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10/07/2012

Maintaining Bounce, Romney Blasts Obama For Post-Debate 'Excuses'

RomneyobamaMitt Romney continues to benefit from a post-debate "bounce," according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Their numbers show that 47% of likely voters prefer Obama, while 45% are backing Romney. That is the third straight day Romney has been a mere two pointds behind President Obama.

Prior to the debate, Reuters put Romney about six points behind the president.

Campaigning in Florida today, Romney criticized Obama's post-debate "excuses" for his perfomance. "We had a little debate earlier this week, and I enjoyed myself," said the GOP White House hopeful. Now of course, days later, we’re hearing his excuses, and next January, we’ll be watching him leave the White House for the last time."

President Obama, meanwhile, held a fundraiser in Los Angeles this weekend. According to the Washington Post, 6,000 tickets starting at $250 were sold for the event featuring performances by Katy Perry, Earth, Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder.

Posted Oct. 7,2012 at 9:56 PM EST by in 2012 Election, Barack Obama, Florida, Mitt Romney, News | Permalink | Comments (25)


Movies: 'The Paperboy'

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Zac Efron wants some of Nicole Kidman's telepathic sex in "The Paperboy"

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS

YOUR FEATURE PRESENTATION

I can't recall how THE PAPERBOY begins exactly though I saw it just a few days ago. Was it a shot of Zac Efron's body gliding through a pool, losing its hard fixed shape through the watery prism. Was it a grisly black and white flashback of a murder? Was it Macy Gray smoking, staring dully just off center of the camera. It doesn't matter though my confusion is telling. Lee Daniel's third movie is a mad undisciplined mix of just these things: eroticized bodies, physical violence and character beats. If the film never settles down, eventually you settle into it. 

Macy Gray helps. Her voice is so evocative she doesn't even need to be singing to send you. Director Lee Daniels, wise to the specific gifts of his actresses (the proof is all over Precious), knows this. If he isn't always sure which movie he's delivering (a cold case murder investigation, a death wish character study in multiples, a messy civil rights period drama) he knows how to package it. He acclimates you to The Paperboy's time and place (swampy sixties summer in the south) and agitated horniness via husky Anita (Macy Gray), all wigs and cigarettes and "how much am I getting paid for this?" twitchiness. It doesn't take Anita long before she loses her wariness, lost in the sensationalistic details of the story she's telling. 

Which is not so much her story...

Continued, AFTER THE JUMP...

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...though, her role as The Help gives Lee Daniels ample opportunity to graft more racial discomfort and American history on to the text than you'd find in the Pete Dexter novel its based on. The story is about crusading (and *ahem* cruising) journalist Ward (Matthew McConaughey) and his younger brother Jack (Zac Efron) who get mixed up in the lives of Death Row inmate Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack) and slutty beautician Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman) who writes dirty letters to multiple inmates but settles on Hillary, a strong candidate for the filthiest person alive -- and yes, FWIW I think John Waters will love this movie -- as her ultimate prize. 

As in Precious, Daniels shows an uncanny ability to inspire his actors to dig deep enough that they're often at risking of shoveling straight through to camp. You wouldn't think any mainstream male movie star would put himself in a more compromising position than Matthew McConaughey did at the tail end (haha) of his farewell performance in Magic Mike , the one that basically ended ass up to camera, but he does. Unfortunately it's with far more disturbing and less sexy results. Efron, also no stranger to selfsploitation, seems entirely okay with spending half the picture in his underpants and engaging in a sort of masturbatory comic duet with Macy Gray. The director originally wanted his friend Oprah Winfrey for the role which is unfathomable... and hilarious. I can't quite imagine it though I can imagine her shouting "ZacEffrroOOONNNNNNN!!!!!" on her back with comic exaggeration, welcoming him to her show.

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It will surprise no one who's been paying any attention that Nicole Kidman is the MVP, once again throwing herself into a controversial role with the hunger usually acquainted with actors who've waited for the big break forever. You could argue that Kidman is the cinematic equivalent of Madonna: brave, button-pushing, autoerotic, and continually willing to push herself long past the point where her peers have begun to coast or decided they're too old for this shit. Her first sex scene with Mr Cusack, both telepathic and obscene (no really), has instantly cornered the market on Craziest Sex Scene of 2012.

By now you've undoubtedly heard that The Paperboy features a scene in which Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron and a scene in which she cajoles him into dancing in the rain in his tighty whities. You've heard true. The best thing I can possibly say for this vivid messy Southern Gothic, which is always watchable but often quite unpleasant and artistically erratic, is that that those two scenes are hardly alone in their "am I really seeing this?" abandon. The Paperboy is so ripe and so rank that it's sure to be a polarizing love it or hate it film experience. Either response is fully justified but fans of outre cinema, highwire acting, and future cult cinema would be crazy to miss it.   

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Nathaniel Rogers would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

Posted Oct. 7,2012 at 7:03 PM EST by in Film, Matthew McConaughey, Nathaniel Rogers, Zac Efron | Permalink | Comments (11)


News: Meningitis, Jack Welch, California Gas, SpaceX

1NewsIcon The CDC now says the 90 people are infected with meningitis in a contaminated steroid pain treatment.

Bigbird1NewsIcon Big Bird doesn't want to "ruffle any feathers" on SNL's Weekend Update.

1NewsIcon Asked to explain why Rep. Paul Broun, a doctor who sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, would call evolution "lies from the pits of hell," the Republican's spokesperson said, "Dr. Broun was speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues."

1NewsIcon Liam Neeson's Taken 2 topped at the box office with about $50 million nationwide.

1NewsIcon British Foreign Secretary William Hague and financial chancellor George Osborne both said they will back a marriage equality law when given the opportunity to vote on it in Parliament.

1NewsIcon In other, less pressing British activism news, there's a campaign to preserve that country's version of Fraggle Rock.

1NewsIcon Voting for a losing candidate has been shown to lower testosterone levels in men. "Is it possible voting makes male voters too vulnerable? Could the unpleasant feelings male voters experience when their candidates lose discourage them from revisiting the polls? No wonder they stop voting. It hurts too much."

Beckswork1NewsIcon This is David Beckham's work attire.

1NewsIcon Check out stills of Jessica Biel and Scarlett Johansson channeling Vera Miles and Janet Leigh, respectively, for Hitchcock.

1NewsIcon Failed president candidate Newt Gingrich says that former GE CEO Jack Welch's theory that the latest job numbers were fabricated to benefit the president "rings true". Obama adviser Robert Gibbs described that assertion as "absolutely crazy" and says Welch "embarrassed himself."

1NewsIcon David Axelrod says that President Obama was surprised by Mitt Romney's "brazenness" during the first presidential debate.

1NewsIcon From a New York Times article called "Helping a Child to Come Out": "In our family, we knew that Joseph was probably gay, and we saw in problems he was having at school that he was under psychological pressure... But we were reluctant to force him out of his closet. We asked our gay friends what they would have wanted at Joe’s age. They confirmed: don’t push, unless Joe seemed to be in real distress. It’s his secret to reveal, they said." That echoes what Sally Field said at HRC's dinner last night.

1NewsIcon Patrick Abner on his recent marriage to MSNBC's Thomas Roberts: "I never imagined in a million years that I would be on a stage kissing my male partner, spouse — husband, Thomas is saying — in front of my father. I never thought that would be the case. And to be able to do that and have not just my father but my whole family be proud of me, that’s something special."

1NewsIcon Gas prices in California have hit a record-high average of $4.6140.

1NewsIcon Journalist Mark Oppenheimer has penned an e-book about LGBT activist and fellow journalist Dan Savage. "Never before have we glimpsed Savage’s whole life, from his Catholic-school days, raised by a Chicago cop and a housewife, to his current role as a unique American character," reads the Amazon description.

Spacex1NewsIcon SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will launch its Dragon supply unit into the stars and toward the international space station tonight, marking a potentially seismic step forward for extraterrestrial travel.

1NewsIcon Richard Tisei, the openly gay Republican congressional candidate from Massachusetts, dismissed incumbent John Tierney comparisons between his politics and the Tea Party's. "I’m the only gay, pro-choice Republican who wouldn’t sign the [Grover] Norquist pledge" he told the Washington Blade. "I don’t think [Tierny] realized how much he’s damaged his own credibility. Rather than talking about what he’s done over a 16-year period. Trying to paint me as some type of Right Wing extremist is just so off-the-wall that it damages his own credibility."

Posted Oct. 7,2012 at 6:13 PM EST by in 2012 Election, California, Dan Savage, Discrimination, Gay Marriage, Great Britain, Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, News, Richard Tisei, Science, Tech, The Economy, Thomas Roberts | Permalink | Comments (7)


Anti-Gay Maine Group Premiering Two New TV Ads

MainecardProtect Marriage Maine, the discriminatory group bent on stopping a ballot measure that would allow gay marriage, is set to release two new TV ads tomorrow.

The first will feature Donald Mendell, a public school counselor who helped pass a 2009 referendum that repealed marriage equality there. His participation led to the filing of a complaint with the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. The complaint insisted Mendell "does not have the right as a licensed social worker to make public comments that can endanger or promote discrimination."

Mendell is now using that complaint in his commercial for Protect Marriage Maine, saying, "I was a successful school counselor in Maine for over 20 years — once nominated as teacher of the year. Yet when I supported traditional marriage, they tried to get me fired."

Caroll Conley from the thankfully out-funded Protect Marriage Maine claims allowing marriage equality will hurt his and others' religious freedoms, "There’s no tolerance for anyone who dares to speak out against their definition of marriage. Don Mendell is the perfect example… We think people's religious liberties go far beyond the walls of the church." Even into the state structure?

The second ad reportedly says same-sex couples want to "redefine marriage" and should instead settle with domestic registries: "‘Every Mainer has a right to love whom they choose but nobody has the right to redefine marriage." The ads are being paid for in part by the National Organization For Marriage, which still refuses to release the names of donors from its 2009 initiative to ban marriage in Maine.

Posted Oct. 7,2012 at 3:58 PM EST by in 2012 Election, Discrimination, Gay Marriage, Maine, News, Religion | Permalink | Comments (11)


Alabama Supreme Court Hopeful Roy Moore Says Marriage Equality Invites 'Ultimate Destruction': VIDEO

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Roy Moore's obstinate attempts to maintain a monument of the ten commandments outside the Alabama Supreme Court led the state's Court of the Judiciary to dismiss the then-Chief Justice for ethics violations in 2003.

Since then the former judicial giant has found himself hanging around the government's legislative branch, twice running for governor in Alabama and twice being considered by the Constitution Party as a potential presidential candidates and has appeared at anti-gay marriage rallies. But now he wants back on the judicial side of things and is running for his old position - and he's touting the same blatantly right wing politics that made the ex-judge so objectionable in the first place.

Religion is still at the forefront of the candidate's judicial platform. "People have forgotten why we need God," Moore said at a Tea Party rally this weekend. "But let me tell you, without God, you have no rights." And so too is the hideously homophobic notion that marriage equality will bring about the nation's destruction.

"We cannot continue to borrow the future of our children and our grandchildren or we will suffer the consequences. We can't keep going into debt. We can't keep disparaging our military and promoting things like same-sex marriage, L-G-B-T. To hear the President of the United States say that we are promoting L-G-B-T. Let's think about what that is: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered rights," Moore says in video included AFTER THE JUMP.

"Same sex marriage will be the ultimate destruction of our country because it destroys the very foundation upon which this nation is based. Divisive, I've been accused of being divisive I'll tell you what's divisive. It's this Democratic platform," he said, a reference to the Democratic Party's inclusive platform.

State Representative Patricia Todd, who hails from Birmingham and is also the chair of Equality Alabama, told The Birmingham News it is "heartbreaking we still have this divisiveness" and described Moore's language as "laughable."

"It's almost laughable to me. We're going to bring the downfall of the country? When you have war and the economy? When you look at states that have same sex marriage, they're all doing pretty good," she said.

Watch Moore's comments and leave your own AFTER THE JUMP.

Posted Oct. 7,2012 at 2:01 PM EST by in 2012 Election, Alabama, Gay Marriage, News | Permalink | Comments (24)


Jon Stewart And Bill O'Reilly 'Rumble' In Epic Debate: VIDEO

Stewartoreilly

Move over Mitt and Barack, because there's a far more rambunctious, exciting debate duo in town: Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly.

The men met at George Washington University in DC last night for "O'Reilly v Stewart 2012: the Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium," an event moderated by CNN's ED Hill and that featured the men facing-off on almost every subject under the sun, including the role of government, the attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya and Cairo and the ethics of government subsidies. Wondered Stewart, "Why is it if you take advantage of a tax break as a corporation you're a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of a tax break as a person you're a moocher?"

The LA Times offers some more details:

The Daily Show host centered his remarks around the idea that many on the right live in an "alternate reality," of which O’Reilly is allegedly the mayor. It’s a place, Stewart declared, where "problems are amplified, solutions simplified." The name Stewart gave O’Reilly’s domicile was somewhat more spicy, but you get the drift.

O’Reilly, host of the Fox News show The O’Reilly Factor, pulled no punches either, accusing Stewart of defending an addled, entitlement-laden society, the "poster child" of which is Sandra Fluke. Fluke, the Georgetown law student who came under attack from Rush Limbaugh after she spoke out on behalf of contraception coverage, is the embodiment of a country that is "lazy," "mooching" and overly dependent on the federal government, he said.

Asked at the end what they had learned, Stewart, using his affectionate honorific for O'Reilly's employer, Fox News, told Hill, "have learned that bullsh*t mountain is tall, bullsh*t mountain is wide, and it's deep." O'Reilly answer? "That I know I'm right."

Watch the video, via The Guardian, AFTER THE JUMP.

Posted Oct. 7,2012 at 12:16 PM EST by in 2012 Election, Bill O'Reilly, Egypt, Jon Stewart, Libya, News, The Economy | Permalink | Comments (8)



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