Did U.N. Leave George Clooney Without Security?

Tuesday, 24 Feb 2009 02:19 PM

By James Hirsen

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Did U.N. Leave George Clooney Without Security? 
2. Thankfully, Academy Awards Livens Up
3. Life Imitates Art for Steroid Dealer in 'Wrestler'
4. Pro-life Ad Rejected by Hypocritical CNN
5. 'Madea' and ‘Taken’ Nab the Box Office.

 

1. Did U.N. Leave George Clooney Without Security? 

George Clooney has been going to great lengths to try to alert the world to the plight of refugees in the Sudan.

The actor co-founded the group “Not On Our Watch” to help focus global attention on Darfur.

The “Ocean’s” star has visited the war-torn region several times. About 250,000 Darfur refugees live in camps in Chad near Sudan's border.

Conflict in the region has killed about 300,000 people, and 2.5 million people have been displaced from their homes.

As reported by New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, the U.N. pulled Clooney’s security escort just as he and his traveling companions crossed the eastern Chad border. The action left Clooney and his entourage open to kidnap or attack.

Kristof, who traveled to the region with Clooney, called the move “petty and mean-spirited.”

U.N. officials responded by saying that because Clooney was not traveling as part of his role as a goodwill ambassador, he didn’t qualify for official protection.

Would it be hard to believe that the U.N. would welcome Clooney’s celebrity as a goodwill ambassador but withdraw protection while he was in a dangerous area where a French citizen was recently murdered? With the organization’s dubious track record, not so tough.

Officials at the U.N. claim to be “investigating” Kristof’s allegations. It did such a bang-up job in investigating the “oil for food” fiasco expectations are dinky.


2. Thankfully, Academy Awards Livens Up

Bill Condon and Laurence Mark, first-time producers of the 81st Annual Academy Awards, were nervous about the declining ratings trend of previous Oscar telecasts.

They decided rather than go with the usual comedic-type hosts of the past such as Steve Martin, Billy Crystal and Jon Stewart, they would tap a guy who was People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive,” Hugh Jackman.

After all the fingernail biting about an Australian thespian emceeing the Oscars, it turned out that Jackman gave the Academy something it sorely needed — a dose of class.

The actor used his song and dance talents to open the show with a spoof about having to entertain on a budget because of economic cutbacks. Using cheesy props and some very funny lyrics, he touched upon all of the films nominated for major awards.

Anne Hathaway, who participated in the skit with Jackman, proved that in addition to being a terrific actress she can carry a tune and is ready for “Dancing with the Stars.”

This was the Oscars the way they used to be — family oriented, entertaining, and generally apolitical.

Penelope Cruz won the Best Supporting Actress award for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”

Heath Ledger won the posthumous Best Supporting Actor award for his portrayal of the Joker in “The Dark Knight.”

Kate Winslet, after five previous losses, won her first Oscar for Best Actress in “The Reader.” She played a vile and notably unattractive Nazi war criminal, which pretty much guaranteed her a win this time out.

Her chief opponent, Meryl Streep, was on her 15th nomination and would have picked up her third statue had she won.

The Best Actor Oscar went to Sean Penn for “Milk,” invoking the Tom Hanks “Philadelphia” precedent and snubbing Mickey Rourke’s superior performance in “The Wrestler.” Penn couldn’t resist launching a political attack on backers of California’s Proposition 8, ruining the good feel that the show had up to that point.

Fortunately, things swung back around when “Slumdog Millionaire” took the Best Picture Oscar.

There was even a nice touch at the end as credits rolled and the audience was treated to previews of coming attractions of potential 2009 Oscar nominees.

Kudos to the Academy for listening to viewers and giving the public a good show.


3. Life Imitates Art for Steroid Dealer in 'Wrestler'

A few days prior to the Oscars, a drama unfolded that involved a cast member of “The Wrestler,” the flick for which Mickey Rourke got a Best Actor nomination.

It started with a car chase. The vehicle being pursued smashed through a fence and rammed three police cars and two DEA cars, according to court papers.

The driver was cornered but again smashed into police vehicles. He aimed his car at one of the officers who was on foot, apparently trying to run the cop over. The driver then tried to flee the scene but officers finally grabbed him.

It turns out the driver was arrested and charged with selling steroids. His name was Scott Siegel and his profession that of an actor.

In the movie where Rourke plays a down-and-out wrestler who attempts a comeback, Siegel portrays a steroid dealer.

Prior to the car chase incident, investigators had seized 1,500 bottles labeled as anabolic steroids and tens of thousands of dollars in cash during searches of Siegel's home and that of his parents.


4. Pro-life Ad Rejected by Hypocritical CNN

Oops, it’s showing again.

CNN’s bias, that is. The cable network recently rejected an advertising spot from the group CatholicVote.org.

Using President Obama’s life story to make its point, the ad illustrates the intrinsic value and potentiality encompassed within each human being despite any humble beginnings or tragic misfortunes.

The ad reads: “This child's future is a broken home. He will be abandoned by his father. His single mother will struggle to raise him. Despite the hardships he will endure . . . this child . . . will become . . . the 1st African-American president.”

It concludes with the simple phrase, “Life: Imagine the potential.”

In 2005, CNN aired an ad sponsored by pro-abort pep squad NARAL Pro-Choice America, which painted then-Judge John Roberts with a violent anti-abortion brush.

FactCheck.org described the NARAL ad in the following way: “An abortion-rights group is running an attack ad accusing Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of filing legal papers 'supporting . . . a convicted clinic bomber' and of having an ideology that ‘leads him to excuse violence against other Americans.’ It shows images of a bombed clinic in Birmingham, Alabama. The ad is false.”

The ad attributed views to Justice Roberts that were in no way his and was ultimately pulled by NARAL, not CNN.

According to Brian Burch, a spokesperson for CatholicVote, “CNN is willing to run ads insinuating that a federal judge supports violent criminal activity, but it won't allow an ad celebrating the life of Barack Obama. It's a double standard from Bizarro World.”

On DC comics’ fictional cube-shaped planet Htrae (Earth spelled backwards), activities adhere to the Bizarro Code: “Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World.”

A perfect fit with the mainstream media in my earthly opinion.


5. 'Madea' and ‘Taken’ Nab the Box Office

Tyler Perry's “Madea Goes to Jail” and Liam Neeson’s “Taken’ snagged the No. 1 and No. 2 spots at the box office this past weekend.

“Madea” took in $41.1 million, the highest-grossing film for Perry since his 2005 “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.”

“Taken” brought in $11.4 million, jacking up the movie’s domestic take to more than $95 million.

Perry releases his films independently through Lionsgate and does so partially because the big studios won’t produce his Christian-oriented scripts.

He’s let it be known, “If you don’t want my God here, you don’t want me here.”

Meanwhile Neeson, in an interview with German publication Bild, called his action-drama “Taken” a “very politically incorrect film.”

It features a character who is willing to do anything and everything to rescue the most important thing in his life — his daughter. By the way, it also happens to be a PG-13-rated flick with no nudity or profanity.

“We live in a time in which no one wants to take responsibility,” Neeson explained. “Everyone passes the blame onto someone else, the circumstances, the fate. My hero acts. He does what he can do best — kill. But he has a heart of gold.”

MSNBC trashed the movie and sneered that “Bushies” would love it.

Judging by the box office, more cinema-tailored fare should be coming Bushies’ way in the near future.

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