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Tom Petty Spurns Bachmann; Timberlake Sexy-Backs MySpace

James Hirsen By Tuesday, 05 July 2011 06:53 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Tom Petty, Katrina and the Waves Spurn Bachmann
2. California's Online Tax Smashes Amazon's Affiliates
3. Can Justin Timberlake Bring MySpace Back?
4. Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries Turn to the Bible
5. Hollywood Goes Out on ‘The Ledge' for Atheism

1. Tom Petty, Katrina and the Waves Spurn Bachmann

It seems as though musicians don't much like politicians using their songs at campaign rallies if they happen to have an "R" next to their names.

Ronald Reagan found that out when he used Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" during a re-election campaign event, and Springsteen unleashed his lawyers on the Gipper.

George W. Bush's campaign learned the lesson when it got legal threats from John Mellencamp for "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," from Tom Petty for "I Won't Back Down," from the group Orleans for "Still the One," and from Sting for "Brand New Day."

John McCain discovered it the hard way when Jackson Browne's mouthpieces informed him that he had to quit using "Running on Empty" for a campaign ad. He also received nasty missives from Mellencamp, Jon Bon Jovi and Sheryl Crow.

It looks like it's Michele Bachmann's turn now. Tom Petty, who penned the tune "American Girl," recently had his lawyers send a cease and desist letter to the GOP presidential hopeful after her campaign played the song at her announcement rally. It wasn't that long ago that Petty allowed the same song to be used by Hillary Clinton during her run for the White House.

One-hit wonders Katrina and the Waves have gone after Bachmann, too, for her use of "Walking On Sunshine."

Bachmann may want to tempt fate by negotiating a performance license from ASCAP or BMI, but she may still be sued for implying an endorsement by the respective artist.

My advice would be to choose music written by an individual artist or group that would appreciate the promotion.

2. California's Online Tax Smashes Amazon's Affiliates

California is broke.

The once Golden State is looking for a way to balance its books, aside from the obvious one of cutting the size and scope of government.

Since the Democrats and Gov. Jerry Brown are in cahoots with the public unions, rather than going after the exorbitant compensation packages of public employees, they have targeted Amazon and other similar companies to force them to collect sales taxes for online purchases.

Brown signed into law a provision requiring online retailers to collect state sales tax if they have affiliates in California. The result perfectly illustrates the lack of foresight inherent in liberal solutions to fiscal problems.

Amazon did what businesses do when faced with greedy politicians who slink around looking for new pockets to pick via tax increases. The company acted to defend its profits. Amazon announced that it would cancel all agreements with its affiliates in California.

As a result, a host of companies and individuals whose websites send visitors to Amazon, and who receive a cut of the sales in return, are out of business. This will ultimately result in a loss of jobs and buying power in a state that can in no way afford it.

Amazon told the Associated Press that the new legislation is "unconstitutional" and "counterproductive."

The company is likely to challenge the new law using a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that bars states from requiring businesses to collect sales taxes unless the business is physically present in that state.

3. Can Justin Timberlake Bring MySpace Back?

When Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. bought MySpace for $500 million in 2005, many business experts heralded the purchase.

After a steady decline of good will, brand recognition and revenue, News Corp. recently sold the beleaguered social networking site to Specific Media for $35 million, with the bulk of the price paid in stock.

A few hours after Specific Media announced the acquisition, the company issued a second press release proclaiming that Justin Timberlake would be part owner of the site and would provide creative direction in the effort to resuscitate MySpace.

Timberlake connected with Specific Media via a conference call, which took place less than two weeks before the deal closed. The singer met with his new partners and finalized the partnership arrangement a scant 30 minutes before the transaction was made public.

Timberlake's longtime manager, Johnny Wright, has indicated that a talent show may be a part of the new owner's business plans.

"Whether it becomes a talent competition or something like that, those are things that we will still flesh out. We definitely want to bring the industry back to MySpace to really look at the talented people that have put their faces there," Wright told the Associated Press.

At a press conference on Aug. 17, Timberlake, known for the lyric "bringing sexy back," will share the details on his plans to bring MySpace back.

4. Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries Turn to the Bible

The tabloids have been filled with details of the courtship, engagement and upcoming nuptials of reality star Kim Kardashian and her basketball beau, Kris Humphries.

TMZ is reporting a surprising activity that the two recently engaged in: Kim and Kris are studying the Bible.

The couple's interest in the Holy Scriptures is related to their upcoming wedding.

According to sources close to Kardashian and Humphries, the two are carefully going through the Good Book to pick the right verses so that they can engrave the words on each other's wedding bands.

Kim already has one Bible verse engraved on her engagement ring and plans to choose an appropriate passage for her future husband's ring. Kris, in turn, will select a portion of scripture to be engraved on Kim's wedding band.

5. Hollywood Goes Out on ‘The Ledge' for Atheism

Hollywood has moved beyond a hostile attitude toward traditional faith and has created a film that actually promotes atheistic beliefs — "The Ledge."

Moviemakers claim that "The Ledge" is "the first film to feature an openly atheist hero in a Hollywood production." They compare the film to "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and "Brokeback Mountain," and hope to "achieve similar advances for atheists."

"The Ledge" sports a big-name cast with stars including Liv Tyler ("The Lord of the Rings"), Terrence Howard ("Crash"), Charlie Hunnam ("Sons of Anarchy") and Patrick Wilson ("Watchmen").

The film's writer and director is Matthew Chapman, who happens to be the great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin and, as one might expect, a committed atheist. Concurrent with scientific advances, Chapman sees atheism as an inescapable belief. "As we learn more about the universe and ourselves, religion will inevitably give way to atheism," the writer-director once said.

Tyler summarized the movie's plot to Popeater: "I play a woman who had problems with drugs and prostitution, and then she meets Patrick Wilson's character and they get married," she said. "He is a born-again evangelical Christian. He basically saves her life and then she meets a man played by Charlie Hunnam and they have an affair and he's an atheist."

The actress failed to mention that the husband is an irrational Bible thumper who lures the atheist onto a ledge and threatens to kill the wife unless the atheist jumps.

Tyler is out promoting the movie as an exercise in tolerance.

"The message I got from making this film is that the world, especially now with the Internet, we're so quick to judge people based on their clothing, sexual preference, religion, food they like," Tyler said. "I guess I came to realize from this that you really don't know what people have been through unless you find out."

Although not particularly religious, she nevertheless does not talk like an atheist.

"I definitely have some kind of belief in something bigger than myself. I almost feel like it's the universe and the earth and mother nature and that feeling when you go to the beach or stand on top of a mountain and look around and go, ‘God this is not about me,'" the actress said.

Of course, Hollywood has been entertaining the atheist line of thought for quite some time. HBO host Bill Maher routinely touts atheism as a superior worldview. The comedian also produced and starred in a 2008 mockumentary, "Religulous," that not only ridiculed religion but elevated atheism.

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at HollywoodHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Tom Petty, Katrina and the Waves Spurn Bachmann 2. California's Online Tax Smashes Amazon's Affiliates 3. Can Justin Timberlake Bring MySpace Back? 4. Kim Kardashian,...
Tom,Petty,Spurns,Bachmann,Timberlake,MySpace, sales tax,Kim Kardashian,Kris Humphries,Atheism
Tuesday, 05 July 2011 06:53 PM
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