Film industry loses its voice

first_imgJack Valenti was not a film star or movie mogul. Yet at any Hollywood soiree, he turned heads like the biggest A-lister and commanded attention like a top studio honcho. Valenti, the wily voice of Hollywood for nearly four decades as head of the industry’s top trade group, died at his Washington, D.C., home Thursday, a month after he was hospitalized for a stroke. He was 85. A former aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson who was in the motorcade the day President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Valenti went from Beltway insider to Hollywood baron when he took over the Motion Picture Association of America in 1966. His impact on American culture was almost immediate. Recognizing that the industry had outgrown the morality code regulating movie content since the 1930s, Valenti replaced it with a ratings system that survives today with its G, PG and R designations. “In a sometimes unreasonable business, Jack Valenti was a giant voice of reason,” Steven Spielberg said in a statement. “He was the greatest ambassador Hollywood has ever known, and I will value his wisdom and friendship for all time.” The ratings system has its critics, but Valenti always defended it as an example of democracy in action. Without it, films might have been subject to government censorship, so it ensured freedom of expression for moviemakers, Valenti said. And, he said, the ratings designations gave fair warning to audiences about content they might prefer to skip. “While I believe that every director, studio has the right to make the movies they want to make, everybody else has a right not to watch it,” Valenti told The Associated Press shortly before his retirement in 2004. “All we do is give advance cautionary warnings and say this is what we think is in this movie.” A short man with thick, snow-white hair and a speaking style both eloquent and homey, Valenti was a colorful fixture at the Academy Awards, major film festivals such as Cannes and other industry gatherings. “Perhaps a fitting way to describe Jack is to say this man is rated ‘G’ — for greatness,” Sony Chairman Michael Lynton and Co-Chairwoman Amy Pascal said in a statement. Valenti had been hospitalized at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore until this week, when his family took him home. He died of complications from the stroke, said MPAA spokesman Seth Oster. Kirk Douglas said Valenti, his friend for more than 45 years, visited him in New York City in March for a talk the actor gave to a Young Men’s Hebrew Association group. “Two days later, I got a call about his stroke. My wife and I flew to Johns Hopkins Hospital immediately,” Douglas said. “He was in a coma. I held his hand and talked to him. Maybe he heard me. My only consolation is that he did not suffer.” Right-hand man Valenti was a special assistant and confidant to Johnson when he was lured to Hollywood by movie moguls Lew Wasserman and Arthur Krim. A lifelong film lover, he once cited 1966’s “A Man for All Seasons” as his all-time favorite. Along with Douglas, his friends ranged from actor Sidney Poitier to, more improbably, Sen. Jesse Helms, a conservative often at odds with Hollywood. In Valenti’s later years, he handled new challenges such as the Internet and technologies that allow movies to be illegally reproduced and distributed in an instant. Valenti also traveled worldwide seeking to thwart movie piracy and boost film exports to reluctant countries such as China. Valenti’s Washington career was born of tragedy. As a Texas-based political consultant working for then-Vice President Johnson, Valenti was riding in the presidential motorcade Nov. 22, 1963, when Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Valenti, six cars behind the president, initially didn’t know what happened. “Without a trace of warning, the car in front of us accelerated from 8 miles an hour to 80,” he wrote in his memoir, “This Time, This Place,” to be published in June. “The whole spectacle turned bizarre, like an arcade game run amok, as we drove madly toward or away from some unnamed terror.” In an Associated Press interview, he said in 2003 that the assassination “is so seared in my memory I literally, sometimes at night — not often, but once or twice a year — I relive that day.” Oliver Stone’s 1991 film “JFK” angered Valenti. Stressing that he wasn’t speaking for the MPAA, he said the film’s implication that Johnson was involved in the assassination was “quackery” plucked from a “slag heap of loony theories.” Hurried aboard Air Force One for Johnson’s historic flight back to Washington, Valenti was instantly drafted as a special assistant to the new president. His duties grew to include congressional relations, diplomacy and speech editing, and he attended Cabinet and National Security Council meetings. Valenti became known for his loyalty, likening Johnson to Lincoln for his civil-rights efforts and declaring, to widespread ridicule, “I sleep each night a little better” knowing Johnson was in charge. “There is a hole in our hearts with his passing. Jack was a giant of a man. He was our most sage counselor, eloquent spokesman, and ardent defender,” said Johnson’s daughter, Luci Baines Johnson. “He made each of us feel he loved us best, and, oh, how our family adored him.” Coming to Hollywood Yet Valenti resigned in 1966, over Johnson’s objections, to accept the movie post. He became one of the highest-paid and best-known trade association executives, with a salary topping $1 million and his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The ratings program that featured labels such as “G” for general audiences remained his greatest legacy, even as social mores evolved even further, creating new criticism over Hollywood’s attempts to protect its audience. The ratings system has met with recent disapproval from many film critics, cinema fans and moviemakers, especially directors of independent films who say the system is stacked in favor of big studio productions and against edgier, low-budget fare. Critics also say the system is overly prudish on sex while allowing excessive violence. Recently, tobacco opponents have even sought to add smoking to the list of activities deemed too sensitive for younger viewers. The system did undergo changes over the decades. A PG-13 rating (parental guidance strongly recommended) was added in the 1980s. The X rating for adult films was transformed into the NC-17 rating in the 1990s. Born in Houston, Valenti swept floors and made popcorn in a theater as a boy. After earning the Distinguished Flying Cross for piloting bombing missions over Italy in World War II, he worked his way through night school at the University of Houston, then earned a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard. In 1952, he co-founded an advertising and political consulting agency. He was introduced to Senate Majority Leader Johnson three years later. He met his future wife, Mary Margaret Wiley, through his budding friendship with the senator — she was Johnson’s longtime secretary. They had three children. Valenti wrote a handful of books, including one on Johnson, “A Very Human President,” and a novel, “Protect and Defend,” published in 1992 by Doubleday with the help of one of its senior editors, Jacqueline Kennedy. By the time he retired, the movie business had been on a growth spurt for more than a decade, with admissions climbing to their highest level since the late 1950s. “I’m the luckiest guy in the world, because I spent my entire public working career in two of life’s classic fascinations, politics and Hollywood,” he said in 2004. “You can’t beat that.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Stevenson Ranch man sought in slaying

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsOne young man indicated he was leaving, but drove back and rammed his car into Pipho, then got out and stabbed him several times before running him over with the car, witnesses said. Stevens does not live in the condo complex where the fight broke out, but in a nearby neighborhood, Rosendberg said. The lieutenant also said authorities expect to make additional arrests in the case. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! STEVENSON RANCH – An arrest warrant has been issued for an 18-year-old Stevenson Ranch man suspected in the slaying of another young man in a weekend brawl, officials said today. Sheriff’s Lt. Dan Rosendberg said this morning he hopes Michael Stevens will be arrested by the end of today on suspicion of murdering Joshua Pipho, 20, of Canyon Country. Investigators searched Stevens’ family’s home on Tuesday afternoon, Rosendberg said, noting the teen’s father was cooperative, but adding that detectives do no know where Stevens is. Pipho died early Saturday in the parking lot of a Stevenson Ranch condominium complex where a fight broke out when one of the youth’s trucks was being vandalized. last_img read more

Dele Alli talks penalty practice as England prepare for Colombia World Cup tie

first_img Tributes to ‘complete gentleman’ Martin Peters following England legend’s death Dele Alli has revealed a brief glimpse into England’s penalty taking preparations as the side ready themselves for their World Cup last 16 tie against Colombia.The Three Lions have suffered have suffered numerous shootout heartbreaks down the years, though have avoided such despair at the last two tournaments – albeit because they were knocked out in even more humiliating fashion sad day 2 Second is best drama Fans given sneak peek into England’s Euro 2020 kit with images leaked online There is a Group of Death at Euro 2020 and here’s how England can avoid it explained England announce Euro 2020 warm-up matches against Austria and Romania Harry Kane thumped two penalties past Panama in England’s 6-1 group stage win Martin Peters, 1966 World Cup final goal scorer for England, dies aged 76 “We know how he plays and he has got a lot of strengths, and we’re going to look to try and exploit his very few weaknesses.“We’ve not had too much conversation since we’ve been here. Once you go on the pitch, it’s hard to stay friends until the final whistle but we all have a lot of respect for the other team.” 2 Alli confirmed he will be fit for the Colombia match and was then asked how England are preparing for a possible spot kick decider at 2018’s tournament.“We’ve been taking some penalties after training and looking into things,” the 22-year-old replied.“But we don’t want to give much away. We’re confident and we’re looking to change [England’s record in spot-kicks].” England announce another friendly to begin preparations for Euro 2020 RIP LEGEND Latest England News How Hudson-Odoi has performed this season – Are Keane’s comments about him fair? Alli will come up against his Spurs teammate Davinson Sanchez in Colombia’s back line on Tuesday and sung the defender’s praises ahead of the game.“He’s a great player,” Alli said of Sanchez, before adding “I don’t think any player is perfect. GETTING READY preparation TALENT ‘Spain and Italy would have built their teams around Jack Grealish’ – Harry Redknapp ANALYSIS Mason Greenwood scores as England U21s beaten by late Netherlands wondergoal have a look The 22-year-old has been speaking ahead of the last 16 How does Euro 2020 draw work? England discover fate live on talkSPORT 2 last_img read more


first_imgDonegal has the fourth highest number of road deaths so far this year.The scene near the fatal collision at Kinnegear Rathmullan on Saturday morning where two lost their lives and two were injured.Photo Francis DiverA total of eight people have died on the county’s roads in 2013.Dublin is the most deadly county so far this year with 13 people perishing on the capital’s roads. The next most lethal area is Galway with 10 deaths is Galway followed by Kildare with nine fatalities on its roads.The latest fatal road crash in Donegal recently claimed the lives of young Letterkenny men Shaun Graham and Matthew Crawford outside Rathmullan. DONEGAL HAS FOURTH HIGHEST ROAD DEATHS THIS YEAR was last modified: August 19th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalroad deathslast_img read more

Fishing the North Coast: Steelhead up next for coastal rivers

first_imgWith very little rain over the past two months, the end is near for the late, fall-run salmon season on our coastal rivers. The season, much like last year, has been somewhat of a disappointment to anglers. Only a couple smaller storms hit the coast and dropped enough rain to bring the Eel, Smith and Chetco up to levels where fish could pass somewhat safely. While the fishing window was very small or non-existent, that doesn’t necessarily mean the number of returning salmon was small. Even …last_img

National Development Plan’s Vision 2030 gets a new-look logo

first_imgSouth Africa’s National Development Plan has a new brand identity and logo designed to inspire all citizens to work towards the vision of eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by the year 2030.The new look for the country’s blueprint for a more prosperous future was launched by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe in Pretoria on Sunday.At the launch, Radebe called on South Africans to play their part in reaching the goals of the NDP by taking part in the new brand identity’s roll-out campaigns.“As South Africans, let us use this NDP brand identity to build a truly democratic, united, non-sexist, non-racial and prosperous South Africa,” he said.The NDP, adopted in 2012, is the product of hundreds of interactions with South Africans, input from tens of thousands of people, extensive research and robust debate throughout the country.It is a plan to unite South Africans, unleash the energies of its citizens, grow an inclusive economy, build capabilities, and enhance the capability of the state and leaders working together to solve complex problems.Radebe said the new NDP communication strategy will be rolled out in phases to showcase how the NDP – popularly known as Vision 2030 – can change people’s lives.Watch:He said different sectors of society – artists, business, labour, people living in rural areas, the media and more – have a role to play to ensure the goals of the NDP are met by 2030.“We welcome existing initiatives by people who are playing their part,” he said. “The Eziko Production Group, for example, has developed an edu-play on the NDP and its key critical areas. This edu-play is exemplary of a socially cohesive society that strives for a common national identity.“There are also young entrepreneurs from Cape Town who have developed a business idea called Eza Sekasi Fridays. This demonstrates the creation of decent employment in the townships to champion the NDP.“This initiative is a stimulus for the statement made by young people, who adopted the National Youth Policy and declared that they do not want a hand-out – but a hand up,” Radebe said.He said he realised the NDP was alive when, during Youth Month in June, a young man from Mthatha told him about his success story of forming a vegetable growers’ association to ensure food security, economic viability and creation of jobs in his community.“Government welcomes the partnership with business and labour to rally around the NDP in ensuring that there is a collective effort in workplace conflict reduction and improved cooperation between government, organised business and organised labour,” Radebe said.He thanked business and labour for having thrown their weight behind the NDP and for partnering with the government to ensure that they work towards the targets identified in the reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using materiallast_img read more

Press release: Brand South Africa commemorates Africa Day

first_imgBrand South Africa commemorates Africa Day by reflecting on the dynamics of socio-political change.Johannesburg, Thursday 25 May 2017 – Today the world commemorates Africa Day – the annual tribute that aims to promote greater unity and solidarity between African countries, and seeks to accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of Africa.Held on 25 May each year – Africa Day presents an opportunity for South Africans to reconnect and recommit themselves in support of all government interventions to develop a better Africa and a better world.South Africa is celebrating Africa Day with a month-long celebration of what it means to be African. Africa Month sees a festival of ideas and cultural exchange with the aim of promoting and strengthening the creative economy, cultural diplomacy and social cohesion.As part of these celebrations, Brand South Africa in collaboration with Prof. Ian Liebenberg hosted a day of reflection under the theme Political Dialogue & Dynamics of Socio-Political Change – Lessons from Dakar 1987, as part of the African Unity for Renaissance Conference. The event was held on Tuesday 23 May 2017 at Freedom Park in Tshwane.Brand South Africa CEO, Dr. Kingsley Makhubela said: “In global terms, and particularly on the African continent, the success of conflict management and mediation, conflict prevention, and resolution as well as intervention, are all linked to the ability and capability of political rivals to engage in constructive political dialogue.“Political dialogue has played a significant role in South Africa’s transition to democracy. From informal, behind the scenes talks during the 1980s, talks about talks on to fully fledged formal negotiations aimed at establishing a democratic dispensation, political dialogue stands out as critical feature of the country’s journey towards democracy.”It is in this regard that the 1987 meeting in Dakar between the ANC and an IDASA delegation, stands out as a significant moment in the history of South Africa’s journey towards democracy.“Contemporary developments in South Africa indicate that political dialogue is not a once-off. It remains a crucial feature of societies transitioning towards democracy and transforming an unequal socio-economic environment. Critical and constructive dialogue and its practical outcomes is an imperative for the long-term maintenance and deepening of democracy and the nurturing and broadening of constitutionalism,” added Dr Makhubela.Africa Day (formerly African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day), is the annual commemoration of the 25 May 1963 foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) (now known as the African Union) which is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as around the world.Follow the conversation on #SANationBrandlast_img read more

Ohio Crop Progress — May 7, 2018

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Conditions early in the week allowed farmers ample opportunity for planting, but the window was closed again with rains that arrived mid-week. There were 4.7 days available for fieldwork, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician with the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Soils dried out and warmed up, offering near ideal planting conditions. Oat emergence also benefitted. Alfalfa fields got a boost but the first cutting is still a way off for most. Pastures recovered from the cold wet spring and are in mostly good to excellent condition. Winds kept spraying to a minimum in some areas. Some growers are concerned about nitrogen loss in fields that were soaked for an extended period of time. Other activity included field tillage and preparation, manure hauling, and cutting cereal grains for silage.Click here to see the full reportlast_img read more

Sediment and nutrient loading progress being made in Grand Lake St. Marys

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matt ReeseAfter ongoing concerns about water quality, Grand Lake St. Marys was declared a distressed watershed in 2011. The lake’s notorious water quality issues generated a mountain of bad press and much of the blame was being placed on agriculture in one of the most highly concentrated livestock watersheds in the country.The “distressed” designation led to a ban on winter manure application and placed strong emphasis on other nutrient management practices for farms in the watershed. The changes were challenging, costly to implement in some cases and required significantly higher management. But so far, it seems, they are working.“We’ve seen some real changes in the watershed and the agricultural practices,” said Bill Knapke with Cooper Farms, who farms in the watershed. “Fertilizer sales have really changed dramatically since all of the livestock producers have developed nutrient management plans and are doing all of their soil testing and testing their manure. They are probably doing a better job of managing the nutrients they produce on their farms and have come to the conclusion that they didn’t need to be buying as much commercial fertilizer. We have seen a reduction in the amount of nutrients being applied in the watershed in both commercial fertilizer and manure, but we haven’t seen a decline in yields. Farmers are still producing excellent yields year in and year out and it has probably improved their bottom line.”Knapke said the nutrient management plans being implemented on farms in the watershed are both helping reduce nutrient loss and improving overall efficiency.“Nutrient management plans look at storing nutrients on the farm and when you apply them. Part of the rules was to not have manure application between Dec. 15 and the spring. Guys are doing a better job of land applying the nutrients and the are also using cover crops that can take up those nutrients and store them for next year’s crop,” he said. “When we look at sustainability in grain production and our overall carbon footprint, the better we can produce grain, the better we are at producing protein through the poultry and pork. We are looking at a lot of different things that help farmers better use nutrients.”The on-farm efforts — in addition to various measures taken by the non-ag sector in the watershed — are showing up as significantly reduced nutrient levels entering the lake, according new research from Stephen Jacquemin at Wright State University’s Lake Campus.“Grand Lake St. Marys watershed has drawn attention over the past decade as water quality issues resulting from nutrient loading have come to the forefront of public opinion, political concern, and scientific study. Grand Lake St. Marys is 250 square kilometers which makes it a smaller watershed,” Jacquemin said. “When you are trying to affect positive change and bring down nutrient loads to improve water quality, it certainly becomes more manageable when you can see the entire problem at once.”The research analyzes water quality before and after the 2011 “distressed” designation. The objective of Jacquemin’s study was to assess long-term changes in nutrient and sediment concentrations before and after the winter manure ban and other rules and best management practices including cover crops, manure storage or transfers, and buffers were implemented.The research looked at variation in total suspended solids, particulate phosphorus, soluble reactive phosphorus, nitrate, and total nitrogen concentrations from daily Chickasaw Creek water samples spanning 2008 to 2016. Chickasaw Creek drains around 25% of the watershed area. The research results are very encouraging.“We saw reductions in sediment and nutrient loading. These changes varied based on the time of year and the water flow but we saw reductions from 20% to 50% and sometimes even 60% in sediment and nutrient loading. These are extremely substantial nutrient decreases,” Jacquemin said. “It is difficult in this case to attribute this to any one practice because there were a number of good practices implemented at that same time. But we can say that since that time we have seen great reductions. The runoff is coming from fields and it was good to see everyone tackle that. The ag producers did a number of outstanding things. We certainly have a ways to go but we are heading in the right direction.”In addition, Jacquemin is looking at additional benefits from the installation of wetlands in the watershed to capture nutrients from the water.“We have been monitoring the wetlands for a year or so now. The preliminary results show extremely promising data. We are seeing 50% reductions in nitrates during summer loading periods and close to 80% reductions in phosphorus during loading periods. Most importantly we are seeing that these wetlands are able to process around 20% to 30% of the actual stream that they are filtering,” he said. “These wetlands are located on Prairie Creek and Coldwater Creek. There are still a number of tributaries that could benefit from wetlands. The two wetlands we have are doing outstanding.”Wetland installation is costly, but effective.“The cost to put in a wetland depends on the design. There is no recipe. There are no set guidelines, but any good wetland will be a series of increasingly shallow ponds that are occupied by vegetation that can filter out the nutrients as they go through,” Jacquemin said. “From a cost perspective, the wetlands of Grand Lake have cost millions of dollars, but they are effective. They work. The watershed has ultimately benefitted from their inclusion.”There is additional work being done to create wetlands out into the lake to filter more nutrients and a larger percentage of the water entering the lake.“There is a way in a large shallow lake that you can expand wetlands out into the lake. We call these our littoral wetlands. The idea is to build vegetation embankments right around the mouths of the tributaries which slow down the water and filter water so it drops out sediment before it has the chance to get out into the rest of the lake,” he said. “Retaining walls are being created in the lake to build new wetlands. We are looking at that more this summer. We have made incredible progress and we are on the right path, but it is not done. There is always something more that can be done. This is not a situation that happened overnight and we are not going to get out of it overnight.”Jacquemin’s research on water quality monitoring was published in the Jan-Feb 2018 issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality.last_img read more

Pork Checkoff seeks 2019 #RealPigFarming
student social forces team

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The National Pork Board is seeking applicants for the 2019 student social forces team. The applications are open now through July 8 at social forces team will advocate for pig farming through social media usage. Selected applicants who successfully complete all outlined milestones will be eligible for a $500 scholarship.“Last year, the team generated over 670 positive posts about pig farming in a five-month period,” said Claire Masker, director of sustainability communications for the National Pork Board. “This year, we anticipate more discussion about pig farming while the students expand their professional network.”The Checkoff’s #RealPigFarming social media campaign gives pig farmers, academics, youth, veterinarians and allied industry members an opportunity to discuss today’s pork production across social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Applications are open to students, age 18 to 23, who are involved in the swine industry and who are pursuing a post-secondary degree. Applicants should understand the importance of pork production and have basic communication skills. The team is expected to be active from July through December.“The student social forces team serves as another resource for consumers to ask questions about food safety, sustainability and other key areas,” Masker said. “The students play a key role in helping pork producers share their farms and to answer consumer questions.”The team will gather at the National Pork Board in Des Moines, Iowa, in September. The meeting will expose students to the Pork Checkoff program, to communication strategies and to other aspects relative to advocacy and the swine industry.last_img read more