Thursday, February 09, 2006

Aren't you glad you don't have Scott McClellan's job?

I mean, I'd hate to be up there squirming in case someone in the press pool points out the ways Bush's antiterrorism policy just doesn't add up.

Via Eschaton. Bwahahahahaaaaa!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

JT LeRoy Hoaxer Sez "The Jig Is Up"

While everyone else was obsessing over fratboy punk turned wanna be bad boy James Frey, I was following the JT LeRoy hoax with strange fascination. Leroy was supposed to be a fragile man-child author with a lurid hustler/drug addict/sexual abuse/insert-horrible-childhood-event-here past. His slender little works of fiction won him a cult audience and loads of celebrity friends, even though he was supposed to be reclusive, camera-shy, sick--oh, he had all sorts of excuses for not showing his face in public. And when he did, he wore a blond wig and sunglasses.

For a shy, traumatized former teen hustler, LeRoy was quite the famewhore, dropping names of famous writers everywhere and schmoozing with actresses and rock stars. He even claimed to have impregnated Asia Argento, who's directing a movie based on one of his books.

Well, now it seems that the name-dropping, celebrity-schmoozing cult author doesn't really exist. The books published under the JT LeRoy byline were in fact written by Laura Albert, aka Speedie, a fortysomething rock musician. For public appearances, he was portrayed by Savannah Knoop, the younger sister of Albert's now-estranged partner, Geoffrey Knoop.

And now Geoffrey Knoop has come out and admitted to the scam. Mr. Knoop was, of course, no bystander to all this. On the contrary, he says, "On the business side, I ran a lot of the day to day."

And why would Mr. Knoop come forward and make a half-hearted apology at this stage? Money is the most likely reason--Mr. Knoop has spoken of a movie deal about the hoax, though he denied rumors that he's writing a memoir. Since he and Laura Albert never married, he may not be entitled to any profits from the hoax unless he can prove he was an equal partner in "JT LeRoy's" career. Right now, Albert and Knoop are fighting over custody of their eight-year-old son, who attends one of the poshest private schools in the Bay Area.

My theory? Knoop came forward now because he could see that the scam was unravelling, knew there was nothing more to be gained, and thought that he wouldn't have much luck in a palimony suit against Ms. Albert. This way, he could pretend he was taking the high road and maybe make a little bit of money of his own by selling the movie rights to the story.

I can see why he wouldn't publish a memoir, though. I doubt that all the writers, editors, and publishers who championed JT LeRoy would want anything to do with him.

Litsa Dremousis, a writer, journalist, and former friend of LeRoy's describes Laura Albert as a sociopath--albiet a talented one--and Geoffrey Knoop as "a banal and semi-talented eunuch." I dunno, I think Mr. Knoop is just as sociopathic as his former partner.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

"A hoax on the American people"

That's what Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff, calls the now-infamous UN presentation.

Raw Story has more.

Why so many supermodels are vapid and dumb...

The modeling agencies don't like their girls to be interested in tech stuff or intellectual stuff or anything that doesn't involve snorting coke and wearing clothes.

Majikthese has more.

The experts have spoken--Liberalism RAWKS!

Because I've got some extra time on my hand, and because I've grown weary of the "liberal = boogeyman" meme that has, thankfully, passed its freshness expiration date, I've assembled some quotes that are supportive of, or at least sympathetic to, the word "liberal."

As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.
--George Washington

Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved.

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.
--William Gladstone

The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.
--Mark Twain

The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.
--Bertrand Russell

A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future.
--Leonard Bernstein

A liberal is a man who is right most of the time, but he's right too soon.
--Gregory Nunn

A man who has both feet planted firmly in the air can be safely called a liberal as opposed to the conservative, who has both feet firmly planted in his mouth”
--Jacques Barzun

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Kate Bush at Hammersmith Odeon--sweeeeeeeeeet!

I've been on a Kate Bush kick lately, what with her comeback, Aerial. Just bought Kate Bush Live at Hammersmith Odeon. Believe it or not, she's only toured once, in 1979. Sad, because she put on an amazing show. The production values are very 1970s, of course, and Kate is a young, sprightly 21-year-old, not the eccentric, complex, mature model of femininity she became in the mid-eighties. So there's a lot of Kate cavorting with mimes and dancers, performing material mostly from her first two albums. There are lots of costume changes: Kate in a trenchcoat and fedora for "Them Heavy People"; Kate in leather for "Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake"; Kate in a cowgirl catsuit for "James and the Cold Gun."

Final song is "Wuthering Heights," her breakthrough hit. As the credits roll and she sings the final chorus, she collects an armful of roses from the audience and then, during the guitar solo, jumps up and down wildly, waving at her audience. Sigh. Makes you wish she'd perform live more often...but hey! This is Kate Bush, who gives her all to everything she does! Perhaps she wanted to devote more attention to recording. Who knows?

I just hope that after this, she'll go back to the usual 3-4 years between albums.

Vichy Republicans

You think the Bidens and Liebermans are insufferable? There's something much worse than a Vichy Dem, and that's a Vichy Republican. Take Christine "It's my party too wait for meeeeeeeeee!" Whitman.

Whitman just got raked over the coals by a judge. I know what you're thinking--she's a Bushco official. This is news?

More details here.

A federal judge blasted former Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman on Thursday for reassuring New Yorkers soon after the Sept. 11 attacks that it was safe to return to their homes and offices while toxic dust was polluting the neighborhood.

U.S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts refused to grant Whitman immunity against a class-action lawsuit brought in 2004 by residents, students and workers in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn who said they were exposed to hazardous materials from the destruction of the World Trade Center.

"No reasonable person would have thought that telling thousands of people that it was safe to return to lower Manhattan, while knowing that such return could pose long-term health risks and other dire consequences, was conduct sanctioned by our laws," the judge said.

She called Whitman's actions "conscience-shocking," saying the EPA chief knew that the collapse of the twin towers released tons of hazardous materials into the air.

Whitman had no comment, according to a spokeswoman. A Justice Department spokesman said the government had no comment. An EPA spokeswoman said the agency was reviewing the lengthy opinion.

The judge let the lawsuit proceed against the EPA and Whitman, permitting the plaintiffs to try to prove that the agency and its administrator endangered their health.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and reimbursement for cleanup costs and asks the court to order that a medical monitoring fund be set up to track the health of those exposed to trade center dust.

In her ruling, Batts noted that the EPA and Whitman said repeatedly -- beginning just two days after the attack -- that the air appeared safe to breathe. The EPA's internal watchdog later found that the agency, at the urging of White House officials, gave misleading assurances.

Quoting a ruling in an earlier case, the judge said a public official cannot be held personally liable for putting the public in harm's way unless the conduct was so egregious as "to shock the contemporary conscience." Given her role in protecting the health and environment for Americans, Whitman's reassurances after Sept. 11 were "without question conscience-shocking," Batts said.

The bold is mine. If it's true, and Whitman caved to her bosses in the White House, then she's even more dishonest and mealy-mouthed than I thought she was. Not only that, but she quite possibly endangered thousands of New Yorkers.

It's a little sad, actually. Ten years ago, Whitman was a rising star in the GOP--a popular moderate Republican governor. Another rising star was Colin Powell--why, there were people who thought he'd be a good president! Like Whitman, he caved in to Bushco. He is, after all, the guy who appeared at the UN to talk about Iraq's phantom WMDs. Speaking as someone who used to respect the guy, I think he should never, ever be allowed to live that down.

Powell and Whitman didn't just give in to Bushco. They lied and misled the American people under orders from the White House. Instead of being good Americans, they chose to be good Germans.

Then there's the wildly overrated McCain. He is neither a moderate nor a maverick, and he only takes a stand when it's a. easy and b. politically expedient. He recently spoke out against torture. Well, to paraphrase Chris Rock, what does McCain want, a cookie? You're supposed to oppose torture. And McCain still voted to confirm Abu Gonzalez.

The remaining "moderate" senators, like Specter and Snowe? Pft. Pushovers, all of them.

Other Republicans are just as pissed. Take former CIA analyist Larry Johnson, many months ago, talking about Plamegate:

I say this as a currently registered Republican: I wish Howard Baker was back in the Senate. I wish there was a Republican of some courage and conviction that would stand up and call the ugly dog the ugly dog that it is.

But instead, you know, I watched last night, John McCain on Chris Matthews' "Hardball," making excuses, being an apologist. Where are these men and women over there with any integrity to stand up and speak out against this?

During the 2004 elections, I was surprised to see how many old-school Republicans were deeply opposed to Bush. Even John Eisenhower, son of Ike, left the GOP and is now registered to vote as an independent. But these are all average citizens or retired politicians. Those Republicans in DC who aren't thugs or Talibaptists are too cowardly to do anything but make nicey-nice with the idiots in charge.