(Image from Ron Paul’s campaign)

Vince Vaughn is lending his political support and doing it the “old school” way with good old fashion face time and personal loyalty.

As the Republican nomination battle continues, Ron Paul is gaining momentum with a win in the California straw poll and now a  little star power. Over the weekend, actor Vince Vaughn introduced Paul at the Liberty Political Action conference, a  libertarian event in Nevada.  Paul’s son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, posted the evidence on the Texas congressman’s presidential campaign website.  Soon it began making the rounds on Twitter.

According to Paul’s campaign, the Texas congressman is “friends” with the actor.

Jack Hunter, a blogger for Paul’s campaign, says the two first became acquainted two and a half years ago and bonded over their mutual concerns about the Federal Reserve. But Vaughn and Paul kept their friendship private, so much so that many of Paul’s staffers had no idea they knew each other until recently.

That explains why Paul was spotted on the red carpet at the premiere of “Couples Retreat,” a 2009 film starring and produced by Vaughn. 

Vaughn’s Republican roots go back even further, past his “Wedding Crashers” days. His co-star at the time, Owen Wilson, recounts a time  when he and Vaughn tried to get into a private soiree at the Four Seasons, where they stayed while filming in Washington, D.C. “It was for Young Republicans from Texas or something,” Wilson says. “Vince actually is a Republican and they didn’t believe him. They saw me and said, ‘Come on in.’ But to Vince, they said, ‘We know YOU’RE not a Republican.’ ” Vaughn later made up for any hassle by snagging an invite to the White House, getting a private tour and meeting President Bush.

But if Vaughn is looking for another invite, may we suggest a little fundraising effort with that face time.

Politicians as Superheroes? …You Betcha!

Comic books these days have a new generation of heros and heroines… and they’re not celebs. Check out the full scoop from Politico.com.

Here’s what I like:

  • No biased storytelling ( no liberal leanings or conservative messaging)
  • No hidden agendas
  • Affordable ( $4 newstand price)

Given the low approval ratings of so many U.S. politicians nowadays, it’s hard to imagine lawmakers as superheroes. But two individuals are doing their part to change that.

Darren Davis and Jason Schultz are, respectively, the president and executive vice president for business development of Bluewater Productions, a Washington state-based comic book company, and in 2009, they began giving politicians starring roles in their illustrated stories.

Believe it or not, it’s worked.

“Nobody thought we’d be popular,” Davis said. “They think that comic books should be superheroes in tights.”

Defying that stereotype, Bluewater produced comic books starring Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton. Bluewater used those books to launch its “Female Force” series focused on empowering women.

“Back during the last election, we noticed how unfair Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton were being treated in the media. People were commenting more on their clothes than their actual résumés,” Davis said.

More than 25,000 copies of both Clinton and Palin’s comic books were sold, and Davis and Schultz haven’t looked back since, going on to produce comic books on political figures including Colin Powell, Ronald Reagan, Bill O’Reilly, Caroline Kennedy, Al Franken, Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger and George W. Bush. Comic books featuring Jon Stewart and Gen. David Petraeus are currently in the pipeline, and you can expect some cartoon versions of the 2012 presidential hopefuls to hit the shelves in the near future, too.

POLITICO stopped by Bluewater Production’s headquarters — a quiet home in Vancouver, Wash. — for a video tour and interview, which can be viewed at www.politico.com.

Bluewater has gone to great lengths to make sure its books are free of any bias, which has earned the company fans on both sides of the aisle. Bill Clinton’s office reached out for copies of the Hillary book when it came out, and Davis says that Rush Limbaugh is interested in having Bluewater do something on him. Signed copies of their Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton and Barbara Walters comic books hang in the headquarters. Davis said they now field pitches from politicians eager for their own comic book debuts.

Though the story lines are political, there’s no underlying messaging coming from the company, Bluewater insists.

“We don’t want to put our agendas into it because we don’t have an agenda,” Davis said. “That’s very important for this series, so we’ll always pick people from both sides of the fence.”

Well, they do have one agenda: To make money in an industry that has seen better days. And, to their good fortune, political comic books have been a surprising success (the comics have a newsstand price of about $4).

Bluewater’s Michelle Obama comic book has been its bestseller (130,000 copies and counting). “She competes with Justin Bieber just a little bit,” Davis said. “They’re neck and neck.” And the 2012 roster shows some promise.

“Mitt Romney has a really long story and a good story that would actually transfer well into a comic book,” Davis said. “And I also think Michele Bachmann … she’s kind of on the lines of where a Sarah Palin is.”

But Bluewater won’t do simply anything for a buck.

“We’re not going to do an Anthony Weiner story,” Davis said. “We’re not into the whole sensationalism of doing stuff.”

To watch and tour Bluewater, click here.

Three years ago,  Hollywood was high on Obama. Now the low is setting in, and A-listers continue to speak out about their disappointments in the President.  

For actor and director Robert Redford, it’s all about the environment.  In a passionate article on theHuffington Post, this long-time activist is raising a red flag over Obama’s lack of follow-through on environmental promises and  fear Obama is putting corporate profits above public health.

Redford doesn’t mince words saying, “One reason I supported President Obama is because he said we must protect clean air, water and lands. But what good is it to say the right thing unless you act on it?

Since early August, three administration decisions — on Arctic drilling, the Keystone XL pipeline and the ozone that causes smog — have all favored dirty industry over public health and a clean environment. Like so many others, I’m beginning to wonder just where the man stands.”

Ouch! Maybe Redford is looking for the kind of comeback he’s used to seeing in the movies.

When Hollywood celebrity meets politics

With all the political wars in the US, tabloid! I thinks it’s time a real Hollywood hero steps in to set things right. Here are our top picks for the White House.

George Clooney
  • Image Credit: Rex Features
  • George Clooney supported Barack Obama’s campaign in the 2008 presidential election.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert: The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are more than just parodies and punch lines; they’re brilliant, intensely relevant shows that puncture the bloated world of politics, and their success is due directly to their hosts.

George Clooney: This Hollywood pretty boy can raise awareness like no other. A self-described political liberal, in 2003 he opposed the war in Iraq, saying: “You can’t beat your enemy any more through wars; instead you create an entire generation of people seeking revenge. Our opponents are going to resort to car bombs and suicide attacks because they have no other way to win.

“I believe [Donald Rumsfeld, then US Secretary of Defence] thinks this is a war that can be won, but there is no such thing any more. We can’t beat anyone any more.”

Clooney supported Barack Obama’s campaign in the 2008 presidential election. Still, few outspoken actors get the opportunity to bend the president’s ear at the White House, as Clooney did.

Angelina Jolie: She is not as overtly political as other celebrities, but her influence is undeniable. Whether she’s rubbing elbows with White House cabinet members, donating millions to various charities or pushing for legislation to aid Third World children, Jolie has arguably accomplished more with her celebrity than many politicians do with endless meetings and back-room deals.

Quote (on Charlie Rose in 2007): “Anything you work on somehow at the end of the day connects back to kids, whether it be projects in Cambodia or some big idea I’ve got about justice and accountability in the world.”

Oprah Winfrey: When this woman endorses something, people pay attention. In 2008, she broke her policy of not endorsing political candidates to back Barack Obama, a move which many analysts believe may have delivered him the Democratic presidential nomination and later the presidency. Deposed Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich even considered offering Obama’s vacant Senate seat to Winfrey, given how she chose to wield her considerable influence.

Ben Affleck: The Hollywood hunk has a refreshing attitude. Although an outspoken liberal, Affleck showed a gentlemanly objectiveness at the Convention when he shared his views with Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly.

“And I don’t have no interest in demonising anybody. I think when you demonise your political opponent, you do yourself a disservice because you stop talking about what’s important, what they’re really doing, and you make it about …all these attacks.

“Bush is patriot and he’s a man who believes in the country. He’s trying to further an agenda he believes in. I happen to disagree with most of his policies, but I respect the man.”

Matt Damon: He appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews and, while discussing the war in Iraq, said: “I don’t think that it’s fair, as I said before, that it seems like we have a fighting class in our country that’s comprised of people who have to go for either financial reasons, or … if you’re gonna send people to war, then that needs to be shared by everybody.”

In 2008, a video was released on YouTube by the Associated Press in which Damon criticised the Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whom he found unready to lead the US in case John McCain were to not make it through his first term. Damon referred to Palin as a “bad Disney movie”.

“‘I’m just a hockey mum from Alaska here to take on the White House,’” he said. “It’s absurd. I need to know if she really thinks dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago. Because she’s gonna have the nuclear codes.”

Sean Penn: On October 18, 2002, Penn placed a $56,000 advertisement in the Washington Post asking then President George W. Bush to end a cycle of violence. It was written as an open letter and referred to the planned attack on Iraq and the War on Terror. In the letter, Penn also criticised the Bush administration for its “deconstruction of civil liberties” and its “simplistic and inflammatory view of good and evil”.

Penn visited Iraq briefly in December 2002.

Alec Baldwin: He serves on the board of People for the American Way. During his appearance on the comedy show Late Night with Conan O’Brien on December 12, 1998, eight days before then President Bill Clinton was to be impeached, Baldwin said, “If we were in another country… we would stone Henry Hyde to death and we would go to their homes and kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families, for what they’re doing to this country.”

Baldwin later apologised for the remarks. If he were to get involved in electoral politics, Baldwin said in a 2006 interview with the New York Times, his preferred office would be the Governor of New York.

Susan Sarandon: Noted for her active support of progressive and left-liberal political causes, ranging from donations made to organisations such as EMILY’s List, to expressing support for various human rights causes.

In March Sarandon spoke before a crowd in Madison, Wisconsin, during a protest of Governor Scott Walker and his Budget Repair Bill. Sarandon stated she was firmly against the concept of the war as a pre-emptive strike.

In the 2008 US presidential election, Sarandon and then partner Tim Robbins campaigned for John Edwards in the New Hampshire communities of Hampton, Bedford and Dover. When asked at then We Vote ’08 Kickoff Party, “What would Jesus do this primary season,” Sarandon said: “I think Jesus would be very supportive of John Edwards.”

Whoopi Goldberg: At a John Kerry fundraiser, Goldberg delivered several crude puns on Bush’s name. Complaints led to Goldberg’s firing as a Slim-Fast spokeswoman and admonishments from both parties.

 

Supermodel success, a rock star marriage to David Bowie and her own $25-million-a-year cosmetics company… not bad for a little girl who’s blossomed from the despairs of Somalia.  

But these days, Iman’s roots are dry. Somalia is facing its worst drought in 60 years. It’s at the epicenter of the crisis affecting nearly 12 million people in Africa and she’s not about to sit on her pretty little booty in one of her fancy houses and pretend it isn’t happening. “ Somali people like me are angry, frustrated and heartbroken, but we don’t give in to despair”, she says.  

Below she’s outlined 5 seeds for hope for Somalia. Afterall , Iman does mean “faith” in Arabic.
1. The strength of our women: I have always believed, as an African, that solutions and the future of Africa are actually in the hands of Africans, especially women. Even if governments don’t have all the solutions, individuals, especially women, can empower themselves and take care of their own families and strengthen communities. For example, I admire the spirit of Dr. Hawa Abdi and her foundation, one of Somalia’s first NGOs, whose Hawa Abdi Village provides health care, training for nurses and midwives and education for women and children. She and her two daughters save lives every day, mostly of malnourished children from all clans. They also work to end sexual and gender-based violence. When you support homegrown, local solutions like this, it is transparent. You know how you are helping a person; you can actually see her become more self-reliant.

2. The strength of our families: Aid agencies such as Save the Children are indeed saving the lives of children as they arrive in feeding centers. They’ve already helped more than a million people across East Africa. But more people are at risk of famine, and more aid is needed now, even as we look toward long-term solutions, led by African community leaders on the ground.

I was born in Mogadishu, and my family fled to Kenya and received asylum there in 1972, when I was in my teens. My father had been a diplomat to Saudi Arabia (which is today the largest Muslim donor to Somalia relief efforts). So I went from a privileged life, being driven to school by a chauffeur, to “Fetch for yourself.” I have learned that true wealth is not measured by possessions but by relationships, especially the sense of kinship. In Somalia, we never knew the word “orphan.” A child in need would simply be taken in by extended family or a clan member. We’d take care of our own. The idea of displaced people and refugees was alien. The fact that this is no longer the case in Somalia shows the rending of our social fabric. To reweave the social safety net, therefore, we must support families in staying together and providing for themselves.

3. The strength of our communities: The last time I saw my Uncle Ibrahim was in Baidoa, a city in south-central Somalia, in 1992. I had gone there with a BBC film crew to document the famine there. Uncle Ibrahim said, “Just make sure that Somalis don’t leave Somalia in droves, because then who is going to take care of Somalia if all the Somalis leave?” As bad as the famine was 19 years ago, I never thought it would get this bad, the kind of mass exodus we’re seeing now. The world’s largest refugee camp is now Dadaab, Kenya, which has become Kenya’s third largest city. About 1,500 Somali refugees arrive in Dadaab every day, according to UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency. They need food, shelter, medical care and security. They also need viable, durable solutions on where to resettle or how to return to Somalia in the long-term, because the goal cannot be to park them in refugee tents indefinitely.

At the same time, some Somali communities are showing resilience and a greater degree of self-sufficiency. And that is a foundation to build on. For example, the drought is most severe in Northern Somalia, where the land is more arid. But the North has not seen famine, because the clan elders there are overseeing social peace, and the Somaliland government is maintaining a reasonable level of security that allows for the flow of food aid and international assistance. That’s why a lot of Somali people displaced from the South are heading not across international borders, but up North to Somaliland. So not everything in Somalia is a complete failure; there is reason to hope. And one big reason is the durability and flexibility of our social fabric, when the strands are properly woven together.

4. The strength of international sisterhood: I believe in the power of an individual to make a difference. I have my eye on a new initiative, Sister Somalia, a collaboration between A Thousand Sisters, Prism Partnerships and the Elman Peace & Human Rights Center in Mogadishu. Their website states:

“No place in the world has been more written off than Somalia.  And in Somalia, no one has been more written off than women. Violence is rampant and women bear the brunt of it: rape, torture, forced marriages to terrorist insurgents, on top of the utter vulnerability of just trying to keep themselves and their children alive. When a woman is raped, then ostracized, where can she go? Nowhere. In fact, Somalia was recently ranked as one of the five worst places for women, and due to the security situation, it is also likely the least served. Sister Somalia aims to change that.”

Their aim: to launch Mogadishu’s first sexual violence hotline, while serving 300 women a year with counseling, medical services and business starter kits.

5. The opportunity to re-envision: When the immediacy of this crisis fades, and the news cameras move on, what then? I don’t have all the solutions. No one does. But it’s time to convene Somali leaders, and African regional leaders, and start imagining alternatives. Since the militant organization Al-Shabaab has pulled back from most of Mogadishu, an opportunity now exists to fill the void with a stronger interim government that respects human rights and that is less corrupt, more credible, more transparent and more accountable. This is not merely an opportunity to create a security envelope in which food aid can be delivered. This is a potential opening to re-envision how Somali people can rebuild their livelihoods, their communities and their state governance.

Barack Obama was  in Vogue Saturday night at a star-studded fundraiser thrown by the magazine diva herself, Anna Wintour.

The fashion goddess didn’t disappoint with big names, a big turnout and big bucks for Obama.

While Republicans focused the weekend on Iowa, it was fundraising time at Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman’s West Village townhouse.

Tickets sold for $35,800 a person!

The President himself arrived a little  past 7pm and stayed for about two hours.

As for the guests, celebs included: Gwyneth Paltrow and rocker husband Chris Martin,  Jimmy Fallon,Vera Wang, Alicia Keys and NY governor Andrew Cuomo.

Singer, songwriter and pianist John Legend likes to keep tuned into the political world. On the heels of the Ames Straw Poll, Legend took to his Twitter to comment about the Republican contenders. 

While the media playing up Mitt Romney (former MA Gov) and Rep. Michele Bachmann ( R-MN)… Legend has another prediction. Check out in his own words:

Legend: “Rick Perry is gonna win the GOP nomination.”

1 hr later:

Legend: ” I think the GOP will love his Texas swagger. Romney is too much like John Kerry for them.Then we’ll see if America is ready for a Texas governor with even worse grades than Bush.”

Why Michael Moore thinks Matt Damon could be President

From: celebs.gather.com

Politics and Hollywood do mix according to Michael Moore. The documentary filmmaker says he thinks actor Matt Damon should be the next president of the United States. He is not joking, either.

The outspoken liberal truly believes the Hollywood movie star is bright enough and big enough as a star celeb with political clout that come election time, he might just be able to knock it out of the park if he went head-to-head with incumbent president Barack Obama.

The news that Moore is publicly endorsing a political campaign run for president by Damon came as new news to the famous actor. The filmmaker spoke out to the press saying essentially that since the Bourne Identity star has been speaking out about politics and voicing his concerns about national issues that he has emerged as a voice representing both pragmatic independent and liberal voices.

The idea of a Hollywood star running for political office is not a strange concept to those who would be most likely to elect Matt Damon. Hollywood Dame reports:

Director Michael Moore has publicly called on Damon to run for U.S. president next year after praising him for taking a “courageous” stand against key political issues. Damon joined a teachers’ protest in Washington, D.C. last month to rally against standardized testing, and he recently voiced his disgust at the way politicians were stalling on a deal to raise the U.S. national debt ceiling.

With Hollywood appeal and common sense, he could garner a great number of votes should he choose to run for office.

Why?

Because Generation X grew up understanding as teens that former President Ronald Reagan had a long, successful career in films before he began his career in politics. Before then, Baby Boomers watched him in movies with their WWII Generation parents long before he became one of the United States’ most beloved Republican presidents.

MattDamonBUWill Michael Moore giving his political endorsement to Matt Damon carry any weight with either the actor or voters who might potentially ask him to run for president? Only time will tell. Until then, keeping your ears open for personal comments to the media about his social and political philosophy as much or more than keeping your eyes on his red carpet appearances might be prudent.

Would you vote for the Good Will Hunting and Ocean’s Eleven actor if he ran for president against Barack Obama? Would you vote for him after Obama completed eight years as the next registered independent or Democratic liberal? Do you think he would make a better leader than someone like actor George Clooney—who has been playing politics and dabbling in international human rights campaigns for years?

Follow @celebrityauto to keep up with the latest Hollywood gossip and casual conversations.

Image: Courtesy Getty Images

Wow…GORGEOUS!.  Their marriage didn’t work out but Arnold and Maria sure know how to make a beautiful kid!

 Katherine Schwarzengger, 21, is the oldest of their four kids. This week in  USMagazine she sheds light on her parent’s divorce:

“When [the separation] started happening, it was like everything came of nowhere overnight,” she said. “I would go out to lunch, and literally 20 people would come and scream at me. And I’m like, This is so inappropriate; you’re trying to provoke me to have an attack and say something crazy.”

Despite her parents’ marriage unraveling, she believes that “everything happens for a reason,” and admitted that “a lot of the time, it’s hard to understand in the moment why things are happening.”

Kelsey Grammer, Alec Baldwin, Frankie Muniz and Ricky Schroder are the latest celebs to mention their interest in running for public office.

Now Alan Schroder, journalism professor and author of “Celebrity-in-Chief: How to Show Business Took Over the White House”, weighs in on the history of celebrities who run for office and analyzes the advantages they have over traditional candidates.

Check out his thoughts from http://www.northeastern.edu

Can celebrity candidates be taken seriously, or do voters tend to view them with skepticism?

Schroder: Celebrity candidates have a tendency to want to start at the top, rather than paying their dues and learning politics from the ground up. In this way, fame creates a sense of entitlement that may turn off the electorate. On the other hand, their lack of practical experience can also be viewed as a positive, given voters’ cynicism toward career politicians these days. Much depends on the individual celebrity and his or her background. The smart ones will make a gradual transition into politics, thus allowing the public to get comfortable with the rebranding.

What advantages do celebrities have over traditional candidates?

Schroder: The key advantage is name recognition. Only a handful of politicians achieve the level of fame that TV and movie stars routinely enjoy. Celebrity candidates, such as Kelsey Grammer, also have the luxury of operating with complete financial independence. He has so much money that he can devote himself full-time to campaigning, without the fund-raising headaches that traditional candidates must face and without selling himself out to special-interest groups.

Who was the first celebrity–turned–public servant, and might the trend continue?

Schroder: The obvious name that springs to mind is Ronald Reagan, who was elected governor of California in 1966 after a 30-year Hollywood career. However, two years before that, Californians elected a different actor, the song-and-dance man George Murphy, to the U.S. Senate. Interestingly, both Reagan and Murphy had served stints as presidents of the Screen Actors Guild, which gave them valuable political experience before they ran for office. In the years since, there have been dozens of celebrity candidates, mostly from the worlds of entertainment and sports, and they’ve included Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. These candidates have had varying levels of success. But there’s no reason to believe the trend won’t continue—if anything, considering the public fascination with celebrities, it will probably intensify.
For more information, please contact Jordana Torres at 617-373-5471 or at j.torres@neu.edu.