The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Film

The Politics of Film

Kevin Smith, who directed films such as Chasing Amy, Clerks, Dogma, and Mallrats (and the guy who played Silent Bob in all those films), made a splash by opting to self-promote and distribute his new horror film, Red State. The gamble paid off for him, as the film has already turned a profit. [Film Junk]

Theater chain AMC has shown several films in theaters in anticipation of their Blu-Ray release dates.  They are doing it again, but this time, for all 3 extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I wish we had an AMC in my town. [/Film]

Jennifer Lawrence, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Winter’s Bone has been cast in the upcoming adaptation of the Young Adult book series Hunger Games. It looks interesting.  [The Movie Blog]

The film Bang Bang Club is about South African journalists who risked their lives to cover the final days of apartheid in their country.  It is in limited release in the United States.  CNN has an interesting piece about how hard it is to make a film about difficult stories.  NPR had an interview with the subjects of the film a few days ago.  [CNN] [NPR]

Morgan Spurlock’s most recent project Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, which tackles advertising culture, has convinced the town of Altoona, PA, to rename itself after the film for 60 days.  [City News]

Renting streams of films has become popular, with companies such as Apple iTunes and Amazon offering services.  Now, online video giant YouTube is getting in on some of the action.  It seems like YouTube doesn’t quite have the catalog wrapped up like Apple does, but they appear to be working on it.  [The Independent]

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of the Media

Time Magazine remembers Tim Hetherington, a brave photojournalist killed in Libya. [Time]

Is the New York Times missing diversity in its choice of expert commentators? [Good Magazine]

Oh, the wonders of modern technology. See panoramic views of London and trace the processional route William and Kate will take on their wedding day with CNN’s interactive site. [CNN]

America’s favorite news anchor, Katie Couric, opens up to Newsweek on the highs and lows of her long career and her plans for the future. [Newsweek]

How are Mac and PC users different? According to the folks at Mashable, your computer says a lot more about you than you might think. [Mashable]

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Swing

The Politics of Swing

Need more evidence that golf is a cruel, evil game? Watch these playoff shots in Sunday’s Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links. It wasn’t only the tournament that was on the line—it was also the number one spot in the world. [ESPN

And in the “does America have to dominate every sport?” category, is it really that terrible that 16 of the top 25 golfers in the world ranking “are non-Americans”? Does that fact alone, dear readers, dampen your enthusiasm for following the game? LET US KNOW! [Gene Wojciechowski]

Check out this dead-on spoof of the English and English sport from the Netherlands. If you’ve never understood (or wanted to understand) Cricket, have a soft spot in your heart for the Brits and love Monty Python, this is for you. [Jiskefet]  

As we all know, there’s been an epidemic of below the belt punches and vicious upper-cuts inside the beltway over the last couple of decades. Unfortunately, the results are not always as entertaining as these. [YouTube]

Jeff Smith: My Macaca Moment

The recent attention to local and national politicians’ racial gaffes reminds me of my own.

As readers may be aware, politicians have lately dredged up one of the ugliest aspects of our nation’s history: slavery and the subsequent century of brutality and discrimination. Haley Barbour has often tripped himself up, beginning with his 1982 watermelon comment. More recently he’s praised the ignominious Citizens Councils and declined to condemn a proposal to venerate Confederate war hero and founding KKK Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest with an honorary license plate.

Former Virginia Sen. George Allen of “macaca” fame had another recent gaffe, where he twice (erroneously) assumed that a tall black reporter was an athlete. Even the ever-poised Alex Trebek may have slipped up.

Closer to home in St. Louis were the comments of State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who compared the black state legislators opposing her on a bill – that is to say, all of them – to “house slaves.” 


I spent years walking a racial tightrope in city politics. I represented a district that was roughly 55% black, 6% Asian, 5% Bosnian, and 4% Latino. Since it was also estimated to be 15% gay, the percentage of straight white males like me was likely in the single digits.

Not that I minded. I actually found it exhilarating. At first.

See, I’d grown up in a mostly white, middle-class suburb, but about 10% of my graduating class was comprised of black kids bused from the city as part of a school desegregation program. By my senior year, they comprised most of the basketball team, and as point guard, it was my job to lead the team.

My co-captain once told me that when he came out to our school freshman year, he was three years behind us academically. That pissed me off. It also made me want to learn more about the history behind the inequity. So at UNC-Chapel Hill, I majored in African-American Studies.

Conservatives like to invoke the guilty white liberal. I wasn’t guilty as much as obsessed. I wanted to immerse myself in the city’s black community and help black kids get to college.

So I came home from UNC and worked in the city public schools. Frustrated at the system’s dysfunction, I co-founded a charter school whose enrollment was 99% black. I served on the boards of non-profits focused on racial justice and black uplift. I coached basketball for a decade at a boys club where the only white people I saw were the occasional white refs. I taught ACT prep courses for black high school players in danger of becoming Prop 48 casualties. And when I played, it was with strangers in one of the small parks that dotted the corners of the city’s North Side, where the competition was fierce.

The point is, when I jumped in the race for Missouri’s 4th Senatorial District, I felt at least as comfortable around black people as I did around white people.

Read the rest of…
Jeff Smith: My Macaca Moment

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Fashion

The Politics of Fashion

If you wear high-heels frequently, then you may suffer from high-heel syndrome. And no, I am not making this up – there is even a study to back it up!   [The Beauty Shop]

In news you should care about: Tyra Banks likes to chew on stilettos. Check out the video:   [NY Magazine]

Singapore was the newest fashion capital a couple weeks ago. The city of Memphis now claims that title as the Memphis Grizzlies FINALLY won their first playoff game at home. Will you be sporting a grizzly?   [MyFox]

Want to dress like Lady Gaga mixed with Johnny Weir? Check out Johnny’s newest line:   [SHEfinds]

A fragrance that will have you smelling like fresh laundry every single day WITHOUT having to wash clothes. Yay or nay?   []

In case you didn’t know, trashion is the new fashion!   [CNN]

RPTV: Fifteen Minutes of Fame with Jim Pinkerton

Today’s guest for RPTV’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame is the noted author, television commentator and GOP policy guru, Jim Pinkerton. Going back to the George H.W. Bush Administration, Pinkerton has been one of the leading Republican policy minds in Washington. Unlike most of cable TV’s talking heads, Pinkerton does not stick to the party script, and has consistently pushed his party to the center on social issues, while remaining a fierce advocate for fiscal conservatism and the free markets.

Pinkerton is also a frequent blogger. Check out his Web site here.

During his Fifteen Minutes of Fame, Pinkerton discusses the debt, his prescription to battle income inequality, and despite needling from the RP, does NOT endorse Donald Trump in 2012. Watch here:

Tomorrow at the Recovering Politician

Tuesday will be another big day here at The Recovering Politician.

We begin with an RPTV Fifteen Minutes of Fame interview with author, political commentator, and policy guru, Jim Pinkerton.  Since the first Bush Administration, Pinkerton has been widely known as one of the keenest GOP policy minds in Washington, and he has never been afraid to skew from the party line.  Pinkerton shares his thoughts on the budget debate in Congress, the 2012 election, and his recommendations to combat income inequality.

We will also be treated with another very personal story from contributing recovering politician Jeff Smith.  Following up on his piece on prison life that has received incredible national attention, Jeff tackles another very controversial topic: race relations.  Don’t miss his tales from the campaign trail that offer a glimpse at the larger issues with which America still grapples.

Look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Tech

The Politics of Tech -- Courtesy of arstechnica

You may have recently heard about the news that Apple’s iPhone recording individual users’ locations. Arstechnica gives a rundown of what this means for Apple device users and for the company itself. [arstechnica]

Gizmodo asks: Have you contracted Netflix Streaming Syndrome? I hear it’s pretty serious [Gizmodo]

Many of you are probably familiar with Playstation Network, Sony’s answer to Microsoft’s Xbox Live. Unfortunately for Sony, many hackers have also become very familiar with Sony’s online gaming service. This time the network has been down for four days now and there is no indication so far when it will be back. Sony will have to do some serious damage control to keep this from being anymore of a PR disaster than it already is. [CNET]

David Fagin, a writer for AOL News, just announced that he is suing Facebook for $1 (yep, 100 pennies) after being labeled a “spammer” by the social-networking giant. [TechCrunch]

In last week’s Tech Web Gems I wrote about the rumors of a successor console to the Nintendo Wii that could be revealed at this year’s E3 in June. Now Nintendo has confirmed that we will see a next-gen preview at E3. [Engadget]

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Faith

The Politics of Faith

Forgiveness is emphasized in many world religions, but in this unforgiving world, what does it mean to forgive someone? [BBC News Magazine]

Yesterday, many people celebrated Easter with baskets full of candy, pictures with the Easter bunny, and Easter egg hunts. Write Anne Lamott reflects on what the holiday means to her, and what it means to be “Easter people living in a Good Friday World.” [NPR]

More on the Easter theme–was the resurrection of Jesus physical or spiritual, and does it matter? []

A church in Louisville, Kentucky takes a bold stand on the issue of same-sex marriage by voting to end the practice of signing marriage licenses.  Until homosexual and heterosexual couples are afforded the same legal rights of marriage, the church will only perform religious ceremonies. []

The RP: In Defense of Sarah Palin

One of my favorite columnists/bloggers/ whatever-you-want-to-call-hims, Andrew Sullivan, has been on an extended rant, raising questions as to whether Sarah Palin is the legitimate birth parent of her now three-year-old son Trig.

A conspiracy theory, formerly consigned to the ranks of far-far-left bitter partisans, is being very seriously and very publicly scrutinized by an often-conservative, almost-always-thoughftul member of the media Establishment.

Read here and here and here and here and here and here.

Of course, sensing an opportunity to rile up the far right, Andrew Breirbart has joined the fray, attacking Sullivan for his “disgusting, ends-justify-the-means obsession with the personal family life of Sarah Palin.”

While generally speaking, I will side with Sullivan over Breitbart 102 times out of every 100, and while I certainly dispute Breitbart’s characterization of Sullivan’s motives, I rise to defend Sarah Palin in this instance. 

Let’s suppose the accusations are true — that Palin is lying about the baby’s maternity.  And let’s make an even bigger leap of credulity: that Sarah Palin could turn around her disastrous — and sinking — poll numbers and emerge as a legitimate contender for the White House.

I believe that even in the most powerful position in the world; even with someone who has voluntarily subjected herself to the ultimate measure of public scrutiny; and, yes, even with an individual who has pushed her family out front and center in an effort to win voter sympathy — I still believe that a public official should retain a limited, but still discrete, zone of privacy.

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The RP: In Defense of Sarah Palin

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