Saturday, August 01, 2009

A Little Of The Old In And Out

In: Adam Sandler. Is Adam Sandler transitioning into something smarter? Even as Judd Apatow and Seth Rogan took their frat-boy show on the road to the Stern Show promote the film -- and attack, in an ungentlemanly manner, Katherine Heigl -- Sander appeared, by contrast, elegant. His appearance on jimmy Fallon was "graceful, open, and effortlessly funny," according to EW's Christine Spines. From Variety:

"A more serious Adam Sandler didn’t turn away Judd Apatow fans Friday as Universal’s 'Funny People' took the top spot with $8.6 million, overtaking last weekend’s No. 1 title 'G-Force.'

"Positioned as a serious comedy by Universal, the opening day for 'Funny People' is in line with Apatow’s previous directorial outings at the B.O., ranking behind 2007’s 'Knocked Up' ($9.8 million) and ahead of 2005’s 'The 40-Year Old Virgin' ($7.1 million). 'Knocked Up' wound up charting an opening weekend of $30.7 million, while “Virgin” earned $21.4 million.

"While the opening for 'Funny People' is at the lower end of Adam Sandler’s B.O., it turns out to be his highest for an R-rated title. Universal bowed 'Funny People' at 3,008 theaters."

Has America's ultimate man-boy finally grown up? And -- more troubling -- does that mean we all have to now as well?

Out: Congressman John Murtha. Murtha, who represents a district in working-class Pennsylvania, was a bellwether in 1974. By beating the Republican party favorite Harry Fox, his campaign signalled the end of Nixon and Vietnam-era politicking. It is the irony of Power that the lean reformer of yesteryear becomes, in the fullness of Time, the fattened Establishmentarian (Averted Gaze). Murtha threatens now, decades later, another bellwether -- perhaps one of Democrat party excess. Now, in the hour of our exigency, is not a time for engaging in pork barrel legislation. But the Dickensian-named Murtha has always had his corruptions. His reputation for shovelling pork into his district evaporated his chances at becoming Majority leader despite the unprecedented backing of the Speaker of the House). From The New York Times:

"The House on Thursday approved President Obama’s plan to kill the F-22 fighter jet. But Democratic leaders bucked White House veto threats on other programs, and they heatedly rejected a Republican effort to strip more than 550 earmarked expenditures from the $636 billion military bill.

"... Mr. Flake said $200 million of the earmarks were requested by companies that had been clients of the PMA Group, a lobbying firm that is under investigation over its ties to several congressmen, including Representative John P. Murtha, the influential Pennsylvania Democrat who was in charge of the bill.

"... Mr. Murtha, who put together the bill as the chairman of the House military appropriations subcommittee, defended the practice and lashed out at Mr. Flake.

Mr. Murtha said he had long sought earmarks as a way to create jobs in Pennsylvania. He said the state had sent a disproportionate number of soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan compared with the level of military contracts it had typically received.

He said that he had an obligation to bring work to the small businesses in his area and that some of the earmarks, like $2.2 million for body-armor research, grew out of his visits with troops in Afghanistan and with wounded troops in hospitals.

"'I’m not sure how often Mr. Flake goes to the hospital,' Mr. Murtha said."

That is not the point, asshole. That argument is circular, anyway -- as if Congressman Murtha were caught up in his own pork sausage-making and now he is marshaling every argument but the kitchen sink as to why he did what he did. Murtha also neglects to mention that he was for the F-22 Raptor -- an outmoded piece of weaponry -- until the votes weren't there to carry the day. presumably he was for the weapon -- a Cold War relic -- because that, too, would bring jobs to Pennsylvania even as it brought naught else of the American military in Afghanistan or Iraq.

In: Newt Gingrich. There are probably 4 serious front-runners in the 2012 Presidential contest at this extremely early date -- Governor Palin, Mitt Romney, Haley Barbour and Newtie. Newtie seems to be the most aggressive in fundraising, though. From Politico:

"Newt Gingrich’s political group quietly pulled in an impressive $8.1 million in the first half of the year, a cash haul that enabled the former speaker of the House to finance a robust political operation that includes at least 17 employees.

"A report filed Friday with the Internal Revenue Service shows that American Solutions for Winning the Future accepted at least $460,000 from oil interests in the first half of the year, after advancing offshore oil drilling as an issue during the 2008 campaign cycle, and $150,000 from the Workforce Fairness Institute, a business-backed group opposed to the Employee Free Choice Act, which Gingrich has lambasted as 'a mortal threat to American freedom.'

"Gingrich’s aides said Friday the group is not a campaign-in-waiting for Gingrich, who makes many short lists of prospective 2012 GOP presidential contenders."

Still, we'd have to give the edge to Romney, who is a multi-millionaire from the private sector (important street cred among Republicans), got the silver medal in the 2008 primary race (the Republicans are a hierarchical party, giving those due their turns), and knows the parameters of the health care debate.

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