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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Brokeback ad infinitum

Proulx is immensely pleased with the finished film, though she had her doubts. "I was very worried," she says. "I thought the landscape would be lost, the dialogue would be changed, sentimentality would creep in. I met with Ang Lee twice and I was very suspicious. But I remember him saying that his father had recently died, and just something in the way he said it, I had an inkling that he might use some of that grief, transfer some of his personal grief into this film. I think that actually happened."

Remembering ...


... all the many friends that have gone before as well as the children all over the World. December 1st, good people, is World AIDS Day.

Monday, November 28, 2005

'Tis The Season, Part Two

In our continuing story of the Giving Season, let's go back about a year and a half to a great place on the Upper West Side called Prohibition [at 503 Columbus Avenue . NYC 10024 . 212.579.3100].

It was June 2004 and Kamar de los Reyes of One Life to Live sponsored an event to benefit The Gabriel Project. "The Gabriel Project was founded by sixth grade teacher Mark J. Melamed in 1990. The objective of this non-profit organization is to provide life-saving heart surgery to a child from an area where such surgery is not available." De los Reyes has many events to benefit this organization visit the official site to find out more.

There was a mini-concert with Trevor St. John, Ilene Kristen, Kamar, Jay Wilkison and Kathy Brier among others. Of course, there were celebrity bartenders and Soap Opera fans. There are no fans in the world like Soap Opera fans. They are the only fans in the world who can love their shows and actors yet hold them hostage at one and the same time. Yet that event for all intents and purposes was a success. Dan Gauthier, Michael Easton, Bree Williamson, Jessica Morris, and Robin Strasser were there to assuage the intense desires of the ABC Daytime viewers. Some of the actors, most notably Trevor St. John, seemed out of their element and almost frightened. But fortunately it was for a good cause.

The event did serve as an introduction to a very inviting and comfortable locale, i.e. Prohibition, where every night of the week something is going on. When the music isn't live in the early evening, the speakers give forth with recognizable oldies that keep the customers at their tables and at the bar. The bartenders are friendly and accomodating, most notably Chris, Amber, Michelle and Adi Kurtchik, an actress in her own right who is dating a One Life to Live cast member.

In warm weather there is outside seating. The key word is comfort and it seems that the two working owner/partners Rich and Ian do their best to make it so. Last week Thorsten Kaye had his evening repast there and it seemed as if the three of them were very good friends. To turn one's head and see Mr. Kaye appear in a mode that indicates that the cameras do not do him justice only enhanced the experience.

The menu also serves up comfort food, such as fried calamari, chicken fingers, tuna tacos and quesadillas that can be enjoyed at the bar and at tables. There is a full menu that can be perused at their website www.prohibition.net

From the New York Times: "The Music Cooks and the Food Sings: But I already know from my neighborhood that a chef and a belter can peacefully coexist. Prohibition, on Columbus Avenue, has live performances every night but food so consistently fresh that I go there just to eat, before the young crowd throngs the dark room and the bands take the stage. It’s the right menu for a certain mood, when you want little plates with lots of flavor (Portobello napoleons, duck nachos and jazzy pizzas) and not much commitment or cash required."

From New York Magazine: "Prohibition typifies the Upper West Side bar scene. It's spacious and funky but not overly hip. It's popular but rarely packed. The waitstaff is young, beautiful andunpretentious. The cool décor features lamps made out of out of skinny lightbulbs suspended in wine bottles. In the front bar area, live bands perform on a tiny stage: Every night features a different musical act, from groovy funk to jazz. If you'd rather focus on your date (or your martini—try one of the many house-made varieties), head to the back room, where you can also dine on surprisingly good New American cuisine."—Shana Liebman

It's an open, warm, down to earth and welcoming locale in a great neighbourhood. Addiction sets in quickly. It's also an appropriate venue for celebrity events such as Kamar's, and showcases for musicians and even local politicians like Mike Lupinacci.

It's a perfect place to be held hostage.

'Tis the Season


... of Giving, more or less. This is a two pronged missive, a fork in our cyber-info road going off in two directions. Stockings With Care on November 9th was the best way for some of us to kick this off and as an event, although not exactly eventful, was not without its moments. Two of its brightest moments were Tom Fontana, a driving force behind it (please see the earlier post -- scroll down) and Mr. Christopher Meloni, whose praises we never tire of singing (especially the ubiquitous Ms. Clifton since she considers herself a chanteuse). Gatherings of this nature are the positive side of exploiting fans. It is the utilization of star power, for lack of a better term, to help a good cause. Of all the excuses to throw a party this is one of the better ones, although many in attendance don't need an excuse or a cause to come see some of the people who were 'celebrity bartenders.' There were actually a few blessed attendees who were there strictly for the cause. Given the current politico-cultural structure of contemporary US society it's a non governmental way to help that's not a faith based initiative, so to speak.

Here was the place and opportunity to discover those famed ones who are generous and accessible. In addition to the favourites already mentioned, Rob Bogue, Jeff Branson and Josh Casaubon made favourable impressions.


The other side of this common NYC equation involves those who come to the charitable events who can be divided into those who care and, yes, those who couldn't care less. These happenings are there to benefit the starstruck as well as the needy. Of course there are the starstruck and there are vampires. Celebrities as royalty tend to be benevolent monarchs, although there are a few tyrants here and there. The benevolent and generous tend to be easy marks and stand just across that line crossed by some overzealous fans.

Of course, mingling with benevolent royalty and fawning over them is part of the schtick for all in attendance. As a matter of fact it is de rigueur. There is a pathology, however, expressed by those obsessive fans who can literally cling to a 'star' to the detriment of the general experience and it is a special person who can consistently be smiling and patient in the face of that particular pathology.

Yes, there are many who are fans who do our best not to step over that line and witnessing how classy our favourites are in the line of battle, we continue to be fans if not necessarily the favourite's favourite.

There's a lot to be said for generosity and getting something out of it in the meantime is just icing on the celebrity cake. Perhaps a charity event is in order for the pathologically starstruck. We just have to build moats in front of those lines.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Alec, careful what you wish for







Bernice plans to give you lessons

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Alec Musser


There is no doubt that all of you have been paying strict attention and, therefore, know that we 've created a website for Alec Musser currently starring on All My Children as Del after winning the I Want To Be A Soapstar competition on SoapNet. Yes, he's easy on the eyes and has got that je ne sais quoi required of all of those who eventually command the attention of those who are watching but he's got a wit to be appreciated. In the current issue of Soap Opera Digest (December 6, 2005) in response to the question, "Who should your character have a fling with?" he had this to say:

I haven't had the opportunity to womanize at all yet on the show and Del, having been in Pine Valley for a few months, I think is probably getting a little anxious! But he's sort of an opportunist, you know? Del doesn't want to work too hard, so I'm thinking probably Amanda ... From what I understand, she's sort of the town biscycle. I'm thinking Del might want to take his spin around the block.

In our plush offices here at Column of Life you might be able to hear Bernice bursting into, "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life ..." as she runs around the office with a bicycle seat on her face.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Happy Holidays


Tower Records Lincoln Center and Faust Harrison Pianos proudly present The First Annual Any Wednesday Holiday Party on December 14, 2005 at 6:00 PM.
Join some of the finest
Cabaret, Jazz and Broadway performers to celebrate the Holidays.

Among the perfor
mers who are scheduled to appear:

Lisa Asher, Boulevard East, Barbara Brussell, 
Philip Chaffin, Eric Comstock, Catherine Dupuis,
Fyvush Finkel, Brian Gari, Jeff Harnar, Judy Kaye,
Deborah Latz, Valerie Lemon, Eidan Lipper,
Maryann Plunkett, Barbara Rosene, Toli Reid,
David Vernon

1961 Broadway at 66th

questions? 212.766.2500 ext. 138, ask for Bart

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thank You, Andrew Towle


He's given us a compendium from his Bloglet on Brokeback Mountain

All About Eva


In complete agreement with Liz Smith today:

OH, WHILE we wax fascinat ing and "Desperate" — Eva Longoria! She was the only one of the "Housewives" who wasn't nominated for an Emmy, and yet this season she is the one doing the strenuous lifting, acting-wise. Certainly her story line is the most compelling. She held up very well as the host of "Saturday Night Live," and proved again she has a good sense of humor. (Remember how she allowed herself to be kidded at the Emmys, pretending she was relegated to a lonely balcony seat?) For Thanksgiving, Eva says, "I make a great pumpkin pie and great mashed potatoes." What's not to love about this "Desperate Housewife"?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Why We Love Tom Fontana

Because he is relentlessly creative and forever on his way to doing something impossible to ignore. In addition, we are convinced that he is one of the good guys, perhaps one of the 'goodest.'

recently in the NY Daily News

Censors say 'Diaries'
too self-centered




The possibility of stiff fines and government scrutiny are making the WB, home of randy teens on "One Tree Hill" and "Gilmore Girls," a little skittish.

Veteran producer Tom Fontana ("Homicide," "Oz") is fighting a battle with network censors over the content of his upcoming drama "The Bedford Diaries," which revolves around college students in a sexuality class.

"I haven't had these kinds of fights since my early days in television," said Fontana.

The veteran producer faced content battles over "St. Elsewhere" and less frequently on "Homicide" before going to HBO to produce the graphic prison drama "Oz."

But the issues he's facing with "The Bedford Diaries" are less about depictions of sex than frank talk about it.

"The Bedford Diaries" revolves around students enrolled in a sexual behavior seminar at a New York college. Matthew Modine plays the unorthodox professor, with Audra McDonald as a fellow prof and Peter Gerety ("Homicide") as the dean. Milo Ventimiglia - Alexis Bledel's real-life boyfriend who plays her ex-boyfriend on "Gilmore Girls" - stars as one of Modine's students.

The "diaries" in the show's title are the students' video diaries, which they are required to keep. Their first assignment with their cameras is to examine their sexual past.

"We're not trying to be titillating," said Fontana. "It's not like our show is being irresponsible in terms of sexual relationships. The point of the show is to be honest."

Specifically, said Fontana, sending the broadcast standards folks into PC paroxysms is the word "masturbation."

In the episode "Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder," Modine's character asks the students who are abstaining from sex what they are doing instead. One student says he masturbates.

"The censors said, 'You can't say masturbate,'" said Fontana. "So we came up with some euphemisms."

Not good enough. Fontana said he is still in discussions about the episode, which was directed by Oscar-winning director Barbara Kopple ("The Hamptons").

"Now, the last time I looked," said Fontana, "masturbate was a clinical word. It was not an obscene word. So what they don't want is clearly the concept."

The WB had no comment about the content of the show. But a network spokesman said "The Bedford Diaries" is going forward and will premiere in January or March. The network has given the series an initial order of eight episodes.

"I haven't watched a lot of 'One Tree Hill,'" said Fontana, "but from what I've seen, these kids are [having sex with] each other all the time. But they don't talk about it. So as long you don't talk about it, [you can do it], and is that now more responsible?

"It's crazy to me," added Fontana. "Every network has their own rules. And from a creative point of view I couldn't be happier dealing with the WB. But we're not trying to pull anything over on anybody here. But you talk to the guy from broadcast standards and I'm Janet Jackson or something."

Originally published on November 21, 2005

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Christopher Meloni


Mr. Meloni's image anywhere has caused great joy in these parts for quite a while and as a matter of fact seeing him in person at Tom Fontana's Stockings With Care this past November 9th was a great inaugural for the season of giving.

Speaking of giving, Metrosource, Column's favourite free periodical in the New York Metro Area is celebrating its 15th year. It is graced on its cover with what may very well be the best headshot of Jesse Metcalfe ever. Well, maybe not, but it sure makes an impression. Inside one will find a celebration of "15 years of folks who make us sing, sway, smirk, spend, snicker, sneak out, smarten up and smile ..." one of which is the studly, classy and fiercely talented Mr. Meloni, who also graced their cover as pictured. Much of that issue can be found in Column's main site's Media section.


Anyway, here's what's on page 35 re: Christopher Meloni:

What's not to love about another former Metrosource cover boy, Chris Meloni? The Law & Order: SVU alpha hunk doesn't just rest when the cameras shut down. This past summer Meloni headed off to the Gate Theatre in Dublin for a production of Arthur Miller's View From the Bridge. But Chris will always have our hearts for his sexually voracious portrayal of Chris Keller, Toby Beecher's main squeeze on HBO's OZ, which began its run in 1997. With Beecher and Keller a kiss was not just a kiss.

There are other great gentle people in the current Metrosource that are also deserving of adulation, Colin Farrell, Armstead Maupin, and Lily Tomlin among them, but Mr. Meloni has our hearts here as well and Column is, if nothing else, loyal. Let's just say that he is the first among equals.

One of those many reasons that the loyalty exists is that his generosity has helped us in raising money for AIDS Walk New York for a few years now. Success certainly has not spoiled him. He knows what's important it seems and that's a lot to love.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Our Neighbour Heath


His letter to the New York Post:

Michelle, Matilda and I were a little upset about the level of irresponsibility shown by The Post although not surprised ("Frenzied Buyer," Page Six, Nov 10)

The statement that we had been rude to our neighbours could not be further from the truth.

We adore our new neighbours and community and have shown nothing but love and interest for them, as they have for us. We have felt at home and completely accepted into the friendly arms of Brooklyn.

If there was a neighbour who felt excluded from this and then decided not to comment on it, along with posting our address, we apologize.

We have only been in the house a few weeks. I'm sure it takes a little longer than that to meet everyone on the block -- which, in time, we intend to do.

Page Six's revealing our whereabouts could possibly put our child in danger.

Aside from the fact that the day after the article we had half a dozen photographers waiting at our door. The Post has also invited anyone else who wants to be in contact with our new family to now easily do so.

I'm not sure how The Post justifies such behaviour. In future articles concerning people in the "spotlight" please take their general safety into consideration and refrain from printing their home address.

I would have thought this to be an unwritten rule -- a bit of common sense wouldn't go astray.

We would like to thank our new friends in Brooklyn for shaking their heads at this behaviour and continuing to extend their friendship.

Heath Ledger
Brooklyn

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Day Late A Dollar Short ...

... we know it's a barrel of monkeys, but it is no fun. Please, get it together, people are dying.





Iraq War Debate Eclipses All Other Issues

GOP Flounders as Bush's Popularity Falls; Democrats Struggle for a Voice

By Jonathan Weisman and Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 20, 2005; A01

After largely avoiding the subject since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, lawmakers are suddenly confronting the issue of President Bush's handling of the war. The start hasn't been pretty.

Political stunts by both parties have created an air of acrimony that is infecting the parties' entire agendas. The bitterness reached a new high -- or low -- on Friday when House Republicans forced a late-night vote on a resolution for immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces.

The resolution failed, 403 to 3, but only after members nearly came to blows when a GOP newcomer suggested a veteran Democratic military hawk was a coward.

"Iraq is now a cloud over everything," said Stuart Rothenberg, a nonpartisan political analyst specializing in Congress. "It's the 800-pound gorilla in the room."

"I feel like every morning, I wake up, get a concrete block and have to walk around with it all day," said first-term Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who came to the Senate with an ambitious agenda to overhaul Social Security and the tax code. "We can't even address the issues."

After simmering on Congress's back burner for months, the Iraq war debate has eclipsed every other issue in the capital, slowing progress on some matters while stopping it on others. The GOP-led House and Senate are struggling to pass major tax legislation, an extension of the USA Patriot Act and a broad budget-cutting bill. Bush's top 2005 domestic agenda item -- revamping Social Security -- has sunk from sight, and more recently his bipartisan panel on tax reform barely made a ripple when it issued recommendations.

GOP leaders view items such as the Patriot Act and the budget as too vital to fail in the end, but every endeavor is now made more difficult by the fracturing over Iraq -- and just when the 2006 congressional elections begin to loom. Republicans have lost their anchor of the past five years -- Bush's popularity -- while Democrats are struggling to find their voice on the war. Both sides cannot dally for long, said Peter D. Hart, a Democratic pollster.

"Iraq is now the dominant issue that is affecting voters, and it's affecting Bush's ratings," Hart said. "The public has reached a firm, fixed position on Iraq, and it's not going to change: This is not going to come to a successful conclusion, so how do we figure out how to get out of Iraq?"

Until recently, only Democrats seemed to struggle to find their voice on Iraq, while Republicans were virtually united in backing Bush's policies. But when the 2,000th U.S. military death there coincided with troubling revelations about prewar intelligence and Bush's plunging approval ratings, Republican cohesion began to fray.

Political developments in Iraq, such as the adoption of a new constitution, cannot overcome the impression left by the daily reports of suicide bombers and the milestone of 2,000 deaths among U.S. servicemen, pollsters and political analysts say.

Public opinion has, in turn, emboldened Democrats to sharpen their attacks, and it has freed some Republicans -- especially Northeastern moderates -- to chart a new political course that separates them from the White House but wreaks havoc with the GOP's legislative agenda.

"The central new development is the decomposition of the president's support in Congress," said Ross K. Baker, a Rutgers University congressional expert. "I think there is a very acute realization on the part of Republicans that they no longer can hitch their careers to his popularity. That, combined with the new aggressiveness by the Democrats, means you're seeing basically a Bush agenda that is largely being derailed."

Politicians tried to calm the waters roiled by Friday's House maneuvering. GOP leaders had seized upon an impassioned call Thursday by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, hoping to put Democrats on the spot by rushing a resolution to the floor calling on the administration to bring the troops home now. The ensuing bitter debate brought out calls for calm even before it was over.

"Today's debate in the House of Representatives shows the need for bipartisanship on the war in Iraq, instead of more political posturing," Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.), said in a statement Friday night hailing the bipartisan Senate vote earlier in the week that called on the administration to share more information on the war's progress and to make 2006 a year of significant transition away from U.S. military action.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said yesterday that the result of the debate was positive, an unambiguous, bipartisan show of resolve for the war effort. Only three Democrats, Reps. Jose E. Serrano (N.Y.), Cynthia McKinney (Ga.) and Robert Wexler (Fla.), voted for the withdrawal resolution. But Pence too noted the acrimony of the discourse. "We cannot do democracy without a heavy dose of civility," he said.

The acrimony, and the all-encompassing nature of the war debate, are having a broad impact. Bush's recent globe-trotting, in Latin America and Asia, has produced more stories on dissent over Iraq than on free trade, economic cooperation and China's move toward democracy.

When Bush's bipartisan panel on tax reform issued its recent recommendations to simplify the tax code, proposals to eliminate deductions for home mortgage interest and state and local taxes might have been expected to create an uproar. Instead, the panel's report barely made a peep.

The president's plan to trim promised Social Security benefits and add private investment accounts disappeared. When Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said any reform plan is dead until 2009, the comments were hardly noted.

Other high-profile legislative priorities have been slowed by a lack of attention from the preoccupied leadership. Congressional aides released details last week from a compromise reached over the extension of the Patriot Act, the controversial anti-terrorism law passed weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But the deal was not acted on quickly, and in ensuing days, provisions of the compromise attracted enough negative attention that a planned vote on the measure was delayed until at least next month.

House Republicans took weeks to garner enough votes to pass a five-year, $50 billion budget-cutting measure full of high-priority policy changes Bush has requested for welfare, Medicaid, agriculture supports and other entitlement programs. The Iraq-induced plunge in Bush's popularity emboldened moderates to oppose the most conservative parts of the bill.

On Friday, after the measure passed by two votes, Republican leaders hoped to highlight the victory at a "get out of town" rally. But they swamped their message by hastily putting the Iraq pullout resolution to a vote. That move also precluded an expected vote on a five-year, $56 billion measure to extend some of Bush's most prized, first-term tax cuts.

Rothenberg says such confusion does not bode well for the political fortunes of the beleaguered GOP. "The public doesn't like mess," he said. "When they realize things are messy, they get frustrated, and they arrive at the general conclusion that you blame the people you figure are in charge."

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Happy Birthday, CT




If you're fortunate enough to hear him sing you will be treated to his wonderfully dulcet baritone. Otherwise you can just hear his announcements from the dj booth at The Duplex in the West Village just off Sheridan Square at Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue South. Karaoke takes place there every Saturday night, usually around 11:00 pm or so in the cabaret theater. There is a great serving staff with Fernando, who usually does the stage banter and introductions, Darcy and the currently traveling Sari who is on sabbatical. It's great fun and these guys can make you feel like a star, even if you're Bernice Clifton.

Tonight is special because it's the Kentucky born CT's birthday. We will be singing out!









<<--- Fernando, Princess & Giovanni performing their favourite songs as the crowd looks on.




Telma Hopkins, that Guy Tony and Joyce






Of all Bill Cosby's foibles the most difficult to forgive was his dismissal of the wonderful Ms. Hopkins of many talents during the pre-production of that second sitcom of his whatever it was called. Telma is simply one of those pleasant entities that brings great pleasure when and wherever she appears.

On Sunday at Tower Lincoln Center 1961 Broadway New York, New York you will find her in one of her more famous incarnations as part of Tony Orlando & Dawn at 6:00 PM for a unique meet and greet!

She can be seen on the UPN comedy, Half & Half these days.

More about Telma here.


A Giant Among Men



"I do wish George Bush would start paying attention to issues that are important for the country," Stewart went on. "Gay marriage, for instance. I don't understand why the religious right fears homosexuality. They say it's an abomination. The Bible says that shellfish are also an abomination. … They who oppose sodomy must also oppose scallops."

And the Monkeys Just Carry On

Jean Schmidt, not the most stable of people, although there are those in Ohio who believe that she is capable of governing -- unfortunately. She is a creature that is perfectly capable of 'showing her ass.' It can only be hoped that her behaviour will come back to haunt her. The business of monkeys seems to be the standard these days.

This woman is a knee jerk "my country right or wrong" mental midget.

The big blow up in the House

Fri Nov 18, 2005 at 04:45:55 PM PDT

Here's the blowup in the House over Jean Schmidt's hateful remarks:

The Speaker Pro Tempore: The gentlelady from Ohio is recognized for one minute.

Ms. Schmidt: Yesterday I stood at Arlington National Cemetery attending the funeral of a young marine in my district. He believed in what we were doing is the right thing and had the courage to lay his life on the line to do it. A few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bop, Ohio Representative from the 88th district in the House of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, that cowards cut and run, Marines never do. Danny and the rest of America and the world want the assurance from this body - that we will see this through.

[Note by kos -- the whole chamber went nuts at this point, with Democrats shouting and booing Schmidt down]

The Speaker Pro Tempore: The house will be in order. The house will be in order. The house will be in order. The house will be in order. The house will be in order. The gentlelady will suspend. And the clerk will report her words. All members will suspend. The gentleman from Arkansas has demanded that the gentlelady's words be taken down. The clerk will report the gentlelady's words.

The Speaker Pro Tempore: The house will be in order. Members pleas take seats. The gentlelady from Ohio.

Ms. Schmidt: Mr. Speaker, my remarks were not directed at any member of the House and I did not intend to suggest that they applied to any member. Most especially the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania. I therefore ask for unanimous consent that my words be withdrawn.

The Speaker Pro Tempore: Without objection. The gentlelady's words will be withdrawn.

From the AP:

Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., charged across the chamber's center aisle screaming that it was an uncalled for personal attack. "You guys are pathetic. Pathetic," yelled Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.

Schmidt was forced to retract her comments, lest she be censured by the House leadership. House rules do not allow members to impugn the integrity of any other members.

Friday, November 18, 2005

American Primates Challenge Murtha



Talk about monkey business!

You'd think they were bishops.

Right to Life


Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, a Vietnam combat veteran who voted for the Iraq war, said that after more than two years of combat, American forces had united a disparate array of insurgents in a seemingly endless cycle of violence that was impeding Iraq's progress toward stability and self-governance. He said the 153,000 American troops in Iraq should be pulled out within six months.

"Our military has done everything that has been asked of them. It is time to bring them home," Mr. Murtha said, at times choking back tears. Mr. Murtha's proposal, which goes well beyond the phased withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq that other moderate Democrats have proposed, stunned many Republicans who quickly held their own news conference to criticize the plan.

Too Much Monkey Business


Anglican primates challenge their leader

Many of the Church of England's top bishops have signed a letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams strongly disapproving of his attitude toward gay clergy.

The Archbishop Williams faces the gravest threat to his authority as leader of the worldwide Anglican community, according to the Guardian. Seventeen of the 38 Anglican primates, or national church leaders, signed the letter.

The archbishops, lead by ultra-conservative Nigerian Archbishop Dr. Peter Akinola, have urged Williams to reconsider and act against "unrepented sexual immorality" in the communion.

They also disapprove of his reluctance to attack the U.S. Episcopal Church for the ordination of gay bishop Gene Robinson, whom Archbishop Williams met with earlier this month.

They wrote, "We wonder whether your personal dissent from this consensus prevents you from taking the necessary steps to confront these churches that have embraced teaching contrary to the overwelming testimony of the Anglican communion."

"We urge you to re-think your personal view and embrace the church's consensus."

The letter was published on the Global South Anglican Web site just hours after the archbishop had addressed the General Synod in London this week.

Archbishop Willams pushed for reconciliation in prayer to challenge the rising tension and urged members to contact others in the worldwide church.

"We have to beware of poisoning the wells by doing our business with suspicion and hostility or lack of mutual respect," he said.

[From Planet Out & Gay UK]

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Except For Sandwiches


"We’ve held an image of Bob Woodward as the great white knight of American journalism for so long, it's been easy to forget that the image is in fact of Robert Redford in All the President’s Men. True, we’ve been sorely lacking in journalistic heroes in this country since the Watergate era. But hero-worship is rarely wise outside the confines of Hollywood fantasy, and heroes have an unnerving tendency to disappoint us sooner rather than later. Guess what, another one just bit the dust"-- Andrew Gumbel, The Huffington Post

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Maybe It Was For All The Wrong Reasons


But the Senate came up with a bi-partisan proposal to end the war. We'll take it, although many did it as an opportunistic gesture for next year's elections. Or were they encouraged by John Edwards' piece, which may or may not be opportunistic?

It might also be opportune here to respond to Rummy's assertion that the Clinton Administration also warned about the possibility of Saddam's danger. The difference is this and it's an important one: No one died.

The Right Way in Iraq

By John Edwards
Sunday, November 13, 2005; B07

I was wrong.

Almost three years ago we went into Iraq to remove what we were told -- and what many of us believed and argued -- was a threat to America. But in fact we now know that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction when our forces invaded Iraq in 2003. The intelligence was deeply flawed and, in some cases, manipulated to fit a political agenda.

It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn't make a mistake -- the men and women of our armed forces and their families -- have performed heroically and paid a dear price.

The world desperately needs moral leadership from America, and the foundation for moral leadership is telling the truth.

While we can't change the past, we need to accept responsibility, because a key part of restoring America's moral leadership is acknowledging when we've made mistakes or been proven wrong -- and showing that we have the creativity and guts to make it right.

The argument for going to war with Iraq was based on intelligence that we now know was inaccurate. The information the American people were hearing from the president -- and that I was being given by our intelligence community -- wasn't the whole story. Had I known this at the time, I never would have voted for this war.

George Bush won't accept responsibility for his mistakes. Along with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, he has made horrible mistakes at almost every step: failed diplomacy; not going in with enough troops; not giving our forces the equipment they need; not having a plan for peace.

Because of these failures, Iraq is a mess and has become a far greater threat than it ever was. It is now a haven for terrorists, and our presence there is draining the goodwill our country once enjoyed, diminishing our global standing. It has made fighting the global war against terrorist organizations more difficult, not less.

The urgent question isn't how we got here but what we do now. We have to give our troops a way to end their mission honorably. That means leaving behind a success, not a failure.

What is success? I don't think it is Iraq as a Jeffersonian democracy. I think it is an Iraq that is relatively stable, largely self-sufficient, comparatively open and free, and in control of its own destiny.

A plan for success needs to focus on three interlocking objectives: reducing the American presence, building Iraq's capacity and getting other countries to meet their responsibilities to help.

First, we need to remove the image of an imperialist America from the landscape of Iraq. American contractors who have taken unfair advantage of the turmoil in Iraq need to leave Iraq. If that means Halliburton subsidiary KBR, then KBR should go. Such departures, and the return of the work to Iraqi businesses, would be a real statement about our hopes for the new nation.

We also need to show Iraq and the world that we will not stay there forever. We've reached the point where the large number of our troops in Iraq hurts, not helps, our goals. Therefore, early next year, after the Iraqi elections, when a new government has been created, we should begin redeployment of a significant number of troops out of Iraq. This should be the beginning of a gradual process to reduce our presence and change the shape of our military's deployment in Iraq. Most of these troops should come from National Guard or Reserve forces.

That will still leave us with enough military capability, combined with better-trained Iraqis, to fight terrorists and continue to help the Iraqis develop a stable country.

Second, this redeployment should work in concert with a more effective training program for Iraqi forces. We should implement a clear plan for training and hard deadlines for certain benchmarks to be met. To increase incentives, we should implement a schedule showing that, as we certify Iraqi troops as trained and equipped, a proportional number of U.S. troops will be withdrawn.

Third, we must launch a serious diplomatic process that brings the world into this effort. We should bring Iraq's neighbors and our key European allies into a diplomatic process to get Iraq on its feet. The president needs to create a unified international front.

Too many mistakes have already been made for this to be easy. Yet we must take these steps to succeed. The American people, the Iraqi people and -- most important -- our troops who have died or been injured there, and those who are fighting there today, deserve nothing less.

America's leaders -- all of us -- need to accept the responsibility we each carry for how we got to this place. More than 2,000 Americans have lost their lives in this war, and more than 150,000 are fighting there today. They and their families deserve honesty from our country's leaders. And they also deserve a clear plan for a way out.

The writer, a former senator from North Carolina, was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2004.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tower Records Lincoln Center New York

Tower Lincoln Center's Any Wednesday Cabaret Series

11/16/2005 06:00 PM Cabaret veteran Jeff Harnar brings his mellow style and beautiful voice to a cavalcade of Broadway songs on his new album Dancing in the Dark, also from PSClassics. He will be sharing selections from the CD with us.


Autograph Signing With The Original Broadway Cast of "Jersey Guys" - 11/17/2005 05:00 PM

Tower Records Lincoln Center is proud to welcome the cast of the new Broadway smash hit, Jersey Boys

The true story of the rise of Franki Valli & The Four Seasons, Jersey Boys has been playing to packed houses and selling lots of Four Seasons CDs in the meantime.

Now,with the release of the Jersey Boys cast recording Tower Records & Rhino Records invite you to a very special autograph session with the cast of the play.

As a special bonus, the album's producer and original Four Seasons producer Bob Gaudio will be in attendance.

This is an opportunity not to be missed!


Although it was Frankie Valli's name in lights, Bob Gaudio was the driving creative force behind the success of the Four Seasons -- the group's primary songwriter, he teamed with producer Bob Crewe to refine their signature harmony pop sound while authoring some of the biggest hits of the rock era. Born November 17, 1942, in the Bronx, NY, as a youth Gaudio played piano in the New Jersey pop quartet the Royal Tones, later rechristened the Royal Teens. In early 1958, the group reached the number three spot with the Gaudio-penned novelty smash "Short Shorts," returning to the charts the following year with "Believe Me" before dissolving in 1960. Gaudio soon joined the Four Seasons; at the time, the Valli-led quartet was virtually unknown, primarily playing clubs in addition to serving as Crewe's studio backing group. Their continued lack of success so frustrated Valli that he threatened to break ranks, prompting Gaudio to write the song "Sherry"; the single topped the charts for five weeks in 1962, beginning a string of hits that continued throughout the decade.

Gaudio and Crewe jointly wrote the Four Seasons' follow-up, "Big Girls Don't Cry," which, like its predecessor, remained at number one for five weeks; though Valli's powerful falsetto remained the group's chief drawing card, Gaudio and Crewe orchestrated the group's bold, harmony rich sound, which drew heavily upon doo wop and RB. While most American acts suffered in the wake of the British Invasion, the Four Seasons flourished, proceeding to notch hit after hit, including "Walk Like a Man," "Rag Doll," "Let's Hang On," and "Working My Way Back to You." By 1968, the group's commercial hot streak was over, however, and after attempting a more serious musical approach on the psychedelic concept album The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette, Crewe was fired and Gaudio assumed full production duties. By 1971, he and Valli were the lone remaining original members, and even Crewe's return to the fold the following year failed to improve their commercial prospects.

By this time, Gaudio was also freelancing as a writer and producer for artists including Nancy Sinatra and the team of Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye; in 1974, he retired from performing to focus full-time on his behind-the-scenes work. However, he continued working with the Four Seasons in the studio and in 1975, authored their comeback hit "Who Loves You." The follow-up, "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)," stayed at number one for three weeks, returning to the charts in 1994 thanks to its appearance in Forrest Gump. Although their resurgence came to an abrupt halt when Valli bitterly left the group in 1977, three years later he and Gaudio assembled a new Four Seasons lineup, and in 1984 the two formed their own label, FBI Records. Gaudio also remained a much in-demand producer with a portfolio now including sessions with Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, and Neil Diamond. the Four Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

- Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

Live In Store Performance With MARAH - 12/5/2005 06:00 PM



Philadelphia natives/Brooklyn based band Marah will be performing at Tower Records Lincoln Center on Monday December 5th at 6:00 pm. Following their performance, the members of Marah will be signing both of their new CDs, If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry and A Christmas Kind of Town

Monday, November 14, 2005

Let's Not Russ Things: There are Midterms Next Year


What makes George Will palatable as a conservative is that he is not a grandstander. He is not a bible thumper and he is often capable of objective observation. (The part about Cindy Sheehan being a Republican mole may not necessarily be true in the strict sense, but the gist of what he's saying about that element and its effect may be.) He may not necessarily be part of a vanishing breed, but his kind tend to be drowned out by the O’Reilly’s, Limbaughs and Hannity’s of the ilk. This article says as much about him, although it’s about the Senator from Wisconsin.

AS GOOD AS FEINGOLD
By GEORGE F. WILL
November 13, 2005

After winning, at the rela tively tender age of 51, a third Senate term in 2004 with 55 percent of Wisconsin's vote, five points better than John Kerry's winning percentage, and carrying 27 of the 45 Wisconsin counties that President Bush carried, Russ Feingold went to play golf — on a public course, this fastidious populist stresses — in Greenville, Ala. That town might hereafter be known as the birthplace of Feingold's epiphany.

Feingold says, implausibly, that "I don't think about it" — seeking the Democrats' 2008 presidential nomination — "very much." But he does brood about a "50-state strategy" for Democrats. He found many Alabamians with problems common to Americans everywhere, and receptive to "progressive" solutions.

Well, yes. Hundreds of thousands of Alabamians always vote Democratic. John Kerry won 693,933. Al Gore, 692,611. Even George McGovern won 256,923. There are "progressives" everywhere, and in the Deep South there still are "yellow dog Democrats" who would vote for a yellow dog if it were on the Democratic ticket. But Democratic presidential candidates have lost Alabama in 10 of the last 11 elections — a Georgian carried the state in 1976. Today, by the time a Democratic presidential aspirant has genuflected at all the altars erected by "the groups" — the organizations of liberal activists — he or she is disqualified from turning red states blue.

A good liberal — the Senate's most pure, according to the liberal Americans for Democratic Action, whose rating of his career (97) is higher than that of Ted Kennedy (90), Barbara Boxer (92), John Kerry (93) and Hillary Clinton (95) — Feingold is a conscientious recycler. Of chimeras. For example, he favors energy "independence," a goal that has steadily receded in the more than three decades since President Nixon endorsed it.

He also favors fiscal responsibility. His office wall is adorned with a large display of the 82-point — yes, 82 — plan for reducing the deficit, a plan featured in his first Senate campaign in 1992, when Ross Perot was helpfully rampant on the subject of balanced budgets. But fiscal rectitude, a faith constantly avowed but rarely constraining, thrills few liberals — or conservatives, on current evidence.

Still, Feingold is as Wisconsin, and in some ways as admirable, as Leinenkugel's beer. Since Robert La Follette Sr. became governor 104 years ago, Wisconsin has frequently produced politicians, such as former Sen. William Proxmire, who flamboyantly favor, not always convincingly, both progressive policies — e.g., workers' compensation, the income tax — and government frugality.

Feingold became luminous in the eyes of "the groups," who consider most congressional Democrats spineless, by casting the only Senate vote against the Patriot Act. But he peeved those people by voting to confirm John Roberts as chief justice, and his presidential aspirations could be injured by the chief justice casting the deciding vote in some 5-4 ruling offensive to "the groups." Such as one overturning the political speech-rationing apparatus erected by the main reason Feingold is a familiar name — the McCain-Feingold law.


Regarding Iraq, Feingold believes, plausibly, that opposition is growing fastest where recent Democratic presidential candidates have been weakest, in rural and small town America — he recently found it simmering in Pickerel, Wis. — where a disproportionate number of the combat forces are from.

Although he supported the invasion of Afghanistan, and says "the fight against terror is America's No. 1 priority," he was one of 21 Democratic senators who voted against the Iraq War and now is to the left of most Democratic senators in demanding that the Bush administration define metrics of success and in asking that President Bush set a timetable for meeting them. Feingold proposes the target date of Dec. 31, 2006, for withdrawal.

But he has a problem to his left. The anti-war movement is apt to exert a perhaps ruinous gravitational pull on the 2008 intraparty competition.

Cindy Sheehan, surely a Republican mole toiling to make the anti-war position repulsive, starred at a Washington rally that featured exactly two speakers from Congress — including Cynthia McKinney, the Georgia Democrat who darkly hints that President Bush may have known that the 9/11 attacks were coming and welcomed them as a boost for defense-industry stocks owned by "persons close to" his administration.

In 2008, the many Democratic activists who vibrate like tuning forks to such stimuli will find their Howard Dean, some firebrand who will force, or tempt, other candidates to move in his direction. If that person is not Feingold, the country could conceivably have this contest: McCain vs. Feingold.

Your True Family Wouldn't Treat You This Way


Gay Priests Struggle With Vatican's Rules


Saturday November 12, 2005 5:46 PM

By RACHEL ZOLL

AP Religion Writer

The Rev. Fred Daley, a gay, Roman Catholic priest, had grown increasingly disturbed by Vatican pronouncements over the years that homosexuals were unfit for the clergy.

Then the situation escalated - some church leaders suggested that gays were responsible for the clergy sex abuse crisis. Daley was so angry, he did something last year that almost no other gay Catholic cleric in the country has done: He came out to his bishop, parishioners and his entire community to show that homosexuals were faithfully working in the church.

``I'm as much a member of the church as anybody else,'' said Daley, of St. Francis de Sales Church in Utica, N.Y., who was ordained in 1974 and said he has never considered leaving the priesthood. ``I love being a priest.''

Researchers have estimated that thousands of homosexual clergy across the United States have dedicated their lives to a church that considers them ``intrinsically disordered'' and prone to ``evil tendencies.'' Soon, the Vatican will back up that teaching with a document that could set new restrictions on candidates for the priesthood - a pronouncement U.S. bishops may discuss in private during their national meeting starting Monday in Washington.

Yet, through decades of consistent signals from the Vatican that they are unwelcome, homosexuals have continued to join the priesthood, raising questions about how they can devote themselves to an institution that so questions their ability to serve.

``As I have, through the years, become more comfortable with who I am, it seemed the institutional church and its decrees and its pastoral letters from the Vatican seemed more harsh and almost mean-spirited,'' said Daley, who didn't realize he was gay until after he was ordained and has remained celibate. ``But what I find on the grass-roots level is vibrant, alive communities of faith in my everyday ministry.''

Several other gay clergy, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution from their superiors, said in recent interviews that they were only vaguely aware of Vatican pronouncements on homosexual priests when they applied.

``I was pretty naive,'' said a West Coast priest, who began studying for ordination in the 1980s. ``I knew the church had ill feelings about it, but I didn't know a whole lot else.''

A key 1961 Vatican document on selecting candidates for the priesthood made clear homosexuals should be barred. But the instruction, and others that followed, have clearly not been enforced in many American seminaries and religious communities. Estimates of the number of gays in U.S. seminaries and the priesthood range from 25 percent to 50 percent, according to a review of research by the Rev. Donald Cozzens, a former seminary rector and author of ``The Changing Face of the Priesthood.''

A gay priest who had been worried that he would be expelled if seminary administrators discovered his sexual orientation said his disclosure was welcomed instead. He said his spiritual director told him, ``I'm grateful for your honesty.''

Historically, many gays and lesbians chose religious life partly because it was a socially acceptable alternative to marriage and protected them from questions about why they were single, Cozzens said. But the gay priests interviewed for this story insisted they were not hiding out. They said they found religious communities where they could be relatively open with fellow clergy.

``My superiors encouraged me to keep talking about it as a way to help me understand how to better live a celibate life in a real healthy way,'' said a gay priest, who attended seminary in the 1980s and refused further identification.

Such support may be harder to find after the new Vatican guidelines are released.

The Italian newspaper Il Giornale reported Friday that the document from the Congregation for Catholic Education will bar from seminary men who ``support'' gay culture or have ``deeply rooted'' gay tendencies. The newspaper said the instruction will be made public Nov. 29.

The document would not apply to homosexuals who have already been ordained, but gay priests said it would challenge anew their decision to work within a church whose pronouncements they consider discriminatory.

Anticipating the Vatican pronouncement, some gay priests are discussing collectively staying away from pulpits on a Sunday to show how much the church relies on them. Other priests said they were considering revealing their sexual orientation to parishioners. Some are contemplating ``outing'' gay bishops who would be called upon to enforce the new guidelines.

Any new restrictions would be ``discouraging,'' said the West Coast priest, but ``I prefer to work for justice in this area within the church structure.''

Another gay priest said the new restrictions would amount to the church telling him, ``to sit on the back of the bus.''

``But this is my family,'' he said. ``You don't leave your family if there's a problem. I feel God has called me here and that takes precedence over everything else.''

The City of Brotherly Love

Gay man freed in killing



abrenna@phillynews.com

LUCAS Dawson began carrying a knife after being attacked while kissing his male lover in a South Philadelphia Park four years ago.

Now, after a second assault by gay bashers - one of whom he killed in self-defense - Dawson's thinking about getting a gun.

The 21-year-old was cleared yesterday of charges in the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old boy who was among a group that attacked him near his East Mount Airy home on Oct. 29.

There was great relief at the Dawson home yesterday after the decision by a Municipal Court judge, but now the concern is his safety.

Last night, Dawson packed to leave home for fear of retaliation.

"I mean, seven guys jumped me, and one guy died," he said. "There's still six other people that want to hurt me.

"I fear for my safety, and that's why I'm moving away," he added. "I won't carry a knife on me anymore, but I am considering getting a gun permit."

David Diggs, the boyfriend of Lucas' mother, Lisa, said Lucas was not safe in the neighborhood any longer.

Lucas had been in jail since he was arrested after the stabbing of Gerald Knight, who was one of five to seven teens - all strangers to Dawson - who beat him and who he said called him a "faggot."

"My mom missed me while I was gone because I was always singin' up a storm," Dawson said.

Yesterday, he flashed a weary smile after Municipal Judge Gerard Kosin-ski dismissed the manslaughter charge.

Dawson, wisp-thin, frightened and frail, was released after the hearing.

Defense attorney Kevin Birley said Dawson had acted in self-defense.

"We can't forget that my client was a victim of a hate crime," Birley said.

"They wanted to hurt him. It wasn't that they were trying to get money or they had an argument with him," Birley said. "They simply wanted to hurt him so they kicked him and punched him... Even the first stab didn't stop the attack. It took a second stab to stop the attack."

Prosecutor M.K. Feeney said a jury should decide whether it was manslaughter or self-defense, but Kosinski disagreed.

"Looking at the circumstances here, I agree with the defense," Kosinski said after the preliminary hearing.

It was an unusual move for the district attorney's office to charge Dawson with voluntary manslaughter instead of a general murder charge. Feeney said in court that her office had made that decision after looking at all the facts.

"This is truly a tragic situation for everybody involved, and nobody should have to worry that when they walk down the street they should be attacked for their sexuality or any other reason," she said.

Dawson said the teens followed him as he headed for a bus stop. The teens taunted him for being gay and repeatedly threw a basketball at him, he said.

"One of them punched me in my lip," Dawson said in his statement. "Then, they all started punching me and knocked me to the ground. I was scared and I felt like if I didn't get up they would probably kill me. I felt a wave of strength and I got up... I took out the knife and waved it."

When Knight punched him, Dawson said he thrust the knife into his chest.

"I didn't think the knife went in because he kept punching me, so I stuck the knife in him again," Dawson said.

After the hearing, Diggs said the family felt sorry for the Knight family. "They lost their kid," he said.

The pain of that loss was evident on the face of Knight's father. When the judge announced the dismissal of charges, he exclaimed, "That's my son!" When approached outside the courtroom, he yelled angrily at a reporter, saying he didn't want to talk about his son.

"If you really wanted to know who he was, you should have come to the funeral," he shouted.

At the Dawson home yesterday, Lucas said, "I want to put this all behind me. My life has been turned upside down and I have to start over."

"It makes me sad," Dawson added. "I broke down in court today. I never wanted to hurt anybody... . I was trying to get these guys away from me.

"My mom said, 'You might feel bad about killing someone, but if you didn't have that knife, somebody would be knocking on my door telling me my son's dead.' "

Lisa Dawson, 40, said she is happy to have Lucas back at home, and is looking forward to finally being able to sleep through the night.

"I'm relieved," she said. "The air feels clean again."

Dawson says he'll continue pursuing an acting and modeling career. "When I was in prison, I got to thinking what I was going to do with my life," he said.

"I would like to help gay people so that this type of thing won't happen again," he said.

"It's just about ignorance, you know? I believe what you put out, you get back. And I want to give back."

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Newsweek ...


Yes, they get asked about the sex a lot. "I'm amazed, really," Gyllenhaal says, laughing. "Everybody is soooo interested in it." And their conversations with journalists have given them fresh insight into straight-male psychology. After seeing the movie, Gyllenhaal says, male reporters will enter a room to interview him and almost always follow the same routine. "They come in and they're all, like, 'I just want you to know I'm straight'," he says, and laughs. If they've been moved by the film, he says, they often rationalize it by saying things like "Well, it's really more of a friendship." No, it isn't. "It's a love story," Gyllenhaal says. "They're two men having sex. There's nothing hidden there." Ledger has a theory about why the movie makes some men uncomfortable. "I suspect it's a fear that they are going to enjoy it," he says. "They don't understand that you are not going to become sexually attracted to men by recognizing the beauty of a love story between two men."

We Love Joan







... but John is right on the money. Click here.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Absolute Intellectual Disgrace


This man is making a lot of money while calling for the destruction of a memorial to firefighters by terrorists.

He makes money by pandering to the anger of people who vote against their own self interests.

This man needs to be fired.

Coit Tower shall stand now also as a reminder of this man's unfathomable ignorance.

Big Phalenx keeps on turning, Rollin' ...


From Planetjh.com

White House spins Planet

By Gil Brady

11.12.05

For the last three weeks, the Planet has been using its considerable gravitas as the Vice President's favorite hometown newspaper to get Mr. Cheney to grant us an interview. Or, at least one Cheney-esque "Go bleep yourself" to satisfy our one pressing question.

What I have gleaned from this lesson in longdistance futility are three things: 1) the V.P. has gotten too big for his britches, which may explain why he is rumored to ski in jeans; 2) Mr. Cheney considers the Planet even more irrelevant than our most devoted advertisers; 3) the question, put to no less than three of the VP's youthful-sounding staff, "Can the Vice President say with confidence that the Valerie Plame leak ends with Scooter Libby?" does not appear to be one any of Cheney's preppy mouthpieces feel ready to address.

We also want to know if Debra Maggart, the first White House staffer we tossed this softball at some weeks ago, is the same Debra Young Maggart who was elected to the Tennessee State Legislature last November? Ultimately, after a few calls this past Friday, a very agreeable Ms. Mayfield saw to it that a much publicized and dull press release, a vapid rehashing of Cheney's boring sayonara to his main man, Scooter, who resigned upon being indicted, would be forwarded to us. While welcoming this offer, I reminded Mayfield that my question has not a thing to do with Libby hanging up his spurs.

As Ms. Mayfield paused, I became seized by the image of a cyber-Secret Service demon with the head of Karl Rove and the body of Godzilla bitchslapping the gall off my lips. Instead, I heard Ms. Mayfield spin me about the White House's policy of using the ongoing investigation as a foil to even discussing the weather, which, by now, felt like it was snowing.

Which begs a new question: If the White House felt it had to out a CIA agent to discredit her Iraq-war criticizing husband, would the Veep go "off the reservation" again for a hometown reporter who wrote that Cheney is very much full of something besides himself these days?