Obama attends star-studded fundraiser in Connecticut

Celebrities host Obama fundraiser.

This article was updated at 7:32 a.m. EDT with additional details about the Obama fundraiser.

Film producer Harvey Weinstein is hosting a star-studded fundraiser for the Obama campaign on Monday evening at his home in Westport, Connecticut, reports CBS News.

The president will be joined by more than 60 celebrities, politicians, and other affluent supports. Actress Anne Hathaway and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin are co-hosting the event. Also included on the guest list are Governor Dan Malloy and Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman’s widow.

The fundraiser is expected to raise over $2 million for the Obama campaign, with dinner costing $35,800 for an individual and $71,600 for a couple. The event will take place at Mr. Weinstein’s beachfront property, which, according to the Hartford Courant, is worth about $15.5 million.

Before heading to that fundraiser, Mr. Obama will also attend a $500-a-person event at the Stamford Marriott with about 400 supporters. Musician Ben Harper is scheduled to perform at this event.

Members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation have been invited to both events, although many have said they will only be attending the less exclusive reception at the Marriott.

The president enjoys a healthy lead in the state over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. In a recent Quinnipiac University poll in June he was up by 12 percentage points. But Connecticut is also a great place to raise money to help fund more competitive races in swing states such as Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.

“Connecticut citizens are working not just for an overwhelming victory here in the state, but through phone calls, social media and traveling to other states,” Jonathan Harris, executive director of the Democratic Party in Connecticut, told the Courant. “A lot of times, because we’re a blue state, people think nothing’s happening … But there are people … working every day.”

The president is attempting to come out on top in a close fundraising battle with his Republican opponent. Mitt Romney recently announced that his campaign raised $101.3 million during the month of July, outraising the Obama campaign, which brought in $75 million, for the third straight month.

“The president is facing a tsunami of super PAC and other undisclosed money,” said Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who Mr. Obama helped get elected to the Senate in 2010. “This deluge of money he faces really requires him to do the kind of grassroots fundraising through parties and events that are happening in Connecticut. The special interest money he faces is unprecedented.”

The president is not the only one cashing in on Connecticut, however. In a three-day fundraising trip through New York and Connecticut in May, Mr. Romney raised over $10 million. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the former Massachusetts governor has raised $4.78 million from Connecticut donors, while Mr. Obama has raised $2.2 million.

Porn industry backs Romney: Jenna Jameson, Ron Jeremy offer endorsements

Jenna Jameson endorses Mitt Romney.

This article was updated at 7:42 a.m. EDT with additional details of Jenna Jameson’s endorsement of Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney can add yet another member of the adult film industry to his list of supporters.

At a San Francisco strip club, former porn star Jenna Jameson endorsed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, the latest adult film actor to back the former Massachusetts governor.

“I’m very looking forward to a Republican being back in office,” she told a CBS San Francisco  staffer who was there attending a celebration for the 8th anniversary of Gold Club. “When you’re rich, you want a Republican in office.”

Ms. Jameson made the comments while sipping champagne in a VIP room at the gentlemen’s club in the city’s South of Market neighborhood. Her endorsement seems to be a departure from the adult actress’s previous political leanings. In an interview with PR.com before the 2008 election, she professed a wish for Bill Clinton to return to office.

“The Clinton administration was the best years for the adult industry and I wish that Clinton would run again. I would love to have him back in office. I would love to have Al Gore in office. When Republicans are in office, the problem is, a lot of times they try to put their crosshairs on the adult industry, to make a point,” she said in the interview. “It’s sad, when there are so many different things that are going on in the world: war, and people are dying of genocide. It’s sad that they feel that they have to target the sex industry, and not target the problems with insurance and the homeless and the AIDS epidemic … I look forward to another democrat being in office.”

In the same interview she endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2008.

“I love Hillary. I think that in some ways she’s pretty conservative for a democrat, but I would love to have a woman in office. I think that it would be a step in the right direction for our country, and there would be less focus on war and more focus on bettering society.”

Ms. Jameson is not the first adult film star to endorse the former Massachusetts governor. Fellow porn star Ron Jeremy told The Boston Herald last week that Mr. Romney is “a good man” and “an amazing father.”

“I think the fact that he’s such an amazing father proves a lot. I give him a lot of credit. He’s raised some good sons,” Mr. Jeremy posited. “When a man is a really, really good father, that’s very important.”

Michael Lucas, New York’s largest product of gay adult films, has also given his endorsement to the Republican.

“I would support Romney of course,” he recently told Yahoo News. “There is nobody else to support.”

“I don’t see any danger coming from Romney when it comes to porn. It’s just not there. And I think he will be much better than President Obama. Not that it will be difficult to be better than President Obama,” he added.

Ms. Jameson retired from the adult film industry in 2008. “Honesty is key. I will never, ever, ever spread my legs again in this industry again. Ever!,” she told fans at the Adult Video News Awards ceremony in Las Vegas.

Jameson, Jeremy and Lucas join a growing list of celebrity supporters of Governor Romney. In March, rock legend Ted Nugent endorsed the Michigan Native via Twitter.

“After a long heart&soul conversation with MittRomney today I concluded this goodman will properly represent we the people & I endorsed him,” Mr. Nugent tweeted.

Celebrity involvement in political elections is nothing new. Hollywood actor George Clooney hosted a widely successful fundraiser for President Barack Obama at his Beverly Hills home in May. The fundraiser netted Mr. Obama $15 million from both ticket prices and donations.

While some celebrity endorsement are helpful, Ms. Jameson’s support of Mr. Romney is unlikely to win him any votes. “Porn legend Jenna Jameson may have just made the unlikeliest – and least helpful – endorsement of the 2012 campaign season,” the New York Daily News’ Kristen Lee wrote.

While the fundraising powers of Mr. Clooney and Sarah Jessica Parker will win President Obama plenty of friends in Hollywood and plenty of cash too, the star of adult films such as “I Dream of Jenna” and “Zombie Strippers” is unlikely to make a campaign appearance with Mr. Romney anytime soon.

Robert Duvall to host Romney fundraiser with Ann Romney

Report: Duvall will host fundraiser for Mitt Romney.

This article was updated at 7:56 a.m. EDT with a non-comprehensive list of celebrities who made a donation in May or June.

As Hollywood elites battle to make their mark in politics, Actor Robert Duvall has announced that he will host a fundraiser featuring Ann Romney, the wife of presumptive GOP candidate Mitt Romney.  The exclusive affair will be held at the Apocalypse Now star’s home in Middleburg, Virginia.

General reception tickets are $2,500 per person. The VIP photo reception goes for $10,000 a person. Tickets to dinner are $25,000.

The Republicans’ celebrity fundraising supporters include Kelsey Grammer, Jon Voight, Drew Carey and Adam Sandler.  According to TheWrap and OpenSecrets.com, Mr. Grammer contributed $4,600 to Rudy Giuliani and $2,300 to John McCain during his 2008 presidential bid; Mr. Voight donated $3,500 to Mr. McCain’s 2008 campaign; Mr. Carey contributed $2,300 to Ron Paul’s campaign in 2007 and Mr. Sandler gave $2,100 to Mr. Giuliani’s presidential campaign in 2007.

The Obama campaign has drawn numerous celebrity supporters to the Democrats’ side, and August is an especially busy celebrity fundraising month for Barack Obama.  On August 12, No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani is throwing a house party in Beverly Hills, which will feature First Lady Michelle Obama. Cast members of “The Wire” are scheduled to meet pro-Obama donors at a private residence on Martha’s Vineyard on August 15.

Stage and screen star Nathan Lane will host an “East End for Obama” event, co-starring Vice President Joe Biden and actors Edie Falco and Julianne Moore, on Aug. 24.  In two weeks, Power producer Harvey Weinstein and Vogue editor Anna Wintour are reportedly joining forces for their own high-end fundraiser in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Finally, George Clooney, who hosted an enormously successful Obama fundraiser at his home in Studio City, California on May 10, will once again help raise funds for the president at two fundraising events in Geneva, Switzerland for American expatriates on August 27.

Celebrity endorsements and contributions played an important role in President Obama’s election in 2008.  Support poured in from celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Ferrell, and will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas produced the viral, pro-Obama music video “Yes We Can” featuring famous faces like Scarlett Johansson and John Legend.

While many celebrities are getting involved in this election cycle, the list of celebrities who support Mr. Obama’s reelection is noticeably longer than that of Mr. Romney’s list of celebrity supporters.

CNN compiled a non-comprehensive list of celebrities who made a donation in May or June to the major political action committees involved in the 2012 presidential election.

OBAMA CAMPAIGN:
Actors & Actresses
Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights): $3250 in June, $5000 to date
Sam Waterston (Law and Order): $2250 in June, $5000to date
Ian Somerhalder (Lost, Vampire Diaries) : $2500
Olivia Wilde (House MD, Cowboys & Aliens) : $2500
Johnny Galecki (Roseanne, Big Bang Theory): $2500
Maria Bello (Prime Suspect): $2500
Ronald Guttman (Mad Men): $2075 in June, $4825 to date
Tyne Daly (Cagney & Lacey): $2000
Susan Saint James (Kate & Allie, McMillan & Wife): $2000
Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men): $1000 in June, $2000 to date
Taraji P. Henson (Benjamin Button): $1850
Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation): $1000
Aisha Tyler (The Talk co-host): $1000
Directors
Rob Minkoff (The Lion King): $2500
Musicians
Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz: $2500
Peter Frampton: $2500 to Obama campaign
Toni Tennille of The Captain and Tennille: $1000 in June, $2000 to date
Yvonne Staples of The Staples Singers: $1000 in June, $2000 to date

OBAMA VICTORY FUND:
Bette Midler: $50,000 in June, $60,000 to date
Martin Von Haselberg (actor, Midler’s husband): $50,000
Billy Crystal: $40,000
Kirk Douglas: $40,000
Robert Downey, Jr.: $40,000
Eddie Murphy: $40,000
Tom Hanks: $35,800 (in May)
Rita Wilson: $35,800 (in May)
Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights): $27,500
Anne Hathaway (Dark Knight Rises): $25,000
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween, Trading Places): $2000 in June, $14,000 to date
Wendie Malick (Hot in Cleveland): $2500
Marsha Mason (The Goodbye Girl): $1500 in June, $2500 to date
Bridget Fonda (Jackie Brown): $600 in June, $2000 to date
Tate Donovan (Damages, The O.C.): $125 in June, $1622 to date
Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live): $500
Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked, GCB): $500
Topher Grace (That 70s Show): $500
Bernadette Peters (The Jerk): $250

PRIORITIES USA (pro-Obama super PAC):
Morgan Freeman (Dark Knight Rises, Million Dollar Baby): $1 million

ROMNEY CAMPAIGN:
John Rich (Country singer, Celebrity Apprentice winner): $2500

ROMNEY VICTORY FUND:
Film producer Jerry Bruckheimer and wife: $25,000
Scott Baio (Arrested Development, Happy Days) and wife: $12,500
Vince McMahon (Pro. wresting exec.) & Linda McMahon (CT Senate hopeful): $9910

RESTORE OUR FUTURE (pro-Romney super PAC):
Vince McMahon (Pro. wresting exec.) & Linda McMahon (CT Senate hopeful): $150,000K

A tally of the money raised by the presidential candidates through June 2012 shows that the Obama campaign raised $490.6 million and the Romney campaign raised $437.7 million.  While studies have shown that celebrity endorsements do not help politicians gain votes, history has shown that celebrities not only contribute large amounts of money to campaigns but they also inspire donors to give significant amounts to support political candidates.

Actor George Clooney arrested at Sudanese Embassy

Actor George Clooney was arrested Friday for protesting human right’s crimes in Sudan at the Sudanese embassy in Washington D.C.

Actor George Clooney was arrested Friday for protesting human right’s crimes in Sudan at the Sudanese embassy in Washington D.C.,  CNN reports.

The Academy Award winning Mr. Clooney has been a longtime advocate for human rights for citizens in countries throughout the world, especially Sudan. He is the co-founder of the Satellite Sentinnel Project, which monitors troop movement in Sudan, and South Sudan, which recently became its own country.

The SSP’s mission is to monitor a possible civil war outbreak between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as to deter violence by the Sudanese government against its citizens.

“George Clooney was arrested for crossing a police line at the Sudan embassy and he’ll be transported to the Metropolitan police department second district,” BBC reports.

On Friday, Mr. Clooney and other protesters were showing their support for increasing humanitarian aid to Sudan to fight the killing of citizens by the Sudanese government.

“We are here really to ask two very simple questions,” Mr. Clooney reportedly said prior to being arrested.

“The Ides of March” star, Mr. Clooney met with President Barack Obama earlier this week, and also testified during a Senate hearing as well, to voice his concerns with the widespread killings by the Sudanese government.

Martin Luther King III,  Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern; Virginia Democratic Congressman Jim Moran; and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President Ben Jealous, according to BBC.

Mr. Clooney has met with President Obama in the past as well to voice his concerns with the Sudanese government’s killings, which are believed to be lead by President Omar al-Bashir, government official Ahmad Harun and Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein of the Sudanese government.

“The first question is something immediate — and immediately we need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world,” said Mr. Clooney on Friday.

The International Criminal Court recently issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Hussein regarding war crimes that he has allegedly committed in Sudan.

Mr. Clooney and fellow activists believe the majority of the violence has been occurring in the  Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, a state in Sudan.

Mr. Clooney’s arrest brings awareness not only to the unfortunate situation in Sudan, but also to the question of the importance of U.S. aid to foreign countries. During a time where the U.S. is still in economic recovery mode, and lawmakers are focused on lowering the national debt, aid to foreign countries becomes a trivial issue when compared to the domestic economic well being of the U.S.

Sudan is one of many countries undergoing internal strife that would benefit from U.S. humanitarian aid, including Uganda and Syria.

“What you see is a constant drip of fear,” said Mr. Clooney during a Senate hearing earlier this week. “We found children filled with shrapnel, including a 9-year-old boy who had both of his hands blown off.”

Mr. Clooney is currently in the custody of the Metropolitan Police Department.

‘Remarkable’ armored dinosaur discovered in Utah

A team of researchers discovered a ‘”remarkable” armored dinosaur in southern Utah.

A new armored dinosaur species has been discovered in southern Utah. The herbivorous dinosaur, dubbed the Akainacephalus johnsoni, possesses a skull and snout that are covered in spikes, and a large, bony club attached to its tail.

“This is a really remarkable species,” said Jelle Wiersma of Australia’s James Cook University and co-author of the study. “The preservation of the fossils is remarkable.”

A. johnsoni is described as a medium-sized, four-legged dinoaur that was about 1.5 meters tall and 5 meters long. Wiersma suggests that although it would have been prey for carnivores like the tyrannosaurs, its tank-like body and spiked tail club could dish some “pretty significant blows” to predators.

“It seems like they were well able to defend themselves,” Wiersma said. “The best way to get to them would have been to flip them over.”

“I’m a retired chemist, but I’ve always been interested in most of the science disciplines. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to actually work on fossils that could be important for paleontologists,” said Randy Johnson, a museum volunteer at the Natural History Museum of Utah—where the remains are on display—who prepared the skull.

“Now that I’m a museum volunteer, I’m getting the opportunity to work on a large variety of fossils and consult with top paleontologists—it’s like a dream second career,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it when they told me they are naming the ankylosaur after me, a once in a lifetime honor.”

The findings were published in PeerJ.