Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mid-Terms Update: Senate

Here's an update:

The Dems need 6 wins to take back the Senate.

Which, of course, means not one Dem incumbent can lose. The only one in danger of doing so, Robert Menendez in NJ, appears to have pulled decisively ahead of his Republcian challenger. This is probably due to the tough ads saying Kean would be a close ally for George Bush. Menendez is one of the few Dems who voted against the Iraq war, and he appears to be getting a lot of mileage out of that.

In PA, OH, and RI, the Republican incumbents are toast. (Which is a shame for an affable moderate like Linc Chaffee, though I'm not planning on shedding too many tears for Senator Man-On-Dog 'Sanatorium' or Mike DeWine of Ohio).

Now, new Likely Voter polls (which are more accurate than Registered Voter polls) indicate that Harold Ford and Jim Webb have pulled ahead in TN and VA, respectively. Woo-hoo!!

If these results hold, that would leave one final hurdle: the Dems must win one out of the following two races:

In Montana, Tester (D) leads Burns (R), but within the margin of error: 46 to 43 in one likely voter poll, 48 to 46 in another.

And in MO, Clare McCaskill remains tied with Republcian incumbent Jim Talent, 48-48.

Looks like these two will be the up-all-night nail-biters.

NY Post Endorses Hillary

Yesterday, the New York Post endorsed Hillary. That's right: the fund raising rag of the radical right likes Hillary, they REALLY like her!


Well, apparently, the Jr Senator from New York State has spent the past six years courting Rupert Murdoch.

They lunch regularly.

And, about two years ago, this tactic paid off, resulting in a marked shift in the Post's Hillary coverage. Translation: she got a warm and fuzzy nickname--"Hill"--which, of course, meant the carpet-bagger had gone native. She'd become "one of us."

Murdoch even hosted a fund raising breakfast for her last summer.

Here's a bit of the endorsement. Do the link for the rest.


Well, so are we - a little. ...

[But H]her positions on numerous issues - particularly involving national security - have been much closer to the political center than we would have expected. ...

What about the White House?

Well, New Yorkers simply expect their major officeholders to be presidential aspirants - and the pols always rise to the bait (occasionally delivering ludicrous results; has anyone seen George Pataki in New York lately?).

So Hillary's caught the bug.

So what?

Right--Now that Murdoch has her as an ally, he's happy to support her Presidential aspirations.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Studio 60 Cancellation Imminent

according to Fox News critic Tom Freidman

Studio 60' Cancellation Imminent

Here we go: despite receiving an order for three more episodes on Friday, the Aaron Sorkin NBC drama "Studio 60 on Sunset Strip" is about to be put out of its misery.

Cast members are already confiding in friends that the end is near. It's likely NBC will pull the plug shortly I am told by insiders.

Last week, Studio 60 had 7.7 million viewers. Compare that with competing "CSI: Miami," with 17.5 million. That gap cannot be closed.

But 'Studio 60' has trouble internally at NBC, forget its intramural rivals. According to ratings stats, the "Saturday Night Live" behind the scenes soap opera loses almost half the viewers delivered to it a few minutes earlier by another new show, "Heroes," which has become a surprise cult hit.

On Monday, 'Heroes' had 14.3 million viewers. The substantial drop off with 'Studio 60' is probably the last nail in its coffin. The order of the three extra episodes is considered by insiders to be a contractual move, and not one based on faith that they will ever be made or aired. The all important demo situation didn't help: 'Heroes' had 15 percent of viewers aged 18-49. Studio 60 had 8 percent. The notion that 'Studio 60' is a big draw for NBC among desirables is, sadly, blown on those stats.

This is unsurprising.

Update (10/31/06): Last night's airing of Friday Night Lights in the Studio 60 timeslot did no better than the displaced show.
A "CSI: Miami" rerun, 9.6/17, delivered an easy win for CBS at 10 p.m. A special airing of "Friday Night Lights" on NBC scored a 5.3/9, in line with recent airings of "Studio 60." ABC's "What About Brian" came in at 4.6/8.

Update (11/2/06): There have now been numerous articles debunking the Fox report. Apparently, NBC is seriously considering keeping S60 around as a loss-leader. We'll see. Here's a link to NBC's Sweeps Press Release with log-lines for all their November shows, including S60. Beware of spoilers.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Friday, October 27, 2006

Superman Returns 2

Hey, two posts in a row that will make certain people very happy. According to several online reports, the deal for a sequel to Superman Returns was finalized last week. Bryan Singer and his writers, Dan Harris and Mike Dougherty will return.

And, as I speculated last summer, the budget will be reduced. SR cost about $208M (before prints and marketing costs). SR 2 will be budgeted at $160-175M.

Target release date: Summer 2008. That will put it in direct competition with the Abrams (et al) Star Trek relaunch, a project Singer once had his eye on.

Update 10/31: This has now hit the trades, which indicate the target release date is Summer 2009.

NBC Orders 3 More Studio 60 Scripts

It's not a Back 9 Order, and the show is clearly on life support, but NBC is not ready to give up on Studio 60 just yet. Today's Hollywood Reporter says that the network has ordered three more scripts.

Which should make some people very happy. Even if they don't end up commissioning the episodes, those scripts will get leaked and/or published.

Update: Televisionary reports that NBC's Kevin Reilly said yesterday he would be "taking a long, hard look" at Studio 60... which may not be the last nail in its coffin, but it's close.

'Visionary also reports that NBC has bumped the order for Paul Haggis' Black Donnelly's up to 25 episodes, which means they like what they see. (Question is: will we?) Who wants to bet Donnelly's ends up in S60's slot before the end of the year?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Stem Cell Ads

I think those Michael J Fox ads (at least one of which is for a Republican) are powerful -- and will absolutely sway votes. Check out these poll numbers:

Among all respondents, support for stem cell research increased from 78% prior to viewing the ad, to 83% after viewing the ad. Support among Democrats increased from 89% to 93%, support among Republicans increased from 66% to 68% and support among Independents increased from 80% to 87% after viewing the ad.

The level of concern regarding a candidate's view on stem cell research increased among all respondents from 57% prior to viewing the ad to 70% after viewing the ad. Among Democrats, the level of concern increased from 66% to 83% and Republicans' level of concern increased from 50% to 60%. Independents' level of concern increased from 58% to 69%.

The perception that the November election is relevant to the U.S. policy on stem cell research increased across all voter segments, with an increase of 9% among all respondents pre- and post-viewing from 62% to 71%. The Democrats' perception increased from 75% to 83%,Republicans' perception increased from 55% to 62% and Independents' perception increased from 60% to 68% pre- and post-viewing. ...

The vast majority of responders indicated that the advertisement was believable with 76% of all responders reporting that it was "extremely believable" or "believable." Among party affiliation, 93% of Democrats 57% of Republicans and 78% of Independents indicated it "extremely believable" or "believable."

Respondents were asked to indicate what candidate they would vote for in the U.S. House of Representatives election if it was held today before and after viewing the ad.

Republicans who indicated that they were voting for a Republican candidate decreased by 10% after viewing the ad (77% to 67%). Independents planning to vote for Democrats increased by 10%, from 39% to 49%.
Think maybe that accounts for the positively unhinged GOP response? One ad, which will air in Missouri during the World Series, features a couple of baseball players (including one who will be pitching the night it airs), and sitcom star Patricia Heaton claiming that stem cell research victimizes women; that Prop 2 is a conspiracy to legalize human cloning; and that all that silly science stuff is a pyramid scheme, anyway. (After all, everyone knows that when you get Parkinson's or ALS, what you need is not a revolutionary medical treatment derived from stem cells. Oh, no. What you need is a Faith Healer. Demons, be gone! Demons, be gone!)

And, as if that's not desperate enough, Jim Caviezel--that's right, kids: Jesus Christ himself--bookends the ad. At the start, I swear to god, he seems to be speaking in tongues! And, at the end, he solemnly--sagely--intones
You know now. Don't do it.

Shame on them. And shame on any Missourian who falls for that shit.

Ironically, the aid is silent on the real reason the extreme right is against stem-cell research. It's about abortion. With the advent of the morning-after pill, they know that they have to move the line or lose the fight. And they're not ready to stop fightin' yet.

So now every spern really is sacred. Now, they're gonna fight for the "right to life" of eggs left over in the back of some fertility clinic freezer -- eggs that would otherwise be thrown out.

And they're gonna do it without actually taking a stand against fertility treatments. Quite the contortionists, aren't they?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

NJ Supremes Legalize Gay Marriage!!!

But they won't force NJ to call it "marriage."

Held: Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and priveleges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate govenrmental purpose. The Court holds that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph I of the New Jersey Constitution, committed same-sex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.

I may pass out. . . Right now, I don't give a shit about the consequences for the election. And I'm *certainly* getting drunk tonight!!

Related posts.

Update (10/28/06): NYTimes Editorial:
All this is, as everyone knows, just a show for rousing the base. If the last month has taught us anything about the Republican Party, it is that homophobia is campaign strategy, not conviction. Congressmen who trust their careers to gay staffers vote for laws to enshrine second-class citizenship for gays in the Constitution. Gay appointees and their partners are treated as married people at official ceremonies and social gatherings. Then whenever an election rolls around, the whole team pretends it’s on a mission to save America from gay marriage.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Whither Studio 60...?

NBC has decided not to rerun the Studio 60 pilot on October 30 in favor of airing a new episode of Friday Night Lights in S60's timeslot. Since Heroes has emerged as a bonafide hit (and is showing signs that it might actually turn into a good show), NBC can hardly be blamed for wanting a lead-out that can actually hold onto (or God forbid, build on) Heroes' audience.

Studio 60 does return with a new episode the following Monday, November 6, and (at least for now), it will remain in place for November Sweeps. Two of those episodes, "Nevada Parts I & II," will guest-star John Goodman (not as guest-host, so--presumably--he'll be playing someone other than "John Goodman.") One of the upcoming musical guests will be Jessica Simpson, who apparently once asked Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton if her job was to redecorate the White House. (Does this mean they're attempting to court stupid people?)

So it's not dead yet, but it's still hemhorragging viewers. Those Alpha Consumers? Seems they've got Buyer's Remorse.

And I'm one of 'em. :( The show just isn't working.

Amanda Peet sucks--She murders every scene she's in, every kick-ass line she's given. She's got one mode: deer with its eyes caught in the headlights. It's like she's on xanax. (I'm still reeling that the people who cast Allison Janney and Janel Moloney--and Felicity Huffman--said to themselves, "Amanda Peet--Yes." WTF?)

And Matthew Perry isn't that much better.

I like that Matt & Harry's relationship--which at first seemed to be mythologizing Sorkin and Kirsten Chennoweth and now seems to be mythologizing Bill Murray and Gilda Radner. Now, that's more interesting. That's the good kind of "write what you know"-- take your experience and let it inform characters based on other people, so when you tell stories that highlight how smart and great and cool these people are, you're not actually patting yourself on the back on national television.

And there are other problems, not least of which is the writing. The action will suddenly grind to a halt for a Sting number, or there will be four endings, as in "Focus Group," which was otherwise the strongest episode so far. But it turned suddenly--and surprisingly--saccharine with a montage at the Wrap Party set to the Shirelle's "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" that culminated with Matthew Perry ... getting in his car and driving away.

Don't get me wrong: I respect that he's in over his head... He's not playing it safe, and I hope he turns it arond. But it's starting to feel like this whole project will be remembered as a Sorkin-shaped hole in the wall.

As for where they're going . . . E! Online's Kristen is reporting that Peet's pregnancy will be written into the show after all, and Brad Whitford gives a quote that makes it sound like he's lobbying to be the daddy. (They were clearly headed there with those two characters anyway, so it doesn't seem like a leap.)

I'm hoping they use her pregnancy to tip off of a storyline that ends up with McDeere out...

...Which would let them bring in a high-profile new female lead to take Peet's place... promote the hell out of it... and hope to generate a second-look audience for her debut. Might be Studio 60's best shot at remaining a going concern.

So... Since Mary Louise Parker's busy, what's Allison Janney doing these days? (Or would that just make it worse?)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Caveat About Internet Hook-Ups

posted by my friend Joe. [spicoli]Read it, learn it, live it. Whoa.[/spicoli]

Monday, October 16, 2006


Friday, October 13, 2006

Reminder: Galactica 3X03: "Exodus Part 1" Airs Tonight

written by Thompson & Weddle.

Tonight on Sci-Fi at 9PM, the follow-up to last week's brilliant twofer season premiere. Seriously, folks, if you've ever watched, it's time to tune back in: the show has never been this good. (And, says the pessimist in me, will probably never be this good again).

After this:

"Exodus Part 2"--10/20
"A Measure of Salvation"--11/10
"Unfinished Business"
"The Passage" by Jane Espenson (woo-hoo!)
"Eye of Jupiter"
"Taking a Break"

Thursday, October 12, 2006


DOT has agreed to close the Times Square "bow tie" making way for big pedestrian space increases in Midtown's congested heart. The "bow tie" is the segment of roadway between 42nd and 47th Streets that allows traffic to merge between 7th Avenue and Broadway...This entire middle section of Times Square will be given over to pedestrians...Only a year ago powerful people within DOT were styming the idea of closing the Times Square bow-tie. Today DOT's Commissioner is touting the change. The Times, they are a-changing.

The sooner the better.

Source: Curbed

McDreamy McChokey

Don't pretend to understand the fascination with this utterly ordinary sudser, but I must admit I got a kick out of this story.

Congressman Dreier Outed

--Nation Stunned

Blogger Mike Rogers of BlogActive promises more to come before election.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Mike Rogers, president of Proud of Who We Are and the nation's top gay activist blogger, last night reported that U.S. Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) is a gay hypocrite, during an evening drive-time radio interview on KABC in Los Angeles. He promised to name another closeted gay member of Congress and a U.S. senator shortly. The entire interview may be heard at http://www.ProudofWhoWeAre.org

Appearing on the Al Rantel Show, Rogers spoke of Dreier's secret life with a boyfriend, Brad Smith, who remains his highly paid congressional chief of staff. He said the pair took over two dozen trips worldwide and lived together for years, while Dreier cast a string of votes in Congress against gay rights, and supported the Republican Party's anti-gay crusade.

"There are an awful lot of gay men in the closet who are in positions in power who make unhealthy psychological decisions," Rogers said in the interview, referring to the recent Foley scandal.

Rogers asked why Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman has remained silent when his party is under attack over the number of closeted gay men in the highest echelons of the Republican Party.

"What are their real family values, these guys engaged in a cover-up of predatory behavior?" Rogers said on-air.

"When folks like James Dobson (of Focus on the Family), and when folks like Tony Perkins (of the Family Research Council), see what's going on, it's not motivating them to be part of the program that's designed by Ken Mehlman, who is silent about gays stuck in the higher echelons of the Republican Party," he said. "Why isn't he speaking out on behalf of his party? This is going to affect them a great deal. They know that, and they're running scared."

Rogers promised to name at least one U.S. senator and one more member of Congress, as Proud of Who We Are continues its recently launched campaign to tell right-wing leaders of other closeted gays in the Republican Party they are being asked to support on Nov. 7.

"The presence of David Drier and other high-powered, closeted, gay Republicans stands in stark contrast to the rigid, hardened opposition by socially conservative activists to anyone who is gay," Rogers said following his radio appearance.

He also "raised questions" about Ken Mehlman, who is also quite the pathetic little closet case twink.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

EVill TV: Lost 3X02: The Glass Ballerina

Love this episode's writers. Drew Goddard did so much good work in the last season of Angel, "Origin" in particular (the one where Connor came back.) And Jeff Tinker wrote one of my favorite Alias episodes, "Time Will Tell" from the first season. (I always thought that episode contained the seed of a series mythology that was never properly realized...)

I do wish they didn't always have to lose to The Others by being stupid. They always come by water. Hello?

That said, I really enjoyed this one... and the last one. Dare I say it's shaping up to be a decent season? Maybe being forced to conceive a six episode mini-season was good for them.

Seems like this show will always need to freshen-up with major new characters and situations, though. I mean, I find myself hoping they never go back to the beach. Just find the next set of Others to hang out with. And the next. Etc.

I suppose it goes without saying at this point that Michael Emerson (Henry/Ben) is just awesome. What does he want with "that boat?" Was he the adolescent son of one of the original Dharmans? Or does his comment to Juliette--"You never made me soup"--suggest that he was once in a position similar to Jack's? (i.e., a newbie ... who used his creepy, Lecter-like powers of manipulation to take over...?)

...Maybe it just meant that they were intimate at one time and are now on the outs...

I was surprised at the observation they gave Sawyer--that Juliette "would've pulled the trigger, no problem." [stockholm]But--but--she's the niceone...[/stockholm]

Friday, October 06, 2006

EVill TV: Galactica 3X01 & 02

Wow. For a change, the show deserves its accolades. This was a fine return to form after a largely shitty second year. These two episodes were bold, poltiical, thought-provoking -- In short, immensely satisfying.

Random thoughts:

Ellen -- What at first appeared to be a gratuitous sex scene with (of all people) her husband had me cringing. And then I was *riveted* when we realize it's Brother Cavel, and she's doing it to secure Tigh's release.

Starbuck and Leoben -- Creepy. More Cylon psychodrama, but well-executed. Like a sci-fi Virginia Woolfe. But why does Leoben want Starbuck to love him? In the counterpart plot from the first season, they were trying to induce a human (Helo) to fall in love with a Cylon (who he didn't know was a Cylon) -- Sharon -- because they beleived that, with love would come successful procreation.

Which resulted in the humlon baby, Hera.

But with Starbuck, they already took her eggs. So... are they after an immaculate conception, or what?

I was amazed at how easily Tigh morphed into a radical imam.

The Cylons -- We're in their councils now. We're learning where they stand on the issues, how they think, and it's about time. It adds a lot. (Who knew the Cylon were neocons?)

Loved the "offer Baltar couldn't refuse" scene -- both on the face of it, and especially for its political subtext.

Love the way the webisodes fill you in on Duck's backstory without giving away the fact that they were the diary of a heroic suicide bomber. Clever boys.

I'm thinking this 6 episode arc will go down as the show's finest hours.

What did you guys thinks?

Galactica Premiere

is tonight at 9 on Sci-Fi.

See the first act of of the premiere, "Occupation" by Ronald D. Moore, here.

It's pretty nifty.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Source: BradBlog

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Truth About 'Mission Accomplished'

LARRY KING: We're back with Bob Woodward. The book "State of Denial." Tell us about Rumsfeld talking about Mission Accomplished banner on the ship.

BOB WOODWARD: This is May 1st, 2003, the very famous speech the president gave on the aircraft carrier, the Kennedy. You know there was that sign, Mission Accomplished. And I asked Rumsfeld about it and said he was -- Rumsfeld was in Baghdad and they sent him an advanced copy of the speech. And he said, I almost died because mission accomplished was in the speech. And he said, I got it out of the speech but I didn't get the sign down. Now they've always put out the story that it was the Navy that put up the sign. And there's the secretary of defense saying it was in the speech.

Of course, for years now, the White House has been saying they had nothing to do with that banner. That it was put up by the *crew* of the Kennedy. (Why do the soldiers always take the fall for these draft dodging sons of bitches?)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Provisions of the Terror Bill

as recounted by this excellent New York Times editorial.

Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of “illegal enemy combatant” in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.

The Geneva Conventions: The bill would repudiate a half-century of international precedent by allowing Mr. Bush to decide on his own what abusive interrogation methods he considered permissible. And his decision could stay secret — there’s no requirement that this list be published.

Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.

Judicial Review: The courts would have no power to review any aspect of this new system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The bill would limit appeals and bar legal actions based on the Geneva Conventions, directly or indirectly. All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial.

Coerced Evidence: Coerced evidence would be permissible if a judge considered it reliable — already a contradiction in terms — and relevant. Coercion is defined in a way that exempts anything done before the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and anything else Mr. Bush chooses.

Secret Evidence: American standards of justice prohibit evidence and testimony that is kept secret from the defendant, whether the accused is a corporate executive or a mass murderer. But the bill as redrafted by Mr. Cheney seems to weaken protections against such evidence.

Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture.