aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, September 15, 2007
The presidential: smears and unprecedented spending
"A very savvy friend” of Digby’s, “a political player of many years, has put together a memo for various interested parties about the lay of the political landscape.” Interesting reading. A couple quotes I find interesting:
Hillary Clinton is the most centrist of the major Democratic candidates for the nomination while the broader electorate views her as the most liberal. This is not surprising as this has been the right wing campaign against her since 1992. If she is the nominee, the Republicans will plan their whole effort to make her the issue and to drive up her “unfavorables,” already in the high 40s. Of course they have already thrown the kitchen sink at her so who knows how much further opinion can be driven against her. Certainly she is far more unpopular in red geography that no Democrat would carry anyway. What a white guy in Georgia thinks about her really doesn’t matter. Democrats in red and purple geography though are concerned about the down ballot effect if she pulls out all the haters. The key question remains whether she can dampen negative perceptions through her performance. She managed that in upstate New York in her Senate race. There is little time for that type of retail politics in the Presidential. It is naive though to think there will not be a further smear of Bill Clinton’s private life. Kathleen Willey already has her book ready, and Wolf Blitzer, likely, has the interview already booked.
I was in New York in June. I was struck by the liberals bashing Hillary and, in Westchester, the gossipy personal smears that wreaked of lingering resentment for her big-footing into their well-planned Senate race. If Hillary is president, Nita will be none the worse for wear.
Hillary’s built an unprecedented war-chest, but it looks like even that won’t be enough:
Thanks to the Bush Supreme Court, corporations are now free to give unlimited money right up to Election Day on persuasion ads. Several magic words cannot be used. As a general rule, major corporations do not like Democrats controlling the White House and the Congress. So imagine one industry group, the insurers and drug companies under the GOPs current Medicare drug benefit and privatization schemes. The 10-year estimate from all of us transfering to these industries is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. So if they spend 1% to maintain this cash flow, it amounts to a rounding error. Halliburton and the rest of the war profiteers certainly have a vested interest in the GOPs theory of war without end. The oil and coal industries have similarly large stakes. So one should expect a great deal of independent spending during the year knocking down the Democratic nominee and it will be difficult to trace the origin of much of the money until later. Some spending will be done by make believe trade associations, others by newly created 527s.
Across the Universe
I wanna see it…
All you need is 60’s love
From its first moments, when a solitary dreamer on a beach turns to the camera and sings, unaccompanied, the opening lines of the Beatles’ song “Girl,” Julie Taymor’s ‘60s musical fantasia, “Across the Universe,” reveals its intention to use the Beatles’ catalog to tell two stories at once, one personal, the other generational. That young man, Jude (Jim Sturgess), is a cheeky Liverpool dockworker with a twinkle in his eye. He quickly emerges as a winsome vocal composite of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with a personality to match.
From here the movie only gets better. Somewhere around its midpoint, “Across the Universe” captured my heart, and I realized that falling in love with a movie is like falling in love with another person. Imperfections, however glaring, become endearing quirks once you’ve tumbled.
That surrender is the kind of commitment that Ms. Taymor, a true believer in the magic of art, asks of an audience. And as the movie intensifies, and she brings in a fantastic array of puppets, masks and synergistic effects, you may find yourself in a heightened emotional state, even as you realize that what you’re seeing is unadulterated white, middle-class baby boomer nostalgia.
Here’s a no-fail equation: Take one Julie Taymor (the creative genius behind Broadway’s “The Lion King,” the visionary director of “Frida” and “Titus"), add the music of the Beatles and come up with: something great, right?
Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Oh, how very wrong. “Across the Universe,” in which Taymor shoehorns, contorts and otherwise bullies some of the Fab Four’s greatest hits into a vapid Hollywood musical, is the kind of project that must have looked great on paper. Which is where it should have stayed, the more conveniently to be scrunched into a ball and unceremoniously placed into the circular file.
Jena 6: LA appeals court overturns Mychal Bell conviction
Bell had been convicted on the charge of aggravated-battery. The state’s 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal said that the 17-year-old should not have been tried as an adult. Five other black youngsters who, with Bell, make up the “Jena 6” still face charges. WaPo:
The youngsters were accused of kicking and punching a fellow student at Jena High School. The victim, Justin Barker, was knocked out and received a black eye but suffered no permanent injuries.
[LaSalle Parish District Attorney J. Reed] Walters first charged the attackers with attempted second-degree murder. He reduced the charges against five of the defendants as the case drew national attention.
Racial tension rose in Jena after white students hung three nooses in a tree at the school. Black parents wanted the students expelled, but the superintendent of schools opted to suspend them for three days.
In subsequent weeks, an arsonist torched a wing of the school, and racial fighting roiled the town. Only the black high school students were arrested and charged in the fights. Walters vowed to try them as adults.
Rice and Bean
That’s Condi and Randi. Michelangelo Signorile:
Yesterday on the show I had an interesting conversation with Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Glenn Kessler, whose new book is The Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy.
There have long been questions about Rice’s sexual orientation and her personal life in general. As Kessler notes, “She has built a wall of privacy around her that is never breached.” But Kessler had access to Rice’s closest friends and to Rice herself, and he reveals some eyebrow-raising information that hasn’t been out there before.
In the book and on the show, Kessler described how Rice’s “closest male friend” is openly gay, a man by the name of Coit D. Blacker, a Stanford professor (Rice served as the provost as Stanford in the late 1990s for six years) and a Democrat who served in the Clinton administration. Blacker, whose partner is also mentioned, advised Al Gore’s campaign in 2000, while his close friend Rice served as a chief confidante for a president who has tried to make gays into second class citizens in the U.S. Constitution. But wait, it gets better.
Rice’s “closest female friend” is a woman named Randy Bean (pictured here), who is unmarried and whose sexual orientation is not stated. She is described as a “liberal progressive;” she’s a documentary filmmaker who works at Standford University and once worked for Bill Moyers. She and Rice and Blacker (again, who has a partner) are discussed as a “second family,” a term Bean uses, also saying that, “on friends, [Rice] goes narrow and deep.”
According to newly revealed information in the book (which Kessler found through real estate records), the two women, Rice and Bean (yes, hilarious), own a home together and have a line of credit together. The way Bean explains this in the book, is that she had some medical bills that drained her financially years ago, and Rice and Blacker helped her out by buying the house with Bean. But over time Blacker sold his share of the house to Rice and Bean, and then Rice would later get the line of credit with Bean to do some renovations on the home. Kessler, when pressed, said he did not know if this meant there was something more to the relationship between the women beyond a friendship.