The “Right” to Know…

It’s interesting that the investigation of matters related to 9/11 has become such a partisan issue in Washington. First, the Bush White House stone-walled for months, refusing to cooperate with the investigative panel (which should raise eyebrows even among the Australopitheci of the right), then they wanted to shut down the commission soon, well before the election, then grudgingly they allowed that a bit more time could be allowed…tossing the ball into Dennis Hastert’s hands to continue the game of keep-away in Congress. So Hastert plants his feet that the commission must stop its investigation with no extension to deadline…

Remember that the extension is needed primarily because of the stone-walling of the Bushies in the first place…

And finally Hastert has to grudgingly go along with an extension, because, hey, go figure, the public actually seems to agree with the Democrats and want an actual investigation into what happened on 9/11 and exactly who screwed up beforehand.

You’d almost think Bush doesn’t want people to know about something, wouldn’t you?

And that’d be so unlike him.

Who’d Win?

This week’s (grand) episode of Angel (goddamn WB) brought us, in an aside, an argument about who would win in a fight, an astronaut or caveman.

Didn’t we see this resolved (albeit messily) in the last presidential election?

Astronaut beats caveman, barely. Then caveman asks tribal elders who won and they, being cavemen as well, say caveman won.

To celebrate, caveman run around world conking heads.

Astonishing

Look at the comment someone posted under the entry below regarding Firefly.

It’s a grass-roots ad for Mel Gibson’s Jesus flick, and against those who are protesting it for its alleged anti-semitism.

It’s bald-faced and has the sort of subtlety we love in our Christian fanatics.

Normally, I’d delete it, since it’s got absolutely nothing to do with anything I’ve discussed on the blog (though I’ve been mulling a comment about Gibson and his flick), but I find it an amusing enough piece of spam I’m going to leave it. The fact that I’m already somehow getting spam on here is actually a positive sign that somebody is reading.

And, Kyle…as far as Gibson’s Jesus movie is concerned, I can only go on what I’ve heard from all the parties so loudly shouting about it, and I have this to say:

It sounds like a brilliant piece of work.

It sounds like as dedicated a bit of proselytizing as a Lani Riefenstahl flick.

It sounds like an unrelenting bath in extreme violence, and I’m fine with that, since it’s in context, but I don’t particularly want to sit through it.

It sounds likely that it really is anti-semitic, considering the brand of Catholicism practiced by the Gibson clan.

I’ve always really like Mel Gibson and had a lot of respect for him, but he seems to be going off the deep end. His saying he wanted that reporter’s intestines on a stick and wants to kill the man’s dog didn’t give me confidence he was approaching this topic in a rational manner.

Bush’s America will make this movie HUGE.

And, Kyle, kiss my ass. My blog’s not here for your purposes, it’s here for mine.

You can’t take the sky from Joss.

Things are crappy on the Angel front, but Joss Whedon’s brilliant Firefly is still flying, in spite of having been canceled by Fox before it even completed its first season. First, a really fine set of DVDs collecting all fifteen existing episodes and cool extras came out (mandatory viewing if you have a brain), and then reports were that Universal had wisely bought the rights and hired Joss to write and direct a Firefly feature film for theatrical release.

Recent developments on that front are very promising.

First, Joss has reportedly finished a script. One more finished piece of writing by Joss Whedon in the world is always a good thing.

Then, back on the 17th, a poster on one of the sites tracking Firefly matters had this to say:

This weekend through professional contacts at a trade show, I was able to spend an hour or so with someone who does licensing for Universal.

I brought up the movie project rather slyly, and this is what she said:

1. Definitely in the works.

2. First film meeting was last week.

3. Working title is “Serenity.” (“That’s the name of the ship,” she said.) :-)

4. They are “very excited to be working with Joss Whedon.”

The latest is that not only is Serenity now actually listed on the “Coming Soon” list at Universal’s web site (along with Peter Jackson’s King Kong), Universal has registered the web domain name “serenitymovie.com.”

So, The WB and Fox may be full of fuckwits, but there are still at least a few folks out in L.A. with some class and brains.

Ummm…Isn’t This Supposed To Mean You’re Doing Something Wrong?

Lightning strikes Jesus on Gibson’s Christ film set

The actor who plays Jesus in Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of Christ has escaped injury after being struck by lightning during filming.

The incident, in which The Rock and The Count of Monte Cristo star Jim Caviezel did not sustain an injury, is the second bolt to hit the set of the movie in Italy.

The film has drawn complaints from religious leaders. Jewish leaders say it suggests Jews were responsible for Christ’s death. Conservative Catholics who have seen the film have called it a powerful rendering of the hours leading up to Christ’s Crucifixion.

The crew was on a remote location a few hours from Rome when the storm occurred.

“I’m about a hundred feet away from them,” producer Steve McEveety said, “when I glance over and see lightning coming out of Caviezel’s ears.”

Both Caviezel and his assistant director Michelini were struck. The main bolt hit Caviezel and one of its forks hit Michelini’s umbrella.

Neither of the men sustained injuries in the incident.

Michelini has been nicknamed Lightning Boy after being struck twice by lightning during the filming in Italy. He had already suffered light burns on the tips of his fingers in an earlier incident during filming on a hilltop in the town of Matera.

© Associated Press

Damn Them Gay People!

Should gay folks be able to get married?

Sure. Why not? They certainly can’t mess it up any worse than straight folks have.

If the only reasoning someone can offer me that they shouldn’t have this right is based on The Bible and/or a personal gag reflex, I can’t give their argument much credit.


On the other hand, I think that gays are dumb-asses for having the battle now, when Bush and the religious right will be able to maximize the effect the issue will have in the next election. Believe me, Karl Rove is freakin’ elated that San Francisco is doing this mass wedding stuff. It’s scaring the rubes, making ’em worry about looking West lest they turn to pillars of salt, and it will get them out in force to vote against whichever Democrat faces Bush in November.

It’s another Nader-esque thing. Ralph Nader is a smart man, and most of what he says is at least close to correct. He wants to be a force against corporate corruption, and gods know we need some more forces like that. So what does he do? He helps derail Gore and hands the freaking country to the corporate interests (not to mention anti-civil rights and pro-religious fascism interests) in a shiny gilt gift bag.

So some gays get to publicly show their commitment, even though it’s gonna be legally moot because the system’s not changing, and their marriages won’t be recognized. HURRAY!

Karl Rove strokes his little kitty, chuckling his evil laugh, and sees that though things aren’t going well for his boy overall at the moment, they’re starting to look up, oh yes indeed…

Then he falls asleep and dreams about that time he fellated Dick Chaney in the Oval Office…

God Shuffles His Feet…and doesn’t vote?

Well, I knew Gov. Bush was in trouble with the libertarian and fiscal responsibility conservatives, but apparently his problems are deeper than that. This is from the Washington Times (itself a far-right rag, owned by Republican power-broker Sun Myung-Moon):

“It’s not just economic conservatives upset by runaway federal spending that he’s having trouble with. I think his biggest problem will be social conservatives who are not motivated to work for the ticket and to ensure their fellow Christians get to the polling booth,” said Robert H. Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute.

The rest of the article is here. It’s quite interesting.

From here, it looks as if Bush is willing to sacrifice some of his less fundie base in order to kowtow more effectively to the Halliburtons and Enrons of the world (knowing how much money that’ll net his campaign, currently more than half a million bucks a day), but he is taking the Christian conservatives for granted, because, hey, he’s their boy, right? And where else are they gonna go?

Possibly no further than the kitchen for another can o’ Buttwiper, it seems.

There are even rumours floating about that ex-Judge Roy Moore of Ally-bammy is considering a third party run, and a lot of these folks would swarm to a man like Moore because he’s 100% as bat-shit-bozo as they are, and they (like many a Naderite) lack the common sense to see that their man can’t win.

I’m sure we’ll see quite a bit of Rovian pandering in the months ahead to try to buff these folks up.

The O.C., Navi Rawat, and Bone-Saws

I’ve recommended The OC to some of you, and after last night’s episode, well, I’m forced to admit, I need to recommend it again. The series is a sheer delight, a rich folks/po’ folks California soap opera, a genre I roundly despise, and yet, I love this show. It is smart and funny and almost constantly enjoyable. I rarely finish watching an episode without a grin, even if the episode has been a traumatizing one for its characters. There is a lightness of spirit and depth of wit in this show I don’t really think any other show approaches. The only thing in memory that immediately springs to mind is Northern Exposure, though this isn’t magical realist like that was.

Last night, Ryan, the tortured young tough, ran into his old flame, Theresa, from back in the ‘hood. She’s been on once before, and she’s lovely, smart, and witty, as she should be. What I didn’t realize as I watched it was, she’s played by Navi Rawat, who gave a blistering performance as Dana in the Angel episode “Damage” a few weeks back. Dana being the possibly demon-possessed, super-strong chick with a bone-saw making her way through the L.A. night to a momentous encounter with Spike & Angel. Ever since, I’ve been saying Joss Whedon should spin Dana off into her own show; the lass was that damn good.

navi1

An actress to watch.

HELLBOY IS HELLA GOOD

Forgive me for saying “hella.” Sometimes I get meme-flu. I’m better now.

Inspired by the upcoming Hellboy movie, I took steps to fix my lack of knowledge about the title character. I knew he was a creation of comic artist (and writer) Mike Mignola, whose shadowy, Kirby-esque work I’ve really liked over the years. Nobody else draws like Mignola.

I’d never really looked at Hellboy, though, because it looked like it was perhaps some weirdness-for-the-sake-of kind of thing. That and I rarely ever read comics anymore for sheer grumpy financial reasons (as in, a $4 comic that’ll take me 8 minutes to read is less entertainment for the moola than a $7 paperback that’ll take me a few days).

Little did I know that Hellboy wasn’t just a grand adventure strip, it’s pure pulp. And we’ve established I loves me some pulp.

Reading several Hellboy tales over the past week, I found them to be great fun, soaked in Lovecraftian atmosphere, told with great wit. What really surprised me, though, is that reading Hellboy is like reading folk tales or myth, because Mignola starts in those realms and builds his stories the way a good shaman would build a lesson tale.

And Hellboy himself is quite a character. He’s supposed to be a key figure (on the wrong side) in the Apocalypse, but, well, he refuses. So he fights the good fight against creatures much like himself. Oh, and his right hand is this great big slab of red rock, sometimes called “The Right Hand of Doom,” and it holds the power to end the world, and while he’s not inclined to use it that way, others are, and sometimes try to get it off him.

Great stuff.

Can’t wait for the movie.

EDIT: If you’d like to read some of this stuff for free, check out the e-comics at http://www.darkhorse.com/zones/hellboy/downloads.php . Also, the “Animation” bit is very cool.

The Amazing BUSHAGON!!! Master of DECEPTION! Warper of REALITY!

Bush doesn’t use scientific methods in analyzing information and making policy decisions? Who knew?

Oh yeah, the several hundred dead guys in American uniforms, and the thousands of dead innocents in Iraq, among others…

WASHINGTON — More than 60 scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and several science advisers to Republican presidents, on Wednesday accused the Bush administration of manipulating and censoring science for political purposes.

In a 46-page report and an open letter, the scientists accused the administration of “suppressing, distorting or manipulating the work done by scientists at federal agencies” in several cases.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, based in Cambridge, Mass., organized the effort.

John Marburger III, White House science adviser, said the charges were “like a conspiracy theory report, and I just don’t buy that.” But he said that “given the prestige of some of the individuals who have signed on to this, I think they deserve additional response, and we’re coordinating something.”

The protesting scientists welcomed his response.

“If an administration of whatever political persuasion ignores scientific reality, they do so at great risk to the country,” said Stanford University physicist W.H.K. Panofsky, who served on scientific advisory councils in the Eisenhower, Johnson and Carter administrations.

“There is no clear understanding in the (Bush) administration that you cannot bend science and technology to policy.”

The report charges that Bush administration officials:

• Ordered extensive changes to a section on global warming in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2003 Report on the Environment. Eventually the entire section was dropped.

• Replaced a fact sheet on proper condom use prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a warning emphasizing condom failure rates.

• Ignored top Department of Energy nuclear materials experts who cautioned that aluminum tubes being imported by Iraq were not suitable for making nuclear weapons.

• Established political litmus tests for scientific advisory boards. In one case, public health experts were removed from a lead-paint advisory panel and replaced with researchers who had financial ties to the lead industry.

• Suppressed a Department of Agriculture microbiologist’s finding that potentially harmful bacteria float in the air around large hog farms.

“I don’t recall it ever being so blatant in the past,” said Princeton University physicist Val Fitch, a 1980 Nobel Prize winner who served on a Nixon administration science advisory committee. “It’s just time after time after time. The facts have been distorted.”

Russell Train, an EPA administrator in the Nixon and Ford administrations who spoke on the protesters’ behalf, described the Bush administration’s treatment of science and scientists as so “dictatorial” that it was causing good scientists to leave the federal government.

James Zahn, a former Agriculture Department microbiologist, said he discovered accidentally that pig farms in southwestern Minnesota, northern Missouri and Iowa were emitting airborne bacteria. Because pigs are often fed antibiotics, Zahn speculated that airborne bacteria from farms could include drug-resistant bacteria, which, if breathed by humans, would make them harder to treat when ill.

Zahn presented his findings at a scientific conference in 2000, but the Bush administration stopped him from publishing his data 11 times between September 2001 and April 2002, he said. When Danish researchers sought to learn more about his work, Zahn wasn’t allowed to share his techniques.

“It was truly a new problem with potential impact on human health,” Zahn said.

SMILETIME

Okay, so last night’s Angel wasn’t exactly creepy, except maybe the opening, but it was definitely original. Not to mention just damn funny. H.P. Lovecraft meets Sesame Street

And hey, hot werewolf!

What a great freaking episode.

I hate the WB. Dark Shadows my ass.

If I come up with any specific comments about the episode, I’ll post them in the “comments” section under this entry, so folks who haven’t seen it won’t have it spoiled for them.

Cream Rises

From a press release about Angel’s centennial episode WAY back on January 21:

ANGEL is currently The WB’s second highest-rated series with adults 18-34. The series was created by Academy and Emmy Award-nominated writer Joss Whedon, along with David Greenwalt. Whedon serves as executive producer, along with Sandy Gallin, Gail Berman, Fran Rubel Kuzui, Kaz Kuzui, Jeffrey Bell and David Fury. The series stars David Boreanaz, Alexis Denisof, J. August Richards, Amy Acker, James Marsters and Andy Hallett. “You’re Welcome” was written and directed by David Fury. ANGEL is a Mutant Enemy, Inc. and Kuzui/Sandollar production in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television. The series is currently in its fifth season.

Second highest rated among their most cherished demographic? A darling of the critics?

Shit, get that thing off the air immediately! We need something…something like…

A new version of Dark Shadows maybe…

I say again: fuckers.

Well, I’m always on the lookout for a chance to winnow my TV viewing, and the sole silver lining in the cancelation of Angel is it opens up an hour of my time every week. That being the case, and the WB’s ass-headedness so evident, I won’t be bothering with any new stuff they offer, unless it’s from Whedon.

But we will be left wanting…

TV Guide’s Matt Roush on Angel:

February 17, 2004
I go away for a week to escape the winter chill, and look what happens. WB cans Angel midway through its fifth season, leaving fans of cool, dark fantasy bereft. Some of us are still dealing with the demise of Buffy the Vampire Slayer last spring, and that one was long planned! This unfortunate dusting of Angel confirms rumors that had been circulating since before the 100th-episode celebration, but it still comes as something of a shock. If there’s an upside, it’s that Joss Whedon and his crew appear to have been able to muster up some sort of suitable season/series finale, so we won’t be left hanging.

But we will be left wanting.

Buffy, and to some extent its spin-off Angel, helped put WB on the map — much as The X-Files was key in establishing Fox’s network identity. I still remember my shock when I first put in the tape of the Buffy pilot, with expectations that couldn’t be lower — after all, I’d seen the movie. I wasn’t counting on much from the series or from the mini-network that up until then had little to recommend itself. (This was before Felicity, Dawson’s Creek and Gilmore Girls, mind you.) Sarah Michelle Gellar’s delightful performance as the spunky slayer, the warm wit and wisdom of Whedon’s worldview, and the dynamic presence of David Boreanaz’s soulful Angel (who would prove himself to be a leading man capable of carrying a series of his own), all were revelations to me.

Over the years, I have come to expect a certain level of quality from WB, and I have also become accustomed to the network not making that many regrettable programming decisions. Losing Buffy to UPN was one, letting Angel go before its creative team was ready is another. I will miss this world terribly. I think WB will come to miss it as well.

It’s yet another body blow in a discouraging season for fans of offbeat TV. How many more reluctant goodbyes will we be forced to make to our favorite series before this year is over?

Deja View

Over the past few years, there have been a few pieces of reportage that have stuck in my mind as masterworks, so I thought I’d share them here as they drift back into mind.

The first is from right after George W. Bush “won” the election in 2001, and is from Salon:

Dan Quayle redux

As we prepare for a second President Bush, the deja vu isn’t caused by memories of the father.

By Lawrence Weschler

December 16, 2000 At the time of his sudden ascension to prominence, back in 1988, when the entire world seemed to be stammering, as if in one voice, “Him? Why him?” Dan Quayle, we were assured, had struck a resonant chord in the patrician sponsor who had selected him to serve as his vice presidential running mate. George Bush saw something in the boyish young (though actually not that young) man; indeed we were told, he recognized in him something of a son.

Little did we know.

There were countless other fresh young politicians from whom to choose that strange summer morn, some of them quite competent, but Bush pere chose that one. Just as this time around, bent on revenge for their defeat four years later, the Bush clan could have rallied behind the competent son but instead chose to marshal its forces around (behind, in front of, above, beneath) its hapless dauphin.

People have been speaking of George W. as a latter-day liter version of his father, and there is indeed a strong sense of deja vu in all of this, but the comparison to Bush the elder misses the essential point: This is not so much a case of deja vu as of repetition compulsion, a bizarre family psychodrama writ large. With George W. (the pervading vacuousness, the deer-in-the-headlights stare, the cavalcade of late-night TV jokes, the burgeoning compilations of tortured syntax and uproarious gaffes, the nervous edgy glances of the surrounding adult handlers, the defiantly clueless Alfred E. Neuman gaze, the utter lack of curiosity regarding the cluefulness of the world), what we are witnessing isn’t so much the return of George the elder as the triumphant apotheosis of Quayle!

Remember how we used to cringe through the better part of Daddy Bush’s term in office, mortified that something might befall him and we’d all get stuck with Quayle? Well, guess what? I’m reminded, in turn, of the joke that was going around in March 1969, about the accident victim who’d spent the entirety of the previous decade in a coma. Coming to, his first frantic query had concerned the health of President Eisenhower. Informed that Ike had in fact died just a few days earlier, the poor fellow wailed, “My God, that means Nixon must be president!”

The Right: Taking The “Right” Out of “Rights”

From Salon:

The Washington Post reports that even as the Bush administration is caught up in the debate on gay marriage, a Republican appointee at the independent agency Office of Special Counsel, whose mission is to protect whistleblowers and other federal employees from retribution, pulled references to sexual orientation discrimination off the Web site where government employees can learn about their rights in the workplace.

“The Web pages at the Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency, has removed references to sexual orientation from a discrimination complaint form, training slides, a brochure titled ‘Your Rights as a Federal Employee’ and other documents. Scott J. Bloch, the agency head, said he ordered the material removed because of uncertainty over whether a provision of civil service law applies to federal workers who claim unfair treatment because they are gay, bisexual or heterosexual.” More Post: “The provision usually has been interpreted to mean that a worker’s off-duty behavior cannot be used as a justification for dismissal, demotion or discipline unless it hampers job performance or interferes with the work of others. That has been the stance at the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees the government’s workplace policies, for at least two decades. The OPM Web site continues to advise employees that bias based on sexual orientation is unlawful and informs them that complaints may be filed at the Office of Special Counsel.”

My Return to Hyboria

The other day, I wrote about Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane, who is coming to the movie screen, if indeed the filmmakers manage to bring him there (you never know for sure till it’s done, as I know all too well). This was just the latest bit of data in what has been a return to the realms of pulp for me the past year or so.

I’ve always loved pulp, and never been far from it, and in the recent past I used a short Savage Worlds adventure with 1930’s pulp action to introduce my players to the system, I introduced my son to Doc Savage (in the pages of the original novels and Marvel comics, as well as the George Pal/Ron Ely movie misfire from the seventies, which is actually pretty cool if you’re a 7 year old boy), I reread some H.P. Lovecraft, I started (and have nearly completed) a juvenile adventure novel that is deep tribute to both Doc Savage and Lovecraft, I added more pulp to my DVD collection (The Shadow, The Phantom, The Rocketeer, and of course the Indiana Jones trilogy), and hell, I could go on, but you get the point. The listing may be extraneous, anyway, since when I think about it, I could probably do a similar list from any previous year. As I said, I’m never far from pulp.

The latest is I’m re-reading Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories, in their original form, unexpurgated and un-bastardized by L. Sprague de Camp or anyone else. I always loved this stuff, and haven’t ventured near it in years, so the inherent danger was that it wasn’t actually as good as I remembered (this has happened to me quite a bit, alas, and much golden light from my storied past has paled in the process). I mean, what if Howard wasn’t as good as I remembered? What if the blood and thunder and poetry of his prose was what my teenaged mind brought to his clunky hack material?

Well, no worries. The SOB could write.

I burned out on fantasy years ago, having read so damn much of it, and seeing so much of it become, basically, clumsy Tolkien pastiche brewed in folks’ own Dungeons & Dragons games. George R.R. Martin brought me back for a grand visit with his “Song of Fire and Ice” series, which brings Shakespearian complexity and historical novel heft to muscular, gritty pulp adventure, and is some of the best damn fiction of any sort I’ve ever read. I drop back in on Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser every couple years, and each time I’m surprised that, while I recall Leiber as being a prose god, I’m still giving the man less credit than deserved.

And Tolkien. I love Tolkien, but I think Peter Jackson mostly improved on his work, and you don’t read J.R.R. for his prose anyway, but for his world- and language-building and epic tale-telling. And it’s when Tolkien’s at his pulpiest, with screeching Nazgul and sinister giant spiders and, well, Gollum, that he’s at his best. And Aragorn could build his fire in the wildlands of Weird Tales and be completely at home. Tom Bombadil…well. Um.

I’d read 100 pages of Howard’s Conan any day over 100 pages of Tolkien. Howard’s writing is as muscular and aggressive as his barbaric hero, and as intelligent. Conan is a far cry from the contemporary stereotype of the bulky, none-too-bright savage, and the stories put him in a variety of situations, not just the same one over and over. Magic in these tales is rare and mysterious and almost always corrupt. Monsters are scary, not just another bag of hit points to whack at. There is passion and danger and the feel of real (often swampy) earth underfoot.

So, in short, I’m lovin’ my return to Howard’s Hyboria, and watching Conan in action again is thrilling. If you haven’t read this stuff, you should. Start here.

NO WITNESS

Steve Antczak is an old friend of mine, and a fellow member of the struggling writer club. Together we wrote an adventure screenplay called “Blood of Eden,” which came under consideration to become the next Die Hard flick a couple years back, and actually got us a bit of buzz in the trades. For what that was worth.

While I was working on getting Greensleeves filmed, Steve was also getting into independent film, and where my project went south when a principal actress moved to Texas on us without filming some key scenes (and leaving us with 85% of a good movie), Steve wrote a short film that got made and brought in its wake funding to expand the short into a feature. The movie is No Witness, it’s been shot, and will be in limited release here in Atlanta in April, to be followed by a DVD release.

I haven’t seen the flick yet, but I know the basic idea behind it, and it’s very cool. And hey, Corey Feldman!

You can get more info about it, and about the premiere, here.

GODDAMNIT.

A statement from The WB:
For the last seven years Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have been cornerstones of our network. The sum total of the work done on those shows has produced some of the proudest moments in our history. Like some of the great series that are leaving the air this year, including Frasier and Friends, the cast, crew, writers and producers of Angel deserve to be able to wrap up the series in a way befitting a classic television series and that is why we went to Joss to let him know that this would be the last year of the series on The WB. We have discussed continuing the Angel legacy with special movie events next year, which is still on the table. In a perfect world, all of these details would be completed before this information went to the press so that we could be definitive about the show’s ongoing future. But in any case, we did not want to contemplate this being the last year of Angel without giving the show the option of crafting their own destiny for this character and for this series. David Boreanaz continues to be one of the finest, classiest and friendliest actors we have had the pleasure to work with and we hope that the relationship furthers from here. The same can be said for all the actors and producers on the show.

Fuckers.

BITS

A letter to Media Whores Online regarding Ralph Nader’s thick-headed refusal to see how much damage he’s done to, really, all that he values:

I once rode on a small elevator with 7 others in San Francisco with a sign that said “no more that 8 persons allowed.” Just as the door closed, two more crammed into the elevator which moved, then stopped between floors. The anxiety was palpable. The last guy on, in his own defense, said, “Don’t blame me, I wasn’t the ninth person!”

To me, that’s Nader’s logic. Uh oh.

Steven Brown
Palm Springs, CA

“The Vent” in the Atlanta Urinal-Constipation is an anonymous vehicle for the great unwashed to throw their cheap shots at whatever’s bugging them. Occasionally, there’s actually a spot of cleverness to be found in it, and today is blessed with two:

And people are asking why Bush’s National Guard records are just now appearing? Duh! They had to wait till the ink dried!

and

I am scared of anyone who says they were once an ape. But then, I am also afraid of werewolves.

The latest attack on Kerry comes through the graces of Matt Drudge, who’s trying to get a meme going that Kerry has a looming “intern problem.” So far, it doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction:

Late Thursday morning — with George W. Bush’s credibility damaged on several fronts as reporters demanded answers to questions about his National Guard service that should have been asked years ago — the Drudge Report defamed his leading Democratic challenger with a “world exclusive” smudge of personal dirt.

Vague and unsourced but hyped to the maximum by Drudge, the brief item sounded disturbingly familiar. The Internet gossip accused John Kerry of “recent alleged infidelity” with “a woman who recently fled the country,” adding that a “close friend of the woman recently approached a reporter with fantastic stories.” The same item ran an “off the record” comment attributed to retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who was quoted as saying, “Kerry will implode over an intern issue.” Major news organizations from ABC News to the Associated Press, warned Drudge, were all over the story.

By evening, however, no major news organization had run with it, though many were chasing it. Perhaps frustrated, Drudge put up an additional item eight hours later, with a few more details about the alleged relationship. “Unlike the Monica Lewinsky drama, which first played out publicly in this space, with audio tapes, cigar and a dress, the Kerry situation has posed a challenge to reporters investigating the claims,” his later item explained. Drudge also quoted a “top source” as saying: “There is no lawsuit testimony this time [like Clinton with Paula Jones]. It is hard to prove.”

But the kind of proof usually required by national news organizations isn’t what Drudge needs in order to put innuendo into circulation.

Somewhat conveniently, Drudge had earlier posted an item that blamed the sudden smudging on a disgruntled Democratic consultant named Chris Lehane, who had been fired by Kerry before going to work as a communications aide to Clark. That second item was later taken down without explanation. By then, of course, this Drudge-drama was already “rocking” Democrats — and delighting Republicans — across the nation, at least according to Drudge.

The template was pure Monica: Intern has affair with married politician, is betrayed by a “close friend,” and finally exposed by the pliant Drudge.

So far, however, the mainstream media has yet to touch the Drudge item, despite heavy promotion by Rush Limbaugh and the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal Web site. Whoever lit this match must have been disappointed when the story that smoldered in newsrooms during the afternoon failed to blaze into a firestorm by early evening. The only exception, so far, is a daily newspaper in Scotland. (Joe Conason, Salon)

The best thing about Drudge’s site is you can visit every day and easily see who’s the current biggest threat to the GOP power structure: it’s the person Drudge is attacking the most.

He’s a journalist.

Heh.