Friday, July 29, 2005

That...Blind Kid Sure Plays Mean...Mortal Kombat

Blind Teen Amazes With Video-Game Skills
By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press Writer via Yahoo! News
Wed Jul 27,10:01 PM ET

OK...I'm of two minds on this. On one hand, it's an inspiring story of determination and industriousness under unfortunate circumstances. Young Mr. Mellen has made some sweet lemonade of the lemons given him.

On the other hand, Mellen is displaying the brilliance to overcome his disability to the point that he defeats sighted people in a visually-based competition...and the most he's going to do with that talent is design video games? What a waste -- especially considering the video games are mostly nothing but violent escapist fantasies with no redeeming values. I wonder if Mellen has any inkling in his mind the grotesque and gory scenes that come on the screen when he beats someone in Mortal Kombat.

I wish him the best, but I hope he reconsiders, and perhaps takes up the cause of unlocking the secret of his gaming ability and assisting in breakthroughs for the visually impaired.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Democrat Producer and Star of Presidential TV Drama: 'No Leftist Propaganda. Trust Us.'

ABC's 'Commander in Chief' will have family focus
July 28, 2005

LOS ANGELES (Reuters - Hollywood Reporter) - Both the creator and star of ABC's upcoming drama "Commander in Chief" are acknowledged Democrats, but they pledge that it is more of an "East Wing" type of show that won't dwell exclusively on political intrigue.

"Commander in Chief" stars Geena Davis as a married mother and independent vice president who is thrust into power after the death of the Republican president, battling concerns by her predecessors' advisers and cabinet as well as her family and associates...


...Lurie, who directed the 2000 feature "The Contender" starring Joan Allen as a female politician who becomes vice president, said he's staying away from political statements on the show, though he said he is a Democrat. He said there wasn't a temptation for Davis' character to be anything other than an independent because he wanted someone who isn't beholden to the party structure.

"We don't want to be caught on the left side of the world at all," Lurie said.

Davis, who later said she was a Democrat, joked: "I'm involved in the politics of making sure that ABC and (Disney corporate sibling) Touchstone are very happy with this show..."


...Parts of the pilot are being reshot; the second episode will feature Davis' character's search for a vice president. ABC said Peter Coyote ("Erin Brockovich") has been hired to play a vice presidential nominee beginning in the second episode; former "Third Watch" actor Jason Wiles will play a deputy press secretary.

So...should we believe it when Rod Lurie says he will pull back the reins on political statements?

Before you make up your own mind, consider these facts: In the 2004 campaign cycle, Lurie donated a total of $4,000 – the $2,000 maximum individual contribution for Wesley Clark, and then John Kerry.

Peter Coyote has made $15,566 in campaign contributions since the 1988 cycle. Some of the names of the recipients are striking -- he gave to the Clinton/Gore campaign in 1996, but in 2000, he went for Green Party candidates Ralph Nader for President and Medea Benjamin (of Code Pink fame/infamy) for Senate. In 2004, he not only supported the doomed candidacy of way-out leftie Dennis Kucinich, but also the Congressional campaign of Vermont's Bernard Sanders, the only avowed Socialist on Capitol Hill.

Geena Davis tops them all: Since 1990, the statuesque brunette has given $32,850 in campaign cash, mostly to groups such as the Hollywood Women's Political Committee, Emily's List, and two whopping $10,000 checks to the Democratic National Committee.

Does this mean that Rod Lurie doesn't have any artistic integrity? That he's being sly and deceptive about not putting his own personal spin into his new series? Not necessarily. But before taking Lurie at his word, remember what one of the stars of his last politically-themed work -- Gary Oldman -- alleged happened on the way from the movie's set to your local megaplex.

Christine Craft Gets 'Ugly' -- Again

Christine Craft
by L.N. Smithee
July 28, 2005

Word on the radio is that former TV anchorwoman and current radio talk show hostess Christine Craft (left), who won a sexual discrimination suit in 1983 against a Kansas City television station after her dismissal was linked to a research study that decided that Craft was "too old, too [ugly], and not deferential to men," has joined the far-left defenders of the radical, profane, repellent "critic" of everything American, Stephen Pearcy. As the story goes, at today's Move America Forward demonstration in Sacramento this afternoon protesting a taxpayer-supported art show's inclusion of -- among other works -- Pearcy's crude painting in which a representation of the Stars & Stripes is being flushed down a toilet, Craft has arranged for Air America Radio's counterdemonstration to include a drag queen to make fun of MAF co-chair Melanie Morgan (below right), a former ABC News reporter and current co-host at conservative talk standout KSFO in San Francisco, who just happens to be an attractive blonde woman. At least for the day, the transvestite will be re-named "Melony Morgan," which seems to imply that Ms. Morgan is a bimbo.

This wouldn't be out of character for Christine Craft. I have spoken with Craft one time. In 1997, when the Supreme Court finally rejected Bill Clinton's attempts to invoke Executive Privilege to prevent Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit from going forward while he was in office, Craft, who was filling in on the call-letter deficient station (aka KGO, San Francisco's powerhouse center-left talk station), said that Jones, in her opinion, was "an opportunist slut (sic)." I was driving up El Camino in Belmont toward S.F. at about 11pm, couldn't believe my ears, and got out of the car and called the show from a pay phone.

I told her, "I can't believe what I just heard! A feminist who won a high-profile sexual discrimination suit just called a woman who filed a high-profile sexual harassment suit 'a SLUT?'" She failed to grasp the irony, and didn't back down, even when I argued that there were more reasons to believe Paula Jones than Anita Hill in her claims of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas, since there were audiotapes proving that Clinton rewarded Gennifer Flowers for "kissing it," which Jones refused to do.

She still doesn't understand the concept of irony, apparently -- otherwise, a woman who was fired from a TV job because of her looks wouldn't be sending a female impersonator to make fun of a woman who is better looking.

IMHO, another verdict has come in: being Christine Craft is kind of a drag.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Popular Novelist Says Politically Correct Studios "Deathly Afraid" To Depict Islamist Terrorists in Movies

By L.N. Smithee
July 25, 2005

A bestselling author said in an interview on the July 21, 2005 edition of the Laura Ingraham radio show that major motion picture studios have in the past rejected his popular novels for development into films because of studio executives’ leftward leanings and because they are frightened of violent reaction from Muslims.

Suspense novelist Vince Flynn (Memorial Day, Executive Power, Term Limits, and the upcoming Consent to Kill), in response to a listener’s question of when one of his books would be made into a motion picture, said there has been a lot of interest in using some of his novels for a Hollywood picture, but “when Memorial Day came out, [my agent and I] gave it to one of the higher-up people at Paramount, and her response [was to] call my agent and said ‘I hated it. It was more Bush than Bush!’”

A resident of Minnesota's Twin Cities region who is often compared with megaselling author Tom Clancy, Flynn laughed with Ingraham as he recalled the conversation with his agent, saying “I said, ‘What does that [mean]? Can’t we all agree that terrorists trying to set off a nuclear bomb in Washington, D.C. is a bad thing? Can’t we all get on the same page?”

He continued, saying regarding a previous book that was considered for development: “[In] Executive Power, I have Arab terrorists in the book, of course, because, you know, there aren’t any Scandinavian terrorists right now…and we got together with one of the studios, and they said, ‘How ‘bout we take the Arab terrorists and turn them into Filipino terrorists?’ So I said, let me get this straight – It’s OK to offend the Filipinos, but we don’t want to offend the Arabs?”

Flynn agreed with Ingraham that political correctness and not wanting to appear too “Bush” was a factor in his heretofore silver screen shutout, but that there is another element to a reluctance to embrace stories that are proven commodities: “Everybody out there, they are deathly afraid to do a movie about Arab terrorists…a lot of them are honestly afraid that they will be assassinated [in an incident] like the Van Gogh deal.” This was a reference to the killing of Theo Van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker and descendant of legendary painter Vincent Van Gogh, who was shot and stabbed to death in broad daylight by Mohammed Bouyeri, a radical Muslim Dutch-Moroccan. Theo Van Gogh had run afoul of Islamists when he created a short film about the abuse that Muslim wives sometimes suffer. Bouyeri pleaded guilty to murder charges July 12, but refused to apologize for the act, which he said was done “purely in the name of my religion.”

In 1976, when false rumors were spread that the motion picture Mohammed, Messenger of God featured actor Anthony Quinn as Islam’s holiest figure (a violation of Islamic belief that Mohammed's image should never be represented in movies), an armed extremist Muslim group stormed the Washington, D.C. chapter of B’nai Brith, an international Jewish organization, and threatened to blow it up if measures weren't taken to prevent the film's release. In reality, B'nai B'rith had no ties whatsoever to the film, which was directed by Arab film director Moustapha Akkad, and Quinn portrayed a confidante of the Qu'ran's holiest figure, not the prophet himself. The siege was ended without any loss of life, and the film was released, but the publicity doomed the movie at the box office. It is available on DVD under the title The Message.

Flynn contrasted the moviemakers’ reluctance to ruffle the feathers of devotees of Islam with another religion, saying that it’s “a major sore spot for me” that “anytime [the studios] can make a movie that rips on the Catholic Church, they’re on it.”

Paramount Pictures, which rejected the Flynn story as being ‘too Bush,’ is breaking a silent embargo on movies about the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 that brought down New York City’s World Trade Center and significantly damaged the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. Chosen to direct the picture is director/revisionist historian Oliver Stone (Platoon, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, etc.). Early reports about the screenplay (written by Andrea Berloff) indicate that the emphasis of Stone’s picture will not be the attacks by Muslim terrorists, but the aftermath, expanding on the real-life experience of two Port Authority officers trapped beneath the rubble of one of the collapsed Towers.

Flynn assured Ingraham and his fans that he would never allow filmmakers to change the nationality of the terrorists in his novels (Clancy has been widely criticized for allowing the ethnicity of Islamist terrorists in The Sum of All Fears to be changed to Neo-Nazis for its big-screen treatment). It is the lack of that political correctness that lets him enjoy being a story consultant for the Fox Television series 24, which has featured in its labyrinthian plots Muslim terrorist groups from the Middle East as well as Serbian terrorists. This past season of 24 depicted a Middle Eastern group's downing of the Presidential jet Air Force One and a plot to explode nuclear power plants across the country, but also featured an episode in which Muslim owners of a Los Angeles gun shop join U.S. intelligence agents in a shootout with American mercenaries hired by the Muslim terrorists.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Robin Williams gives San Francisco $80,000 for repair

Robin Williams' gift clears committee
Rachel Gordon, S.F. Chronicle,
Thursday, July 21, 2005

It's not always easy giving money away.

Actor and comedian Robin Williams and his wife, Marsha, want to donate $80,000 to the San Francisco Department of Public Works to repair a retaining wall and spruce up the landscaping on city-owned land near their home in Sea Cliff.

The plan was up for consideration by the Board of Supervisors last month, but at the request of Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval it was blocked temporarily and sent to committee for a hearing.

That hearing was held Wednesday before the board's Rules Committee, and after Sandoval got to ask a Public Works official a few questions about the project, the donation was headed back to the full board for a vote.

Sandoval received assurances that the city wouldn't expend any public funds on the project and that the couple's request had received no preferential treatment. He also wanted to make the point that he didn't want the city to start "down the slippery slope'' of putting projects that are privately funded ahead of others.

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who represents the Sea Cliff neighborhood on the city's northwest edge, said she was happy the Williamses were willing to put up the money so the city could devote its resources to less-affluent neighborhoods.

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who represents the Sea Cliff neighborhood on the city's northwest edge, said she was happy the Williamses were willing to put up the money so the city could devote its resources to less-affluent neighborhoods.
It's admirable that rather than use his celebrity to demand that the city shore up the retaining wall using taxpayer dollars, Williams and his wife were willing to put their own money up. And while Sandoval's hold on the plan was on its face, altruistic, it isn't self-righteously, irritatingly so.

On the other hand, Sea Cliff Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier's statement about the city "[devoting] its resources to less-affluent neighborhoods" sounds like typical San Francisco City Hall fog. Firstly, while landscaping problems may be purely aesthetic, repairing retaining walls is essential for shorefront properties. Has anyone forgotten the unforgettable, heart-rending images of the SoCal flash landslides, or for that matter, the majestic Sea Cliff mansion at the edge of the Presidio that collapsed under a broken water main, tipping it over like a handcrafted doll house off a table? Infrastructure concerns are infrastructure concerns, regardless of the wealth of the residents in the neighborhoods in need of them.

Secondly, San Francisco is not in the habit of using its money wisely. City Hall always seeks the assistance of budget maven Harvey Rose, and just ignores him. I can't believe anyone seriously thinks that someone is dedicated to taking the 80K's the city is saving and doing something truly useful for the "less affluent." But maybe I'm being too hard on Alioto-Pier; maybe she's just fallen victim to the Robin Hood mentality that afflicts Supervisors. They like the concept of robbing the rich to give to the poor. In this case, the rich dropped a bag of cash in the Supes' hands, and Michela reflexively started running off like a bandit.