Baldwin Veers Right on Taxes; Redford's Eco-Hypocrisy; Obama Comedy Tour Ends

Tuesday, 01 Feb 2011 03:43 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Alec Baldwin Takes Right Turn on Taxes
2. Charlie Sheen Pooh-Poohs His Binge Critics
3. Kate Walsh, Protesters Silence Bristol on Abstinence
4. Robert Redford Pleads for Movie Roles
5. Is Obama’s Tour of Comedy Shows Over?
 

1. Alec Baldwin Takes Right Turn on Taxes

Lately Alec Baldwin’s name has come up as a potential replacement for MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann.

A source at the cable network’s parent company, NBC, told Pop Eater that the “30 Rock” star is “already part of the NBC family, has a huge fan base, and is very respected for his long-term passions for politics.”

However, Baldwin recently let it be known that his political desires are more straightforward, telling CNN host/disgraced former governor Eliot Spitzer that someday he would like to “seek public office.”

As it turns out, Baldwin has quite a bit of experience in Treasury Department matters.

He’s being investigated by tax collectors who believe that the star, in a possible attempt to avoid paying New York City income taxes, may not have been truthful about his living arrangements.

“30 Rock” often shoots in Gotham, and Baldwin owns a residence in Manhattan's upscale Central Park West, as well as one in Los Angeles. He also owns a house in the Hamptons — a lengthy commute from New York City — which he claims as his primary residence.

As a New York City dweller, Baldwin files a form that requires him to swear under oath the number of days he spends in the Big Apple. If the stated number were greater than 183 days, Baldwin would have to acknowledge city residency.

The longtime Democratic donor may be seeing the light on tax issues. He told local cable news host Dominic Carter in 2009 that tax incentives for film and television companies in New York were essential.

“If these tax breaks are not reinstated into the budget, film production in this town is going to collapse, and television production is going to collapse, and it's all going to go to California,” Baldwin said.

He referred to his current tax troubles recently while speaking at the City College, saying, “The moment you start working regularly [in New York City], the city finance people come after you.”


2. Charlie Sheen Pooh-Poohs His Binge Critics

People with addictions are frequently in denial, usually until they hit bottom.

Sitcom star Charlie Sheen has finally gone into rehab at the urging of his father, actor Martin Sheen. The rehab re-entrance comes after yet another night of drinking, drugs, and porn-star involvement at Charlie’s Beverly Hills home.

Immediately before going into the rehabilitation facility, Charlie sent a text to RadarOnline.

“I’m fine. People don’t seem to get it. Guy can’t have a great time and do his job also? Bunch of turds,” Charlie wrote.

Describing his questionable activities as a “great time” and characterizing those who criticize self-destructive activities as “turds” seem to be some pretty strong indicators of a denial mentality.

The “Two and a Half Men” star had been admitted to a hospital earlier in the week; his beleaguered rep told the press that Charlie was experiencing some stomach pains and possibly a hernia. But TMZ reported that the actor had just had another of his many druggy benders with porn stars.

Warner Bros., the producer of the show, and CBS had no choice but to suspend the No. 1 comedy series indefinitely.


3. Kate Walsh, Protesters Silence Bristol on Abstinence

Want a good reason to skip ABC’s “Private Practice?”

Lead actress Kate Walsh decided to become an activist against abstinence education, and in the process interfered with and insulted Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol.

Bristol was set to speak at Washington University in St. Louis, promoting abstinence as a legitimate choice for young people. It’s a subject that she has discussed in presentations across the country.

Predictably, some students protested the event. Walsh inserted herself into the incident via the social media, tweeting in support of the protesters.

“Welcome to the Idiocracy! RT @elliekirsh: @katewalsh please join students at Wash.U. to boycott Bristol Palin's speech on abstinence. What does she know about college or abstaining?” Walsh posted on her Twitter feed.

The protesters succeeded in getting the event canceled. One Twitter user asked Walsh, “Why do you feel the need to attack this young lady? I'll boycott your mediocre show instead...”

The actress responded, “I'm not attacking anyone, freedom to tw'eet. Isn't our country great? Or r YOU a communist?”

Walsh apparently believes in free “tw’eet” speech but not in free speech on college campuses if it happens to contradict her own ideas.


4. Robert Redford Pleads for Movie Roles

Robert Redford, founder of the Sundance Film Festival, says he can’t find work in the movies anymore.

“I ask the question — I say, ‘Hey I'd like to be [in that movie]’ and they say, ‘Would you? You're kidding.’ And I say ‘No,’” the actor told ABC News.

“Something is happening over the years that makes a lot of people think that I don't do this anymore, when the truth is, it's what I enjoy most,” Redford added.

Not many leading men still get good film roles at age 74, but Redford has had more offers than most.

Rumors recently surfaced that he would do a sequel to “The Way We Were” with Barbra Streisand. But he denied the idea, saying, “Maybe that's Barbra out there talking about it.”

Redford is appearing in a video that he probably wishes hadn’t been made. Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, who produced and directed the film “Not Evil Just Wrong: The True Cost of Global Warming Hysteria,” also put together some footage that highlights Redford’s hypocrisy and betrayal of his often espoused environmental causes.

The video, posted on the noteviljustwrong YouTube channel, claims that the actor is opposing an eco-village near his property in the Napa Valley.

Redford is also marketing $2 million lots in the Sundance Preserve — for luxury vacation homes.


5. Is Obama’s Tour of Comedy Shows Over?

President Barack Obama’s noticeable lack of restraint isn’t limited to his tendency to splurge on the taxpayer’s dime.

In the history of our country, no other sitting president has traded away a portion of his stature by appearing on a late-night comedy show.

Seeking to tap into the youth vote, Obama has visited the late-night sets of David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Jon Stewart.

On the “Late Show with David Letterman,” the president delivered a prepared one-liner, responding to negative public reaction to Obamacare and the claim from former President Jimmy Carter that dislike of the healthcare takeover was rooted in racism.

“It’s important to realize that I was actually black before the election,” Obama quipped.

On “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Obama compared life in Washington to “American Idol,” where “everybody's got an opinion.”

“Everybody is Simon Cowell,” the president cracked.

The most troubling moment for the presidential image occurred on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” In one exchange, Stewart actually addressed the president as “dude.” After Obama said that “Larry Summers did a heck of a job,” Stewart advised the commander in chief, “You don't want to use that phrase, dude.”

Stewart was alluding to the derision that greeted President Bush’s use of those same words to praise FEMA head Michael Brown in aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Obama had added other venues to his ever-expanding TV lineup, including ABC’s daytime talk show, “The View,” and even Discovery Channel's “MythBusters.”

These days, however, the president seems to want to convey a move to the center, and it now appears as though the White House may be altering its media strategy accordingly.

David Axelrod, the outgoing senior adviser, used an NFL analogy to describe Obama’s over-the-top media involvement, when he told New York Magazine, “There was a period of time in the '80s when the Bears weren’t very good, and they would hand Walter Payton the ball on every play ... it became kind of a dreary game plan. And, you know, we have one of the great political performers of our time. But I think we degraded that to some degree by using him as much as we did in the ways we did.”

Astute followers of politics know that Obama’s re-election campaign is already underway, and as we watch closely we can see that he’s hard at it each day.

Axelrod is one of the key strategic planners, so his statement is a clear signal.

Late-night production staffers may be disenchanted over the news that Obama won’t be on the couch as often as in the past. But his political scorekeepers won’t be.

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