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.

Bog-Roll Update

Changes to the "You read, you decide" listing over there: We must differentiate between TBogg, then & now. And we've added TRex's new home(s) now that he's insulted (or something) his way out of firedoglake.

Good News for Modern Man

From the AP: Washington, DC -- The US Supreme Court has ended a challenge to Los Angeles County's decision to remove a cross from the county seal.

The court, without comment, declined to revive a lawsuit filed by a county employee who said the decision in 2004 to alter the seal was a display of hostility toward Christianity.

A US district judge and a federal appeals court had previously rejected those claims.

The county Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 in 2004 to remove the cross from the seal to stave off a threatened lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union.

New Improved Seal:
Old Theocratic Seal:

Further Evidence of Existence

Today is Thursday, December 6th, the 340th day of 2007. There are 25 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
Fifty years ago, on December 6th, 1957, America's first attempt at putting a satellite into orbit failed as Vanguard TV3 rose only about four feet off a Cape Canaveral launch pad before crashing back down and exploding.
In 1790, Congress moved to Philadelphia from New York.
In 1884, construction of the Washington Monument was completed.
In 1889, Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederate States of America, died in New Orleans.
In 1907, the worst mining disaster in US history occurred as 362 men and boys died in a coal mine explosion in Monongah, West Virginia.
In 1917, some 2,000 people died when an explosives-laden French cargo ship collided with a Norwegian vessel at the harbor in Halifax, Nova Scotia, setting off a blast that devastated the city.
In 1921, British and Irish representatives signed a treaty in London providing for creation of an Irish Free State a year later on the same date.
In 1923, a presidential address was broadcast on the radio for the first time when Calvin Coolidge spoke before Congress.
In 1926, French impressionist painter Claude Monet died at age 86.
In 1947, Everglades National Park in Florida was dedicated by President Truman.
In 1957, AFL-CIO members voted to expel the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. (The Teamsters were readmitted in 1987, but disaffiliated themselves from the AFL-CIO in 2005.)
In 1973, House minority leader Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as vice president, succeeding Spiro T. Agnew.
In 1982, 11 soldiers and 6 civilians were killed when an Irish National Liberation Army bomb exploded at a pub in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland.
In 1989, 14 women were shot to death at at the University of Montreal's school of engineering by a man who then took his own life.
In 1992, thousands of Hindu extremists destroyed a mosque in India, setting off two months of Hindu-Muslim rioting that claimed at least 2,000 lives.
In 1994, Orange County, Calif., filed for bankruptcy protection due to investment losses of about $2 billion.
Ten years ago: At least 69 people were killed when a Russian military cargo plane crashed in the Siberian city of Irkutsk seconds after takeoff.
In 1998, Hugo Chavez, who had staged a bloody coup attempt against the Venezuelan government six years earlier, was elected president.
Five years ago: President Bush pushed Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and economic adviser Larry Lindsey from their jobs in a Cabinet shakeup. Actress Winona Ryder was sentenced to community service as part of a probationary term for stealing more than $5,500 worth of merchandise from a Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills, California.
Ten Palestinians, including two U.N. employees, were killed when Israeli forces poured into a Gaza Strip refugee camp, searching for a fugitive militant. Anti-war activist Philip Berrigan died in Baltimore at age 79.
In 2003, Army became the first team to finish 0-13 in major college football history after a 34-6 loss to Navy. [Ha ha. Navy rules. — Ed.]
In 2004, Al-Qaida struck the U.S. Consulate in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, with explosives and machine guns, killing nine people.
One year ago: The bipartisan Iraq Study Group concluded that President Bush's war policies had failed in almost every regard, and said the situation in Iraq was "grave and deteriorating." [Emphasis ours. — Ed.] The Senate voted to confirm Robert Gates as defense secretary. Searchers found the body of San Francisco resident James Kim in the Oregon mountains, two days after his wife and two daughters were rescued from their car (Kim had set out on foot to find help for his family).

Today's Birthdays:
Dave Brubeck, jazzbo, 87. Patsy Takemoto Mink, first Asian-American Congresswoman, 80. Helen Cornelius, country singer, 66. James Naughton, actor, 62. Frankie Beverly, R&B singer, 61. Don Nickles, former U.S. senator, R-Okla., 59. JoBeth Williams, actress, 59. Kin Shriner, actor, 54. Wil Shriner, talk show host, 54. [Twins? Mere coincidence? — Ed.] Miles Chapin, actor, 53. Rick Buckler, musician (The Jam) 52. Tish Hinojosa, folk, country singer, 52. Bill Lloyd, country singer, 52. Steven Wright, comedian, 52. Peter Buck, musician (R.E.M.) 51. Judd Apatow, director ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Knocked Up") 40. David Lovering, musician (Pixies) 46. Janine Turner, actress ("Northern Exposure") 45. Ulf "Buddha" Ekberg, musician (Ace of Base) 37.

(Just a Few of the Billions of) Dead People Born on This Date:
Jean Eugene Robert Houdin, conjurer and magician (1805).
Joyce Kilmer, poet (1886).
Ira Gershwin, lyricist (1896).
Gunnar Myrdal, economist (1898).
Agnes Moorehead, actress (1906).
Eleanor Holm, swimmer, won gold medal in 100m backstroke at 1932 Olympics; thrown off '36 U.S. team for drinking champagne in public and shooting craps on boat to Germany (1913).

From the World of Show Biz:
In 1969, four people died at a free Rolling Stones concert at the Altamont Speedway in Livermore, California. One of the victims was stabbed by a Hell's Angel.
In 1970, on the anniversary of the Altamont Speedway concert, the documentary "Gimme Shelter" premiered in New York. It was about the Rolling Stones' 1969 tour. [What, for December we get Stones items instead of Beatles items every day? — Ed.]
In 1988, singer Roy Orbison died of a heart attack near Nashville, Tennessee. He was 52.
In 2003, musician Elvis Costello married jazz singer Diana Krall.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Robert A. Hawkins, Your 15 Minutes Are Here!!

The Cleveland Leader indicates/implies that this is Robert A. Hawkins:
America. "The Heartland," where the "Real Americans" are. Gun culture. Celebrity worship. Have a job & a sex partner or be nothing. AP report:
The gunman left a suicide note that was found at his home by his mother, said a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak. TV station KETV reported that the note said he wanted to "go out in style." The official identified the gunman as Robert A. Hawkins, age 20.
Apparently Hawkins had recently lost his no doubt fulfilling & well paying job at a Mickey D's & been dumped by his girlfriend. Figuring he had "nothing left to life but a pair of glassy eyes," he decided to make himself famous & "go out in style" w/ a mall shooting. Andrew Gumbel, who writes for local weekly CityBeat, filed a story for U. K. paper The Independent:
America's latest mass shooting triggered panic among hundreds of shoppers out buying presents for the holidays. And it rocked a city which is a virtual byword for the heartland – friendly, overweight, and heavily suburbanised. [...] Mass shootings have continued unabated across the United States in recent years, as disgruntled – and usually suicidal – gunmen have claimed victims in schools, on university campuses, at work places and even in church. The Bush administration has refused to continue a federal ban on automatic weapons begun during the Clinton presidency, and gun laws remain lax enough to make it relatively easy to buy deadly weapons in just about any state in the union. Omaha is on the eastern edge of Nebraska, a plains state which has made itself famous for cattle-raising and meat processing, right on the border with Iowa – where politicians of all stripes have been campaigning hard in anticipation of the Iowa caucus on 3 January.
So, Robert A. Hawkins, let this be your fame, or at least notoriety. Sorry we couldn't have done more for you.

Bush Visits Omaha, Nine Die in Mall Shooting (in Omaha)

The MSNBC weasels kept emphasizing that Bush's visit had nothing to do w/ the shooting. A quick & cursory check of the more hysterical areas of the wingnut-o-sphere reveals very little "AAAAGGGHHH!! Muzzies!!" reaction. Maybe they've learned a lesson from their previous hysterical over-reactions. Seems as if it was a "white guy," who plugged himself to bring the entertainment to an end. An eyewitness claimed he "shot a teddy bear." Was the teddy named Mohammad? Have mall shootings replaced school shootings? Should we have done this three-dot style? This blog was in the Westside Pavilion (izzat what they call it?) on Monday afternoon & it was nowhere near crowded, esp. not for the X-Me$$ forced consumption season. It would barely have been worth the rounds to start shooting.

Big News in Blogland; Whorosity Disclaimer

The "somewhat popular" TBogg has whored his ass to Firedoglake, where one must "register" to comment, the pages are polluted w/ advertising, blah blah blah. Pretty much a suckfest. Many might say, "Well, Bouffant, here's your opportunity to build readership w/ your grates-on-the-eyes, advertising-free Blogger™ platform, & then join the big-time, like TBogg." Well, Many Who Might Say, Malignant Bouffant doesn't roll that way. "Opportunities" are a crock. Indeed, M. B. barely rolls at all. All five to ten of our fans need not worry, we'll be right here making idle anonymous threats to the power structure & any one else who ticks us off until we completely wig out & attack a mall or other temple of commodity fetishism. Donations to the Armaments & Munitions Fund cheerfully accepted.

A-Wop-Bop-a-Loo-Wop-a-Lam-Bam-Boom: No End to Humanity's Follies

Today is Wednesday, December 5th, the 339th day of 2007.
There are 26 days left in the year.
In 1776, the first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
In 1782, the first native U.S. president, Martin Van Buren, was born in Kinderhook, New York.
In 1791, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in Vienna, Austria, at age 35.
In 1792, George Washington was re-elected president; John Adams was re-elected vice president.
In 1831, former President John Quincy Adams took his seat as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1848, President Polk triggered the Gold Rush of '49 by confirming that gold had been discovered in California.
In 1872, having left New York on Nov. 5, the brigantine Mary Celeste was found adrift off Portugal with no one aboard.
In 1932, German physicist Albert Einstein was granted a visa, making it possible for him to travel to the United States.
In 1933, national Prohibition came to an end as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment.
In 1955, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to form the AFL-CIO under its first president, George Meany.
In 1991, Richard Speck, who'd murdered eight student nurses in Chicago in 1966, died in prison a day short of his 50th birthday.
In 1994, Republicans chose Newt Gingrich to be the first GOP speaker of the House in four decades.
Ten years ago: The space shuttle Columbia returned from a 16-day mission that had been marred by the bungled release of a satellite. The World Trade Organization rejected American claims that the Fuji film company had conspired with the Japanese government to keep Eastman Kodak products out of Japan.
Five years ago: Strom Thurmond, the oldest and longest-serving senator in history, celebrated his 100th birthday on Capitol Hill. (It was at this gathering that Senate Republican leader Trent Lott, in toasting Thurmond, seemed to express nostalgia for Thurmond's segregationist past; the resulting firestorm prompted Lott to resign his leadership position.) In Kansas City, Missouri, a pharmacist who'd diluted chemotherapy drugs given to thousands of cancer patients was sentenced to 30 years in prison. General Ne Win, former dictator of Myanmar, also called Burma, died in Yangon at age 91. ABC executive Roone Arledge died in New York at age 71.
One year ago: Robert Gates won speedy and unanimous approval from the Senate Armed Services Committee to be secretary of defense. New York became the first city in the nation to ban artery-clogging trans fats at restaurants.

Today's Birthdays: Little Richard, singer, musician, 75. Joan Didion, author, 73. Calvin Trillin, author, 72. J.J. Cale, musician, 69. Jose Carreras, opera singer, 61. Jim Messina, singer (Loggins and Messina, Poco) 60. Morgan Brittany, actress ("Dallas") 56. Margaret Cho, comedian, actress, 39.

Those Who Will Not Be Celebrating:
Christina Rossetti, poet (1830)
George Armstrong Custer, American military officer (1839) [One of the all-time American assholes, who got just what he deserved. — Ed.]
Bill Pickett,cowboy, rodeo star (1870 )
Walt Disney, film producer (1901)
Strom Thurmond, U.S. senator (1902)
Otto Preminger, director, producer (1906) [Underrated, or not remembered as well as he should be. — Ed.]

Entertainment Events:
In 1968, the Rolling Stones album "Beggar's Banquet" was released.
Also in 1968, Graham Nash quit The Hollies because the band wanted to do an album of Bob Dylan songs. [Hmmm. Not sure what to say. — Ed.]
In 1975, the self-titled album "Fleetwood Mac" was certified gold in the US. It was the first one with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.
In 1992, Ice Cube became the first hard-core rapper to have an album make its debut at number one on the "Billboard" album chart, with "The Predator."
In 1996, country singer Montana Slim died at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, two months after being diagnosed with a stomach tumor. He was 91.
In 2003, actress Gwyneth Paltrow married Coldplay singer Chris Martin in Santa Barbara County, California. [Does anyone care? — Ed.]
In 2005, actress Valerie Bertinelli filed for divorce from Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen. [Really, does anyone care? — Ed.]

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Dog Days of August

Does this son of a bitch just completely shut his mind off for the entire month of August every year? August 2001: Presidential Daily Briefing: Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U. S. Presidential Reaction: "You've covered your ass." August 2007: New intel on Iran: "No hurry, I'll just keep babbling about World War III, you let me know whenever you're sure..." Seriously, it's impeachment time. The current occupant of the Oval Office either lies like a rug or wilfully ignores information he should have. Let Cheney take over. His heart won't last a week, or he'll do something equally impeachable w/in a month.

Hatin' on Huckabee

Oh, this is a good one. The Association of Holier-Than-Thou-Assholes is not happy about Huckabee. Especially as he seems to be a-surgin' to the top of the polls.
In fliers put under the doors of reporters at the Marriott in Des Moines, where Huckabee was staying Monday night, the organization, whose members are unknown, lays out its interpretation of how the former Baptist minister's views run contrary to the Bible.
Go right to the media, they do. Full-on pdf of the flier. First two paragraphs are the most amusing: "Is something wrong with what's left of their Southern Christian culture?" "Ours is an anti-Christian nation which does slaughter each other....one-third of our pre-born babies each year. Who is he fooling! [sic]"
"He's pro-life, pro-gun and pro-marriage, and I agree with him on that," she said. "But on the issue of immigration, the issue of capital punishment, the issue of education and of course taxes, I don't think he is a true conservative."
Is there nothing on these people's minds besides not paying taxes & having the state kill for them? Oh, yes: "pro-life & pro-gun!!" And White Southern Christian culture (what little hasn't been taken away by the Satan-worshippers yet).

Natural Idiot Estimate; Bush Revulsion Syndrome

One could, if one desired, read the whole pdf'ing NIE here. But that would be a waste of time. Go instead to Harper's and get some background on the whole thing.
The White House, and particularly Vice President Cheney, has been feverishly attempting to stop its issuance. The Director of National Intelligence, McConnell, has been at odds to oppose its declassification. In sum, something was there and the war party was intensely upset about it.
This is yesterday's news, & NatSec weasel Hadley's news conference.

For comedy relief (that is, if one is amused by the street corner rantings of paranoid schizophrenics, & really, who isn't?) we provide a link to the Pontifex of The Pod People, Norman the First. The usual paranoia: The intellectual elites in the CIA are trying to make Bush look bad. Or something. It makes little sense to the rational, but the absurdity is amusing.

And the latest on Bush's news conference today from the AP:
The President tries to reconcile two entirely different ideas.
Defending his credibility, President Bush said Tuesday that Iran is dangerous and must be squeezed by international pressure despite a blockbuster intelligence finding that Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago.

[...]

Bush rattled some allies by warning recently that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to World War III. Until Monday's report, the administration was unwavering in its conviction that Iran was seeking nuclear weapons. Bush said he did not know about the new findings until he was briefed last week - a point challenged by some.

"The president knew, even as he was saying 'World War III' and all that kind of stuff," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "He knew. He knew, he had been briefed."

[...]

"President Bush has lost all credibility with the American people," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. "We were misled on Iraq, now it's Iran. We need to get to the truth so our foreign policy is not only tough but smart."

[...]

The president opened the session by challenging Congress, in the three weeks before Christmas, to approve money without conditions for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, pass overdue spending bills and pass a temporary fix to the alternative minimum tax so millions of taxpayers don't get hit with tax increases.

"Based on the record so far," he said, "Americans could be forgiven for thinking that Santa will have slipped down their chimney on Christmas Eve before Congress finishes its work."
He just makes one want to smack every one of his lying teeth out, doesn't he? After one has kicked him in the balls a few times. And slipped something down his fucking chimney.

Let's Have a War Anyway

Do you think the president may have been holding the National Intelligence Estimate upside down when he read it? Or was it another of those, "Alright, you've covered your ass" moments? Is this impeachable? If not, what is? And when?

Poorly Written, Badly Reasoned

Professional nitwit Mark Noonan comes up w/ quite a statement in response to the Russian elections:
Putin should realise [sic] that all he’s done is set up a dictatorial system which is bound to suppress Russia’s ability to fully harness its resources while at the same time opening up the myriad opportunities for corruption which has always been the bane of Russian progress.
"Should" realize? "Should?" As if Putin doesn't know this? As if this hasn't been the plan all along? As if this isn't what's been going on in Russia for the last several yrs.? Those unfamiliar w/ Noony-Noony should note that his site, now called "Blogs for Victo(r)y" was, until recently, called "Blogs for Bush." Perhaps the Bush Worship Syndrome Noonan suffers from prevents him from seeing Putin as anything other than the man into whose eyes Bush looked, seeing his "soul." Though we don't remember Bush saying anything about said soul, other than that he'd seen it.

Ralph Wilson & His Dog Storm

However, the truth can often cheer one up, & you can't get much truer than the above.

Fuck a Bunch of Hanukkah, & Your Chris'mus Bullshit Too!

Today is Tuesday, December 4th, the 338th day of 2007. There are 27 days left in the year.
Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, begins at sunset.
In 1783, General George Washington bade farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.
In 1816, James Monroe of Virginia was elected the fifth president of the United States.
In 1875, William Marcy Tweed, the "Boss" of New York City's Tammany Hall political organization, escaped from jail and fled the country.
In 1918, President Wilson set sail for France to attend the Versailles Peace Conference.
In 1942, US bombers struck the Italian mainland for the first time in World War II.
In 1942, President Roosevelt ordered the dismantling of the Works Progress Administration, which had been created to provide jobs during the Depression.
In 1945, the Senate approved U.S. participation in the United Nations.
In 1965, the United States launched Gemini 7 with Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Frank Borman and Navy Commander James A. Lovell aboard.
In 1977, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, ruler of the Central African Empire, crowned himself emperor in a lavish ceremony. (Bokassa was deposed in 1979; he died in 1996 at age 75.)
In 1978, San Francisco got its first female mayor as City Supervisor Dianne Feinstein was named to replace the assassinated George Moscone. [Before you knew it, she was a fucking Senator!! Thanks a lot, Dan "Twinkie" White. — Ed.]
In 1991, the original Pan American World Airways ceased operations.
In 1996, the Mars Pathfinder lifted off from Cape Canaveral and began speeding toward Mars on a 310 million-mile odyssey. (It arrived on Mars in July 1997.)
Ten years ago: The National Basketball Association suspended All-Star Latrell Sprewell of the Golden State Warriors for one year for choking and threatening to kill his coach, P.J. Carlesimo, three days earlier. (An arbitrator later reduced the suspension and reinstated Sprewell to the Warriors, which had terminated his contract.) [That was 10 yrs. ago? Really? — Ed.]
In 2000, a Florida state judge refused to overturn Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush's certified victory in Florida, and the U.S. Supreme Court set aside a ruling that had allowed manual recounts. [Resulting in the destruction of a once semi-tolerable nation, & we don't mean Iraq, though there's no excuse for that either. — Ed.]
Five years ago: United Airlines lost its bid for one-point-eight billion dollars in federal loan guarantees, a major setback to the nation's second-largest air carrier in its efforts to avoid bankruptcy. Supreme Court justices heard arguments on whether federal laws intended to combat organized crime and corruption could be used against anti-abortion demonstrators. (The Court later ruled that such laws were improperly used to punish abortion opponents.)
One year ago: Lacking the Senate votes to keep his job, embattled U.N. Ambassador John Bolton offered his resignation to President Bush, who accepted it. [Ha ha ha. Punk-ass loser. — Ed.] Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith was convicted in the Philippines of raping a Filipino woman and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Truck driver Tyrone Williams was convicted in Houston of the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants crammed into a sweltering tractor-trailer. NASA announced plans to build an international base camp on the Moon. [Hurry up w/ that, wouldja? We'd really like to get off this planet. — Ed.]

Birthdays of The Living:
Deanna Durbin, actress, 86. Wink Martindale, game show host, 73. Max Baer Jr., actor, producer, 70. Gemma Jones, actress, 65. Bob Mosley, musician (Moby Grape) 65. [Now he can start singing "Hey Grandma," for real. — Ed.] Chris Hillman, musician (The Byrds) 63. Terry Woods (The Pogues) 60. Johnny Lyon (Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes) 59. Mary Peters, Secretary of Transportation, 59. Jeff Bridges, actor, 58. Gary Rossington, rock musician (Lynyrd Skynyrd) 56. Patricia Wettig, actress, 56. Cassandra Wilson, jazz singer, 52. Bob Griffin, rock musician (The BoDeans) 48. Vinnie Dombroski, rock singer (Sponge) 45. Chelsea Noble, actress, 43. Marisa Tomei, actress, 43. Fred Armisen, actor, comedian ("Saturday Night Live") 41. Jay-Z, rapper, 38. Tyra Banks, model-TV host, 34.

Birthdays of the Dead:
John Cotton, clergyman (1584)
Thomas Carlyle, essayist, historian (1795)
Lillian Russell, soprano (1861)
Edith Cavell, nurse (1865)
Rainer Maria Rilke, poet (1875)
Francisco Franco, Spanish general and leader (1892) [Still dead. — Ed.]
Dennis Wilson, pop musician (1944)

Today in "Entertainment" History [No Beatle items today! — Ed.]:
In 1944, country singer Eddy Arnold made his first recordings in Nashville.
In 1956, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins made a series of impromptu recordings in Memphis at Sun Records. They were released 25 years later under the title "The Million Dollar Quartet."
In 1965, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones was knocked unconscious when his guitar touched an ungrounded microphone during a concert in Sacramento, California. He still managed to finish the show.
In 1976, actress Elizabeth Taylor married Senator John Warner of Virginia.
In 1980, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin announced they would not re-form after the death of drummer John Bonham. [Are they not about to embark on a re-union tour w/ Bonzo's son on the sticks? That money just doesn't last forever. — Ed.]
In 1989, the Supreme Court upheld an appeals court ruling that said Prince did not steal the song "U Got the Look" from his half-sister. Lorna Nelson claimed the lyrics were similar to ones she had written.
In 1990, Madonna appeared on ABC's "Nightline" to defend her "Justify My Love" video, which was banned by MTV. She denied the video's explicit content was meant to stir up controversy and get publicity.
In 1991, Van Halen performed a free show in Dallas. Lead singer Sammy Hagar had promised to do the show because he had lost his voice during a concert in Dallas three and a half years earlier.
In 1993, composer & musician Frank Zappa died at his home in Los Angeles. He was 52. [To quote another dead local, talking about yet another dead musician: "Poor Otis/ Dead & gone/Left me here/To sing his song/Pretty little girl/With the red dress on/Poor Otis/dead & gone." — Ed.]
Frank w/ cat (not Mr. Phyllis).

This is too fucking depressing. No more.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Stealing From the Short Bus (& The Taxpayer)

Found at the web log of the dimly bulbed Matthew Yglesias, Liberal Hawk. We find it best to steal from the slower children. (We're not slow, just lazy. If we gave a shit, we could spend all day going over YouTube, but The Atlantic isn't paying us to do so.)

X-Me$$ Music Update

From the "paper of record:"

Drilling Down
‘Jingle Bells’ in Dog Barks? No, Thanks
By ALEX MINDLIN
Published: December 3, 2007
America’s least-loved Christmas song is a Danish recording of “Jingle Bells,” performed in dog barks.
The song — which enjoyed brief success in the United States in 1955 and 1970 — took last place in a test of 579 Christmas recordings, performed by Edison Media Research. Edison played the songs for a national sample of 200 women aged 30 to 49, recruited via e-mail, who said that they either liked or loved Christmas music.
All five of the best-loved Christmas songs are more than four decades old. The newest recording among the top 10 is John Lennon’s 1971 song “Happy Christmas (War Is Over).”
“It is certainly a place where the rules about who’s relevant are suspended for a month,” said Sean Ross, a radio analyst with Edison. “Even the Christmas songs that we think of as contemporary, things like Wham’s ‘Last Christmas,’ are 20 years old at this point.”
Elmo & Patsy’s 1984 novelty track, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” was hated by 17 percent and loved by 47 percent.
Put Just Another Blog™ in the don't hate it but don't love it category.

We'll also note that the group tested was wymyn 30-49. There may not be a "real" man in this country or Canada who likes standard Christmas songs. Nor did we know they'd tried to put the Singing Dogs over on us in '55, either. The torture never stops, does it?

Senator's Sex Scandal Surprise

Sen. Larry smiles at Pres. G. W. at the White House last month.
No surprise, really. The Idaho Statesman had been looking into allegations going back to Senator Larry's college days well before the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport men's room thing broke, & has continued on the story. Click here if you give a flying frig. The only item of real note is that the rent-boy who ruined the career of evangelical huckster Ted Haggard is now claiming he got some from the swingin' Senator too. And the Senator is denying all, as usual. Wake up & smell the coffee, potato pimp!

The Carpetbagger Report has the alleged names & incidents & a cynical take on the political aspects, if you really need more scandal.

Today is Monday...

Today is Monday, December 3rd, the 337th day of 2007. There are 28 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
In 1967, surgeons in Cape Town, South Africa, led by Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky, who lived 18 days with the new heart.
In 1818, Illinois was admitted as the 21st state.
In 1828, Andrew Jackson was elected president of the United States by the Electoral College.
In 1857, English novelist Joseph Conrad was born in Berdychiv, Poland. (Or: Berdichev, Russia [now Ukraine].) [150 yrs. old today! — Ed.]
In 1910, Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science movement, died.
In 1919, French painter and sculptor Pierre A. Renoir died at age 78.
In 1948, The House Un-American Activities Committee announced that former Communist spy Whittaker Chambers had produced microfilm of secret documents hidden inside a pumpkin on his Maryland farm.
In 1964, Police arrested some 800 students at the University of California at Berkeley, one day after the students stormed the administration building and staged a massive sit-in. [The Free Speech Movement. — Ed.]
In 1967, the 20th Century Limited, the famed luxury train, completed its final run from New York to Chicago.
In 1984, thousands of people died after a cloud of methyl isocyanate gas escaped from a pesticide plant operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary in Bhopal, India.
Ten years ago: President Clinton hosted his first town hall meeting on America's race relations in Akron, Ohio.
In 1999, scientists failed to make contact with the Mars Polar Lander after it began its fiery descent toward the red planet; the spacecraft was presumed destroyed.
Five years ago: Thousands of personnel files released under a court order showed that the Archdiocese of Boston went to great lengths to hide priests accused of abuse, including clergy who'd allegedly snorted cocaine and had sex with girls aspiring to be nuns. U.N. weapons inspectors made their first unannounced visit to one of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's presidential palaces.
One year ago: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won re-election, defeating Manuel Rosales.

Today's Birthdays: Country singer Ferlin Husky is 82. Singer Andy Williams is 80. Movie director Jean-Luc Godard is 77. Singer Jaye P. Morgan is 76. Rock singer Ozzy Osbourne is 59. [Not such an "Iron Man" these days. — Ed.] Actress Heather Menzies is 58. Actor Steven Culp is 52. Actress Daryl Hannah is 47. Actress Julianne Moore is 47. Actor Brendan Fraser is 39. Singer Montell Jordan is 39. Actress Holly Marie Combs is 34.

Today's Birthdays of Those Who Won't Be Celebrating:
Gilbert Stuart, painter (1755)
Ellen Swallow Richards, chemist and educator (1842)
Anna Freud, psychoanalyst (1895)

In Show Biz Today:
In 1925, Concerto in F, by George Gershwin, had its world premiere at New York's Carnegie Hall, with Gershwin himself at the piano.
In 1947, the Tennessee Williams play "A Streetcar Named Desire" opened on Broadway.
In 1953, the musical "Kismet" opened on Broadway. It featured the song "Stranger In Paradise."
In 1960, the Lerner and Lowe musical "Camelot" opened on Broadway.
In 1965, the album "Rubber Soul" by the Beatles was released. [Seriously, is there a Beatle event every single day? — Ed.]
In 1966, The Monkees performed their first live concert in Honolulu.
In 1968, Elvis Presley's now famous comeback special was broadcast on NBC.
In 1971, the Montreux Casino in Switzerland burned down during a performance by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Deep Purple was the opening act and wrote about it in their song "Smoke on the Water." [22 yrs. & one day later, Frank would die. — Ed.]
In 1976, seven gunmen broke into singer Bob Marley's house in Jamaica. Marley, his wife, their manager and a house guest were shot and wounded. The gunmen were never caught.
Also in 1976, Pink Floyd released a 40-foot inflatable pig at Battersea Power Station in England so they could photograph it for their "Animals" album cover. The pig broke loose, and authorities had to alert pilots to watch for a flying pig.
In 1979, eleven people were killed in a crush of fans at Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum, where the Who was performing. Dozens of others were injured.
In 1992, Stevie Wonder was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Academy of Songwriters.
In 1999, actress Madeline Kahn died of ovarian cancer in New York. She was 57.
In 2005, singer Marilyn Manson married burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese at a castle in Ireland.