Lefsetz: MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Queen of Cable News

She’s the left wing explainer in chief…

I’ve become addicted to the news. Not just the papers which arrive every day, whose apps I’m constantly checking on my phone, but TV, which I mostly catch via satellite on Sirius XM.

That’s right, there’s everything from FoxCNN and MSNBC to Bloomberg, NPR and the BBC. I want to know what’s going on.

And so does everybody else.

As George Drakoulias famously said, he used to fight over bands, now we all fight over politics.

I did not see this coming.

The long national primary season, which seemed to start immediately after President Obama’s last electoral victory, resulted in two candidates who fought hard with Donald Trump emerging victorious and now seemingly no one is happy.

And it’s hard to say it doesn’t matter.

Want an abortion? Want corporations out of politics? Then Gorsuch in the Supreme Court will keep you awake at night.

Want to get rid of Obamacare? Want to get rid of the welfare state? Well, that turns out to be much harder to do. Turns out talk is cheap and that wall ain’t gonna be erected anytime soon.

So what we’ve got is a lot of people yelling.

On TV and in person. Figuring if they just shout loud enough, they’ll win. Not realizing no one who disagrees with them is tuning in anyway.

Then we’ve got Rachel Maddow who takes a different tack.

Yes, yes, she was excoriated over her tedious buildup to the Trump tax return reveal. However the truth is the media builds you up and then destroys you and if you believe it all you’ve got enough whiplash to end up in physical therapy.

And it’s weird playing the home game. With a President who constantly contradicts himself. Not only in statement, but policy.

But the whole world is watching.

America used to be the leader. Continue reading

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New Jack City: Movies: Oldsters Rock Evolving Movie Biz

Guess what THE AVENGERS, IRON MAN, SPIDER-MAN and CAPTAIN AMERICA have in common?

They all very successfully kicked off the past several summer movie seasons with early May debuts.

Now as we are about to reenter the tentpole season beginning with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY-VOLUME 2 (May 5) I would like to address two major concerns facing the motion picture industry—specifically the theatrical exhibition side of it.

It’s no secret that several major Hollywood studios are pushing for an even shorter span between a film’s first showing on the big screen and it is being made available to video on demand, DVD and other means of digital distribution.

It’s a major concern to theater operators but one we’ll hold for future discussion.

The other ongoing concern is the decreasing numbers of millennials going to the movies on a (what used to be) regular basis.

Instead they pick and choose from among tentpole offerings and ignore the rest.

How to lure them back? Continue reading

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Glazer: The Beginning of the End for Hosmer, Royals?

Things are not looking good for this year’s Royals

There’s just no offense.

In fact, even their flagship sports station 610 Sports is down on the club’s efforts. Long games – like the 1-0 loss, a four hour game – are BORING.

“The Royals hard to watch right now.”

Yes, their starting pitching has been outstanding, but with no offense how long will that continue?

The big hurt is Eric Hosmer – the face of the team – doing next to nothing thus far.

He’s batting just .197, with one home run and he’s not getting it done with men on base. He’s nearly leading the league in hitting into double plays.

Not good.

Alex Gordon continues to prove that his big contract and dumping Ben Zobrist to keep him, was a mistake.

Gordon has a large sample size of no offense. In 500 at bats he’s hitting just over .200 over the last two seasons.

Nobody is hitting well except Lorenzo Cain, however he’s not hitting with any power either and is the walk king right now.

Last year Paulo Orlando showed promise, this season he is batting just .149.

The good news is the season’s  still young. Continue reading

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Hearne: The Spin Stops Here, Baby

How many times does the exact same story about fallen Fox News host Bill O’Reilly need to be written?

I’ve lost count.

The usual suspects have been busy reporting basically the same stuff – CNN, MSNBC, Vanity Fair, New York Times, Fox news – even the late to the party Kansas City Star. 

Here’s another take:

I hung out with O’Reilly in the early days of his success at Fox News, when he was still something of a right wing cult hero…relatively speaking.

A group of Kansas City business dudes flew him in for a talk at the Folly Theatre and success did not appear to have completely gone to his head.

Yet.

What had gone to O’Reilly’s head was a really bad cold – he was miserable – but not about to forgo his at that point microscopically small speaking fee as well as a bit of ink from the local daily.

The left leaning loons in the FYI section of the Star had already written off Big Bill. And since I didn’t crucify him, they figured I must have been some sort of right wing Rush Limbaugh disciple as well.

Little did they know I’d yanked the lever for Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, and later not once but twice for Obama. Let alone that I gave money last year – again, not once but twice – the leftist loon of all, Bernie Sanders. Continue reading

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Lefsetz: Chalk One Up for Mankind; Bill O’Reilly Takes a Bullet

No one is bigger than the system…

You may think you rise above – that you’re better than the rest of us, know more, are entitled to more – but that’s not true. Furthermore, the nature of human beings is they want to tear you down to their level if they think you’ve gotten too big for your britches.

Bill O’Reilly lost contact with the working man, the same person he said he was speaking to in his show. And what a show that was, one in which he said he slung it straight, but if you disagreed with him you couldn’t get a word in edgewise and were labeled a nitwit.

Do we blame O’Reilly for our present national condition, one in which facts don’t matter and rational discourse in search of truth is out the window?

Yes – along with the rest of the right wing blowhards who should realize if you live in a glass house, you shouldn’t throw stones.

Like Rush Limbaugh, who lost his hearing from overusing opiates after denigrating drug addicts. Turns out right wingers O.D. just like Democrats, but for a long time the Republicans did not agree.

Not until their kids started dying and they became compassionate.

And expect them to come around to global warming and gay rights and so much more. That’s right, Democratic/left wing principles win in the end, because they’re people-oriented as opposed to money-oriented, they’re more about love than hate.

Did you see the WaPo story saying Trump voters pulled the lever because of racism? I believe that. Hell, it even exists in the institutions of higher learning, wherein Asians are excluded. You work hard to get ahead and then those in power don’t like it, they want to keep you down.

And Bill O’Reilly, despite constantly saying he was defending the little man, was doing anything but.

What do these people want?

To exorcise the government from their lives, to eliminate taxes so the corporations can rape and pillage with no restrictions – not worrying about safety whatsoever – so you can sit on your porch self-satisfiedly believing you’re free.

Come on.

Yup, that’s the truth. Send me all the hate mail you want. Continue reading

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Lefsetz: It’s the End of the World as We Know it

Am I the only one freaked out about this?

I lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was only 9 years-old, but I was plenty scared. I remember visiting my grandparents in Peabody, Mass., lying on the sloping porch of their three story abode, asking my mother what was gonna happen.

She said if they dropped the bomb we’d all die, and not to worry about it.

Is that the genesis of all my problems right there? Because this only made me more afraid.

And I haven’t been that afraid this century.

Haven’t been afraid for decades. Yes, 9/11 happened, but that was in New York, the first stop for Europeans, a bit more of a hop, skip and a jump from the Middle East, but the centralized city, Manhattan, makes a perfect target.

However if they’re lobbing bombs from North Korea, L.A.’s the place.

Don’t tell me to be unafraid. It doesn’t work.

Just like in the instance of my mom above.

I laugh when I hear people in the heartland give up their rights in the name of protection from terrorism. The assailants are gonna go there last. They’re gonna start in the big cities, where they can have the most impact.

So I’m driving on the freeway and they’re going on about the Mother Of All Bombs. ISIS is comprised of bad guys, I get it. But aren’t we pissing them off by doing this, the ones who survive? Aren’t we imploring them to commit acts of terrorism, poison our water, kill our children? That’s the first thing that went through my mind, revenge. Some of these people have been pissed for centuries, they can hold a grudge. And the truth is no one can keep America safe, it just can’t be done. Continue reading

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Hearne: What Goes Around Comes Around for St. L. Rams Fans

Does anyone not living in the 314 area code feel sorry for St. Louis Rams fans?

Seriously.

That after St. Louis filed a lawsuit yesterday against the National Football League over its Rams relocating to Los Angeles.

Uh, relocating back to LA.

Something about the NFL “enriching itself at the expense of the community it left behind.”

Which is kinda funny.

That’s because before the Rams pulled the plug on the Gateway City last year to return to LA – a city the team spent nearly 50 years in before moving to Missouri in 1995 – it was St. Louis that ripped off Los Angeles

That’s right, St. Louis offered financial incentives that included a taxpayer funded domed stadium for the Rams to abandon LA.

That’s funny.

I don’t recall any of the 314 crowd worrying about the NFL enriching itself at the expense of LA then.

So much for turnabout being fair play.

Prior to that of course, LA did a number on Cleveland by waltzing off with the 1945 NFL champion Cleveland Rams.

The not too far between-the-lines truth being what most people have long since figured out; that nothing in life is sacred when it comes to big time sports. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘FURIOUS 8’—Hell-Bent Popcorn Flick

 

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS is obviously not intended for critical analysis by reviewers…

But what the heck, I’ll give you an overview of this eighth installment in the blockbuster franchise anyway—the first one without its late co-star Paul Walker.

First off, let’s just say there’s no fear of leaking spoilers here. The plot of F8 is….well…almost secondary.

And as you watch the proceedings up on the big screen you come to realize just HOW razor-thin the story line actually is.

So acting and plot aside, what you get instead is a two hour (plus) long cinematic demolition derby that makes anything TRANSFORMERS has served up in the past tame by comparison.

Live-action Roadrunner cartoon, anyone? Continue reading

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Glazer: Are the 2014/2015 World Series Royals Gone For Good?

All spring long we heard that the Royals needed a fast start to the season…

Why?

For starters,  just to be in the race and secondly so they wouldn’t be tempted to unload a couple of core players before the draft deadline in order to get something for them instead of losing them when their contract expires at season’s end.

Most notably that would include Eric Hosmer, who although he’s never been a superstar, he is a star. Plus he was clutch in playoffs in 2014 and 2015 and  is the face of this team’s core group.

The Royals wanted to be more of a power team with home runs.

For example, they added Brandon Moss. Thus far though we’ve seen the problem with power hitting as a means of scoring. That being lots of strike outs, and not getting the ball into play with men on base as much. And if you don’t get enough home runs often, you lose.

Example: the Royals are second in the majors in homers, yet in last place at 2 and 5. Continue reading

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Jack Goes Confidential: ‘GIFTED’—Emotionally Spirited Comedic-Drama

 

It’s gotta be tough always being the pretty boy…

After all he IS Captain America!

So it’s nice seeing Chris Evans in a small film for a change—in a role that has him a little more grounded.

In GIFTED he plays Frank, a single boat repairman just doing his thing in a small Florida coastal village.

But there’s more—much more–to Frank’s current lifestyle.

He is raising his spirited young seven year-old niece Mary whose mother committed suicide when the child was just six months old.

And there’s also something else about Mary…… Continue reading

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Glazer: The Night I Partied With Don Rickles

I saw Don Rickles during final days of the Great Las Vegas

That’s back when Elvis was at the Hilton and Frank Sinatra just down the street. I was a student at Arizona State in my late teens and would drive to Vegas to see the stars and try my hand at one and two buck limit black jack.

Back then if you had the money they didn’t card you. I grew up watching Rickles on the TONIGHT SHOW with Johnny Carson. When Rickles was on, I’d go out of my way to stay up and watch him. It was comedy at its best back then, never  to be repeated.

When I moved to Los Angeles in the early 80’s to get into the film biz and sell my life story, my agent got a young lawyer to represent me. His name was Richard Rosenblum and he was the stepson of Variety star writer/reporter Army Archerd.

For decades GOOD MORNING: ARMY ARCHERD was the Hollywood column everyone wanted to be mentioned in as often as possible. Army was so popular he eventually hosted the Red Carpet walk of fame and interview all his pals who were nominated for academy awards.

Army was awarded a star’ on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So of course there was a party and dinner at his club and I got to go due to my friendship with his step son, Richard.

Army was kind enough to write stories about me and my life story. Continue reading

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Hearne: The Beat Goes on @ INK

In the wake of Pitch Weekly going for a dirt nap, all eyes are on the future…

First on how long will a monthly Pitch be able to keep the wolf away from the door And second, how long will the Kansas City Star continue to choke out what’s left of its nine year-old entertainment weekly INK.

Like the Pitch, INK has withered away to next to nothing.

It’s latest 24 page issue falling far short of making an actual profit.

That said, the Star has a long history of engaging in money losing projects from books and magazines to holiday retail stores. Continue reading

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Paul Wilson: Bill O’Reilly – Caution, You’re About to Enter the NO SPEND Zone

Just when the smoking hot news readers thought it was safe to go back into the staff meeting, our favorite right wing pervanator strikes again…

Between 20 and 50 advertisers have reportedly pulled out of “The O’Reilly Factor” after the latest round of O’Reilly’s sexual harassment saga unfolded in the New York Times.

What a perfect time for Tracy Thomas to strike while the harassment’s HOT!

Let’s take a little walk down Sexual Harassment Lane and revisit why little Billy and his little willy are where they are today. If you’re keeping score at home, O’Reilly has paid $10 million and Fox News $3 million to settle five cases in the last 15 years.

In 2011, Rebecca Gomez Diamond, a former host, was fired after she complained about O’Reilly’s actions. But it wasn’t just her word against his; she kept tapes. She left after signing a confidentiality agreement and getting a settlement out of Bill’s own pocket.

Last year, former Fox anchor Laurie Dhue settled for more than $1 million after she made harassment claims against O’Reilly and former Fox head dude Roger Ailes.

In 2004, producer Andrea Mackris, claimed O’Reilly told her to buy a vibrator and shared his fantasies about having sex with her. She alleged he threatened her to keep her mouth shut. Settling her suit for $9 million made that easier to accomplish.

In September, Fox settled with Juliet Huddy for $1.6 million after she claimed O’Reilly pursued sex with her in 2011. After she allegedly refused, O’Reilly hit her over the head with a glass ceiling and blocked her career.

Andrea Tantaros, sued Fox and O’Reilly and has reportedly turned down a $1 million settlement offer.

Wendy Walsh, once a regular guest on The Factor, told the Times that “after she rebuffed O’Reilly’s advances he failed to get her a promised job as a network contributor.”

At least two other women reportedly have told similar stories but have not yet settled.

Sheesh, O’Reilly’s starting to make Bill Cosby look like an amateur. Continue reading

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New Jack City: Whole Foods to Exit Metcalf Location

The rumors have been swirling for some time…

Unfortunately, now I have learned that they are true!

WHOLE FOODS MARKET will be closing its popular Overland Park store at 91st and Metcalf at the end of the year.

It’s something the folks at NATURAL GROCERS should be happy about since they attract similar shoppers and are almost next door to each other.

For you and me? Not to worry.

The other WHOLE FOODS MARKET on 119th street in Overland Park will remain a going concern.

Ditto the Olathe outlet.

So what is in the cards for associates of the old location? Continue reading

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Hearne: The Rise & Fall of INK Magazine

Last one out, turn off the lights…

Forget about the Kansas City Star rescuing what’s left of The Pitch. The beleaguered, former alt weekly threw in the towel last month, but instead of merely curling up and dying, embarked on a path of monthly magazine publication on high quality, coated stock paper.

Fat chance thats gonna work out.

Which leaves INK magazine, the Star’s contribution to what passes for a watered down alt weekly. INK sprang to life during the inopportune year 2008 – a year in which big city newspapers and print publications were already hemorrhaging red ink (speaking of “ink”) and laying off staff by the thousands.

Yet somehow or other, the dudes with the fat paychecks at 18th and Grand calculated that there was money to be made by trying to eat The Pitch’s lunch via a cleaner cut, F word-free weekly.

And for a little while that almost seemed to make sense.

But not for long…

Because while from the get go, INK attracted the kind of advertising The Pitch thirsted for but could never land (mainstream retailers to whom being seen alongside sleazy sex ads was a deal killer), the newsprint format combined with free  distribution rendered profitably unattainable.

So as The Pitch withered away, shrinking from 100 page plus issues, chock full of ads each week, to 32 pages with not enough ads to even justify weekly publication, INK became – as the Star claimed anyway – “Kansas City’s best source for entertainment, lifestyle, food & music options for people in their 20s & 30s.”

Just one problem…

Despite its token online presence, like The Pitch, INK needed those fat revenues print pubs had historically attracted. Rather than the relatively puny ad dollars available online.  Continue reading

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Glazer: Former KU Coach Roy Williams Leaves Bill Self in the Dust

So much for KU’s delusions of grandeur…

North Carolina coach Roy Williams just moved to the No. 2 spot behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski on active coaches with national championships. Roy won his third in nine Final Fours, with his NC squad beating Gonzaga 71-65 last night.

So how does this make KU’s Bill Self  feel and look?

Roy had four trips to the Final Four with Kansas but didn’t win a single one. Self has two in his 14 seasons and won the one in 2008. That said, Self just went into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Now I’ll let you in on a little secret, that one championship granted Bill the love Roy was missing at Kansas with zero championships. However now with three at NC, Williams is in the chips.

I think Williams was more relieved than simply happy…maybe a bit of both.

But man, you can see how this grind has aged the former KU head coach. He’s aged a ton in just the last few seasons. Continue reading

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Paul Wilson: Trump Unifies the Nation – AGAINST Him!

When Ronald Reagan became president, he had the presence of mind to admit, “I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know.”

Similarly, I have the presence of mind to admit I voted for Donald Trump.

I did so with the hope he would turn things upside down and usher in real change. However with approval ratings rivaling Richard Nixon’s during Watergate, he’s managed to live out the concerns I had going into his term.

First and foremost, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

“I’m going to build the wall and make MEXICO pay for it.”

“I’m going to repeal and replace Obama Care and it’s going to be so, so easy…”

“We will defeat ISIS in 30 days.”

Those claims already lie wasted on the floor alongside other election campaign promises embarrassing in number.

“So, so easy,” has been replaced, “Sorry, that’s not going to happen,” even though Republicans control absolutely everything.

Everything except a unifying spirit…and strategic negotiation skills. Continue reading

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Glazer: So Many Questions, So Few Answers

Not much national media noise on this year’s Kansas City Royals team…

The big question: Are they even a contender?

Answer: Nobody has a clue.

Las Vegas says no, with fewer than 80 wins. But Vegas has been wrong many times before. The other big question: Is this the last year for players like Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain,  Moose and Alcides Escobar?

If the season doesn’t go well early on there’s a good chance the Royals will unload the team’s top core players like Hosmer in order to get something in return, rather than just watch him leave next season when his contract is over.

Royals GM Dayton Moore picked up some interesting players in the off season.

Sluggers like Brandon Moss. A new starter and trying out some minor league guys. The team will go with Raul Mondesi at second base this season. Pablo Orlando will see more action and the DH slot is up for grabs. Continue reading

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Edelman: King’s Catalogue Makes a Great Musical

What would have happened if the great songwriters of the 1960s– those Brill Building denizens– hadn’t discovered Joe Turner and rock and roll? 

What if, instead of stoking the star-maker machinery behind the popular song, they’d followed Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe, Harold Arlen and their  Tin Pan Alley buds, writing for Broadway and knocking out Sinatra singles instead of 45s on Top Forty radio?

We get a taste of that “what if” in the sparkling new musical BEAUTIFUL, now thru Sunday at the Music Hall. Carole King and hubby Gerry Goffin plus fellow 60s songwriting couple Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil are the subjects of this bioplay, which traces the careers of these four songsmiths as they made rock and roll history, one three or four chord anthem at a time. Continue reading

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Lefsetz: The ‘Man Bun’ Conundrum

When did this become a thing?

I first started noticing it on hipsters. Yoga-pants wearing males sporting sandals who seemed to be saying, “I’m expending so much energy that I just cannot have my hair on my neckline preventing my sweat from escaping. Look at me – olfactory mess that I am – I’m a living, breathing human specimen you can only envy.”

But one you wouldn’t want to touch.

That’s the thing about man buns. Women make fun of them. I’ve never ever heard a guy talk about someone’s bun but women constantly confide and snicker, laughing at the wearer.

And now it’s expanded. Continue reading

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