What’s He Been Up to Lately? The Clean Air Trust, founded by former Sens. Edmund Muskie of Maine and Robert Stafford of Vermont, hasn’t been impressed with Mike Leavitt’s reign over the EPA. For February the trust named our former governor clean air’s “villain of the month” for his signing of a memorandum giving North Dakota permission to ignore old EPA objections and burn more coal over the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. “This is a damaging case of politics trumping sound science and the long-standing judgment of EPA’s professional staff that could have far-reaching impacts and allow harmful air pollution degradation at national parks across the country,” said Vickie Patton of Environmental Defense. And what else should we expect from someone who’s taken $92,750 in contributions from top state polluter Kennecott Utah Copper and its top brass during the course of his political career?
& ull; Bush and the Maple Leaf: MacLeans, Canada’s rough approximation of Newsweek (or vice versa), is often so polite in tone (like many Canadians themselves) you barely notice it on the coffee table. For its Feb. 9 cover story, though, it let loose with this contemptuous headline: “Canadians to Bush: Hope You Lose, Eh.” The article noted that a slim 15 percent of Canuks would so much as brew a cup of tea for our president. “God knows, we have too many of our own syntactically challenged politicians to be casting stones, [but] shouldn’t the leader of the free world know that ‘misunderestimate’ isn’t a word?” the article asks. Bush does have one Canadian ally in David Frum, a writer who co-authored the phrase “axis of evil.”
& ull; Going, Going, Gone! Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke recently auctioned off the bronze middle finger of his NME award on eBay according to, who else, the British publication NME. It sold for 248 quid, or about $500 U.S. dollars. Save your money instead for the band’s supporting slot on the Pixies’ imminent comeback tour.
& ull; Critic? What critic? Sony Pictures has finally agreed to settle out of court after Omar Rezec and Ann Belkap filed a class-action suit on behalf of all movie fans once it was discovered by Newsweek magazine that film “critic” David Manning, frequent pusher of all things Sony Pictures, was in fact a fictitious creation. Manning was one of the few “critics” to actually come out in favor of such execrable film “creations” as The Animal, according to a Court TV report. That should have been the first sign to Rezec and Belkap that Manning didn’t exist. But until filmgoers have the right to sue studios outright for bad films, no one will be safe.
& ull; A Shameless Plug for a Sibling: My brother—younger brother, at that—was recently featured in interview format by the publication Irreantum: Exploring Mormon Literature. John Fulton is the author of Retribution (Picador USA), a short story volume judged by the Southern Review to be 2001’s best first collection published by an American. The evil Salt Lake Tribune listed his novel More Than Enough, set in Salt Lake City, as 2002’s best novel of the West. The kicker about my genius of a brother’s interview with Irreantum is the fact that he’s never been within spitting distance of being LDS. “I wanted to write a novel that takes place in Salt Lake City and deals with the Mormons without making either this particular place or its culture appear extreme or cartoonishly bizarre,” he told the publication. “When I would tell people I wasn’t Mormon, they hardly seemed to believe a non-Mormon could live in Salt Lake City.”