First thing Wednesday, 12.7.05

Erin Aubry Kaplan's regular Wednesday column debuts on the LAT op-ed page. She writes of being "genuinely shocked" that rapper Snoop Dogg is pressing clemency for Tookie Williams. Along the way, she calls the Bush years "racially oppressive." Also for Wednesday:

Today's front pages
New York Times See/Read
Washington Post See/Read
LA Times See/Read
Daily News See/Read
Daily Breeze See/Read
Press-Telegram See/Read
Register See/Read
Star-News Read
Variety Read
Hwd Reporter Read
La Opinión Read
♦ Variety's Gabriel Snyder amplifies on yesterday's news that Hollywood Reporter publisher-editor Robert Dowling is retiring. Tony Uphoff becomes THR publisher and Matthew King, the VP for editorial development and strategic planning, heads editorial operations. Editor Howard Burns reports to King. The LAT also has a story.
♦ Yipes, another mainstream media Oscars blog. New York Times staffer David Carr gets to be a little snarky, like when he introduces remarks by Naomi Watts under the label "Piehole alert." Carr explains: "The Carpetbagger is a daily blog designed to run the length of the Oscar season...and will not be in the handicapping business, in part because you would be well advised to listen closely to any of my predictions and then go the other way as fast as possible."
♦ Republicans who don't grasp that Schwarzenegger would not have been elected if voters believed he was a straight-line conservative are trying to draft Mel Gibson as a fall back.
♦ ICM agent Margaret Marr will author Hollywood Girls Club, "the intertwined adventures of four women in the stiletto-wearing, black-card carrying upper echelons of the entertainment industry," for Crown. Publishers Lunch calls it "Entourage for women meets Candace Bushnell."
♦ Mayor Villaraigosa attends county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's reelection campaign fundraiser tonight at the Beverly Hilton, then appears at 9:25 pm on KCAL-9's news.
♦ Joe Scott on the Times' new opinion roster: "More unimpressive conservative voices [on] a page where informed bipartisan contributors once triggered passionate discussion....Buyouts and transfers have gutted what was once an informed editorial board."
♦ LAT columnist-blogger Michael Hiltzik zings (and riles up the fans of) talk show host-blogger Hugh Hewitt.
♦ Laker Luke Walton was escorted off the Coliseum field by uniformed cops at the USC-UCLA game Saturday. Seems he lacked the right pass. From the Sidelines has photos.
♦ Maybe the line was too obvious, or maybe someone at the Times just liked my hed on Grady Little. Anyway, they borrowed it...twice.
♦ Steve Coll, who cut his investigative reporting teeth at the late California magazine, has a New Yorker story on the young Osama bin Laden. Also in this issue, T.C. Boyle has a fiction piece set around the big mudslide up in La Conchita.
♦ Caltech physics graduate Sandra Tsing Loh has begun a daily science segment on KPCC, airing at 9:19 am and 7:04 pm—or anytime you want it via podcast.
♦ L.A. freelancer James Verini debuts at the Huffington Post with a take on the marketing campaign aimed at schools and churches for the Phil Anschutz-backed The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
♦ The nation's primo Taco Bell is on Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Woodland Hills, says the Daily News: "Depressed and dejected, laid up at home for months, Mehrdad Khorramian had a vision: He would make the world a better place by devoting himself to God, family and Taco Bell."

More by Kevin Roderick:
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Gil Cedillo, Nick Melvoin win LA runoffs*
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