Woody Allen imagines Obama the dictator

The notorious and formerly funny movie director Woody Allen is apparently frustrated with the cumbersome operations of American democracy too.

The onetime-father-now-husband-of-his-daughter tells the Spanish-language magazine La Vanguardia that the United States’ Democratic Smoker-in-Chief could accomplish a whole lot more from his White House if he didn’t have so many disorderly, annoying people objecting, distracting and criticizing him all the time.

Such social messiness has been known to occur in functioning democracies, even cinematic ones, although less often on celebrity-strewn movie sets under the direction of a dictatorial director.

“It would be good… if [President Obama] could be dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly,” Allen is quoted as saying.


Allen is also to have said: “I am pleased with Obama. I think he is brilliant. The Republican Party should get out of his way and stop trying to hurt him.”

With healthcare and the economy now fully fixed, no doubt one area in urgent need of sweeping Obama-style reforms would be targeting movie reviewers who write negatively about Hollywood. Or about its politician favorites.

‘I know about holograms’

And here you thought members of Congress were special, spoiled and somehow disconnected from everyday Americans who work for a living!

But we now know that’s not true, at least for Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson.

The Nebraska senator claims he’s up to the challenge of buying gas and groceries for himself with a credit card as well as anyone. Nelson told the Omaha World-Herald, “I swipe to get my own gas, buy groceries. I know about holograms.”


Hologram is Nelson for bar codes, those collections of little black lines on virtually every single product sold in America that tell genies inside magical little scanning machines how much to charge the purchaser in American currency.

Nelson, who’s paid $174,000 in American currency per year as a federal legislator, also boasted: “I go and get my own seating assignment on an airplane. I mean, I’m not without some skills. I just haven’t had the need to use an ATM.”


The reporter had asked Nelson his opinion on a legislative amendment to cap the ATM fees that banks can charge account holders from other institutions. “I’ve never used an ATM,” Nelson explained. “So I don’t know what the fees are.”

However, the senator assured the reporter that he could learn how to use an ATM if he had to.

Good to know.

Top of the Ticket, The Times’ blog on national politics (, is a blend of commentary, analysis and news. These are selections from the last week.