- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 28, 2011

Politicians hope Swift puts listeners in giving mood

It’s just about every political nerd’s dream.

“Fairytale” songbird Taylor Swift will welcome seven members of Congress, including six Republicans, at her two performances in the District next week.

According to the Sunlight Foundation’s Party Time blog, South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune, Alabama Republican Rep. Jo Bonner, New York Republican Rep. Michael G. Grimm, Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price, Texas Republican Rep. Kay Granger and North Carolina Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler are scheduled to hold fundraisers during Miss Swift’s first show in the District.

The 21-year-old country-pop singer’s Verizon Center concerts, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, are sold out.

Georgia Republican Rep. Paul C. Broun is set to visit Miss Swift’s second D.C. concert.

Last year, Mississippi Republican Rep. Gregg Harper, Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Mr. Price raised funds at Miss Swift’s Verizon Center event.

The Grammy Award-winning singer is not the first pop star to have political fundraisers at one of her concerts. New Jersey Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg hosted a fundraiser last year during Lady Gaga’s show in the nation’s capital.

‘Jackass’ star hospitalized after tumble down stairs

“Jackass” cast member Bam Margera landed himself in the hospital after stumbling down a flight of stairs, according to TMZ.

The 31-year-old professional skateboarder took a plunge while “tackling” his neighbor on the stairs.

Mr. Margera said the two were racing upstairs because he had promised to give his neighbor a skateboard should he lose the race. While dashing upstairs, Mr. Margera fell backward.

“Somehow I wound up tumbling down the stairs,” Mr. Margera explained to TMZ. “I tackled my neighbor and fell down the stairs horsing around. I’m still in the hospital.”

Mr. Margera said he doesn’t know how severe his injuries are, but he told the online celebrity news site that he may have broken his arm and some ribs.

Star of the show “Jackass,” a reality series about taking dangerous and sometimes deadly risks, Mr. Margera isn’t new to hospital visits.

In one of the early seasons of “Jackass,” Mr. Margera broke his tailbone during a bucket-car ride, which ended with the celebrity getting rushed to the hospital. The star skateboarder also had a major flub when skateboarding down a railway when he hit the pavement face first. During another skateboarding mishap, Mr. Margera made the wrong move and ended up ripping his liver.

Clooney set to unveil politically charged film

As Americans become increasingly fascinated by the budget battle and frustrated with politicians, George Clooney will soon unveil a film that questions the moral compass of Washington’s political swamp.

Mr. Clooney co-wrote, directs and stars in “The Ides of March,” a political drama slated for release this fall. Production originally was to start shortly after President Obama was elected, but Mr. Clooney and his co-writer, Grant Heslov, thought Americans were too elated about the recent election to identify with the film’s characters.

“We were in preproduction on this,” Mr. Clooney told USA Today. “We were really getting close to starting up. But I remember sitting in a restaurant with Grant when Obama won, and we both realized we couldn’t make this movie right now. Everyone was so hopeful and happy. Now, the cynicism has come back around, so it’s time.”

The movie is based on Beau Willimon’s play “Farragut North.” It follows a young Howard Deanesque staffer’s struggle with a political scandal upon entering the realm of politics. The staffer, played by Ryan Gosling, is press secretary to a morally dubious presidential candidate played by Mr. Clooney.

“It’s really about a character who drank the Kool-Aid,” Mr. Heslov said.

Mr. Clooney has long proclaimed his liberal views. In 2006, when the Hollywood playboy released “Good Night, and Good Luck,” his cinematic retelling of Edward R. Murrow’s career, he told Newsweek he loved being labeled “liberal.”

“I’m going to keep saying ‘liberal’ as loud as I can and as often as I can,” Mr. Clooney said.

His latest flick, however, doesn’t favor a particular political party.

“We’re not trying to be polarizing,” Mr. Clooney said. “Republicans hate the beginning of the movie, Democrats hate the end. So, we’re good.”

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