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Ronald Reagan and James Dean 1954 Video


The Atlantic‘s John Meroney is circulating this rare video of Ronald Reagan and James Dean, who would both go on to become legends, before either was known*: Today, it’s an astonishing, even eerie, scene: the icon of modern American conservatism, whose rise to political prominence was galvanized by the cultural rebellion of the 1960s, fighting […]

Liz Lemon Ugly


It’s no secret that almost everyone in Hollywood is very good looking.  But Chloe Angyal is tired of beautiful people playing “ugly” characters on TV.  And not because they’re taking parts away from genuinely ugly people. One of the running themes of Glee is that Rachel, played by Lea Michele, is talented, but annoying, badly […]

Late Night Sexual Harrassment


Nell Scovell, one of a handful of women who has ever worked as a comedy writer for David Letterman — or any of the late night comic talk shows — contends that an atmosphere of sexual harassment routinely exists on those shows: Without naming names or digging up decades-old dirt, let’s address the pertinent questions. […]

Child Rape in Afghanistan and Hollywood


Joshua Foust continues to call attention to widespread and institutionalized child rape — mostly man-on-boy — in Afghanistan, this time with a report that Canadian soldiers had been quietly told to ignore the practice because we needed the cooperation of the leaders doing the raping. Steve Hynd, naturally, wonders why this isn’t widely reported and […]

Roman Polanski Arrested, Fighting Extradition


Roman Polanski, who fled the United States in 1977 after conviction for raping a 13-year-old, has been arrested in Switzerland and is fighting extradition to Los Angeles. Polanski, who fled the United States in 1978, was detained Saturday after arriving to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival. It was not clear […]

Gay Teen Prom Queen


The YahooNews headline “Openly gay teen voted prom queen at LA high school” did its intended task of enticing me to click to read the AP story: An openly gay teen was voted prom queen at Los Angeles’ Fairfax High School in a campaign that began as a stunt but ended up spurring discussion on […]

Rio Bravo at 50


Big Hollywood’s Leo Grin has an excellent analysis of the classic Howard Hawks film Rio Bravo,  which was made 50 years ago. A generous excerpt: Characters are the most important elements of any Hawks movie. By 1958 he had concluded that “audiences were getting tired of plots….But if you keep them from knowing what the […]

Actors Going on Strike


In what seems an inauspicious time, what with a down economy, the Screen Actors Guild is threatening a strike. “We have already made difficult decisions and sacrifices in an attempt to reach agreement,” the statement said. “Now it’s time for SAG members to stand united and empower the national negotiating committee to bargain with the […]

Hollywood Sues Over RealDVD


The entertainment industry has once again gone to court in a futile attempt to prevent consumers from copying software for their own use. Hollywood’s six major movie studios on Tuesday sued RealNetworks Inc. to prevent it from distributing DVD copying software that they said would allow consumers to “rent, rip and return” movies or even […]

Comic Book Foreign Policy (or the Batman Theory of Foreign Policy)


Readers may be familiar with the Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics (short version: the US can do whatever it wants if it just has even willpower). Now, it appears we can add another member of the Justice League to our understanding of foreign policy. On Friday, author Andrew Klavan had a piece in the WSJ […]

Why Rush Limbaugh is So Popular

Rush Limbaugh Cigar Photo

Ezra Klein believes a recent NYT Magazine profile of Rush Limbaugh is a “puff piece.” He lists, for example, Rush’s “presidential platform” as published: 1. Open the continental shelf to drilling. Ditto the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 2. Establish a 17 percent flat tax. 3. Privatize Social Security. 4. Give parents school vouchers to break […]

Blog Linking Less Important?

Blog Linking Patterns

Louis Gray believes the importance of blog linkage is declining, noting that, “I’ve seen traffic from other blogs to be driving an ever-declining percentage of visits to my site, swamped by social media tools, aggregation sites, and of course, Google search.” He offers three likely explanations: 1. People are relying on aggregators to find them […]

McCain and Obama as Leading Men


As I was sorting through my Sunday Washington Post so that I could throw everything but the Parade and Washington Post Magazine my wife reads into the recycle bin, my attention was grabbed by this photo montage on the front of the Style section: For a second, I thought they had juxtaposed Barack Obama with […]

Giving ‘Stimulus Package’ a Whole New Meaning

Bush Scrathing Head

An industry report claims that a non-trivial amount of the Bush tax relief checks were spent on adult web sites, with many sites reporting a 20-30 percent growth in membership during a normally slow period and claiming that “thirty two percent of respondents referenced the recent stimulus package as part of their decision to either […]

Life on the Internets


David Kurtz‘ mention that “until Wednesday, I had never met any of our staff in person, including Josh, even though I’ve worked at TPM in one capacity or another for approaching two years now, the last 10 months as managing editor” perfectly encapsulates, for Andrew Sullivan, the New Media world. Indeed, the same’s true for […]

Network News Ignoring Iraq, Afghanistan


Reporters covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are having an increasingly difficult time of getting stories onto the network news, Brian Stelter reports for the NYT. According to data compiled by Andrew Tyndall, a television consultant who monitors the three network evening newscasts, coverage of Iraq has been “massively scaled back this year.” Almost […]

George Carlin Dies at 71

George Carlin Dies at 71 (2007 Photo)

George Carlin, a comedian known for his combination of raunchy language and intellectual humor, died of heart failure last evening. He was 71. Carlin was an interesting guy, combining brilliant observational humor with political activism. Like too many comics in the HBO era, though, it often seemed that he was vulgar and outrageous simply because […]

Tiger vs. Phil


Normally this would be reserved for OTB Sports but Rick Reilly’s column this week is a classic: Rooting for Tiger Woods is like rooting for Justin Timberlake to get lucky, Exxon to hit a gusher, Bill Gates to find a twenty on the sidewalk. It takes no imagination. It takes no courage. What’s the point? […]

Caption Contest Winners


The Cash and Kerry Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

Harvey Korman Dies at 81

Harvey Korman Blazing Saddles Photo

Legendary comic actor Harvey Korman has died. He was 81. Comic actor Harvey Korman has died at 81, according to the UCLA Medical Center. Korman died at the center four months after suffering complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. “It was a miracle in itself that he survived the incident at all. […]

New York Recognizes Gay Marriage

Gay Wedding Cake

While gays still can’t marry in New York, marriages performed out-of-state will now be recognized when they come home. Same-sex marriages legally performed elsewhere will be recognized in New York in response to a state court ruling this year, Gov. David Paterson’s spokeswoman said Wednesday. State agencies, including those governing insurance and health care, must […]

Dmitri Medvedev, Music Lover

Dmitri Medvedev, Music Lover

Today’s Christian Science Monitor features two profiles of incoming Russian president Dmitri Medvedev. For whatever reason, both emphasize his love of rock and roll. Fred Weir weighs in with “In Putin’s shadow, Russia inaugurates Medvedev: The new president, a savvy lawyer who likes Led Zeppelin, faces rising corruption and decaying national infrastructure.” Not to be […]

Viewers Not Rushing Back to Favorite TV Programs

The writer’s strike is long over but its impact continues, as viewers have been slow to return to their old viewing habits. Just because your favorite dramas and comedies are back on the air after the writers strike doesn’t mean you’re necessarily watching them. A preliminary look at ratings of returning programs on the big […]

Charlton Heston Dead at 84

Charlton Heston Dead at 84

Hollywood legend and longtime NRA spokesman Charlton Heston had died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Robert W. Welkos and Susan King for the LAT: Charlton Heston, the Oscar-winning actor who achieved stardom playing larger-than-life figures including Moses, Michelangelo and Andrew Jackson and went on to become an unapologetic gun advocate and darling of […]

Obama Denies KKK Funding Charges


Barack Obama denies accusations that he’s funded by the Ku Klux Klan, Gone Hollywood‘s Cara Harrington reports. “It is completely untrue,” the candidate said. Given that Obama’s father is black and that he’s spent the last two weeks denying that he hates white people, it seems ridiculous that anyone would accuse him of being backed […]

Wright, Hagee, and the KKK?


It will come of little surprise that Christopher Hitchens uses the Obama-Wright controversy to take another whack at organized religion. Look at the accepted choice of words for the ravings of Jeremiah Wright: controversial, incendiary, inflammatory. These are adjectives that might have been—and were—applied to many eloquent speakers of the early civil rights movement. . […]

McCartney Divorce Settlement


Reflecting on the Paul McCartney-Heather Mills divorce settlement, Alex Massie, blogging from the other side of the Pond, observes, Isn’t £24m pretty fair compensation for having endured Sir Paul McCartney for four years. It works out at £16, 427 a day which, as a per diem, seems quite reasonable… (Of course if you take the […]

Chuck Norris Only WMD in Iraq

Chuck Norris Only WMD in Iraq

Linked in the sidebar of the McCain story below was an amusing dispatch from Falluja by Mohammed Abbas entitled “Chuck Norris the only WMD in Iraq, say U.S. troops.” Hollywood action star Chuck Norris, known for his martial arts prowess and tough-guy image, has become a cult figure among the U.S. military in Iraq and […]

Eliot Spitzer’s Hooker

Lots of media and blogospheric coverage of Ashley Alexandra Dupré, the young woman who charged upwards of $1000 an hour to the likes of Eliot Spitzer and, more pointedly, Eliot Spitzer. Frankly, that particular line of work (which I refuse to refer to as a “profession” given the low barriers to entry) has been around […]

Elliot Spitzer Resigns in Prostitution Ring Scandal


New York Governor Elliot Spitzer is “involved” in a prostitution ring. Details are still sketchy. Gov. Eliot Spitzer has informed his most senior administration officials that he had been involved in a prostitution ring, an administration official said this morning. Mr. Spitzer, who was huddled with his top aides inside his Fifth Avenue apartment early […]

Celebrity Endorsement Face-Off Obama vs Clinton


David Schmader takes a clever look at the celebrities endorsing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton: via roving correspondent Richard Gardner

Actor Heath Ledger Dead at 28


Australian movie actor Heath Ledger is reported to have died: NEW YORK (CBS) “ Heath Ledger, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the critically-acclaimed movie Brokeback Mountain, has died, sources tell CBS 2. The Australian-born actor was just 28. He was pronounced dead at 3:26 p.m. in his downtown Manhattan residence […]

Suzanne Pleshette Dies, Aged 70


Suzanne Pleshette has died. Suzanne Pleshette, the husky-voiced star best known for her role as Bob Newhart’s sardonic wife on television’s long-running “The Bob Newhart Show,” has died at age 70. Pleshette, whose career included roles in such films as Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and in Broadway plays including “The Miracle Worker,” died of respiratory failure […]

Hillary Won Nevada! No Obama Won!

Hillary Won Nevada! No Obama Won!

Hillary Clinton won the Nevada Caucuses yesterday, getting 51 percent of the vote to Barack Obama’s 45 percent and John Edwards’ 4 percent. “I guess this is how the West was won,” Mrs. Clinton told her supporters during a victory rally at the Planet Hollywood hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. Speaking over loud cheers, […]

Ron Paul Phenomenon Not About Ron Paul

Ron Paul Lou Dobbs Pat Buchanan Photos

Joe Carter, in an interesting reflection on his 30 days working for the Huckabee campaign, makes this observation: The Ron Paul Phenomenon is Not About Ron Paul — It will take a more astute political mind than I possess to comprehend this Ron Paul phenomenon. All I know is that it has less to do […]

Miss Belgium Doesn’t Speak Dutch

Miss Belgium Doesn't Speak Dutch

Alizee Poulicek, the new Miss Belgium, speaks three languages. Unfortunately, Dutch is not among them. Belgium’s political tensions entered the glamour stakes after it was revealed that the new Miss Belgium does not speak Dutch. Alizee Poulicek, who comes from the country’s French-speaking region, was booed by some of the 4,000 audience when she admitted […]

Dan Fogelberg Dead at 56


Dan Fogelberg has died after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was only 56. Here’s a video of Fogelberg performing his signature hit, “Same Auld Lang Syne,” along with a voiceover reflecting on its impact:

Huckabee Backlash Growing

Huckabee Backlash Growing

The continuing rise of Mike Huckabee — he’s now vaulted to the top of the polls in South Carolina [and now Florida!] to go along with his surge in Iowa, New Hampshire, and the national surveys — has created the inevitable backlash. It’s the fate of frontrunners, especially unexpected ones, to see a close examination […]

Did Morgan Spurlock Find Osama bin Laden?

Did Morgan Spurlock Find Osama bin Laden Photo

Some minor blog buzz over a two-day-old (ancient in Internet terms) MSNBC report that Morgan Spurlock may (or may not) have found Osama bin Laden. Rumors are flying that filmmaker Morgan Spurlock of “Super Size Me” fame may have done what the United States government has failed to do for the last six years — […]

Evel Knievel Dead at 69

Legendary stuntman Robert Craig Evel Knievel has died after a long illness at the age of 69. Evel Knievel, the hard-living motorcycle daredevil whose jumps over Greyhound buses, live sharks and Idaho’s Snake River Canyon made him an international icon in the 1970s, died Friday. He was 69. Knievel’s death was confirmed by his granddaughter, […]

Blog Reading Levels

Bruce McQuain ran Q&O through an Internet widget and found that the site was written at the College Undergraduate level. Curious, I did the same for OTB. To my chagrin, we apparently write like high schoolers around here. Considering that all the site authors have graduate degrees, that was a bit disconcerting. Out of curiosity, […]

OTB Radio – Tonight at 7 Eastern

The next episode of OTB Radio, our BlogTalkRadio program, will record and air live tonight from 7-8 Eastern. Dave Schuler and Alex Knapp will be joining me to talk about the mess in Pakistan, Hillary Clinton’s post-debate woes, the Hollywood writers’ strike, and other current events. They’ll also be taking your calls at (646) 716-7030.

Tabloid Fantasy League


Gone Hollywood‘s Mandy has set up a tabloid fantasy league: It’s the game where you draft celebrities to play for you every week in the magazines, and score points every time they get a photo. You know, like fantasy football, but with celebs. Sounds fun, right? A new season starts tomorrow, so get in and […]

Politics of the Hollywood Writers Strike


To the extent that I’ve paid attention to the impending Hollywood writers’ strike, it’s been in terms of its effect on entertainment programming, such as possibly shortening the second season of Heroes. (That, by the way, is preferable to having the “Shades of Gray” effect that comes with amateurs writing the scripts.) Dan Drezner notes […]

’24’ Filming Derailed by Fire


Jack Bauer seems to have met his match in the fires blazing across Southern California. Two CBS shows, “NCIS” and “The Unit,” have sets at Santa Clarita, but neither shut down shooting Monday, according to the industry trade paper. The Stevenson Ranch fire was near enough that “NCIS” staffers could see the smoke, according to […]

Caption Contest Winners


The Soul of the Machine Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

NPR Turns Down Bush Interview on Race


National Public Radio turned down an offer by President Bush to sit down with correspondent Juan Williams to talk about race issues, saying they would not allow him to pick the interviewer. The White House reached out to National Public Radio over the weekend, offering analyst Juan Williams a presidential interview to mark yesterday’s 50th […]

Fred Thompson Not Teh Sexy?

Garance Franke-Ruta assures us that, media swooning notwithstanding, Fred Thompson is not a sexually appealing man. I’ll defer to her greater expertise in the field, especially since I already had my suspicions. I’m with her, too, in thinking that “you smell the English leather on this guy” is at best a backhanded compliment. As to […]

Luciano Pavarotti Dead at 71

Opera great Luciano Pavarotti has died after a long bout with cancer. Luciano Pavarotti, opera’s biggest superstar of the late 20th century, died Thursday. He was 71. He was the son of a singing baker and became the king of the high C’s. Pavarotti, who had been diagnosed last year with pancreatic cancer and underwent […]

How Will Janeane Garofalo Die…


…on the next season of ’24’ that is? The political left and the political right are going to meet on Fox’s “24” this coming season. Actress-comedian Janeane Garofalo, an outspoken liberal, is set to co-star on the conservative-leaning real-time drama, whose co-creator/executive producer Joel Surnow jokingly describes himself as a “right-wing nut job.” On the […]

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