Scoobie: Security Expert? As many of you might know, during the Oscars, I and another television producer, Frank Cromer, took a limo past the "enhanced security" at the Oscars right to the red carpet in front of the Kodak Theater. Today, Cromer and I met with security officials at the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to discuss security. This was covered by LA's KCBS television. Neither of us have any security experience. However, I believe our insights were valuable because, as veteran party crashers, Cromer and I both have extensive experience bypassing security.
Party Crashing Coup! Not to brag, but I outdid myself. I crashed the Spider-man premiere after-party last night. I can’t disclose how I did it (trade secrets) but I will say that it was a combination of experience, savvy, and a little bit of luck; security was extremely tight. It was held in a huge tent--the opening had a giant web and Spider-man mask. It would be no exaggeration to call the event breathtaking. No expense was spared. All kinds of events had the Spider-man motif. There were acrobats dressed in Spider-man outfits. There was great food and drink. I was able to schmooze with stars of the film as well as other stars.
Prediction On Friday, MediaWhoresOnline published a letter supporting David Brock regarding David Horowitz's claim that Brock libeled him when Brock wrote that book editor Chad Conway told him that Horowitz made an anti-gay comment. Horowitz wrote that Conway supported his version of the events but Conway’s e-mail clearly indicates that Conway told Brock that Horowitz called gays “hysterical.” On Friday, I wrote that I would write a follow-up letter to Horowitz regarding this. To my surprise, Horowitz published it and responded, “I should apologize to Brock for slandering me? My comments on Chad's letter will be posted on Salon today and frontpage tonight.” My guess is that Horowitz will say that Conway misunderstood his remarks. However, the issue is that Horowitz claimed that Brock was lying about being told about Horowitz's alleged anti-gay remarks. Conway's e-mail indicates this is certainly not the case.
We Distort, You Abide The Washington Times’s Bill Sammon slams Joe Klein for lacking journalistic objectivity in his new book, The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency Of Bill Clinton. Look who’s talking. So far, nobody has come up with a convincing argument that Paul Krugman was wrong when he called the Moon-owned Times the Bush gang’s “house organ.” For more on Sammon as a personal example of journalistic objectivity and integrity, click here, here, and here.
Instant Karma! MediaWhoresOnline, a web site I discovered just a few short months ago, has been on top of things in recent weeks. Today, MWO broke a blockbuster story about David Brock and David Horowitz. In both Salon and his own web site Frontpage Magazine, Horowitz accused Brock of libeling him in Blinded by the Right. Brock's alleged libelous words: "Soon thereafter, Horowitz uttered a hateful anti-gay slur to an editor friend of mine whom Horowitz didn’t know was gay." Horowitz denied the slur and claimed that the editor in question backed him up on it. In fact, MWO got word from the editor, Chad Conway, who said that Brock--not Horowitz--was telling the truth about the anti-gay slur. I'm going to write a follow-up letter to Horowitz; I only hope my friend again bets me that Horowitz will publish it (see my 4/23 post).
I added a reading list that I will update occasionally. It lists books I read recently that I believe are worth a look. One book in the list that I believe has been overlooked by many Americans is In the Shadow of the Moons: My Life in the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Family by Nansook Hong. This shocking inside look at the Reverend Moon’s sham religion/business is written by Moon’s former “daughter-in-law.” I put “daughter-in-law” in quotations because Hong was brought to the United States under false pretenses and forced to marry Moon’s son even though she was underage at the time. What is just as shocking as these revelations by Hong is that Moon has not been arrested and deported for immigration fraud as well as for conspiracies involving the crimes of statutory rape, abduction, and illegal detention. I suppose when you are one of George W. Bush's largest benefactors, the rules don't apply. Don’t expect a story about this in the Washington Times. Also, don't expect any criticism or outrage from "Mr. Virtue", William Bennett, who has a cozy relationship with various of Moon's front groups.
Words of Wisdom Paul Begala on Yesterday's Crossfire(click here for the full transcript):
The Washington whispers column of "U.S. News and World Report" this week has the following tidbit. "The GOP whisper campaign to boycott CNN's Crossfire has become official policy. Top leaders have told members not to go on the show because they feel co-hosts James Carville and Paul Begala are unfair to them and their views."
Well, I have a message for the nameless, gutless whimperers out there. Quit whining. Unlike some other shows, we here at CROSSFIRE actually present both sides of the issue. Every single night, we welcome the leading lights of the Republican right on to battle against their ideological foes. Carville and I make no apologies for being tough, nor do Tucker and Bo. That's what makes this show is different.
Look, if you want namby-pamby one-sided arguments go to Fox. But if you're tough enough and you're smart enough to go toe-to-toe with people who actually know how to debate, welcome to CNN. Welcome to the new CROSSFIRE.
I Owe My Friend A Six-Pack of Corona Thanks to David Horowitz
I lost a bet. The prize: a six-pack of delicious Corona beer (screw those Miller Beer ads that badmouth putting a lime in one’s beer). Here’s the back story: Horowitz wrote an article for his web site calling his former friend David Brock a liar because Brock wrote that an editor friend claimed that Horowitz made an anti-gay slur. Since Horowitz didn’t hear the conversation between Brock and the unnamed editor, it is difficult to tell who is telling the truth about what Horowitz said or hadn’t said.
I thought it was ironic that Horowitz would be so concerned about an alleged anti-gay slur when Horowitz admitted that he was Brock’s “supportive friend” when Brock was engaging in full-fledged smear campaigns against Anita Hill, Bill Clinton, and Vince Foster—funded by Richard Mellon Scaife (who currently funds Horowitz). So last Thursday, I wrote a reasoned response to Horowitz’s article, detailing his inconsistencies. I told a friend that it was a moral victory since it was unlikely that Horowitz would print it in his correspondence section. My friend bet me a six-pack of Corona that Horowitz would print it. Finally, on Sunday, Horowitz printed my letter along with a lame and incoherent rejoinder.
So for those of you who are interested, I wrote a response to Horowitz’s nonresponse.
[Click here to read it.]
The Sky Is Blue, Too The first headline on Andrew Sullivan's blog: "MARY CHENEY COMES OUT - AS A REPUBLICAN." Well, no shit, Dick Tracy. She's only Dick Cheney's daughter. Sullivan then says it's "splendid news" (heh heh) that Ms.Cheney is on the board of a gay Republican group. Sullivan then prattles the following: "It seems to me a quite amazing fact - and devastating to the David Brocks of the world who want to keep gays on the Democratic plantation - that the most prominent openly gay member of a first or second family in American history is a Republican." This is fatuous. To the best of my knowledge, Brock has little interest in keeping gays in the Democratic Party. If Mary Cheney wants to rub elbows with prominent GOP homophobes like Bill Bennett, Jerry Falwell, and Dick Armey (who once used his name as part of an anti-gay joke at Barney Frank's expense), then she should go for it.
Must View Atom Films is a phat site for short films that one can view over the net. Enron: Facing the Music is a short that tickled my ribs. It not only lampoons those involved in the Enron debacle but it targets some pop culture icons.
Dr. Laura Update I hate to devote two logs in two straight days to one wingnut. But the whacko conspiracy theory that Dr. Laura described on her talk radio show today is worthy of comment. She complained about an assignment given to seventh graders in a Michigan school that asked some prying questions. I agree with Schlesinger that many of the questions were inappropriate. However, Schlesinger went on and more than suggested that the essay assignment was part of an “information-gathering operation” by the NEA, the Democratic Party, and other unnamed sinister forces. I’m not making this up.
Someone Suck Dr. Laura into a Sink On both her radio show and web site, Dr. Laura is encouraging her listeners, the Laurettes, to contact members of the California Assembly to pass a bill allowing California drivers the option of having the words “Choose Life” on their license plates. When Schlesinger speaks of “life,” she isn’t referring to a universal reverence for life—what some refer to as ahimsa. Rather, “Choose Life” is a code phrase for a specific political agenda: the move to repeal abortion laws. It’s apparently not enough that this alpha-male-wannabe hectors female callers who terminated a pregnancy with kind words like “you sucked your baby into a sink.” She wants the state of California to sponsor a political agenda opposed by the overwhelming majority of Californians. Fair enough. I’ll support “Choose Life” license plates when Dr. Laura comes out in favor of “Abolish Kosher Meat” license plates to protest the inhumane treatment of ritually slaughtered animals.
Guilty Pleasure I love cartoons on the web. One I love is Hard Drinkin' Lincoln. Although, historically inaccurate (Lincoln hangs out with Mohatma Gandhi) and politically incorrect (Lincoln is portrayed as a lecherous and surly boozehound), HDL is gas.
Gone Surfing I'll be back on Monday. Must read for anyone concerned about the beaches in southern California: Ron Russell's cover story in the LA New Times, "Beach Bummer: How Malibu's rich and famous -- with help from friends in high political places -- have claimed the public's beaches for themselves."
Trent Lott's Rainbow Coalition Today's Spinsanity has an insightful article on the GOP's race-baiting in the attempt to portray Democratic opposition to judicial nominee Miguel Estrada as racist. The choice of spokesmen for the GOP was what struck me as odd. Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott said about the opposition to Estrada: "They (Democrats) don’t want Miguel Estrada because he’s Hispanic." This is from a man who had close ties with the successor to the old White Citizens Councils, the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC). Lott was an honorary member, his column appeared in CCC's newsletter, and Lott gave unqualified endorsements to the group. As soon Lott's associations with CCC and other white supremacist groups was reported by the media, Lott and his handlers--against all evidence--said that Lott wasn't familiar with the group's ideology; Lott also lied about the extent of his involvement with the CCC (Mikal Muharrar of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting was one of the lone voices who pointed out how Lott's office played fast and loose with the facts about Lott's association with CCC). Lott, who also in an interview with the white supremacist Southern Partisan magazine spoke about the "spirit of [Confederate president] Jefferson Davis", is now accusing Senate Democrats of racism. What next: an endorsement of Estrada by David Duke?
Right-Wing Urban Legends Update I have been busy with the TV show and my article on right-wing urban legends—the tentative title is “There Are Alligators (As Well As Some Republicans) In Our Sewers.” I have always been interested in urban legends since I read my first book on the topic by Jan Harold Brunvand. Urban legends are an interesting part of fringe culture that I had found amusing, along with Illuminati conspiracies described by Robert Anton Wilson and Jack Chick comics. What I found more intriguing is how, in recent years, many in the American right have spread rumors (particularly about the Clintons) to the point that urban-legend-debunking web sites began to address them. However, one thing I know about the American right is that it will not let anything stand in the way of an effective smear campaign. Hence, the Moonie-owned Insight magazine recently attempted to discredit one of the most popular urban legend debunking web sites, Snopes, for alleged liberal bias. The Insight article criticizes the site’s administrators for listing as false a rumor spread by WorldNetDaily’s Geoff Metcalf that then-President Clinton planned to go to Vietnam and that the Vietnamese flag would be raised above the American flag on a U.S. Navy ship. I did some research into the matter and found that Metcalf not only spread this particular rumor—refuted by the Navy—but he also circulated the “Clinton body count” smear and conspiracies involving Vince Foster’s death. This revelation is not surprising to anyone familiar with WorldNetDaily, a repository for urban legends and paranoid conspiracy theories. WND is run by Joseph Farah, who was an expert witness for Clinton Chronicles hoaxer Pat Matrisciana in hislibel suit(I’ll detail this extensively in the forthcoming article).
An Acquired Taste When The American Prospect first came out in 1990, I wasn’t particularly impressed with it (though I liked the three co-founders: Robert Kuttner, Paul Starr, and Robert Reich). TAP is an acquired taste and I have grown to appreciate it. The online version is particularly impressive and is required reading for people who want to be in the know. A case in point is Geoffrey Nunberg’s analysis of Bernard Goldberg’s Bias. The only problem with it is that it wasn’t published when Bias was the talk of the town. This is a venial sin because Nunberg, unlike Goldberg, did a comprehensive content analysis of the media for the article.
A Surreal Day In the past twenty-four hours, I have done the following: 1) the inverse lotus position (a hard yoga position); 2) spoke on the Mancow radio show because of my Oscars-crashing stunt; 3) was accosted by a devotee of fringe presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche (I asked her, "Isn't he dead yet?"); 4) and I finished the book, Merging with Siva.
Falwell Update Bill Berkowitz has an update on Jerry Falwell's activities. One of the topics was Falwell's legal actions against a parody web site that lampoons him. The site, JerryFalwell.com, is hilarious and informative. JerryFalwell.com puts the fun in fundamentalism.
Media Whores's Kickass Rebuttal I knew someone would write a full rejoinder to the Robert Bartley column I wrote about earlier today. Check out today's Media Whores Online. Also, there were some good letters responding directly to Bartley's claims.
Wrong Call Before Death To Smoochy was released, I predicted that it would be a box office hit. I was wrong. Box office for DTS tanked after a disappointing first weekend; it wasn't even in the top ten after two weeks.
What Do You Expect from the WSJ Editorial Page? Robert Bartley was editor of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page during the time when the wildest charges of the right-wing smear machine were put into print on its pages. For today’s Opinionjournal.com, Bartley wrote a noxious revisionist history of the 1990’s (e.g., Bartley calls David Brock “the John Walker Lindh of contemporary conservatism.”). While others undoubtedly will address the major charges in Bartley’s pathetic apologia, I'll briefly address a silly claim that caught my eye:
The 14 [Whitewater] convictions vindicate Jean Lewis, the Resolution Trust investigator who made the referral. She was soon suspended from the case, her motives attacked and her computer disks invaded by government investigators.
This is horseshit. Here’s what Bartley didn’t tell you about Free Republic Poster Girl, L. Jean Lewis: Madison Guaranty justifiably had a low investigative priority. However, in a naked partisan move, Lewis moved it to the head of the investigations list--ahead of failed S&L’s with losses much higher than Madison. When Lewis appeared before the Senate Whitewater Committee, minority counsel Richard Ben-Veniste provided evidence that Lewis lied in key testimony before the committee. Senate Democrats then asked Lewis hard but fair questions about her motives and partisan activities. When Senator Paul Sarbannes began rigorously questioning Lewis, she collapsed at the witness table and had to be taken to the hospital. This episode demonstrates how the right loves to dish it out but can't take it.
The full story is in The Hunting of the President by Joe Conason and Gene Lyons; it is a funny read. You may have missed the story because The Washington Post and The New York Times didn't report it.
The Uncommercial Adbusters, an organization devoted to countering our increasingly commercialized culture, will be running 30 seconds of "uncommercials" alongside CNN's Inside Politics. Click here to choose which uncommercial you would like Adbusters to air.
Moving On Up Move over Bias and Shakedown; progressive books are making the bestseller lists without the media/hate radio help that buoys right-wing books to the bestseller lists. For the longest time, Greg Palast's book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy was hovering around the 150 mark on Amazon.com. When I last checked (12:43 A.M. PST), it was listed as number 15.
Sneak Preview On Wednesday night, a sneak preview and movie release party were held for National Lampoon's Van Wilder in LA. The film is about a cash-strapped college party boy (Ryan Reynolds) who decides to make money with his party-planning skills. It was da bomb. As with most projects associated with National Lampoon, good taste was not a big concern (My favorite item of all time from the magazine was a Volkswagon ad parody that showed a VW Bug floating in the ocean with the caption, "Ted Kennedy would be president if he drove a Volkswagon"). The film had many funny scenes (as well as many misses) though I thought that most of the gags involving bodily fluids were gross, not funny. Overall, I give Van Wilder three out of five stars.
Since George Gilder bought The American Spectator, many of the writers during the bad old days at the Spectator--the 1990’s--are writing for an online journal, The American Prowler. One would think that with David Brock’s revelations about the old Spectator’s total lack of journalistic ethics (see also my March 26 entry), there would be some thoughtful reflection on the part of the old Spectator staff. No such luck. The hard right in the 1990’s not only attacked Bill Clinton but his family; for instance, on his short-lived television show, Rush Limbaugh asked, "Did you know there's a White House dog?" Then he showed a picture Chelsea Clinton to his audience (which responded with mocking laughter). After some people, such as Representative David Bonior expressed outrage, Limbaugh claimed it was a accident; James Retter proved this was a lie in his book Anatomy of a Scandal. In today’s Prowler, they printed responses to a contest to name Bill Clinton’s new dog. One of the reader responses the Prowler published was, “How about Chelsea, Oops, he already has a dog by that name!” At least some people in the current administration know about the Spectator’s legacy; in an attempt to marginalize The New Republic, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly responding to a question about an article in TNR he hadn’t read, quipped, "In fact, I haven't read The American Spectator, The National Enquirer, or The New Republic since I've been back [from Asia]. But I'm glad to see that hack journalism is alive and well."
Polite Dittoheads? The American Prospect’s Chris Mooney discusses his experiences with Rush Limbaugh’s followers, the Dittoheads, following Limbaugh’s mention of Mooney on his radio show. Excerpting from the numerous nasty e-mails he received from Dittoheads, Mooney takes issue with Limbaugh’s characterization of his listeners as “polite.”
Vacations in Hell Life imitates art. Back in the 1980's, National Lampoon magazine once featured a wickedly funny cartoon strip that chronicled Roy Cohn's experiences in hell. Now, both Larry Klayman of Judicical Watch and Scaife-funded Vince-Foster's-death-was-suspicious mouthpiece Joseph Farah are offering chartered cruises.