Sandra Bullock Plants a Wet Kiss on Meryl Streep at Critics’ Choice Awards

Sandra Bullock plants a wet one on Meryl Streep at last night’s Critics’ Choice Awards after both women were tied for the “Best Actress” award. It seems that it wasn’t as much fun for Streep as it was for Bullock.

Streep was declared a winner first and after she was finished speaking, presenter Bradley Cooper called the second winner up, Bullock. Bullock, after joking that it was “bullshit,” went in for a make out. To her credit, she gave a very touching acceptance speech. She ended her speech with, “Meryl is a good kisser.”

Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Charity Under Fire, Only $1 In Every $5 Reportedly Goes To Haiti

The Smoking Gun says Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti has “a lackluster history of accounting for its finances.” The timing of this revelation is very suspect and it is very troubling.

The vultures are circling Wyclef Jean. There is some real scrutiny of his charitable foundation Yele Haiti occurring right now and it’s not pretty. Here is an article from The Smoking Gun:

JANUARY 14–The Haiti earthquake has already triggered hundreds of thousands of donations to musician Wyclef Jean’s charitable foundation, which expects to raise upwards of $1 million a day in the disaster’s wake. However, Internal Revenue Service records show the group has a lackluster history of accounting for its finances, and that the organization has paid the performer and his business partner at least $410,000 for rent, production services, and Jean’s appearance at a benefit concert.

Though the Wyclef Jean Foundation, which does business as Yele Haiti Foundation, was incorporated 12 years ago–and has been active since that time–the group only first filed tax returns in August 2009. That month, the foundation provided the IRS with returns covering calendar years 2005, 2006, and 2007–the only periods for which it has publicly provided a glimpse at its financial affairs. In 2006, Jean’s charity reported contributions of $1 million, the bulk of which came from People magazine in exchange for the first photos of a pregnant Angelina Jolie (the actress reportedly directed that the publication’s payment go to Jean’s charity, not her personally).

As seen on the following pages from the foundation’s 2006 tax return, the group paid $31,200 in rent to Platinum Sound, a Manhattan recording studio owned by Jean and Jerry Duplessis, who, like Jean, is a foundation board member. A $31,200 rent payment was also made in 2007 to Platinum Sound. The rent, tax returns assure, “is priced below market value.” The recording studio also was paid $100,000 in 2006 for the “musical performance services of Wyclef Jean at a benefit concert.” That six-figure payout, the tax return noted, “was substantially less than market value.” The return, of course, does not address why Jean needed to be paid to perform at his own charity’s fundraiser. Source: The Smoking Gun

I didn’t donate to Haiti via Wyclef Jean’s organization, I chose the Red Cross instead, but didn’t they have their own issues with how donations were disbursed to appropriate parties in previous disasters? They weathered that storm. I have to give Wyclef Jean credit for going to Haiti and helping in the rescue/recovery missions. How many of those people who are digging into his organization’s finances would do the same? There is a time and place for this and it’s quite obvious that now isn’t the time to dig up dirt on this man. His foundation wasn’t incorporated yesterday, so where was The Smoking Gun two years ago, for example? Why start digging now? Don’t misunderstand my position. If his charity isn’t being managed professionally with fiscal oversight mechanisms in place, then that is problematic, to say the least. I am sure the Internal Revenue Service check into this. It is very unfortunate that this would be revealed now.

Before you donate your hard-earned money to a charity, do some research first. You may visit the American Institute of Philanthropy’s Web site. They give a letter-grade to charities based on the “portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency.” AIP states that top-rated charities perform favorably in relation to their benchmarks: 1) a charity should spend at least 75% of its budget on program; 2)charities should spend no more than $25 to raise $100.

UPDATE#1: Wyclef Jean responds via YouTube to the accusations of mismanagement at Yele Haiti. Since red flags have been raised about Yele Haiti, I hope the diggers go after other foundations led by celebrities with the same fervor and determination.

Denver Public School Officials Apologize for Fried Chicken, Collard Greens Lunch Honoring Dr. King Jr. After Parent Complained

Denver Public School officials have egg on their faces after a parent, Jennifer Holladay, complained that a school lunch that was meant to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was stereotypical and offensive, according to The Denver Channel. The lunch was to include Southern-style chicken, collard greens and a biscuit.

Denver Public Schools spokesman Michael Vaughn released a statement that said: “The plan to serve a Southern-style meal in recognition of Martin Luther King Day was well intentioned but highly insensitive in light of certain hurtful cultural stereotypes still harbored in parts of our society.”

Organizers of Denver’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Marade, a combination march and parade that honors King every January, did not consider the menu inappropriate, considering that King came from a southern background, but said there are other, more meaningful ways of honoring him.”When you reduce it to the ‘I have a dream’ speech and a fried chicken and collard green lunch, you have just destroyed everything that Dr. King stood for,” said Vern Howard, chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission.

A menu committee researches all promotions and has utilized the MLK Center of Atlanta as a resource for information about this famous leader. Elaine Hall, from the Archives Department at the King Center in Atlanta, has informed the committee that Dr. King’s favorite meal includes fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread and sweet potato pie.” Source:  The Denver Channel

Considering the state of America today and the devastation in Haiti as a result of a massive earthquake, the last thing we need to be arguing about is whether the choice of a lunch menu is stereotypical, especially since these items were favorites of Dr. King. That’s my position on the matter. What do you think? Did the school cross the line and engaged in stereotypical behavior or is this much ado about nothing?

Photo credit:  Fried chicken & collard green, Runners Kitchen