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Political Mercury

Oscars and Republicans, the $27 man and no beer for Huckabee


Jamie Lee Curtis, a Golden Globe-winning actress, said that had she been nominated for this year’s Academy Awards she’d attend rather than joining the boycott of some in the film industry protesting the total absence (whiteout) of minorities in acting categories.

“Of course I would,” she tells us. “It is not a racist organization. I would have much more difficulty showing up to a Republican event, which I think have either overt or covert racist ideologies. I don’t believe that the Academy of Arts and Sciences is a racist group of people.”

Curtis, a lifelong Democrat whose parents, actresses Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh performed at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, made the remarks in response to questions from this newspaper following her appearance in Carroll Sunday on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“I think that the rules of membership should reflect the diversity of our industry, and they don’t,” Curtis said. “Having said that, it is a subjective art form. You are voting for who you think the best is, and I don’t believe that there’s a racist overlay to people’s choice.”

The issue is a lack of career opportunities, which Curtis said has to do more with the production end of show business.

Prep Iowa

Only white actors and actresses were chosen in the top four acting categories for the second year in a row.

Alejandro González Iñárritu, a Latino, is nominated for best director for “The Revenant,” which is positioned to be a major winner on Oscar night after doing well at the Golden Globes. Curtis described “The Revenant” as outstanding.

  • • •

Follow the money.

It’s time-honored advice in journalism and investigations.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders last Tuesday urged a crowd of more than 300 people at Santa Maria Winery in Carroll to follow suit and give careful scrutiny to the origins of spending for presidential aspirants, saying Wall Street interests and billionaire investors and industrialists have long, shadowy reaches into decisions of the nation’s elected leaders. The result, Sanders said, is a rigged economy.

A king’s ransom of political ads popping up after punts on televised football games and bulging from virtually every newscast in the Hawkeye State are funded through large super political action committees — organizations that collect vast sums from special interests with limited reporting.

“Trust me, the billionaire class is thinking very big,” Sanders said.

He added, “I don’t want their money. We’re not going to ask for their money.”

Instead, Sanders, who grew up as a son of Polish immigrants in post-World War II working-class Brooklyn, New York, is cobbling his funding together in small donations. In the last nine months, Sanders said, he’s received 2.5 million individual donations averaging $27.

Sanders says that financial fact positions him as a man untethered to the ruling classes, a politician who can challenge what he calls a “grotesque and immoral level” of wealth and income inequality.

“I’m not one of those guys who was destined to become president of the United States,” Sanders said.

  • • •

An evangelical Christian pastor, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tells us he’s never had a beer in his life.

Not as a teen or young man. Not even a sip.

“I really haven’t,” Huckabee told this newspaper last Wednesday in Carroll. “I never thought it was that big a story, but it’s blown up all over the Internet.”

Carroll’s a well-known beer-drinking county so this might a good place to start, we told the governor.

“I’m sure it is,” Huckabee said.

But as a teenager, Huckabee said, a friend offered him a beer and he never got over the smell.

“It smelled like something that had gone bad,” Huckabee said.

What would it take to get Huckabee to try a beer?

Winning the 2016 Iowa caucuses?

“No, it’s repulsive to me,” he said. “If you want to offer me a bucket of chicken, I’m all there. Then I have a natural inclination. But something that is repulsive? It’s like, would I smoke a cigar? Would I snort cocaine? No. Because I’d have no interest in it. It’s not appealing.” CV

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman who resides in Carroll. He and his family own and publish newspapers in Carroll, Jefferson and other neighboring communities.

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