Television Comedy Pioneer Sid Caesar Dead at 91

Sculpture of Sid Caesar  located in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' public plaza, Hollywood, CA.

Sculpture of Sid Caesar located in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences public plaza, Hollywood, CA.

Read this sweet interview with Caesar and his wife from 2004 on his love of animals. It’s funny, too, of course.

A 30-minute segment of an interview from The Archive of American Television:

“I was taking sleeping pills and liquor and I went on and I could not remember a line. You know what a terrible feeling it is not be able to remember your lines? I went back to my dressing room and I looked in the mirror and I said ‘Sid, you want to live or you want to die?’ And I up and went to the hospital. I cleaned up.”



From the link:

New York’s Friars Club in an email to PIX11′s Marvin Scott confirmed the death Wednesday afternoon. Reuters quoted Carl Reiner to confirm the death.

A choked-up Jerry Lewis told Marvin Scott that “we lost a treasure” in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Deadline: R.I.P. Sid Caesar
Variety: Sid Caesar, Master of TV Comedy, Dies at 91

Hat tip Kevin in ABQ
Image courtesy of Public Art in LA


Oscar-Winning Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman Dead at 46 (Video) UPDATE: Fans Gather Outside Apartment (Photo)

via Wall Street Journal:

Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead Sunday afternoon in his New York City apartment, a law-enforcement official said.
The New York Police Department is investigating, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is working to determine the exact cause of death. The official said Mr. Hoffman, 46 years old, was found dead at his apartment at 35 Bethune St. in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan.
Mr. Hoffman won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 2005 film, ‘Capote.’
The actor was found in the bathroom of his fourth floor apartment in the Pickwick House around 11:15 a.m. by a screenwriter, who called 911, the official said.

In 2012, Hoffman talked with Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers about the five films he made with writer/director (and friend) Paul Thomas Anderson:

Here’s the great phone scene from ‘Punch Drunk Love’ between Hoffman and Adam Sandler: (Edit: NSFW)

Philip Seymour Hoffman winning Best Actor for ‘Capote’

First ET Interview: Philip Seymour Hoffman talks about working on ‘Magnolia’ back in 1999.

Hat tip Jay Caruso

Jason Howerton of The Blaze:

Hat tip Jason Howerton

Breitbart News: NYPD: Academy Award-Winning Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman Dead
The Other McCain: The Needle and the Spoon


Amanda Knox’s Reaction to ‘This Unjust Verdict’ (Video)

Former American student Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have been re-convicted by an Italian appeals court of the brutal murder of British roommate Meredith Kercher.

Her full statement:

First and foremost it must be recognized that there is no consolation for the Kercher family. Their grief over Meredith’s terrible murder will follow them forever. They deserve respect and support.

I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict. Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system. The evidence and accusatory theory do not justify a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, nothing has changed. There has always been a marked lack of evidence. My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution.

This has gotten out of hand. Most troubling is that it was entirely preventable. I beseech those with the knowledge and authority to address and remediate the problems that worked to pervert the course of justice and waste the valuable resources of the system: overzealous and intransigent prosecution, prejudiced and narrow-minded investigation, unwillingness to admit mistake, reliance on unreliable testimony and evidence, character assassination, inconsistent and unfounded accusatory theory, and counterproductive and coercive interrogation techniques that produce false confessions and inaccurate statements.

Clearly a wrongful conviction is horrific for the wrongfully accused, but it is also terribly bad for the victim, their surviving family, and society.

Knox “spent the days leading up to the verdict with the Guardian‘s Simon Hattenstone. Here she discusses the case and how it has affected her.”

Twitchy: Italian court finds Amanda Knox guilty of murder


Under Political Pressure, Scarlett Johansson Steps Down From Oxfam Ambassador Role

Scarlett Johansson Soda Large

I first read about the pressure being placed on liberal (and Obama supporter) Scarlett Johansson in Donald Douglas’s great post at American Power Blog. Today, there’s an update (emphasis mine):

Scarlett Johansson officially stepped down from her position as global ambassador for the charity Oxfam on Thursday in favor of representing Israeli company SodaStream, which has a major production plant in the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim.
As part of a growing international BDS movement against Israel’s settlement policy, pro-Palestinian groups had called on Oxfam to sever its ties with the actress.
Johansson stepped down after the charity had expressed its disapproval of the actress’s new role as spokesperson for SodaStream.
“Oxfam has accepted Scarlett Johansson’s decision to step down after eight years as a Global Ambassador and we are grateful for her many contributions,” a statement on the Oxfam International website said.
“While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador.”
Johansson responded to pressure from Oxfam in a statement released to The Huffington Post on Sunday.
“While I never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance as part of my affiliation with SodaStream, given the amount of noise surrounding that decision, I’d like to clear the air,” she said.
”I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’aleh Adumim factory every working day.”


Screw #BDS: Scarlett Johansson in Sexy Super Bowl Commercial for SodaStream

Thanks for the link love, Daley Gator!

Also thanks for linkage to Blackmailers Don’t Shoot.


Things Get Funky at Tonight’s #GRAMMYs with Daft Punk, Pharrell, Chic’s Nile Rodgers– and, yes, Robots! Update: (Full VIDEO)

Photo: Twitter/@EMPOTV

Photo: Twitter/@EMPOTV

Watch as Record of the Year winners Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams (Producer of the Year) and Stevie Wonder perform “Get Lucky” at tonight’s “Grammy Awards”, with the bass groove of legendary producer Nile Rodgers (Chic).

<blockquote lang=”en”><p>OK, if you weren&#39;t dancing during that, I don&#39;t know you. <a href=”;src=hash”>#GRAMMYs</a></p>&mdash; Becca Lower (@BeccaJLower) <a href=”″>January 27, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//” charset=”utf-8″></script>

<blockquote lang=”en”><p>That performance with Daft Punk, Pharrell, Stevie Wonder and crew was legit too. <a href=”;src=hash”>#dvr</a> <a href=”;src=hash”>#GRAMMYs</a></p>&mdash; Ali A. Akbar (@ali) <a href=”″>January 27, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//” charset=”utf-8″></script>

<blockquote lang=”en”><p><a href=””>@BeccaJLower</a> So much funk I couldn&#39;t even deal! Epic!</p>&mdash; Ali A. Akbar (@ali) <a href=”″>January 27, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//” charset=”utf-8″></script>

As soon as the full performance is online somewhere I can link (not HuffPo), I’ll update.

Earlier in the evening, Daft Punk took the stage to accept the award for pop/duo performance for “Get Lucky”…

UPDATE: Full video:

Hat tip Heavy

From the Grammy-winning Record of the Year, ‘Random Access Memories’:

Daft Punk – Instant Crush ft. Julian Casablancas (The Strokes)

The nearly-7 minute “Get Lucky” (Album Version Video)

In the mix of the live performance (Hat tip Hollywood Reporter):

Top 10 Daft Punk Songs


Video: So, Obama Wants You to Enjoy an ‘Enhanced’ Version of the #SOTU Address….

Check out White House Chief of Staff/pitchman Denis McDonough.

But wait, there’s more!

“Throughout the week, administration officials will continue to take your questions on key issue areas addressed in the President’s remarks.”

Sounds like any other outreach video by the Obama team, you say? Nope, there’s something more to it. We should hear it, as citizen-journalists, as an invitation to engage. And how many other journalist who’ve being shut out by this administration might seek some answers? Hey, it’s worth a shot.

Hat tip Lesley Clark

Washington Examiner: Video: White House touts ‘enhanced’ State of the Union broadcast


Hard to Believe this Former Supermodel’s Turning 40 (Photos)

A very special birthday Rule 5, dedicated to my generation’s Twiggy– Kate Moss. She turned 40 on Thursday.

Kate Moss

Kate Moss

kate moss

kate moss

kate moss
via The LAD Bible

Kate Moss Stella McCartney feb 2012

kate moss birthday 2007
Kate Moss British Fashion Awards 2013
via Grazia Daily UK

2003: Kate Moss in the White Stripes video for “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself”

Hat tip Edmonton Sun


Daily Mail UK: Approaching 40, a curvier Kate Moss

CTV News: Kate Moss shows no signs of slowing as she celebrates 40th birthday

Hollywood Kate Moss Poses Topless For Sexy ‘Playboy’ Cover Shoot

Thanks for the link love, Blackmailers Don’t Shoot!


Sickening: ACLU and anti-death penalty activist groups seek to use execution of Ohio killer to push agenda

joy stewart image

Joy Stewart

Witness to Innocence issued this statement on its Facebook page this morning, in a flurry of social media “action” by other anti-death penalty activist groups at the same hour as attorneys and family members of executed rapist and murderer Dennis McGuire spoke at a press conference:

Official statement by ally Kevin Werner, Ex. Dir. of Ohioans to Stop Executions: “An immediate moratorium on executions is the only solution, short of repeal, to address these continuing issues with executions. The suffocation execution of Dennis McGuire shines the spotlight on the unworkable nature of the problems Ohio has in the death house. The experiment has failed and that is plainly obvious. For millions of Ohioans, it’s not about how we kill our prisoners; it’s that we kill them at all. The Ohio Supreme Court’s Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s #deathpenalty refused to make recommendations on execution procedures and now we know why. This scheme is not working and it should stop.”

Twitter accounts for Werner’s group, along with the ACLU of Ohio, Amnesty International and others are directing people to an online petition asking Governor John Kasich to stop executions altogether:

In light of the suffocation execution of Dennis McGuire on January 16th, 2014, I join with Ohioans to Stop Executions and millions of Ohioans who oppose the death penalty in urging Governor Kasich to issue an immediate moratorium on all executions.

The petition makes plain their goal: not “humane” executions, but NO executions. It’s sickening that these groups choose to push their agenda without a thought about the pain and suffering of victim Joy Stewart’s family.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio criticized the execution:

“Unfortunately, Ohio continues to lead the way in finding new ways to put people to death,” said Mike Brickner, the organization’s director of communications and public policy. “With each new execution, we continue to run from the fact that this is a fundamentally broken system.”

The ACLU, of course, fails to tell you why Ohio had to find “new ways to put people to death”. (emphasis mine):

Columbus Dispatch reporter Alan Johnson said that the whole execution process took 24 minutes, and that McGuire appeared to be gasping for air for 10 to 13 minutes.

“He gasped deeply. It was kind of a rattling, guttural sound. There was kind of a snorting through his nose. A couple of times, he definitely appeared to be choking,” WDTN quoted Johnson as saying….

…[L]ike many states, Ohio has been forced to find new drug protocols after European-based manufacturers banned U.S. prisons from using their drugs in executions — among them, Danish-based Lundbeck, which manufactures pentobarbital….

But McGuire’s gasping was no surprise. The killer’s supporters and legal team have been building a campaign since the beginning of December:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio’s untried execution method, the first of its kind in the nation, will cause the condemned killer of a pregnant woman “agony and terror” as he struggles to breathe, attorneys trying to stop the execution argued in federal court.

The two-drug combination won’t sedate death row inmate Dennis McGuire properly, and he will experience a suffocation-like syndrome known as air hunger, the attorneys said in filings Monday and Tuesday.

The drugs were chosen because of a shortage of other lethal injection drugs.

“McGuire will experience the agony and terror of air hunger as he struggles to breathe for five minutes after defendants intravenously inject him with the execution drugs,” the inmate’s attorneys said in a Monday court filing.

The dose planned for McGuire isn’t enough to properly sedate him, meaning he’ll experience “the horrifying sensation” of being unable to breathe, Harvard anesthesiology professor David Waisel said in a Tuesday filing in support of the inmate.

Who’s this “innocent” that these activists were trying to save from pain and suffering?

From December:

In its ruling, the [Ohio state parole] board criticized McGuire’s attempts over the years to evade responsibility, and said a recent letter he sent Gov. John Kasich describing the slaying as a lovers’ quarrel gone wrong was “disingenuous.” It also questioned his claims of childhood abuse and instead focused on the brutality of Joy Stewart’s stabbing death….

Prosecutors in Preble County say a death sentence is appropriate for such a shocking crime. Stewart, 22, was newly married and about 30 weeks pregnant when she was killed.

“One can scarcely conceive of a sequence of crimes more shocking to the conscience or to moral sensibilities than the senseless kidnapping and rape of a young, pregnant woman followed by her murder,” prosecutors said in their filing with the board….

McGuire, 53, took responsibility for the killing in a handwritten letter he sent [Ohio Governor John] Kasich earlier this month.

“Sir, I am sorry for what I have done to the Stewart family and Joy herself,” McGuire wrote….

DNA tests over the years have established McGuire as the killer.

His attorneys say a plea bargain that was offered to McGuire but rejected should be taken into consideration, since it shows the state at one time didn’t believe a death sentence was necessary.

Prosecutors say McGuire’s decision not to accept that offer is part of his refusal to accept responsibility for the crime.



Related: Donald Douglas at American Power Blog: Ohio Killer Executed with New Drug Cocktail, Dude Gasps While Dying, Leftists Freak Out

Thanks for the linkage, Daley Gator!


West Virginians Show That They’re Keeping a Sense of Humor About Water Shortages (Photo)

Photo: Danielle R. Saul

Photo: Danielle R. Saul

Photo courtesy of 20-year-old conservative activist Danielle R. Saul, on the ground with Americans For Prosperity- Virginia in Charleston, WV as a part of the national organization’s relief efforts in the state. (Full disclosure: I’ve worked for AFP.)

Please read more at the Red Alert Politics link above.

AFP WV water

Photo hat tip Red Alert Politics


Bathroom handwash stations (Photo: Danielle R. Saul)

Bathroom handwash stations (Photo: Danielle R. Saul)

“All of the utensils are plastic, and we use paper plates.” Danielle says.



An Error or a Lie?

See what happens when a PR hack for an interest group that spent big money to elect de Blasio mayor tries to lie… and gets caught!


Mike Nellis, a Democrat strategist, tried to ridicule and smear horse-carriage owners and their supporters on behalf of his client NYCLASS today.

As you can see in the BuzzFeed post, he wrote, “Tell that to carriage horses like Blondie, an abused horse whose owner was charged with animal cruelty last month.”

The first problem: the link this outrageous statement pointed to was the BuzzFeed post. I tweeted to both Mr. Nellis and the blog about it.

Once the link was corrected, I saw there was a larger problem: reading the New York Times piece reveals that the statement itself was a lie.

The carriage driver, Saverio Colarusso, was charged in December “with animal cruelty after a police officer observed him working a horse that was visibly injured, according to court documents.” The same driver has previously been charged and fined for other infractions, including drinking on the job.

Christina Hansen, a spokeswoman for the carriage industry, said it was “shocked and saddened to learn that one of our drivers was charged with animal cruelty.”

She said that if the driver were to be convicted, it would be the first time a carriage operator, owner or stable was found to have committed cruelty.

“I have spoken with the owner of Blondie, who says that he was unaware that Blondie had shown any signs of lameness or discomfort when being driven by Mr. Colarusso,” she said.

Ms. Hansen also explained that the owner “has suspended Mr. Colarusso pending the outcome of the investigation. We do not tolerate any mistreatment of the carriage horses in our business.”

Was this simply an honest “error”, or did Mr. Nellis realize that the target audience for his deceit doesn’t regularly click on links?

Mr. Nellis can correct his error by issuing an apology and retraction via the Horse and Carriage Association of New York City to the carriage owner.

Meanwhile, ask yourself: Will you let de Blasio get away with this?