Christmas in August, a Louisville Slugger Next to the Bed

Can Jennifer Joyce parlay a healthy campaign war chest and family connections into a Democratic nomination for St. Louis circuit attorney?

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Joyce's announcement is that Eagleton, in the throes of lung cancer, showed up to demonstrate what a gamer he is. Though his voice was impaired, he delivered a funny, concise speech. Most elder statesmen with his résumé and failing health wouldn't have bothered with a municipal election, even though it involves the post he won 44 years ago. "I'm the second-oldest former circuit attorney in captivity," the man who is about to have a federal courthouse open with his name on it says. "The first-oldest is Edward Dowd. Some of you do not know Edward Dowd the elder, but I'll identify him. He's either the father or the uncle of practically all of the judges in the city of St. Louis."

WHEN YOU REALLY, REALLY NEED TO CONTACT JOHN MILLS: Although KSDK-TV is congratulating itself on having launched a Web site, KMOV's John Mills, a mere reporter, was ahead of the game. Just check out his Web site, at www.JohnMills.com, subtitled "News Coverage for the 21st Century," a phrase that suggests he's covering things happening next January. The top of Mills' home page features six photos, each representing Mills in some prototypical news stance: the requisite hurricane shot against a backdrop of palm trees buffeted by high winds, a Hong Kong shot, an Oklahoma City shot, a desert shot taken in Somalia. Under a headline that sounds like a bad Indiana Jones movie -- "Covering the Cities of Death" -- Mills states, "I considered myself one of the most fortunate 22-year-old reporters in the business." Yeah, it's not often a young newshound gets lucky enough to cover a world-class famine.

Mills sees his Web site as just another way to reach the Channel 4 audience. "It's a good way for my viewers to find out a little more about me other than just that one story I did on the news last night," says Mills, who previously worked at WCSC-TV in Charleston, S.C., and for UPI Radio. Although he says the Web site is "not a major marketing campaign," Mills hands out pens emblazoned with the site's URL. There's also a link on the home page that reads, "It's so easy to contact John Mills right now. Thanks for visiting." It might seem medium-strange that a reporter would have his own Web site, but some folks live in a dot-com world. Mills says the site is for people who don't want to call the newsroom directly with news tips.

What's missing from the site is any account of Mills' brief irritation of George W. Bush when the presidential candidate came to town in March. Each television station was given five minutes of face time, though as he sat down Mills was told he'd have four minutes. Unlike other, more decorous interviewers, Mills brought up cocaine right away. He asked something about the message Bush wants to send to parents and children about drugs, specifically cocaine: "He said he wasn't going to play that game." Mills thought that because Bush's refusal to discuss whether he had ever used cocaine would continue to be a campaign issue and was still the focus of jokes by Jay Leno and David Letterman, it was a legitimate question. "He never once really threatened to get up," Mills says. "I wasn't really happy with the answer. I thought he should probably address something because he never denied using it. So I said, 'Can I ask you one more question about cocaine?' and then that guy who had put his hand in my face and said, 'Four minutes,' yelled out, 'No.' And then Bush said, 'The answer's going to be the same. I'm not going to play that game.'" So Mills spliced together a piece on the role of religion in Bush's life and left the cocaine sound bite "at the end of the package."

Too bad Bush didn't walk off in a snit. That might have resulted in a new screen for the Web site, complete with a snappy head: "George W: What Does He Know About Blow?"

Give us your feedback by e-mailing "Short Cuts" at shortcuts@riverfronttimes.com, faxing 314-615-6716 or calling 314-615-6711.

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