Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales says that President Bush looked more anxious than resolved as he spoke about the need to pump $87 billion into the Iraq war effort but noted that Fox News' Tony Snow praised the prez for speaking "movingly" of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Shales sums up scathingly: "Does anyone imagine for a minute that if the same speech had been delivered under the same circumstances by Bill Clinton -- a more skillful public speaker than Bush, for what that's worth -- Snow would have been similarly moved? Not bloody likely." (Washington Post)
This is the week for actors to be hard on themselves. Nicole Kidman, who adopted two kids with Tom Cruise during their 10-year marriage, says that she feels badly about the way her children are being raised -- visiting her on sets and splitting their time between Los Angeles and Australia, where Kidman's parents live. "They have a complicated life," says the actress, "and it's something I feel guilty for." (Melbourne Herald Sun) Meanwhile, Ewan McGregor (who has received good reviews for his work in "Trainspotting" and "Moulin Rouge") says that his profession is effeminate compared to that of his older brother, Colin, who is a fighter pilot for the RAF. "He flies at 500 miles an hour ... whereas I wear make-up for a living," Ewan told the Sunday Telegraph. (Ananova)
What do ex-New York Times guys do once they leave the gray lady? Rick Bragg will split a $1 million advance with Jessica Lynch to write the story for Knopf called "I'm a Soldier Too," (Publisher's Weekly) and former head honcho Howell Raines just wrote a piece for Details magazine about raising his son, Jeff, and watching him become a rock musician. <a target="new" href="http://www.msnbc.com/news/962888.asp?0dm=s13Dk(MSNBC) As for Jayson Blair, his latest assignment is to write about his infamous time at the Times for Jane magazine. Should be fun fact-checking that one. (Yahoo news)
Maybe Rick and Howell will be courted by Bonnie Fuller who is now running the Star and has gobs of cash to throw at journalists willing to look deep inside themselves and sell out! She's bought Paul Stern for $300,000 and word is that she's trolling for Vanity Fair writers and other tony types to spruce up her masthead. An unnamed source who supposedly said no to Bonnie was quoted saying, "No one grows up saying, 'I want to work at Star.' The money is insane, but there's also a reason you're paid a lot to be a porn star." (New York Magazine)
American musicians on tour this month are making decisions about whether to perform on Sept. 11 or not. So far reports have Bruce Springsteen, Cher, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac and Aerosmith/Kiss opting not to play that day. On the other hand, R.E.M.'s and Willie Nelson's shows will go on. As for television, nothing stops NBC from its Thursday night "must-see" lineup of "Friends," "Scrubs" and "ER." (E! Online)
-- Karen Croft
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Did Arnold Schwarzenegger repeatedly use the n-word when verbally attacking bodybuilder Roddy Robinson (aka the Black Prince) in the '70s? That's the way Robinson recalls it. Robinson has apparently written to Matt Drudge seconding fellow bodybuilder Rick Wayne's recent allegations that the California gubernatorial candidate made numerous racist comments decades before he became a would-be politician. At a banquet filled with International Federation of BodyBuilders officials back in the day, Robinson recollects, "We were all dancing having a nice time and in walks Arnold who started shouting out, 'Down with the blacks, niggers this and blacks that,' for about 10 min." Robinson, who figures Schwarzenegger was jealous of his better condition at the time, left the room, but he says the incident was not isolated and that "more racial slurs of nigger-nigger were leveled at me" by the candidate during the making of "Pumping Iron." (Drudge Report)
The West Coast wing? Patti Davis, Ronald and Nancy Reagan's "rebellious daughter," is shopping around a TV show about ... the rebellious daughter of a U.S. president. The lead character in "Ribbon" is a struggling actress living a fairly free life in California who has to clean up her act so as not to embarrass her recently elected pops. Davis, whose old Secret Service code name happens to have been "Ribbon," was herself a struggling actress living with rock musician Bernie Leadon when her pops was elected. "The show is half-fiction, half-fact, with a lot of embellishment," Davis says. "People will wonder, 'Did she really do that?'" So will the show itself be an embarrassment to her family? Davis doesn't think so. "My mother has read it [the script] and really likes it," she says. (Page Six)
Warren Zevon, dead at 56, set a new standard on facing death with grace and good humor. (Associated Press)
Jennifer Lopez on Ben Affleck strip club reports in W magazine: "For me, it wasn't an issue. We talk every day. I know what he does. He knows what I do. We don't have those kind of secrets. It was ridiculous, because I knew he had gone. We sat and read the articles together and said, 'This is just insane.'" ( N.Y. Post)
Best of the Rest
Page Six: Victoria's Secret clerk fired after allegedly verbally assaulting Russell Simmons' wife, Kimora Lee Simmons; Nicolas Cage spotted walking out on $400 bill without tipping; Ali Wentworth's dachshunds banned from CBS after, source says, "they pooped in the hall right outside of her dressing room -- and she didn't bother to clean it up."
Rush and Molloy: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck decline to sell exclusive photography rights to their wedding, turn down offers as high as $1.5 mill, decide to "keep the day private"; Arthur Miller, 88, rumored to have "become close as can be with" 32-year-old artist Agnes Barley; Jay-Z throws whopping 22nd birthday party for girlfriend Beyoncé. Destiny's Child band mates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams on hand to yell, "Surprise!"
Liz Smith: San Francisco Chronicle editor Phil Bronstein recovers from split with estranged wife Sharon Stone by giving Jerry Hall a tour of his newspaper.
-- Amy Reiter