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Archive for March, 2012

Cokie Roberts laments Washington gridlock

Cokie Roberts at the Atlanta Press Club does not Tweet or use Facebook. CREDIT: John Glenn for the Atlanta Press Club

Cokie Roberts at the Atlanta Press Club does not Tweet or use Facebook. CREDIT: John Glenn for the Atlanta Press Club

Cokie Roberts is political journalism royalty. Her parents were in Congress. She has been covering politics for decades for NPR and ABC News. She came to the Atlanta Press Club Thursday, lamenting the way Washington now works, where partisanship seems to trump all.

But she said she takes it all in perspective. “People ask all the time: ‘Is this the most partisan time in our history?’ The answer to that question is no.”

In the early 1800s, Roberts noted, it wasn’t crazy for politicians  to actually shoot each other in duels, most notably Vice President Aaron Burr and former Secretary of the Treasurer Alexander Hamilton. “That’s partisan,” she said.

Nonetheless, she said there is a lot of anger emanating from both sides today. She carted out all the reasons that politicos know well.

There are virtually no politicians left in the middle. Those that are trying to …

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‘American Idol’ top 9 results recap: who is out next?

Heejun Han goes home tonight. CREDIT: Michael Becker/FOX

Heejun Han goes home tonight. CREDIT: Michael Becker/FOX

Tonight’s elimination

  • No surprise
  • Should have been Hollie
  • Should have been Skylar
  • Should have been DeAndre
  • Should have been someone not mentioned above

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Insecure, intermittently humorous, intermittently annoying Heejun Han is out.

He sealed his fate with a series of really boring performances, followed by a silly Billy Joel goof that Steven Tyler hated. He did up his game a few notches last night but it was clearly too late. His fate was sealed. He knew he had no way of winning this. His voice, as Jimmy Iovine noted, simply wasn’t good enough and his overall stage presence was lacking.

Comedy? Well, we know he’s got a future in Funny or Die videos. We’ll see if he can do anything beyond fading into the woodwork.

Jimmy Iovine’s thoughts:

- Elise: “She took charge of that stage. She led the band. Her hair, her clothes, her vocal ability, it all moved in unison… She has …

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‘American Idol’ top 9 live blogging

Oops. The event I thought I was going to is actually scheduled for April 5, not tonight. So I arrived a week early. But the upside; I get to live blog tonight! So slow blog below or live blog with me as we find out who gets eliminated. Could it be Heejun? DeAndre? Some shocker?

‘American Idol’ top 9 results live blogging

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Georgia film/TV tax incentives revisions pass House and Senate

"The Three Stooges" film, set to come out April 4, was shot in Atlanta partly thanks to a generous film credit. CREDIT: 20th Century Fox

"The Three Stooges" film, set to come out April 4, was shot in Atlanta partly thanks to generous tax credits. CREDIT: 20th Century Fox

The Senate and House have passed revisions to the Georgia TV and film tax incentives program that will keep it alive but provide more safeguards to better ensure the state is getting proper promotional value from production companies. Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign the bill.

The bill keeps a 20 percent tax credit for qualified production companies that spend at least $500,000 here in a given year. It also provides a bonus 10 percent tax credit on top of that if the film, TV show, music video or video game includes a special peach logo to promote Georgia tourism.

Georgia provides among the most generous incentives available worldwide. There are no caps to how much an individual film production company can accrue in tax credits. (Gaming companies with annual revenues of $100 million qualify for up to $25 million.)

The original version of …

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Mary Mary gives Atlanta love in new WE-TV reality show debuting March 29

Tina and Erica at the Museum Bar March 21 promoting the show. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Tina and Erica at the Museum Bar March 21 promoting the show. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

WE-TV has gotten a lot of ratings mileage from the sisterly tensions among the Braxtons, which is partly shot in Atlanta. “Braxton Family Values,” concluding its second season,is the network’s most successful original series to date.

WE  is hoping for more viewer love with its sister duo of Mary MaryErica Atkins-Campbell and Tina Atkins-Campbell. Starting March 29, viewers will watch the travails of the pair as they juggle multiple kids, pregnancies, a pushy manager and a career.

Mary Mary brings a different angle to reality shows of this ilk because they are an urban contemporary gospel group who sing about and for Jesus. This means they aren’t going to show too much skin, or curse, or threaten bodily harm.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t tensions. Expect arguments over career direction, weight and sundry other issues over ten episodes. But it’s more of a sweet, feel-good show than …

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‘American Idol’ top 9 performance recap: five standing o’s

Phillip Phillips opted for his idol Jonny Lang. CREDIT: Michael Becker/FOX

Phillip Phillips opted for his idol Jonny Lang. CREDIT: Michael Becker/FOX

Who were you favorites tonight? (pick up to three)

  • Heejun Han
  • Hollie Cavanagh
  • Elise Testone
  • Skylar Laine
  • Deandre Brackensick
  • Jessica Sanchez
  • Joshua Ledet
  • Phil Philips
  • Colton Dixon

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The “American Idol” judges fell over themselves tonight. Five of the singers received standing ovations.

With the theme of picking your idols, everyone was able to pick songs they knew really well. So everybody had a chance to shine.

Unfortunately, I just wasn’t as excited as the judges. There weren’t any disastrous performances tonight but not really anything that would have lifted me to my feet – or at least off my couch.

And a show that now should be 90 minutes with nine singers has been stretched to two hours by Fox edict. So there was a pointless “fashion” bit with Tommy Hilfiger and three medleys that showcased Heejun Han’s inability to follow basic …

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‘American Idol’ top 9 live blogging

If you want to live blog (or simply use the comments below), you have two options. Tonight the nine singers will do songs from their idols. To fill extra time since they have stretched what should be a 90 minute show to two hours is some sort of medley of Madonna songs. Or something like that. Nigel has tweeted that Jessica will do Beyonce (not Mariah!) while Hollie will take on Carrie Underwood and Skylar, Miranda Lambert.

‘American Idol’ top 9 live blogging

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Daymond John (FUBU founder, ‘Shark Tank’) speaks at Kennesaw State University

Daymond john

Daymond John has invested in seven businesses on "Shark Tank." CREDIT: ABC

I just spoke with Daymond John, founder of lifestyle brand FUBU and investor on ABC’s “Shark Tank” today before his talk this evening with students of Kennesaw State University’s Michael J. Coles College of Business. (It’s open to the public at 7 p.m. at the KSU Convocation Center, 1000 Chastain Road, Kennesaw, GA 30144)

John, a true home-grown entrepreneur who started sewed and sold his own tie-top hats on the streets of Queens more than 20 years ago, is now a coveted branding expert and motivational speaker who still oversees his internationally known FUBU brand.

Atlanta, he said, was one of his biggest early supporting markets. “It’s a very dear place to me,” he said. “I directed my first video with Gucci Mane. I’m very close to Ludacris. It’s like my second home.”

But he chose not to buy a home here. “I just know it’s such a great city, it woudl be a distraction.” In his younger days, he said he …

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Peachtree TV still off Dish Network

Martin-Prado-atlanta-braves

Back in January, I reported that Dish Network had taken Peachtree TV off its network over a contract dispute. Unfortunately, two months later, the dispute continues but the stakes are going up. Why? The Atlanta Braves.

Most of what Peachtree TV offers (films, sitcoms such as “House of Payne” and “The Big Bang Theory”) can be found elsewhere.

But in April, the Atlanta Braves begin their season and 45 of the games this season will air on Peachtree TV, the first on April 13 against the Milwaukee Brewers. Dedicated Braves fans who happen to get Dish TV won’t be happy.

Dish pays cable networks “retransmission” fees for the privilege of airing their content. ESPN gets the most. A network like Peachtree TV? Not nearly as much. But for both sides, every penny counts.

These disputes pop up on occasion. In 2010, Dish cut off FX and Fox Sports over a similar dispute. That was resolved about a month later.

CBS Atlanta, WGCL-TV, actually operates Peachtree TV, which is owned by …

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Who is out first on ‘Dancing With the Stars 14′?

Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani are the first couple out. (ABC/ADAM TAYLOR)

Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani are the first couple out. (ABC/ADAM TAYLOR)

First out

  • No! Martina should have stayed
  • Yes. She was the weakest.

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Tennis legend Martina Navratilova found no love from the “Dancing With the Stars” audience and was the first celebrity bounced from the 14th edition.

Navratilova is obviously very competitive but was so out of her element here. Her athleticism and work ethic couldn’t overcome her natural discomfort wearing a dress and trying to move around the floor with any semblance of smoothness. She was jerky and discombobulated much of the time. She received the lowest scores over two nights (37) and clearly lacked a fan base to save her. (The other tennis player Monica Seles from DWTS’s past from season six only lasted two weeks.)

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Navratilova said. “I blew it yesterday.”

And my wife was appalled by Martina’s outfit tonight. “It looks like she was caught in an …

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