Where’s Arnold?

That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.


In the midst of a Writers Guild strike — Hollywood is getting more caustic. Each side, management and labor, is pessimistic about a settlement any time soon. Not even the federal mediator has been able to resolve this. So there are rumblings that some kind of an outside peacemaker will be needed to settle things. Antonio Villaraigosa has offered to step in and try to bring both sides together, but those entreaties have so far been declined. My guess is that his past work as a labor organizer make management a bit wary of his ability to see their side, not to mention that he probably doesn’t fully grasp the intricasies of the issues involved.

So why not Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger? He so far is staying out of it. “The entertainment business is a very, very important industry to the state, but other options exist,” Schwarzenegger’s press rep told the Politico.

After all, where is the upside for him to step into this fray, even if by experience he knows the issues well?  With the state facing a fiscal crisis from the housing downturn, how can he justify devoting time and energy to a Hollywood dispute over residuals?

One problem is that Schwarzenegger and Villaraigosa have not been more public in talking about the potential economic damage that the strike will generate in the region, as Richard Riordan did in the run up to the  2001 negotiations. Back then, Riordan’s team conducted a study that mapped out the potential losses to Los Angeles from the downturn in production and the loss of jobs. Now, with  shows like “Desperate Housewives” already shutting down, agencies cutting costs and threatening layoffs and studios looking to cut production deals, the impact is already being felt.

Today, the Los Angeles City Council will take up a resolution, put forward by Council President Eric Garcetti, urging both sides to go back to the table and offering City Hall offices free of charge for talks. That could at least help frame this as a problem for the entire region, as opposed to a skirmish between rich Hollywood people. So, in this environment couldn’t Schwarzenegger have an extra reason to step in, that he’s looking out for the economy, for the good of all, as opposed to merely his Hollywood friends? What’s more, as he and Michael Bloomberg promote the idea of post-partisanship centrism, this could be an effective way to show his skills at bringing divergent factions together, albeit on a smaller scale.

While that would seem to be a savvy political move, but he first has to be asked. And at this point, management is not jumping at the prospect of bringing a political entity into the strike. As much as the guild may want someone like Arnold, in management’s eyes this is an industry issue where government is best kept at arm’s length. Their stance is that they will resume talking once the writers end the strike. To add a politician to the equation creates a new level of spin and uncertainty.

Ph2007110601683 “Recount” Revelry: HBO’s “Recount,” chronicling the disputed 2000 presidential election, is shooting in Tallahassee, Fla. As Wonkette reports, Laura Dern (right) created a few waves in her role as Katherine Harris.

Bundler Bonanza: Barack Obama is expected to release a new report with more details on his campaign bundlers, those fund-raisers who are viewed as critical to campaigns in that they are the ones who round up all the $2,300 donors. His spokesman, Bill Burton, tells ABC News that the list will include the names and the levels that they have raised. Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards have each made public their list of bundlers, but the have been short of many details. And in Edwards’ case, some of those bundlers are not bundlers at all, but merely event co-hosts. For instance, he lists Norman Lear as a bundler. Lear, however, has yet to endorse any candidate nor has he been raising money in the race.

Farrow’s Voice:
Mia Farrow is pessimistic about China’s progress in stopping the genocide in Darfur, and is once again calling on Steven Spielberg to resign his post as an artistic adviser to the Olympics.

She writes on Huffington Post, “There could be no better measure of how accommodating Beijing remains of Khartoum’s genocidal ambitions; the Chinese are looking at the failure of the rebel peace talks in Libya and in particular the no-shows by rebel leaders as having diffused international attention to the Government of Sudan’s role in what is now occurring on the ground in Darfur. The terrible bottom line is that China continues to underwrite genocide in Darfur.

It is past time that Steven Spielberg withdraw his artistic participation in the Beijing-hosted 2008 Olympics. Despite his excellent letter to Chinese President Hu last April, he continues as artistic director of the Olympic games and in so doing lends China his own moral authority. But while thousands are dying in Darfur Spielberg has been filming Indiana Jones part 4.”

Obama Bias: The New York Observer asks whether “Saturday Night Live” is biased toward Barack Obama, given the affinity of some of their writers. But the scribes, reached on the picket lines, say that he has yet to define himself enough to be caricatured by the show. Producer Lorne Michaels says, “He is not as defined to our audience as he is to political reporters.” Michaels, by the way, is listed as a bundler for Chris Dodd.

Borat’s Bias: Here’s where Borat, aka Sacha Baron Cohen, stands on the presidential race: “I cannot believe that it possible a woman can become Premier of US and A – in Kazakhstan, we say that to give a woman power, is like to give a monkey a gun – very dangerous. We do not give monkeys guns any more in Kazakhstan ever since the Astana Zoo massacre of 2003 when Torkin the orang-utan shoot 17 schoolchildrens. I personal would like the basketball player, Barak Obamas to be Premier.”

Gore More: Undaunted as the deadlines pass, Draft Gore groups are running ads in various states to recruit the former vice president. A Draft Gore concert was cancelled in Iowa this weekend, but signature gatherers in California say they are halfway toward their goal of getting him on the ballot for the state’s primary, reports the Washington Times. And here’s folk singer Paul Kaplan’s ode to Gore.

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