Nobody’s ever lost their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Will Trump be the first?

Hollywood Hills resident Andrew Rudick is on a mission.

Over the last three years, he’s submitted public records requests, retrieved case documents from the Los Angeles County Superior Court, spoken at City Council meetings and corresponded with government officials.

He’s determined to get Donald Trump’s star removed from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s not an easy task.

“The reasonably conveyed message to the millions who have walked past that plaque since 2021 is the city’s endorsement of a man who attempted a coup against the United States,” Rudick said at a Los Angeles City Council meeting earlier this month.

Although multiple City Council members said they do not support the former president and would like to see his star removed, nobody knows exactly how to make that happen. Several groups with varying levels of jurisdiction have a hand in operating the Walk of Fame, including the City Council, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the Hollywood Historic Trust.

The removal of a star is unprecedented, and a process for doing so has never been established. Rudick’s activism, however, is forcing city officials to confront the unknown.

The star itself draws all kinds of attention.

Elodie Toutain, a 21-year-old originally from France, said she stomped on Trump’s star while visiting the Walk of Fame this month. “There are so many people who have better intentions than him,” she said.

The star has been vandalized and smashed several times, costing more than $20,000 in repairs since 2016, according to the Hollywood Historic Trust. One street artist placed prison bars on the star in 2021 and brought a toilet, bathtub and stacks of fake documents to the site of the star in 2023 in a reference to the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.

Stuart G, who declined to share his last name for privacy reasons, has been selling Trump merchandise beside the star since August.

“Trump offends people, and those people want to have his star removed,” Stuart said. “But I don’t think he’s half as bad as some of the other people on here.”

Spade Cooley, a swing musician who earned his star in 1960, was convicted of murdering his wife one year later.

The star has been vandalized and smashed several times, costing more than $20,000 in repairs since 2016, according to the Hollywood Historic Trust. One street artist placed prison bars on the star in 2021 and brought a toilet, bathtub and stacks of fake documents to the site of the star in 2023 in a reference to the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.

Stuart G, who declined to share his last name for privacy reasons, has been selling Trump merchandise beside the star since August.

“Trump offends people, and those people want to have his star removed,” Stuart said. “But I don’t think he’s half as bad as some of the other people on here.”

Spade Cooley, a swing musician who earned his star in 1960, was convicted of murdering his wife one year later.

“Donald Trump is a racist, fascist, and a threat to our democracy,” Soto-Martínez said in a statement. “Since there’s no known precedent for removing a star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, we’re looking into where the authority lies, what the legal issues may be, and what a process for it might look like.”

Trump’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment. The Republican Party of Los Angeles County said any efforts to remove Trump’s star would be a waste of time.

“Los Angeles government fails on every level,” a spokesperson for the party said in an email. “They should focus on their job — getting all our sidewalks clean and safe.”

The Los Angeles City Council has so far avoided engaging in the process of removing a star. In 2018, the West Hollywood City Council unanimously passed a resolution requesting that L.A. remove Trump’s star from the Walk of Fame. The resolution was never acted on.

As a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, the Walk of Fame receives some protections dictated by the city’s Cultural Heritage Ordinance. But changing or removing one star would not violate these protections, according to the city Planning Department.

“Changing lettering on one or a handful of star panels out of over 2,700 would not constitute a substantial alteration to the Monument,” a city planning representative said in an email. “The removal of any individual’s name and recognition emblem would leave intact the historic materials that make up the remainder of the Walk of Fame.”

The Walk of Fame is not a California Historical Landmark, said Jay Correia of the California Office of Historic Preservation, although it is commonly mistaken as one. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the landmark status of the Walk of Fame, Correia said.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce itself incorrectly claimed that the Walk of Fame was included in the National Register of Historic Places. It is included only in the California Register of Historical Resources.

“Even though the property is listed in the California Register, all land use authority resides with the City of Los Angeles,” Correia said. “None of what we do overrides local land use policy.”

In other words, it’s theoretically up to the Los Angeles City Council to decide to remove a star. According to Rudick, the first step is simple: City Council should ask the city attorney to draft a report on a star removal process.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Biden launches a Hollywood fundraising blitz to tap into star power with strikes over

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Here’s a Hollywood ending that President Joe Biden wants to bring to life: An incumbent facing tough polling numbers and questions about his advanced age overcomes a brash opponent to win a second term at the White House.

With strikes by writers and actors now over, Biden is beginning to make that pitch to the Southern California set in person. He and first lady Jill Biden were attending six fundraising events and meetings between them this weekend in the Los Angeles area, asking some of the glitziest names in town to open their checkbooks for his reelection campaign.

“This is an incredibly successful night,” the president said at his first fundraiser kicking off the weekend on Friday night, joking that he didn’t want to talk long because he was “the only thing standing between you and Lenny Kravitz.”

Friday night’s event featured a performance by Kravitz was hosted by celebrity designer Michael Smith and his partner, James Costos, and has already pulled in over $8 million, according to a person familiar with the matter, who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal campaign details.

“It’s just a normal Friday at our house,” Costos joked to the crowd of hundreds that filled his backyard to near overflow capacity. He added, “This is not just a Hollywood gathering, it’s more like a national event,” saying that supporters from around the country joined the event.

Biden used the event to lay into Donald Trump, calling him “the first losing president and candidate in history who refused to except the result” of the 2020 race.

“He refused to show up at my inauguration. I can’t say I was disappointed,” Biden said. Then he added, to hoots, ”My guess is he won’t show up at the next inauguration.”

Hundreds of protesters demonstrating against the Biden administration’s support for Israel during its war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip could be heard chanting and blowing whistles down the hill from the fundraiser, but it’s unlikely the president could hear them from the stage.

Some of the events will be public and others private over roughly 36 hours in California. But organizers say Biden should raise more this weekend than in any similar time frame since announcing his campaign in April and could potentially take in more than any presidential candidate has in greater Los Angeles this far out from Election Day.

“The pent-up excitement, enthusiasm is really unprecedented,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, a co-founder of DreamWorks Pictures and longtime Democratic presidential fundraiser in Los Angeles, who is one of the Biden campaign’s national co-chairs. “People are excited. They’re mobilized. And they’ve been waiting months to show their support for him.”

This weekend’s events are aimed at helping Biden reach a fundraising target of roughly $67 million for the fourth quarter of the year, according to a source close to the president’s campaign who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal numbers.

The Friday night fundraiser featured luminaries like Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand, director Rob Reiner, recording industry mogul David Geffen and Shonda Rhimes, the showrunner of “Scandal” and executive producer of “Bridgerton.” Rocker Lenny Kravitz performed and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed the crowd.

Another fundraising meeting is set for Saturday at Katzenberg’s home.

Biden, who frequently calls himself the “most pro-union” president in U.S. history, stayed away from raising money in Los Angeles during the monthslong writers and actors work stoppages. Now, though, he’s free to court Hollywood — a traditional source of large-dollar donations for Democrats — without political blowback.

Katzenberg said this weekend should kick off more frequent fundraising travel out West by Biden.

Biden has also been collecting cash on the East Coast. He flew to Boston on Tuesday for a trio of gatherings to raise money, including one that featured singer-songwriter James Taylor, and attended a high-dollar event Wednesday at a hotel near the White House.

Biden has another fundraiser scheduled Monday in Philadelphia that’s expected to feature Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro, who has been mentioned as a potential post-2024 presidential candidate. He is also planning an upcoming Maryland reception with Democratic Gov. Wes Moore, 45, a key voice for Biden’s campaign with young voters.

The major push to raise money could quiet some donors who have privately grumbled that the president hasn’t done enough to stock his campaign coffers ahead of a 2024 race that is likely to be hard-fought and close.

Some in the broad coalition of voters that helped Biden defeat Donald Trump in 2020 are wary about Biden’s low approval ratings and there are questions, even among reliable Democrats, about whether the 81-year-old president’s age could be an issue in 2024. Others, though, have watched Trump build a commanding early lead in the Republican presidential primary and are now even more anxious to back Biden, given that a rematch with Trump seems likely.

“Whether the enthusiasm is because of the exceptional accomplishments of President Biden, or because of the extreme alternative of someone who is declaring themselves to be an autocrat, either way, you get to the same place,” Katzenberg said. “Which is, Joe Biden’s your person.”

Costos, a former HBO executive, was President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Spain. His partner, Smith, is a celebrity interior designer who helped redesign the Oval Office during the Obama administration.

Other co-hosts for Friday’s event included Jim Gianopulos, former chairman of Paramount Pictures, and Wendy Schmidt, wife of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, another possible presidential candidate after next year’s election, was also set to attend.

Ticket prices ranged from $1,000 for general admission to $500,000 to attend at “chairman” level.

Also listed as cohosts were Bob Tuttle, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom under Republican President George W. Bush, and his wife, Maria Hummer Tuttle.

Biden has held just one campaign rally so far, addressing a summer event in Philadelphia with large unions who jointly endorsed his reelection. Instead, he’s focused on governing and raising money. The campaign has also coordinated with the Democratic National Committee to help defray advertising costs and build out staffing in key states around the country — trying to keep spending low until the race heats up next year.

The president and the DNC reported raising more than $71 million in the quarter ending Sept. 30. Biden’s joint fundraising agreement with the DNC and state parties allows him to receive a check from a single donor that is in the range of $1 million.

His third-quarter haul exceeded the roughly $70 million that Obama and his affiliated committees raised in the same quarter in 2011, without adjusting for inflation. But it fell short of Trump, who reported raising $125 million with the Republican National Committee during the third quarter when he was seeking reelection in 2019.

The Biden campaign also noted, however, that its third-quarter total outpaced the $45.5 million Trump’s campaign reported taking in during the same period this year, and said that the president had $91 million cash on hand at the end of September, which it said was the highest total by a Democrat at that point in an election cycle.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

President Biden is heading to Hollywood for a major fundraiser featuring Steven Spielberg and Shonda Rhimes

President Joe Biden will head to Los Angeles next week for a big-dollar event that will be his first since strikes by writers and actors effectively ground his fundraising to a halt in the heart of the entertainment industry, which has long served as the ATM for the Democratic Party.

The event next Friday at the home of Michael Smith, a celebrity interior designer, and his partner James Costos, a former HBO executive who was President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Spain, is expected to raise millions and draw a star-studded crowd. Rocker Lenny Kravitz is slated to perform.

Director Steven Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw, who starred in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” are among the hosts of the event, as are recording industry mogul David Geffen, “Scandal” showrunner Shonda Rhimes and “This is Spinal Tap” director Rob Reiner, according to an invitation obtained by The Associated Press.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is also a co-host. Barbra Streisand is set to attend.

“We are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm. We don’t do many events, but when we do, we do it out of a great passion,” Smith said.

The event is part of a broader fundraising swing by Biden and comes as the Democratic president tries to stockpile cash for what will likely be a grueling rematch against Republican Donald Trump.

Biden is also planning fundraisers in Boston, which will include a concert by James Taylor, Washington and Maryland, where he will appear with Gov. Wes Moore, according to two people familiar with the schedule who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal planning details. He will also appear in Philadelphia alongside Gov. Josh Shapiro.

With a cash haul from elite party donors expected to reach into the millions, the Los Angeles event could help ease concerns among Democrats about Biden’s reelection chances. He already has drawn one primary rival, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, whose candidacy is a symbolic challenge to national Democrats trying to project the idea that there is no reason to doubt Biden’s electability, even as many Americans question whether the 81-year-old Biden should serve another term.

As of the last fundraising reporting deadline at the end of September, Biden and his party reported $91 million cash on hand. He is helped by the fact that as the party’s leader he has entered into a joint fundraising agreement with the Democratic National Committee, as well as state parties, which enables him to receive a check from a single donor that is in the range of $1 million.

This being Hollywood, there is a bit of intrigue and melodrama playing out.

For decades, Jeffrey Katzenberg, a co-founder of DreamWorks Pictures, has served as an arbiter of presidential fundraising in Los Angeles, usually dictating the terms of who gets to host the first premier event — often himself.

Katzenberg, now co-chairman of Biden’s campaign, will be hosting his own fundraising “meeting” during Biden’s California visit, according to three people with direct knowledge of the event who insisted on anonymity to provide details.

Should Katzenberg be outshined, it could help reshuffle a Hollywood pecking order that has been in place since Bill Clinton was president.

A Katzenberg spokesman declined to comment.

During the 2020 Democratic primary campaign, Smith and Costos hosted Biden’s first major fundraiser in the area, during a Los Angeles swing that raised over $1 million.

Click here to read that the full article in the Mercury News

WGA, Hollywood Studios Close to a Deal on Ending Writers’ Strike, Sources Say

The Writers Guild of America and the major Hollywood studios are closing in on a deal that would end a 145-day strike that has roiled the film and TV business and caused thousands of job losses.

Lawyers for the two sides were haggling over the details of a possible agreement on Saturday during a meeting that began mid-morning, according to people close to the discussions who were not authorized to comment.

However, the union and studio alliance had not announced a deal as of early Saturday evening.

In a joint statement, the WGA and the studios said they would meet again Sunday.Studio sources told The Times the two sides hoped to finalize a deal then.

“Thank you for your continued encouragement as we press ahead to secure the best deal we can for writers,” the WGA’s negotiating committee said in an email to members Saturday night.

Saturday marked the fourth straight day of talks, which kicked off Wednesday with the heads of four major studios participating directly.

Should the companies reach a pact this weekend, they won’t immediately restart productions. The entertainment company leaders still must turn their attention to the 160,000-member performers union, SAG-AFTRA, to accelerate those stalled talks in an effort to get the industry back to work.

The thorniest issues in the long-running labor dispute have included language governing the use of artificial intelligence, minimum staffing in writers rooms and the establishment of residuals to reward scribes based on viewership of streaming series.

The work stoppage began in early May and gained momentum as actors led by SAG-AFTRA joined writers on the picket line in mid-July, further shutting down film and scripted television productions and hobbling studios’ ability to promote would-be blockbuster movies.

Any agreement on a new three-year film and TV contract would have to be ratified by a vote of the WGA’s 11,500 members, who have strongly supported the walkout and have enjoyed unusual levels of solidarity from fellow unions amid the nation’s “hot labor summer.”

There has been significant pressure on both sides to reach an agreement in recent weeks. Many Hollywood industry workers have struggled to pay their rent and bills, with some moving out of state to make ends meet. Studios have also felt the financial pain, modifying their film slates and leaning on live sports and unscripted television.

WGA negotiators met with studio representatives Wednesday for the first time since a disastrous meeting in late August. This week, top executives joined the proceedings: Walt Disney Co.’s Bob Iger, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav and NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley.

Friday’s marathon session started at 11 a.m. at the headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — which represents the big entertainment companies — in Sherman Oaks. The meeting ended at about 8:30 p.m., amid growing hopes that the sides would be able to reach an accord before the Yom Kippur holiday.

The apparent progress marked a stark contrast with the last round of talks, which started in August after three months of striking.

Negotiations fell apart after an Aug. 22 meeting with the four leading CEOs — Iger, Zaslav, Langley and Sarandos — which writers’ representatives described as a “lecture” and a browbeating session in which they were pressured to accept an Aug. 11 proposal from the AMPTP.

After the meeting, the alliance released a summary of its proposal, causing an uproar among writers who saw it as a tactic to go around the WGA’s negotiating committee. The effort deepened the mistrust between the two sides.

Studio brass thought the move would allow writers and the larger community to see that the AMPTP had given substantial ground in an effort to reach a deal.

The studio’s proposal offered wage increases and signaled a willingness from the alliance to negotiate on topics it previously considered off the table, such as sharing of viewership data with the WGA and staffing in writers rooms.

But the WGA’s negotiating committee felt the proposal did not go far enough. Writers on the picket lines were not impressed, calling the studios’ proposals “half-measures.”

Frustration among workers, including film crew workers, continued to build as the strikes stretched beyond Labor Day.

Political leaders including Gov. Gavin Newsom, L.A. Mayor Karen Bass and state Treasurer Fiona Ma also weighed in, urging the parties to settle the dispute.

For weeks, the two sides remained at a standstill, arguing over whose turn it was to make a counteroffer. The WGA’s negotiating committee even suggested that some studios might be willing to break from the alliance and negotiate separately with the guild, exploiting potential fractures in the alliance. The AMPTP rejected that notion.

This week, though, talks got serious.

Studios wanted to get a deal done by early October to salvage their 2024 film slates, which would require them to be back in production soon. They’re also hoping to salvage what they can of the 2023-24 television season.

Click here to read the full article in LA Times

Newsom and Lawmakers Cut a Grand Deal for Hollywood: Refundable Tax Credit and New Set Safety Rules

SACRAMENTO —  Hollywood studios will get a lucrative tax benefit they have long sought and workers on film productions will get new safety protocols they’ve wanted since the deadly “Rust” shooting under new legislation that Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign into law by the end of this week.

It reflects a grand deal between the governor and state lawmakers to tackle Hollywood’s thorniest political fights in Sacramento in one sweeping bill that was made public Saturday as lawmakers race to finalize the state budget.

The legislation will extend California’s film and television tax credit for five more years with a new “refundable” feature allowing studios to receive cash payments from the state if their credits are larger than their tax bills — a perk studios have lobbied for in California for several years in the face of competition from other states.

It weaves in the set safety issue by requiring that productions receiving the tax credit follow new safety rules including hiring a safety advisor to perform a risk assessment and be on set during filming. For all productions, it will require that prop masters and armorers handling weapons have firearms training and a special state permit.

And it adds new diversity requirements that were a priority for Democratic lawmakers who have been frustrated that Hollywood workers do not reflect California’s ethnic and gender diversity. A portion of the tax credits that productions will receive will depend on meeting diversity targets. A larger slice of the tax credits will go to job training programs in community colleges that predominantly serve students of color. And the legislation requires adding a new member to the state film commission who has expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion.

“It’s the art of compromising and negotiating, finding a solution that works for everyone,” said Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), who played a key role in crafting the bill.

“The studios want refundability and have been wanting to have more access to these dollars. The unions have been advocating for set safety supervision, given what happened on the ‘Rust’ set. … On both ends, this was an agreeable compromise to see if it works.”

Attempts to pass set safety legislation last year stalled amid disagreements between the Motion Picture Assn. and the IATSE union that represents entertainment industry workers. They continued negotiating this year and had come to agreement on the terms in Senate Bill 735, which has been folded into the new film tax credit bill.

The author of that legislation, Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San José), said that some version of the bill for greater safety and firearms protections on film sets has been in the works since the week after the “Rust” shooting in 2021.

He recalled contacting Cal/OSHA and the Department of Industrial Relations after the fatal shooting and asking what laws were on the books to prevent that from occurring in California.

“I thought there’d be all kinds of bill history,” he said. “But there was nothing.”

This year, Cortese said, after he facilitated negotiations with the Motion Picture Assn. and IATSE units to put together SB 735, a conversation began to happen among the governor’s office, the Motion Picture Assn. and labor groups about including the film safety bill in the budget bill.

“There’s a certain efficiency and expediency in getting it done now,” he said.

Cortese said that he visited Universal and Warner Bros. sets during the drafting of the bill to see how they worked and that the firearms component of the bill is meant to codify into law what those top studios are already doing.

“Just because they do it doesn’t mean it trickles down to the rest of the industry,” he said. “We wanted it to be law so it applied to everyone, top to bottom.”

The legislation incorporates much of Newsom’s proposal earlier this year to make $330 million in film tax credits available per year from 2025 to 2030. By making the credit refundable, Carrillo said more companies will be able to take advantage of it, which should bring more productions to the Golden State.

Currently, she said, only Disney and Universal Studios benefit from the tax credit because they have larger tax bills in California due to their theme parks. Making it refundable will allow Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery, Sony and Paramount to benefit from the program too, Carrillo said. Even if their California tax bills are smaller than the tax credit they qualify for, the new program will allow them to get a portion of the credit paid in cash.

“We are in a very competitive fight to ensure that these jobs stay in California, and they are jobs that primarily impact Los Angeles County and the city of L.A.,” Carrillo said.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Teen killed in Shootout Near Hollywood Walk of Fame

A teenager is dead following a shootout along Hollywood’s Walk of Fame overnight.

The victim was shot just after 1 a.m. on Hollywood Boulevard. 

Preliminary information reveals it appears that a group of men – at least one armed with a gun – tried robbing another group of men, leading to a shootout with multiple people shooting at each other. 

Witnesses said they heard about 10 gunshots. 

The victim was taken to the hospital where he later died, officials said. He was shot multiple times. 

At least four suspects were seen running from the scene, including at least one that had been with the victim. 

It’s unclear if this was an attempted robbery, or if the men got into some type of argument that led to the shootout. 

Click here to read the full article at FoxNews

Chris Rock vs. Will Smith: Who Won the Oscars?

Hey, I said they should hire Chris Rock to host again. Am I ever wrong? The guy was on stage for 30 seconds and he single-handedly turned a weird, dull Oscar ceremony into one for the ages. The GIF shall be immortal.

Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s buzz cut: “Jada, I love you, G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it!” Except Mrs. Smith has a medical condition that causes hair loss. Did Rock know this? I didn’t. Will Smith laughed at the joke initially, then looked over at his unhappy wife and reversed gears. Hard. Suddenly Mr. Nice Guy wasn’t so nice. One of the biggest movie stars alive marched right up on stage and slapped Chris Rock on the left jaw, though to his discredit Smith neglected to say, “Welcome to Earth.”

Wouldn’t you know it? They hire three women to host, and the boys steal the show by having a fight.

“Oho, wow! Will Smith just smacked the sh** out of me! That was the . . . greatest night in the history of television,” Rock said, not overstating facts. The guy must have worked a lot of rowdy rooms in Laff Lounges and Ha-Ha Halls on the way up, but I’m guessing he never got slapped in the face by a movie star before. Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Rock! Not only should he host the Oscars every year, he should be the next secretary of state. Talk about grace under pressure. When was the last time you got slapped in the face by a large man? I annoy people for a living, and it hasn’t happened to me lately. If it had been you or me up there, we would at least have been caught off guard to get smacked while presenting an Oscar. Rock just moved on. He took it as though he’d rehearsed it for a month.

Oh yeah, and the Oscar was won by the biggest corporation on earth. Hurrah for the little guy! Apple TV+ sneakily won Best Picture as the suits from its archrival Netflix looked around for marketing people to treat the way Smith treated Rock. Netflix has been trying to win itself the top Oscar for about ten years, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this project, and it’s still got zilch. Instead, Apple TV+, which launched just two years ago, won with CODA, a feel-good dramedy about a lovable family of deaf people and their lovely daughter. It was the first movie debuting on a streaming service and the first movie premiering at the Sundance Film Festival ever to win Best Picture. It also won Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor, for the previously unknown Troy Kotsur, who, as a deaf man taking home an Oscar for acting, notched another first. Meanwhile, Netflix sweatily pursued the Oscars with its can’t-miss message-movie-of-the-week The Power of the Dog, “a dazzling evisceration of one of the country’s foundational myths,” according to the New York Times (i.e., it’s about a closeted homosexual cowboy). It proved one of the biggest disappointments in Academy history. Riding in with twelve nominations, it won only a single award — Best Director for Jane Campion, who could hardly lose after everyone pointed out that only two women had ever won in the category before.

Click here to read the full article at the National Review

A Big Week for the Stupid and the Ugly

There’s an old saying that Hollywood is Washington, D.C., for stupid people and Washington, D.C.,  is Hollywood for ugly people. The truth of that adage was on full display last week, first with the Academy Awards and then with the Democrat reaction to President Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress.

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First up were the stupid, with Hollywood’s annual orgy of self-love and awards for movies nobody wants to see. Best picture winner “Moonlight” earned a place on the Oscar honor roll, but like so much of modern Hollywood is there because of its political message not its quality. “La La Land” was favored to win as it is the stereotype of films Hollywood likes – those that glorify Hollywood and make it look noble.

Sadly for “La La” boosters it was in competition with the one genre that trumps (pun intended) Hollywood egomania – political correctness – in a movie about a young black homosexual. Had the producers of “Moonlight” added being a one legged, illegal immigrant hunchback to the character the movie might have been a unanimous choice for best picture.

As it is, “Moonlight” will get a brief box-office bump and then disappear like so many of its predecessors. Doubt me?  Quick – what is the name of last year’s best picture winner? No fair Googling. It was “Spotlight.” How bout 2014’s winner? It was “Birdman,” which at least had the virtue of a subtitle exquisitely appropriate for the Hollywood glitterati, “The unexpected virtue of ignorance.”

All this folds in nicely with Hollywood’s contempt for average Americans as evidenced by their deranged hatred of President Trump. While there were no Meryl Streep-ish long-winded “Trump is either Hitler’s grandson or Satan’s spawn” diatribes, you weren’t really an A-lister if you didn’t include some anti-Trump snark in your remarks. The basket of deplorables has taken notice however, and it is extracting its revenge where it will hurt most, at the box office. Ticket sales slumped last year for the third year in a row and the seventh out of the last 10. This year’s Oscar ceremony was the third least-watched in the last 20 years.

Anyone familiar with Ronald Reagan’s movie career knows that the anti-American left has deep roots in the entertainment industry. Reagan himself credited his strong anti-Communism with his experience of watching the Reds operate in Hollywood. A vignette on this even closer to home involves my father, who in the mid-1930s was endeavoring to become a music editor at MGM. A prerequisite for that position was membership in the craft union, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. He was told by his immediate superior that he would have his IATSE card the day after he showed his membership card in the Communist Part USA. My father went around his boss, who soon after found himself exiled from the MGM lot, very likely thanks to the personal intervention of L.B. Mayer or Irving Thalberg, both strong conservatives. My father became a successful music editor and for 15 years or so an Academy member. He had no interest in attending the actual ceremony, commenting that “the only thing emptier than the words on the stage are the heads in the audience.” True that. Hollywood the stupid has hated America for a long time.

Two days after the stupid had their moment in the sun, the ugly took center stage for President Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress. In what must fairly be ranked as one of the 10 best speeches ever given from that podium, President Trump hit a grand slam home run. Every network’s polling after the speech showed majorities between 65 percent and 75 percent approving of the speech.

What equally large majorities most definitely did not approve of was the open disrespect shown Carryn Owens, the widow of Navy Seal Ryan Owens or the white-out stunt of female Democrats. It was ugly. Prominent Democrats including Elizabeth Warren, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Keith Ellison apparently think that refusing to stand and applaud the recently widowed wife of a Navy Seal is the path back to relevance for Middle America. If ignorance is bliss these folks must be ecstatic.

Providing unintended humor was the all-white attire of several dozen women Democrats. When I first noticed the bloc on television I assumed a convention of ice cream salespeople had been let into the House Chamber. After a close-up of Nancy Pelosi it became clear that it was the winners division of the Nurse Ratched look-a-like contest.

Disrespecting the widow of a military hero, having the girls play “dress-up,” refusing the shake the president’s hand, etc. showed the Democrats in D.C. can one-up their soulmates in Hollywood. They can be both ugly and stupid.

These antics can be infuriating but should not be discouraging or frustrating. Every day the ugly and stupid don’t wise up is another day of alienating average Americans and another day toward success for President Trump and the Republicans. So keep this under your hats.

Bill Saracino is a member of the Editorial Board of CA Political Review.

What would California be like as an independent nation?

calexitCalifornia breaking off into the ocean as a result of the “Big One” is science fiction fantasy to Hollywood, credible urban legend to citizens of Los Angeles and San Francisco and, perhaps, the secret hope of many Americans residing on the other side of the Sierras. However, backers of a just filed initiative, “Calexit: The California Independence Plebiscite of 2019,” want a different sort of California breakaway. They envision the state as a “free, sovereign and independent country.” Although the effort began several years ago, secessionists have been bolstered by those suffering Trump Derangement Syndrome – a condition where “alt-left” adherents lose their minds over the thought of a Trump presidency.

A spokesman for the movement cites California’s different culture, different set of priorities and different plans for the future as a justification for breaking away from the rest of the country.

While efforts to establish California as a separate country may be a farfetched idea – the issue of state secession was settled in the small town of Appomattox, Virginia when General Lee surrendered to General Grant, 1865 – it is an interesting mental exercise. What would California be like as an independent nation? Who would govern and what would be the impact on taxpayers? And if California could establish independence, would the break-up end there? Drive anywhere in the Sierra foothills or north of Sacramento and “State of Jefferson” signs are ubiquitous.

If California were an independent country, the precedent would be set for further fracturing, with other regions, where dissatisfaction with the established order is intense, seeking to break away.

Today, California’s political direction is dictated by the upper income elites living in coastal enclaves and Hollywood. Here, the Starbucks generation is consumed with issues like climate change and bathroom access and they are not shy about telling others how to live. This explains why Sacramento seems to be constantly making war on those not part of the coastal, protected class. But travel just 25 miles from the coast and you’ll find a different world. Here, people are concerned about finding a job or keeping the job they have.

After speaking to a group of politically active Californians a few years ago, pollster Scott Rasmussen responded to a question about the size of government saying, the average person does not walk down the street thinking about limited government, they are thinking about how they are going to support their families.

Outside of Malibu, Santa Barbara and the Bay Area, most people are still searching for the answer to the question of how to feed, shelter and clothe their families. If given the option of breaking away from the Prius driving, chardonnay sipping, kale chip nibbling elite, they would likely vote yes.

California will not become an independent nation, but the divide between the coastal and inland areas is real and we are about to experience another clash of these cultures played out on the Sacramento stage.

A special session on transportation, called by Gov. Brown last year, has just concluded without lawmakers imposing new taxes. But when the new Legislature convenes, one with even more pro-tax members elected in November, the top priority will be a significant increase in the gas tax and other auto-related charges. Once again, inland residents who need their cars for work will find themselves pitted against the “Let them drive Teslas” coastal elite.

If the price of fuel heads even higher than it is now, we are bound to see a multitude of working class Californians filling their tanks one last time as they leave the state for a foreign land called America.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

This piece was originally published by

Why #CalExit Will Never Happen

calexitCalifornia will never leave the United States.

Neither will most of these Hollywood actors who swore to flee America if Trump became the president.

They don’t need to. They’ve created their own country already, which is heavily dependent on foreign aid (i.e. your tax dollars) from Washington, D.C.

But that didn’t stop California leftist elites from expressing how horrified they are at the election of Donald J. Trump as America’s 45th President.

So much so that the Marxist Progressives who control California’s Legislature issued a joint statement on how much they fear our newly-elected president, Donald J. Trump (emphasis added):

California will defend its people and our progressWe are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility.

We will be reaching out to federal, state and local officials to evaluate how a Trump Presidency will potentially impact federal funding of ongoing state programs, job-creating investments reliant on foreign trade, and federal enforcement of laws affecting the rights of people living in our state. We will maximize the time during the presidential transition to defend our accomplishments using every tool at our disposal.

While Donald Trump may have won the presidency, he hasn’t changed our values. America is greater than any one man or party. We will not be dragged back into the past. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution.

California was not a part of this nation when its history began, but we are clearly now the keeper of its future.

They might do well to heed a warning from FDR: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

Or, more accurately — when you read the implied threats — they have become the very thing they claim to fear.

It’s not Trump supporters that are issuing death threats via Twitter. (Last time I checked, that was illegal, but don’t expect Obama’s Secret Service or FBI to do anything about it.)

It’s not Trump supporters that have worked themselves up into a frenzy in the streets over the peaceful transition of power from one president to another.

It’s not Trump supporters advocating violence all over social media and in the streets.

We’re all at work — working to pay taxes so these loafers can spend the day advocating our murder.

Someone needs to tell them.

No one died.

No one was deported overnight.

No one lost the right to pay for their own birth control.

If  you read the fear-laden headlines about women stocking up on IUDs and you don’t read the entire article, you might think Trump was going to ban all birth control, and shut down all the Rite-Aids and Walgreens nationwide.

When the reality is that it’s not Trump’s election that upsets them.

It’s that the election was clearly a referendum on the socialist direction of the past eight years under Obama — and as the beneficiaries of all the “free stuff,” they’re just mad that the party is over.

So like spoiled children, they’re throwing a tantrum.

I guess it’s a good thing that all the angry protestors live in gun-free” blue sectors of the country, where they can’t easily get “access” to guns because they seem to lack any self-control.

Maybe that’s why they hate guns so much — because they don’t trust themselves.

Maybe it’s a good thing they’re terrified of guns.

Because when they compare those of us who believe a country should have borders to restrict access, and a Constitution to restrict government, to Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, calling us fascists and Nazis, what they’re really doing is dehumanizing their “enemy.”

It’s a classic Alinsky tactic. You don’t debate your “opponent”; you destroy your enemy.  The enemy isn’t wrong, they’re evil.

They’re so brainwashed, they don’t realize that they and their leftist idols are the incarnation of all the very things they claim to fear.

Why #CalExit will Never Happen?

The weather’s great, the water’s warm, and these protestors love their Marxist Progressive Utopia

With Donald J. Trump in the White House, maybe it’s possible to take back California for Americans.  Now, there’s something worth discussing.

Tim Donnelly a former California Assemblyman.

This piece was originally published by