The Fix

Vanessa Redgrave pays Tony Blair a surprise visit. A fight breaks out on the set of the British "Big Brother." Plus: Which U.S. president did Fidel Castro ask to send him a "10 bill green American"?

Published June 17, 2004 9:00AM (EDT)

Afternoon Briefing:
Brother, can you spare a 10-spot? Fidel Castro, age 12, wrote a letter to then president Franklin Roosevelt in 1940 saying, "I have not seen a 10 bill green American and I would like to have one of them." This letter was found among the billions of documents at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and it may be part of an exhibit, "Just Between You and Me, Children's Letters to Presidents," this fall. (AFP)

What are you reading? The Chicago Tribune staff have chosen their favorite 50 magazines. The list begins with Wired and ends with Chicago Wilderness and in-between there are the usual suspects (New Yorker, Texas Monthly, Vogue) and a few unusual guest stars (Wooden Boat, No Depression and Whole Dog Journal). (Chicago Tribune)

Redgrave protests: Vanessa Redgrave, known for her politics as much as for her acting, showed up at Tony Blair's house along with the families of British prisoners being held at Guantánamo Bay. She called the detention center a "concentration camp" and said "Intensive interrogation techniques are the 'newspeak' for torture." (IMDB)

A bit too real: The British version of "Big Brother" was taken off the air for two hours this morning when a fight broke out among the housemates and police were called in. Between 2 and 4 a.m. some of the livelier participants in the Channel 4 show threw wine, furniture and verbal abuse at each other. A spokesman for the network said, "Our on-site security team diffused the confrontation and the housemates were calmed down and sent to bed." (BBC)

--Karen Croft

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Turn On:
Revisiting the glory of '70s cinema has been in vogue in the publishing world for a while, but on Thursday IFC takes a visual look back at the era with a three-part documentary, "A Decade Under the Influence" (8 p.m. ET; IFC). "Introducing Graham Norton" (9 p.m. ET; Comedy Central) is a bit of a misnomer for this comedy special, as Norton, an Irish comedian, has been on BBC America for some time now -- but if you haven't yet seen his eccentric act, this will serve as just the introduction you need.

-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing:
"60 Minutes" preview: Bits and pieces of Dan Rather's interview with Bill Clinton, which will air on "60 Minutes" on Sunday night, are appearing in the press. Here's Clinton on the impeachment proceedings brought against him: "I didn't quit, I never thought of resigning and I stood up to it and beat it back. The whole battle was a badge of honor. I don't see it as a stain, because it was illegitimate." And on why he did what he did with Monica Lewinsky, whose name he does not actually mention in the interview: "I think I did something for the worst possible reason -- just because I could. I think that's just about the most morally indefensible reason that anybody could have for doing anything. There are lots of sophisticated explanations, more complicated psychological explanations, but none of them are an excuse." And on how he and Hillary saved their marriage after the disclosure of his affair: "We'd take a day a week, and we did -- a whole day a week every week for a year, maybe a little more -- and did counseling." Rather admitted that both he and Clinton were "uncomfortable" at times during the interview, but they managed to plow through as best they could. (Washington Post)

And another thing: What did Clinton have to say at the New York premiere of the film documentary "The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill Clinton" (based on the book of the same name by Salon's Joe Conason and Gene Lyons) Wednesday night? Here he is on why he appointed an independent counsel to investigate Whitewater, for which he now calls himself a "naive fool": "I thought people should know the truth: I lost money in a land deal ... I thought the whole thing was legit. I don't know, I was just some guy from Arkansas." In the audience: Kurt Vonnegut, Al Franken, Glenn Close and Susan McDougal, who went to jail rather than answer questions about Clinton's involvement in Whitewater and who Clinton called "a victim of abuse of power. She was simply a political pawn." (N.Y. Times)

He rather liked it: Dan Rather on Clinton's book: "I liked it more than I thought I would, more than I was prepared to like it. Who knew that Bill Clinton could write this well? ... As Presidential memoirs go, on a five-star scale, I give it five ... Maybe he didn't come totally, absolutely clean with himself, but he made an effort to do it, an effort it would be difficult to find with any former President." (N.Y. Observer)

Vanity unfair? The L.A. Times has come out with another article in which it describes ways in which Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter got increasingly cozy with the Hollywood people his magazine covers, prompting the following statement from Carter: "This story and these outrageous rumors and innuendo are beneath the dignity of the Los Angeles Times and not worthy of detailed response. I have been privileged to edit Vanity Fair for 12 years and would never compromise the magazine or its readers' trust for personal gain. Those who seek to imply otherwise -- whatever their agenda in doing so -- are wrong." (L.A. Times)

Reviewed by Newt? Newt Gingrich is an Amazon Top 500 Reviewer. He's number 488, in fact. "To earn this honor, Gingrich wrote 137 reviews, which were deemed 'helpful' by 2,002 people," the Weekly Standard points out. "'Newt Gingrich,' we learn from his extensive About Me page, 'is an avid reader. He does not review all of the books he reads. You will not find any bad reviews here, just the books he thinks you might enjoy.'" Gingrich has a particular soft spot for spy novels, mysteries and thrillers. What doesn't he like? Romance novels. (The Weekly Standard via Drudge)

Send one for the Gipper: Reagan, the stamp, is coming your way. The stamp, which has yet to be designed, may be released as soon as Feb. 6, which would be the first anniversary of Reagan's birth after his death. (Associated Press)

Is it OK to photograph celebrities' garbage? Depends. French photographers Pascal Rostain and Bruno Mouron have decided to pull a photograph of Larry King's garbage from an exhibit of their photos because it shows a box of Depends adult diapers along with other trash. "We didn't know that this product was for old people -- we thought it was for babies," Rostain said, noting that he and his partner generally leave out garbage that is sexual or medical. "We were not trying to make a scandal. Some people were laughing. We said, 'Oh, [bleep]. And so now the picture will not be in the show." King, 70, declined to comment. (Page Six)

Paris hips and hops: Paris Hilton's debut album, which she's been working on with rapper/producer Lil John, has tentatively been titled "Screwed" and may include tracks in which Hilton ... raps. "She just wants to be herself, but on the record, be sexy, and make people dance," says Lil John. "We're mainly concentrating on the singing. But who knows? We might come up with some whole new other s-, too." (Rush and Molloy)

-- Amy Reiter

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