Kudos to 2012 election journalists Nate Silver, 34, David Korn, 53, and Chuck Todd, 40. Silver, who writes the FiveThirtyEight blog for the New York Times, correctly predicted the winner in 49 of the 50 states in the 2008 election and the winner of all 50 states in 2012. Silver’s mathematical modeling and evaluation of state and national polls were criticized by many on the political right — but now we know he was right. Silver’s father, Brian D. Silver, is a Michigan State University poly sci professor. His mother, Sally, isn’t Jewish. Silver calls himself “half-Jewish.”
Korn, Washington bureau chief of Mother Jones magazine, released the now-infamous Mitt Romney “47 percent” video. James Earl Carter IV, President Jimmy Carter’s grandson, located the video’s creator and put that person in touch with Korn. Korn then convinced the individual to release it in full to Mother Jones. No doubt, it influenced the election’s outcome.
Todd, the NBC political division chief, distinguished himself with his informative, “down the middle” analysis of the race. He also worked to make sure NBC’s polls were among the most accurate. Todd’s mother is Jewish and he was raised Jewish.
From a ‘Fun’ town
In my Oct. 19 column, I mentioned the new comedy “Fun Size,” which is set on Halloween night. What I didn’t know is that the film, which earned a coveted New York Times “Critics Pick” designation, was written by Max Werner, a 30-something guy who was born and raised in Berkeley and went to Berkeley High. Werner also is a writer for “The Colbert Report,” for which he has won one Emmy and been nominated for two others.
Midler on ‘Glee’
The “Divine Miss M,” better known as Bette Midler, 66, will guest star on a future episode of the hit Fox series “Glee.” While appearing at a charity awards show in October, “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy told the crowd that he had asked Midler to be on the show and then exclaimed, “I hope she says yes!” Not long after, Midler tweeted her agreement to appear on “Glee.”
Despite her “divinity,” Midler has to face the problems of aging like us mere mortals. In the September/October issue of the AARP magazine, Midler offers nuggets of wisdom that age has brought her. Here are some lighthearted ones, about beauty: “You should stop beating your hair into submission, even if you don’t like it. Everyone should exfoliate, every day, even guys. More than two drinks a day will ruin your skin. And if you don’t have a full-length mirror, you’re going to get fat. Period.”
There’s no easy explanation for why there aren’t more Jewish pro golfers. The three most prominent recent pros are Bruce Fleischer, 64, Amy Alcott, 56, and Morgan Pressel, 24. Fleischer, who won the 1968 U.S. Amateur championship, had modest success on the regular pro tour, but has won 18 Senior PGA tournaments. Alcott, now retired, is simply one of the best woman golfers of all time, with 29 LPGA titles. Pressel has had only mid-range pro success, winning two tournaments since she joined the LPGA tour in 2005.
A promising future pro is Steven Fox, 21, who won the U.S. Amateur championship last August. Raised in Tennessee, this University of Tennessee student barely made the tournament and his victory was a huge upset. He will now get invitations to the 2013 Masters and U.S. Open. Fox’s Jewish father, Alan, played pro basketball in Israel. His non-Jewish mother, Maureen, was a college basketball star.
Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.