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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Celebrities

George Lopez: I'd move to Canada if Palin were president

George Lopez says he'll deport himself if Sarah Palin becomes president

Sarah Palin hasn't announced that she is running for president, but if the former Alaska governor does throw her hat in the ring, and happens to win, late-night talk show host George Lopez says he will bid adios to the U.S.

Lopez, the hugely successful Mexican-American comedian, told CNN's Piers Morgan that he would leave the U.S. if the hockey mom became the next commander-in-chief, but he won't head south of the border. Lopez said that he would head to the Great White North.

"If Sarah Palin becomes president at any point, I would say 'allegedly,' I will move to Canada," Lopez said.

"I will go further north. I’ve been south but I will go further north. I will leave the United States of America,” Lopez added.

When Morgan asked Lopez why he would do such a drastic thing, the California native said, "I like my politicians to actually have a political background."

Lopez, whose TBS talk show follows Conan O'Brien's, was then asked why he thinks Palin appeals to a certain segment of the country.

“Is it that maverickness? Is is that homespun kind of Andy Griffith, wink-your-eye, shake-the-imaginary-gun thing. Maybe?" Lopez speculated. "Do we elect somebody by their smile? Instead of by their content? It’s a little bit of all of that,” he added.

Lopez may want to consider property in either Vancouver or Toronto. Although Palin hasn't made anything official, she continues to do extraordinarily well in the polls. A recent Washington Post/ABC poll has Palin right on the heels of front-runner Mitt Romney.

   

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-- Tony Pierce
twitter.com/busblog

Photo: Television personality George Lopez throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees at Wrigley Field. Credit: Jerry Lai / U.S. Presswire

What shall we name the nation's new 51st state?

South Korean troops patrol the DMZ with North Korea, file

Monday our buddy Tony Pierce wrote here about an idea to create a 51st state out of 13 Southern California counties. It's so crazy it just might work.

That would mean carving a brand-new L.A.-free red state out of what in recent years has been a politically blue wasteland in national politics riven with fiscal crises and legislative deadlocks.

According to calculations by the idea's sponsor, Jeff Stone, a Republican member of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, the new geographic entity would contain about 13 million residents, making it the fifth most populous state ahead of such dumps as Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Of its 13 existing counties, 11 have consistently voted Republican.So, unemployment would be low and the golf courses well-manicured.

Everyone over 18 could still vote. But for a refreshing change, surviving Democrats would experience the frustration of their presidential ballots being flushed down the toilet every four years.

One advantage of adding a 51st state is that President Obama would be a little less wrong when he refers to 57 states.

The new boundaries would also stick Nancy Pelosi's Bay Area California in with Los map of South California proposed as 51st stateAngeles. The two crowded, polluted urban areas deserve each other, and their residents could chat all they want about wine and NPR without boring hardworking conservative neighbors who can't afford maids.

The change would ease the Democratic president's political fundraising trips because he'd no longer have to throw in a town hall to feign that he was on the left coast for presidential duties to cover the cost of Air Force One.

As for water, the new state would simply follow Southern California tradition and steal it from others.

Hollywood celebrities attempting to cross the new state for Las Vegas would encounter outrageously high tolls equivalent to twice the current price of a movie ticket or combo pack at the concession stand. (Tom Selleck, Patricia Heaton and Jerry Bruckheimer would be exempt from such levies.)

Barstow could be the new state's summer capital. With its triple-digit temperatures, no one in their right mind would stay there longer than it takes to fill a gas tank and escape back onto the 15 or 40 to somewhere else.

With legislators shunning an uninhabitable capitol, the new government would save millions on their per diem expenses and the cost of ridiculous new laws that begin as pilot programs and metastasize into never-ending budget items with their own self-perpetuating constituencies.

The winter capital could be San Diego, which would be renamed St. David.

The new state would, of course, get the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, the Miramar Naval Air Station and the San Diego naval base, including the nuclear sub facilities.

That's because with the GOP always in charge of the 51st state there would finally be some serious border security with old Mexico, possibly modeled on the Korean DMZ.

A new Republican state cobbled from the smartest part of old California would also benefit the nation, creating a solid southern defense line of GOP-run states from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

A mutual interstate defense pact would protect the country's southern border against further illegal gun-running operations into Mexico by U.S. federal authorities.

However, let's be honest, "South California, Not as Bad as You Might Think" is just a lame name. That implies some kind of parity with another California. So does California Adjacent. Flyover California doesn't sing. The Other California could confuse. We're working on alternate names and seek Ticket readers' input as well.

Valetland is a non-starter. Uruguay is already taken. New California could perhaps work. West Arizona might be good, reflecting the conservative politics of the new state and its Grand Canyon neighbor. Not Nevada has possibilities.

The state of Good California has a nice contrasting sound with what's there now. Maybe English Mexico could be a nominee. Or Newer Mexico.

What's your idea for the new state's name?

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-- Andrew Malcolm

Speaking of health, don't forget to follow The Ticket's Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters (South Korean troops patrol the DMZ with North Korea, file); Map of the proposed 51st state, South California Credit: Los Angeles Times.

Sunday shows: Sinise, B. Clinton, Kasich, Walker

Gary Sinise 6-11

ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour: George Will, Mel Martinez, Michelle Heee, Jose Antonio Vargas, Richard Stengel, Jill Lepore and Michael E. Dyson.

Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt:" Bill Clinton and Rahm Emanuel.

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Govs. John Kasich (R-OH), Scott Walker (R-WI) and Deval Patrick (D-MA) and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D-LA).

CNN Fareed Zakaria "GPS":

CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley:

Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Gary Sinise, Sens. John Cornyn (-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), with Chris Stirewalt, Bill Kristol, Nina Easton and Kirsten Powers.

NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Tennis instead.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Karen Bleier / AFP Getty Images (Sinise, R-Hollywood).

Ticket pic of the week: Nothing says royal wedding quite like red panties

Monaco Prince Albert II marries Charlene Wittstock this weekend

Nothing says royal wedding quite like a pair of bright red panties.

At least in this lingerie shop in Monaco. Prince Albert II marries Charlene Wittstock there this weekend. (In the principality, not the lingerie shop.)

It is an event so large and so romantic that one Earth day is insufficient. The ceremonies will stretch over two days.

Naturally, this shop sought to make a euro off the royal affair.

They could have charged more. But since Monaco is not America, these panties are not even signed by the royal couple.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle.Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Eric Gaillard / Reuters

President Obama is the key to decriminalizing marijuana, Tommy Chong says

Tommy Chong says President Obama is they key to decriminalizing marijuana President Obama, with one quick signature, could remove a huge hurdle in the war on drugs, marijuana icon Tommy Chong said Friday on CNN.

Minutes before the actor and comedian told a former advisor to the White House drug czar to "shut up," Chong said Obama has the power to move pot off the same list where other drugs like LSD and heroin reside (Schedule 1) to a less restrictive list (Schedule 2) where drugs like opium and morphine reside and which can be prescribed by doctors.

"All President Obama has to do is sign an executive order rescheduling marijuana from Schedule 1, which says it has no medical use whatsoever, to a Schedule 2, which would allow it to be sold by prescription only. Then we'd be all done," Chong said on the CNN show "In The Arena."

Paul Chabot, a former White House senior advisor to the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and founder of the Coalition for a Drug Free California, naturally had issues with the co-star of "Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke" as well as with Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who Thursday introduced HR 2306, a bill that would shift enforcement of marijuana laws to the states.

"It's very disappointing to have two grown adults pushing a marijuana agenda," Chabot said, adding, "Shame on Barney Frank and Ron Paul, a very big disappointment for American leadership."

Chabot, a Republican who unsuccessfully ran for California Assembly in 2010, continued: "We have woken up to the medical fraud marijuana problem that's skirted all around our nation. Times are changing. It will be back to community and family values."

And that was when Chong, who was imprisoned for 9 months for selling glass bongs, began to get angry.

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Late-night jokes: Great Wall of China seen as model for improved U.S. security on Mexico border

Obama checks out the Great Wall of China, file

As The Ticket's 67,000-plus Twitter followers here and 6,900 Facebook fans here know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass them on to friends using the "share" buttons above.

Fallon: Two women were arrested for stealing $600 in cheese from Whole Foods. $600 in cheese! That’s like…two pieces of cheese from Whole Foods.

Letterman: This is the anniversary of the Great Wall of China. We often say what’s the deal with these Chinese? But in all honesty, since they built the Great Wall, not one Mexican has sneaked in.

Fallon: New York City is cutting $10 million from its school cleaning budget. Some janitors have been forced to cut back to, like, 30 keys.

Conan: A new study says U.S. dads are spending twice the time with their kids as before. Experts say it's due to a sweeping trend called “unemployment.”

Leno: Congratulations to the new NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. They had a huge parade there, almost as big as the one in Cleveland.

Conan: LeBron James said the Heat's NBA finals loss feels like “a personal failure.” Then someone explained to LeBron that it is a personal failure.Cheese

Leno: Did you see the riots in Greece -- burned cars, sacked stores? Not about taxes. Just Canadian tourists still angry over Vancouver’s Stanley Cup loss.

Letterman: More signs that LeBron James is not taking the Heat's loss well. Today he demanded to see Dirk Nowitzki’s birth certificate.

Leno: Yup, the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup. They said the key to their victory was not signing LeBron James.

Fallon: Happy Birthday to Donald Trump, born 65 years ago! Sweet. Today Obama sent him a nice Hallmark card that said, ‘Prove it.'

Conan: The good news: Congressman Anthony Weiner finally resigned. The bad news: He made the announcement shirtless on Skype.

Fallon: Sad news: 85-year-old Hugh Hefner and 25-year-old Crystal Harris called off their wedding Apparently, she wanted someone a little younger and so did he.

Leno: Today is the 40th anniversary of the War on Drugs. Our Mexican partners observed it with a moment of silence -- and then hours of laughter.

Leno: Did you see the picture of House Speaker Boehner and President Obama after their golf game? Boehner was crying over his score and Obama was giving a list of reasons why his score was better than it looks.

Fallon: The most popular Father's Day gifts this year: iPad accessories. I got my Dad a leather case, a screen protector and a new charger. If he ever gets an iPad, he's SET.

Leno: President Obama says he's not worried about a double-dip recession. He says it's just that there are not enough recovery jobs. A recovery not producing enough jobs is called a recession.

Fallon: Charlie Sheen is developing a new TV sitcom written for himself. And it's moving pretty quickly. I heard they’ve already picked the actor who’ll replace him.

Conan: Reports that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is engaged. Zuckerberg said he's excited and can’t wait to actually meet her.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press; Wisconsin Dairy.

Basic cable host Conan O'Brien delivers a commencement address for the ages

Conan OBrien Audience Reaction 6-12-11 at Dartmouth graduation

By tradition, college commencement addresses are supposed to be brief, serious, self-important and eminently forgettable because the diplomas are coming real soon. (Quick! Who spoke at your graduation?)

By all these counts, late-night comedian Conan O'Brien failed the other day at Dartmouth College.

Which is what makes his 23-minute oration so memorable and funny and human. Amid all the relevant and self-deprecating silliness, O'Brien also managed to share a significant slice of himself and to impart a valuable lesson to the more than 1,700 graduates, family, friends and, as O'Brien put it, those old folks who just like to come to these things.

Who cares about Dartmouth. That was just the setting for a memorable speech by someone now starring on basic cable.

There's a smidge of politics in his remarks. But even if there wasn't we'd highly recommend you give this video a view.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Jason R. Henske / Associated Press (Conan's audience reaction).

Elisabeth Hasselbeck blames Sarah Palin for lack of Mitt Romney coverage

Elisabeth Hasselbeck with Sarah Palin in 2008

This is a corrected post, see below

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who campaigned for Sarah Palin (oh, and John McCain) in 2008 is now complaining that the former governor is distracting media attention from Mitt Romney.

On a recent episode of "The View," Hasselbeck used an interesting analogy to argue that the hockey mom's "One Nation" tour was stealing the thunder from Romney's plan to improve the economy.

"If I had termites in my house I'd get someone in there who could deal with it," the former contestant on "Survivor" explained. "Mitt Romney, right now, his specialty is the economy. I'd have him in there. Here's why we're not hearing it: because Sarah Palin's on a bus and right now she's manipulating, in terms of media attention."

Hasselback's angst against the Alaskan may seem odd considering that in 2008 Hasselbeck guaranteed that if Palin made it to the White House she would fight D.C. corruption.

"Did I mention that this woman, she's got a real knack for cleaning. She cleaned up house in Alaska. Yep," Hasselbeck said while introducing Palin at a rally in Tampa, Fla., in 2008. "All that corruption went out with the trash. Now whatever the good ol' boys are up to these days, that has no place in her state -- no place. And Gov. Palin will use that same mop to clean up Washington and.....

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Anthony Weiner's resignation now sought by a growing list of people who were not sexted by him

A photo Democrat Representative Anthony Weiner reported sent to Meagan Broussard ABCNews

There are at least three prominent Democrats out there who have not yet suggested that fellow Democrat Anthony Weiner should resign from the U.S. House of Representatives -- Barack Obama's White House, ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and CNN's Eliot Spitzer.

They all have good reasons to steer clear of the Weiner mess. Why would a president, even one out of the Chicago machine, want to touch such a thing? Pelosi needs all the Democrats she can hold in her minority caucus -- and anyway she's from California.

And as the notorious Client No. 9, Spitzer walked into his own public sex scandal for patronizing prostitutes after prosecuting them, moving from one political scandal in office to another of spouting DNC talking points on CNN with low ratings.

However, elsewhere, the $174,000 congressional salary of the New Yorker Weiner seems in distinct jeopardy since he suddenly became more famous for his underwear (briefs), for what they were covering or not, for what he was sexting while on duty and for lying and concocting a phony hacker plot when confronted with the distasteful news.

Tim Kaine, former chairman of the Democrat National Committee, Wednesday suggested Weiner's public lying was "unforgivable and he should resign."Eliot Spitzer former NY Democrat governor who resigned after using prostitutes

Admittedly, Kaine is himself running for office again (albeit only the Senate). So he could hardly be expected to endorse or ignore behavior involving even consensual sexually explicit online messages.

Then, Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a senior official of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Weiner should go. This one is serious.

"Having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a member of Congress," Weiner's House colleague suggested. "In light of Anthony Weiner’s offensive behavior online, he should resign."

As his opening ploy to avoid joining the unemployment line after 10 days of lying, the seven-term Weiner this week appeared tearful at a news conference admitting his falsehoods and the allegations and sexting. He did claim that the half a dozen or so ongoing online and telephone relationships with women across the country were virtual affairs, not physically consummated.

While not suggesting Weiner resign, the often-speaking authority on pop stuff Dr. Drew confessed to his CNN audience that he had serious concerns for Weiner. "My fear," the doctor said, "is when all this really rushes in those moments that you see him looking so overwhelmed and so ashamed, that he could develop a severe mood disturbance."

In previous pathetic political news, Republican Rep. Chris Lee, who also drinks New York water, immediately resigned merely for posting a shirtless bathroom photo of his amazing abs. Weiner, however, is from New York City, which makes him far more important than upstater Lee.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, suggested that Pelosi's response, a simple call for a House Ethics Committee investigation, was empty and silly. "Do we really need an investigation to determine if this guy's a creep or not," Priebus said.   

Priebus, whose party now controls the House and is in position to take over the Senate next year, may want to rethink this approach. If creepiness becomes a bipartisan disqualification for Congress, neither chamber would likely ever have a quorum.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who represents Nevada, home to one of Weiner's more explicit virtual mistresses, candidly said he would like to defend Weiner.

But he could not.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow the Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Top photo: Anthony Weiner holds a sign to verify his identity in a photo sent to Meagan Broussard. Credit: ABC News. Bottom photo: Spitzer. Credit: Associated Press

Party time again: Michelle Obama explains the Angela Merkel state dinner for you guys without invites

Angela Merkel State Dinner 6-7-11

Another big night in the Barack Obama White House today, planned as another Salahi-free state dinner. This one is for Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Obama hasn't seen since their big meeting in France two weeks ago.

This is the fourth of these big to-do's, the most recent one being for China's President Hu. It'll be in the Rose Garden at the first lady's suggestion. In Washington culture, invites to these things are much coveted in a bipartisan way -- and used as rewards or persuasive invitations to become more helpful, politically speaking, to the big guy in the round office. Who knows, there are certainly donors in here too.

Two-hundred-and-twenty elites will partake in the grand soiree. Scroll down for Michelle Obama's own take on what the evening holds. And scroll even further to see all the guests who did make the cut (Lots of Honourable This and That, but also columnist E.J. Dionne, Diane Sawyer, Susan Eisenhower, James Hoffa and Chief Justice John Roberts).

While the political royalty dines outside the White House this evening, a gaggle of Republicans will be arguing up in New Hampshire, as the Democratic debate competition opens to become the host of future state dinners after Jan. 20, 2013.

The eat-less admonitions of the first lady go out the bulletproof windows at....

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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