Tags: Fiorina | Counters | Boxer | Jabs

Fiorina's Ample Ammo Counters Boxer's Jabs

Tuesday, 07 Sep 2010 06:11 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. ‘Machete’ Wields Propaganda Blade
2. Scorsese Crafts Elia Kazan Documentary
3. CBS News Battles the Katie Couric Blues
4. Barbara Boxer’s Feints No Match for Economy’s Jabs
5. Carly Fiorina’s Secret Weapon: Water
 

1. ‘Machete’ Wields Propaganda Blade

It’s not unusual to see a B-movie released during the typically slow Labor Day weekend, especially one that’s loaded with violence.

But Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete” adds a dose of propaganda to its trite vengeance-themed tale.

The film conveniently exploits the current media-generated controversy over the state of Arizona’s legislative attempt to defend its citizenry.

Earlier Rodriguez had promoted the movie with a specially edited trailer released on the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo.

In the clip, actor Danny Trejo, who plays the title character, declared, “This is Machete with a special Cinco de Mayo message ... to Arizona.” Footage showed illegal aliens participating in what appeared to be an insurrection.

“It feels like this movie couldn’t have come at a more perfect time,” Rodriguez said recently, “even though we came up with it a long time ago.”

He and his co-writer cousin, Alvaro Rodriguez, have essentially written a racially charged violent fantasy in which the bad guys fit a white stereotype. Whites are portrayed as extremely vicious, possibly to justify the lead character’s use of the long knives in seeking revenge.

In an apparent appeal to a younger male audience, the film contains excessive amounts of nudity, profanity, and gore.

Don Johnson plays a thinly disguised stand-in for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In a scene that sets the plot in motion, Johnson’s character and a cartoon villain senator (played by Robert De Niro) murder a Mexican couple.

Their pretext for the cold-blooded killing of the pregnant woman: to prevent her baby from being born in the United States. They then murder her husband, sneering at their victims, “Welcome to America.”

Possibly signaling some political leanings among the cast, the low-budget film features a host of familiar names in addition to De Niro and Johnson, including Lindsay Lohan, Steven Seagal, Jessica Alba, and Michelle Rodriguez.

As usual, mainstream media film critics have words of praise for this worthless piece of screen debris.

“It’s a movie that just wants to have fun. To a large degree, it succeeds,” the Washington Post opines.

“The pace is swift, the tone playful, the screenplay peppered with one-liners,” the New York Times gushes.

“It’s hard to think of another film this summer that offers such sheer anarchic fun,” the Philadelphia Inquirer declares.

Just when you think things couldn’t get any more twisted, along comes a blood-soaked flick that provides “anarchic fun.”


2. Scorsese Crafts Elia Kazan Documentary

It would take someone with clout to make an objective movie about Elia Kazan.

Martin Scorsese has stepped up to craft a documentary as a personal tribute to the director.

Kazan is one of the most demonized individuals in Hollywood history. He was an anti-communist who testified during the Joe McCarthy era.

In “A Letter to Elia,” which is screening at the Venice film festival, Scorsese reveals that Kazan’s work and style provided him with the inspiration to become a director.

As a teenager, Scorsese watched two of Kazan’s best-known films, “On the Waterfront” with Marlon Brando (1954) and “East of Eden” with James Dean (1955). He was deeply affected by the film experiences.

Kazan’s films “extended the limits of what was emotionally and psychologically possible,” Scorsese said.

Through his films, Kazan introduced to the public a new generation of actors that included Marlon Brando, James Dean, Warren Beatty, Carroll Baker, Julie Harris, Andy Griffith, Lee Remick, Rip Torn, Eli Wallach, Eva Marie Saint, Martin Balsam, and Fred Gwynne.

Scorsese and Robert De Niro stood at Kazan’s side in 1999 when the director was honored with a lifetime achievement Oscar.

However, the award was opposed by many in Tinseltown who to this day view Kazan’s 1952 “friendly witness” testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee as an unforgivable offense. And the Hollywood miffed let the world know by their stony silence at the Oscar ceremony announcement.

Kazan, however, understood firsthand the evils of communism.

“I’d hated the Communists for many years, and didn’t feel right about giving up my career to defend them. Was I sacrificing for something I believed in?” Kazan wrote in his memoir.

In an interview included in Scorsese’s documentary, Kazan explains that his testimony was “only the more tolerable of two alternatives that were either way painful and wrong.”


3. CBS News Battles the Katie Couric Blues

Back in 2006 Katie Couric moved from morning television to the coveted anchor chair of the CBS Evening News.

Couric took over a news broadcast that was in third place. And she had to deal with the tarnish that Dan Rather had created, which involved fake documents on President Bush’s National Guard service.

CBS executives were hoping that the popular Couric’s appointment would bring something new and fresh to the nightly program. In some ways she has been an innovator in using Internet technology and integrating it with the news.

Trophies have come her way, most notably the Edward R. Murrow award for her ambush of then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

But the news business has been experiencing some significant turmoil due to the digital revolution, and CBS News has dropped down even further in the ratings.

Its news division has been laying off employees and cutting back on salaries and perks, to the point where the division is a shadow of its former status. Stories of a merger with CNN are repeatedly circulated.

During a recent two-week period, the CBS Evening News ratings were at their lowest level in the 20 years Nielsen has been keeping tabs on the broadcast news. The 4.89 million viewers who were watching Couric almost matched the ratings level of the premiere of the cable reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”

It seems pretty apparent that in the future the evening news will likely have a new anchor.

Don’t feel too bad for Katie, though. She’ll still have a gig. She’ll probably either be sitting next to Matt Lauer on her old program, NBC’s Today Show, or she’ll be joining the staff on a CBS daytime show.

And don’t forget while her co-workers were losing their jobs and the once-proud Tiffany news division was sinking like the setting sun, Katie was bankrolling more than $50 million.


4. Barbara Boxer’s Feints No Match for Economy’s Jabs

After being in office for 28 years, Barbara Boxer’s world is likely going to get rocked, despite a Hollywood producer railing against her opponent, Carly Fiorina.

Prognosticators are predicting that California’s current senator may be unseated in the upcoming November elections by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Fiorina.

With the nearly bankrupt Golden State serving as a poster child for the ugly consequences of unchecked Democratic spending, the Boxer campaign is attempting to take a bite out of Fiorina’s popularity by claiming that she laid off workers during her tenure at HP.

Instead the attacks are serving to underscore the fact that Fiorina is not a professional politician and has genuine experience in the business world.

Another approach, which incidentally has been given an assist by Hollywood producer Robert Greenwald, characterizes Fiorina’s social views as out of the mainstream.

The GOP candidate is pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, and pro-Second Amendment.

Interestingly, the attacks aren’t working. That’s because voters mainly want to hear about the specific plans that candidates have to fix the ailing economy.

In a recent debate between the candidates, Fiorina pointed out that Boxer advocated an end to the Bush tax cuts.

Fiorina also reminded voters that if Boxer’s policies were implemented, families in California would be stuck with an additional $1,600 in extra taxes.

After nearly three decades of looking down her nose at opponents, constituents, and the military, and after using underhanded campaign tactics round after election round, you’d think Boxer would be able to come up with something a little more original.


5. Carly Fiorina’s Secret Weapon: Water

As bad as things are for Boxer, they will only get worse when Fiorina wields her secret weapon.

California politicians generally look at the left coast as Democrat territory, San Diego and Orange counties being the routine exceptions.

Inland areas, on the other hand, tend to produce GOP voters.

The swing geographic location in the voting pattern of the Golden State is the Central Valley, an area mostly dominated by agriculture.

Farmers in the Central Valley are still smoldering with anger, and rightly so. They suffered terribly when water was withheld from them a while back by court order.

The denial was the result of the Endangered Species Act, ostensibly to save an endangered fish called the delta smelt.

Hollywood actor and comedian Paul Rodriguez actually bailed on the Democratic Party because of its lack of interest and abysmal failure in helping drought-stricken farmers such as himself.

In their recent campaign debate, Fiorina pointed out that Boxer is the chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Boxer, however, had refused to help the farmers get the water they desperately needed even though she had the power to do so.

Her record shows that she even voted against a bill that would have provided the much-needed water. It is assumed that the senator’s inaction was the result of her comfy relationship with the green lobby.

At a time when the economy is at the forefront of voters’ minds and Dems are struggling to hold seats in formerly safe districts, Boxer may find that her refusal to help constituents get the H2O they needed lands her in a dunk tank.

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