Tag Archives: program

Donald Trump remains producer on ‘New Celebrity Apprentice’

Donald Trump is gone from the boardroom of NBC’s reboot of “Celebrity Apprentice” but he’s kept a business connection to the reality show.

President-elect Trump has an executive producer credit on “The New Celebrity Apprentice,” said Clare Anne Darragh, a spokesman for “Apprentice” creator Mark Burnett. She declined further comment on Trump’s participation in the show that taped last February.

Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The series debuts Jan. 2 with Arnold Schwarzenegger replacing Trump as host. Schwarzenegger is an executive producer on the new show, as Trump was on the original.

Trump’s continued stake in a TV series is yet another unusual aspect of the election of a businessman and reality star to the presidency. Questions have been raised on how his extensive holdings may intersect with his actions as president.

Trump has said he is delaying until the new year plans to disclose how he will “take me completely out of business operations.”  He previously said that he plans to hand over management of his business to three of his adult children.

That falls short of what some government ethics experts are pushing him for, which is that he sell his assets and put the money in a “blind trust” overseen by an independent manager not related to him.

In TV, a producer’s tasks can range widely, but the credit also can be given as a so-called vanity perk and for compensation without actively working on a project. Trade publication Variety first reported he had retained the title.

NBC, which declined comment, previously faced scrutiny over its business dealings with Trump, which included beauty pageant telecasts as well as “Apprentice.”

In July 2015, NBC said it was severing its business ties to Trump following his claims that many undocumented Mexicans immigrants are criminals and rapists. The network licenses “New Celebrity Apprentice” from MGM, which produces it.

Burnett, a mega-producer whose other programs include “Survivor” and “The Voice,” also answered for his Trump relationship. He released a statement last October distancing himself and his wife, actress Roma Downey, from the GOP contender.

“I am not now and have never been a supporter of Donald Trump’s candidacy. I am NOT ‘Pro-Trump.’ Further, my wife and I reject the hatred, division and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign,” said Burnett, who in 2015 was named president of MGM Television and Digital Group.

The statement followed pressure on Burnett and MGM to make public “Apprentice” outtakes after an Associated Press report that, during the show’s production, Trump repeatedly demeaned women with sexually tinged comments. That report was followed by release of an “Access Hollywood” audio tape with graphic Trump comments.

MGM said in October that it, not Burnett, owns “The Apprentice” and would honor confidentiality and artist’s rights agreements in regard to “Apprentice.” No outtakes were released.

At the DNC: Dems showcase diversity, seek unity with 1st night

The Democratic National Convention opened July 25 in Philadelphia with a series of votes, including the adoption of the party’s most progressive platform.

The theme of day one is “putting the future of American families front and center and how we’re stronger together when we build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top and when everyone has a chance to live up to their God-given potential.”

But the early speakers made clear that the first day is about celebrating the party’s diversity and building unity to challenge Donald Trump and Republicans in November.

At the podium, were Hillary Clinton delegates and Bernie Sanders delegates, and all urging the party to come together.

Day one at the Wells Fargo Center began with a call to order by  Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, DNC secretary and the mayor of Baltimore.

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, founding and pastor at Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia, delivered the invocation.

Members of the Delaware County American Legions and Veterans of Foreign Wars presented the colors.

Ruby Gilliam, a 93-year-old delegate from Ohio, led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Early speakers included Clarissa Rodriguez, who at 17 is the youngest DNC delegate. She’s from Texas.

Fourteen-year-old Bobby Hill of the Keystone State Boychoir sang the national anthem.

The roll call followed, and then the introduction of and report of the rules committee by former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, who was met with cheers and boos — and recognized both — as well as former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, U.S. Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Marcia Fudge and Maxine Waters, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Next, the draft platform was presented and adopted.

Speakers, before prime time in Philadelphia, included U.S. Reps. Robert Brady, Brendan Boyle, Raúl Grijalva, Nita Lowey and New York Sen. Adriano Espaillat, Oregon Rep. Tina Kotek, California state Sen. Kevin de León,  Georgia Rep. Stacey Abrams, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and DNC CEO Leah Daughtry.

Still to come, in the evening, were remarks by Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta, U.S. Rep. Linda Sánchez, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and labor leaders Lee Saunders of AFSCME, Lily Eskelsen Garcia of the NEA, Mary Kay Henry of SEIU, Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, Sean McGarvey of NOBTU, Randi Weingarten of AFT.

A segment on combating substance abuse is set to include remarks by Pam Livengood of Keene, New Hampshire, and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and be followed by a performance featuring Demi Lovato and the DNC house band: Steven Rodriguez, Charity Davis and Ayana Williams.

Other featured speakers will include U.S. Jeff Merkley, 11-year-old Karla Ortiz and mom and Francisca Ortiz, who will talk about immigration and dreams, DREAMer Astrid Silva, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Chicago.

In a segment on equality, Jason and Jarron Collins, twin brothers and former pro basketball players, will deliver speeches, along with Jesse Lipson and Nevada state Sen. Pat Spearman.

A segment on the economy will feature U.S.Sen. Bob Casey, Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney, U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

Disability rights advocate Anastasia Somoza and comic Sarah Silverman will perform, as will Paul Simon.

Actress Eva Longoria, founder of The Eva Longoria Foundation, will speak.

And then there will be remarks by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, Cheryl Lankford of San Antonio, Texas, first lady Michelle Obama, the U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren will deliver the keynote address.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison will speak, followed by Bernie Sanders.

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the first female rabbi to hold a chief executive position in an American rabbinical association, will close the program with a benediction.

In Minnesota, medical marijuana is now legal but not easy to get for some

It’s a 400-mile, seven-hour, $100 or more journey from Maria Botker’s home in tiny Clinton, Minnesota, to the nearest clinic where she can buy medical marijuana — the only drug that does the trick for her daughter’s rare and aggressive seizure disorder.

In addition to the medicine’s high cost, the short list of qualifying conditions and the difficulty in getting a doctor’s approval to sign up, there’s one more thing making the program difficult for Minnesota patients. Some have to come an awfully long way to get it, with only two of eight dispensaries opening since the July 1 launch.

The law doesn’t require all eight to be open until July 2016. A third location is slated to open Thursday in Rochester. A Bemidji clinic for the northeast corner of the state likely won’t be running until sometime next year.

And even after all eight facilities open, Botker and others from southwestern Minnesota will still face five-hour trips or longer.

“The southwest part of the state is completely neglected,” she said. “I fear that there’s patients out there that could qualify but can’t make the trip. Those are huge burdens on people with chronic illnesses.”

Shaving two hours off their monthly trip for medicine when a Moorhead clinic opens later this summer sounds like “a treat,” Botker said. But after moving to Colorado to get her daughter, Greta, the medicine she needs, then back to Minnesota to see through a new law that disappointed many advocates, Botker doesn’t mince words about the long list of improvements needed to Minnesota’s medical marijuana program.

Adding more dispensaries is at or near the top of the wish list.

“There’s a long way to go until this system is perfect, or better,” Botker said.

Minnesota’s medical marijuana law passed in the waning days of its 2014 legislative session after some last-minute wrangling to get skeptical law enforcement agencies on board. Sen. Scott Dibble called the tight restrictions, including the limited number of dispensaries, a response to law enforcement’s “artificial concerns.”

After giving the state some time to digest its new medical marijuana program, Dibble said he’ll look to revive that debate in the name of adding more distribution centers.

“I’m very interested in lowering the barriers to people who are sick and are in need,” the Minneapolis Democrat said.

Until then, parents like Dawn Baker will have to spend hours in the car.

Baker and her fiancΘ are eyeing medical marijuana as a last recourse to treat her 4-year-old son Brayden’s epilepsy before brain surgery, but she estimates the six-hour drive to the nearest clinic in Minneapolis will cost at least $100.

Add in childcare for Brayden and their four other kids or a night at a hotel, and it’s likely $250 or more _ all before paying for the medicine itself, a bill that could easily surpass $1,000 a month that insurance won’t cover.

“We have no idea how we’re going to come up with it,” Baker said.

Minnesota’s two medical marijuana manufacturers have little role in expanding clinic access as they focus on growing and cultivating the medicine and opening the eight locations the state allows. For the time being, parents are making the drive, Minnesota Medical Solutions CEO Kyle Kingsley said.

The travel expense is a pittance compared to the $1,400 Botker pays each month for Greta’s seizure medication. Still, Botker looks on the bright side: Compared to the split life their family endured when she and Greta lived in Colorado, it’s worth the cost, she said.

“Is it frustrating getting over the growing pains? A little bit,” she said. “But ultimately, I’m so thankful that we’re getting it here in Minnesota.”

Milwaukee groups host Honduran LGBT activist

Honduran LGBT activist Jose “Pepe” Palacios will talk about the movement in his country in a program at 7 p.m. on Feb. 6 at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, 1110 N. Market St., Milwaukee.

Palacios is a founding member of the Honduran LGBT group, Diversity Movement in Resistance and a member of the steering committee of the National Front of Popular Resistance.

Included in the program will be a short film of masked gunman firing at a human rights delegation to the country this past September, according to a news release from the center.

The release said that following a 2009 U.S.-supported coup in Honduras, the country won the dubious distinction of having the highest murder rate in the world. Coup supporters used the overthrow of the elected government to settle scores against social justice  movements and the poor. 

Since the coup, 87 LGBT Hondurans have been killed in a campaign of targeted hate crimes and political assassination. In the run up to November’s first contested election since the coup, many fear that the violence and hate crimes will get even worse.

Palacios’ program is cosponsored by the center’s anti-violence program, Latin America Solidarity Committee, Peace Action Milwaukee & Honduras Solidarity Network.

The activist also will be speaking at a forum in Chicago on Jan. 30.

For more information email Babette Grunow at  or Anne David at .

RNC gets to business

The Republican National Convention gets to business on Aug. 28 after a one-day delay due to Tropical Storm Isaac.

The program begins at 2 p.m. at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in downtown Tampa. The schedule includes the arrival of the color guard, with the U.S. flag carried by the Fourth Degree Color Guard of the Knights of Columbus, comprised of members from Connecticut and Florida councils.

Next, according to the schedule, will be New Jersey-born tenor Philip Alongi Jr. singing the national anthem. he also sang the anthem at the 2008 convention. Alongi has performed more than a dozen major operatic roles across the United States, including in productions of “Carmen,” “Madama Butterfly” and “La Traviata.”

Former Montana Gov. Tim M. Babcock and Korean War Marine veteran Tom Hogan will open Tuesday’s convention with the Pledge of Allegiance. Babcock has attended 12 consecutive appearance as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik of New York City will lead the opening prayer. Soloveichik is director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and Associate Rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan.

The benediction will be delivered by the Rev. Sammy Rodriguez of Sacramento, Calif. He is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and an ordained Assemblies of God minister. Rodriguez serves on the board of directors of several evangelical organizations, including the Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, the National Association of Evangelicals, Empower 21 and Christianity Today.