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CONTENTS: COMPBANK, GORE’S BIG BOUNCE, TRUE BELIEVERS, OF RATS + MEN, MY ADD, DEBATE DEBATE ENDS, BUCHANAN GETS BUCKS, WAR ON WAR ON DRUGS, CONVENTIONAL WISDOM, WILLEY UPDATE, LAST MAN STANDING-RI races, FINAL SURVIVOR, AUSSIE OLYMPICS, TV NOTES-
Sept. 18-19, 2000 Previous Newsletters see MENU
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GORES BIG BOUNCE: Not to say we told you so, but the scale of Gore’s return from the dead to supposed dominance was even a shock to us. The latest Newsweek poll has him ahead 52% to 38%, others range from a 4-8 point Gore lead (one Internet poll has Bush ahead by 6 pts., but that can be discounted). This is up to a 33 point shift- something never before seen and frankly dubious- I think people lie to pollsters often now. Certainly Bush’s comedy of errors has had much to do with it, but Al, as we said, has incredible reserves of strength and determination. USA Today piece on his savage schedule: http://www.usatoday.com/news/e98/benedetto/223.htm
Gigantic Wash Post Gore bio series: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/wh2000/stories/goremain100399.htm
Our prescient projections are Al by 4-5% points. Georgie Boy has moved past the point of redemption in many peoples mind with his craven avoidance of the debates, amazingly stupid blunders, and misdirected policies. In a display of remarkable maturity, people seem to realize Clinton/Gore reversed the devastating Reagan/Bush deficits and enabled the economic recovery, and Bush’s unconservative tax giveaways (killing + selling his chickens before they’re hatched) will endanger it. Al has settled into his job as a candidate and finally seems comfortable in public. He gave a bravura performance on Letterman Sept 14, doing a Top 10 list of his rejected campaign slogans: # 5 Lots of new holidays (“That’s us, we’re on the job 24/6”). Letterman could be a paid aide with his neurotic whining about global warming. See our contributor’s articles on it: http://mikehammer.tripod.com
TRUE BELIEVERS: Jumpin Joe Lieberman immediately proved our deep doubt of his suitability by launching on a holier than thou religious barnstorm, quickly provoking even Orthodox Jewish leaders to tell him to shut up. When Jack Kennedy was nominated, he went to great pains to say that he was an American first, and a Catholic second. Lieberman amazingly has reversed that process, proclaiming his profound devoutness in ways that bring qualms even to those who want Jews in high public office. The campaign against Hollywood’s immorality is so transparent and cynical that executives didn’t even bother to show up- Al has been interspersing it with show-biz fundraising galas- as dumb a thing as can be if he wants the Buddhist money story to not stick. http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2000/09/15/concert/
Not that studio execs aren’t venal scum: we wrote screeds excoriating them over 2 decades ago. After I saw “Taxi Driver” I wondered which politician would die because of it. (Yeah, yeah, twisted twerp Scorcese is a genius, blah, blah). See our review of “Dolores Claiborne” http://comments.imdb.com/CommentsShow?109642-28 On another issue, we were earlier admiring of Joe’s unprecedented decision to simultaneously run for Conn. Sen. Reelection + VEEP (why should one lose a safe seat to get a higher one?), but the Awful Truth is that if he wins as VEEP the Repub Governor will appoint the new Senator, losing a crucial relatively Democratic seat. Time for Joe to pull his chips into one pile, esp now that the future looks so rosy.
MICE RATS +
MEN: Gorgeous George has been shooting himself in
almost every part of his body, starting with his snickering frat boy “asshole”
remark about a NYT reporter (never have seen any piece about whether he is in
fact) with Lon Cheney chortling agreement in front of a devastatingly OPEN
mike. Integrity + Decency. As a local columnist said, the Major League
reference was appropriate because they are one asshole short since Georgie left
the Texas Rangers (what can you say about the a state that names its ball team
after the state police). Nothing could be more fatal to Bush’s image than
poisoning his relationship with the press: they MAKE his image in their
reporting and any slights will be returned multifold. Any politician
(Nixon-Agnew) that doesn’t understand this is whistling past the graveyard.
Rocker Tom Petty just told Bush to stop using his music- “Won’t back
down”, as both John Mellencamp (“Rock in the USA”), and Sting (“Brand
New Day”) did before – apparently no one wants their music contaminated by
Bush’s kinder gentler conservatism.
MY ADD: Then after displaying some character in killing a vicious attack ad that has Gore defending Clinton’s character (in ’94) intercut with Clinton’s Lewinsky gaffs, Bush ran a sarcastic housewife sneering at Gore’s claim that he helped invent the Internet (which, despite ridicule, is more true than not) immediately making his alleged desire for more civility into a bad joke and revealing the Bush tendency to drop into the gutter when the going gets tough. It worked before (Ann Richards, Willy Horton ads against Dukaka), but it WON’T work now because it reinforces the impression of him as a know-nothing inexperienced hack cruising on his family name. Another lying ad superimposes a Gore quote from another function over a photo of him and Maria Hsia saying she wasn’t there. http://www.uexpress.com/ups/opinion/column/gw/
The public is sick of that kind of crap + simply there’s not much evil that sticks or can be unearthed about Honest Al, though the Shrub has a staff of 30 doing oppo research non-stop. Dubya thought he could cruise to Daddy’s house, when his massive lead evaporated, he inexorably swings negative, tarnishing his negligible statesman status. Gore responded with a devastating ad about Texas’s dismal school education performance: 49th out of 50th.
ALL Candidates Ads: http://www.salon.com/directory/topics/political_ads/index.html
Then in what to us is stunning stupidity, they imbedded the word RATS in a commercial- impossible to have happened accidentally. Dimwitted attack adman Alex Castellanos (who is preparing a sham-folksy-elderly ad assault against any price controls or drug plans for the pharmaceutical industry) said in one interview they didn’t mean anything by it, in a later one he denied it completely. In a very strong anti-Reagan ad for Mondale, we once showed the end of world in 1.2 seconds (using sub and silo missile launches, Nevada blast effects, “Day After” people vaporizing), so we’ve experimented with minimal retention times: 1-2 frames (at 30 fps) are invisible, (3-4 leave a visual flash impression but not necessarily any recognition), over 4-5 frames leave conscious memories. Every frame in a commercial is scrutinized, things don’t get into it by accident. I’m not a big believer in subliminal advertising- I think the editors just thought they’d be cute and clever to entertain themselves. But what imbecilic hubris.
THE DEBATE DEBATES END: Realizing, FINALLY, how wimpy his machinations looked to control the setting of the debates GB2 agreed to the Pres. Commission recommendations: #1 in enemy territory U MASS Boston on Oct 3, #2 Veeps in Danville KY Oct 5, #3 Winston/Salem Oct 11, + #4 St. Louis, where they can throw in Mark Twain references, Oct 17 for my birthday (they threw me a San Fran earthquake party one year). I think Dubya may have had a point: the debates format has gotten somewhat stultifying, but trying to limit it to one network made him look like he was running scared. TALE OF THE TAPE: The strange delivery of Bush’s practice debate video and notes to Gore debate practice opponent Tom Downey may never be explained. Hopefully making a dupe first, good doobie Tom had his lawyer deliver the tape to the FBI. Jeez, is everything considered a crime first, when nobody knows? Reagan got the same kind of tape about Jimmy Carter- he quietly used it.
Hillary squared up against punk pugilist Rick Lazio Sept 12th, who was very aggressive. I think Hill did well, giving as good as she got and seeming more likeable than in the past. The low point and most shocking journalistic low-blow since Bernard Shaw’s idle “wife murdered + raped” question of Dukakis (who managed to hit the ball squarely into his own temple) came when Tim Russert played a tape of Hillary defending her husband in Jan ’98 against the Lewinsky charges: “well, if they were proven it would be.. very serious”. She hung her head in obvious shock, pain, + suppressed rage; THEN Russert smacked her with, “Wouldn’t you like to apologize to those you claimed were part of a vast right-wing conspiracy, like Joe Lieberman?” You mean the right-wing conspiracy that the press en mass failed to report about for 6 YEARS? Where they sloughed off their failure + incompetence to reveal by making it a joke??? Oh, that silly RWC, ha ha. What a smug hack- I used to like him.
BUCHANAN GETS THE BUCKS: Rabid Pat Buchanan is to get $12.6 million from the feds for his useless 3rd party campaign (no, he might suck 1-2% of the wacko vote from Bush), perverting and ruining the Reform Party in the process. Preaching to the faithful, he gave an old-Pat vitriolic speech at Bob Jones U, after recovering from gall-bladder surgery (must have used up all his gall). Since the Hagelin forces are desperately contesting Pat’s blitzkrieg takeover, expect Pat to dump millions into Rutherford, Hoover, Landmark Foundations and other right wing organizations, which will provide some advertising and funnel some back into pathological Pat’s coffers. Since it’s likely Pat will become a laughing stock, his control of the Reform Party won’t last- so all money must be used or losed.
WAR ON WAR ON DRUGS: Repub Rep. Tom Campbell, running against Sen. Feinstein, has taken a courageous, if Hail Mary stand against the insane drug laws and in support of Proposition 36, which mandates giving nonviolent drug offenders treatment rather than jail time. If anywhere, it might happen in Cal., but the entire conservative/police/jail complex virulently opposes it and sadly they’ve got President Martin Sheen as a spokesman. Seems son Chuck had some problems with drugs, which no doubt, would have been helped by 5 years in San Quentin.
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM: The Repubs cynical trick of filling their roster with every minority was dutifully called into doubt by every viewer. In LA the authorities again used massive unconstitutional preemptive raids, as they did in DC + Philly. What was shocking is how they seemed to deliberately provoke battle with demonstrators, esp at the Rage Against the Machine concert. According to one attendee, “They blocked off the only exit, gave people 15 minutes to leave the 16 ft barbed Cyclone fenced in area (“you’ve never seen so much fencing!- miles + miles of it”), then attacked and arrested hundreds who had no time to leave with bean bag shotguns, rubber bullets, + tear gas.” New tactics from the new millennium’s unconstitutional bag of tricks: million dollar bail for negligible offenses (“the lawyers just blinked- they’d never heard such a thing” said an LA Public Defender on NPR), routinely shooting non-violent people with rubber bullets (“When did THAT become OK in America??”, said a victim).
The only place you could see the fascinating corny state by state delegate tally (the… nutmeg state) was on C-Span, everyone else showed pontificating commentators – the real conventioneers don’t matter a wit though they’re a pure slice of America.
WILLEY UPDATE: Turns out Kathleen Willey (now Schwicker), who accused Clinton of groping her on 60 Minutes), declared bankruptcy in April, claiming that she was almost destitute, although she had transferred over $1.2 million in insurance and house sale proceeds to her adult children through a complex series of transactions (while refusing to pay the $200,000 her dead husband had stolen from his clients’ accounts). Reason for Willey’s unsupported claims, which friend Paula Steele said was a lie and therefore prosecuted by Starr?
SALON ARTICLE: Gecker (Willey’s lawyer), says the FBI interview, "did recall thinking that if [O.J. Simpson girlfriend] Paula Barbieri could get millions for writing a book, it might be in my client's best interest to consider a book deal, especially since she currently has a judgment against her for almost $300,000."
If the inside narrative of Kathleen Willey's bankruptcy raises fresh questions about her credibility, it also begs renewed scrutiny of the standards and methods by which Starr sought to make his case against Clinton. On April 24, 1998, the FBI interviewed Gecker at length in his Richmond office. He described several smaller-scale "deceptions" by his client, and then provided detailed records of the Lanasa-Abbott case and the Willey camp's convoluted financial transactions.
Weeks later Starr granted Willey rare transactional immunity, despite the extraordinary trail of financial manipulation, most of it already in the independent counsel's hands, according to FBI records prior to the immunity agreement. And Starr ignored this same record in prosecuting (but failing to convict) Willey's former friend Julie Hiatt Steele for refusing to back up Willey's sexual-harassment story.
LAST MAN STANDING: In bruising brutal contest, Rep Bob Weygand and Richard Licht, running for recently expired RI Sen John Chafee’s Senate seat in the Democratic primary traded the most savage commercials I’ve seen in some time: “POLITICS AS USUAL… AT ITS WORST”. Both 52 year old former Leut. Governors, they were formerly friends: Landscape architect Weygand designed the grounds of Licht million dollar property, and Licht helped throw a surprise wedding anniversary party for Weygand. Weygand got his original notoriety by wearing an FBI wire and nailing the Pawtucket mayor over a cheesy $1600 solicited bribe, since he’s been detested by the state Dems, including Patrick Kennedy. Weygand, as well as Cong seat Dem candidate Sec State Jim Langevin, is a big anti-abortion advocate- he was actually stupid enough to say on camera in August that he would pull the medical licenses of doctors who performed abortions, which Licht incorporated in an ad. THAT became the huge issue in the Licht/Weygand + the Langevin/Coyne-McCoy battles, although in the 70% Catholic (highest in US) RI, that’s not necessarily a winning issue for the pro-A crowd. Though RI is the 2nd most Democratic state in the country, it’s socially often fairly conservative. I blundered across the wheelchair bound (from a shooting accident as a youth) Langevin’s hdqtrs festooned with 20 or so anti-abortion slogans and was shocked that he would be that overt. Coyne-McCoy was a very liberal woman social worker who came off poorly in the debates- smug and arrogant. Both Weygand and Langevin won big (2:1), leading to the weird and unpleasant situation that both Dem candidates are anti-abortion and unlikable and at least one Repubs isn’t. At Gore and Dem rallies Langevin came off as very smug and superior, like the fix was in. Actor James Woods’s (who doesn’t just play creeps on TV) brother Michael, a local video store owner, is running for Warwick mayor with the endorsement of the Dem party, but it’s usually gone Repub.
The liberal iconoclastic Repub Lincoln Chafee, who was appointed to his father’s Senate seat last Nov, was a generally likable mayor of Warwick, and inherits a lot of the respect his father received. Chafee’s DC office did provide us the longest and most serious audience in our anti-impeachment crusade, listening to ½ hour of our brilliant impassioned persuasion in a sit down meeting. We tried to collar Linc in his City Hall office last year to suggest that he consider switching over to the Democrats after he was elected (his ads brag how he defies the Senate Repub leadership) rather than go to bed with greasy Lott or scummy DeLay, but he wasn’t in. I had a feeling then that he would soon be in DC. Nixon Repubs are now essentially Democrats; current nat. Repubs are close to the Austrian “Freedom” Party. After the scathing primary, it’s Chafee’s race to lose, though the House seat will probably go Democratic.
SLIPPERY SURVIVORS: (Now showing Mon-Sat 9pm) Though manipulative maestro Richard Hatch has almost managed to trick many that he was in fact honest + principled rather than the snide scheming self-centered twit we reviled. Our howls of outrage could be heard ¼ mile away when he won- luckily we didn’t go to any bar for the finale, because Ro Dilanders have such a huge inferiority complex that they love anyone from here who’s made it big. First though we had to see our plain spoken choice- Susan- revert into a raving psychotic fulminating bitch against the stunned Kelly. Although she’s been omnipresent on TV and they claim to have made up, I still think hundreds of thousands of endorsements went down the toilet with her vindictive vituperative tirade. That soiled the whole series, I think. They cheated anyway- in event of a tie the person with the most votes against them was supposed to go (Richard had received more purge votes than Sue), if Kelly had reaffirmed her vote against Richard in the second try, HE would’ve been gone. So they jimmied the results after all. Rudy would’ve died in the pole-twirling contest + between Kelly + Sue it was a toss-up. Kelly showed true grit and great skill in winning FIVE immunity challenges in a row when she was marked for extermination by the arrogant alliance, including the one showing a deep knowledge of fellow contestants (Richard got 1 out of 8), she agonized about the immorality of the alliance (or her alliance mates), she tried to turn against King Richard, and she had the nicest body of the bunch. Until the very end I thought she would easily win, but when I counted the votes just before- I realized Sean was soft (in the head), Greg was weird, and Sue was pissed. Just like real life, the most selfish, scheming, and unprincipled person usually wins.
The X-ers bedeviled by the “immorality” of an alliance, though, were always in a dream world, whomever formed the first + biggest voting block was obviously going to win- it wasn’t immoral, unfair, or evil- it was called a… DEMOCRACY, and their utter absence of comprehension doesn’t bode well for ours. Did they think it was all to be rugged individualists who banded together into transitory annoyance at the latest goat, like when the women dispatched Joel? The Alliance though, especially Richard and Sue, did it with resplendent cruelty and arrogance. What was interesting was how the purgees varied from the weakest (at first) to the most obnoxious, to the strongest (competition) to the most likable (again competition). Even Richard’s reprehensibility was an astute tactic near the end: the other last survivor wants the most disliked person to be their co-survivor. I wouldn’t be surprised if he pre-offered swing people who voted for him at the end $50,000-70,000 (I’d like to study his financial records in a year). Admittedly, his machinations ensured that his Alliance mates were in the money (Kelly- $100K, Susan- 85K, Rudi-$70K, down to Sonya at 2.5K), he did provide food, + he was the most strategic + clever. But his overt contempt for everyone there negated his worthiness.
Sue’s pathological outburst was caused (besides being a bitter rotten loser + a bitch) by Kelly first trying to abandon the Tagi Alliance and rally the Pagongs against King Richard (remember how they almost got him but for nitwit neurologist Sean’s alphabet system); THEN she went to Richard and tried to make an alliance with him. Richard, having ammunition to shred yet another possible challenge, immediately ran to Sue (BIG surprise) and ratted. But Sue had undoubtedly done the same thing; she had lied to everyone at one time or another about the Alliance and whenever it suited her purposes. Slowwitted Rudy was always Richard’s #1 ally, Sue was second (and took great relish in dispatching the others)- that’s what led to Kelly’s desperate attempts when she realized they were gunning for her.
Richard was suitably unctuous in hosting WPRO-am talk show for a week after the show- being generous and charming in an effort to rehabilitate himself: callers were carefully screened for people that hated him- as a corporate trainer (weasel) – he obviously could speak well in public. At the end he was deemed an OK guy and a possible future regular- though that’ll probably never happen- at root he’s an uninterestingly guy, like most spineless manipulators, he has few real beliefs. Child Services + criminal charges for supposedly smacking his kid in a 4:30am jog were dropped quickly as I predicted, the state of RI wasn’t going to look foolish prosecuting the most famous Rhode Islander in 50 years. The town of Middletown (Newport), whom Rich is suing for $1 Mil for false arrest and defamation of character, just hosted a big party for him anyway- a craven kowtowing to the craven. Although he kept being cagey about doing a book, a half finished book was just stopped by the Survivor managership- couldn’t have anything competing with their franchise book. In the official Survivor book, Richard was supposedly lusting after Sean, Gretchen should have been the winner, (after wowing the crew after her exile), Greg was despised by the crew for jumping out of the jungle + terrifying them and sneering at the corny Tribal Council rhetoric. In fact, his decisive vote for Richard was probably cast because nothing would throw everyone into a furor like the evil queen winning it all: it was a totally subversive act.
Nitwit nipple-ring neurologist Sean received the biggest payoff as a medical correspondent on Extra, but his goofy dullness wasn’t just a matter of editing- his primary ambition his entire life was to be famous. This job won’t last long. Rich appeared at the Emmy’s, + MTV awards, Rudy was on JAG, others have been on Hollywood Squares, Gervaise has a part in some show, but sweetheart Colleen will probably get a regular role on some situation comedy – she really is very appealing. Now I got to see episode 3 + 4, to see if there was any immunity challenge more hideous than eating the caterpillars. I would have done very well: forming a voting block immediately, catching fish in bulk (most of Richard’s were ground dwelling motionless skates) to make myself invaluable, and winning several of the challenges (I can hold my breath for 3 minutes, for ex.). Host Jeff Probst claimed the 23 tourists kidnapped the day after shooting ended were decapitated by pirates (enraged that they didn’t have the million they’d heard about, probably). Kelly and several others had intestinal and viral parasites on their return- as we forecasted. Wait another month or 3 for the serious stuff to appear- Colleen’s besored legs weren’t just an annoyance but a life-threatening port of entry.
Episode descriptions: http://www.salon.com/ent/tv/feature/2000/06/28/survivor_episodes/index.html
Survivor Articles: http://www.salon.com/directory/topics/survivor/index.html
Black Cop commentary about the police code of beating fleeing or violent suspects; http://web.philly.com/content/inquirer/2000/07/21/opinion/COOPER21.htm
Thomas Jones’ life + crimes: http://web.philly.com/content/inquirer/2000/07/23/front_page/PTHOMAS23.htm
TEE VEE NOTES: Perhaps the best murder mystery ever created: the ’96 Bochco masterpiece MURDER ONE, may hopefully be repeated on A+E Thursday 9pm. The engaging + convoluted series has villains change, become allies, allies become enemies, loyal wives + employees go bad, heroes murdered, children kidnapped, cops turn honorable… and is all revealed through the efforts of superlawyer Teddy. Nothing is obvious or telegraphed- it unfolds slowly like a major murder mystery trial. Every character, Teddy, Julie, Teddy’s wife, the detective, has an incredible rich husky voice- this series could fly on radio. We saw the first few episodes, then went to Hawaii and deeply resented missing the rest. Anyone who has the 2 episodes that start the actual trial, contact me.
Catch the new TNT Wall St. drama “Bull” Teus at 10pm + midnt. Produced by a Law + Order producer, it’s interesting, if clogged with ER-like jargon, and they’re giving away 5 $100K prizes a week- watch for the parrot’s tip. We may create a financial tip website: about 19 out of 20 of our last recommendations were astoundingly accurate, including 2 30-40% next day advances- we tripled our money in 2-3 weeks.
We had some difficulty keeping the upcoming trash-fest soap TITANS assignations straight, let’s see, the guys sleeping with a girl AND her sister?? And he’s getting closer to his father’s new wife .. IN BED??????? All those hot to catch this new gem, respond, I know a great sterilization clinic.
Andrei Codrescu’s acerbic vicious genius commentaries. http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnvs03fm.cfm
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