|—||Dave Chappelle on Hollywood: Mk-Ultra, handlers, Mariah Carey’s TRL breakdown, Illuminati sacrifices, Homosexuality, and more.|
Obama vows to act without Congress in State of the Union speech
“President Obama warned Congress he won’t wait to take action on his agenda, vowing in Tuesday’s State of the Union address to use executive powers to sidestep Republican roadblocks on Capitol Hill. ” - NBC
Associated Press: In his State of the Union address, President Obama vowed to take steps without Congress “whenever and wherever” necessary to narrow economic disparities between the wealthy and poor.
He unveiled an array of executive actions that included increasing the minimum wage for some federal contract workers and making it easier for millions of low-income Americans to save for retirement.
"America does not stand still and neither do I," Obama declared in his annual prime-time address before a joint session of Congress and millions of Americans watching on television.
“Fun Fact: Obama’s Executive Order mandating Federal Contractors pay a wage of at least $10.10, stands unnecessarily in contrast to the Davis-Bacon act, which “establishes the requirement for paying the local prevailing wages on public works projects for laborers and mechanics.”
Additionally, in 2013, state and local government workers earned an average of $42.09 an hour, while Federal workers earned on average $83,769 per year, or about $40 per hour, similar to most state and local workers.
TSA Officers, some of the lowest payed Federal employees, still make upwards of $12 on average, or about $25,000 a year.
Keeping in mind that Federal employees on average already make much more than $10.10 an hour, my question then, Mr. President, is how is your “bypass of congress” not a completely pointless and redundant political ploy to shift attention away from drone strikes, warrantless spying, the blunder that is Obamacare, and your egregious expansion of Executive Power?” - Source
NEW YORK (AP) — Even on “Sesame Street,” where everything is famously A-OK, problems can arise for its residents.
And that includes the Muppets. Cookie Monster grapples with an eating disorder. Oscar the Grouch gets cranky. Mr. Snuffleupagus gets the blues.
But Elmo seemed immune to any of that. Since enjoying his breakout success more than two decades ago, the 3 1/2-year-old red monster has radiated good cheer, love and trilling giggles. No wonder everyone — adults as well as children — adores him.
The key to Elmo is “his innocence, his positiveness and his sweetness,” according to Kevin Clash, the man who created him and once told The Associated Press, “I would love to be totally like Elmo.”
Clash spoke to ABC News “Nightline” last year about his passion for puppets while promoting the documentary “Being Elmo.” “I have Peter Pan syndrome, we call it,” Clash said.
Now Clash has been scandalously separated from Elmo and from “Sesame Street,” the TV series where he reigned behind the scenes for 28 years.
Clash spoke of “personal matters” as the cause of his resignation Tuesday after an unthinkable nine-day stretch that began with an unnamed man in his 20s claiming he had sex with Clash at age 16. That allegation was quickly recanted. But then came another accusation of sexual abuse, and a lawsuit.
That second accuser, a 24-year-old college student named Cecil Singleton, said the actor had engaged in sexual behavior with him when he was 15. He is suing Clash for $5 million.
"I am deeply sorry to be leaving," said Clash in his parting statement, "and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately."
But privacy may no longer be possible for Clash, the 52-year-old divorced father of a grown daughter who acknowledged last week that he is gay. Singleton’s lawyer, Jeff Herman, said he has been contacted by two other potential victims of Clash and expects additional legal action.
At a news conference Tuesday, Singleton said he and Clash met on a gay chat line and then, for a two-week period, they engaged in sexual contact, though not intercourse. Sex with a person under 17 is a felony in New York if the perpetrator is 21 or older.
Singleton said he didn’t know Clash’s profession until years later, when he Googled the man’s name.
"I was shocked when I found out what he did for a living," said Singleton.
Now that career has ended for Clash, who, in his dream job as a puppeteer for “Sesame Street,” was assigned a little-used puppet now known as Elmo, then turned him into a star. In the process, Clash won 23 daytime Emmy awards and one prime-time Emmy. He published his 2006 autobiography, “My Life as a Furry Red Monster,” and was the subject of the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.”
Elmo overshadowed Big Bird and other “Sesame” Muppets in popularity and screen time, while marginalizing the cast of live actors. Since 1998, he has had his own show-within-a-show on “Sesame Street” in addition to appearances elsewhere in the hour.
He is also a major moneymaker for Sesame Workshop, the New York-based company that produces the show, and for licensees. At his merchandising height in 1996, he inspired the Tickle Me Elmo doll, which became a cultural phenomenon and that Christmas season’s hottest toy.
This year’s Elmo dolls, “LOL Elmo,” which giggles, and “Let’s Rock! Elmo,” which sings and comes with a microphone and drum set, haven’t made any of this year’s hot toy lists. Even so, Elmo toys probably account for one-half to two-thirds of the $75 million in annual sales the “Sesame Street” toy line generates for toy maker Hasbro, estimates BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson.
Johnson said he wasn’t sure how this week’s news might affect sales of Elmo toys this holiday.
"How many people are going to want to explain to their kid why they’re not getting an Elmo?" he asked.
On Tuesday, Hasbro issued a statement saying “We are confident that Elmo will remain an integral part of Sesame Street and that Sesame Street toys will continue to delight children for years to come.”
Despite his resignation, Clash will remain an integral part of “Sesame Street” for the foreseeable future. Taping of season No. 44 will wrap by mid-December and will begin airing next September, according to someone close to the show who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to publicly discuss details of its production. That means new episodes with Clash performing as Elmo will presumably continue well into 2014.
As for who might take over as Elmo, other “Sesame Street” puppeteers were already being trained to serve as Clash’s stand-in, Sesame Workshop said. It’s part of an understudy policy being adopted for all the major Muppet characters.
But no one knows how Elmo will fare going forward. Will the jokes spurred by Clash’s downfall leave a lasting mark on Elmo’s image? Will there be parents who see him tainted by association with the man who brought him to life?
In the wake of a personal tragedy that may still be unfolding, Elmo’s innocence, positiveness and sweetness will be put to the test.
"Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey" & All-Seeing-Eye symbolism