Dropping the “F Bomb.”

Posted May 12, 2004 at 6:43pm

On Tuesday afternoon, members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee got a little more than they bargained for from Stanton Glantz, an anti-smoking activist and professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.

Glantz was testifying on the portrayal of smoking in movies and how, in his view, it encourages tens of

thousands of children to begin smoking each year.

To Glantz, this is a really big deal, and he wanted to highlight Hollywood’s “double standard” on smoking and foul language, so he decided he would use the F-word during his testimony.

After listening to Jack Valenti, president and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, testify before the panel, Glantz lashed out at what he sees as a blatant example of the industry’s hypocrisy.

“If you say ‘f—’ in a sexual context even once, you get an R-rating. I don’t see why you think that’s more serious than promoting smoking,” Glantz told the Senators from the witness table (although HOH must point out that he never once said “dash dash dash”). Those Senators present included Democrats Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Bill Nelson (Fla.).

The audience was surprised, to say the least, by Glantz’s outburst.

“I wasn’t sure if I heard it right,” said one source who was in the room. “I asked the guy next to me, and he was like, ‘Yep, that’s what he said.’ We were both kinda blown away.”

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), who was chairing the hearing but not actually in the room when Glantz let fly, quickly noted upon his return that such language is not allowed in the hallowed halls of the United States Senate.

“I’d just like to point out that in the Senate, we have certain rules of decorum regarding language,” Ensign told Glantz and the other witnesses.

Glantz insists he wasn’t ranting or anything like that. “I did not use that word just to be up there spewing a lot of obscenities,” said Glantz. “Using that word, while many people find it offensive, it’s not going to kill anybody, whereas cigarettes kill somebody.”

Glantz added that he didn’t think Ensign minded his cursing all that much. “I think, in the end, Senator Ensign, I think he rather enjoyed it actually because he certainly treated me very nicely,” Glantz said.

Ensign’s staff didn’t sound all that thrilled, however.

“The Senator appreciated the point [Glantz] was trying to make,” said Jack Finn, Ensign’s communications director. “But it wasn’t the appropriate setting, in a Senate hearing, to do so.”

Uncle Ted — You’re the Greatest! It wasn’t that long ago that relations between the Office of Management and Budget and Congressional appropriators, including Senate Appropriations Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), were distinctly chilly.

But former OMB Director Mitch Daniels, who was not well liked on Capitol Hill, is off in Indiana now running for governor, and the word of the day is “love” for Stevens and current OMB Director Josh Bolten.

Witness how Bolten introduced Stevens at a May 7 reception put on by the American Heart Association (Stevens was the guest of honor for the event).

First, Bolten warmed up by invoking Abraham Lincoln, the patron saint of Republicans, in what may have been the first time that the words “Abe Lincoln” and “Stevens” were ever used in the same paragraph.

“Abraham Lincoln said that ‘Every man is proud of what he does well; and no man is proud of what he does not do well. With the former, his heart is in his work; and he will do twice as much of it with less fatigue.’ So it is with Sen. Stevens, who has done so many things so well — because his heart is in his work.”

Then Bolten related some lessons learned during a fishing trip he took with Stevens.

“I expected fishing with Senator Stevens would be a good way to spend quality time reviewing the budget in detail and learning about the appropriations process from the master,” said Bolten. “It turns out, the trip was actually about fishing, poker and wine — and the Senator had plenty to teach me. Fishing is all about patience and indefatigable determination — which, the chairman taught me, is how successful appropriating happens. Poker is also like appropriating: the chairman makes the rules and holds most of the cards. And wine — well wine, it happens, is like negotiating with the chairman: good for your health, but only in moderation.”

Bolten brought it all home with a big finish. “In the Senate, Senator Stevens often goes by another identity, his alter ego, the Incredible Hulk,” said Bolten. “I’m not exactly sure why, but I think it has something to do with the explosive force he brings to the task of putting legislation through the Senate. Tonight, I’m glad we’re recognizing Senator Stevens not for his role as the Incredible Hulk, but for what he really is: The Incredible Heart.”

Hey Mitch Daniels — this is how you do it in Washington.

Blue Suede Who? Reps. Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) were taping an upcoming episode of the National Public Radio quiz show “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me” when Gillmor proved that he’s no music fan. Big time.

After a first question on the vice presidency, host Peter Sagal shifted to another topic. Doing his best Elvis Presley impersonation, Sagal quoted from a famous 1970 letter “The King” wrote to former President Richard Nixon asking to be appointed a “federal agent at-large” and noting his “in-depth study of drug abuse and Communist brainwashing techniques,” among other things.

Gillmor had no idea who the author of the letter was. Then comedian Mo Rocca, who was sitting in on the show, tried to help out and offered Gillmor another clue. “I think you’d look great in ‘Blue Suede Shoes?’” suggested Rocca.

Gillmor was still baffled. His answer — “Sammy Davis Jr.”

The place just broke up, sources told HOH. “Sammy Davis Jr. — where the hell did he get that?,” asked one source. “Geez, he coulda said Bjork.”

Roast Cal. Baseball great Cal Ripken Jr., will be “roasted” tonight at a benefit for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation being held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Washington.

Reps. Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) and Martin Sabo (D-Minn.), the captains of the GOP and Democratic squads in the annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, will be attending, as will Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), who is to be the auctioneer for a bunch of Cal memorabilia.

Chick Hernandez of Comcast SportsNet will emcee, and the roasters include Billy Ripken, Cal’s brother and a 12-year veteran of the big leagues, among others.

“I’m pleased to be able to raise funds for both our foundation and the MS Society,” said Cal Ripken Jr. The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation assists disadvantaged youths.