Hollywood Asks Obama to Liberalize Drug Laws

Posted on 10/15/2013 by John Poland CEO, Town Hall Foundation

In a letter delivered to President Obama, 100 of Hollywood’s finest added their voice to liberalize our drug laws. Rap mogul, Russell Simmons organized the group which included: Lil Wayne, Ron Howard, Scarlett Johansson, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Hudson, Susan Sarandon and Will Smith.

The group applauded the President’s approach involving drug incarceration reform citing that almost 50%of the federal prison population is drug offenders. They suggest that “the time is right” to pass new laws that replace jail sentences with intervention and rehabilitation.

Simmons says, “It is critical that we change both the way we think about drug laws in this country and how we generate positive solutions that leave a lasting impact on rebuilding our communities”.

The Town Hall Foundation’s position that the exploitation of drug use negatively affects childhood behavior suggests that Mr. Simmons and his group of 100 don’t care about our children. Mr. Simmons has amassed millions of dollars of personal net worth from Def Jam whose Rap/Hip Hop artists spew hate speech, sexually explicit language, gratuitous violence and of course the institutionalizing of drug use. Our position does not opine on the nature or outcome of the letter to the White House, but rather the position that those in Hollywood and in particular Russell Simmons make a living producing product that negatively affects childhood development.

How can the assembled group of 100 entertainers fall for his leadership and approach the President of the United States. Is it their intent to brainwash our children into becoming zombies that are blind to their progressive “anything goes” philosophy. That may be a cool thing for some, but when held in context with the academic studies we publish, a dangerous course of action perpetrated on our children.

Enough Mr. Simmons and your Hollywood gang. Eat your vegetables, protect our farm animals, and stick to Yoga, but leave our children alone.

That’s the message for today, more coming.

Paula Dean: The Racist?

Posted on 10/07/2013 by John Poland CEO, Town Hall Foundation
Paula Dean has been booted from the Food Network as a celebrity chef and has lost her endorsements from Target, Wal-Mart, JC Penny and others. Her economic livelihood has been destroyed over night. And why? Because in testimony before a judge in May, she was asked if she had ever used the N-word and she testified that she had, many years ago.

She has since apologized several times in public and again on video recordings, to no avail. In not so polite terms, she has been fried and is toast; I guess appropriate terms for a celebrity chef. So when a mid sixties celebrity admits to using the N-word years ago without context, she becomes a pariah. But when rappers use the same word and derivatives thereof today, not years ago, they win Grammy’s and bank tens of millions of dollars.

Something is wrong with this picture? It seems that certain Rap artists feel comfortable denigrating African Americans, and by the way, well over half of the Rappers are African Americans. My sense is that this is a classic case of a double standard, one that should not survive. Simply by not paying attention, parents allow their children to download from Internet Stores or steal this from their friends, learning along the way that this vile language is acceptable. This must stop.

The Town Hall Foundation is on a mission to inspect the lyrics of these specific songs and ask distributors to remove them from their inventory. There is not a music industry group that polices this. It is up to us as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to stand up and be counted. Together we can put a stop to it.

All this to say that Paula Dean made a mistake. All of us make mistakes. Ask Lil Wayne if he should cast the first stone?

That’s the message for today, more next week.

Demographics and Definitions

Posted on 09/30/2013 by John Poland CEO, Town Hall Foundation

The 2010 census gives a good look at the audience for the Town Hall Foundation. They report that the United States population grew to 309 million. Of those, 77 million are senior citizens, 37 million are ages 5-13, and17 million are ages 14-17. So, simple math suggests that 17.5% of the population is between the ages of 5-17, the target population for the THF.

Science is also clear; children from the ages of 5-17 are in their developmental years. Hormones are changing as they progress through this complex time of their lives. Mood shifts, unusual growth patterns occur, awkwardness happens and they try to balance all of these natural events through their societal filters.

The filters include their parents, other family and extended family members, religious groups, public and private schools, government and their peer groups. All play a part in the development of each individual child.

As our children develop, it is critical that the proper inputs are used as filters to add structure to the child. In today’s mixed up world, this role unfortunately is more and more relegated to the media and the peer groups. We see too much gang and youth violence from Chicago to East Los Angeles. It is not uncommon for innocent children to be shot and killed on a daily basis and not unusual to have that violence to have come from other children.

The Town Hall Foundation is a Child Advocacy group that is singularly focused on the impact of the music industry during this critical time in a child’s life. Gratuitously violent Rap music, (add hate speech, sexual exploitation, and drug use) are clear precursors to violent behavior in some children. Some children can discern and be unaffected by this. Others cannot. If only 10% of the target population responds to these inputs as normal, we are in trouble as a society. 5.4 million children from each generation cannot be indoctrinated into the depravity trap set by these lyrics.

Protecting our children by stopping media providers from producing and making a profit is the goal of the THF.

That’s the message for today, more coming.

Teen Beating on Bus

Posted on 09/23/2013 by John Poland CEO, Town Hall Foundation
Did you see this in the news? In Pinellas county Florida, just south of St. Petersburg, three fifteen year old youths pummeled a thirteen year old youth on a bus.  The youths were being transported by the school.  It was thirty days before the news media reported it. They were not exactly Johnny on the Spot on this horrific beating. 

In less than one minute, the three boys inflicted over 50 blows with fists and feet.  They flayed away and stomped on this unprotected thirteen year old, inflicting two black eyes and a broken arm. 

The press is reporting the issue from a point of view about what the race of the youths was and what the bus driver did or did not do. The reports do vaguely mention that the three boys offered the thirteen year old marijuana at school and that the thirteen year old turned them in to authorities.                                                                                                  

So why is the reporting all about race and about the bus driver? This is about drugs and violence in schools. In case you want to see the details, graphic as they are, they are posted on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkZQvHaWtsw.  The beating was captured on video via cell phone. 

The right story to report is why were there drugs on school premises, who supplied the drugs to the older boys, why weren’t the police involved after the report to school authorities and so on. A further postulation might show that music lyrics heard by the three older boys might have been a catalyst or contributing factor.

Unfortunately the incident is being reported in a manner that is blatantly racist. This is not a matter of race, but instead one of violence.   The Town Hall Foundation believes that the actions described in song lyrics are often construed by listeners as normative and are therefore acted out on. Whether it is sex, violence, hate speech and actions, suicide as an alternative to life or any other destructive form of behavior, we believe that putting it to music can at the same time glorify it and make it normative in the ears of a listener, and if normative, far more likely to be acted out.  This is why it is our mission to stop the economic flow from this bad music.

That’s the message for today, more coming.

Miley Cyrus and the Molly Experience

Posted on 09/13/2013 by John Poland CEO, Town Hall Foundation
Miley Cyrus, the Disney Hanna Montana heart throb has grown up. After years of teen success, the pop star has graduated into her singing career and appears to be testing the waters of adult lyrics to her youthful audience.  

Her “We Can’t Stop” new release includes the following: “La-da-di-da-di, we like to party/Dancing with Molly”.  For the casual listener, not a powerful line.  But when you consider that Molly is the street term for Ecstasy, a popular date rape drug, not so fast.

Here we have a lily white, Disney protégée graduating into likes of Madonna or Britney Speers. While it may be good for record sales, it is not good for the teen listener. The childhood studies we support are clear that the lyrics will impact childhood development and the attendant bad behavior.   Miley and her handlers produced a video of “We Can’t Stop” which is posted on YouTube. My impression is that Miley is going after the Lady Gaga or Rihanna audience and selling out the Disney image.  Time will tell if that is a commercial success or just a trip on a road she should travel.

We don’t ask that Miley be a role model, but we do ask that she clean up her act and keep her lyrics on the tame side.

That’s the message for today, more coming.