Monday, December 10, 2007

Jesus Loves Me, But I Hate You

Another day, another mentally ill white male goes a-shootin' in America:

The gunman was identified as Matthew Murray, 24, who was home-schooled in what a friend said was a deeply religious Christian household. [...] "It appears that the suspect had been kicked out of the program three years prior and during the past few weeks had sent different forms of hate mail to the program and/or its director," police said. In a statement, the training center said health problems kept Murray from finishing the program. It did not elaborate. Murray did not complete the lecture phase or a field assignment as part of a 12-week program, Youth With a Mission said. "The program directors felt that issues with his health made it inappropriate for him to" finish, it said.

Police gave no immediate details on the hate mail. And the training center said that Murray left in 2002 — five years ago, not three — and that no one there can recall any visits or other communication from him since then. Earlier Monday, a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity said it appeared Murray "hated Christians."

Someone doesn't have their story straight. Nevertheless, this is a good reason to jump on the "hated Xtians" line from the anonymous law enforcement official. As a matter of fact, there's really no reason to read the other parts of the story. Just go w/ this:
It is perhaps worth noting that the toll in Sunday's shootings exceeded the combined total in all "hate crimes" against Muslims in the six years since September 11.
Unless we take into consideration the adventure in Iraq. That could be called a "hate" crime. Or a "war" crime. Some of us still remember the Sikhs murdered in the days immediately after 11 September 2001 by patriotic Americans who thought any one sporting a turban was "the enemy." Other excerpts from the AP story quoted in Powerline:
Matthew Murray lived there along with a brother, Christopher, 21, a student at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. A neighbor, Cody Askeland, 19, said the brothers were home-schooled, describing the whole family as "very, very religious." Christopher studied for a semester at Colorado Christian University before transferring to Oral Roberts, said Ronald Rex, dean of admissions and marketing at Colorado Christian. He said Matthew Murray had been in contact with school officials this summer about attending the school but decided he wasn't interested because he thought the school was too expensive.
One certainly wouldn't get the impression that the sick, twisted (by excessive religiosity & home-schooling, perhaps?) murderer might have been a Christian, would one? No, just go w/ the "hate crimes" angle, based on the speculation ("appeared") of an anonymous source. See also: Sadly, No! & the new, improved TBogg.

Oh Crap, We're Really Screwed Now

The New York Times furthers the depression we feel here @ Just Another Blog (From L. A.)™. Expect any posting in the near future to be dependant on whether or not we can get a computer @ the library.
The disability process is complex, and the standard for approval has, from the inception of the program in the 1950s, been intentionally strict to prevent malingering and drains on the treasury. But it is also inevitably subjective in some cases, like those involving mental illness or pain that cannot be tested.
According to Tucker Carlson, the mere fact that we have a web log makes us nuts. And we have other evidence that we are not normal (or even average).
On Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2006, just a few days before the hearing, Mrs. Wild woke up to find her son gone. On his desk lay his watch, his ring and a bullet. On that Thursday, Mrs. Wild, 55, got a call at work from their lawyer. “I just wanted to give you the good news,” she said he told her. “Somehow the judge has already approved the disability, it’s a done deal, Mark’s got it.” Two hours later, a deputy sheriff and a chaplain arrived to say that hunters had found Mark Wild’s body in the woods, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
We can assure you that we won't be the only ones shuffling off this mortal coil if we decide we can no longer take it.

Bad Day for Show Bidness Personalities

Today is Monday, December 10th, the 344th day of 2007. There are 21 days left in the year.

In 1520, Martin Luther publicly burned the papal edict demanding that he recant or face excommunication.
In 1787, Thomas H. Gallaudet, a pioneer of educating the deaf, was born in Philadelphia.
In 1817, Mississippi was admitted as the 20th state.
In 1869, women were granted the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory. [Next political thing Wyoming gave us was Dick Cheney. — Ed.]
In 1898, a treaty was signed in Paris officially ending the Spanish-American War.
In 1901, the first Nobel Prizes were awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace.
In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt became the first American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for helping mediate an end to the Russo-Japanese War.
In 1931, Jane Addams became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (the co-recipient that year was Nicholas Murray Butler).
In 1946, Baseball Hall of Famer Walter Johnson died at age 59. [That's Walter "The Big Train" Johnson, AP. — Ed.]
In 1948, the U.N. General Assembly adopted its Universal Declaration on Human Rights. [Everything's been just peachy since, too. — Ed.]
In 1950, Dr. Ralph J. Bunche was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the first black American to receive the award.
In 1958, the first domestic passenger jet flight took place in the United States as a National Airlines Boeing 707 flew 111 passengers from New York City to Miami.
In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1984, South African Bishop Desmond Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1987, violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz died in Los Angeles at age 86.
In 1994, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ten years ago: The Supreme Court narrowed double-jeopardy protections for people who face both civil fines and criminal prosecution for the same conduct, ruling that three Oklahoma men could be prosecuted in a bank failure case even though they'd already paid civil fines for their actions.
In 1998, six astronauts swung open the doors to the new international space station, becoming the first guests aboard the 250-mile-high outpost.In 1999, computer scientist Wen Ho Lee was arrested and charged with removing secrets from secure computers at the Los Alamos weapons lab.
Five years ago: President Bush selected William H. Donaldson, an investment banker with ties to Wall Street and the Bush family, as chairman of the besieged Securities and Exchange Commission. Former President Jimmy Carter accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his diplomacy in the Middle East in the '70s.
In 2003, Iranian democracy activist Shirin Ebadi, the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, accepted the award in Oslo, Norway.
In 2004, a U.S. passenger jet landed in Vietnam, the first one to do so since the Vietnam War ended nearly three decades earlier.
In 2005, former Senator Eugene McCarthy died in Washington, D.C., at age 89.
One year ago: Former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet died at age 91. [What took you so long, murderer? — Ed.] Iraqi President Jalal Talabani criticized a bipartisan US report on American war policies, saying it contained some "very dangerous" recommendations that would undermine the sovereignty of Iraq. [What sovereignty would that be? — Ed.]

Today's Birthdays: Actor Harold Gould is 84. Actor Tommy Kirk is 66. Actress Fionnula Flanagan is 66. Pop singer Chad Stuart (Chad and Jeremy) is 66. Actress-singer Gloria Loring is 61. Pop-funk musician Walter "Clyde" Orange (The Commodores) is 61. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ralph Tavares is 59. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jessica Cleaves (Friends of Distinction) is 59. [Double shot of R&B singers. — Ed.] Country singer Johnny Rodriguez is 56. Actress Susan Dey is 55. Actor Michael Clarke Duncan is 50. Jazz musician Paul Hardcastle is 50. Actor-director Kenneth Branagh is 47. Actress Nia Peeples is 46. TV chef Bobby Flay is 43. Rock singer-musician J Mascis is 42. Rock musician Meg White (The White Stripes) is 33. Violinist Sarah Chang is 27. Actress Raven is 22.

Other Birthdays:
Emily Dickinson, poetess (1830)
Melvil Dewey, library pioneer (1851)
Chet Huntley, news broadcaster (1911) ["Good night, David." — Ed.]
Dorothy Lamour, actor (1914)
Douglas Kenney, humorist (1947)

From The World of Show Bidness:
In 1959, the four male members of The Platters were acquitted of charges of aiding and abetting prostitution. They had been arrested four months earlier. [Keep those Negroes who are corrupting our pure white youth down. See also Chuck Berry. — Ed.]
In 1962, "Lawrence of Arabia" had its royal premiere in London. Peter O'Toole starred as English officer T.E. Lawrence.
In 1967, singer Otis Redding, four members of The Bar-Kays [& two others] were killed in the crash of their plane in Lake Monona, Wisconsin. Otis was 26. [Again, we quote another dead personage: "Poor Otis dead and gone/Left me here to sing his song/Pretty little girl with the red dress on/Poor Otis dead and gone." Not that Morrison lasted much longer. — Ed.]Also in 1967, singer Steve Miller signed a precedent-setting contract with Capitol Records. He received a large advance on his band's first album and a sizable royalty rate.
In 1971, Frank Zappa broke a leg and ankle and fractured his skull when he was pushed from a London stage by the jealous boyfriend of a Zappa fan. Zappa spent months in a wheelchair recovering. [When we passed through town on spring break in 1972, he was still in the chair. We called him & asked how he was doing & he said, "Alive, but not kicking." He was never quite the same person after the assault. — Ed.]In 1972, singer Roberta Flack and two members of her backup band were injured in a car accident while driving into New York.
In 1995, rapper Darren Robinson of the Fat Boys died while working on a comeback album. He was 28.
In 1996, country singer Faron Young ["The Singing Sheriff" — Ed.] died in a hospital in Nashville, a day after he shot himself in the head. He was 64.
In 1997, bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee of Motley Crue were arrested for allegedly knocking over a security guard at a concert in Phoenix.
Also in 1997, bass singer Jacob Carey of The Flamingos died of a heart attack in his home in Lanham, Maryland. He was 74. The Flamingos were best known for their hit "I Only Have Eyes For You."
In 1999, bassist Rick Danko of The Band died in Woodstock, New York. He was 56.
In 2005, comedian Richard Pryor died of a heart attack at a hospital in Encino, California. He was 65.
In 2006, Tenor Roberto Alagna walked out of a performance of Verdi's "Aida" at Italy's famed La Scala opera house when the audience booed his rendition of the aria "Celeste Aida."

Editorial Note: St. Nick on a stick! Bad day in history for show biz types.

Angry-Ass Atheists UPDATED W/ NewLink

Mr. TBogg, still settling in @ firedoglake, has brought to our attention the latest steaming pile from Dinesh D'Souza, @ Clownhall.

From the atheists you hear statements like this: "D'Souza is a goddamned idiot." "Odious little toad." "D'Souza is full of shit." "A smug, joyless twit." "Total moron." "Little turd." "Two-faced liar." Etc, etc. Now admittedly the topic of God v. atheism can be an emotional one, but you will find no comparable invective on the Christian side. Why then are so many atheists so angry?

One reason I think is that they are God-haters. Atheists often like to portray themselves as "unbelievers" but this is not strictly accurate. If they were mere unbelievers they would simply live their lives as if God did not exist. I don't believe in unicorns, but then I haven't written any books called The End of Unicorns, Unicorns are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion. Clearly the atheists go beyond disbelief; they are on the warpath against God. And you can hear their bitterness not only in their book titles but also in their mean-spirited invective.
Listen, you odious little toad, come back to us when the fucking unicorns start trying to shove their so-called morality down your throat w/ the full force of a Republican-controlled gov't. It's called self-defense, you smug, joyless twit. Pardon us for hating the superstition & wilful ignorance that allows people to be used as cannon fodder in "Wars of Civilizations," for the aggrandizement of hucksters, & the seizure of power, while demonizing any who do not conform to the insane proscriptions of a book written many thousands of years ago by a persecuted minority tribe who'd been out in the desert too long.

An example of the hate D'Souza has burning in his breast:
Description: In this scathing indictment, conservative intellectual Dinesh D'Souza accuses the American left of being largely to blame for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. D'Souzsa argues that the American Left is anti-religionist and culturally offensive to tradition-minded Muslims, and that, in his view, it has engaged in an arrogant, offensive, and harmful "clash of civilizations." He cites Hollywood, the media in general, academia, and the Clintons, among others, to back up his argument. Furthermore, says D'Souzsa, the Left's post-9/11 stand against the War on Terror has put it on the side of the terrorists. In his view, the battle for the hearts and minds of those Muslims who share traditionalist values begins with the defeat of liberals on the homefront.
"Total moron," is letting D'Souza off easily. He wants a war on "culturally offensive" atheist liberals to go along w/ the bogus "War of Terror." But we're not allowed to be offended by his culture? Or to speak against it?There is very little that is more offensive than hypocrisy. And DD is a serial offender.

UPDATE (10 December 2007 @ 1355 PDT): In the comments atheist (& not just any atheist, but "the" atheist) checks in w/ a link to a brief but effective item on D'Souza by James Wolcott of Vanity Fair, from exactly one year & two months ago.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Oddest Recent Search UPDATED

From: Sansar-Internet, Internet Service Provider, Mongolia; Country: Mongolia; State/Region: Ulaanbaatar; City: Ulaanbaatar; someone whose devil-box speaks English (U.S.) (so it's not as odd as if a Mongolian were looking, but still) wanted to know about "pussy jokes." Sadly, the (we assume) dude would only have found the item about the Russkies & their meow-monster. We just don't run pussy jokes here. 'Though the policy could change at any moment. UPDATE (9 December 2007 @1959 PDT): OK, there's something weird going on in the web wasteland. An English (US) speaking computer from Bahrain is also looking for "pussy jokes." And there was a hit from St. Louis as well. What's up w/ that? A sudden Internet desire for pussy jokes?

Huckabee Hound: Very "P. C." Christian Leader

"Tax Hike" Mike seems to be cultivating his ignorance. He doesn't think evolution occurs, & as recently as 1992 he favored putting people w/ AIDS in "quarantine."

Mr. Huckabee said in a response in a 229-question survey that he believed that AIDS patients should be isolated from the public and that homosexuality was an “aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle” that posed a “dangerous public risk.”

Fears of AIDS spreading widely in the United States were common in the mid-1980s, as doctors struggled to learn about how the virus that causes the disease was transmitted. But by the time Mr. Huckabee answered the A.P. survey, it was well established that the virus could not be spread through casual contact.
From the commentariat @S,N!:

Me said,
December 8, 2007 at
19:42
I first misread the date as 1982, and thought, “Appalling, but pretty much par for the course in those days”. Then I saw that he actually said all that shit in 1992.

Must remember rule: conservatives always believe backwards-ass shit at least 10 years longer than everyone else. And that’s the minimum.
The maximum would be the approx. 4.5 billion yrs. that our little planet has been circling the local star.

More Huckabilly from the Gray Lady:

Mr. Huckabee said in a statement yesterday that there was still confusion at the time about transmission of the disease and that his “concern was safety first, political correctness last.”
Tell us, Hound Dog, how is considering gayness an “aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle” that posed a “dangerous public risk," anything but "political correctness?" That knife cuts both ways. Right wingers, by their authoritarian, "tell me what to believe" nature, are infinitely more susceptible to "correctness" than almost any "progressives."

Also: S,N! item. And choice quotes from the AP story that inspired it:

Besides a quarantine, Huckabee suggested that Hollywood celebrities fund AIDS research from their own pockets, rather than federal health agencies.
Further Rightie "P. C.": You can't go wrong picking on "Hollywood." It's the root of all evil.

"In light of the extraordinary funds already being given for AIDS research, it does not seem that additional federal spending can be justified," Huckabee wrote. "An alternative would be to request that multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor (,) Madonna and others who are pushing for more AIDS funding be encouraged to give out of their own personal treasuries increased amounts for AIDS research."

Huckabee said in a prepared statement released by his campaign Saturday afternoon that he called for quarantine when there was a lot of confusion about how AIDS is spread. He said he wanted at the time to follow traditional medical practices used for dealing with tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.

"We now know that the virus that causes AIDS is spread differently, with a lower level of contact than with TB," Huckabee said. "But looking back almost 20 years, my concern was the uncertain risk to the general population — if we got it wrong, many people would die needlessly. My concern was safety first, political correctness last."

When Huckabee wrote his answers in 1992, it was common knowledge that AIDS could not be spread by casual contact.
Looking back "almost 20 years," our ass. Try 15 yrs. exactly, you lying, ignorant cracker. Not "common knowledge" among the Babtists, it seems.

"What people do in the privacy of their own lives as adults is their business," Huckabee said. "If they bring it into the public square and ask me as a taxpayer to support it or to endorse it, then it becomes a matter of public discussion and discourse."
Oh, no. Have the queers started doing it in the "public square" & frightening the horses? Who is asking Huck, "as a taxpayer," to support or endorse anything to do w/ gay marriage? Is there a campaign to waive fees for gay marriages performed by justices of the peace, or to subsidize gay chuech marriagea? If churches want to perform gay marriages, is that any of the gov't.'s business?

Back to The Times article:

Mr. Huckabee has been popular among Christian conservatives, who appreciate his stands on social issues and his unabashed professions of faith on the trail.

Mr. Huckabee’s detractors, however, have sought to turn his pastoral background against him, saying his spirituality has made him too soft.
Just can't win, can you, Huck? Especially when you're calling for the quarantining of the innocent & the freeing of the guilty.

And he abuses animals. 'Fraid to go after anything your own size, Gov.?

Hootersville

No, neither breasts nor chicken wing restaurants. Climbing the 'phone pole, Green Acres style. A sort of rural legend (seems too complicated to be made up, though). From Alternate Brain:

Psychic Dog Got this by e-mail from my old school pal Barb:

[A South Carolina farm wife called the local phone company to report her telephone failed to ring when her friends called--and that on the few occasions when it did ring, her dog always moaned right before the phone rang. The telephone repairman proceeded to the scene, curious to see this psychic dog and/or senile lady. He climbed a telephone pole, hooked in his test set, and dialed the subscriber's house. The phone didn't ring right away, but then the dog moaned and the telephone began to ring. Climbing down from the pole, the telephone repairman found:

1. The dog was tied to the telephone system's ground wire with a steel chain and collar. 2. The wire connection to the ground rod was loose. 3. The dog was receiving 90 volts of signaling current when the number was called. 4. After a couple of jolts, the dog would start moaning and then urinate. 5. The wet ground would complete the circuit, thus causing the phone to ring.

Which demonstrates that some problems CAN be fixed by pissing and moaning. Just thought you'd like to know.] © Alternate Brain and Gordon

Let your dogs run free, we say!! Also: Is Gordon's pal Barb someone w/ whom he went to school, or old school in the "traditional, set in her ways" sense of the phrase? (Or both?)

The Roots of Romney

Ex-Gov. Romney puts on his "special" mittens before dealing w/ some non-believers & a Hindu or two.

Remember Mittens' speech last Thursday? Rigorously examined here? The main theme being that the non-Abrahamic & non-believers can't be trusted w/ "freedom?" Well, just as Ron Paul thinks like a Bircher (Dr. Paul's book is available at the JBS store: "Ron Paul's collection of inspired statements to the House of Representatives that show him to be the most consistent and morally responsible politician, perhaps, in the whole of American history." Try to control your laughter. No, really. At least try.) Mittens seems to be getting his ideas there too:
A Jewish Conservative Looks at Pagan America $5.95
by Don Feder
"If America isn't animated by Judeo-Christian ethics, it will be governed by less enlightened doctrines." Addresses the problems of America based on its lost understanding of the fact that "rights" come from our Creator and thus "a right requires a moral foundation." (1993 ed, 238 pp, pb)

Why They Hate Us

Inspired by the recently acquired knowledge that today is the 49th anniversary of the John Birch Society, we thought we'd take a peek at their on-line presence & see what they're about these days. That brought us to The New American, which "is published by American Opinion Publishing, a wholly owned subsidiary of The John Birch Society." Odd turn of phrase, that. One doesn't think of non-profit organizations having "wholly owned subsidiaries."

Does any of this sound familiar?

Our editorial point of view is guided by our support of the U.S. Constitution and the principles upon which our Constitution is based. Specifically, we want to restore and retain the values and vision that made America great — limited government under the Constitution, the freedoms our Constitution guarantees, and the personal responsibility a free people must exercise to stay free. In the area of foreign policy, our editorial point of view is based on avoiding foreign entanglements and going to war only when necessary to defend our country and citizens.
If you answered "Ron Paul," you are correct.

We remember (when we were a tiny web log, in the '60s) being told by a right-winger (our mother, if you must know) that America should stop worrying about Nazis & worry about the commies. However, junior fascists are still running everything, & the godless monolith of International Communism doesn't seem to be doing too well of late. Perhaps the Birchers need to stop focusing so much on commies, especially if this article is any indication of their current concerns.

Evidence for the existence of an ongoing Soviet/Russian strategic plan to foment and use Islamic extremism is very extensive and goes far to explain the inordinate hatred of Muslim fundamentalists for America and the West. Not only is al-Qaeda aligned with the Kremlin (see the article "Behind Islamic Terror"), so are the other major “Islamist” terror groups including PLO/al-Fatah, Hamas, and Hezbollah (see "Who's Who In Terrorism" below). Of course, none of those groups would amount to much if not for the immense assistance they receive from Iran and Syria, regimes that were primary client-state terror sponsors for the Soviets and continue in that role for Russia under Putin.
That's right, "they hate us" because the Soviets & the Russians are, um, well, because, uh, well, al-Qaeda & the Kremlin, & uh, Chechnya, also...

Putin continues to build Iran’s nuclear program and upgrade its long-range missile program, not to mention provide Ahmadinejad’s regime with all of the conventional weapons that Tehran and its surrogate terrorists can use.
Which "nukulur" program was that? The one Iran gave up three or four yrs. ago? Oh, right, the CIA's just a bunch of Ivy League elitists in cahoots w/ the CFR & the Trilateral Commission to sell us out to David Rockefeller. No doubt the reality is that Iran's mere months away from launching. Weeks, maybe.

Do the jihadists hate America more than the non-Muslim communist states because we are uniquely decadent? It is true that Western post-Christian culture, especially as seen in popular fashions and through Hollywood’s ubiquitous and depraved lens, is offensive to devout Muslims (as it is to devout Christians).

[...]

[T]he leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, al-Fatah, and other “Islamic fundamentalists,” not only ignore the transgressions of their infidel sponsors in Russia and China and the cries of their persecuted Muslim brothers, but they regularly break bread with and publicly support the atheist persecutors of Islam.

We in the Christian West should not kid ourselves — as certain “liberals” would have us do — into accepting the false proposition that Islam is perfectly compatible with our social-political system. It is not (see article "Religion By The Sword"). And we must not succumb to their arguments that we should accept new waves of Muslim immigrants. But neither should we allow ourselves to be further dragged into a military “clash of civilizations” (as we already are in Iraq and Afghanistan) by “Muslim” front men for our so-called allies in Moscow and Beijing.

[...]

Weekly Standard editor William Kristol declared in a July 21, 2006 article, “Radical Islam Takes On Democracy,” that “our focus should be less on Hamas and Hezbollah, and more on their paymasters and real commanders — Syria and Iran.”

But why stop with the middlemen? The real paymasters and commanders aren’t in Damascus and Tehran; they’re in Moscow and Beijing, as they have been for decades. These paymasters and commanders are also patient strategists. They will not try to engage us in head-on military conflict when they can more easily wear us down by leading us into many “quagmire” conflicts with their surrogates.

Why stop w/ the middlemen indeed? Is this paranoid going Kristol one step better by suggesting that we turn Russia into a sheet of glass? Seriously, Jasper, what are we to do about this problem that doesn't exist? Talk tough to Bush's pal Putin, the man w/ the visible soul? We're confused. And probably screwed, if any of these paranoid ramblings have a connection to reality.

The John Birch Society is 49 Today

Today is Sunday, December 9th, the 343rd day of 2007. There are 22 days left in the year.
On December 9th, 1854, Alfred, Lord Tennyson's famous poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade," was published in England.
In 1892, "Widowers' Houses," Bernard Shaw's first play, opened at the Royalty Theater in London.
In 1907, Christmas seals went on sale for the first time, at the Wilmington, Del., post office. The proceeds went to fight tuberculosis. [Or on 7 December 1907. — Ed.]
In 1940, British troops opened their first major offensive in North Africa during World War II.
In 1941, China declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy. [Hadn't the Japanese been fucking w/ them since 1937? No wonder Mao Zedong kicked their Nationalist asses. — Ed.]
In 1942, the Aram Khachaturian ballet "Gayane," featuring the surging "Saber Dance," was first performed by the Kirov Ballet.
In 1958, the anti-Communist John Birch Society was formed in Indianapolis.
In 1965, Nikolai V. Podgorny replaced Anastas I. Mikoyan as president of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.
In 1982, special Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski died at his Wimberly, Texas, ranch at age 77.
In 1987, the first Palestinian intifada, or uprising, began as riots broke out in Gaza and spread to the West Bank, triggering a strong Israeli counter-response. [Yesterday or today? — Ed.]
In 1990, Solidarity founder Lech Walesa won Poland's presidential runoff by a landslide.
In 1992, Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced their separation. (The couple's divorce became final August 28th, 1996.)
In 1993, the U. S. Air Force destroyed the first of 500 Minuteman II missile silos marked for elimination under an arms control treaty.U.S. astronauts completed repair work on the Hubble Space Telescope.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton fired Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders after she told a conference that masturbation should be discussed in school as a part of human sexuality.
In 1995, Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., was chosen to head the NAACP.
In 1996, archaeologist and anthropologist Mary Leakey died in Kenya at age 83.
Ten years ago: Confronting her critics, Attorney General Janet Reno traded testy remarks with House Republicans on the committee investigating campaign fund-raising as she defended her decision not to seek an independent counsel for fund-raising calls made by President Clinton and Vice President Gore.
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a temporary halt in the Florida presidential vote count.
Five years ago: President Bush tapped railroad executive John W. Snow to be his new Treasury Secretary, three days after firing Paul O'Neill. Senate Republican leader Trent Lott apologized for remarks he'd made praising the 1948 presidential run of then-segregationist Strom Thurmond, saying, "A poor choice of words conveyed to some the impression that I embraced the discarded policies of the past." United Airlines filed the biggest bankruptcy in aviation history after losing $4 billion in the previous two years.
In 2003, former Sen. Paul Simon died in Springfield, Ill., at age 75.
In 2004, Canada's Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was constitutional.
One year ago: Discovery lighted up the sky in the first nighttime space shuttle launch in four years. A fire broke out at a Moscow drug treatment hospital, killing 45 women trapped by barred windows and a locked gate. Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith won the Heisman Trophy. Singer Georgia Gibbs, who'd reached the top of the charts in the 1950s, died in New York City at age 87.

Today's Birthdays:
Actor Kirk Douglas is 91. Actress Dina Merrill is 82. Actor Dick Van Patten is 79. Actor-writer Buck Henry is 77. Actress Dame Judi Dench is 73. Football Hall of Famer Deacon Jones is 69. Actor Beau Bridges is 66. Jazz singer-musician Dan Hicks is 66. Football Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus is 65. Actor Michael Nouri is 62. Former Senator Thomas Daschle (D - South Dakota) is 60. Singer Joan Armatrading is 57. Actor Michael Dorn is 55. Actor John Malkovich is 54. Country singer Sylvia is 51. Singer/game show host Donny Osmond is 50. Comedian Mario Cantone is 48. Actor Joe Lando is 46. Actress Felicity Huffman is 45. Crown Princess Masako is 44. Rock musician Brian Bell (Weezer) is 39. Rock singer-musician Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers) is 38. Rock musician Tre Cool (Green Day) is 35. Rapper Canibus is 33. Rock singer Imogen Heap is 30.

And the Dead: John Milton, poet (1608); Joel Chandler Harris, humorist (1848); Jean de Brunhoff, author and illustrator of "Babar," the royalist elephant. (1899); Margaret Hamilton, actress (1902) [Possibly the great aunt of our college sex partner. We never asked for greater detail. — Ed.];Grace Hopper, Rear Admiral, computer scientist (1906); Thomas P O'Neill, political leader (1912); John Cassavetes, actor and director (1929); Junior Wells, musician (1934).

Show Biz Lice History:
In 1965, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" premiered.
In 1967, police in New Haven, Connecticut, arrested Doors singer Jim Morrison for breach of peace and resisting arrest. Morrison had been sprayed with mace at a concert and police hauled him off stage. [Two Jimbo items in a row. — Ed.]
In 1972, an all-star orchestral stage version of The Who's "Tommy" was performed in London. Members of the cast included Richie Havens, Peter Sellers and Steve Winwood.
In 1978, actors John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd recorded a version of "Soul Man" and released it under the name The Blues Brothers.
In 1981, singer Sonny Til of The Orioles died of a heart attack in Washington. He was 56.
In 1995, The Beatles "Anthology One," with their first new song in 25 years, hit the top of the "Billboard" album chart. [Another day, another Beatle item. — Ed.]

Saturday, December 8, 2007

An Image & a Caption Are Worth 2,000 Words

Only 13 months & change to go, barring the application of Instant Karma. We hope this sack of crap will disappear from the face of the earth, but his announced intention to "refill the coffers" on the lecture circuit may keep him in the public eye. We'd think he'd have to dip into the Bush Family fortune & pay big just to get anyone to listen to him. (Let alone look at him.)
Dependable Renegade finds 'em, we steal 'em. We are very lazy, & very proud of it.

Return to Pearl

Photograph of the western side of Ford Island and ships in moorings offshore, taken from a Japanese Navy plane during the attack. Ships are (from left to right): USS Detroit (CL-8); USS Raleigh (CL-7), listing to port after being hit by one torpedo; USS Utah (AG-16), capsized after being hit by two torpedoes; and USS Tangier (AV-8). Japanese writing in the lower left states that the photograph's reproduction was authorized by the Navy Ministry.
Japanese bomb explodes some twenty feet off the starboard side of the Tangier, forward of the bridge.
Damage to glass windows on the Tangier's bridge, caused by a Japanese bomb that exploded off the starboard side.
USS Curtiss (AV-4) afire after she was hit by a crashing Japanese dive bomber. Photographed from USS Tangier (AV-8). USS Medusa (AR-1) is at right.Timbers floating in the water (foreground) may be from USS Utah (AG-16), which had been sunk at her berth, astern of Tangier. Note weathered paintwork on Curtiss and Medusa.
Photos & captions copped from the U. S. Navy. Your grandparents' & parents' tax dollars at work.

The Male Gaze

Let's cleanse the proverbial palate from talk of war, death & Mormons w/ the image of a partially semi-naked celebrity/actress.
That's better. We can taste again.

Why They're Worried: "Will His Prayers Even Get Through?"

How child-like they are in their faith. Or how stupid they are in their childishness. Why evangelicals are opposed to a Mittens Romney presidency, from the Los Angeles Times:
Some Christians are appalled at the Mormon conception of God as having a physical body and a wife. In their view, Mormons don't worship the one true God -- so they fear that, as president, Romney would not benefit from divine guidance.

At a Huckabee campaign event a few weeks ago, voter Glenda Gehrke, 63, voiced that concern about Romney, asking: "Will his prayers even get through?"
We aren't going to bother to apply any logic to that one. You either don't get it or you do. But we'll ask if their Space Elf is really that fickle.

Few voters, they said, truly worried that Romney would take orders from Salt Lake City if elected -- that he'd "pick up the phone and call some 90-year-old Mormon elder to ask what to do on immigration," said Stuart Rothenberg, publisher of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report.
We're worried that some 90-yr.-old Mormon elder will have his flunky pick up the 'phone & dial the White House, & the senile wretch will get through to Mittens w/ his orders.

Romney also vowed that he would stand proudly by his beliefs as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[...]

In proudly laying claim to his family's Mormon tradition, Romney noted that Americans "tire of those who would jettison their beliefs . . . to gain the world." But that may have served only to remind voters of Romney's shifting beliefs on issues such as abortion. (When he ran for governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported abortion rights; he now opposes them.)


An excellent point. Once it becomes generally known that the LDS Church is happy to jettison its beliefs & tradition as the political winds blow, the connection between flip-floppery & Mormonism will probably be emphasized, albeit not openly & directly, by the other candidates or their surrogates. Can't wait, personally.

Romney did not explain any details of Mormon theology (and used the word "Mormon" only once in his 20-minute speech). He also did not take questions from the audience of 300 invited guests.
JFK took questions.

Romney's aides said he didn't plan to go any deeper into his beliefs. "If anybody asks the question, he can say, 'I've addressed that; I've spoken to that. Let's move on,' " one staffer said.

That leaves the court open, however, for pundits to pick apart Mormon theology and endlessly rehash some of the doctrines that may strike voters as unusual, such as secret ceremonies to baptize the dead and to "seal" them in temple marriages so they can reach the most exalted realms of heaven.

"If it goes to a point where everyone is taking apart what Mormons believe and what they don't, that's not good for Romney," said Charles Cook, a nonpartisan campaign analyst.
The magic underwear people also scare the snake-handlers w/ their rapid growth, 'though some of the anti-Mormon websites question many LDS numbers, & how long "converts" stick w/ it. Nonetheless, while the pool of people dense enough to buy into evangelical/fundamental/willing-to-tithe religion is large, there is an upper limit to the gullible (we sincerely hope) & the competition must be fierce:

Others consider Mormonism a cult and worry that a Mormon president would give the fast-growing faith more legitimacy in the U.S. and around the world.
That would make competition for the church going dollar tougher.

And while we're on the subject, a quick look at Mormon attempts at legitimacy & influence peddling, from Deseret Book:

In this groundbreaking work, Mike Winder presents the story of America's presidents and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From Washington to Bush, each President and their relationship with the Mormons is explored, and we see the Church rising from obscurity to political clout as America's-fastest growing religion. [Our emphasis.]

Familiar anecdotes are retold -- Wilford Woodruff's vision of the Founding Fathers; Joseph Smith calling on Martin Van Buren; Ezra Taft Benson serving in Eisenhower's cabinet; and Gordon B. Hinckley receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush. And, there is much, much more.
There's a long list of "Which President did such & such that had to do w/ Mormons?," questions, though you'll have to buy the book to find out which preznit did what. We do want to mention this one: "What future Church president was in the room when McKinley was assassinated?" Conspiracy, any one?

Eternity Drags On; John Lennon Remains Dead

Today is Saturday, December 8th, the 342nd day of 2007. There are 23 days left in the year.
On this date:
In 1776, during the Revolutionary War, George Washington's retreating army crossed the Delaware River from New Jersey into Pennsylvania.
In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which holds that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was free of original sin from the moment of her own conception. [Stupid like a Mormon. — Ed.]
In 1863, President Lincoln announced his plan for the Reconstruction of the South.
In 1886, the American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1907, Oscar II, the king of Sweden and former king of Norway, died in Stockholm at age 78.
In 1941, the United States entered World War II as Congress declared war against Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
In 1949, the Chinese Nationalist government moved from the Chinese mainland to Formosa as the Communists pressed their attacks.
In 1980, rock star John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by an apparently deranged fan, Mark David Chapman. Lennon and wife Yoko Ono were returning home from a recording session. The former Beatle was 40.
John & Yoko, 22 August 1980

In 1982, a man demanding an end to nuclear weapons held the Washington Monument hostage, threatening to blow it up with explosives he claimed were inside a van. After a 10-hour standoff, Norman D. Mayer was shot dead by police; it turned out there were no explosives.
In 1986, House Democrats selected majority leader Jim Wright to be the chamber's 48th speaker, succeeding Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill.
In 1987, President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, signed a treaty at the White House calling for destruction of intermediate-range nuclear missiles. Also: Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories began an intefadeh, or uprising.
In 1991, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine declared the Soviet national government dead, forging a new alliance, the Commonwealth of Independent States.
In 1992, Americans saw live TV coverage of U.S. troops landing on the beaches of Somalia as Operation Restore Hope began.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed into law the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Ten years ago: Federal hearings opened in Baltimore into the TWA Flight 800 disaster which had claimed 230 lives. In a 25 billion-dollar deal, Swiss Bank and Union Bank of Switzerland announced they would merge.
In 2000, the Florida Supreme Court ordered an immediate hand count of about 45,000 disputed presidential ballots.
Five years ago: Iraq's massive dossier detailing its chemical, biological and nuclear programs arrived in New York; the U.N. Security Council agreed to give full copies to the United States and the four other permanent council members: Britain, France, Russia and China.
In 2003, Rep. Bill Janklow, R-S.D., resigned after being convicted in the traffic death of a motorcyclist.
One year ago: A gunman went on a rampage inside a downtown Chicago law firm, killing three people before being shot dead himself by police. Laura Gainey, the daughter of hockey great Bob Gainey, was washed overboard in the North Atlantic during a storm while working on a sailing ship bound for the Caribbean; she remains lost at sea. [No shit. You're sure she's not dead? — Ed.] The House ethics committee concluded that Republican lawmakers and aides failed for a decade to protect male pages from sexual overtures by former Representative Mark Foley, but that they broke no rules and should not be punished.

This Date's Birthdays of the Living:
Actor-director Maximilian Schell is 77. Actor David Carradine is 71. Actor James MacArthur is 70. Flutist James Galway is 68. Singer Jerry Butler is 68. Pop musician Bobby Elliott (The Hollies) is 65. Actor John Rubinstein is 61. Rock singer-musician Gregg Allman is 60. Reggae singer Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Maytals) is 59. Actress Kim Basinger is 54. Rock musician Warren Cuccurullo is 51. Rock musician Phil Collen (Def Leppard) is 50. Actress Teri Hatcher is 43. Rapper Bushwick Bill (Geto Boys) is 41. Singer Sinead O'Connor [Fuck a bunch of Pope!! — Ed.] is 41. Baseball player Mike Mussina is 39.

And the Dead:
Mary, Queen of Scots, (1542)
Christina, Queen of Sweden (1626) [Lived in her Parisian pied-à-terre, @ 1, rue Christine, in '69 & '70. — Ed.]
Eli Whitney, American inventor (1765)
William C. Durant, founder of GM (1861)
Aristide Maillol, sculptor (1861)
Jean Sibelius, composer (1865)
Diego Rivera, painter (1886)
James Thurber, humorist (1894)
Lee J. Cobb, actor (1911)
Sammy Davis, Jr., singer, actor (1925)
Jim Morrison, rock musician (1943) [See Jimbo's first foray into show bidness. — Ed.]

Show Bidness History:
In 1956, eleven-year-old Brenda Lee released her first single, "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus."
In 1961, the Beach Boys' first single, "Surfin'," was released.
In 1969, a supreme court in Toronto found guitarist Jimi Hendrix not guilty of possession of heroin and hashish. Hendrix had testified he had previously used drugs but had given them up. [Suuuure. — Ed.]
In 1976, The Eagles released their "Hotel California" album. [Yuck. — Ed.]
In 1982, country singer Marty Robbins died of heart disease in Nashville at the age of 57.
In 1983, character actor Slim Pickens died in Modesto, California, at age 64. In 1984, Motley Crue singer Vince Neil crashed a sports car on a California highway, killing his passenger, Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle Dingley.
In 1991, actor Gregory Peck and country legend Roy Acuff were honored at the Kennedy Center Honors. Acuff was the first country artist to receive the award.
In 1992, Paul McCartney signed a long-term recording contract with Capitol and EMI Records. The terms were not disclosed. [Beatles all the time in history. — Ed.]
In 1995, surviving members of The Grateful Dead announced they were breaking up after 30 years of making music. The news came four months after the death of lead guitarist Jerry Garcia.
In 2003, Ozzy Osbourne was seriously injured while riding a quad bike around his English estate. He apparently hit something and the bike landed on top of him.
In 2004, guitarist Dimebag Darrell, formerly of Pantera, was shot and killed during a show with his new band, DamagePlan, in Columbus, Ohio. Three others also were killed before a police officer shot and killed the gunman, Nathan Gale. [That's show biz! — Ed.]

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tora! Tora! Tora!

The rust bucket my father was aboard when the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
(We're going to step out of the editorial "we" for this one, it's personal, & to be referring to "our father" throughout this would sound even more idiotic than the items here usually do.)

Today is the 66th anniversary of the surprise Japanese air attack on the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, on the island of Oahu, in what was then the Territory of Hawai'i. My father was aboard the USS Tangier (AV8) a seaplane tender, berthed astern of the former battleship Utah, when the attack commenced at 0755 local time.

My father (for the sake of my anonymity, he shall remain nameless) was a gunner's mate, and was one of the first Americans to fire in anger (certainly one of the first to shoot at the Japanese planes) in the official beginning of WWII. Undeclared war had been occurring in the North Atlantic between U S. Navy ships escorting convoys to Britain & German U-Boats since October 1941. (See: USS Reuben James) and the destroyer Ward (DD-139) had attacked & sunk a Japanese midget submarine near the Pearl Harbor entrance at 0645 on 7 December.

From the Commanding Officer of the Tangier's report:
Ship commenced firing as soon as men arrived on gun stations. Ship opened fire at 0800. It was the Commanding Officer's impression that this ship was the first to open fire or surely among the first.

[...]

At 0850 - Second wave of attackers started coming in. From now on the Japanese planes made deliberate bombing attacks on
Tangier. Shot off tail of one Japanese plane just as he had passed abeam to starboard. This plane crashed in Middle Loch in back of Curtiss and Medusa. The plane was hit by .50 cal Machine gun bullets and the tail was shot off by the 3"50 cal forward battery.

Singled up all mooring lines.

At 0855 - Riddled another Japanese plane, which went out of control and crashed on the shore line, near Beckoning Point.

At 0910 - Third wave of bombing attack came in, again, about twenty seven planes. This might be delayed planes of second attack. Riddled another Japanese plane, flying up our port side, engine caught fire, then part of fuselage forward of pilot burst into flame, pilot got his plane around 90° to right and from the Commanding Officer's observation, deliberately crashed his plane into Curtiss. Plane crashed into Curtiss near after stack, into boat crane and A.A. gun station and started a good size fire.

[...]

Hits were observed from our gun fire on two more planes and it is entirely possible that these planes were forced to land, in that area between Pearl and Barber's point. This should be investigated. I definitely observed three planes, struck many times by our gun fire and saw the three planes crash, as reported above.

No more planes came near
Tangier after 0920.

This ship expended the following ammunition:
217 rounds of 3" 50 cal. (Fwd Battery).
198 round of 3" 23 cal. (Aft Battery).
23,000 rounds of 50 cal. Machine Gun.

The conduct of the officers and crew was excellent throughout. The gun crews performed praiseworthily. The equipment worked without any casualty.

[...]
[signed]
C.A.F. SPRAGUE
The C. O. does not mention that most of the swabbies, including my father, were in their skivvies, as they had been in their hammocks when G. Q. was sounded. But that's some good shooting, from men in their skivvies. Note the number of 50 cal. machine gun rounds expended. Damn.

From the Executive Officer's report:
So far as is known the Tangier was the first ship to open fire on the enemy.

[...]

Inasmuch as the officers and men of the
Tangier had never had the opportunity to fire the ship's guns except for test firing I think their performance on Sunday was one of the bright spots of a very sad day. I do not see how any one of them could have done his job better than he did, and that individually and collectively they should be commended on their performance of duty and their preparation for battle. It is noted that there were no machine gun casualties and the only time the guns stopped firing was when their ammunition was expended. This speaks exceedingly well for the maintenance personnel on the machine guns and the ordnance gunner.

[signed]
G.H. DE BAUN
Isn't the Internet great? I never would have known that the Tangier was probably the first ship to fire at the Japanese planes if it weren't for the digital age. As w/ so many veterans, my father never talked (to me at least) about his war experiences, though he must have told my mother some things, as I heard the "shooting in his skivvies" part of the Pearl Harbor attack from her. They started dating during the war (she had gone out w/ my father's best friend & shipmate before she started w/ my father) so he must have told her some stories. If it hadn't been for the war, she (middle-class daughter of a doctor) might not even have been dating sailors, & the peculiar genetic combo that I am would never have happened.

My father, the first son of dirt poor Texas farmers, had joined the Navy just less than a year before Pearl Harbor, at the age of seventeen. His parents signed the papers allowing him to enlist as soon as he reached seventeen. One less mouth to feed on the farm, & added income. What a deal.

He served in the Navy until 1947, reaching Gunner's Mate First Class. Again according to my mother, he would have made Chief Gunner's Mate, except for being caught making "jungle juice" on board the destroyer he later served on. That does not look good in your BuPers jacket.

That destroyer was the U. S. S. Samuel N. Moore (DD747) which was in a "daring raid" on Tokyo Bay in July 1945, described by someone else who was there. This apparently was the only time U. S. surface ships bombarded the Japanese mainland during WWII.

One other war related note: My mother told me that for the first few yrs. after hostilities ceased, if someone suddenly started using a typewriter near him, my father would think it was a machine gun & at least flinch, if not actually jump.

Where is he today? Click here for depressing info.

The National Geographic has an interesting Pearl Harbor website, if anyone cares. You can spot the Tangier just aft of the Utah on the "Attack Map," northwest of Ford Island.

Darby Crash f/k/a Bobby Pyn: Lexicon Devil

Almost forgot this one. It was Pearl Harbor Day 1980 that Darby (b. 26 September 1958) took his leave, but we keep thinking he died the same day John Lennon was murdered, 8 December 1980, which took attention from Darby's sad fucking suicide.
Photo from our Internet buddy Jenny Lens' Punk Photo Archive. It's her last shot of Darby on stage, in Culver City in 1980. Do not steal it. You could buy a print from her, if you like it. And she has plenty of others, not limited to Darby & the Germs. Help a sister out, why doncha?

Theocratic Theater

Allegedly from Publisher's Weekly (though we don't get a link from Mr. Goldberg, so he could have made the whole thing up) we get a clue as to the nature of his book, Liberal Fascism (Well, we knew the old "Nazi means National Socialist, see?" would get cranked out):
JFK, whose cult of personality, according to Goldberg, reeks of fascist political theater.
We don't even know what that's supposed to mean. But this might be some of that ol' fascist cult of personality/political theater. Especially Mittens' focus on "strength."

Remember The Arizona!!

Today is Friday, December 7th, the 341st day of 2007. There are 24 days left in the year.
Smoke billows from the USS Arizona after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (AP Photo/U. S. Navy)
Today's Highlight in History: On December 7th, 1941, Japanese forces attacked American and British territories and possessions in the Pacific, including the home base of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, drawing the United States into World War II. More than 2,300 Americans were killed. [Again, this is a "highlight?" See an item later today concerning Just Another Blog™'s personal connection to the infamous attack. — Ed.]
In 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the US Constitution. [Frist!! — Ed.]
In 1796, electors chose John Adams to be the second president of the United States. [Second!! — Ed.]
In 1836, Martin Van Buren was elected the eighth president of the United States.
In 1842, the New York Philharmonic gave its first concert.
In 1907, the first Christmas Seals to help the fight against tuberculosis were sold, in Wilmington, Delaware. (Some sources say December 9th.)
In 1917, the U.S. declared war on Austria-Hungary in World War I.
In 1946, fire broke out at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta; the blaze killed 119 people, including hotel founder W. Frank Winecoff.
In 1963, videotaped instant replay was used for the first time in a live sports telecast as CBS re-showed a touchdown run during the Army-Navy football game.
In 1972, America's last moon mission to date was launched as Apollo 17 blasted off from Cape Canaveral.
In 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor, leading to a 25-year occupation.
In 1982, convicted murderer Charlie Brooks, Jr. became the first U.S. prisoner to be executed by injection, at the prison in Huntsville, Texas.
In 1983, in Madrid, Spain, an Aviaco DC-9 collided on a runway with an Iberia Air Lines Boeing 727 that was accelerating for takeoff, killing all 42 people aboard the DC-9 and 51 aboard the Iberia jet.
In 1985, retired Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart died at age 70.
In 1987, 43 people were killed after a gunman aboard a Pacific Southwest Airlines jetliner in California apparently opened fire on a fellow passenger, the two pilots and himself, causing the plane to crash. [The gunman was a disgruntled PSA employee, by the way. — Ed.]
In 1987, Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev set foot on American soil for the first time, arriving for a Washington summit with President Reagan.
In 1988, an earthquake in the Soviet Union devastated northern Armenia; an estimated 25,000 people died.
In 1993, a gunman opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train, killing six people and wounding 17. Colin Ferguson was later sentenced to a minimum of 200 years in prison.
In 1995, a 746-pound probe from the Galileo spacecraft hurtled into Jupiter's atmosphere, sending back data to the mothership before it was destroyed.
Ten years ago: Republicans threatened Attorney General Janet Reno with contempt of Congress over her decision to forgo an independent counsel's investigation of White House campaign fund raising. Singer Bob Dylan, actor Charlton Heston, actress Lauren Bacall, opera singer Jessye Norman and ballet master Edward Villella shared the 20th annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, DC.
In 2001, Taliban forces abandoned their last bastion in Afghanistan, fleeing the southern city of Kandahar.
Five years ago: Iraq handed over its long-awaited arms declaration to the United Nations, denying it had weapons of mass destruction. President Saddam Hussein apologized to Kuwait for his 1990 invasion. Shuttle Endeavour returned to Earth, bringing an astronaut and pair of cosmonauts home from a 6-month space station voyage. Bombs tore through four movie theaters in Bangladesh, killing 19. Miss Turkey Azra Akin won the Miss World contest in London, bringing to a close an international pageant that had incited deadly rioting in Nigeria, the original site of the event.
In 2004, Hamid Karzai was sworn in as Afghanistan's first popularly elected president.
One year ago: President Bush gave a chilly response to the Iraq Study Group's proposals for reshaping his policy, objecting to talks with Iran and Syria, refusing to endorse a major troop withdrawal and vowing no retreat from embattled U.S. goals in the Mideast. The U.S. military transferred the first group of Guantanamo Bay detainees to a new maximum-security prison on the naval base. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, the first woman U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, died in Bethesda, Maryland, at age 80.

Birthdays of The Living:
Actor Eli Wallach is 92. Educator and linguist Noam Chomsky is 79. Actress Ellen Burstyn is 75. Senator Thad Cochran (Republican, Mississippi) is 70. Broadcast journalist Carole Simpson is 67. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Johnny Bench is 60. Singer-songwriter Tom Waits is 58. Senator Susan M. Collins (Republican, Maine) is 55. Actress Priscilla Barnes is 52. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Larry Bird is 51. Former "Tonight Show" announcer Edd Hall is 49. Rock musician Tim Butler (The Psychedelic Furs) is 49. Actor Jeffrey Wright is 42. Football player Terrell Owens is 34.

Birthdays of the Gravebound:
Giovanni Bernini, Baroque sculptor/architect (1598)
Richard Warren Sears, merchant (1863)
Willa Cather, novelist (1873)
Ted Knight, actor (1923)
Harry Chapin, songwriter, singer (1942)
Reginald Lewis, business leader (1942)

This Date in Showbiz History:
In 1962, bassist Bill Wyman auditioned for the Rolling Stones. He played his first gig with the band the following week. [The story is that he had the biggest cabinet of anyone who audtioned. Size does matter. — Ed.]
In 1964, singer Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys had a nervous breakdown on a flight between Houston and Los Angeles. It eventually led to his decision to stop touring with the Beach Boys.
In 1967, The Beatles opened their Apple Boutique in London to the public. John Lennon and George Harrison had held a private opening party two days before. [Beatles & Stones items today! — Ed.]
Also in 1967, Otis Redding recorded "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay." ["Poor Otis dead and gone/Left me here to sing his song/Pretty little girl with the red dress on/Poor Otis dead and gone." — The Doors]
In 1968, singer Eric Burdon announced The Animals would break up later in the month.
In 1969, "Frosty the Snowman" first aired on CBS.
In 1990, singer Dee Clark was found dead in Smyrna, Georgia, of a heart attack. Clark was 52. He was known for the hit "Raindrops."

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mitt "Mittens" Romney's Big Speech: America's "SymPHONY of Faith"

We forget that our pet name for Willard Mitt Romney, "Mittens," is not generally known, so in order to get some hot Google™ action, let us repeat: Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney speech. Speech Mitt Romney. That oughta do it.

Now, as to the speech itself. What a crock. This nitwit is going to defend our constitution from all enemies, foreign & domestic? He willfully denies the meaning & purpose of the First Amendment:

[D]uring the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places.
No. What could be more of an "establishment of religion" than public spaces & funds used for religious purposes & symbolism? Note well that the definition of "religion" throughout his speech covers Christianity, Judaism &, grudgingly, Islam. ("[T]he commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims." That's it, they pray a lot. Wow. We'll note further on what else he has to say about "radical, violent Islam.") That's it, religion is limited to the worship of the War God of the Hebrews, also known as the god of Abraham, & a few more recent "revelations," up to & including the golden tablets of the Angel Moroni as shown to Joseph Smith. No mention whatsoever of Buddhism, Hindus, Sikhs, Cargo Cults, Wiccans, Voudou, Animism, Zoroastrians, Scientology or any of the other infinite ways in which human sheep delude themselves. Bear this in mind: When you hear the word "religion" used in an American political context, it means Judeo-Xtianity, w/ a certain allowance for Islam, because there are Muslims in this country, & some of us are scared & threatened by them overseas & here, so we'd better not piss them off. The only freedom of religion (let alone from religion) anyone in this country gets is freedom among the various branches of Yahweh worshippers (& those Muslims better watch their step). All others can just fuck off.

Here's another common crock handed out by the religious: You cannot be a "moral" person unless your "morality" is enforced by fear of an invisible sky fairy who will condemn your "immortal soul" to a lake of eternal fire if you don't kiss his fairy ass 24/7. And tithe a lot to the Big Fairy's representatives on Earth.

In John Adams' words: 'We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion... Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.'
In other words, "freedom" & "liberty" are reserved for those whose freedom is constrained by their superstitions. If you don't "believe," you're an immoral, selfish Social Darwinist, who will have no respect for "the children of God." Mr. Ex-Governor, please tell us about the "morality" of laying off thousands of people when your leveraged buyout firm, Bain Capital, decides that the "morality" of better returns to stockholders supersedes the lives of those laid off. Mormon or Mammon? Which does Mittens truly worship?

We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion.

[...]

Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
Oh, bullshit. Sheer, unadulterated bullshit. Not just faith & belief are required, but religion? What is the whole gay marriage, civil unions, "homosexual agenda," blah blah blah flap about other than certain interpretations of the Bible? What is abortion about other than religion? What are "family values" other than barely coded religious values? If it weren't for Pat Robertson, James Dobson & their ilk attempting to gain political & personal power on the backs of the religiously deluded, the United States wouldn't be nearly as polarized as it is today.
It was in Philadelphia that our founding fathers defined a revolutionary vision of liberty, grounded on self evident truths about the equality of all, and the inalienable rights with which each is endowed by his Creator.
Unless of course you're a homo, or a hippie, or a heathen, or were born a slave, or weren't born to wealth & privilege. Then your rights are negotiable. Good luck.

We mentioned in the previous item that there is no reference to "god" or "faith" anywhere in the Constitution. As swell as the Declaration of Independence may be, it is not our governing document. Indeed, the Declaration is hardly in line w/ such Biblical principles as holding slaves, stoning disobedient children, etc., although the Constitution did originally favor slavery.

Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.
Oh, bullcrap. Again. Don't tell us that the Mormon church has no influence on the state of Utah, for example. Don't whine about your religion & all the influence it's had on you, & then pretend you will ignore it. Especially Mormon religion, which holds that the high muckety-mucks receive revelations from God, or Elohim, or Adam (same dude, in Mormonism). (The revelation from Whoever, by the way, explains how polygamy can suddenly become not a central tenet of the LDS Church, so that Utah can achieve statehood. And how it was determined, in the late 1970s, that black men could be members of the Mormon priesthood. Talk about flip-flopping! Something else Mittens seems to get from his faith.) If Mitt really believes this crap, do you think he'll turn down a suggestion from Elder whoever, the Mormon president, that Elohim says such & such? The Pope may be "infallible," but he's probably not foolish enough to attempt to tell a Catholic president what to do. The Mormon thing is on a different level.

There are some for whom these commitments are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers – I will be true to them and to my beliefs.
Mittens' father, George, you may recall, was born in Mexico, because George's father or grandfather left the United States for Mexico so he could continue polygamy even after the LDS Church disavowed it. To which faith will Mittens be true?

Added anti-religious note: 95% of Americans who still practice or believe in a religion do so w/ the one into which they were born. Religion is indeed more of a hollow "tradition" than any "personal conviction." And for a Mormon to speak of "disavowing one or another of its precepts" in reference to Mormonism is rich. Hell, they change their perceptual tune every half hour.

On that note, we can examine the utter shallowness w/ which the Mittster appreciates other "faith traditions:"

I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God. And in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the Evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims. As I travel across the country and see our towns and cities, I am always moved by the many houses of worship with their steeples, all pointing to heaven, reminding us of the source of life's blessings.
We thought it was Mormon industriousness (The Beehive State) that brought life's "blessings," not that Elohim was in a good mood that day & handing out the goodies. And you can imagine that he'd like a more profound ceremony like the Catholic Mass, as opposed to the rip-off of Masonic ritual that the Magic Underwear Cult uses. By the way, those steeples aren't exactly a feature of Judeo-Islamic "houses of worship."

Perhaps the most important question to ask a person of faith who seeks a political office, [sic] is this: does he share these American values: the equality of human kind, the obligation to serve one another, and a steadfast commitment to liberty?
Though the "whitesome & delightsome" may be a little more "equal" than others. And some may serve others more than they themselves are served. And "liberty," to those who run Bain Capital, means only the liberty to exploit others, economically & every other way possible, w/ the least gov't. interference. Free market capitalism. Liberty & opportunity for all who have the capital.

Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government.
This American acknowledges no such thing. We have to fight for our rights every day. In case Mitt doesn't remember, the "indulgence of government" comes from the "consent of the governed," not from imaginary men in the sky.

No people in the history of the world have sacrificed as much for liberty.
Make up that Mormon mind, Mittens. Gift? Or something for which we've had to make the most sacrifices ever? In the whole history of the world!! Are Americans noble or what? "Or what" is the correct answer. Remember those 20 million Soviets who died in the Great Patriotic War? That's a sacrifice.

More historical revisionism:

America took nothing from that Century's terrible wars – no land from Germany or Japan or Korea; no treasure; no oath of fealty.
Nope, nothing. Just a few acres for military installations, a few defense treaties, economic dominance. As in:

America faces a new generation of challenges. Radical violent Islam seeks to destroy us. An emerging China endeavors to surpass our economic leadership. And we are troubled at home by government overspending, overuse of foreign oil, and the breakdown of the family.

Over the last year, we have embarked on a national debate on how best to preserve American leadership. Today, I wish to address a topic which I believe is fundamental to America's greatness: our religious liberty.
Well, maybe we got some world-wide hegemony from all those wars. And you may remember how anxious we were to jump into all those wars, & sacrifice so much. Shit, if the Japanese hadn't felt threatened & jumped us at Pearl Harbor, we'd still be debating whether Hitler was right or wrong. Mittens doesn't like to call it hegemony though. He likes to call it American leadership. Which is now threatened by Muslims, The Yellow Economic Peril, gov't. spending & divorce. The solution to all these problems is simple: "religious liberty." Of course. Superstition. Making America stronger since 1492.

Let's look at religious liberty, & its alleged opposite:

Infinitely worse is the other extreme, the creed of conversion by conquest: violent Jihad, murder as martyrdom... killing Christians, Jews, and Muslims with equal indifference. These radical Islamists do their preaching not by reason or example, but in the coercion of minds and the shedding of blood. We face no greater danger today than theocratic tyranny, and the boundless suffering these states and groups could inflict if given the chance.
Certainly no Mormon has ever knocked on any one's door & attempted to coerce them. And no one has ever been converted by reason. (Or, in the case of Mormonism, by even the whole truth. One lies, the other swears to it.) And it's historical fact that no one has ever died for religion except at the blood-stained hands of a Muslim. (Mountain Meadows Massacre?) Theocratic tyranny? Dominionism? No, no such thing.

In such a world, we can be deeply thankful that we live in a land where reason and religion are friends and allies in the cause of liberty, joined against the evils and dangers of the day. And you can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: we do not insist on a single strain of religion – rather, we welcome our nation's symphony of faith.
Uh, reason & religion? Please. They are forces in conflict, one of them trying to drag the world, kicking & screaming, into something approximating what the 19th century could have been, the other hoping to return us to the pre-historic world of fear, pain & suffering, where we huddle in the caves & hope that Elohim will stop the lightning & thunder, and make the lions & bears go away, if only we sacrifice another child (or wife) to Him.

Again, kneeling in prayer to the Almighty. Why does this "Almighty" need to have its ass kissed for all eternity? Why does it need our suggestions as to who needs what, & what it should do about it? You don't suppose the "Almighty" was created in the image of the insecure control freaks who use it to dominate the "flock," do you? That would be a reasonable conclusion to the holes in the fairy story. And that would be why reason is always the enemy of those who wish to "lead" the believers. It threatens their power over the believers. That's what Mittens "Double Gitmo" Romney wants more than anything. And why he seems willing to say anything to get his hands on more than he already has. Or why, in this speech, supposedly to edify us about his religion, he uses the word "Mormon" only once, begs for "religious liberty," & generally cops out. No one said he wasn't a politician. Or a two-faced pandering Mormon flip-flopper. We guess It's OK If You Are A Mormon, consistency not being their strong suit.

Holy Crap

Mitt Romney & another great Xtian.

Here are excerpts from Mittens' big deal speech on his religion. He doesn't actually say anything, in the excerpts, about how goofy his religion can be historically proven to be. As a matter of fact, there's no mention by name of the LDS church or the word Mormon. Or Joseph Smith, whom the magic underwear people truly worship.

"The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation 'Under God' and in God, we do indeed trust.

"We should acknowledge the Creator as did the founders – in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places. Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from 'the God who gave us liberty.'"
The founders didn't put any Space Elf on our currency, nor did they write the "pledge." Nor did they put anything in the constitution about a god, or "faith." Not one fucking word. Shows how well Mittens was taught our history. This punk-ass attitude that some invisible fuck in the sky "gave us liberty" is an insult to all those who have given lives, body parts, mental health or even material goods for our "liberty."

Hot Damn!

Five items already today. Expect "blogging to be light" for the rest of the day, if not all eternity. Nothing is certain, after all, not even taxes.

More Wine(house) Sir?

Again w/ the AP, which has two separate stories on the subject:

Kanye West and Amy Winehouse each have had a rough year. He weathered the death of his mother last month, and she has been battling health issues that forced her to cancel scores of shows.
Now guess which one you'll be seeing a picture of here.
How'd you guess?

Winehouse, though dogged with rumors of substance abuse, made a serious impact this year with her album "Back to Black" and its big hit, "Rehab."

[...]

"Amy Winehouse is incredible. I think she should have got a little more positive recognition," said singer-songwriter Ne-Yo. Grammy-winning producer John Shanks called Winehouse's album Back to Black, which included the telling hit Rehab, "an important record."

"I don't think her troubles are really going to hurt her. I think the sound of that album made an impact," Shanks added.

Won't hurt her Grammy chances, anyway.

Winehouse, [...] Halperin [senior music writer for Entertainment Weekly] says[,] has an "overwhelming presence in the music industry.

"She's on the tip of people's tongues," says Halperin. "My dad listens to Amy Winehouse, and he doesn't listen to anything current. She's crossed these age barriers, and she has universal appeal."
Well, she basically does Motown. Even your father might like it.

Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves

The trouble began when Edward Merino and his wife Sonia opened Angelic Sanctuary fortune telling in Newport Beach, Calif. They allege the rival Stevens clan then broke in and attacked them.

From our friends at the AP, a story of fortunes & fortune-telling, as a sub-culture is dragged into the light of the court system.

"The older Gypsies are pulling out their hair, not wanting the courts in our business because they'll find out too much about us," said Tom Merino, who is distantly related to one of the clans but has spurned his heritage. "Ignorance is the Gypsies' weapon against the outside world."

[...]

That the dispute wound up in court reflects an erosion of tradition among the Gypsies, said Ian Hancock, an expert on Gypsy language and culture at the University of Texas.

"It used to be that the Romany world was absolutely insulated from the outside world," said Hancock, a Gypsy himself. "But it's very hard to resist the pressures of MTV, and people are beginning to see alternatives."
Specifically MTV, or merely MTV as a metaphor of the modern world?

Things were calm for months until the Stevens patriarch died of a heart attack at age 53 last May. Edward "Davie" Merino showed up at the funeral, pulling up at the cemetery in a limo with what was described as a menacingly burly chauffeur.

Merino says members of the Stevens clan attacked him and screamed, "We will make your life a living hell!" But the Stevenses claim that Merino flashed a gun and threatened to "come back and kill all of you." Both sides agree that before speeding off, Merino shouted that he wanted to make sure "the mother-(expletive) was dead."
Your editor, in a previous incarnation as a copy shop wage-slave, has had several encounters w/ these folk, as they came in to make fliers for their fortune-telling/psychic scams, or to fax their other scams. We assume they're into home (not) schooling, as they seemed actually illiterate; "Could you fill out the cover sheet for me? I can't write very good." One guy was sending about five different slip & fall claims to various stores. Very industrious, in their own way.

Another generation of MTV & "modernity" & this culture will be subsumed into the great American proletariat w/ the rest of us.