Hollywood on the Potomac
“The best day of my life was when I realized I was insane,” says author, filmmaker John Viscount. We’re not sure if that realization took place over an early morning coffee, afternoon latte or a nightcap, but Viscount explains it this way: “I realized that I had an undisciplined mind,” he told Hollywood on the Potomac, “and that was making me crazy with worry, stress and the like. It was also giving me cluster migraine headaches and so at that point I started searching out spiritual teachings like Buddhism with which to learn better ways to look at the world. It happened in my late twenties. That is when it finally dawned on me that I couldn’t trust my mind to think the right things or to see the world in a way that would bring me peace. It was at that moment that I realized that it was up to me, and only me, to train my mind to be an asset, rather than a hinderance. Otherwise, it was going to continue to make my life extremely difficult.”
John Viscount grew up in the Bethesda, MD – next to WMAL tower field to be exact – and is a graduate of Walk Whitman High School. For most of his life, Viscount has always wanted to start a conversation that heals – so he did: That conversation was captured in his book: Mind What Matters: A Pep Talk for Humanity, “an inspiring collection of stories and writings that eloquently illustrate how to remain in the peaceful sanctuary of our higher mind no matter what the world serves up.”
After 9/11, Viscount moved on to a higher playing field in the quest for everlasting peace. That quest took the form of the film “Admissions” – a 20-minute film dedicated to the creation of peace departments in governments worldwide starring James Cromwell “who plays an enlightened clerk who works in the admissions room for the afterlife. He is called on to guide an Israeli couple and a Palestinian who go through admissions together because they have suffered similar tragic endings. As the details of their deaths and how their fates are intertwined become clear, the clerk attempts to teach them the wisdom required to find everlasting peace.” Viscount also wrote the theme song.
“Admissions” was screened at the home of philanthropist Shahin Mafi – Trustee of The Azar Foundation for Children of the World – in Potomac, Maryland with guest of honor actress Sharon Stone ….we’ll get to her next, so hang on. In the meantime, here is the trailer…..it’s daunting:
Pay attention all you Presidential candidates and don’t say we didn’t warn you: The Millennials are coming! “Millennials are likely to make up at least a fifth of the electorate, so in that sense, they’ll have a huge amount of voting power,” Kristen Soltis Anderson, author of The Selfie Vote, told Hollywood on the Potomac. “I think this is also a generation that’s very up for grabs. In recent elections Republicans have done very well with older voters and Democrats have done very well with younger voters.”
“It hasn’t always been the case,” she added. “In the 2000 presidential election, George W. Bush and Al Gore pretty much split the youth vote and they split the senior citizen vote. There was not a big difference when it came to age if you were looking at how people voted. Nowadays, it’s not the case. Older voters lean much more heavily Republican, younger voters lean much more heavily Democratic. But if this persists, there’s a lot of research that shows young voters will stay Democratic over the course of their lifetimes. Some may change, I mean the generation may shift, but overall it creates headwinds for Republicans if young voters break so heavily against them. So in this election, young voters will be really important because Obama’s not on the ticket, so it remains to be seen if young voters will stay voting very heavily Democratic or if Republicans have this opening to try to win them back.”
All eyes have been on President Obama for the last few days as he traveled to Kenya and Ethiopia; some more than others. “Close to 100 Secret Service agents and uniformed officers go with The President on overseas trips traveling either on Air Force One or cargo planes for vehicles. While nothing untoward has happened on this trip, agents tell me it’s just a matter of time before the Secret Service’s laxness and corner cutting lead to another debacle such as the intrusion at the White House last September,” best-selling author Ron Kessler told Hollywood on the Potomac. His book, The First Family Detail, is available in paperback today with a new epilogue.
The President is there to attend the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit and “to meet with leaders from government, business, and civil society,” according to the official White House website. “The trip is reinforcing the U.S. commitment to expanding economic growth and trade, strengthening democracy on a global scale, and investing in the next generation of African leaders; some more than others.”
Because we get the updates from the White House website, Instagram and other social media outlets, we couldn’t help but notice that the daily agenda is posted. We asked Kessler if that was a matter of concern. “It’s always a quandary, but they nod to potus’ wishes,” he said. Here is a sample of a partial agenda – the events have already taken place:
3:30 AM: The President participates in a welcoming ceremony
3:50 AM: The President holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia
5:15 AM: The President meets with President Mulatu Teshome of Ethiopia
6:20 AM: The President joins Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn for a press conference