Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Okay, I know that it's not quite Memorial Day, but my weekend begins today. I'll be back on Tuesday scouring the internet for the best (overlooked) political stories when I return.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day!

~Your POTUS Web Czarina

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday's Readout

Welcome to Tuesday! Today, we start off with a Twitter account that takes the BP oil spill a little too lightly, a rocker sues a "Talking Head," and plagiarism--are words simply words?

Talking Heads v Charlie Crist

David Byrne is suing Florida Governor Charlie Crist, alleging that he used the Talking Heads' 1985 single "Road to Nowhere" without permission or proper licenses. Billboard says, “Byrne is seeking $1 million in damages from Gov. Charlie Crist and his senatorial campaign for use of the song earlier this year in a website and YouTube ad attacking his then-Republican primary opponent, Marco Rubio.” CBS’ Political Hotsheet notes, “The former Talking Heads singer is represented by the same lawyer, who represented Jackson Browne when Browne successfully sued Sen. John McCain for McCain's use of his "Running on Empty" in the 2008 presidential campaign.” Byrne told Billboard the suit "is not about politics...It's about copyright and about the fact that it does imply that I would have licensed it and endorsed him and whatever he stands for."

Fake BP Twitter Account

Twitter has proved to be a valuable resource in following efforts to clean up the Gulf Coast oil spill in real time. They have used their Twitter handle, BP America, to tweet updates, but a prankster has set up a phony BP handle, sending fake messages about the spill. BPGlobalPR has close to 20,000 followers (as of 10am this morning) compared to the 4700 following the legit account. BPGlobalPRs’ bio says, “This page exists to get BP's message and mission statement out into the twitterverse!” Some examples of the tweets they’ve sent:

Funny, no one has thanked us for seasons 3-15 of Treme yet #bpcares

Proud to announce that BP will be sponsoring the New Orleans Blues Festival this summer w/ special tribute to Muddy Waters.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Little Obama: The Movie

Last week, ABC' Political Punch reported an Indoesian filmmaker was in the process of directing a movie about President Obama's childhood. Based on a fictionalized Indonesian book about Obama's boyhood, Little Obama "is not a film about Obama the world leader-to-be. It's about Obama the kid." The New York Daily News interviewed the actor who will play Obama in the movie, Hasan Faruq Ali.
The young Obama is played by 12-year-old actor Hasan Faruq Ali, a New Mexico native who, like his inspiration, moved to Indonesia as a toddler.

"Hasan has the walk, he has the posture of Barry," said Slamet Djanuadi, a childhood friend of Obama from 1967-1971 when he lived in Jakarta, told the Associated Press. "But Barry was a better ping pong player," he added.

The film, produced by the Indonesian production company Multivision Plus, will premiere there June 17 to coincide with Obama's planned visit to his former home.

"Little Obama" documents Obama’s life in Jakarta with his mother and stepfather from the age of six until he was ten years-old.

Screenwriter and co-director Damien Dematra makes clear that this is not a film about Obama the world leader-to-be. It’s about Obama the kid.

"It's not about politics, it's just the story of a boy," he said. "It's about his friendships, his hobbies, just a childhood story."

Hasan was a natural fit to play Obama. The young actor is fluent in both English and the Indonesian language and is the son of a white mother and African American father.

"It feels great to play Obama," Hasan said. "I was shy about it at first ... But then it became easy and fun, especially acting as a very important character who left here to become president."

And Palin Defend Haley

From Palin's Facebook page:
...When Nikki and I held her endorsement rally on the steps of the beautiful and
historic South Carolina state house last month, I warned her and her family that
she would be targeted because she’s a threat to a corrupt political machine, and
she would be put through some hell. That, unfortunately, is the nature of the
beast in politics today – especially for conservative “underdog” candidates who
surge in the polls and threaten to shake things up so government can be put back
on the side of the people.

South Carolina: don’t let some blogger make
any accusation against your Nikki if the guy doesn’t even have the guts or the
integrity to speak further on such a significant claim. And don’t believe
anything a liberal rag claims or suggests unless the reporter involved has the
integrity and the facts to report to you so you can make up your own mind. For
traditional media to rely on an accusation via some blog entry is almost
laughable, but I know the seriousness of it because that’s exactly what my
family and colleagues have had to put up with, every single day, for the past
couple of years.

As I said to Nikki this morning, “Hang in there. I’ve
been there. Any lies told about you will strengthen your resolve to clean up
political and media corruption. You and your supporters will grow stronger
through things like this.”

Another South Carolina Affair?

From Politico's Ben Smith:

A South Carolina political blogger, and intense supporter of Nikki Haley's bid for governor, "admits" this morning to an affair with her — because, he says, "a group of political operatives" out to "destroy" Haley has turned up evidence (which he doesn't share) of the affair.

Will Folks is a credible enough character that the AP has run with the story, and Haley's campaign put out a statement just now denying the claim and calling it "South Carolina politics at its worst."

I have been 100% faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage. This claim against me is categorically and totally false.

It is sad, but not surprising, that this disgraceful smear has taken form less than a week removed from the release of a poll showing our campaign with a significant lead. It is quite simply South Carolina politics at its worst.

These attacks — and those sure to follow — are an effort at distraction, but I will keep my focus on what matters, and that is delivering South Carolina's government back to our people. That's a fight I have fought for the last five years. That's why I entered this race for Governor. And that's what I will continue to do, despite any outrageous and false claims that are thrown at me.

This story, as you'd expect in South Carolina, is a Byzantine one, with a lot of complicated back story. Folks, a former spokesman for Mark Sanford, pleaded guilty to domestic violence a few years ago. He was also the target of intense enmity in Columbia for reportedly working with Sanford on a project to oust recalcitrant Republican incumbents — and of intense scrutiny. One South Carolina source points out this clip, in which a reporter jokes with Folks about digging through his trash.

One other note: I think the way this story plays is extremely difficult to predict, but while male politicians sometimes pay a price for infidelity, the notion of reporters and opposition researchers digging into the past of a married woman for allegedly straying strikes me as more likely to produce sympathy than anything else.

UPDATE: Tom Jensen seems to have that same instinct that it's very different for a woman.

Today's Readout

I'm a little behind with posting stories today. Here's today's Readout, the Monday edition. Look for more stories to be posted this afternoon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday's Readout

The Gulf Coast's holdin' out for a hero...might it be Kevin Costner? The Washington Post may have stepped in it...again. And this little girl really needs to stop talking about her mother's citizen status. It's your extended Readout for Friday.

Rick Bayless Isn't Over It

Celebrity chef and tweet-machine, Rick Bayless, is still sore about a blog Lynn Sweet wrote earlier this week. Bayless thought Sweet was implying he broke White House protocol by tweeting from the White House kitchen. Sweet said, "To clarify: Bayless tweeted about the upcoming dinner and about the White House kitchen, but not from the White House kitchen. My apologies."

But just to be sure, Bayless was on Twitter yesterday delivering his side of the story. A very lengthy story at that....Bayless says:

“All made up rumors of my WH Twitter posting have become tiresome. Wanna know the truth? Here goes (not nearly as titilllating as the rumors)"

“Truth 1 I fully understood going into the WH that I wouldn't be posting on Twitter (words or pics) bc of security & respect 4 privacy"

"Truth 2: I never posted anything from the WH. I took pics for myself (as did everyone) but would never post them unless the WH ok'd them."

Ok Rick...we get it...your feelings are hurt. Now, step away from your Twitter account and make some more mole sauce.

Kevin Costner: Gulf Coast Hero?

It's not like anyone else has an idea how to stop this leak...

The New York Times says:
Kevin saw the Exxon Valdez spill, and as a fisherman and an environmentalist, it just stuck in his craw, the fact that we didn’t have separation technology,” said John Houghtaling, Mr. Costner’s lawyer and business partner as chief executive with Ocean Therapy Solutions, which developed the technology.

Mr. Costner’s brother, Dan, is a scientist who worked on the project and was also in New Orleans this week.

On Wednesday, BP’s chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, said that the company had approved six of Ocean Therapy’s 32 machines for testing. All boast centrifuge processing technology — giant vacuum-like machines that suck oil from water, separate the oil, store it in a tanker and send the water, 99.9 percent purified, back into the gulf.

Another WaPo Mix-Up

Earlier this month, the Washington Post took some heat for a caption mix-up online where a photo of Malcolm X was paired with a link to a story about President Obama. The Washington Post's Ombudsman ruled that the much blogged about story was "a hoax" despite blogs like Gawker and Daily Intel insisting the screenshot was not photoshopped.

Well, they may have done it again. Last night, as I was searching the Post Politics site, I came across not one, but TWO errors. Two blog links talking about GOP Kentucky Senate nominee Rand Paul's comments on civil rights had his father's name, Ron Paul, in the title instead.

I'm not trying to rag on the WaPo, the Post admittedly has said they are correcting the way they correct corrections, but they may want to consider finding someone else to oversee the Post's web site.

Fat Cats and Fast Rats

Could it be the FROTUS?

Crashing President Obama’s statement on the Senate’s vote on financial regulatory reform on Thursday—a rat. The blogs have of course posted stills of the rodent scurrying in front of the President’s podium as he spoke (insert clichéd metaphor here).

via AP:
In his battle with the titans of Wall Street, President Barack Obama almost got upstaged by a rat.

But he didn't even seem to notice. Assuming that's what it was, scurrying in front of his podium Thursday in a sun-drenched Rose Garden.

Obama had just begun an afternoon statement to reporters lauding the end of a Senate filibuster on his financial overhaul plan when some kind of rodent — opinions differ on which — dashed out of the bushes to his right, just outside the Oval Office.

And it's not the first time the intruder was spotted.
Just last week, as camera crews set up for an Obama statement on the Gulf oil spill, what's believed to have been the same rodent made a dash across the famous garden.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sarah Palin--Facebook Moneymaker

Finally, someone has figured out how to make money on Facebook...get Sarah Palin to include you in one of her ‘notes.’ The Daily Caller recently reviewed Palin’s page and discovered that it is in fact a moneymaker…for people Palin has opted to endorse. They write, “First-time candidate Tim Burns in Pennsylvania raised $80,000 for his congressional campaign in 72 hours. Sean Duffy, an unknown candidate from Wisconsin, raised about $40,000. How did they do it? Each got an endorsement on Facebook from Sarah Palin.” Mediaite adds, “So the question going forward between now and November appears to be how does one land one of these golden ticket endorsements?”

I'm Dale Peterson...

Earlier this week, the internet was buzzing about an ad from Dale Peterson—candidate for Alabama’s Agricultural Commissioner. It became an instant hit on the web and 820,000 YouTube views later, the political blogosphere is still talking about the ad for the tough-talkin', straight-shootin' Peterson. But what happened after the video went viral? Someone made a parody of the candidate’s fast-cutting ad of course. Funny or Die spoofed the ad yesterday afternoon. Originally, they just posted Peterson’s original campaign video, but I guess the web comedians couldn’t pass up a chance to parody one of the most talked about campaign commercials of this midterm election cycle.

The Most Depressing Commencement Speech Ever?

This video’s getting a decent amount of buzz on the web , but it’s another example of how simple video editing can skew the message of a speech or comment. On Wednesday, the Real Clear Politics and the Drudge Report linked to a video of former Veep Al Gore delivering the commencement speech to University of Tennessee grads with the headline "The Most Depressing Graduation Speech Ever."The video had been edited by the conservative group, Americans for Prosperity and spliced together Gore’s comments on global warming, the Gulf Coast oil spill, among other natural disasters mentioned in the graduation speech. AFP writes "Instead of providing encouragement for the graduates of the University of Tennessee, Al Gore takes the opportunity to promote his doomsday global warming scenario.” So was it a Debbie Downer commencement address or clever editing? Decide for yourself.

Here's the American's for Prosperity ad:

Here's Gore's full address:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday's Readout

The "I'm Sorry" edition

State Dinner Take Two

You can expect to see a much more subdued State Dinner tonight at the White House. In comparison to November's dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Mahoman Singh, the guest list is much smaller--parsed down to 200 instead of the 400 guests in November. The dinner will be in the stately and more formal East Room, rather than on the South Lawn underneath an elaborate tent/gazebo/pavillion-type structure. And security will be extremely tight this time around to ensure no party crashers weasel their way in.

Politico notes
, "new social secretary Julianna Smoot is helming this event, and she’s as discreet as Desiree Rogers was flamboyant."

As for the guest list, in addition to Eva Longoria and George Lopez, politicos like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the Hispanic Caucus — including Sen. Bob Menendez and Reps. Xavier Becerra and Nydia Velasquez — will be in attendance, too. (Actress Salma Hayek was invited, but can’t make it.)

But one lawmaker who will NOT be receiving an in invitation is Rep. Luis Guiterrez:
Luis Gutierrez wasn't surprised that the Obama administration left him off the guest list for Wednesday's state dinner to honor the Mexican president.
This Story

"I didn't expect an invitation," said Gutierrez, an Illinois congressman and chair of the Democratic Caucus Immigration Task Force.

After all, Gutierrez's last White House visit, on May 3, did not go so well. He showed up wearing a white T-shirt with red letters that read: "ARREST ME NOT MY FRIENDS." The Park Police obliged.

White House Guest Chef in Hot Water

From Lynn Sweet:
Rick Bayless, the Chicago superstar chef, was Twittering from the White House kitchen about today's Obama White House state dinner honoring Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his wife, Margarita Zavala. Until the Tweets stopped. The White House kitchen is for cooking, not Tweeting.

He was given the unpaid honor of being a guest chef, working the state dinner -- the second of the Obama administration -- alongside of White House House chef Cristeta Comerford.

The White House press operation wanted to downplay the glamor aspect of the state dinner; these are tough economic times.

Bayless talked about the dinner in interviews -- he gave up a few facts about what he may be cooking -- his Oaxacan mole, for example. "He's been blabbing," wrote the Washington Examiner "Yeas and Nays" column. "He's done interviews with the New York Times and NPR, revealing bits and pieces of the menu."

On Tuesday morning Bayless, an inveterate Tweeter wrote, "Thanks 2 the 100s of well wishers! Ready 4 day 2 n rather small White House kitchen. Chef was challenged by some ingred, but last arrive 2day."

He flew to Washington on Monday from Chicago and when he arrived, he Twittered, "Just arrived in DC. Headed to the White House kitchens. I have to say: I'm a little nervous."

After he checked out the White House kitchen -- which is fairly small -- Bayless Twittered, "The White House staff could not be nicer&more professional! Most worried about ingredients, but all will b here 4 big day!"

But after his Tuesday Tweet early in the morning, Bayless was shut down on Twitter.

Last year, when the Obamas entertained the prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, the guest chef, Marcus Samuelsson, a big name in the cooking world, was neither seen nor heard from and asked not to give interviews about the dinner in advance. He was not allowed to appear at the press preview of the dinner.

The White House at first was keen on limiting reporting opportunities from the state dinner, but Tuesday eased up on a restrictions. Michelle Obama and Mrs. Zavala will visit an elementary school in the Maryland suburbs of Washington with students from Central and South America on Wednesday morning. That is the picture of the day the East Wing wants.

At first, the White House was not planning any advance event to preview the dinner. Last year on the afternoon of the India dinner, the East Wing set up sample table settings; the first lady arranged for a briefing on the history of state dinners for the group of girls she is mentoring.

In a reversal, the White House now will allow a pool to see the dinner set up in the East Room "for a few minutes" and to see "for a few minutes" the tent on the South Lawn where more guests will be invited for dessert and entertainment.

UPDATE: Bayless wants an apology. He tweeted this message about Sweet's story:
"Lynn Sweet @ Sun Times made up this very offensive story.I NEVER Tweet from WH, which I KNOW is not permitted.Apology?"

A Twitter War with Michele Bachmann

Speaking of apologies, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann would like one from Newsweek’s Andrew Romano. The writer/blogger was assigned to follow the Minnesota Congresswoman for a couple of days and live-Tweet the experience—and let’s just say that the Congresswoman and her office were not happy with the result. "I sounded, in other words, like a kneejerk Bachmann hater," Romano writes. "But that wasn't really the case….I was simply doing what Twitter demanded: being pithy and provocative." Daily Intel’s blogging, “That's not exactly how Bachmann's team saw it — shortly before Romano was scheduled to sit down with her for a face-to-face interview, they canceled it and would not reschedule. "That says as much about Bachmann as anything I observed on the road," he writes. "What Twitter revealed about Bachmann is that she's not democratic enough for Twitter or the new era it embodies."

A Big F%@$ing Apology

While campaigning for Iowa Governor Chet Culver Tuesday afternoon, Vice President Biden relived his “big f**ing deal” moment, saying, “I don’t know why everybody thinks it’s so darn funny. I’m embarrassed as hell by it.” And it looks as if the Veep’s not just embarassed, he's sorry for saying it too. Brandon Halcomb, a Kentucky high school student had written Biden a letter asking him to apologize for his use of foul language. The Ticket’s blogging, “Biden responded to the junior-sized dressing down with a letter of his own. "I should have expressed my excitement in a more appropriate manner," he wrote. Although Halcomb was appreciative of the letter, he doesn't appear to be satisfied with the response. "It was not really an apology, but that's as close to an apology as I will be receiving," Brandon told a local TV station.

Here's part of Biden't letter:
"It was wrong for you to have used such vulgarity in a public place, let alone at the taxpayers expense as you celebrated such an awesome landmark with our President. However, Vice-President Biden, to me, you cheapened that occasion with such tastelessness while congratulating the President on this event."

Salahis to White House: Apologize to Us

Tim Farley asked me earlier if the White House party crashers might make an appearance at tonight’s State Dinner. Well, they may not have gotten an invitation—again—however, they are using their dwindling minutes of fame to ask the White House for an apology. In an interview with Radar Online sat down with the couple recently, where they still insisted they were invited by a contact in the Pentagon, said, "It would be nice if somebody apologized to us." Referring to their defunct winery, they continue, "Even if they weren't on the list at Oasis, you would find a spot for them," Michaele Salahi said to her husband. "Or you would check the list and say, 'Oh, you're not on the list, could I give you a bottle of wine and send you home?' The American way is to love people."

Good luck with getting that apology from the White House. I'm sure they're just dying to get back into the Salahi's good graces....

Robert Redford Lobbies for Climate Change Legislation

In a new video, Robert Redford calls on President Obama and Members of Congress to use the Gulf Coast oil spill to build momentum to pass clean energy legislation. Debuted on Tuesday, the spot is being aired by the Natural Resources Defense Council on the web as well as national cable. Greg Sargeant’s blogging, “There are still no signs that the massive environmental calamity in the Gulf will prove a real game changer…in the Senate's ongoing climate change debate.” But Sargeant thinks this ad is just the first step in urging the President to act quickly on climate change. He continues, “The push suggests that environmental groups are going to ratchet up the pressure on Obama to seize on one of the most devastating environmental disasters in history to change the conversation on energy once and for all. Good”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday's Readout

Lou Dobbs to Speak at Tea Party Convention II

On Monday, Tea Party Nation announced their choice of headliner for the July Tea Party Unity Convention --Lou Dobbs. Media Matters is calling the entire convention Birther-palooza, but in all fairness, the 'Birther' craze did get more media attention thanks to Dobbs and his CNN show. If you’re scratching your head wondering why talk of a second convention seems a bit early, it was only in February when supporters of the Tea Party Movement gathered in Nashville for their first ever national convention—but Tea Partiers always said that they planned on holding more than one convention a year. The July convention will be held in Las Vegas at the Palazzo resort and this time it’s been expanded and made less expensive to duck some of the criticism about its cost. So why a second convention so soon? The convention web site says, “The timing for this country is crucial. As we head into the fall elections, we must be united in our opposition to the Obama/Pelosi/Reid axis of fiscal evil. Come work with your fellow patriots to help save our country.”

Like Mother Like Daughter

Clearly I've picked the wrong career path....

Sarah Palin’s made $12 million since resigning as Governor of Alaska. (smart move right?) She gets paid for appearances and speeches she makes--reportedly $100,000 per speaking engagment. And now it seems as if her daughter is following in her footsteps. The Huffington Post is blogging, “Bristol Palin has signed with a speakers bureau for a tidy sum of between $15,000 and $30,000 per speech.” Palin family attorney Thomas Van Flein confirmed that Bristol signed with Single Source Speakers and that is indeed her fee range, but said the cost may be adjusted based on her target audience and the preparation required for a particular speaking engagement.

Seriously? I guess Levi's off the hook for child support now....

Buzz Aldrin Wrestles with Overexposure

When last season’s cast of “Dancing with the Stars” was announced, I was surprised to see Buzz Aldrin among the contestants, so you can imagine my reaction to seeing a promo touting his upcoming spot on Raw? That’s right, Aldrin joined the ranks of former WWE Raw guest hosts Snoop Dogg, Bob Barker, Mini Me, and Flavor Flav last night where he played the role of a WWE fan and riled up a rowdy crowd—to little effect.’s blogging the astronaut was poorly received last night. “At one point, Aldrin stumbled to find his words, and later in the ring he pretended to be a WWE fan. Buzz even introduced a match, although his voice was drowned out by the wrestler's theme music. He also attempted to talk about the space program to Canadian fans, and talk of how Canada helped with it. It just wasn't working.”

Yes We Cannes!

Politics is inescapable, even at the Cannes Film festival, halfway around the world, the conversation moved from flicks to the Obama administration. Woody Allen is in Cannes for the premiere of his new film, "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger." But in an interview with a Spanish publication, Allen came up with a solution for what he thinks America needs - a provisional dictatorship with Obama as the benevolent despot. "I am pleased with Obama. I think he's brilliant." Allen said. "The Republican Party should get out of his way and stop trying to hurt him…It would be good if he could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly."

But someone who’s emerged as an unlikely celebrity in Cannes, is Valerie Plame Wilson. The Washington Post says, "[she] may be having the strangest Cannes experience yet. The former CIA covert operations officer came here on behalf of not one but two films. She appears in the documentary "Countdown to Zero," in which she serves as a nuclear counterproliferation expert; and later this week she will attend the world premiere of "Fair Game," a dramatization of her memoir in which she's being played by Naomi Watts.” She and Queen Noor of Jordan were among the luminaries who gathered at the Film Festival on Sunday to support “Countdown to Zero. Interestingly enough, while Wilson is climbing the red carpet Thursday night at the "Fair Game" premiere, actor Sean Penn -- who plays her husband Joe in the movie -- will be in Washington at a Senate committee hearing on Haiti.” Talk about a role reversal....

Top Chef DC Gets Spicy

If you’re a fan of Bravo's "Top Chef," get ready to add some politics to your ceviche recipe. It’s been reported for weeks that the culinary competition had already begun filming their next season in Washington, DC. And since the city isn’t really known for any culinary specialties—other than half-smokes—its appropriate that the producers would spice up the next season with some political flavor. The network said Monday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Aaron Schock, and Sen. Mark Warner will appear during the upcoming season. You can also expect to see Assistant White House Chef and Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass, CIA Director Leon Panetta, and the man who can’t seem to stay off the TV, Buzz Aldrin. Rumor has it there will be at least one special guest judge, but mum's the word.

"Joe Biden Makes Obama Look Like Wesley Snipes"

The Huffington Post got a chance to sit down with comedian Paul Mooney at Caroline's in NYC. Of course they asked him for his thoughts on Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court, meeting Obama in Harlem, and working with Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle.

We also have to thank him for pointing us to this uncanny sketch from the short-lived "Richard Pryor Show" where Richard portrays the "first black president" over 30 years before Obama is elected.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Why Tuesday's Primaries Don't Matter

An interesting read from Newsweek's Andrew Romano:

Prepare yourself. Political types are billing tomorrow as a Super Duper Tuesday of sorts—"a date that ranks as the most important of the election calendar so far," according to Politico's Charles Mahtesian. That means, of course, that there will be some banner election contests: Democratic Senate primaries in Pennsylvania and Arkansas, a Republican Senate primary in Kentucky, and a special election to fill the late John Murtha's congressional seat, again in the Keystone State. But even more, it means that there will be a lot of people like me taking to the airwaves and the Internet to tell people like you what "really's going on here."

Here's a tip: don't listen to us. Truth is, you already know what's going on. Despite recent GDP growth, job gains, and stock-market rallies, whatever economic recovery we're currently supposed to be experiencing hasn't really trickled down to Main Street. Most ordinary Americans are still stuck in the Great Recession—still struggling to find work, still tightening their belts, still worried about paying the bills. And so, as poll after poll has shown, they are angry, agitated, and restless. They blame the establishment, the insiders, the Beltway types, the incumbents—the people who are in charge. They tend on the whole to direct their ire at Democrats, because right now Democrats tend to be in positions of power. But for the most part their dissatisfaction is not ideological. They want someone who can make things better. And someone different is a start.

No matter what happens in tomorrow's primaries—no matter who wins or who loses—this will be the message that voters are sending. Seriously. It won't be about the Tea Party, or a progressive resurgence, or some new level of partisan polarization. It'll be about plain old change.

Today's Readout

The internet has made protesting big corporations as simple as clicking your mouse; State Dinner #2 for President Obama--will we see any crashers this year? And 7 degrees of separation between 2 Live Crew and Elena Kagan.

President Obama Makes People Levitate

LeBron's Free Agent Status Gets Political

If you’ve been following the NBA playoffs, you’re well aware that the Cleavland Cavaliers lost to the Boston Celtics last week and basketball fans attention has turned to one very important fact—the Cavs LeBron James becomes a free agent in July. So where will if move, if at all? It seems like everyone has an opinion.

ESPN says you can count President Obama as another Chicago Bulls fan rooting for James to move to Chicago. Senior Adviser David Axelrod told the Bulls blog, "He doesn't want to tamper. But as a Chicago fan, the president thinks LeBron would look great in a Bulls uniform."

But in New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is spearheading a Draft LeBron movement. Mayor Bloomberg said on Friday that he should move to the Knicks and to NYC in order to get the chance to play on "the world's greatest stage." "I think it would be great for New York if he would come here," Bloomberg said. "If he calls me and asks what's it like to live in New York, I'll give him a big sales pitch for New York."

But in Ohio, Cleavlanders are pleading for the basketball phenom to stay—including Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Sen. Sherrod Brown. The two lawmakers recently joined other Cavs fans to beg James to remain a Cavalier with this song remix, "Please Stay LeBron."

Dancing with DeLay

How much would you pay to dance with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay? How about $2300 for a few twirls on the floor with the “Dancing with the Stars” contestant? The Reliable Source is saying this past Thursday, DeLay auctioned himself for charity at the Best Friends Foundation benefit at the Four Seasons. After showing off his moves, DeLay told the blog, "I never ballroom danced. I thought they taught you to dance. They don't. They teach you routines." They write, “But he still picked up a few tricks. Former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating opening the bidding by announcing the "opportunity of a lifetime -- to dance with this stud." Two women in the audience gladly ponied up $2300 each for the charity.

2 Live Crew and Elena Kagan: 7 Degrees of Separation

President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee has been a hot topic, but PolitiPage is blogging that before becoming Dean of Harvard Law, there was 2 Live Crew?

The hip-hop group hit the spotlight in 1989 with its album “As Nasty As They Wanna Be,” which included the single “Me So Horny.” Nick Navarro , the sheriff of Florida’s Broward County , thought it went too far.

“I’m a freak in heat, a dog without warning,” the rappers sang. “My appetite is sex, ’cause me so horny.”

U.S. District Judge Jose Gonzalez agreed with Navarro that the song was obscene, and 2 Live Crew appealed.

The group’s attorney, Bruce Rogow , said in an interview that he encouraged the Recording Industry Association of America to file a friend-of-the-court brief. The association hired Williams & Connolly , and Kagan drafted the brief, later explaining that she “stressed the difficulty of finding music obscene under prevailing constitutional law.”

In 1992, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously threw out the trial judge’s decision.

“It was nicely done, and it was certainly helpful,” Rogow, who’s a professor at Nova Southeastern University’s law school, said of Kagan’s brief, “but I think the outcome would have been the same regardless.”

Last year, Kagan identified the 2 Live Crew case as one of the 10 most significant matters she’d handled during her brief practice. Foreshadowing her later academic focus on the First Amendment, four of the other cases involved media clients

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spill Here, Spill Now

Firedoglake is taking on President Obama and the administration's plan to increase offshore drilling. Liberal activist Jane Hamsher is using her blog to raise money so she can get wider exposure for this ad, "Spill Here, Spill Now":

In the press release, Hamsher writes, "After slamming John McCain's support for offshore oil drilling as a 'gimmick' on the 2008 campaign trail, now President Obama plans to double down on that gimmick in the face of the biggest environmental disaster in at least a generation," Hamsher said in a statement. "The BP oil disaster should be a wake up call to take offshore drilling off the table."

The ad is running on Washington, DC cable, but Hamsher hopes to increase the viewing area after getting more donations.

More on that WaPo Caption Mix-up

On Friday, The Washington Post’s Ombusdman ruled that a much blogged-about photo caption blooper was a "hoax." However, the tipster who sent the screenshot of Malcolm X with a caption about President Obama from the Post’s website is speaking up. They sent an email to that says:
from: [redacted]
to: [email protected]
date: Thu, May 6, 2010 at 3:26 PM
subject: Obama/Malcolm

Please don't use my name, but wanted to assure you that I didn't Photoshop or alter the screengrab I sent over. I don't even have Photoshop on my computer! Also, two co-workers saw my screen before I sent it.

I guess it could have been a glitch in IE or on the WaPo. I wanted to write though because I don't want you to lose credibility with your readers who think that you got duped. The WaPo is either covering their ass or it was an innocent glitch.
I'm sure this won't be the final word on the story.

SNL Spoofs Times Square Bomber

Trending Topic

We’re expecting to hear from the President later this morning as he makes his decision on a SCOTUS nomination. The buzz has been around Elena Kagan and this morning its evident that a lot of people have been trying to get as much info about the Solicitor General as possible. Already, search terms "Elena Kagan" and "Kagan" is trending on Twitter here in Washington and nationwide. She’s also a trending topic on Google too. Search terms for her name, "Solicitor General," "Elana Kagan personal life," and "Elena Kagan husband" are top Google searches.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bristol Palin, the New LiLo?

Say it isn't so Bristol! Because unlike Lindsay Lohan's LiLo, BriPa doesn't work as a cute nickname.

The NYDN says Palin was spotted partying it up Wednesday night at NYC's 1Oak:
Miss Palin may have spent Wednesday morning celebrating the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy — but she spent Wednesday evening fretting that her cover would be blown at NYC hot spot 1Oak.

"Bristol was there around 1 a.m. with friends," a partygoer says. "She was trying to have fun, but she looked like she was terrified that people would recognize her and start gawking. It seems like she couldn't even relax." A second denizen of the club backed up the sighting.

We can't blame Bristol for being nervous: After spending all day at events like "The Harsh Truth: Teen Moms Tell All" — and tirelessly promoting her new good-girl image — showing up at a 21-and-over venue may not have been the best idea.

"For me personally, [abstinence] is the answer," she smiled sweetly at the daytime event. "And for teens out there, yeah, having sex has consequences, no matter how safe you are."

But Sarah Palin's pride and joy turned sour at least once during the day — when she was asked about ex-beau and fame chaser Levi Johnston.

"If I could go back, I would have told myself that just because he's good at sports and drives a cool truck, it's meaningless — it's pointless," she sighed.

Her advice for other teens?

"Think long-term," Palin said, using her own situation as an example. "Look at their family. Look at their morals. Look at their values."

She didn't stop her preaching there: Bristol was honored again that evening by the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Natasha Bedingfield and Dr. Drew at the Candie's Event to Prevent.

"She has handled her situation with such dignity. She has such substance," says the good doctor, who clearly didn't know the teen mom had a late-night outing planned.

So how did the dignified 19-year-old get into 1Oak to begin with?

Insists a rep for the club: "Everyone was carded."

At least she well-behaved. Says our spy: "She didn't drink at all."

Today's Readout

Has Facebook turned on Sarah Palin? Will the demon sheep end Fiorina's bid for Senator of California? Did the Washington Post really think Malcolm X was President Obama?

All this and MORE on today's edition of The Readout:

Facebook Boycott

The changes to Facebook's privacy settings have inflamed many of its users and inspired Sens. Al Franken, Chuck Schumer, Mark Begich, and Michael Bennet to send a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The latest in the privacy war comes from (my favorite "tech blog") Wired who's saying that Facebook users are planning a boycott for June 6th in protest of the new policy.
There is a current campaign on the internet for users to not log into Facebook for a whole day on June 6th, 2010. This comes in response to the recent changes made by Facebook to their privacy settings, especially to the one leaving the default “on” instead of “off.” Basically it became quite apparent that Facebook is in fact, a business, and that your so-called “personal” data was for sale. To economists and investors, this was no surprise at all. They all expected Facebook to make a genuine attempt to make money at some point, and what better way than demographic targeted advertising?

When it came to the users though, the backlash to the recent changes and integration of Facebook across multiple sharing networks has been less than mixed. It’s been negative. There have been constant tweets and articles written about Facebook’s complete disregard for our “personal” data.

Will you be logging on to check your profile June 6th?

What's the Deal?

The Washington Post and New York Magazine's Daily Intel blog are going tête-à-tête over this screen shot. The online argument brewing is over an online photo of Malcolm X paired with a caption meant for President Obama’s wind energy plan. Blogs mocked the Washington Post for the mix-up, but the Post’s Ombudsman is saying the whole thing was most likely a hoax. The New York Magazine’s Daily Intel blog posted the story about the Post’s boo-boo after a reader sent a screen grab of the image. The WaPo’s Ombudman’s saying not so fast. Raju Narisetti, the managing editor who oversees The Post’s Web site says, “Our initial response was to think that we had made a mistake and that we had corrected it. But our staff continued to review it because no one could recall being the one to correct it.” WaPo Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said, “I can’t say 100 percent for sure” that it was a fabrication. ...It’s very remotely possible that something was cached badly and it appeared in that way [on the Web site]. But we think that’s unlikely.”” Daily Intel’s crying foul, saying, the Post is flat out wrong. "We've triple-checked with our source, and have no reason to believe [it’s a hoax]. Look harder, Post!"

Is this an instance of trying to cover up an embarassing mistake or just a clever Photoshop job?

More Demon Sheep...YAY!

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is turning its attention to the race in California, and trying to play up the rift on the Republican side of the election. To help in the effort, the DSCC made their own version of the now infamous demon sheep ads. GOP candidate Carly Fiorina's camp released the bizarre original ad in February and its apprently inspired the DSCC to create an ad of their own. The Hill reports on Thursday, the DSCC released the preview for a trilogy of Demon Sheep films in the making.

Facebook Blowback for Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin announced yesterday that she would endorse GOP candidate Carly Fiorina in the California Senate race, but she’s ruffled some feathers with the announcement and as a result, it looks like Palin's getting the Scott Brown treatment on Facebook. Politico’s blogging, “Sarah Palin's endorsement of Carly Fiorina has prompted a fervent blowback on her Facebook page, long Palin's safe haven for delivering her message. The revolt is coming from Palin supporters who also back Chuck DeVore – a tea party favorite who is campaigning against Fiorina in the Republican primary. Palin’s Facebook page is littered with comments opposing her endorsement of Fiorina....The impassioned revolt from some of her most faithful supporters prompted Palin to update her post to “add a few things about my Carly endorsement because some reaction right out of the chute calls for more information.'"

"So you are like all the rest. I am disappointed Again. Thanks Sara!!!!"

"Gov. Palin - please don't go rogue with my state's future - I respectfully disagree with your endorsement and ask that you recind it."

"This seems to be just another "regular politician" type move."

“I don't agree with this endorsement AT ALL! What are you thinking Sarah?”

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The White House Twitter Anniversary

So, I'll admit I'm a few days late....But better late than never!
May 1, 2009 the White House sent its first official tweet. Happy Anniversary White House Twitter feed!
Twitter has become an accepted method of breaking news for the Obama administration because of its popularity and speed at which a message spreads. Earlier today, Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton tweeted that the President will visit Buffalo, New York next week to talk jobs. In addition to the White House itself, administration officials, like Burton(@billburton44) and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs(@presssec), have their own personal Twitter accounts. Even the first lady sent her first tweet over the weekend. It's just another example of how the White House continues to manage and control messages to the public via social media.

Robert Rodrieguez Gets Political

Arizona's new immigration law just got the Quentin Tarantino treatment courtesy of Robert Rodriguez and Danny Trejo. Mediaite says, “Robert Rodriguez, a director known more for his do-it-yourself film-making and friendship with Quentin Tarantino than his politics, has used the release of his eagerly anticipated film "Machete" to attack the bill.” In honor Cinco de Mayo, Rodriguez cut an alternate trailer to his upcoming flick, in which actor Danny Trejo offers up the trailer as "a special Cinco de Mayo message to Arizona" in light of its new immigration law. Trejo plays an illegal immigrant who gets picked up as a day laborer, then hired to kill a U.S. Senator—played by Robert DeNiro.

ia (via Ain’t It Cool News)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Russian Solution to the Gulf Coast Oil Slick, Nuke it!

Not so fast with that whole START treaty/reducing those nukes Mr. President.

From The Moscow Diaries:
As BP prepares to lower a four-story, 70-ton dome over the oil gusher under the Gulf of Mexico, the Russians — the world’s biggest oil producers — have some advice for their American counterparts: nuke it.

Komsomoloskaya Pravda, the best-selling Russian daily, reports that in Soviet times such leaks were plugged with controlled nuclear blasts underground. The idea is simple, KP writes: “the underground explosion moves the rock, presses on it, and, in essence, squeezes the well’s channel.”

Yes! It’s so simple, in fact, that the Soviet Union, a major oil exporter, used this method five times to deal with petrocalamities. The first happened in Uzbekistan, on September 30, 1966 with a blast 1.5 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb and at a depth of 1.5 kilometers. KP also notes that subterranean nuclear blasts were used as much as 169 times in the Soviet Union to accomplish fairly mundane tasks like creating underground storage spaces for gas or building canals.

These kinds of surgical strikes to shut off underground leaks, however, were carried out only five times, with the last one occuring in 1979. And there was only one misfire, near Kharkov, Ukraine, where a nuclear blast was unable to stanch a gas leak.

Happily, with a track record like that, “the chances of failure in the Gulf of Mexico are 20%,” KP writes. “The Americans could certainly risk it.”

How Much Would You Pay to Punch a Pol?

This awesome story from the WSJ's Metropolis blog:
Would You Fight Hiram Monserrate for Charity?

Apparently, Hiram Monserrate is looking for another scrap. Only this time he’ll be using gloves.

On Tuesday the embattled Queens politician who was expelled from the state Senate after an assault conviction against his girlfriend said he will auction off a chance to challenge him in a boxing match as part of an effort to raise money for autism and other disabilities.

The fundraiser, which will be held on Nov. 22, is being organized by a Long Island non-profit in an event called the Fight for Charity. All of the event’s proceeds will go to three different charities.

Monserrate, 42, has a teenage son with autism.

A former Marine and New York City police officer, Monserrate was sworn in as a state senator in January 2009, despite being accused of slashing his girlfriend in the face with a piece of broken glass.

A Twitter Bomb

TechPresident and the Boston Globe may have stumbled across the latest tactic in online smear campaigns—the Twitter bomb. A Wellesley College study, “From Obscurity to Prominence in Minutes: Political Speech and Real Time Search,” analyzed more than 185,000 tweets during the last week of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s failed campaign. The findings? The researchers found large batched of anti-Coakley tweets coming from an Iowa-based GOP group. TechPresident writes, “And because of the nature of real-time search -- for example, Google's newish practice of promoting tweets to the top page of search results -- those negative tweets got a wider audience than they otherwise would have.” The group apparently set up nine anonymous Twitter accounts that sent 929 tweets over the course of about two hours and reaching about 60,000 people.

Los Soles

Happy Cinco de Mayo by the way!

In political sports news, Arizona team, the Phoenix Suns announced Tuesday that the team will be wearing a jersey that reads "Los Suns" during tonight’s playoff game to voice the team's disapproval for Arizona's tough new immigration law. Robert Sarver, the team's managing partner, said in a statement, "The frustration with the federal government's failure to deal with the issue of illegal immigration resulted in passage of a flawed state law.” Suns point guard Steve Nash is also critical of the law, calling it "very misguided." Politico notes that the Suns are not the only Arizona team getting pulled into the political debate, the Arizona Diamondbacks have been heckled during MLB games over the law, and organizations like have called on the league to move the 2011 All-Star game out of Phoenix.

But why wouldn't the Suns make the jerseys say "Los Soles" instead? "Los Suns" is Spanglish. ¿Si?

Tony Blair on DWTS?

We’re nearing the end of the latest season of ABC’s "Dancing with the Stars." It’s been weeks since astronaut Buzz Aldrin was eliminated, but the new ‘buzz’ is surrounding next season’s potential contestants. The Washington Times is blogging that the ABC show has offered former British Prime Minister Tony Blair $381,000 to compete next season. Executive producer Conrad Green told the Prime Minister, "Tony, you've done everything you can as Prime Minister, you've done your bit for the Middle East, now come and put some sequins on and have a real life." That’s an interesting way to make a pitch. The show reportedly also reached out to former President Bill Clinton. "I did ask Clinton once; we rang up his office. But sadly, the conversation only lasted as long as it took to say 'Dancing With the' before they hung up," Green commented.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

For Sale: Gently Used Portrait of Charlie Crist

Right now, for a mere $4100, you can own a portrait of Florida Governor Charlie Crist—the portrait which Florida GOP leaders paid for before Crist's abrupt party switch last week. Thanks to the magic of the internet, the oil painting, on is for sale on eBay just months after it was commissioned by former FL GOP executive director Delmar Johnson. Johnson commissioned paintings of Crist, then-FL GOP chair Jim Greer and himself before Greer left his post and Johnson quit the party. Now, new state GOP chair John Thrasher wants the party's money back, and he's turning to the internet for help.” Read the story at the National Journal’s Hotline On Call.

Creepy picture right?!

Michelle Obama is Now Queen of Twitter

Even though this story is 3 days old, it's all over the internet...

With all the hoopla surrounding the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night, we almost missed a great moment in social networking history. During the dinner, First Lady, Michelle Obama sent her first tweet. But before you get too excited, you can’t follow Mrs. Obama on Twitter just yet, so stop searching for verified Twitter handles containing FLOTUS. Instead, she borrowed CNN’s Ed Henry’s account to tweet. The correspondent encouraged Michelle Obama to say something via Twitter, but the first lady told Henry that she couldn’t tweet without Robert Gibbs’s permission. After getting the press secretary's blessing, as well as the Presidents’, the First Lady sent a tweet via iPhone that read, “here at dinner this is officially my first Tweet. i am looking forward to some good laughs from the potus and jay." As for whether or not Mrs. Obama will create an account of her own, the East Wing is saying not anytime soon.
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