Chabon, Waldman Endorse Obama

Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman sent out an e-mail Thursday directing friends to donate to the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

The couple is aiming to raise $25,000 for the campaign, and has established an outreach page on Obama’s campaign Web site.

“We can imagine and we believe that a Barack Obama presidency would repair the incalculable damage the Bush cabal has done to our country and to our reputation in the world,” the couple said in their e-mail. “Talk about shock and awe — imagine the signal it would send to the traumatized, impoverished, alienated people of the world (of Africa, of the Middle East) if the face of our country was President Barack Obama.”

The endorsement comes a week before Chabon’s newest novel, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, hits the stands, which is sure to bring increased media attention to Chabon and his causes. Obama to date has raised $25.7 million, putting him in second in building a warchest to Sen. Hilary Clinton, who has nearly $31 million.

Waldman attended Harvard Law School with Obama. Chabon, the e-mail said, has met him.

“Give for whatever reason you like,” they wrote. “Because you like Obama, or because you like us. Because of all the elections where you had to hold your nose as you pulled the lever. Hell, we don’t care if you give just because one time we donated to your diabetes walkathon or your AIDS ride or your kid’s school auction.”

Federal Election Commission reports show Waldman has contributed $4,600 to Obama, the maximum amount when contributing for both the primary and general election. The FEC’s Web site does not show any contributions from Chabon in 2007, though it appears the site is still being updated with the most recent filing information. In 2004, he contributed $500 to Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign.

Waldman has for a while indicated her hopes that Obama would make it to the White House. On her blog in 2005, shortly after he’d been elected to the Senate, Waldman said she’d like to see Obama run for vice president with Barbara Boxer going for commander in chief (“it’s fantasy politics, people,” Waldman wrote).

To donate to Obama at Waldman and Chabon’s personal fundraising site, click here.

Alaska Paper Reports on Yiddish Policemen

The Anchorage Daily News (my state’s newspaper) has the inevitable Alaska newspaper story today. As in, “You mean there’s a book coming out that has 3.2 million Jews in Sitka? Has this guy ever even been to Sitka?”

“I fully expected Alaskans to just be horrified by this,” Chabon laughed, “that so many people would show up on their doorstep, regardless of who they are.”

Seriously, the article is a good backgrounder into the history of the Jewish Alaska plan. Why? Because the article’s author, Tom Kizzia, wrote a four-part series in 1999 about the real plan Chabon based his novel on.

NY Post: Chabon’s Views on Jews ‘Ugly’

The New York Post on Sunday labeled Michael Chabon’s new book, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, as having an “ugly view of Jews” and said it “is bound to set off a firestorm of controversy.”

The book, which hits stands in May, “depicts Jews as constantly in conflict with one another, and its villains are a ruthless, ultra-Orthodox sect that resembles the Lubavitchers.”

The article goes on to say the book “depicts some of his Jewish characters as willing to do anything, including massacring other Jews, in the cause of Zionism.”

“Film rights were sold to producer Scott Rudin five years ago, long before the book was finished,” the article says. “But with Chabon’s take on Jews as the central element in endless struggle, maybe Mel Gibson would like to direct.”

Good thing it’s just the New York Post and, you know, no one takes it seriously.

Chabon Up for Time’s 100 Most Influential

We’ll see if he actually makes the real list, but right now people can vote on whether Michael Chabon should make Time’s list of 100 most influential people of the year.

‘Not a Lot Going On’ With Kavalier

In an interview with Details magazine, Michael Chabon gives an update on the forever-stalled film adaptation of Kavalier & Clay:

“We were so close,” he says. “As far as I was told, we had been greenlighted, and we had part of a cast. Tobey Maguire was supposed to star, and Natalie Portman. Then around Thanksgiving it just completely went south for studio-politics kinds of reasons that I’m not privy to. I have a lot of faith in the producer, Scott Rudin, who has the rights to the material. He’s a great movie producer, and if anyone can pull it all together, it’s Scott. But right now, as far as I know, there’s not a lot going on.”

To read the full interview, and an excerpt from The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, click here.