- The Washington Times - Friday, April 24, 2009

M-I-C-K-E-Y

Aside from being on opposite sides of the political aisle, Rep. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, and Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, have two uncanny things in common.

They both love popcorn and were inspired as youngsters by a winsome tycoon with big ears: Mr. Mickey Mouse.

We caught up with the strange bedfellows at the screening of Disney’s new film “Earth,” adapted from “Planet Earth” (2006), an 11-part television miniseries co-produced by the Discovery Channel and the BBC. They told us they had to race to the Newseum to see the film after being cooped up debating climate change for “nine and a half hours,” as both are members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Apparently, that left them little time to grab lunch; the two famished men were sharing a giant tub of popcorn, grabbing handfuls at a time and shoving it down with their buttery fingers.

Now that’s what we call bipartisanship.

Before the film began, the congressmen took a walk down memory lane and told the audience (including Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook and Executive Vice President Preston Padden) how much Mickey meant to them as children. Mr. Markey’s favorite show was “‘The Mickey Mouse Club,’ because at the beginning of the program they always said they were talking to the leaders of the 21st century. I really liked that.”

As for Mr. Upton, he said he was a fan of “The Wonderful World of Disney.”

However, the magic of Disney could not keep technical difficulties at bay as the audio went dead twice during the screening, prompting the film projector to stop and the theater lights to come back on.

The silence became so awkward that Mr. Padden stood up and reassured the crowd that the problem was being sorted out.

After the screening, Mr. Cook explained to G2 that the snafu had been caused by a fire alarm that had happened earlier in the day.

He and the film’s director, Mark Linfield, told us “Earth,” which was filmed over a 2,000-day shoot, is the first production for Disney’s new Disneynature label.

Despite showing the sometimes brutal instincts of animals in the wild, Mr. Linfield explained that the film is both educational and entertaining for the entire family

We’re waiting for the “Earth”-inspired roller coaster at Disney World.

Please recycle

While browsing through photos of the Tribeca Film Festival Vanity Fair party in New York City on April 21, we couldn’t help but notice that fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg was wearing the same frock she had donned for the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards at the Kennedy Center on March 19.

We feel better already. If fashion icons can recycle their evening wear, we can too!

Credit where credit is due

Look what we started.

On Monday, your lady spies were the first to report that Washingtonian magazine would display a shirtless President Obama on its May cover.

“The response has been overwhelming, especially since the photo had been widely circulated when it originally came out,” Washingtonian publisher Catherine Merrill Williams writes in a congratulatory note to her staff. “We’ve seen articles from as far away as India, debates about the cover in European newspapers, as well as coverage on CNN, MSNBC, Extra, Anderson Cooper, Fox, and even those little TVs in the back of taxicabs in New York City. We’ve received hundreds of comments on our website, by email and by telephone from people who love the cover and from people who don’t. And more than 230,000 people have voted on the cover in an AOL poll.”

Her staff can have the note. We are waiting for a huge bouquet of flowers for starting the snowball rolling.

Fox gives Shep a pass

If there’s one thing that gets Fox News anchor Shepherd Smith worked up, it’s the subject of torture.

The usually suave host of “The Fox Report With Shepherd Smith” ranted, raved and dropped the F-bomb on the network’s webcast “The Strategy Room” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEtFMj6ZiHM) Wednesday while discussing the hot-button issue.

“We are America! I don’t give a rat’s … if it helps. We are America! We do not … torture,” he yelled, much to the amazement of Fox colleague Trace Gallagher, seated next to him.

Our source at Fox says that although Mr. Shepherd is known for being impassioned about issues on the air, he has never sworn on camera before.

We also hear that Fox executives have not admonished him about the incident.

But stay tuned — the week isn’t done yet.

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