Patterico's Pontifications


Once Again, the Public Confuses Hollywood

Filed under: Movies — DRJ @ 9:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

George Clooney’s movie Leatherheads – he directs and stars – opened to a disappointing third place this weekend:

“The movie that George Clooney directed, starred in and overhauled the script for, Leatherheads, stumbled badly at the box office this weekend, making only $12.5 million from 1,769 theaters and finishing only No. 3. (Interestingly, the pic’s studio, Universal, claimed it was No. 2, but every other Hollywood major had it as No. 3 behind Sony’s 21 and Fox/Walden’s Nim’s Island.) The screwball comedy about the early days of football was seen in Hollywood as a referendum on Clooney’s popularity at the box office. Because right now he is a big movie star but not a big box office star, and his hefty paydays in big studio projects like this definitely depend on the latter.
But Hollywood was aghast that Clooney couldn’t open his movie. (As one studio mogul said to me, “He’s no Will Smith.”)”

The movie’s distributor even wondered why movie-goers aren’t flocking to Clooney’s film:

“I’m disappointed for us, I’m disappointed for George. I think he’s a great guy, and think he’s got tons of directing talent,” said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal. “I wish I could have that crystal ball and tell you what went wrong.”

I think it’s one of two reasons: Either movie-goers are tired of stars who use their celebrity to make political points, thereby making even their non-politicized products less entertaining to the average person.

Or Clooney is no Will Smith.


Clinton Strategist Mark Penn Quits Demoted

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 4:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s top strategist, has resigned over controversy about Colombian free trade that he promoted as a lobbyist and Hillary Clinton opposes:

“A top campaign aide to Sen. Hillary Clinton, under fire for meeting with a Colombian diplomat to discuss a free trade deal that the presidential candidate opposes, quit his post on Sunday, the campaign said.

“After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as chief strategist of the Clinton campaign,” Clinton’s campaign manager Maggie Williams said in a statement. She said Penn would continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign.

News of Penn’s March 31 meeting with Colombian Ambassador Carolina Barco Isakson, in which they discussed a free trade deal, first surfaced on Friday.”

Hillary is fighting for votes in Pennsylvania where free trade is a big issue. It turned out to be a lose-lose for Penn since his firm has lost the Colombian account.

I don’t see how every person working for a candidate can mesh perfectly with the candidate on every issue, especially when candidates change positions during the course of a campaign. However, Penn has linked his career with the Clintons for some time and there have been mounting questions about his advice.

The bottom line may be that if a candidate is losing, the architect who helped design the candidate’s campaign becomes expendable … even if it’s the candidate that is flawed.

NOTE: I changed the title because, even though the media initially reported that Penn had quit, the articles indicate he is still working on the campaign.


Dan Senor: Condi Rice Campaigning for VP

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 2:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In an interview on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Republican Dan Senor said Condoleezza Rice is actively campaigning for the position of Vice President:

“Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is actively courting the Vice Presidential nomination, according to Republican Strategist Dan Senor. “Condi Rice has been actively, actually in recent weeks, campaigning for this,” Senor said this morning on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

I saw John McCain on Chris Wallace’s program on Fox News. When he was questioned about a VP, he said his goal was to pick someone who had the same values, principles, and priorities as he does, someone who would share his agenda. It did not matter to him whether that person had extensive or limited foreign policy experience as long as s/he would share his agenda. That immediately made me think of Sen. Lindsey Graham but it could also apply to Condi Rice.

When you portray yourself as a maverick the way John McCain does, it’s hard to know what agenda you stand for. He’s a little like Barack Obama in that sense (although I think Obama’s positions are consistently liberal, they are not well known), which is one reason why this election is so interesting. So far, it’s an election that is more about personalities than principles and IMO Condoleezza Rice is a personality whose principles aren’t very well known.


Warren Jeffs’ Texas Compound Update

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Current Events,Law — DRJ @ 12:43 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Two days ago, I discussed in this post that the Texas Department of Public Safety had sealed Warren Jeffs’ Texas compound near Eldorado, Texas, removed 52 children, and were searching for a 16-year-old girl and her child.

Initial reports indicated that the residents were cooperating, but all cooperation stopped when authorities tried to enter the group’s temple. Drudge and many other media sources referred to it as a Texas stand-off. Recent reports indicate the problems may have been resolved and the investigation is proceeding.

The search began after a 16-year-old girl at the ranch called authorities twice claiming she was in the facility and had a child with a 50-year-old man:

“The girl called authorities at least twice, [First Assistant District Attorney Allison] Palmer said – once March 29 and again the next day. Palmer declined to say which agency the girl telephoned, but said it was not by dialing 9-1-1, and that the girl said she was calling from inside the ranch.

“She didn’t use the term ‘forced into marriage,'” Palmer said. “She indicated that she was underage and had a (50)-year-old husband.”

According to a search-and-arrest warrant filed Thursday in Tom Green County state district court and released by the court Friday afternoon, the girl named Barlow as her husband and said he had fathered her child.

Doing the math, Palmer said, the girl could have been no older than 15 at the time of conception, and state law does not allow any kind of marriage for girls younger than 16.

“You have a 15-year-old child who was assaulted by the father of her baby,” Palmer said. “That is not a marriage the state of Texas has been prepared to recognize.”

NOTE to commenter PD, who strongly objected to the actions by the Texas authorities and ended his/her comment with this slur:

“Probably the only reason the citizens of Eldorado are creeped out by these people is that the FLDS are cleanest people they’ve seen and probably raised average IQ of the town by twenty points.”

The investigation has been handled out of San Angelo, not Eldorado. The 2,000 residents of Eldorado let the FLDS members live in peace at their ranch until one of their own called for help. Since then, area residents from Eldorado, Sonora, Ozona, and San Angelo have provided shelter and have spontaneously and generously gathered food, clothing, and donations for the displaced members.

Related posts here, here, here, and here.


College Students for Obama

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Politico reports that, for several reasons, Pennsylvania college students may not provide the support for Obama that college students in other states have:

“With 159 colleges and universities and approximately 680,000 students, Pennsylvania’s campus vote would appear to be Barack Obama’s ace in the hole in the state’s April 22 primary.

Yet in a tough contest where Obama will need every vote he can get, it’s unlikely that one of his most loyal constituencies will be able to provide him with much of a boost.”

Reasons include that Pennsylvania has a large number of out-of-state college students, most of whom are registered to vote at their home (parents’) residence so they can’t vote in Pennsylvania and will have to vote absentee. In addition:

Pennsylvania’s election rules also act to suppress the college vote. The state has a closed primary, which means only registered Democrats can vote. Since college-age young people are disproportionately likely to be registered as independents, that will serve to limit the number of students who can vote.

Pennsylvania’s approach is distinct from Iowa and New Hampshire, two states where college students turned out in force in part because voters were permitted to register on Election Day and also because the two contests were open to independents.

While the Obama campaign has embarked on an effort to register students in Pennsylvania, a late start has limited its effectiveness.”

Finally, the campaigns’ voter registration efforts have only been active on some campuses since February. Obama has 70 chapters in Pennsylvania while Clinton has 35. However, registration deadlines fell during spring break at many colleges, hampering campus registration efforts and making the impact of new college voters negligible:

“According to Kolker, the Obama campaign netted “well over 5,000” new registrants. But that’s not nearly enough new voters to make an impact, says Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin and Marshall poll.

“I don’t think that’s an impressively large number,” said Madonna. “There are more than 4 million Democrats in the state and let’s say the turnout is 50 percent — and that doesn’t strike me as improbable. Two million people vote and Obama registered [at most] 10,000. You can do the math. That’s not a huge percentage.”

Obama garnered 10-30% more college votes than Clinton in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. He is popular on college campuses because of he is eloquent, students believe he can unify Americans, and … he’s cool:

“Darren Jackson, president of the BYU Democrats, said he thinks part of Obama’s appeal comes from his growing popularity among other college-aged students.

“It’s popular to like Obama,” Jackson said. “He’s something different from the traditional candidate, and people aren’t afraid to support him.”

Hancock agreed, citing Obama’s use of YouTube, Facebook and text messaging as a way of connecting with the new generation of voters. “The campaign has its own social network,” she said. “It’s not just you supporting Obama, it’s you and your friends all supporting him together.”

Obama is new, fun and hip. He’s the iPod of politicians.


Charlton Heston (1923-2008)

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 11:40 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Charlton Heston died yesterday at age 84. PowerLine pays tribute to him here.


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