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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Believe me...College Courses Can Change Your LIfe

You were prophetic three years ago. Your class was the changing point in my life.

-Gordon Greco
Casino Executive
Think Thank Participant

'October Baby' Tells A Story Hollywood Wouldn't

First-year college student Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) goes on a road trip in search of her birth mother after she learns she was adopted following a failed attempt at an abortion.
Lovell/Fairchild Communications First-year college student Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) goes on a road trip in search of her birth mother after she learns she was adopted following a failed attempt at an abortion.

October Baby tells the story of 19-year-old Hannah, a first-year college student, who leaves home on a search for her birth mother. In many ways, it's a Hollywood-style road trip movie dealing with questions of identity, but at the movie's core is also a vigorous message about abortion.

In one scene, Hannah tracks down a nurse who worked at the health clinic where her birth mother had sought an abortion — one that failed when Hannah was born prematurely.

The aggregate product coming out of Hollywood is something that can be deeply offensive to people like myself, and I think Christians have sat back. ... Now we're realizing instead we need to engage, and we need to make quality work.

Voice trembling, the woman tearfully tells Hannah, "When you hear something enough times, somehow you start to believe it. It was tissue, that's what they told us. It was tissue that couldn't survive. Nonviable tissue."

October Baby has been endorsed by conservative groups including Focus on the Family, and it's just the latest addition to a genre of movies with Christian themes that has exploded recently.

One film, Courageous, dealt with fatherhood, and it became the top-selling DVD earlier this year.

Director Jon Erwin helped with that film, and he also co-directed October Baby with his brother Andrew. He tells Morning Edition's David Greene why he thinks Christian films are resonating.

"No. 1," Erwin says, "I think that the values that we hold dear as Christians are immensely appealing — things like sacrifice and virtue and honor and destiny and things like that. ... I think when they're presented correctly, they're appealing to everybody."

Erwin says another reason is that Christians are again engaging with the arts as a faith community.
"If you think about art and faith, there was a time that Michelangelo worked for the church," Erwin says. "And there's been this bond and this link between art and faith, and somehow, I believe that in the past few decades, we've lost that."

Erwin sees re-engaging with the arts as a way Christians can reach people and — because he believes the values being presented are good — as an effort that can only benefit people's lives.

An Alternative To Hollywood
Erwin hasn't found much success working with Hollywood. When he recently spoke at an October Baby screening at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., Erwin said so a little more bluntly, arguing that Christians didn't feel very welcome in Hollywood's movie community.

October Baby co-director Jon Erwin speaks to lead actress Rachel Hendrix.
Lovell/Fairchild Communications October Baby co-director Jon Erwin speaks to lead actress Rachel Hendrix.

Erwin says October Baby is an entertaining film, but also one that makes you think — and he thinks pretty much everyone who rejected October Baby did so out of fear.

"I think a lot of the Hollywood studios were simply afraid to engage this issue and afraid that there wasn't an audience or whatever," Erwin says. "What we've seen with October Baby is there's a massive audience for this issue. There [are] a lot of people passionate about the sanctity-of-life issue."
The film is being marketed in some cases directly to churches that hold screenings around the country.

While the timing of October Baby's release may suggest that the film is trying to raise social issues in an election year, Erwin says it wasn't intentional.

"We made the movie to be released last year," Erwin says, "but unfortunately we could not find distribution. ... I certainly didn't plan it that way, but if it works for a higher purpose, I guess that's great."

Having found an audience that Hollywood didn't expect the film could have — October Baby grossed $1.7 million in its opening weekend — Erwin says there could be a sort of culture war developing in moviemaking now, between those who feel welcome in Hollywood and those who have been drawn to movies like October Baby in the past few years.

"Certainly, a lot of the values that are portrayed in entertainment are not values that I was raised in," Erwin says. "I was raised in the South in a Christian home and family, and I can't speak to the whole Hollywood community. ... I do think as a rule, the aggregate product coming out of Hollywood is something that can be deeply offensive to people like myself, and I think Christians have sat back and we've complained a bit. And I think now we're realizing instead we need to engage, and we need to make quality work."

Another Perspective — From Inside Hollywood
Paul Bond covers the intersection of religion and film for The Hollywood Reporter. He says a new crop of Christian filmmakers is revisiting themes that captured audiences long ago.

More and more, Hollywood is not shutting the door down on these Christian films because they see that the profit margin is there.
"The popularity has always been there," Bond says. "If you recall back to The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, The Sound of Music — back in the '50s and '60s — these are some of the most profitable of all time, if you adjust for inflation, so the market has always been there."

Bond says Hollywood might have forgotten about that for a while, at least until 2004's The Passion of the Christ. The budget of that Mel Gibson-directed movie was $45 million, and it earned over $600 million.

Bond says that Hollywood is currently in a state of tension about representing Christianity.

"Some people in Hollywood think that they represent the mainstream," Bond says, "and there [are] other people in Hollywood who know that they don't represent the mainstream. It's not a monolithic community."

Bond acknowledges Hollywood's reputation as being very liberal.

"If you dissect the political messages in most Hollywood films where there is a political message," Bond says, "it's a left-leaning political message. Look at all the children's films, for example, where the rich guy is always the bad guy, where the environment is always being despoiled by the American military or the American rich guy, and audiences aren't stupid — they see these messages in there."

So, on one hand, many Hollywood moviemakers prefer left-leaning messages. But Bond says Hollywood hasn't missed what's happening with Christian films — and executives are seeing dollar signs. Both Fox and Sony have already set up separate divisions to produce Christian films.

"More and more, Hollywood is not shutting the door down on these Christian films, because they see that the profit margin is there," Bond says. "And push comes to shove, they're still making a lot more money on Hunger Games and Twilight — but they do recognize there's a great profit margin on these small Christian films where you can make them for a couple million and they bring in $20 million. That example right there is 10 times your production budget — and that's almost unheard of in Hollywood."

As Bond puts it, Hollywood doesn't like to leave money on the table, so he says to expect a lot more Christian films coming to theaters soon.

From NPRs Morning Edition (click here).

Romney changes his rhetoric on mandatory health care

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week on, among other things, whether the 2010 health law can require most Americans to have health insurance starting in 2014.

The so-called individual mandate is the centerpiece of the law, and the conventional wisdom says the rest of the law will crumble if it is found to be unconstitutional.

The idea behind the mandate is to ensure that enough healthy people buy insurance to allow the government to require something much more popular — that insurance companies sell policies to people who have pre-existing health conditions.

Perhaps it's ironic that one of the most articulate spokesmen for the individual mandate is someone who is currently campaigning for the repeal of the federal health law — GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. While he wants the federal law overturned, he does still back the mandate in the law he signed as governor of Massachusetts.

"If someone doesn't have insurance, then we have to care for them in the hospitals, give them free care," Romney said in a debate in Jacksonville, Fla., in January. "So we said no more, no more free riders. We are insisting on personal responsibility. Either get the insurance or help pay for your care. And that was the conclusion that we reached."

So it is that Romney, currently campaigning to repeal the health care law, openly supported mandatory payment for government backed insurance as recently as two months ago.

Source: NPR and AP

Don McMillan: Life After Death by PowerPoint

Facts and observations on health care and what Americans want

When people shout "we" and "Americans" are they aware of whom they are actually representing?

The numbers are clear and consistent.

So why is political rhetoric and political reporting ignoring established American ethics, beliefs and preferences, as supported by numerous valid scientifically done surveys over time?

73% of Americans feel that the government should be involved in our health care.

53 % of Americans are for the Health Care Reform Act (Obamacare) according to numerous surveys by competing firms, including political pollsters and such companies as Pew Trust, Gallop and AP.

37% of Americans oppose the Health Care Reform Act passed two years ago under President Obama.

10% of American still say they prefer a single payer mandate where the government is the insurance broker over mandating individuals to buy from insurance companies.

67% of Americans say that ending pr-existing conditions as a reason to be denied health care or to charge beyond an individuals ability should remain a part of the law, as it is in the National Health Care Act (Obamacare).

27% of Americans say that the government should not be involved in health insurance or health care.

Emergency rooms are mandated to care for patients who come in regardless of insurance or cost.

Doctors are mandated by their oath and law to care for patients, although they are not mandated to take care of elective surgery or non-immediate needs.

Taxpayer dollars, increased insurance premiums and 

Despite strong rhetoric by political parties, preferences have remained stable and a true reflection appears to be favorable for mandate health care. The disagreement is how and to what extent. Should insurance companies be the only providers of health care insurance? Is it unconstitutional for a government to mandate you have health insurance? Who covers the cost of the uninsured? Have we shifted to the side of those who applauded and shouted wild support when a presidential candidate was asked if we should just let the uninsured die? Are we our brothers keepers? Or are is is every man and woman for themselves?

Among the false claims or diversion balloons floating by both sides in the health care debate are:

Obama is the reason health care cost are going up so quickly.
The government is driving up heath care cost to force us to become a socialist society.
There will be no health care cost increases if we have a single payer system.
The government will pay all of my health care costs.
Doctors will be forced to not treat you if under the Health Care Reform Act.
Insurance companies will have to do what the government tells them to do.
The Health Care Reform Act has "death panels."
Medicare will end if we overturn the Health Care Reform Act.
I pay for my medicare and social security.

Again, these are false claims now widely believed to be true by those of a certain political leaning.

So many half truths, slogans, and so much emotion is behind the issue on both sides that it is hard to look at things through a clear lens.

There will be increases in costs for doctors, but with them come gains such as fast access to patient records, faster payment by insurance companies, greater choice for patients of which insurance to buy (doctors are free to provide advice in this area).

It will cost insurance companies money to meet the mandate, but over time profits will remain high and no investor will suffer.

There are programs to help those who cannot afford health care to purchase insurance.

Most of the provisions of Obamacare have yet to take effect. This was written into the bill by congress and in many cases because transition time is needed for private enterprise to function and continue to profit in the health care fields.

There are Americans denied health care insurance due to pre-existing conditions beyond their control (birth, accidents, genetics, and so on) or who can get insurance by paying many times more than other Americans despite limits their potential earning through their conditions, age or other forms of discrimination.

Many employers have dropped health care or greatly reduced what is covered by insurance due to the skyrocketing cost of insurance which began over three decades ago, long before Obama took office.

Feel free to add to this, rebut it or contribute links.

Thank you in advance.

Is the Court Vote on Health Care Going Party Lines

If the court votes party lines, does that mean the end of three separate branches of government with an INDEPENDENT judiciary? And was a president's appointment of Chief Court Justices meant to keep their political beliefs long after that president dies?

Links to review between now, your speeches and he final

Justices Tackle The Big Question: Can Congress Force You To Buy Insurance?

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will consider whether Congress can require people to buy health insurance.

The U.S. Supreme Court gets to the heart of the health care arguments Tuesday. Almost exactly two years after Congress passed the Obama health care overhaul, the justices are hearing legal arguments testing the constitutionality of the so-called health care mandate — so-called because those words actually do not appear in the law.

Supreme Court Arguments

Listen Live at 8 p.m.: The Supreme Court has wrapped up Day 2 of arguments on the fate of the health care law. Tune in for news and analysis from NPR's Nina Totenberg, Julie Rovner, Ari Shapiro and more.

The mandate requires virtually all legal residents in this country to have health insurance — either through Medicare, Medicaid or employer-provided insurance, or if you are not covered by any of these, through individual insurance that you pay for.

The law provides generous subsidies if you can't afford it, but you must have health insurance, and if you don't, you pay a penalty through your income taxes.

The mandate is essentially a trade-off for reducing the costs of health care policies overall and guaranteeing affordable coverage for people with previous medical conditions. The law is expected to provide coverage to some 30 million people who are currently uninsured.
Challenging the law are 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business. Michael Carvin, representing the NFIB, will tell the justices that Congress exceeded its authority to regulate interstate commerce when it enacted the mandate.

"I'm sitting at home in my living room. I'm not buying health insurance," Carvin says. "I'm not engaged in commerce, local intrastate, interstate? So how can they force me to enter into the stream of commerce?"

If they can force you to engage in commercial transactions, they can force you to do almost anything.

The challengers contend that Congress, in order to pay for near-universal health care coverage, has for the first time required individual citizens to buy a commercial product they may not want.
"The reason we want people who are young and relatively healthy to buy health insurance is not because we are terribly concerned that those people are going to get unhealthy and end up in the emergency room," says Paul Clement, who is representing the states. "What we really want is those people to be part of the risk pool and contribute their premiums so that we can afford to pay for the health care for the other folks."

The government counters that health care is different because everybody will receive medical care at some point.

"I could get struck by a bus tomorrow or have a heart attack today and show up in the emergency room," says former Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who argued the health care cases for the Obama administration in the lower courts. "If I don't have insurance, it's the other American taxpayers who do have insurance that are effectively footing the bill for that."

Supreme Court Schedule

March 26

Anti-Injunction Act

An 1867 law raises the question: Does the Supreme Court have the right to hear this case right now? (90 min.)

March 27

Individual Mandate

The court will consider the question: Does Congress have the authority to compel people to buy health insurance? (2 hours)

March 28


If the court strikes down one part of the law, such as the individual mandate, does the whole law become invalid? If not, are there other parts that are inextricably linked that would have to be struck down as well? (90 minutes)


The court hears arguments on requiring states to expand their Medicaid programs. (1 hour)
Indeed, Congress found families who do have insurance right now shell out on average $1,000 a year more than they would otherwise, in order to subsidize the health care costs of the uninsured. Put another way, when the uninsured show up at a hospital and are unable to pay, federal and state laws require those individuals to be treated, and the costs are passed on to those who are insured and to the taxpayers.

The government underscores the unpredictability of health needs by noting that one of the individuals who initially challenged the law in court, contending she didn't need insurance, ended up declaring bankruptcy, with thousands of dollars of unpaid medical bills.

Everyone agrees that the Constitution sets out a system of limited government powers, and most concede that the health care industry, which accounts for one-sixth of the national economy, can be controlled by Congress under its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce. The question is whether the means chosen to do that — namely, the individual mandate — goes too far.

"If they can force you to engage in commercial transactions, they can force you to do almost anything," Clement says.

All of which leads to what has been termed "the broccoli question": Could the government force you to buy broccoli, or purchase a car or a flat-screen TV? Clement points to the Cash for Clunkers law as an example of an acceptable and direct government subsidy, as opposed to a mandated purchase.
"If what we were trying to do is prop up the automobile industry, which we clearly were, then it would have been much more effective to say, 'Look, if your adjusted gross income is more than $100,000, you must buy a car,' " Clement says.

He argues that Congress can legislate incentives to purchasing health insurance, but it can't mandate it.
I could get struck by a bus tomorrow or have a heart attack today and show up in the emergency room.

If I don't have insurance, it's the other American taxpayers who do have insurance that are effectively footing the bill for that.

Katyal replies that the auto industry simply can't be compared to the health industry, because not everyone will inevitably own or even drive a car. If the two industries did work the same way, he contends, you could "show up at the car lot, drive off with a car, and stick your bill to your neighbor." This latter scenario is "what's going on in the health insurance market."

Former Clinton administration Solicitor General Walter Dellinger says health care is quite simply unlike any other product.

"Look, if I don't buy a flat-screen television, and my team is playing for the national championship, I don't get to run into Best Buy and say, 'You gotta give me a flat screen television,' " Dellinger says. "But I do get to go to a hospital when I'm sick and have people provide me with services."
The challengers of the health care law, however, see the mandate as the ultimate threat to liberty.

"There is no limiting principle," says Carvin. "If Congress has the power to compel a purchase to serve the public welfare, to improve commerce, game over. They can do it for banks or car companies, anyone else they want."

Over the past three-quarters of a century, the Supreme Court has upheld a wide variety of federal mandates on individuals and businesses. For instance, civil rights laws have required hotels and restaurants to admit everyone regardless of race or ethnicity; drug laws have barred even terminally ill patients from having access to certain drugs; federal laws have imposed environmental restrictions on businesses and homeowners alike; and other federal laws have helped boost the wages and benefits of workers.

Indeed, the modern health insurance industry didn't exist until a 1954 federal law allowed employers to deduct the cost of health insurance, at the same time allowing employees to reap the benefits without paying taxes on them.

Not since 1936 has the Supreme Court struck down a major regulatory law on the grounds that Congress went too far. Now a court that is perhaps more conservative than at any time since then will determine whether Congress went too far with the individual mandate.

Listen Live At 8 p.m. Tonight: The Supreme Court has wrapped the second day of oral arguments on the fate of the health care law. Tune in tonight for news and analysis from NPR's Nina Totenberg, Julie Rovner, Ari Shapiro and more.

X-Box used more for movies than games. Rental Market different than DVD/Blue Ray Owners. "Bully" gets MS Support despite NC-17/X rating. RIP Terra Nova. Jimmy Kimmel to host the Emmys. Its not a wrap on IATSE talks.

IATSE's Matt Loeb
 Photo: Matt Loeb, head of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, at the union's office on Riverside Drive in Studio City in 2011. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

 From the LA Times Company Town Blog (click here for the latest industry news)

It's not a wrap on contract talks beetween IATSE and producers. After two weeks of negotiations, representatives of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the major studios have yet to reach an early deal on a new contract covering technical workers who toil behind the scenes on movies and TV shows.

IATSE and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers "have not completed their negotiation for a new Hollywood Basic Agreement,'' the groups said in separate statements Monday afternoon. "The parties need additional time to review data before resuming talks at a later time."
Citing a news blackout, the parties declined to elaborate further on the talks. The proposed contract expires July 31 and covers below-the-line workers, including camera operators, grips and costume designers.

People close to the negotiations say the sides remain divided over how to close a large deficit in the union's health and pension plans -- projected to be at least $300 million over the next three years -- because of investment losses and rising medical costs. The health and pension plans are funded by residual payments and employer contributions.

Union leaders could agree to raise eligibility requirements as they did in back in 2009 when they raised to 400 from 300 the minimum number of hours required to work over a six-month period. But such a move could spark fierce opposition within IATSE.  Union leaders from IATSE and Teamsters, which will also participate in the talks, have been prepping their members for months that they could be forced to accept some tough changes to their health and pension benefits.

The Skinny:Tuesday's headlines include Hollywood's hunt for the next teen franchise, and the Weinstein Co. deciding no rating is better than an "R" for "Bully." Also, Jimmy Kimmel has been tapped to host the Emmys on ABC this fall. 

Daily Dose:Sony Pictures is trying to gin up attention for May’s long awaited sequel “Men in Black 3” with a viral campaign that mixes UFO fears with, well, legal warnings. A bus bench ad sighted in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighborhood encourages folks to call a toll-free number allegedly set up by a teenager with the code-name Bug Eyes. He shares his fear that “extraterrestrials live among us” and encourages people to leave messages with “any information on extraterrestrial sightings.” The sense of paranoia is dampened a bit, however, by Bug Eyes’ warning that, “By leaving a message, you grant permission to use your voice and anything you tell me about yourself and any portion of the content of your message in audio or text form as part of The-Men-In-Black-Suits-Are-Real experience without additional consent or compensation.”

Finding the next "Hunger Games." The success of "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games" has Hollywood studios and agencies scouring young adult fiction in the hopes of finding the next big franchise. Not only are teen books being gobbled up left and right -- regardless of whether they were bestsellers -- there is even intense bidding for movie rights to books that haven't even been published yet. "Every single studio wants to capitalize on a young-adult franchise," said ICM agent Josie Freedman. "It's what's selling on the publishing side and on the film side." The Los Angeles Times looks at Hollywood's hunt for the next big teen hit.

HBO Go on Xbox Live
Screenshot of HBO Go on Xbox Live courtesy of Microsoft. 
From the LA Times Company Town Blog (click here for the latest industry news)

X-BOX is now used more for Internet Access than gaming. In a significant milestone for a device once known only for blasting "Halo" opponents, Microsoft's Xbox 360 video game console is now used more for watching movies and TV shows and listening to music online than playing video games online.

Microsoft has long attempted to use the Xbox 360 and its predescessor, the original Xbox, as a "trojan horse" that would use video games as a way to become the digital entertainment hub for families in the living room.

"The original vision for the Xbox was for it to be the heart of connected digital entertainment and it has been amazing to watch the arc," said Otto Berkes, a senior vice president of consumer technology at HBO who helped to launch the Xbox at Microsoft.

Yusuf Mehdi, who heads up marketing and strategy for Microsoft's Xbox business, said households now spend an average of 84 hours a month on the Xbox Live online service playing games, watching videos and listening to music. That's up 30% from a year ago. Just over half that time is spent on videos and music.

By comparison, the average household spend about 150 hours a month watching television.
"What we're seeing is that people are turning on the Xbox to play games and then keeping it on afterwards to get other types of entertainment," Mehdi said.

Over the past few years, Microsoft has added number of entertainment applications to the 360, including Netflix, ESPN, Hulu, Vudu, and YouTube.

On Tuesday, it is adding new video applications from HBO Go, Major League Baseball and Comcast Corp,'s Xfinity on demand video service.

The additions bring the total number of music, television and movie services available on Xbox Live to 36.

The new applications require that users be paying subscribers to Comcast's cable service, the HBO premium network, or Those who pay will be able to watch more than 2,400 baseball games or more than 1,000 of HBO programming, including every episode of its original series like "Game of Thrones," "Boardwalk Empire" and "The Wire." Comcast subscribers will have access to thousands of movies and television shows from a variety of channels via Xfinity.

The launch of HBO Go on the Xbox is a big step towards the premium cable network's digital on-demand service becoming a direct alternative to its linear channels. While HBO Go is available on computers and a variety of digital devices like iPads, Xbox 360 owners will be able to watch it on televisions. Previously, the only way to get HBO Go on a TV was via the Roku box, which is far less popular than the Xbox 360.

"The Xbox has an extremely broad user base that can deliver a rich visual experience, which is a pretty big differentiator," said Berkes.

More than 20 million people are paying Xbox Live subscribers who can access the console's entertainment services. A total of 66 million Xbox 360s have been sold worldwide.

Microsoft previously said it would launch HBO Go and Comcast's Xfinity on its console before the end of 2011.

Consumers are starting to complain that they pay for services to companies like Netscape and have to pay additional fees to view it on X-Box. 

BullyPhoto: A scene from "Bully." Credit: Weinstein Co.
  From the LA Times Company Town Blog (click here for the latest industry news) 

X or NC-17 Documentary "Bully" gets unexpected support from Microsoft. One of the world's biggest corporations is getting behind a little movie with a lot of controversy. Tech giant Microsoft Corp. is using its search engine Bing to promote "Bully" with a television and social media advertising campaign. It's also sponsoring the movie's premiere Monday night in Hollywood.

"Bully" has become a flash point for controversy over the Motion Picture Assn. of America's ratings system. The documentary, about the issue of teenage bullying, received an "R" rating because of the number of explicit curse words in the film. That means children under 17 can't see the movie without an adult.

Critics have accused the MPAA of being too rigid in its language restrictions, particularly compared with the amount of violence in PG-13 films such as "The Hunger Games."

Independent studio Weinstein Co. , which is distributing "Bully," had appealed the "R" rating but lost. The company announced Monday that it will release "Bully" without an MPAA rating when it begins playing in theaters this Friday.

By aligning itself with Weinstein Co., Microsoft is putting itself into the middle of a hot national debate, a rare position for a major corporation.

Lisa Gurry, senior director of Bing, said in an interview that Microsoft "is not taking an active role in the rating itself." But a press release from Weinstein Co. promoting the companies' partnership put it in the context of the " 'Bully' movement" that has seen more than 475,000 people sign an online petition and celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres and Justin Bieber publicly criticize the MPAA's rating decision.

"We're supportive of the cause of the film and would love for as many people as possible to be able to see it," said Gurry. "Stopping bullying is important to us and to the target audience that we speak to."
To help promote "Bully," Bing is running a national advertising campaign that will begin April 2. "It interweaves the movie and how Bing can be a good resource for people looking for information on how to stop bullying," explained Gurry. Microsoft is also hosting online videos and will sponsor other screenings.

In addition, Microsoft will promote "Bully" on social media. Already, the Bing Twitter account, which has nearly 191,000 followers, has given away tickets to the premiere.

The last movie that Bing helped to promote was far less controversial: The Hugh Jackman robot boxing film "Real Steel."

Photo: Harvey Weinstein. Credit: Kris Connor/Getty Images.  

Weinstein won't be stymied. The Weinstein Co. has decided to release its documentary "Bully" without a rating from the Motion Picture Assn. of America. The MPAA wanted to slap "Bully" with an "R" rating because of profanity. Harvey Weinstein has argued that an "R" would make it difficult for teens -- the very people who need to see the movie -- to get into theaters. Now the risk is that some theaters may avoid carrying an unrated movie. See also item on Microsoft 's support the film and more from the Los Angeles Times and Indie Wire.

There's a movie in here somewhere. If the folks who rush out to see Universal's "Battleship" get bored with the movie, they can start playing "count the product placements." According to Variety, Coca-Cola Co., Subway and Kraft are the big promotional partners backing "Battleship," a big summer release for the studio.

Photo: John Malkovich, Bruce Willis and Mary Louise Parker in "Red." Credit: Frank Masi / Summit Entertainment

The Bruce Willis action-comedy "Red" was the most rented DVD of 2011 but wasn't even close to the top of the sales charts.

In fact, new data released by Rentrak Corp., the media measurement firm that tracks DVD sales and rentals, shows that only one of the 10 most rented DVDs of 2011 was among the 10 most bought.
The most rented movies are a mix of films that largely enjoyed solid but not spectacular runs at the box office. They seemed to leave theaters with good word-of-mouth, leading people to sample the films via rental. Besides "Red," the top 10 rentals include such comedies as "Due Date" and "Little Fockers,"  thrillers "Unstoppable" and "The Lincoln Lawyer," and dramas "The Social Network" and "The Fighter."

Among the most bought DVDs, meanwhile, are many of the top-grossing hits of last year. Animated films sold particularly well. Since children often watch their favorite animated movies multiple times, making a purchase was more economical than rental. No. 1 on the list was "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," while other big sellers included "Deathly Hallows: Part 2," "Tangled," "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" and "The Help."

The only film to make both Top 10 lists: breakout comedy "Bridesmaids."

Following are both lists in their entirety:

Most rented DVDs of 2011 
1. "Red"
2. "Due Date
3. "Little Fockers"
4. "Unstoppable"
5. "The Social Network"
6. "Bridesmaids"
7. "The Tourist"
8. "The Lincoln Lawyer"
9. "The Fighter"
10. "Dinner for Schmucks"

 Most bought DVDs of 2011
1. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I"
2. "Tangled"
3. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II"
4. "Cars 2"
5. "Rio"
6. "The Hangover Part II"
7. "Bridesmaids"
8. "Megaminds"
9. "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
10. "The Help"

"Terra Nova" to remain extinct. Netflix is going to pass on trying to rescue "Terra Nova," the dinosaur drama that Fox canceled after just one season, according to TV Guide. The studio behind "Terra Nova," 20th Century Fox Television, has been hoping to sell the show to either another network or Netflix. But the production costs and the amount of time it takes to make episodes of the special effects-filled show, coupled with the low ratings, make "Terra Nova" too risky a bet for many.

"Mad Men" hype pays off. The return of AMC's "Mad Men" drew 3.5 million viewers Sunday night. That number pales in comparison with the network's hit "The Walking Dead," but it was a record for the drama about 1960s advertising executives. While "Mad Men" has a small audience, it is a favorite among critics, meaning that the coverage surrounding the show is way out of proportion to its ratings. More on the numbers from Bloomberg.

Inside the Los Angeles Times:ABC has tapped Jimmy Kimmel to host the Emmys this September. Tribune Co., parent of the Los Angeles Times, is threatening to pull its TV stations from satellite broadcaster DirecTV in a dispute over carriage fees, also known as retransmission fees.

-- Joe Flint and friends

Follow me on Twitter and we'll ride the storm out together.

Romney Platform Changes (A Relgious Groups Perspective)

Mitt Romney on Abortion:

1994: "Abortion should be safe and legal in this country."
“Let me make this very clear, I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to

2011: "I believe people understand that I'm firmly pro-life."

Mitt Romney on Homosexual Marriage:

1994: “As we seek to establish full equality [for gays], I will provide more effective
           leadership than my opponent, [Edward Kennedy]".

2011: “I believe we should have a federal amendment to the Constitution that defines
         marriage as between a man and a woman.”

Mitt Romney on Homosexuality in the Military:

1994: "[I support] gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly."
2007: "‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ has worked well... We’re in the middle of a conflict. Now is
           not the time for a change in that regard, and I don’t have a policy posture as to
           allowing gays in the military to serve there openly."

Mitt Romney on Healthcare:

2007: “I’m proud of what we’ve done... If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then
          that will be a model for the nation.”

2011: "What works in one state may not be the answer for another."

Mitt Romney on Immigration:

2006: "[I am against] rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from
          our country."

2008: "I disagree fundamentally that the 12 million people who come here illegally should
          be allowed to stay here permanently. I think that is a form of amnesty and that it's
          not appropriate."

Mitt Romney on Campaign Finance Reform:

1994: "I would like to have campaign spending limits."
2007: "The American people should be free to advocate for their candidates and their
           positions without burdensome limitations." 

“I believe in my Mormon faith, and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them and to my beliefs." (Mitt Romney, December 6, 2007)