Go get ’em, Bruce!

The Boss Takes on the Boss in U.S. Campaign Tour
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Boss is going up against the boss.
Bruce Springsteen, the U.S. rock icon known as The Boss, will join two dozen other stars in nine “battleground” states for a rock ‘n’ roll tour aimed at ousting President Bush, organizers said on Wednesday.
The “Vote for Change” tour — 34 shows in 28 cities — is scheduled for the first week of October, one month before the U.S. presidential election.
“The tour is aimed squarely at the radical right wing policies of Republican ideologues throughout the country,” said Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn PAC, the online liberal political action committee presenting the tour.
Six concert lineups will play simultaneous shows in a blitz of so-called swing states — those that could go either Democrat or Republican in November: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin.
“I felt like I couldn’t have written the music I’ve written, and been on stage singing about the things that I’ve sung about for the last 25 years and not take part in this particular election,” said Springsteen, who has avoided direct political work in the past.
Dave Matthews, James Taylor, the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt are among the performers donating their talent and time to get Democrat John Kerry into the White House.
Proceeds from the tour go to America Coming Together, another liberal political action group.
“A vote for change is a vote for a stronger, safer, healthier America,” Matthews said. “A vote for Bush is a vote for a divided, unstable, paranoid America.”


Welcome to Canada, Bono!

U2 singer Bono to attend next week’s Liberal leadership convention
TORONTO (AFP) – U2 singer Bono will voice his views on helping Third World nations with generic drugs and debt relief next week at the Liberal Party convention, where a new leader — virtually certain to be Paul Martin — will be elected.

“Paul Martin asked Bono whether he would come to speak at the convention about these issues (access for poorer nations to generic drugs for AIDS and debt relief) and he agreed to do that,” a senior Martin advisor, Richard Mahoney, told CBC Newsworld Wednesday.
“It will hopefully provide some interesting discussions,” he added, noting that they spoke a couple of weeks ago about attending the Toronto event.
In 2000, the Grammy award-winning singer praised Martin’s efforts to ease the burden of debt of poorer nations.
Former finance minister Martin, who has nearly crushed all challengers except one longshot, will take over as Liberal leader at the party convention November 14.
Speculation is mounting that Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who will relinquish the Liberal Party title to Martin, could bring forward his announced retirement in February as prime minister.
Mahoney said Bono’s speech would help “set the tone for the convention that evening.
“Mr. Martin will be speaking later on in the evening to focus the convention … on some of the kind of issues M. Martin would like to focus on, including his own view of restoring Canada’s place in terms of debate in the world,” the advisor said.
Asked if Bono will sing at the convention, Mahoney said he’s likely only to speak, but hinted “I’m sure we’ll try to throw a spare CD on” for theme music.


Its the Austrian dream, I mean AMERICAN dream come true.

Schwarzenegger Goes From Screen to Office
LOS ANGELES – For Arnold Schwarzenegger, becoming governor of California is just the latest astonishing transformation in a lifetime full of them.
From humble beginnings as a farmboy in Austria, Schwarzenegger turned himself into the world’s greatest bodybuilder and Hollywood’s biggest action star. Along the way, he married into America’s leading political dynasty, wedding Kennedy relative and Democrat Maria Shriver.
Now the Republican actor has been elected leader of the most populous state in America. As he often promised on the campaign trail, the man best known as the “Terminator” helped terminate Democratic Gov. Gray Davis less than a year into his second term.
In a two-month campaign full of mind-bending twists and turns, Schwarzenegger’s victory followed a series of shocking accusations. A parade of women came forward in the campaign’s final days to say Schwarzenegger fondled and touched them in unwanted sexual advances. And Schwarzenegger had to defend himself against reports that as a youth he had made admiring comments about Hitler.
Schwarzenegger denied the Hitler claims, which also were refuted by associates. He dismissed some of the groping allegations as lies while admitting to wrongdoing and apologizing. “I have behaved badly sometimes,” he said.
By the time those charges surfaced in the campaign’s wild final days, the juggernaut Schwarzenegger launched in announcing his candidacy on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” could not be stopped. Voters’ desire to oust the deeply unpopular Davis was too sharp to curb.
The schoolboy who once told disbelieving companions he would become a champion bodybuilder in America had done it again.
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger, 56, was born in the southern Austrian farming town of Thal in 1947. His father, Gustav, was a local police chief and Nazi Party member. An investigation by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, to which Schwarzenegger has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars, concluded that he joined the party voluntarily but found no evidence he committed war crimes.
Schwarzenegger is remembered in Thal as a reserved boy who was obsessed from an early age with developing his muscles. He would do pull-ups and other exercises from an iron bar erected between two trees.
“His only interest was in shaping his body in hopes of one day becoming Mr. Universe,” his first trainer, Kurt Marnul, told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “His ambition was so great.”
He first captured that title at 20, only a year after leaving his boyhood home for good. He ended up winning a total of 13 championship titles, including Mr. Universe, Mr. Olympia and Mr. World.
Schwarzenegger first gained attention as an actor for his appearance in the 1977 bodybuilding documentary “Pumping Iron.” Over the next decades, he starred in numerous films, including 1982’s “Conan the Barbarian,” 1984’s “The Terminator,” plus two sequels, and 1990’s “Total Recall” and “Kindergarten Cop.”
His entry to public life began when he became involved with the Special Olympics. He soon started an after-school programs foundation now active in 15 cities and served as chairman of President George H.W. Bush’s council on physical fitness.
He first considered a run for governor last year, but opted out after deciding he could not break his contract for “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” which was released this summer.
Instead he sponsored Proposition 49, an initiative that would devote as much as $550 million annually to before- and after-school programs. The measure passed by a large margin with bipartisan support last year, although it remains unfunded because of the state’s budget deficit.
Politically, Schwarzenegger describes himself as fiscally conservative and socially moderate.
As he has staked out positions, he has sometimes seemed to split down the middle on issues, giving both liberals and conservatives something to like.

He supports abortion rights but opposes partial-birth abortion and believes in parental consent. He supports an assault weapons ban but speaks in favor of the right to bear arms. He took a stance against a bill to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, but also opposed Proposition 54, the initiative to prohibit the state from collecting most racial data.
On the campaign trail, Schwarzenegger says he wants to be governor to give back to the state that’s given him so much.
After getting involved with community service and working with after-school programs, he realized helping others offered more rewards than a career focused only on self-promotion, he told The Associated Press in an interview.
“I found a new me,” Schwarzenegger said. “When I first came over to America, it was all about me, me, me. It was like, ‘How can I be rich? How can I build my movie career? How can I become the most muscular man?’ It was all about me, and then there was like this turn and I found it was really great to do this.”


I wonder if she actually wishes she WAS Britney! Hmmm…

Maryland’s First Lady Rues Spears Remark
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (Reuters) – Maryland’s first lady was only joking when she said she would like to shoot pop star Britney Spears, but on Tuesday it was no longer a laughing matter.
Kendel Ehrlich, wife of the state’s Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich, had been criticizing what she views as the entertainment industry’s negative influence on youth, during a domestic violence prevention conference last week in the city of Frederick.
“Really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would,” Ehrlich laughingly told the audience, accusing the 21-year-old Grammy Award-nominated singer of exaggerating the importance of sex for young girls.
Spears, a former Mickey Mouse Club member and once-demure pop princess, has recently begun to refashion herself as a sex object with steamy live performances and a topless photo on the Oct. 2 cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
Frederick radio station WFMD discovered Ehrlich’s remark about Spears while reviewing a conference tape-recording and ran a news story about it on Monday. By Tuesday, the first lady’s office was forced to issue a statement.
“As a working mother raising a 4-year-old son, the first lady has concerns about the negative influences that the entertainment industry can have on young children and teenagers,” Ehrlich spokeswoman Meghann Siwinski said. “During a public appearance, she inadvertently used a figure of speech to express those concerns.”
Publicists for Spears were not immediately available for comment. Ehrlich’s husband is a first-term governor who launched a failed bid this year to strengthen Maryland’s penalties for gun-related crimes.


Breakfast was “on” Ah-nold

Schwarzenegger Hit by Egg at California Campaign Rally
LONG BEACH, Calif. (Reuters) – Film star Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was accused of ducking a debate with his rivals while running for California governor, could not dodge an egg on Wednesday as he arrived for a campaign rally at a college campus.
But the “Terminator” star, who shrugs off flying bullets in his hit movies, also refused to let the egging slow him down.
Schwarzenegger was pelted with the egg by an unknown assailant as he strode to the stage at California State University, Long Beach, south of Long Beach.
It splattered his tan jacket and he wiped if off without pausing or breaking stride, then handed the yolk-stained garment to an aide and addressed a boisterous crowd of students in his shirt-sleeves.
“This guy owes me bacon now,” Schwarzenegger told reporters later as he laughed off the incident.


Who would you like to see win?

Candidate Arnold Could Set California Wealth Record
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger disclosed on Sunday that whatever shortcomings he might have as potential governor of California, personal wealth is not among them — he made more than $50 million in two years.
Schwarzenegger’s tax returns, made public at a news conference, showed he earned $31 million in 2000 and paid more than $10 million in state and federal taxes. Income dipped slightly in 2001 to $26.1 million, with $9.3 million paid in taxes.
Asked if the Austrian-born star would be the richest California governor yet, campaign legal counsel Colleen McAndrews said his wealth far surpassed that of past governors Jerry Brown, George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson and of incumbent Gray Davis. “I don’t think any of them have had substantial wealth,” she said.
The “Terminator” actor owns stock in, among other companies, Starbucks, PepsiCo, Coca Cola and Roto Rooter and has millions of dollars in municipal bonds and real estate investments.
In his campaign appearances in the run-up to the unprecedented recall vote on Oct. 7, the Austrian-born Republican has insisted he is so rich he cannot be bought.
All 190-plus candidates seeking to replace Davis, a Democrat whose popularity has plummeted due to the state’s energy crisis two years ago and a burgeoning budget deficit now, were required to file financial disclosure statements.
Other hopefuls like columnist Arianna Huffington, businessman Bill Simon and porn publisher Larry Flynt cited investments or holdings in the millions.
Candidates for public office routinely make their tax returns public to show voters they have nothing to hide. Simon was criticized for being reluctant to do so when he ran and lost against Davis two years ago.
Schwarzenegger’s qualifications for the California job were the hot topic of Sunday talk shows.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California’s senior senator, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” she believed Davis could still win the vote now less than two months away.
“I think the governor has a good opportunity to defeat this recall,” said Feinstein, herself a Democrat. “My view is that this recall should be defeated. It’s bad for California.”
Former Republican Gov. Wilson, Davis’s predecessor, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” he thought Davis will be recalled and that Schwarzenegger will be elected governor.
A Time/CNN poll released Saturday found Schwarzenegger would win 25 percent of the vote if the election were held now, 10 points ahead of his closest competitor, the Democratic lieutenant governor, Cruz Bustamante.
Former Democratic Gov. Brown, currently the mayor of Oakland, told CNN he opposed recalling Davis.
Nonetheless, he said: “If Schwarzenegger has an answer to the (state’s) revenue crisis and he can get the damn criminals off the streets of Oakland, hell, I may vote for him.”
Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who himself followed an unlikely trajectory into politics from professional wrestling, advised Schwarzenegger: “Forget agents and studio bosses — now you’re dealing with real predators.”
Some politicians have questioned Schwarzenegger’s abilities due to his ducking of detailed questions about key issues.

San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, a Democrat, predicted tough times ahead. “(Schwarzenegger’s) not going to get a free ride,” Brown told CBS. “He’s not going to be on The Tonight show. He’s going to have to go man-to-man with Gray Davis.”


I can’t decide if I want him to win or not.

Schwarzenegger Flexes Star Power as Candidate
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Arnold Schwarzenegger brought his Hollywood star power to bear on Thursday as a newly declared candidate for California governor, casting himself as a populist politician out to clean up state government but offering few details of his platform.
Making his first public appearance since his surprise announcement on Wednesday that he would challenge Gov. Gray Davis in a recall election this fall, Schwarzenegger arrived at the Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder’s Office to pick up official papers he needs to get his name on the ballot.
The “Terminator” star was greeted by a throng of reporters, photographers and TV crews as well as hundreds of cheering fans and supporters who swarmed the front of the office building as he arrived in a black sport utility vehicle.
Dressed in a dark blue blazer and tie, the actor waded through a gauntlet of well-wishers, shaking hands and signing autographs. When one woman asked what he would do as governor, he replied: “Clean house! Clean house!” pumping his fist.
Reemerging after obtaining his nominating papers, the Austrian-born former bodybuilder addressed the crowd, saying his biggest priorities would be to bolster California’s economy, improve education and reform “the whole system” of state government. He gave no specifics.
Asked about how he plans to tackle California’s crippling budget shortfall, the main problem for which Davis has been blamed, Schwarzenegger said, “We will have a plan very soon,” adding that a key to his budget policy would be to revitalize the state’s economy.
“We have to overhaul our economic engine in California, to bring back business in California, and to make sure everyone in California has a great job,” he said.
Addressing concerns that he lacks sufficient political experience to effectively govern, the actor insisted that his leadership skills far surpass those of Davis.
“In everything I ever did I showed great leadership,” he said. “There were times when people said it could never be done, that an Austrian farm boy could come over to America, get into the movie business and be successful. … They said, ‘We can’t pronounce your name, you cannot speak English well, and your body is overdeveloped,’ and you know what happened? I became the highest-paid entertainer in the world.”
If anything, Schwarzenegger has sought to turn his newcomer political status to his benefit, casting himself as an outsider with no ties to special interests and freed by personal wealth from the corrupting influences of money.
He also confronted his immigrant roots head-on, using his personal history as a metaphor for the American dream.
“I’m very passionate because I was received by California with open arms in 1968 when I came here as an immigrant, when I came here with no money, and Californians reached out and helped me to be where I am today,” he said. “And now it’s time to give something back to California.”
A Republican in-law to the nation’s most prominent Democratic families by virtue of his marriage to Maria Shriver, the niece of former President John F. Kennedy, Schwarzenegger is clearly seeking to appeal to voters of both parties.
Declaring his candidacy Wednesday on NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” the actor said he was “running as a Californian.” Shriver did not accompany her husband to either his “Tonight Show” appearance or to the Registrar’s Office on Thursday.


Finally the question has been answered!

Schwarzenegger Announces Calif. Gov. Bid
LOS ANGELES – Arnold Schwarzenegger ended the suspense Wednesday and jumped into the race for California governor, instantly becoming the best-known of the declared candidates seeking to replace Democrat Gray Davis in a recall.
The surprise announcement by the “Terminator” actor, a moderate Republican, capped a day of fast-paced developments in one of the most unpredictable political races in recent history.
Earlier, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein had ruled out a run, labeling the election “more and more like a carnival every day.” And political commentator Arianna Huffington declared she would run as an independent.
Schwarzenegger, 56, announced his decision during a taping of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” calling it the toughest he’s made since deciding to get a bikini wax in 1978.
“The politicians are fiddling, fumbling and failing,” he said. “The man that is failing the people more than anyone is Gray Davis. He is failing them terribly, and this is why he needs to be recalled and this is why I am going to run for governor.”
Schwarzenegger’s advisers had said in recent days that he was leaning against putting his name on the Oct. 7 election ballot because of opposition from his wife, journalist Maria Shriver.
Schwarzenegger told Leno that he’s not afraid of Davis allies attacking him as “a womanizer” or “a terrible person.” “I know that they’re going to throw everything at me,” he said.
Davis issued a statement calling Schwarzenegger merely the latest in a long list of people who had declared their intent to run, noting that Hustler publisher Larry Flynt is among them.
“The more candidates who join, the greater the likelihood that a small minority of voters will be controlling California’s future,” Davis said.
He also reminded voters of the cost of a special recall election, estimated by the secretary of state’s office at $67 million ó “money which would be better spent on our schools and our children.”
Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, another moderate Republican, has said he would enter the race if Schwarzenegger did not, and polls have shown Riordan would be a stronger candidate than the actor. Riordan spokeswoman Lisa Wolf said Wednesday that he had no immediate comment.
Feinstein’s decision not to run gave a big boost to Davis, while frustrating some Democrats who wanted her to run to ensure the governorship would remain in the party’s hands if Davis lost.
“After thinking a great deal about this recall, its implications for the future, and its misguided nature, I have decided that I will not place my name on the ballot,” Feinstein said in a statement.
“I deeply believe the recall is a terrible mistake and will bring to the depth and breadth of California instability and uncertainty, which will be detrimental to our economic recovery and decision-making,” she said.
The recall election is yet another setback for Davis, who has seen his popularity plummet as the state grapples with a record $38 billion budget deficit.
It also is the latest force to bedevil Californians, who in recent years have endured an energy crisis, the collapse of the dot-com economy and a federally mandated cutback in one of the state’s main water supplies. Residents now face the prospect of higher car taxes and college fees to close the state’s budget gap.
Davis is the first California governor to face a recall and would be only the second governor nationwide to be removed from office if the effort succeeds.
Analysts from both parties believed the governor’s chances for survival would have dramatically diminished if Feinstein, who tops polls as California’s most popular politician, was on the ballot as an alternative.
Her decision came a day after a strong endorsement for Davis from the AFL-CIO. Both developments were key victories for the governor, whose support from fellow party members had appeared to be weakening.
“I’m very pleased with Sen. Feinstein’s announcement,” Davis told San Francisco radio station KGO-AM.
“To the extent that Democrats get in the race, it makes it look like a normal election, and legitimates what is really an effort by the right wing to steal back an election they couldn’t win last November,” he said. “I think at the end of the day people will realize that the party is better served rallying around its sitting governor.”
Some party members still thought otherwise.
“I want to back the strongest candidate and it’s important that we coalesce around one, and now I’m appealing to the leaders, the folks whose pay grade is one or two notches up from mine, to figure out who our strongest candidate is and lead us in coalescing behind that candidate,” said Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., who had supported a Feinstein candidacy.
One possibility was U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who had supported a Feinstein candidacy and said she might run if Feinstein didn’t.
“I have a feeling something will be decided tomorrow probably one way or the other,” said Sanchez’s spokeswoman, Carrie Brooks.
Members of California’s congressional delegation discussed the matter in a conference call Wednesday, with the majority leaning toward finding a consensus candidate, said a source familiar with the discussion who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Huffington, the ex-wife of former Republican Congressman Michael Huffington, announced her candidacy at a news conference in Los Angeles.
“I’m not, to say the least, a conventional candidate. But these are not conventional times,” she said. “And if we keep electing the same kind of politicians who got us into the same kind of mess funded by the same kind of special interests, we’ll never get out of this mess.”
Michael Huffington also has taken out papers, but has not indicated whether he will enter the race.
The ballot also is likely to include several conservative Republicans. U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, who funded the recall, is a declared candidate, and state Sen. Tom McClintock filed papers Tuesday. Businessman Bill Simon, who lost to Davis in November, also is expected to run.
Meanwhile, California’s Supreme Court justices huddled behind closed doors for hours Wednesday to decide whether to consider several challenges to the recall election, including a petition to bar any replacement candidates from the ballot.
The justices were expected to announce Thursday whether they would hear the petitions, a spokeswoman said.


Personally, I think that if “T3” had flopped he would have already announced his candidacy.

Schwarzenegger Close to Pulling Out of California Race
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, citing concerns about his family, is moving close to announcing that he will not run for California governor in a special October election, an aide said on Tuesday.
“There are still several things he needs to do to close the book on this, but that’s the direction he is headed in right now,” an aide, who asked not to be named, said.
“For all I know George Bush Sr., Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford could all call and say ‘hey, we need you,’ but I don’t think a scenario is likely that would push him toward running.”
Meanwhile, a federal judge in San Diego struck down a portion of the law for the Oct. 7 recall as unconstitutional but his ruling neither delays nor stops the two-part vote.
In the unprecedented election, Californians vote on whether to unseat Democratic Governor Gray Davis, who is unpopular for his handling of the state’s record budget deficit.
After voting “yes” or “no” on the recall, voters could then go on to pick a replacement candidate. Under the ruling by San Diego Federal Court Judge Barry Moskowitz voters who declined to cast a ballot on the recall section of the ballot can also vote on a successor to Davis. The portion of the law that Moskowitz struck down had barred voters from voting on a successor if they had not participated in the recall vote.
Schwarzenegger, the former Mr. Universe turned Hollywood heavyweight, had initially suggested he would run as a Republican. Analysts said his name recognition and personal wealth gave him a strong shot at the job in a state where actor Ronald Reagan got his start in politics as governor.
Schwarzenegger’s aide said the actor’s wife, television news personality Maria Shriver, a niece of former President John F. Kennedy and a member of the nation’s most prominent Democratic family, was against a run.
“She has concerns about their young children and the quality of life they would have by a father who would be engaged 20 hours a day in state government,” he said.
“Now they are between five and 14, it’s a time when you don’t get those days back and it’s a time when kids really need to be with their parents, and that’s where I think she comes down.”
The aide said Schwarzenegger, the star of the “Terminator” films, would make an announcement as early as this week.
Politicians have often cited family as the reason to leave the political stage — for at least a while. Prior to the 1992 election, Al Gore said he would not run for president for family reasons, but when Bill Clinton asked him to run as his vice president, he had a change of heart.
Some analysts have said Schwarzenegger may also be wary of exposing himself to campaign attacks on his personal life.
A Schwarzenegger withdrawal from the race could open the way for former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, a moderate Republican who said he would not challenge the actor.
Also on Tuesday, multi-millionaire Republican Bill Simon Jr., who ran against Davis and lost in November, filed papers with the Board of Elections in preparation of trying once again. He said he had assembled his political team and was prepared to spend from his personal fortune to unseat Davis, a long-term veteran of California politics.