MILLION DOLLAR BILL
Don't think for a moment that former President Bill Clinton has lost his Hollywood touch. Tickets costing up to $1 million each go on sale Thursday for "A Decade of Difference," a glittering concert in the Hollywood Bowl to celebrate Mr. Clinton, his foundation and his 65th birthday. Lady Gaga will perform, along with Usher, The Edge and Bono. General tickets for the Oct. 15 event are $50. But "VIP packages" range from $10,000 to $1 million for the concert and related events like a celebrity sound check, a golf outing, birthday gala and a brunch hosted by daughter Chelsea Clinton and husband Marc Mezvinsky.
The money goes to benefit the William J. Clinton Foundation and the performers are described as an "all-star group of the most influential and socially responsible artists." Well, OK. A review, rating and current financial records of the foundation can be found at www.charitynavigator.org, an online evaluator.
Many tried to predict what Mr. Clinton, now a meat-free vegan, would do when he left office a decade ago. A statesman, a professor or perhaps "First Gentleman" if Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the presidency someday? Inquiring minds also wonder if Mr. Clinton, the uber-campaigner, will boost President Obama's re-election quest. We'll see. It could only help. Mr. Clinton remains a master of showbiz, not to mention fundraising.
A new Harris Poll finds that the level of alienation among Americans has jumped up 11 points in one year, one of the highest single year movements ever. The last time the index jumped by this much was from 1972 to 1973 during the Nixon administration," the pollster reports.
Harris found that 83 percent of Americans thought "the people in Washington are out of touch with the rest of the country." Last year, it was 70 percent. Another 73 percent agreed that "the people running the country don't really care what happens to you," compared to 50 percent last year. And one more: Two-thirds now agree that "what you think doesn't count very much anymore." Fifty two percent felt that way in 2010.
"This anger needs to be directed some place," observes Harris analyst Regina Corso, "It seems Americans have looked at an entire group of people — those in Washington and those running the country — and found they are worthy of the blame."
VICE PRESIDENT NEWT
Romney/Gingrich 2012? Perry/Gingrich? It could happen. Voters and pundits alike are starting to realize that Newt Gingrich has positioned himself as the sole adult in the room, at least when the Republican presidential hopefuls gather to debate and/or fingerpoint and squabble.
"Gingrich is making an impression on Republicans who want to see more unity of purpose in the campaign in opposition to Obama rather than each other. His best quality, though, is his ability to push back against the media, both in and out of the debates," observes Ed Morrissey of HotAir.com.
"Putting Gingrich on a ticket means having him front and center, defending the eventual nominee against all sorts of charges and allowing him to be an attack dog against the Democratic ticket."
It's not just polar bears perched on melting icebergs anymore, apparently.
"Streets can become rivers, mountains can become mudslides, forests can become kindling," says Al Gore, who launches what's billed as a Climate Reality Project on Wednesday night — yet another global warming alarm frontloaded with new terms like "cataclysmic weather events." But, uh, what's he doing exactly?
"It will consist of a new multimedia presentation created by Al Gore and delivered once per hour for 24 hours, representing every time zone around the globe," explain production notes.
Yeah well. If curiosity comes to call, see it here: http://climaterealityproject.org. Mr. Gore, incidentally, has attracted plenty of partners — 51 in fact, ranging from the Hip Hop Caucus to the National Wildlife Federation, Greenpeace and Rock the Vote.
WE THE PEOPLE
"We want our children and grandchildren to be taught the meaning and significance of the fundamental documents that created our great nation," the Tea Party Patriots have declared. That in mind, the coalition, which represents 3,500 local tea party groups, are reminding public school administrators about some overlooked legislation.
Passed by Congress seven years ago, Public Law 108-447, section 111 states that "each educational institution that receives federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students."
Many administrators are simply unaware of the law, and not in compliance. Tea partyers in Ohio, Nevada, California, North Carolina, Arizona, Colorado and other states have contacted school officials and media about the law, suggested some appropriate curriculum. The results, as Constitution Day approaches Saturday? "Overwhelming success," the participants say.
That success could hinge on their wise civility. "Be very polite and not demanding," the official project guidelines advise.
POLL DU JOUR
• 68 percent of likely U.S. voters say it is unlikely that a third party candidate will win the White House in 2012.
• 53 percent say it's likely a third party candidate could win the presidency in the next 10 to 12 years.
• 65 percent of unaffiliated voters, 62 percent of tea party members and 58 percent of Republicans agree.
• 38 percent overall say this prospect is unlikely.
• 47 percent of Democrats agree.
• 46 percent overall say 2012 is not a "good time" to consider a third-party candidate.
• 51 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of Democrats agree.
• 27 percent say voters should consider a third party candidate next year.
• 40 percent of unaffiliated voters and 31 percent of tea partyers agree.
Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Sept. 8-9.
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