Marla Somerstein, a 22-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident working in the finance department of the "Bob Graham for President" campaign, had just returned from Yom Kippur last month when she turned on Larry King Live. It was, in effect, that suspendered CNN blowhard who delivered Somerstein's pink slip. Graham ("Dick Gephardt without the charisma," according to Jay Leno) was pulling out of the presidential race, King reported.
It had been a real longshot right from the beginning, of course (did someone say "delusions of grandeur"?), but Somerstein, looking forward to holiday-season employment, was still stunned. "I thought I had a job at least until the Iowa caucus [January 19]," she said. What now? Would there be a "Re-elect Senator Graham" campaign that she could hook up with? "Graham makes you feel like family," says Somerstein, an obvious novice, who decided to wait around for a possible reelection run by the senator. (Graham announced on Monday that he will not run.)
The day after "Doodle" -- as Graham earlier this year urged his supporters to call him -- announced his withdrawal from the presidential race, workers were scuffling for the phones at Graham headquarters in Miami, hurriedly trying to dial other Democratic presidential campaigns ahead of their coworkers. For the Graham cadre, it was all of a sudden: "Have political skills, will travel."
Soon, Joe Lieberman's operatives scheduled a stop in Florida to nose around for talent. "It's only natural for Graham supporters to turn to Lieberman now," says Jano Cabrero, Lieberman's press secretary, in a phone call from Washington, D.C. "Both have a special relationship with the state. Graham, obviously, because he's from there, and Lieberman because he spent so much time down there with the events of the 2000 election." Besides, the two U.S. senators have, with their peculiar blends of liberal and conservative positions, a lot in common politically. Lieberman's campaign picked up a few Graham stragglers to work the trail in Florida.
In a presidential year, you do an ideology check (is your prospective employer pro-choice? Anti-Iraq? Anti-Bush tax cut?), decide what you can swallow and what you can't, then go where the gigs are.
Four former aides, including Graham's press secretary, Jamal Simmons, eluded the Lieberman posse, renting a truck and hightailing it out of the state. They arrived the next day in Arkansas, resumés in hand, at the campaign headquarters of Wesley Clark, where they are all now working for the general. Others hitched a ride to Iowa, hoping to get a job on Howard Dean's campaign. "Such is the nature of politics," says born-again Dean man Mark Goldspan, who deferred a year from University of Miami law school to work for the Graham fundraising division. "My candidate dropped out; I'm not going to sit around waiting to see if he'll drop back in."
The lesson here: If you have a proven skill in packing large numbers of warm bodies into booths to vote for a particular candidate, dude, the job is yours. But don't expect any loyalty from the top.
Poor white supremacists. It's so lonely out there. I mean, where do you find a good genetically pure soulmate in this bubbling ethnic stew we live in? Come to think of it, is there even a good singles bierhalle anywhere with "Deutschland über Alles" on the jukebox?
West Palm Beach white separatist Don Black, for one, isn't sitting back and whining about this sorry situation. His white supremacist website, www.stormfront.org, a kind of clearing-house for hate groups, now offers personal ads for white singles. To read some of them is to begin to understand the depth of despair in supremacyland. Hate can be so damn isolating.
Consider Aryan Pride 88's lament from Southern California: "I know this state has problems, but nothing some good ol' stomping can't fix. I have been in the movement for awhile now, and every girl I have ever met at a gathering or what not is half assed in their attempt at joining our glorious aryan movement, they either claim White Power and listen to rap, or think it's ok to be friends with some niggers but not all of them. I look on this forum and I see all of these beautiful aryan women, who are fully devoted to the cause and know what they are talking about, but......it seems not a single one live in southern California." Damn. Gulp.
Then there's Allegro36: "Where are the good old fashioned white women? I won't apologize, I was brought up by parents who grew up in the good old days of Mussolini when a man was a man and a woman was a woman, where the man wore the trousers in the house."
Not that things are so hunky-dory for the chicks, who find themselves fending off all the Hitler-loving players and the ne'er-do-wells who hang around the movement. Take Intelligent Aryan Princess, who is seeking that special "white man." She bemoans the "sad but true fact that the WN movement has it's share of drunks and undesirables." She describes herself as "32, attractive, blonde, taller than 5'6, not fat, interested in European history and culture, vegetarianism, English humor, White Nationalism (of course!), brewing, gardening, German neo-folk, and Nazi ideals." What a catch!
After reading the above, this soot-stained Don Juan longed to know more about Intelligent Aryan Princess. Did she have thick yellow braids and glassy blue eyes? Has she found Mr. Right? How does she feel about, y'know, tubes? "Dear IAP," Tailpipe messaged her. "Wondering if some WN Lothario has swept you off your feet yet. You send lightning bolts through my Sieg Heil. Let's talk." The 'Pipe is still waiting for a reply.
Let's face it, the 'Pipe is no perfect piece of cylinder. Like nearly everyone else living in South Florida, where so many noses and breasts are as all-natural as the flavor of Gatorade, Tailpipe has thought about having some rust nipped here, some steel tucked there. But FX Networks' new hit show Nip/Tuck has the 'Pipe thinking twice about going under the knife. Set in South Florida, Nip/Tuck is a drama featuring two plastic surgeons and business partners -- family man Sean McNamara (played by Dylan Walsh) and handsome playboy Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) -- as their lives and careers intertwine with porn stars, drug kingpins, and the like.
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There are surgical blunders that would spark medical malpractice lawsuits faster than this piece of metal can say boob job, such as the time McNamara leaves a surgical instrument inside the body of an aging Boca Raton socialite. The woman discovers the blunder when she sets off an airport metal detector. Whoa. Then there's the time a drug mogul forces McNamara and Troy to extract some bags of heroin implanted in a Colombian woman's breasts.
Nip/Tuck doesn't exactly portray the industry in a glowing light. That's why the Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons has started fighting back -- though in a seemingly assbackward way. The organization, which represents about 250 plastic surgeons throughout the state, has begun to run regular commercials during the show, which airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m., touting the standards and ethics of the men and women who can make you beautiful.
"The reasons we decided to advertise were that the program [Nip/Tuck] depicts plastic surgeons in a, well, not very good light," says Wanda Callahan, the organization's executive director. "We wanted to let the public know that plastic surgeons are serious surgeons like any other kind and that there is a place they can call to confirm that their surgeon is licensed and board-certified. We're trying to inject reality into the fantasy shown on television."
But the 'Pipe thinks that's a bit suspicious. Isn't it self-defeating to help the fledgling FX Networks financially? Callahan laughs. No problema. "On this particular network," she says, "it wasn't that expensive to advertise."