer hit the internet.

Director Paul (Bridesmaids/Spy/The Heat) Feig’s new version is basically the same story Ivan Reitman told three decades ago.

Here researcher Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig team with nuclear engineer Kate McKinnon and streetwise subway worker Leslie Jones—not to mention their goofy new office receptionist/hunk Chris Hemsworth.

All that talent set to battle an evil and powerful paranormal invasion.

It must have looked good on paper. But I can’t say the same for the end-product. Continue reading

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Glazer: Scribe Gets to Have Sex on the Silver Screen

IMG_0947Well, sometimes we get lucky in life…

I was asked a few weeks back to do an opening scene in Order 86, a small budget movie. The film’s director, Richard Buswell and production lady, Tara Knighton, explained it was important because it opens the picture and it’s the only sex scene in the PG rated movie.

The movie is an action piece ala 007 meets Our Man Flint. In it, the bad guys – me playing a bad guy, hard to believe, right? – have created a computer chip that will shut down all of the world’s computers ability to operate. And they’re about to blackmail the free world.

Think spy work, murder, espionage and good guys vs. bad all through the picture.

So here’s how my sex scene goes down:

I’m in bed, shirt off, waiting for my female partner – a very nice looking woman – to celebrate our invention that will make us millions. The actor, Jackie Cain, gets into a naughty looking outfit (see photo).

And hey, it was wild. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates’—And A Better Screenplay

MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATESRemember WEDDING CRASHERS with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn  in 2005?

THAT was a funny movie!

Now fast-forward some 11 years to this week’s MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES—or as I like to think of it: ‘Wedding Crashers—Light’

Here loser brothers Adam DeVine and Zac Efron are screw-ups who frequently seem to ruin family events with their stupid antics.

So now with their baby sister’s wedding just around the corner dad’s insisting the brothers bring dates to the nuptials—specifically NICE girls.

Easier said than done, since it’s a destination wedding in Hawaii!

Somehow these two goofs get themselves on the Wendy Williams Show to share their dilemma.

And sure enough they catch the attention of broke bad girls Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza who are smart enough to play good and trick the boys into two free tickets to Hawaii.

THAT’s where they show their true colors with their civilized and respectable behavior turning to raunch, booze and whatever else could possibly unhinge the guys—AND the festivities.

To suggest that the boys were out hustled by the uncontrollable female duo would be the ultimate understatement as some funny and often crude antics go down big time. Continue reading

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Lefsetz: Crooked Hillary or Bust?

8f4b96ae25530668b5e43cb30b915c4eShe didn’t obey the rules…

That’s another thing the working class believes in strongly – right and wrong – respecting the law. And the funny thing is, most of us consider ourselves working class, or middle class. Be sure to read the New York Times story on Wigan, a burg that always goes Labour that voted for Brexit. Despite only 25% of UK inhabitants being working class, 60% BELIEVE they are working class.

You never forget your roots. You might have an SUV and a sports car in the driveway (probably leased) but you remember when you struggled, and retain those underlying values…unless you WIN!

For far too long the emphasis in America has been on the winners.

And that means money. Hell, the media wouldn’t even publicize the MacArthur genius grants if they didn’t come with $125k a year attached. Is it hard to believe we’ve got a culture where the best and the brightest, the elite, bend the rules in their favor in order to succeed?

Bill Clinton comes from nothing, he’s arguably a hillbilly.

Hillary comes from something more. But after his Presidency Bill and Hillary blurred the edges, worked for anybody with the cash, barely different from a nitwit entertainer doing their act for a third world dictator.

Couldn’t they say no?

And they’ve got that bogus foundation wherein the money goes in and transparency disappears.

And now even their daughter Chelsea is a millionaire…really. Continue reading

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Lefsetz: The Independence Day Blues

circa 1985:  American president Ronald Reagan makes an announcement from his desk at the White House, Washington DC.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

I blame Ronald Reagan

And then Bill Clinton put a stake in the heart of the Middle cClass, all in an effort to save his job.

The right wing intelligentsia has lauded Reagan’s “accomplishments” to the point where they cannot be challenged.

In a disinformation campaign they slapped Reagan’s name on highways and buildings, as if that would cement their hold on the public consciousness. And the left wing intelligentsia has pointed to the economic run-up during Clinton’s reign as evidence of his “accomplishments.”

In the process our country became bifurcated, the land of haves and have-nots.

And this has all come home to roost with the ascension of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Sanders faded because Hillary was reasonable, whereas the Donald’s competitors were all paying fealty to an elite that had lost touch with the rank and file.

However, Hillary’s beliefs are in question, which means that…

Trump could win in the end.

Because he’s preaching revolution, whereas Clinton wants more of the same. And that same is not working for so many inhabitants of this great country of ours.

It’s not about immigration.

It’s about jobs.  Continue reading

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Sutherland: Two Different Commencements, Two Different Countries.

Screen-Shot-2016-05-26-at-3.59.48-PMRecently, one of the speakers at Harvard University’s commencement exercises caused a nationwide sensation…  

A young African-American man from North Carolina named Donovan Livingston, who was receiving his masters degree from the School of Education, recited a “word poem” known as “Lift Off!”

In this address, Livingston spoke of the liberating potential of education.  The reaction online, where both a live clip of his remarks, as well as its text,were posted on numerous websites, was overwhelming.

CNN called it, “one of the most moving and meaningful graduation moments of all times.”  Harvard’s own website described it as, “One of the most powerful heartfelt speeches you will ever hear.”

The story went viral with hundreds of thousands of hits.  The comments on the various sites where the video of his speech was posted were overwhelmingly favorable.  Many said Livingston was destined to be president, so forceful was his rhetoric.

I read his speech with great interest and watched the video.

And to me, the content seemed commonplace for the genre;

“We were born to be comets!” – “I belong among the stars.  And so do you.” – “ I teach of turning content into rocket ships – tribulations into telescopes” – “Together we can inspire galaxies of greatness for generations to come.” – “No, sky is not the limit.  It is only the beginning.  Lift off.”

I was puzzled by the rapturous response to this collection of platitudes of the “Follow that Dream!” variety, which are standard issue for graduation speeches.  Even the usual fawning attitude by white liberals towards blacks couldn’t account for the enthusiasm it was met with.

I studied the remarks more closely and the reason became obvious. Continue reading

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Glazer: No Need to Worry About Royals Making Playoffs

hi-res-3551287b6bba779e0f799fa2a39501ca_crop_northOK, we all know that the Cleveland Indians are on fire…

The team won 14 in a row. Not only that they are 19 games over .500 and have a 7 game lead over the Royals. However, the Royals still have more overall talent and they match up well with Cleveland. They’re just a superior ball club at the plate, on defense and yes, overall in pitching.

That means the Royals can catch the Indians. 

If not a wild card berth is likely.

The Royals have faced most of the top teams in the American League and nobody looks better than the Royals.

Baltimore looks just above average, Boston not so hot and the Blue Jays have struggled. Only the Texas Rangers might be a killer squad. But don’t forget about the Houston Astros who had a strong last month and are in position to compete at least for a wild card with KC.

Nobody in baseball has a middle lineup like the Royals.

Eric Hosmer is batting .305 with 12 homers and 48 RBI’s; Lorenzo Cain is hitting .290 with 8 homers; Sal Perez has 12 homers and a .286 batting average; then comes Kendrys Morales who is on fire on fire.

Want more? Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: Wildly Weird ‘Swiss Army Man’–And Then Some

Swiss1Get ready to take a walk on the wild side—of cinema that is.

SWISS ARMY MAN is the strangest movie experience I’ve had in years.

And while there is hardly any way to properly describe the film I’ll confess that I found it quite  endearing in a bizarre sort of way.

Can it be classified as a buddy comedy? Maybe. But only in an absurd way of thinking.

And about the story line? Lets see now…..

The movie begins with Paul Dano about to commit suicide by hanging himself on a far away deserted beach. But just then a body washes up on shore. He’s dead as a door nail Daniel Radcliffe.

But is he really dead?

His ongoing farting  adds to the existential audacity; his body eventually spewing water from his mouth in EXORCIST fashion puts another surreal wrinkle into the equation.

So far, so good, I guess.

However the real weirdness here has just begun as Radcliffe’s body comes back to life. Continue reading

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New Jack City: Whatever They Call It, Cheap’s Here To Stay

 

images-2Dynamic Pricing—get used to it!

It’s the new flip term to describe (sometimes) hard to move inventory and improve the bottom line.

Dynamic pricing is certainly not new.

It’s been around for decades—just not by its current catchy name.

Bars have called it, ‘Happy Hour.’

Airlines adjust their ticket prices by time of day, day of week and certainly by the season.

And movie theaters offer the same films at reduced prices during non-prime time showings.

They may call it Early Bird Shows, Twilight Pricing or whatever clever matinee terms pop out of their fertile marketing minds.

The latest enterprises to have changed their pricing philosophies to the dynamic way of thinking include airline frequent flyer programs. Continue reading

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Valentine: Brexit vs. The ‘News’ Media

Original art by Mark Valentine

Original art by Mark Valentine

Five months ago, I wrote about “The End Of Europe”

We’e not quite there yet, but the U.K. voting itself out of the E.U. ( Brexit) took us closer. We could talk about what comes next. We can talk about the financial implications, the social implications. We can talk about what it foreshadows for the American presidential elections. Those are all interesting subjects and they are all being talked about by lots of other people.

However let’s talk about what Brexit showed us about the American news media.

NBC, ABC, CBS and MSNBC were all surprised and shocked.

The New York Times had the “Remain” camp with an 80 percent chance of winning on the day of the vote. They didn’t see it coming.

How is that possible?

Bookies in the U.K. had the information. That means the facts were there, but they were overlooked. We could try to guess the reasons for this bad investigative reporting.  Instead, I think we should just add a large grain of salt to the so-called information that comes from these sources. Continue reading

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Hearne: Nosebleed Local Comedy Ripoffs Abound

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.45.35 PMTalk about really bad entertainment deals…

Allow me to let you guys in on a little secret; standup comedy sucks in giant arenas and stadiums. It really does.

The intimacy and immediacy of a comedy club environment – Stanford’s in Overland Park our the Improv up north for instance – is lost in venues much bigger than say the Uptown Theatre.

Because even at the Midland – with around a 3,000 capacity – even the better, upper level seats are just too far from the stage to make a legitimate connection. To see both the comic’s expressions and the people in the crowd up close that they invariably pick on.

Meaning, you’re basically paying big bucks to drive to downtown Kansas City, go through the hassle and expense of parking (and/or possibly getting a ticket or your car broken into), just to watch it on some so-so giant screen.

Trust me, I’ve done it and it’s a distant, far cry from the vibe you get – even with lesser, up-and-coming comics – in a nightclub atmosphere.

It’s a money grab.

That’s right, a year or two back you could have caught Amy Schumer up close and personal at Stanford’s for like 20 bucks and had an incredible, intimate experience. Probably even met her.

Now flash forward to November 3rd at Sprint Center where $39 nosebleed seats are actually gonna cost you $53 with the service charges added. Continue reading

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Hearne: A Front Page Correction By Any Other Name

 

Funny, this Woodstock crowd of 500,000 doesn't look that much smaller than the Royals rally

Funny, this Woodstock crowd of 500,000 doesn’t look that much smaller than the Royals rally

The definition of pathetic?

“Miserably or contemptibly inadequate.” Which pretty well describes a recent front page of the floundering by Kansas City Star.

Check it.

Up top was a prominently placed pic of a dejected Bernie Sanders trudging out of the White House after getting called on the carpet by President Obama. “Democrats move closer to unity,” the headline read.

Snoozer.

Does anybody today really think it’s the place of a daily print newspaper to inform folks of day old news that already’s been covered ad nauseam online and by television and radio? How out of it can the local newspaper editors be?

Put another way, how out of it do editors think their readership is?

However, the piece de resistance came in the form a centerpiece story about last fall’s World Series celebration. You know, the one that supposedly drew 800,000 Kansas City Royals fans downtown and to Union Station. 

“Whose count counts?” read the headline.

Mayor Sly James put the (crowd) estimate at 800,000 for the parade and rally after the Royals won the title,” the subhead continues. “But Alexander Kollaritsch estimates the true number to be a third of that.”

Excuse me…

Alexander Kollaritsch?

Hold it right there.

It took the local newspaper of record seven months to cobble together a front page story penned by a lowly copy editor in the sports department to unravel a myth that we busted here last year?

800,000 Royals Fans, Seriously?” read KCC’s headline. Continue reading

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Lefsetz: Climbing the Stairway to Heaven

hqdefaultLed Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is 72…

I don’t know whether he ripped off Spirit, whether he and Robert Plant will be held accountable by the jury, but I do know there will come a time when both of them won’t be here anymore. Or they will be, but they’ll be too infirm to play.

Been a strange year out there, from David Bowie to Glenn Frey to Merle Haggard to Prince. With Dan Hicks and a bunch of lesser lights extinguished to boot. They defined a generation. And now they’re gone.

My mother just told me that she’s the last one standing.

Do you have a deceased parent?

It’s a club you don’t want to be a member of. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up an orphan, although I’m not looking forward to that day, when there’s no context, when I realize I’m next…

Not that anybody my age acknowledges that. That’s the problem with Baby Boomers. They always think they’ll rule, that they’ll be here forever. But even Sumner Redstone is gonna pass – futurist Ray Kurzweil too. And as much as Steve Jobs changed our culture, Apple no longer even introduces one more thing. his signature style is gone. Kinda like the bands of yore, either you saw them or you didn’t.

But what’s even worse, so many of them have not survived into the second decade of the twenty first century. Does anybody under 20 know who 10cc was? Or even Gerardo? They’re bleeding edge, they’re on the oldies circuit, they become ill and then they die. Meanwhile life keeps moving forward. Continue reading

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Glazer: Who Says Cleveland & the NBA Don’t Matter?

main-qimg-61827dde6f9c55fc9381e4f3eded8232No NBA team had ever come back from being down 3-1 in the finals…

That is, until Sunday.That’s when LeBron James proved that he is ‘THE MAN’ in today’s NBA. James took Cleveland to its first championship title in more than half a century. It was 1964 last time Cleveland won a national championship in pro sports.

Wow.

LeBron was hated by many in Cleveland for leaving for Miami a few years back, in order to win a championship. But now he’s THE MOST LOVED man in the city’s history. He did the impossible,

LeBron now holds about every record one could attain in the NBA Finals. He even had a triple double in game 7 and scored plus 40 in games 5 and 6, things nobody not even Michael Jordan ever did. More important he now has three rings and two championships for both Miami and Cleveland. Of course he was the voted MVP of the series.

We in Kansas City can appreciate the long wait for the city of Cleveland. Continue reading

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Glazer: Kevin Farley Tonight @ Stanford’s in Overland Park!

tumblr_inline_mopib8P8jh1s0yjq8Too few remember how big a star John Belushi was back in the day…

His Saturday Night Live skits and hit movies like Animal House made him a household name in the 1980’s. Unfortunately Belushi died of a drug overdose way too young.

His younger brother Jim Belushi emerged shortly thereafter in movies like Thief with James Caan. Few expected Jim to become as big or bigger than his older famous brother. However in time that’s kinda what happened. The younger Belushi became a movie comedy sidekick to stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Red Heat and later a leading man in movie after movie. Jim later hit it huge with his nine year television series, According to Jim.

The same thing is starting to happen today with Kevin Farley.

Kevin is the younger brother of comedy superstar Chris Farley who also died too young via drug and alcohol problems.

Several years ago Kevin Farley entered the scene in film and TV parts – including the memorable Curb Your Enthusiasm with Larry David. Continue reading

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Hearne: American Royal BBQ Needs Reality Check

WS-BBQ-Banner-AdIt’s complicated…

That’s one way to look at KC’s vaunted American Royal World Series of Barbecue, an institution that appears headed for endangered species status.

Along with of course, the American Royal horse and livestock show which seems to draw more horse flies these days than paying customers. Sad though it is, these days nobody really seems to much care about it.

Not much more than a year ago, big shot corporate supporters of the dying, annual livestock and horse shindig tried to muscle Kansas City officials into tearing down Kemper Arena  and erecting a smaller but still wildly expensive replacement. To be paid for mostly by taxpayers, naturally.

Well, for the time being anyway that ship seems to have sailed.

Fortunately the barbecue contest still matters, but for how long?

The unfortunate part of it being that rival, forward thinking city Memphis has turned its rival World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest into a world class event via a killer riverside location right off its bustling blues-themed entertainment district and pairing it with a music fest that rivals some of the nation’s best.

This year for example, Memphis hosted Neil Young, Paul Simon,  Beck, Weezer, John Mayall, Lucinda Williams, Gin Blossoms, Barenaked Ladies, Panic at the Disco and dozens more.

And so who’s playing at this year’s BBQ World Series at the Kansas Speedway?

Beats me.

Nobody as of yet, based on a careful reading of the American Royal website. Continue reading

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