THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND STARTS HERE:
WHAT WOULD INDEPENDENCE DAY BE without the Declaration of Independence? And movies about alien attacks? Plus, Snopes reviews the fates of the signers of the Declaration.
JACK WHITE is Michael Jackson -- Buddyhead makes the case.
BEATLES REUNION: Ringo Starr says the band came thisclose to a reunion when offered a spot following a man fighting a shark.
LIVE 8 AND THE G8: Although Live 8 has come in for some criticism in the UK for being "too white," the AP notes that white rockers leapt to action fastest and loudest on African issues that failed to galvanize the rap or R&B community to start a major movement on its own. President Bush proposed on Thursday to spend .2 billion through 2008 to help fight malaria, which claims an estimated 1.2 million people a year worldwide, 95 percent of them in sub-Saharan Africa. He said this was part of an effort to double U.S. assistance to Africa by 2010. Live 8 organizer Bob Geldof heaped praise on Bush: "This is the first time we have heard this sort of language," Geldof said. "This is very, very positive indeed." Bono took on critics who have charged that he and Geldof are being used by the powerful G8 leaders: "Is there some degree of being used here? Yes. But I am not a cheap date, and neither is Bob Geldof." Meanwhile, Daniel Drezner notes that the IMF has released two extensive research papers that suggest aid to poor countries have not led to higher growth rates, the main driver of poverty reduction. Even requiring good governance is not a magic bullet, according to a co-author of the papers.
FILESHARING IS KILLING MUSIC: In this case, it's killing "The 100 Greatest Pop Songs Since 1963," as determined by nimrods at MTV and Rolling Stone.
SUMMER MIXES: All sorts of downoads are linked at Yewknee. But just look, don't download. Remember, filesharing is killing music.
CBGBs announces a month-long series of benefit concerts to help renew the club's lease. The Dead Boys, Circle Jerks, Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Anti-Nowhere League, Sham 69 and Conflict are among those scheduled to play.
PINK proposed to her boyfriend, motocross racer Carey Hart, by popping the question on a pit board during the third lap of Pro 250 class finals last Sunday.
BENNIFER GARFLECK: It's official; Jennifer Garner married Ben Affleck and will be giving birth in November. The National Enquirer has pics of Jen arriving with Alias co-star Victor Garber.
LI-LO UPDATE: The Hohan diet goes from extreme to healthy in just six short weeks!
SHARON STONE is using a body double for the Basic Instinct sequel.
CINDERELLA MAN now comes with a money-back guarantee at AMC Theatres.
DOMINO HARVEY, the teen model turned bounty hunter and subject of an upcoming biopic starring Kiera Knightley, is dead after being found unconscious in her bath at her home in West Hollywood. She was 35.
ROD STEWART: The man who stole Rod the Mod's car is sentenced to 11 years in prison.
CYNDI LAUPER lost her bid to have the rent on her Manhattan apartment cut nearly in half. I guess money doesn't change everything.
JESSICA SIMPSON is asked to apologize for her "slutty" video of "These Boots are Made for Walking" and re-shoot a clean version by a Christian group calling itself "The Resistance." I have to wonder whether it's a hoax, given that the group's representative gave the name "John Conner." My suggestion would be to keep the video and dub in Nancy Sinatra. Or compromise by editing out Willie Nelson, who spends the video looking about as comfortable as I imagine he looks in a tax audit.
"I'M ELLEN DeGENERES... and this is Nightline?
YOUR MOMENT OF SITH, courtesy of the British Parliament.
EVA LONGORIA: The desperate housewife denies getting engaged to NBA star Tony Parker, but wouldn't explain why she was wearing a ring on her wedding finger.
TOM-KAT UPDATE: Scientologist Kelly Preston thinks it's great that Cruise is spreading Hubbard's beliefs. We all remember Preston's best scene playing Avery Bishop opposite (but not opposite) Cruise in Jerry Maguire. Meanwhile, Kevin Drum thinks the press should emulate the movies and just cut to the chase.
BRADGELINA UPDATE: People magazine scores exclusive rights to photos of Pitt and Jolie looking domestic (though some surfaced in UK tabloids as noted here previously). The (in)famous Pitt-Jolie photos from W magazine are going on sale to raise funds for charity. A publicity-addicted online casino buys a quart-sized jar of air allegedly captured as Pitt and Jolie walked by at the premiere of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
A WEST VIRGINIA FATHER confessed to killing his daughter because he was fearful she would disclose information that he might have gotten her pregnant.
WELCOME TO THE O.C.: A 29-year-old Orange County woman has been charged with falsely accusing six men of kidnapping her at gunpoint and raping her. Police said one of the men she had accused provided a tape showing she had orchestrated the sexual encounter.
IRAQ: Gunner Palace, a documentary following the soldiers of the U.S. Army's 2/3 Field Artillery in Uday Hussein's garish, bombed-out palace, came out on video this week. The reviews make me want to see it. And while some of the reviews wish there was less of director Michael Tucker's narration, the fact that he's donating some profits to the Fisher House Foundation, a group that offers affordable lodging to families when soldiers are being treated at major military and Veterans Affairs medical centers, deserves kudos.
IRAN: The White House is taking seriously allegations by former hostages that Iran's hardline president-elect was one of their captors at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran a quarter century ago. Abbas Abdi and Mohsen Mirdamadi, two leaders of the radical Islamic student group that carried out the 1979 takeover of the embassy, but who now are leading proponents of democratic reform, said the president was not among the hostage-takers. Given that both men have been imprisoned or beaten by the theocracy for their efforts, we may not know whether to consider them as view them as credible or coerced.
IT'S CARNIVAL SEASON; Indeed, Independence Day weekend may well be the peak of the season, so enjoy this NewCity article about Windy City Amusements: "But on this hot Saturday night the rides are going full force. The smell of cotton candy fills the air and Bruce Springsteen's 'Glory Days' blasts over the loudspeaker, blending in with the rolling wheels of the Tilt-A-Whirl and screaming teenagers." And if you can't get to carnival this weekend, you can check out the copious galleries at CoasterImage, which has more than rollercoaster pics.
WARD CHURCHILL UPDATE: The professor who suggested that the 9/11 attack on the WTC was justified, calling some of the people working in the twin towers "little Eichmanns," is at it again. According to a tape made at an anti-military forum, Churchill, while speaking about being a conscientious objector, asked his audience: "Would you render the same support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?" When someone said that the impact such a fragging might have on the officer's family should be considered, Churchill replied, "How do you feel about Adolf Eichmann's family?"
GREAT MOMENTS IN INAPPROPRIATE ONLINE ADVERTISING
NORMAN MAILER has run afoul of the Asian American Journalists Association for calling New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani a "two-fer" and a "token" because she's "Asiatic, feminist." Kakutani won the 1998 Pulitzer for criticism.
DEMOCRATIC DIAGNOSIS: Poll numbers on Republicans are declining, but the Democrats' numbers are weakening more, according to Democracy Corps, run by James Carville and Stanley Greenberg, who served as President Clinton's pollster. Greenberg attributes the decline to voters' perceptions that Democrats have "no core set of convictions or point of view." Carville sees voters in a "foul mood" that could lead to third-party bid in 2008.
TAIWAN now boasts its first toilet-themed restaurant. Anyone for heaping bowl of chocolate ice cream?
AN AUSTRIAN ZOO says it has been flooded with requests for paintings created by Nonja the orangutan.
PRAYING PANTHER draws crowds to the zoo in Tobe, Japan. The zoo's dragon, however, remains hidden.
A DONKEY ON THE EDGE has been banished to a deserted island after harassing female donkeys at a Croatian national park. Aga badgered his favourite females for sex as much as 16 times a day.