New Orleans native Ellen DeGeneres (search) is coming through for her hometown.
She and her talk show's distributor, Warner Bros. Entertainment, have pledged $1.5 million to the Red Cross for victims of Hurricane Katrina (search).
According to a release issued Thursday afternoon — right before DeGeneres began taping the first show of her new season — Warner's will kick off a fund-raising drive with $500,000 donated to the Red Cross.
The entertainment company will then match another $500,000 to be donated by viewers, bringing the total to $1.5 million.
"The Ellen DeGeneres Show Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund" will be announced formally on Tuesday during the first show, which will feature as a guest Roger Dickson, the CEO of the American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles (search).
Maybe you've heard that a new song by the Rolling Stones takes a whack at President Bush. In "Sweet NeoCon," the Stones sing: "You call yourself a Christian/I think you're a hypocrite/You say you're a patriot/I think you're a crock of s—t."
That much has been printed and discussed. But that's not all.
"Sweet NeoCon" has plenty more bang for the buck. The rest of the lyrics take direct aim at the Republican administration.
"It's liberty for all/Democracy's our style/Unless you are against us/Then it's prison without trial."
"But one thing that is certain/Life is good at Halliburton/If you're really so astute/You should invest in Brown and Root." The latter is a subsidiary of Halliburton. And you know who they are.
Another verse reads: "It's getting very scary/Yes I'm frightened out my wits/There's bombers in my bedroom/And it's giving me the sh—-s/We must have loads more bases/To protect us from our foes/Who needs these foolish friendships/We're going it alone."
The group — well, songwriters Mick Jagger and Keith Richards — are obviously counting on Bush's low approval ratings and a sense that Americans may be disenchanted with foreign policy and the war in Iraq.
At first listen, I was actually a little shocked. It's been a long time since anyone's said anything of interest in a rock song.
The Stones album doesn't come out officially for about 10 days, but I got a chance to listen to it today.
"A Bigger Bang" is its name, and you have to give the group credit. They don't, for once, abandon their mandate of blues, country and sex. In fact, all three show up in the opening track, "Rough Justice."
The lyrics to that song, with references to farm animals, are a witty throwback to the days when the Stones' records were often banned for being too racy: "One time you were my baby chicken/Now you've grown into a fox/Once upon a time I was your little rooster/But now I'm just one of your [rhymes with fox, socks, clocks or locks]."
The song is a signal reference to a Willie Dixon record the Stones covered in 1965 called "Little Red Rooster." It was banned everywhere and became a big hit.
Like I say, you've got to give them credit for nerve. The album's single, "Oh No, Not You Again," contains the gerund form of a four-letter word in its chorus.
No one can say the Stones have gotten boring or old. And that's something these days. Everyone may not share their opinions, but at least they have some. It's better than giving away diamond watches to a bloated generation of teens on MTV.