Mr. Shearer shrugged off the question. “Oh, I don’t know,” he said. “Aren’t we 40 years too late for that — didn’t Andy Warhol destroy that question? It’s art because of the fact that it’s happening in an art context.”So there, Philistines!
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Copyright ©2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Oh, can't we leave the Constitution out of this?
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- An atheist who has fought to remove the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance has joined a lawsuit seeking to remove all religious references from President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration.
Michael Newdow believes government references to God or religion are unconstitutional.
He wants to remove the phrase "so help me God" from the oath of office, noting that it isn't in the oath set out in the Constitution.
The lawsuit also seeks to block inaugural prayers by the Rev. Rick Warren and the Rev. Joseph Lowery.
Newdow sued to remove religion from inaugurations in 2001 and 2005 but lost both cases.
This time, he's joining 17 other plaintiffs, including atheist and humanist organizations.
Lawrence Wilkerson, top aide and later chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said that as a new president, Bush was like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee whom critics said lacked knowledge about foreign affairs. When Bush first came into office, he was surrounded by experienced advisers like Vice President Dick Cheney and Powell, who Wilkerson said ended up playing damage control for the president. "It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin-like president — because, let's face it, that's what he was — was going to be protected by this national-security elite, tested in the cauldrons of fire," Wilkerson said, adding that he considered Cheney probably the "most astute, bureaucratic entrepreneur" he'd ever met. "He became vice president well before George Bush picked him," Wilkerson said of Cheney. "And he began to manipulate things from that point on, knowing that he was going to be able to convince this guy to pick him, knowing that he was then going to be able to wade into the vacuums that existed around George Bush — personality vacuum, character vacuum, details vacuum, experience vacuum."The lights are on but, etc. Though in this case just the porch light was on.
The diplomatic clock is ticking relatively slowly because both Europe and the United States are all but closed for Christmas and New Year's Day. Meshal has been trying to get the Arab League and Senegal, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, to push for a cease-fire. So far, international criticism of Israel has been relatively muted despite the many Palestinian casualties. Even in the Arab world, not everyone is crying over Hamas' losses.The biorhythms here are ticking pretty damn slowly too.
Hamas officials and analysts said Monday that the organization would actually like Israel to launch a ground operation; it hopes this would let it inflict such heavy losses on Israeli tanks and infantry that Israel would flee with its tail between its legs.Ah, the ol' "bog' em down." Literally.
However, ground forces are already in place for the next phase. The Gazan mud will make it harder for tanks and armored personnel carriers to maneuver, and Hamas has clearly been preparing its defense for months. Thus any ground operation will entail many casualties, which is one of the government's considerations in deciding how the operation should proceed.Oh, what do you know? There is some consideration of something here. Not sure what, though.
As Israeli tanks, artillery batteries and troops stepped up preparations for a possible ground offensive, Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced that the attacks wouldn't end until the military had delivered a "severe blow" to Hamas. "We are in an all-out war against Hamas," Barak told a special session of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.Israel Expands List of Targets to Include Group's Vast Support Network in Gaza
"There are many aspects of Hamas, and we are trying to hit the whole spectrum, because everything is connected and everything supports terrorism against Israel," said a senior Israeli military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
"Hamas's civilian infrastructure is a very, very sensitive target. If you want to put pressure on them, this is how," said Matti Steinberg, a former top adviser to Israel's domestic security service and an expert on Islamist organizations.
Golly, in the good old days (mostly lip service, of course, to ideals very far from fulfillment then & now) there would have been whining about attacks on civilian populations, cries of "This isn't very gentlemanly," ad nauseum. Or some mention that deliberate attacks on civilians are, are, oh, what is that word? Mmm ... terrorism, that's right. But if the attacking is done from the air against civilian "infrastructure" (any civilians maimed or killed are therefore collateral infrastructure damage, of course) & someone or another has been quoted as saying it's "all-out war," then it's perfectly acceptable.
GAZA (Reuters) –Israel rejected any truce with Hamas Islamists on Tuesday and said it was ready for "long weeks of action" on a fourth day of the fiercest air offensive in the Gaza Strip in decades. As Israeli armored vehicles and troops were massed along the border for a possible invasion, Israeli warplanes pressed on with strikes, killing 12 Palestinians, including a pair of sisters, aged 10 and 12, in attacks on Hamas targets.Threatening to back up their shock & awe w/ boots on the ground, are they? Turning quite another cheek. Not nearly as much fun a few thousand klicks east, where rational thought, or simple fear of atomic annihilation, would appear to be holding things together.
On Monday, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the country's powerful army chief General Ashfaq Kayani called for calm with India. "Pakistan and India need to engage in dialogue to address their differences," Zardari told visiting Chinese vice foreign minister He Yafei.Buck up, nihilists. Anything can (&, barring entropy, eventually will) happen in a random, meaningless cosmos.
Monday, December 29, 2008
That adds something. And certainly no one means to take away from Pastor Prick's astounding multi-tasking ability.[O]ne has not merely a right but a duty to object to having as an inaugural auxiliary a man who is a pushover for anti-Semitism, Islamic sectarianism, "rapture" theology, fascist dictatorship, 10th-rate media trade-offs, and last-minute panicky self-censorship all at the same time.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
— On December 28th, 1968, The first big East Coast rock festival opened in Miami. Performers at the Miami Pop Festival included Chuck Berry, Country Joe and the Fish and Richie Havens.
In 1976, bluesman Freddie King died in Dallas at age 42. He was a major influence on British rockers like Eric Clapton.
In 1983, Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson drowned while swimming in the harbor at Marina Del Rey, California. He was 39.
In 1991, nine people were killed at a benefit basketball game at City College in New York that featured Run DMC and LL Cool J. The victims were crushed when the crowd surged to get into the gym where the game was to be played.
In 1993, country singer Shania Twain married producer Mutt Lange. They have since divorced.
In 1996, actor Ken Wahl was arrested for allegedly threatening a bartender with a hunting knife in Los Angeles.
In 2005, the body of singer-bassist Barry Cowsill of The Cowsills was found on a New Orleans wharf. He had been missing since Hurricane Katrina three months earlier. Cowsill was 51.
— Today's Birthdays: Actor Lou Jacobi is 95. Comic book creator Stan Lee is 86. Actor Martin Milner is 77. Actress Nichelle Nichols is 76. Actress Dame Maggie Smith is 74. Rock singer-musician Charles Neville is 70. Rock singer-musician Edgar Winter is 62. Rock singer-musician Alex Chilton (The Box Tops; Big Star) is 58. Actor Denzel Washington is 54. Country musician Mike McGuire (Shenandoah) is 50. Actor Chad McQueen is 48. Comedian Seth Meyers is 35. Rhythm-and-blues singer John Legend is 30. Actress Sienna Miller is 27.
— The Associated Press
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Hamas leaders threatened revenge attacks, Israel told its civilians near Gaza to take cover and moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for restraint. Egypt opened its border with Gaza to allow ambulances to drive out some of the wounded."Raw" footage from the AP, cooked footage from the Beeb. Things still not to a head in South Asia, & cooler heads may even prevail.
Friday, December 26, 2008
"If you give an asset $1,000, he'll go out and buy the shiniest junk he can find, and it will be apparent that he has suddenly come into a lot of money from someone," said Jamie Smith, a veteran of CIA covert operations in Afghanistan and now chief executive of SCG International, a private security and intelligence company. "Even if he doesn't get killed, he becomes ineffective as an informant because everyone knows where he got it."An "asset." A real fucking "human resource," huh?
"You didn't hand it out to younger guys, but it could be a silver bullet to make connections to the older ones," said one retired operative familiar with the drug's use in Afghanistan. Afghan tribal leaders often had four wives -- the maximum number allowed by the Koran -- and aging village patriarchs were easily sold on the utility of a pill that could "put them back in an authoritative position," the official said.As soon as one's little Mohammed is working again, one is "back in an authoritative position?" Our inability to transcend biology has left us w/ a wonderful world, hasn't it?
let's skip ahead to a listicle of lowlights, which is probably what you all really want anyway, since everyone runs on schadenfreude these days and is filled with impotent rage!Yeah daddy!)
Germans are organized. The French are snotty. Americans have a national character trait, too: inattention. It's now obvious that Obama exploited our hard-wired inability to read between the lines to lay the groundwork for what many of his supporters will soon view as a terrible betrayal.Damn, Ted, you think so?
Seems clear. End means end. Finito. No more. But there's an interesting phrase in Obama's promises to pull out, repeated throughout the campaign": "combat troops." "We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated," he wrote in his op/ed. "We can safely redeploy our combat brigades." "It's time to end this war," Obama concluded. Ending the war would mean following the political cartoonist Matt Bors' prescription: The troops would go to the airport. They would board planes. They would fly away. But Obama doesn't want to end the war. Obama will classify some units as "combat troops" and send them to Afghanistan, which he wants to expand into an even bigger war. But tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of troops, will remain in Iraq, killing and getting killed.Lied to by a politician. When do the rivers start running uphill?
during what's supposed to be the cheeriest time of year, this abundance of stories from one of humanity's darkest hours?turns out not to be that the You Know Whos are trying to subvert Christmas w/ bummer fare, but
"Much of it is awards-driven," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers, which tracks box-office totals. "Downer movies come out this time of year as a reflection of the fact that people are vying for Oscars."
Today's Birthdays:Actor Donald Moffat is 78. Actor Caroll Spinney (Big Bird on TV's "Sesame Street") is 75. Rhythm-and-blues singer Abdul "Duke" Fakir (The Four Tops) is 73. Record producer Phil Spector is 68. "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh is 63. Country musician Bob Carpenter (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 62. Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk is 61. All-Star baseball player Chris Chambliss is 60. Humorist David Sedaris is 52. Rock musician James Kottak (The Scorpions) is 46. Country musician Brian Westrum (Sons of the Desert) is 46. Rock musician Lars Ulrich (Metallica) is 45. Actress Nadia Dajani is 43. [No real idea who she is, but at least we aren't posting picures of women young enough to be our daughters. Ed.]Rock musician J is 41. Country singer Audrey Wiggins is 41.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
It hadn't been a very good year.
Nineteen-sixty-eight saw [...] the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, riots across the world and the My Lai massacre.
But on Christmas Eve, Americans turned on their TVs to see perhaps the first good news all year: The Apollo 8 astronauts [...] as they became the first humans to orbit the moon.
Obamas to have turkey, ham for Christmas
By PHILIP ELLIOTT – 2 hours ago
HONOLULU (AP) — President-elect Barack Obama and his family planned a Christmas Day that includes opening presents in the morning and sharing a traditional turkey and ham dinner in the evening.
You can't believe a word that man says.
Coming next: Obama Goes to Church, Last Nail in His Coffin of Deception.
See? See? He's lying again! Absolute proof! Oh, & Chicago political machine, if we didn't mention it!
(CNN) — While President-elect Barack Obama will certainly be making history when he takes the oath of office on January 20, he'll also be repeating it -- by placing his hand on the same Bible Abraham Lincoln used during the inauguration of 1861.(The 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible against the backdrop of the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress.)The Constitution does not require presidents to be sworn in on a Bible, though almost every chief executive since George Washington has chosen to do so.
We imagine the wailing has been going on for some time now, so we only need shooting to complete the trifecta. Bankers take cover!
Today is Thursday, Dec. 25, the 360th day of 2008. There are six days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
One Hundred and Ninety years ago, in 1818, "Silent Night," written by Franz Gruber and Father Joseph Mohr, was performed for the first time, at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.
On this date:
In 336, the first recorded celebration of Christmas on Dec. 25 took place in Rome.
In 1066, William the Conqueror was crowned king of England. [Marking the first step in a long struggle to civilization by the English. — Ed.]
In 1776, Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, N.J.
In 1926, Hirohito became emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito. (Hirohito was formally enthroned almost two years later.)
In 1941, during World War II, Japan announced the surrender of the British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong.
In 1989, ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed following a popular uprising. [Off w/ their heads! — Ed.]
In 1991, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on television to announce his resignation as the eighth and final leader of a communist superpower that had already gone out of existence.
Ten years ago: British mogul Richard Branson, American millionaire Steve Fossett and Per Lindstrand of Sweden gave up their attempt to make the first non-stop, round-the-world balloon flight seven days into their journey, ditching off Hawaii.
Five years ago: Sixteen people were killed by mudslides that swept over campgrounds in California's San Bernardino Valley. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf survived a second assassination bid in 11 days, but 16 other people, including three suicide bombers, were killed. A plane crashed after taking off from Benin, killing at least 130 of the 161 people aboard. Europe's tiny Mars lander, the Beagle 2, was supposed to go into orbit around the Red Planet, but the craft was lost.
In 2006, James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul," died of heart failure in Atlanta at age 73.
One year ago: A tiger at the San Francisco Zoo escaped her enclosure and killed a park visitor; two brothers also were mauled, but survived. Russia's military successfully test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads. A ruptured gasoline pipeline exploded near Nigeria's main city of Lagos, killing at least 40 people.
Thought for Today: "My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?" — Bob Hope, American comedian (1903-2003).
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
LONDON (Reuters) – The world's troubles are rooted in a rejection of GodHeard this kind of crap anywhere before? Sure you have, all the fucking time from the expensively suited charlatans of American religiosity. This time the source is slightly different, but essentially the same. (Cheaper suit, though.)
and if Jesus Christ lived today he would stand up against bullying powers, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will tell Britons on Christmas Day.Granted, that part's a bit different. Our religious fuhrers would probably say that ol' Jeezis would be standing up against the powers that are relentlessly bullying Anglo male heterosexuals here in the United Snakes. (Oddly enough, Iran says there are no 'mos in Iran to persecute their heteros, having apparently taken care of that problem through hangings. Don't give Pastor Rick any ideas.) It may already have started, but prepare yourselves for a fit of fury from the fascists about this:
The message will be broadcast on Channel 4 Thursday evening as an alternative to the traditional Christmas television and radio address from Queen Elizabeth.That should be good for about five yrs. of the finest outrage at the Beeb as "appeasers" & "race traitors." It probably won't be too much longer until someone on the right calls for nuking Europe just to keep the whiteys from all being raped, sold into slavery or whatever other pathetically masochistic fantasies of authoritarianism the conservative mind indulges in. Pathetic exit line from Ahmadinejad:
"The prerequisite to this change is a change in goals, intentions and directions. If tyrannical goals are repackaged in an attractive and deceptive package and imposed on nations again, the people, awakened, will stand up against them."Please. "The people" (world-wide, here, there & everywhere) are in a coma. If they did awaken, it would be a medical/psychological miracle. And they still wouldn't stand up for or against squat.