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Posts Tagged ‘John McCain’

Mel Brooks is a Big Fan of Al Jazeera America

MelBrooksAlJazeeraIt’s the kind of spontaneous testimonial that any new outlet dreams of. For The Stream, Al Jazeera America recently dialed up Mel Brooks via satellite from Los Angeles. At one point, the 87-year-old comedy legend took a moment to praise the instrument of his interview:

“Let me say something about Al Jazeera. I’m doing this because when Al Jazeera was first on the air, and I first heard about it, I thought it was probably Arab, Muslim, you know, slanted and maybe a little anti-Semitic, I didn’t know. And then I got to see it on my local station in Santa Monica and it was like a breath of fresh air.”

“It was like the New York Times of [TV] news. It was either MSNBC on the left or FOX on the right. It was giving me the news as earnestly and as honestly as I ever got it, and that’s why I salute Al Jazeera, and that’s why I’m happy to be here doing this even though the money is very small.”

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Ed Rollins Talks Presidential Politics; The 1 Percent Toasts the Good Life

1003_mockup.gifWe’ve gotten so used to the celebrity circus that has dominated Michael’s lately that we did a double take when we found the dining room populated mostly by suits, well-heeled ladies and dandies who prefer to let their bank accounts (not publicists) do the talking. Aside from the usual boldface names (Star Jones) and fashionistas (Fern Mallis) in attendance, there were a lot of folks at lunch today who I’d never seen in the dining room before.

I just had to go over to Table One and introduce myself to the couple who was working furiously to glam up the table with flowers and pretty trinkets before their guests arrived. It turns out Kelly Langberg was celebrating her birthday with her husband Jeff Langberg and a few of her nearest and dearest BFFs. Jeff told me all these ladies are the better halves of some of Manhattan’s most powerful couples.  The impeccably dressed gals all toasted Kelly, who calls herself  ”The Makeover Queen,” with a lovely rose  in the lounge before moving to their table to celebrate. When I was chatting with Kelly about her makeover business (she refers clients to cosmetic dentists, plastic surgeons,  hair colorists and other professionals essential to living the good life in Gotham),  I couldn’t help but notice the dazzling bling that adorned her ears and wrists. When I complimented her on it, she told me the pieces were from her own line of fine jewelry. Where does she find the time?

I also got  to chat with politico Ed Rollins who specializes in a different kind of makeover. He was assistant to President Ronald Reagan and managed his reelection campaign. Earlier this year, Ed stepped down from his post as Michele Bachmann‘s campaign manager. I just had to ask what he thought of  the results of yesterday’s primary. “Santorum is for real,” he told me. “I expect Romney will get the nomination, but it’s going to be a slugfest right up until the end.” Having seen him on PBS’ recent documentary on President Bill Clinton (“I’d take either Clinton right now!”), we also chatted about the HBO political drama Game Change, based on the book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. “I liked the book better. The movie had a deliberate purpose. That’s not the John McCain I know,” he told me. ” (Ed Harris) was too soft and fuzzy.” He did characterize Julianne Moore‘s depiction of Sarah Palin as “very accurate,” though. Ed gave the film high marks in one respect: “It caught a lot of the pace and excitement of a political campaign.” Speaking of campaigns, what does he think of President Obama‘s chances come November? “Presidents often get too much credit and too much blame for what’s happening. Right now, he’s paying the price for promising a lot of things he couldn’t deliver.”

Michael's restaurant in New York City
The scene in the Michael’s dining room

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

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The LA Times‘ Tim Rutten Not a Fan of Simon & Schuster Right Now

Tim Rutten of the LA Times already panned the upcoming Simon & Schuster book “O: A Presidential Novel”–a fictional rendering of Obama’s upcoming 2012 presidential campaign, written anonymously by a supposed political insider with access to Obama–in a review last week. Done deal, right?

Not good enough, Rutten argues in today’s LA Times. There’s something more sinister going on with this book worth noting in a second piece.

Simon & Schuster’s publisher, Jonathan Karp, has claimed that the book “offers some resonant truths about what President Obama is really thinking.” As I noted in The Times’ wholly unfavorable review of “O” last week, “my reviewers’ copy arrived with an unusual letter from … Karp, informing us that the author of this novel ‘is someone who has been in the room with Barack Obama and knows this world intimately. The author wishes to remain anonymous to avoid being pigeonholed or ignored or scorned on the basis of associations, views or background.’”

The author, Rutten notes, has no access to Obama’s inner thoughts, nor is he anonymous anymore. He’s former John McCain aide and ghostwriter Mark Salter.

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Bill Hicks WAY Ahead of His Time on ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’

Sadly, we missed the screening of  the Bill Hicks documentary “AMERICAN: The Bill Hicks Story” when it premiered in LA last September. But we finally got a look at the film last night and found it a refreshing reintroduction to one of America’s greatest comics. We were especially amazing to see how much of Hicks’ material is beyond relevant today, more than a decade later. His bit on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” above should be required viewing for…say, every politician in America. Especially John McCain.

More info on the film here.

Previously on FBLA: The Daily Show to John McCain: It Gets Worse

LAFCA President Simon Says: Inception Not on my Top Ten

On Sunday, October 24th, members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association will gather to decide who is going to receive their 2010 Career Achievement award. As with all matters involving LAFCA, the man at the helm of the proceedings will be President Brent Simon, truly one of the nicest-guy film critics out there.

Because LAFCA has had a history with this award and others of thinking outside the publicist box – past Career kudos for example have gone to editor Dede Allen, cinematographer Conrad Hall, executive John Calley and French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo – they are fairly impervious to the full-court PR press. But that doesn’t mean it won’t get heated this coming weekend.

“We frequently have around two dozen Career candidates,” reveals Simon via e-mail interview with FishbowlLA. “Any member who nominates an individual speaks for a bit about their reasoning, and we typically have at least eight to ten solid candidates who garner the majority of the vote. Sometimes, candidates make strong showings several years in a row before being selected. Other times, they remain perennial bridesmaids.”

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Lady Gaga Takes on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

“I’m here to be a voice my generation. Not the generation of the senators who are voting but for the youth of this county,” says Lady Gaga. She also calls John McCain out by name.

About time these celebrities do something useful.

Former Journo Turned Politician Promises to Hire Laid Off Journos if Elected

john-mccain-snarling.jpgWe will file this story under politicians taking care of their own. John Dougherty former Phoenix Times staffer, an investigative journalist who most notably uncovered John McCain‘s involvement in the Keating Five Scandal is trying to firm up his nomination to take on the Senator at the polls.

And if that wasn’t interesting enough to us – part of his campaign promise is to hire out of work journalist when he’s senator to “root out corruption.”

Of course, regardless of Dougherty’s rooting, McCain has been re-elected and re-elected and nominated to run for president – twice. Cynical? Nope. Just true.

Is this like Bob Woodward running for president? We don’t know. All we know is if you’re running on the pandering to laid off journo vote – your campaign is doomed.

Conservative Female Former CEO Descends on 2010 CA Election…Another One

fiorina.jpg
Ousted HP exec, former John McCain adviser, Sarah Palin bus throw-her-undererCarly Fiorina has announced her candidacy for Senate. She’s seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Senator Barbra Boxer next year.

Fiorina now joins former eBay exec Meg Whitman in running for a political office. Whitman is seeking to slum it the governor’s mansion in Sacramento as a Republican.

We spot a trend. It really makes us wonder who is less popular right now – Republicans or CEOs. And if combining the two neutralizes or enhances the stigma. Will a state, home to the county with the highest unemployment rate in the US want to give golden parachute eligible women gigs on the government payroll?

We’re staying tuned.

Previously on FBLA: Gavin Newson Drops Out Of Governor’s Race

Jezebel’s Artistic Analysis of Palin’s Book Cover

51EkWlO1W9L._SS500_.jpg
Yes, that’s Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong also looking off into the distance, perhaps to Russia.

Sarah Palin‘s new book “Going Rogue,” which sounds kind of like public urination, but sure whatever. The cover for her first book, er a book about her written by someone else, like John McCain‘s books. Not like the books written by and about Barack Obama she criticized during the campaign.

Anyway, Jezebel has what they are calling an artistic analysis of the book jacket:

While we might have expected Palin to choose a bold and unadorned font like Impact (or perhaps Comic Sans), Palin’s team went instead with Linotype Didot. According to Typedia, the Didot family of fonts comes from the Didot family, who lived and worked in Paris in the 19th Century. While Pierre Didot published books and prints, Firmin Didot designed the typefaces. Linotype Didot was added much later, drawn by Adrian Frutiger in 1991. Typedia informs us that this font, with its vertical emphasis and bold strokes, is the “right choice for elegant book and magazine designs, as well as advertising with a classic touch.” However, as Anna notes, for all its elegance, Didot is only one “i” away from idiot. And you’d think that is one association she’d rather avoid.

Read the whole post here.

Iseman Drops Lawsuit Against NYT

20mccain-190a.jpgFinally! A piece of good news for the folks at The New York Times. Seems that lobbyist, and friend of John McCain, Vicki Iseman has dropped her defamation lawsuit against the Times (perhaps she took a look at the company’s current stock prices and concluded it wasn’t worth the effort). Over at Politico Michael Calderone got his hands on the memo Washington bureau chief Dean Baquet sent out to staff:

To the staff,

Vicki Iseman has dropped her lawsuit against The Times, just weeks after it was filed. We paid no money. We did not apologize. We did not retract one word of the story, which was a compelling chapter in the tale of Senator John McCain and his political rise.

The story stands as a powerful examination of a presidential candidate who cast himself as an ethics reformer and scourge of special interests, yet seemed blind at times over the course of his career to appearances of conflicts of interest.

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