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Getting the Jacko Boot

Tuesday, 01 March 2005 12:00 AM

THE LEFT COAST REPORT
A Political Look at Hollywood

Hollywood Cloning Wars

During the recent presidential election season, President George W. Bush was forced to deal with, among other things, the pressure to loosen up on the restrictions he'd placed on human embryonic stem cell research.

Much of the clamor to open up the stem cell coffers came from the celebrity crowd. Familiar figures like Dustin Hoffman, Michael J. Fox and Larry King were involved in raising big bucks for what at the time was called "stem cell research."

Celebrity-soaked money also played a role in backing Proposition 71, the state initiative that would ultimately have the cash-strapped taxpayers of California forking over $6 billion to benefit Big Biotech.

"Gladiator" producer Douglas Wick and "Ghost" director Jerry Zucker were among the Hollywood fat-cat contributors to the Prop 71 campaign.

Brad Pitt and Edward James Olmos later joined Hoffman and Fox in urging voters to pass what was in effect, and to date remains, a measure to fund the unthinkable: the cloning of human beings.

But wait, there's more. Not only are researchers in California now permitted to clone people, nothing in the current law prohibits them from creating babies in labs and then harvesting their organs.

During the Prop 71 campaign, Mel Gibson appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" to talk about the issue. He said, "I found that the cloning of human embryos will be used in the process and ... I have an ethical problem with that."

Now it turns out that two public interest groups have filed lawsuits, which effectively expose Prop 71 for what it is -- a cloning bill that combines the science of Dr. Frankenstein with the ethics of Enron.

Basically, the legal actions claim that the proposition is deceptive because it actually led people to believe that cloning was banned when instead cloning was made into a constitutional right.

The language of the proposition, and the summary that was presented to the voters, used the term "somatic cell nuclear transfer," which is science-ese for "cloning."

You may be wondering what the purpose of the linguistic shell game was.

Well, the suits are raising some interesting questions about just who these white coats are, how they got their clone-y baloney fingers on the taxpayers' wallet and what exactly about the whole deal is in "the public interest."

For instance, why did they exempt themselves from every conflict of interest law? Why did they hide the exemptions from the public? And why is it necessary for them to find a headquarters that has, of all things, soundproofed offices?

More and more Californians (including some who originally backed Proposition 71) are discovering that the measure was rushed through and the facts needed for an honest debate were never provided.

My sources indicate that Hollywood is now lining up on both sides of the issue, so get ready for the cloning wars.

A new Web site, stemcellhoax.com, has been launched to help uncover what's going on behind those soundproofed doors.

The Left Coast Report says I just can't seem to get that lilting melody out of my head. OK, all together now ... "Weird Science."

Getting the Jacko Boot

Michael Jackson's public relations team has one of the toughest jobs around.

Jackson's trial recently came to a screeching halt as the star was admitted to the hospital for some treatment.

In an unfortunate turn of events, an elderly heart attack victim who was clinging to life was evicted from her hospital room to make way for the pop star, according to the victim's family.

Shortly after being removed from her room, Manuela Gomez Ruiz died.

Ruiz's family is reportedly planning a lawsuit against the Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, California, and Michael Jackson.

Ruiz's family claims that after Jacko walked into the emergency room, Manuela was moved from the main trauma room to a smaller room, and her ventilator was disconnected. The woman allegedly suffered two more heart attacks before she died.

"This was the last time we might be able to talk with our grandma," grandson Marcos Meraz said. "They took that from us."

"It is outrageous that Michael Jackson's name would be invoked into a situation of which he had no authority or control," said Jackson publicist Raymone Bain. "He was a patient himself."

The Left Coast Report hears that Jackson was eventually diagnosed with an acute case of flu da coop.

Expletive 'Ashcroft'

It seems that Washington Post reporter Monte Reel recently had to endure that excruciating excursion into cinematic mediocrity called "Sideways."

Evidently, the Oscar-nominated film was shown on an Aerolineas Argentinas flight that Reel was on.

The version of the flick shown was an English language one, with the profanity removed.

But the curious thing was whenever the character played by Thomas Haden Church uttered an expletive, which Richard Leiby of the Washington Post aptly described as a "seven-letter epithet commonly used to denote a human orifice," another word was dubbed in.

Rather than hearing the "A" vulgarity, viewers on board got to hear the word "Ashcroft" instead.

According to Reel, the dubbing was done "in the actual voices of the actors."

The Left Coast Report would like to find the guy who used the former attorney general's name in this way and knock him right in the Pelosi.

Natalie Portman's Big Blessed Blunder

During the shooting of the movie called "Free Zone," one scene apparently called for Natalie Portman to canoodle with Israeli actor Aki Avni.

Evidently, the two were doing their acting thing in the wrong place, because the daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot reported that dozens of Orthodox Jews charged at Portman and Avni, screaming the words "immoral, immoral!"

It turns out that the scene was being shot next to Jerusalem's Western Wall, a remnant of the biblical Jewish temples and the holiest place for Jewish prayer.

In accordance with Orthodox Jewish rules, male and female worshippers are kept apart by a barrier that's perpendicular to the wall. Religious and state laws forbid romantic interaction near the wall.

Police had to intervene and ask the actors to leave and return later.

The Left Coast Report has discovered that upon hearing the news Ashton and Demi ditched their Western Wall trip.

Draggin' the Line

At least two Hollywood superstars, one a man and one a woman, have indicated that they'd like to don some drag.

According to Variety, John Travolta is planning on playing the part of an obese drag queen in a new film version of "Hairspray." The late drag queen Divine first played Edna Turnblad in the 1988 John Waters version of the flick.

New Line Cinema's remake of "Hairspray" should be out Christmas 2006.

Meanwhile Madonna wants to play a drag queen and evidently she's willing to do so for free.

The material girl is pushing hard for the role of Candy Darling, the drag queen of Andy Warhol's "Flesh" film.

According to the U.K. Sun, Madonna "has been desperate to make a film where she can earn respect for her acting abilities. She is still trying to shake off the bad publicity from the movie 'Swept Away.'"

The Left Coast Report wonders if dressing in drag is really that great for a Hollywood career. Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams and Wesley Snipes weren't available for comment, but the way I see it, the drag thing didn't work for Yentl.

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THE LEFT COAST REPORT A Political Look at HollywoodHollywood Cloning WarsDuring the recent presidential election season, President George W. Bush was forced to deal with, among other things, the pressure to loosen up on the restrictions he'd placed on human...
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Tuesday, 01 March 2005 12:00 AM
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