* UPDATED & Bumped Up May 12 (for Open Thread) * New Posts Will Follow Shortly *

Actor George Clooney gave President Barack Obama a warm welcome when he hosted a fundraiser at his luxurious Studio City estate on Thursday, May 10. ClLICK IMAGE to see more exclusive photos from Entertainment Tonight.

Beth Topinka and Karen Blutcher look just like the women who delivered poached salmon and organic salads to those brave OWS protestors. Who would have thought that a “random” sweepstakes would come up with such perfect winners, purely by chance!?

The remainder of the funds were raised via an online sweepstakes, which chose two random Obama donors to attend the event. Beth Topinka and Karen Blutcher won the contest. They're pictured below -- in these first pictures from inside the dinner via Entertainment Tonight -- with Clooney, Keibler and their husbands. Via Zap2It (CLCK IMAGE).

Original, May 10, 2012, after the party: I went to Huffington Post, sure I’d find the Clooney Hollywood house party the top story. But no! Here’s what bumped Clooney out of first view: Breaking News: $2 BILLION GOES POOF (sic)— London Trader Known As ‘Voldemort’ Causes Biggest U.S. Bank Huge Loss [J.P. Morgan].

Ditto the Los Angeles Times home page:JPMorgan Chase loses $2 billion; stock plunges” + the Nuggets win over the Lakers consume all above-the-fold space. (Photo link, more below.) Also: Memeorandum.com has a collection of articles on J.P. Morgan’s “$2 Billion Blunder.”

If you patiently scroll down HuffPo’s home page, you find the party, sans glamorous shots (on purpose?). The yawner title: “Obama Continues Gay Marriage Push At George Clooney-Hosted Fundraiser.” You’re assured the party had NOTHING to do with Obama’s “personally for me” statement: “Obama said Vice President Joe Biden got ‘a little bit over his skis‘ in publicly embracing gay marriage, forcing Obama to speed up his own plans to announce support for the right of same-sex couples to marry.” SEE, CYNICS?

Why such muted coverage? Via Memeorandum, TMZ’s headline screams, “CLOONEY’S HOUSE Under MEGA-Lockdown For Obama Event.”

As I closed the MSNBC page Popsmoke linked, I spotted this: “Suspected kidnapper Adam Mayes dead, girls found unharmed.” Curiously, Memeorandum.com chose the ABC News account that asserts Mayes’ fate is unknown. Yet, …… while I concede it is not political news even if Memeorandum linked it, and while I try to avoid getting sucked into these kinds of stories, this one grabbed me because every “adult” in their lives let those girls down. Therefore, it was impossible for me to let go until I knew the remaining two girls were alive. Albeit with a very uncertain future and what is really just the first chapter of their ordeal. Their story is vastly more real to me than anything The One says or does. Video and excerpt below.


Game wardens happened upon Mayes Thursday evening in a heavily wooded area behind a small church in northern Mississippi, about 45 minutes from the Tennessee border. As they approached, he shot himself. He was in critical condition as an ambulance transported him to Baptist Hospital in Alpine, Miss., where he was later pronounced dead, NBC News reported.

When reporters asked a law enforcement official if Alexandria and Kyliyah were all right and whether they had said anything, he replied, “We just tried to love them and feed them.”


Read all: “Suspected kidnapper Adam Mayes dead, girls found unharmed.”

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Use this link to view all 9 photos of the Clooney event, such as they are.

BETTER YET: Check out “Steve Lopez: Clooney’s Obama party full of ‘Hollywood hypocrites’.”

LOPEZ’s riff on the hypocrisy of the Hollywood elites is brief, yet packs a wallop. Lopez is one of the few remaining muckrakers who’s unafraid of stepping on toes and smirks at the pretense. It was the ideal venue for Obama in which the attendees saw in Obama what they wanted to see. If they could see him, they’d realize he’s an empty slate. But Obama never has to worry. He knows they’ll cast him in a role alongside their own roles, all of which will flatter both Obama and themselves, while they all blithely ignore the REAL problems in Los Angeles:

Los Angeles is shutting school libraries, laying off teachers and shutting down fire houses. And VIPs are paying $40,000 for a Wolfgang Puck hors d’oeuvre and a silly photo with a president who only now has come to think it might be OK for gay people to have the same rights as straight people. …

Any sentient citizen of greater Los Angeles would feel ashamed of dishing out $15,000,000 — a paltry sum — that would achieve so much more if used to address real problems in L.A.

Fifteen million dollars -– a third of it raised by the local big shots -– is peanuts to Obama, really. Another drop in a bucket the size of Santa Monica Bay. And isn’t money the root of all evil in politics, whether it’s from out-of-control “super PACs” or wanna-be-seen moguls who might be expecting something in return for ponying up?

Steve Lopez’s column name and icon:

Steve Lopez's column icon and politically charged name. Of all the nerve, eh?