A Fictional Fahrenheit -- With all the hubbub surrounding Michael Moore's docu-pinion piece, Fahrenheit 9/11, is it possible that a similarly subversive film could slip under the radar? That's what New York Times pop culture columnist Frank Rich thinks is the case with Jonathan Demme's remake of The Manchurian Candidate.
Featuring a fortunate son foisted on the American public by a cartel of soulless corporations, and involving subplots about manipulating an election via electronic voting machines, this is one work of fiction that seems to have been, as they say, ripped from the headlines. The film (which opens Friday on a lot more screens than Fahrenheit 9/11 did) may simply articulate the paranoia inherent in times of war (the Cold War was the setting for the 1962 original) or perhaps it's some kind of Hollywood-sanctioned warning. Either way, it looks to be a film that could resonate with voters -- and nobody's even planning to boycott it yet.
The Dukakis Treatment -- One of the weirder sideshows at this week's Democratic National Convention has been the Republicans' attempts to turn John Kerry into Michael Dukakis. There's a lot of nostalgia about how Bush I's hatchet-man Lee Atwater was able to demolish Dukakis. But when Dukakis climbed into a tank for a photo-op, Atwater pummeled him with the resulting photo, as it supposedly made him look wimpy.
Now fast-forward to 2004, when the GOP is longing for similarly damning photographic evidence. At a press briefing this week, party officials unveiled a photo of Kerry in an anti-contamination suit he wore during a tour of NASA. They had it blown up and plastered on the wall of the briefing room. OK, journalists asked, what's so funny? ''We just thought it was a great photo," answered Ed Gillespie, the GOP chairman, reportedly with a you-know-what-eating grin.
This is a presidential campaign? Are they kidding?
Military Might -- A new report from the Washington State Office of Financial Management confirms what everybody already knows: The military's presence is a major part of the state's economy. But the report does quantify it all a little bit better. Here are a few highlights:
* Military bases in the state support 188,000 jobs.
* In Spokane County, 9 percent of the economic activity is related to Fairchild Air Force Base.
* Local firms do $528 million of business with the state's bases.
* There are 44 companies in the state that get all their business from the military.