Sunday, June 8, 2008

STIFF, SOFT (money), and a Few Fun Puns

I'm in Seattle for our screening here on Tuesday at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival (STIFF). Seattle is a fun town. Kind of obsessed with SEX. They have a make your own porn contest. And the girl at the University paper who was supposed to review my film, was reviewing a book about a porn star who gets gang banged by 500 guys... I was worried no one would be interested in the film, since there's no porn in it - but people have actually been pumped (pun intended) to talk about it. One dude here at the youth hostel kept tracking me down to add another thought to our conversation, until finally I was like - "Dude, are you stalking me?". So politics and porn are apparently compatible.

There's a new website by the Republicans featuring mostly nasty things that Hillary Clinton said about Obama, like - "Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign...Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002." Ouch.

I do find it strange in the experience department that people often don't count Obama's years as a community organizer. He talked about that experience in his commencement speech at Wesleyan, and it was very persuasive in demonstrating that he followed through on his convictions. He got a low paying job working in an tough neighborhood where he felt he could personally make a difference. That's the kind of experience I wish more of our lawmakers would put on their resume.

Both McCain and Obama are emphasizing service as a theme in their campaigns, and it is heartening to see that become more of an emphasis for national leaders. The RNC put out this press release where McCain says, "My friends, each and every one of us has a duty to serve a cause greater than our own self-interest."

Here are the better and worse angels of the conventions:

Better Angels:
The Republican convention staff has been doing volunteer work in the Minneapolis-St Paul area.

But the NY Times reports that both the Dems and Reps are using the conventions to raise millions of dollars in "soft money" and promising close consultation with elected officials in return.

"Brochures being sent to potential corporate donors by the Denver [Democratic] host committee say that “as a sponsor” of the convention, corporate executives will have access to as many as 232 members of Congress, 51 senators and 28 governors in what is being marketed as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. In addition, the more a company gives — with donations of as much as $1 million being sought — the more “V.I.P. access and other benefits” are offered, according to the brochures....

Whereas $1 million will buy the top sponsorship at the Democratic convention, the top sponsorship at the Republican convention, which provides the most access to politicians, has a $5 million price tag. Minnesota companies are getting squeezed the hardest — Fortune 500 companies based in the state are being asked to give at least $1 million, while smaller companies are being approached for donations in the $250,000-to-$500,000 range."

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