|Politique Diabolique||Dec 11 2008|
In the U.S., Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been snared in an FBI sting operation. His crime wasn’t the usual men’s room sexual solicitation. No, he was caught trying to sell Barack Obama’s soon-to-be vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. Under Illinois law, the governor of the state has the authority to appoint a successor when a Senate seat is vacated. FBI recordings reveal Blagojevich, a Democrat, discussing the appointment with virtually anyone he felt had something to offer in return. What incredible balls.
The conversations apparently were close to bearing fruit. Recordings reveal Blagojevich weighing a $500,000 offer from an as-yet anonymous source. Also on his wish list were such goodies as an ambassadorship, a cabinet post, possibly the establishment of a non-profit foundation in his name, or even an appointment for his wife to some powerful corporate board. President-elect Obama was not involved in these negotiations, it seems clear, because in one recording Blagojevich rails against Obama staffers for refusing to play along with the scheme, at one point declaring, “They’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them.”
There seems very little chance Blagojevich can spin his way out of this mess, considering at one point he says a Senate seat is “a fucking valuable thing—you just don’t give it away for nothing.” Sadly, Blagojevich may be more rule than exception in Chicago politics. Slate magazine reported back in 2006 that the region is considered one of the most corrupt on the American political landscape, and has produced more indictments over the years than any area save central California/Los Angeles and south Florida. Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris have been formally charged with soliciting bribes and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
|Intl. Notebook | Vintage Pulp||Dec 6 2008|
85 year-old former pin-up queen Bettie Page was hospitalized in Los Angeles this week after a heart attack and is critically ill. Page rose to fame as an erotic model during the 1950s, posing for scores of magazines, and appearing in more than fifty short films. She worked extensively with sister and brother publicity team Paula and Irving Klaw, who sold Page’s material from their firm Movie Star News. In 1955, Irving Klaw came under investigation during the U.S. Senate’s Kefauver Hearings, which were a politically motivated attempt to draw a link between pornography and juvenile delinquency. Under pressure, Klaw shuttered Movie Star News, and Page’s modeling career ended.
Page dropped from public view, spent time as Christian missionary, and married twice more (she had wed and divorced twice already). In 1979, Hollywood’s Belier Press reprinted some Page photos from private camera club sessions for which she had posed in 1950. The shots rekindled interest in Page, and in time a full-blown web-cult formed. In 2005 a motion picture entitled The Notorious Bettie Page was released by HBO with Gretchen Mol in the lead role. The film received wide acclaim, and further cemented Page’s legacy.
As one of the first mainstream nude models, Page is credited with helping usher in the women’s movement. At that time frank depictions of female nudity were considered empowering, and Page’s popularity, as well as her special gift for embodying nudity as a natural state, dovetailed with the movement’s goals. Photographer and fellow pin-up Bunny Yeager, who shot the Modern Sunbathing & Hygiene cover above, offered an opinion in 1956 about Page’s appeal: “The first thing I noticed was that for some reason when she’s nude she doesn’t seem naked. [snip] Bettie’s attitude toward her lovely, healthy body is the essence of nudism.”
Today, millions of fans are hoping health returns to Miss Page.