Saturday, January 3, 2009

Memories ... Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah

© MMIX The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
We don't see why not. It's a compilation of G. W. Bush's stupider recorded statements, all of which are in the public domain. Stop us if you can, you bastards.
"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." - September 2000, explaining his energy policies at an event in Michigan.

Non-Ammunition/Shoe Shots of the Yr.

From España, & the lovely Sophia, we rec'd. this photo of dangerous lightning.Lightning is also popular w/ the sort of person who might vote in an MSNBC* on-line poll for photo of the yr. This was numero uno, of the Chaiten volcano in Chile, attracting lightning like an American flagpole. By Carlos Gutierrez of the Patagonia Press. Congrats, Carlos! *As always, it stands for: Mighty Sorry, No Body Cares.

Annals of Political Idiocy: Republican Nose Spites Republican Face

Ron Brownstein, who reported from Washington for the L. A. Times for some time before leaving the sinking ship like all the other reporter rats, has some ideas about the grumpy old cracker Jesustard assholeRepublican party's future.  It is what you (probably) wanted to hear: The G. Old Party is digging itself into a hole it may never crawl out of. Keep sticking to those "principles," boys & occasional girl. All that capitalistic, discredited by the end of the 20th century garbage will certainly take you to the top of the AmeriKKKan heap, because this is a center-right nation.
[T]he party's loss of regional and ideological equilibrium can reinforce itself. Because Republicans from swing and Democratic-leaning states now constitute such a distinct minority in the party caucus, they lack the numbers to prevent it from adopting positions unpopular with their voters. The caucus majority can impose a direction that solidifies the party where it is already strong but further endangers the minority. This isn't the first time a party has fallen into this debilitating cycle. The classic example came after 1854 when Congress approved the Kansas-Nebraska Act, effectively repealing the Missouri Compromise that had limited slavery's spread in the territories. Until then, congressional Democrats were divided closely between Northern and Southern members. But the backlash against the Kansas-Nebraska Act destabilized that balance by provoking severe losses for Northern Democrats; as Southerners gained the advantage in the Democratic caucus, they repeatedly identified the party with pro-slavery policies that further undercut Northern Democrats already struggling against the emerging Republican Party. As the late David M. Potter recounted in his magisterial history of the 1850s, The Impending Crisis, the House's Northern Democrats didn't entirely recover until the New Deal.
We're stuck w/ a complex political system, to put it mildly, but political (not Social) Darwinism will deal the Party of Bush its deserved death-whimper. Into the dustbin o' history w/ you lot! Siddown over there. That's right, next to the Whigs!

Today's Mental Health

Techno-Rape

Not sure if it's technology that inspires the crime, but there's no question that technology can bust it, if you're so fucking stupid & twisted as to record the evidence. 
In general, we'd not bring up this sort of nastiness ('though we might to make a point about athletes) but we had to mention the name of one of the accused.  
The third suspect, Luster Ditto Lewis, 20, of Irvine, turned himself in Friday and was arraigned.

Somewhere On The Axis Between "Infantile" & "Juvenile"

Ukraine warns EU of 'serious gas problems' in 10 days
"Serious gas problems." Heh-heh. Wait, it's not funny. There could be a fucking war over this, for all we know. (That's certainly what our nihilist inner child would like.)
"It's not just a threat but a reality, they are stealing gas from the pipelines and underground facilities," Medvedev said after talks later Saturday in Berlin. He said negotiating with Ukrainians was "like having a talk with people from the planet Mars."
Oh, great. Another of these "Our opponents are not human & we can't talk to them, let alone reason w/ them" deals that are so popular these days. 

"You Won't Have Dick NixonG. W. Bush To Kick Around Any More"

jurrassicpork of "Welcome Back to Pottersville" has been pimping his web log again. This time it's worth it ('Cause it's simple pictures, yet we all know their worth.) as mr. pork seems to have more time on his hands (or more patience) than this typist, enabling him to locate, copy & paste photos as if there were no tomorrow. (And there may not be a tomorrow.) Sample above.

Triumph of the Will Over Kwanzaa

Photo courtesy anncoulter.com. No comment.
Ann Coulter:
Fresh off my triumph over Kwanzaa, I thought I'd mention a couple of other facts that some of us are forced to keep repeating because liberals refuse to learn.

We've no idea what this "triumph over Kwanzaa" is (other than a delusion of some sort) but the idea itself is as ridiculous as winning the "war on terror." Or the "war on X-mess." We aren't going to see what her "other facts" are (Does she think she used "facts" in her triumph over Kwanzaa?) but maybe conservatives should learn the "facts" of 4 November 2008 before they start repeating themselves.

U. S. Incompetence in Iraq

Note to the Bush Admin.:
You fucking morons. When imposing "democracy" on an oil-rich nation, be sure the strongman you put in is both willing & able to do your bidding. Not someone like the Shi'ite weakling who went to visit the terrorist madmen in Iran this wknd.
This fairy weakling bullshit must not be allowed to stand. The United Snakes owns & operates the "nation" of Iraq, & one of the many, often-changing rationalizations for AmeriKKKa spending billions of dollars & the lives of a few thousand suckers who enlisted in the armed forces is so we may use Iraq to do anything we want in order to control our oil.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told Iran's Arabic news channel on Friday that Iraq "will not let Iraq be a launching ground to threaten any country," Al-Alam said on its website.
is not to be tolerated, whether from AmeriKKKa-hating leftists here or our employees overseas. We demand that President Bush demand the resignation of al-Maliki immediately, & throw him in Gitmo for ... ever. That will show the next Iraqi "leader" that we mean business. (Literally. Oil business.)

Will Elder vs. Some Punk-Ass Chump

From David Hajdu, the dilrod who doesn't like John Zorn, an "appreciation" of Will Elder, who is accused by Mr. Hajdu of being & remaining "juvenile" & "immature." Fuck you & the mature, adult horse you rode in on, Hajdu.
As you're so mature & sophisticated, Dave, why don't you finish shoving the Rod Of Upright- & Uptightness all the way up your ass & start reviewing the symphony & other, more "adult," aesthetic activities, keeping your aestheic fascism away from the popular arts? Asswipe.

Invasion!

Armored Column Seen Moving Into Gaza

Israeli television showed a column of tanks moving into the Gaza Strip on Saturday evening, in what appeared to be the beginning of a ground offensive against Hamas. The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse reported that Israeli defense officials were confirming the movement of ground forces into Gaza.

Read more.

In Which We Destroy Caroline Kennedy-Schlossberg's Last Chance At The NY Senate Seat (UPDATED)

UPDATED (3 January 2008 @ 1800): In the interest of gaining more hits, we type Ms. Kennedy's name w/o her husband's name hanging from it: Caroline Kennedy. We'll note that,  much as Mrs. Clinton became "Hillary" when running for the Senate seat CK now wants, so Ms. Kennedy-Schlossberg has become simply "Caroline Kennedy" in her search for power.

Today's Boring Birthdays: 3 January

Record producer Sir George Martin is 83. Actor Robert Loggia is 79. Actor Dabney Coleman is 77. Journalist-author Betty Rollin is 73. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Hull is 70. Singer-songwriter-producer Van Dyke Parks is 66. Musician Stephen Stills is 64. Rock musician John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) is 63. Actress Victoria Principal is 59. Actor-director Mel Gibson is 53. Actress Shannon Sturges is 41. Jazz musician James Carter is 40. Contemporary Christian singer Nichole Nordeman is 37. Actor Jason Marsden is 34. Actress Danica McKellar is 34.  Associated Press

Celebrity Boredom

On January third, 1967, Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys refused to be sworn in after receiving a US Army draft notice. Wilson said he was a conscientious objector.
In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Two Virgins" record sleeve, which showed them posing nude, was declared pornographic in New Jersey. Police seized copies of the album. In 1970, members of The Beatles recorded their last song together, "I Me Mine." George Harrison later used that title for his autobiography. Also in 1970, singer Davy Jones announced he was leaving The Monkees,a year after Peter Tork quit the group. In 1974, Bob Dylan and The Band opened a brief tour. Several dates were recorded for a live album. In 1989, country legend Johnny Cash was released from a Nashville hospital two weeks after undergoing double-bypass heart surgery. At the time, he said he had no plans to cancel any of his tour dates that year. Also in 1989, "The Arsenio Hall Show" made its premiere on Fox. In 1991, the sit-com "Blossom" premiered on NBC. In 1992, singer Jim Kerr of Simple Minds married actress Patsy Kensit in London. They have since split up. In 2004, Britney Spears married childhood friend Jason Alexander in a spur-of-the-moment wedding in Las Vegas. The marriage lasted 55 hours before they got it annulled. Associated Press

362 & Counting

Today is Saturday, Jan. 3, the 3rd day of 2009. There are 362 days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: On Jan. 3, 1959, Alaska became the 49th state as President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation. On this date: In 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Leo X. [Caused, as you certainly recall, by Luther's firm stand against Catholic anti-Semitism. — Ed.] In 1777, General George Washington's army routed the British in the Battle of Princeton, N.J. In 1868, the Meiji Restoration re-established the authority of Japan's emperor and heralded the fall of the military rulers known as shoguns. [How'd Tojo get in then? Is somebody keeping an eye on these yellow devils now? — Ed.] In 1909, Danish-American comedian Victor Borge was born in Copenhagen. In 1938, the March of Dimes campaign to fight polio was organized. In 1947, congressional proceedings were televised for the first time as viewers in Washington, Philadelphia and New York got to see some of the opening ceremonies of the 80th Congress. In 1949, in a pair of rulings, the US Supreme Court said that states had the right to ban closed shops. In 1961, the United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba. In 1990, ousted Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega surrendered to US forces, 10 days after taking refuge in the Vatican's diplomatic mission. In 1993, President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a historic nuclear missile-reduction treaty in Moscow. Ten years ago: Chicagoans dug out from their biggest snowstorm in more than 30 years. Israeli authorities detained, and later expelled, 14 members of Concerned Christians, a Denver-based cult which Israeli officials feared was plotting violence in Jerusalem to bring about the Second Coming of Christ. [Cult? Sounds mainstream Xian to us. — Ed.] Five years ago: A Boeing 737 owned by Egyptian charter tour operator Flash Airlines crashed into the Red Sea, killing all 148 people aboard, most of them French tourists. NASA's Mars rover, Spirit, touched down on Mars. One year ago: Barack Obama won Democratic caucuses in Iowa, while Mike Huckabee won Republican caucuses. [Where are those two now? — Ed.] After nearly 27 years in prison, Texas inmate Charles Chatman was set free by a judge because of new DNA evidence showing he'd been wrongly convicted of rape. Pop star Britney Spears was hospitalized after a child custody dispute with ex-husband Kevin Federline resulted in an hours-long standoff with police. The Kansas Jayhawks won the Orange Bowl, defeating Virginia Tech 24-21. Associated Press

Friday, January 2, 2009

That About Which We Could Not Possibly Care Any Fucking Less

The tragic to him, his family & friends death of John Travolta's son. Doesn't mean shit to us, & will have no effect whatsoever on the lives of the billions world-wide who've been exposed to this non-story.

WARNING: Non-Adult, "Cute," Even, Content

Mute this. (Not that you won't have muted the instant the advert appears.) It's much more amusing w/o the network dilrod narrating.
The following story, "Competitive TV Watching," may be amusing as well. Or it could suck. We're not going to pre- (or post-) judice ourselves or others by watching it.

Representation or Death!!

Continuing our discussions of the world of art, we direct your attention to the Art Renewal Center, where not only will you know what is art, but you will like it.

Keep Watching The Skies

Are we under attack? Should we make like the IDF & start shooting back?
... one or more meteors that slammed into North America. That could explain the extinction of mammoths, saber-tooth tigers and maybe even the first human inhabitants of the Americas, the scientists report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.
At this stage in our descent to the worm food phase of existence, we've realized that the onlyone of the few things keeping us going is the desire to exist long enough to see our little planet get a good hard whacking from a cosmic object; an asteroid, a comet, a large chunk of green cheese fallen from the moon, anything random & nihilistic. As always, patience is a virtue, as we probably aren't at a good time in the cycle for first-hand observation, yet we hope.

Today In Entertainment History — January 2: Death & Disappearance

In 1971, George Harrison became the first former Beatle to hit number one on the US album chart, with "All Things Must Pass." In 1974, singer Tex Ritter died of a heart attack in Nashville at the age of 68. In 1979, thirty years ago [!!! — Ed.] former Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious went on trial for the murder of his girlfriend. He didn't live to hear the verdict. He died a month later. In 1983, the musical play "Annie," based on the "Little Orphan Annie" comic strip, closed on Broadway after 2,377 performances. In 1990, actor Alan Hale, best known as the skipper on "Gilligan's Island,"died of cancer. His ashes were scattered at sea. In 1997, guitarist Randy California of Spirit disappeared after being caught in a current off the coast of Hawaii. [Did he ever re-appear? — Ed.] Associated Press

Undated -- Today in History

Today is Friday, Jan. 2, the 2nd day of 2009. There are 363 days left in the year. [This is just going to grind on interminably, isn't it? — Ed.] Today's Highlight in History: Fifty years ago, on Jan. 2, 1959, the Soviet Union launched its space probe Luna 1, the first manmade object to fly past the moon, its apparent intended target. [Oops! — Ed.] On this date: In 1492, Muhammad XII, the sultan of Granada, the last Arab stronghold in Spain, surrendered to Spanish forces. In 1788, Georgia became the fourth state to ratify the US Constitution. In 1900, Secretary of State John Hay announced the "Open Door Policy" to facilitate trade with China. Eighty years ago, in 1929, the United States and Canada reached agreement on joint action to preserve Niagara Falls. In 1935, Bruno Hauptmann went on trial in Flemington, N.J., on charges of kidnapping and murdering the 20-month-old son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. (Hauptmann was found guilty, and executed.) In 1942, the Philippine capital of Manila was captured by Japanese forces during World War II. In 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. In 1965, the New York Jets signed University of Alabama quarterback Joe Namath to a contract reportedly worth $427,000. Thirty-five years ago, in 1974, President Richard M. Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 miles-an-hour (however, federal speed limits were abolished in 1995). In 2006, a methane gas explosion at the Sago Mine in West Virginia claimed the lives of 12 miners, but one miner, Randal McCloy, Jr., was eventually rescued. Ten years ago: A U.N.-chartered cargo plane carrying nine people was downed in Angola's central highland war zone; there were no survivors. Five years ago: Insurgents shot down a US helicopter west of Baghdad, killing one soldier. British flights to Washington and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, were canceled as a security precaution. The NASA spacecraft Stardust flew through the halo of the distant comet Wild 2. One year ago: The Justice Department opened a full criminal investigation into the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes. Pakistan pushed back parliamentary elections until Feb. 18, 2008 -- a six-week delay prompted by rioting that followed the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. Oil prices soared to $100 a barrel for the first time. Late-night talk shows returned to the air two months into a writers strike. (David Letterman and Craig Ferguson had interim agreements allowing writers to work on their shows; Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel returned without theirs.) Associated Press

Today's Birthdays January 2 (They Walk Among Us)

Today's Birthdays: Country musician Harold Bradley is 83. TV host Jack Hanna is 62. Actress Wendy Phillips is 57. Actress Gabrielle Carteris is 48. Movie director Todd Haynes is 48. Actress Tia Carrere is 42. Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. is 41. Model Christy Turlington is 40. Actor Taye Diggs is 38. [Has anyone ever heard of the following twenty- & thirty-nothings? — Ed.] Rock musician Scott Underwood (Train) is 38. Rock singer Doug Robb (Hoobastank) is 34. Actor Dax Shepard is 34. Actress Paz Vega is 33. Country musician Chris Hartman is 31. Rock musician Jerry DePizzo Jr. (O.A.R.) is 30. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kelton Kessee (IMX) is 28. Actress Kate Bosworth is 26. Associated Press

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Guns, Booze, A New Year & Nazi Regalia Not Always Best Mixture: Yes Or No?

From the New Year's Morbidity File:
Police kill man dressed as German soldier in U-District Seattle police shot and killed an armed man dressed in a World War II-era Nazi uniform early this morning in the University District.
Police searching the apartment after the incident found the large collection of German military regalia and a lot of alcohol, Kappel said.

Today In Entertainment History — January 1: Fucking Nothing

In 1950, Sam Phillips opened his first recording studio, the Memphis Recording Service. In 1953, country star Hank Williams died of a heart attack brought on by alcohol. The year before, he had been fired from the Grand Ole Opry because of his drinking. Williams was 29. In 1960, Johnny Cash played his first concert for inmates, at a show at San Quentin Prison in California. Future country star Merle Haggard was in the audience, serving time for burglary. [Small world, huh? — Ed.] In 1962, The Beatles failed their first audition in London. Decca Records instead signed Brian Poole and The Tremeloes. In 1980, Queen Elizabeth made singer Cliff Richard a member of the Order of the British Empire. In 1985, VH1 went on the air. Its first video was Marvin Gaye's version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." In 1992, Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians played what was perhaps its smallest New Year's concert. The crowd consisted of about 100 people on a sidewalk in Hickory, North Carolina. The band's concert at a local hall had been canceled due to poor ticket sales. In 1993, "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" made its premiere on CBS. In 1995, Rod Stewart set a new record for the largest attendance for an open-air concert. Three-and-a-half million people turned out for his New Year's concert in Rio de Janeiro.In 1997, Bryant Gumbel anchored his last "Today" show broadcast. He was replaced by Matt Lauer. In 1999, actress Alyssa Milano married singer Cinjun Tate of Remy Zero. She filed for divorce eleven months later. In 2002, Eric Clapton married Melia McEnery at a church in London. He was 56, she was 25. At the same ceremony, their six-month-old daughter was baptized, along with Clapton's 16-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. In 2005, Motley Crue singer Vince Neil dropped an expletive while wishing drummer Tommy Lee a happy New Year shortly after midnight during a live broadcast of NBC's "The Tonight Show." Motley Crue later sued NBC, claiming the network banned them to placate the FCC. In 2008, Eddie Murphy married Tracey Edmonds, the ex-wife of Babyface, on a private island off Bora Bora. [We don't give two hoots when people we know that we have to talk to get married. How/why can/does anyone give a shit about tee vee actors &/or has-beens from shit bands marrying? — Ed.] Associated Press

Born on the First of ... & Still Living

Today's Birthdays: Author J.D. Salinger is 90. Former Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., is 87. Actor Ty Hardin is 79. Actor Frank Langella is 71. Rock singer-musician Country Joe McDonald is 67.Writer-comedian Don Novello is 66. Actor Rick Hurst is 63. Country singer Steve Ripley (The Tractors) is 59. Rapper Grandmaster Flash is 51. Actress Ren Woods is 51. Actress Dedee Pfeiffer is 45. Actress Embeth Davidtz is 43. Country singer Brian Flynn (Flynnville Train) is 43. Actor Morris Chestnut is 40. Actor Verne Troyer is 40. Associated Press

Today in History - Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009

There are 364 days left in the year. [Damnit, are we starting this crap again? Do we never learn? — Ed.] Today's Highlight in History: Fifty years ago, on Jan. 1, 1959, Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries overthrew Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista, who fled to the Dominican Republic. On this date: In 1808, a law prohibiting the importation of slaves into the United States went into effect. In 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that slaves in rebel states were free. [Note the "rebel states" qualification. What a fucking crock. — Ed.] In 1890, the first Tournament of Roses was held in Pasadena, Calif. In 1892, the Ellis Island Immigrant Station in New York formally opened. In 1898, New York City was consolidated into five boroughs. One hundred years ago, in 1909, five-term Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater was born in Phoenix, Arizona Territory. In 1953, country singer Hank Williams Sr., 29, while being driven to a concert date in Canton, Ohio,was discovered dead in the back seat of his car during a stop in Oak Hill, W.Va. In 1979, the United States and China held celebrations in Washington and Beijing to mark the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In 1984, the breakup of AT&T took place as the telecommunications giant was divested of its 22 Bell System companies under terms of an antitrust agreement. In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect. Ten years ago: The euro, the new single currency of 11 European countries (later 15), officially came into existence with the start of the New Year. (The euro became legal tender on this date in 2002.) Cuban President Fidel Castro, marking the 40th anniversary of his rise to power, portrayed his socialist nation as a defender of humanity against rapacious capitalism. [And how's that working out for the capitalists these days? — Ed.] Five years ago: Pakistan's Gen. Pervez Musharraf won a vote of confidence validating his five-year term as president. The University of Southern California defeated the University of Michigan, 28-14, in the Rose Bowl. One year ago: Revelers celebrated the new year around the world; a ball dropped for the 100th year in New York's Times Square. Violence claimed scores of lives in Kenya, Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. diplomat John Granville and his driver were shot to death by Sudanese gunmen in Khartoum. New no-smoking rules went into effect in France, prohibiting people from lighting up in cafes, bars and restaurants. Cyprus and Malta adopted the euro. The Georgia Bulldogs romped past Hawaii 41-10 at the Sugar Bowl, ending the Warriors' perfect season. Thought for Today: ''Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.'' - Thomas Mann, German author (1875-1955). [So true. You humans, your calendars & all your other meaningless activities & rituals are such bullshit. Wise up, throw away your artificialities, cut the soles out of your shoes, & go live in a tree!! — Ed.]

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What Is This "Art" Crap, Anyway?

Photo: Christopher Capozziello/NYT
Harry Shearer shrugs off the question: 
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!

Historic Birthdays

Born on this date, died later: Henri Matisse 1869 - 11/3/1954 French painter (Obit.) Jules Styne 1905 - 9/20/1994 American songwriter Nathan Milstein 1903 - 12/21/1992 Russian-born American violinist Elizabeth Arden 1878 - 10/18/1966 Canadian-born American cosmetic executive Ben Jones 1882 - 6/13/1961 American racehorse trainer George C. Marshall 1880 - 10/16/1959 U. S. Army general Robert Aitken 1864 - 10/29/1951 American astronomer Charles Cornwallis 1738 - 10/5/1805 English soldier and statesman Jacques Cartier 1491 - 9/1/1557 French explorer

Show Bidness Yr. Ender

Today in Entertainment History On December 31st, 1943, a near-riot of bobby-soxers in Times Square in New York greeted Frank Sinatra's singing engagement at the Paramount Theater. In 1947, singing cowboy Roy Rogers married Dale Evans. In 1961, the Beach Boys played their first gig in Long Beach, California. They earned $300. In 1969, Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys made its debut in New York. In 1972, the MC5 played its last gig, in Detroit. They were paid $200. In 1973, AC/DC made their concert debut in Sydney, Australia. In 1982, Little Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band got married in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Percy Sledge and Little Richard performed "When A Man Loves A Woman" at the reception. In 1984, drummer Rick Allen of Def Leppard lost his left arm in a car crash near his home in England. Allen stayed with the band, using a special drum kit. In 1985, singer Rick Nelson was killed when fire broke out aboard a private plane that was taking him to a New Year's Eve performance in Dallas. His fiancee and five other people were also killed. In 1989, game show host Pat Sajak married former "Playboy" model Lesly Brown in Annapolis, Maryland. In 1991, Gilbert O'Sullivan won his lawsuit against rapper Biz Markie for using a sample of his song "Alone Again (Naturally)" for Markie's song "Alone Again." The case changed the rules of sampling by requiring that all samples be cleared before releasing them on another record. In 2000, Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson married actress Kate Hudson in Aspen, Colorado. They have since divorced. In 2004, singer Natalie Imbruglia married Silverchair singer Daniel Johns in an exclusive resort in Australia. They have since divorced. Also in 2004, Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson was arrested after he and his son got into a fight with police during a New Year's Eve celebration in Naples, Florida. In 2005, Dick Clark returned to his "New Year's Rockin' Eve" telecast after missing the previous year because he had had a stroke. He was hoarse and sometimes hard to understand, but he said he "wouldn't have missed this for the world." Today's birthdays: TV producer George Schlatter is 79. Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins is 71. Actor Tim Considine ("My Three Sons") is 68. Actress Sarah Miles is 67. Guitarist Andy Summers of The Police is 66. Actor Ben Kingsley is 65. Bassist Pete Quaife (The Kinks) is 65. Producer-director Taylor Hackford is 64. Actor Joe Dallesandro is 60. Actor Tim Matheson is 61. Singer Burton Cummings of The Guess Who is 61. Singer Donna Summer is 60.Bassist Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith is 57. Actor James Remar ("Dexter") is 55. Actress Bebe Neuwirth ("Cheers") is 50. Singer Paul Westerberg is 49. Actor Val Kilmer is 49. Guitarist Ric Ivanisevich (ee-van-EE'-sah-vich) of Oleander is 46. Guitarist Scott Ian of Anthrax is 45. Actress Gong Li is 43. Author Nicholas Sparks is 43. Singer-actor Joe McIntyre of New Kids on the Block is 36. Cellist Mikko Siren of Apocalyptica is 33.

Copyright ©2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The End Is Here, Finally!

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 31, the 366th and final day of 2008. [Hoo-ray!! — Ed.] Today's Highlight in History: In 1879, Thomas Edison first publicly demonstrated his electric incandescent light in Menlo Park, N.J. On this date: In 1775, the British repulsed an attack by Continental Army generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold at Quebec; Montgomery was killed. In 1857, Britain's Queen Victoria decided to make Ottawa the capital of Canada. In 1877, President Rutherford B. Hayes and his wife, Lucy, celebrated their silver anniversary (actually, a day late) by re-enacting their wedding ceremony in the White House. In 1908, Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal was born in Buczacs in what was then Austria-Hungary. In 1946, President Harry S. Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II. [Now we're told that WWII lasted more than a yr. longer than we'd been told? Doesn't bode well for any 16-mo. out-of-Iraq plan, does it? — Ed.] In 1974, private U.S. citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years. [Leading directly to the current spate of Pat Boone adverts wherein the old bastard tries to sucker you into getting gold due to the imminent fall of capitalism. — Ed.] In 1978, Taiwanese diplomats struck their colors for the final time from the embassy flagpole in Washington, marking the end of diplomatic relations with the U.S. In 1985, singer Rick Nelson, 45, and six other people were killed when fire broke out aboard a DC-3 that was taking the group to a New Year's Eve performance in Dallas. In 1986, 97 people were killed when fire broke out in the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Three hotel workers later pleaded guilty in connection with the blaze.) In 1997, Michael Kennedy, the 39-year-old son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was killed in a skiing accident on Aspen Mountain in Colorado. Ten years ago: Europe's leaders proclaimed a new era as 11 nations merged currencies to create the euro, a shared money they said would boost business, underpin unity and strengthen their role in world affairs. Five years ago: A car bomb ripped through a crowded restaurant hosting a New Year's Eve party in Baghdad, killing eight Iraqis. One year ago: President George W. Bush signed legislation to allow state and local governments to cut investment ties with Sudan because of the violence in Darfur. Sara Jane Moore, who took a shot at President Gerald R. Ford in San Francisco in 1975, was paroled after 32 years behind bars. Thought for Today: "In masks outrageous and austere, The years go by in single file; But none has merited my fear, And none has quite escaped my smile." — Elinor Wylie, American author (1885-1928). — The Associated Press

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good Idea

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.

Associated Press

Oh, can't we leave the Constitution out of this?

Winter Reading List

In case you missed anything over the last yr., Jon Swift apparently solicited various typists  for what they considered their "best" items of the yr.
 
So if you've nothing to do next yr., you might want to look & catch up

Bits of Yr. End Business

Via The NYT (we're almost impressed) we (& now you) are led to Roy (alicublog) Edroso's Top Ten RW Typist Ninnies of the Yr., in the Village Voice.
And more from The NYT: Media-mediated fuck-ups of 2008. 

Vacuuming The Rug In The Oval Office

Nature, & Dick Cheney, abhor a vacuum.
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.

Up To The Moment, Given The Time Difference

HAARETZ, in Israel, but not blood-thirsty, w/ a wrap-up & analysis.
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.

Will We Be Continually Confronted W/ This Motif For The Next Four Yrs.?

This Wk. In Armageddon

McClatchy:
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.

Meanwhile:

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.

DonkeyMonkee Show Bidness

On December 30th, 1944, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. In 1962,singer Brenda Lee was slightly injured when she tried to rescue her dog from her burning home in Nashville. The dog died of smoke inhalation. In 1979, composer and lyricist Richard Rodgers died in New York at the age of 77. His musicals include "The King and I" and "The Sound of Music." Also in 1979, Emerson, Lake and Palmer announced they were splitting up. They later reunited. [Tant pis, as the French say. — Ed.] In 1981, XTC played their first American concert, in Philadelphia.
In 1999, an intruder broke into George Harrison's home outside London and stabbed Harrison and his wife. Michael Abram was later found innocent by reason of insanity. Also in 1999, singer Johnny Moore of The Drifters died on his way to a London hospital after having breathing difficulties. He was 64. In 2002, singer Diana Ross was arrested for drunk driving in Tucson, Arizona. — Today's Birthdays: Actor Joseph Bologna is 74. Actor Russ Tamblyn is 74. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax is 73. Actor Jack Riley is 73. Folk singer Paul Stookey is 71. TV director James Burrows is 68. Actor Fred Ward is 66. Singer-musician Michael Nesmith is 66. Singer Davy Jones is 63. [Davy & Mike, Utah 1967(?) — Ed.]Singer Patti Smith is 62. Rock singer-musician Jeff Lynne is 61. "Today Show" co-host Meredith Vieira is 55. Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph is 53. Actress Patricia Kalember is 52. Country singer Suzy Bogguss is 52. "Today Show" newscaster Matt Lauer is 51. [That's funny. Lauer's now the co-host w/ Ms. Vieira, who shares his b-day as well as hosting duties. How long's it been since the AP updated any of this? — Ed.] Actress-comedian Tracey Ullman is 49. Rock musician Rob Hotchkiss is 48. Radio-TV commentator Sean Hannity is 47. Runner Ben Johnson is 47. Singer Jay Kay (Jamiroquai) is 39. Rock musician Byron McMackin (Pennywise) is 39. Actress Meredith Monroe is 39. Actor Daniel Sunjata is 37. Actress Maureen Flannigan is 36. Actor Jason Behr is 35. Golfer Tiger Woods is 33. TV personality-boxer Laila Ali is 31. Singer Tyrese is 30. Actress Eliza Dushku is 28.
— The Associated Press

The End is Nigher — This Date in History

Today is Tuesday, Dec. 30, the 365th day of 2008. There is 1 day left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: In 1853, the United States and Mexico signed a treaty under which the US agreed to buy some 45,000 square miles of land from Mexico for $10 million in a deal known as the Gadsden Purchase. (The area covered by the agreement is located in present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.) On this date: In 1813, the British burned Buffalo, N.Y., during the War of 1812. In 1903, about 600 people died when fire broke out at the recently opened Iroquois Theater in Chicago. In 1907, the Mills Commission issued its final report concluding that Abner Doubleday invented baseball — a finding that few sports historians embrace. [Yeah, look it up in the Britannica. They were playing something similar under the name "rounders" in Limeyland long before Abner. — Ed.] In 1922, Vladimir I. Lenin proclaimed the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In 1936, the United Auto Workers union staged its first "sit-down" strike, at the Fisher Body Plant No. 1 in Flint, Mich. In 1940, California's first freeway, the Arroyo Seco Parkway connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena, was officially opened. In 1948, the Cole Porter musical "Kiss Me, Kate" opened on Broadway. In 1972, the United States halted its heavy bombing of North Vietnam. In 1994, a gunman walked into a pair of suburban Boston abortion clinics and opened fire, killing two employees and wounding five other people. (John C. Salvi III was later convicted of murder; he died in prison an apparent suicide.) In 2006, Iraqis awoke to news that Saddam Hussein had been hanged; victims of his three decades of autocratic rule took to the streets to celebrate. Ten years ago: Weak but radiant with pride, Nkem Chukwu, the mother of the Houston octuplets, went home from the hospital. Five years ago: The Bush administration announced it was banning the sale of ephedra, and urged consumers to immediately stop using the herbal stimulant linked to 155 deaths and dozens of heart attacks and strokes. Author John Gregory Dunne died in New York City at age 71. One year ago: Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of an election that opponents and observers alleged was rigged; violence flared in Nairobi slums and coastal resort towns, killing scores in the following days. The 19-year-old son of assassinated opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal Zardari, was named symbolic leader of her Pakistan Peoples Party, while Bhutto's widower took effective control. Thought for Today: "Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone." — Anonymous. — The Associated Press

Monday, December 29, 2008

Terror & Evangelicalism Mix Very Well

In the continuing effort by Just Another Blog (From L. A.)™ to foment total religious war (A gawdly mission we'd think would be easier, given the current world situation.) we point you to the latest from Xopher Hitchens in Slate, noting "Pastor" Prick Warren's trip to Syria, as first brought to blog-o-spheric attention by bottle-blond attorney-at-law Debbie Schlussel. (One of whose commenters claims Prick W. is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.*) Technically, we'd have to say that it was John Aravosis of AMERICAblog who brought Debbie's second item to the blog-o-sphere's flighty attention, as few spheroids note the issue of Atty. Schlussel's keyboard.
Does Hitch bring us anything new? Enough. How about:
[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.
That adds something. And certainly no one means to take away from Pastor Prick's astounding multi-tasking ability.
*No indication of Pastor Warren as a presence at the C. F. R. Does that surprise anyone? Granted, the C. F. R. has the usual collection of nasty old white men, & a few nasty old non-white or non-male types who toe the nasty old white male line as if it were their own. That means you, Colin Powell, & you, Madeleine Albright.

The Year

Is Dave Barry funny? Of course not. But we can assume that his WaPo compilation of crap that happened in this drawing-to-a-close-not-a-moment-too-soon yr. will, whatever his take on it, have something amusing, amazing & absurd, & something we'd completely forgotten or never heard until mos. & mos. later. We'll leave it to you to wade through or forge ahead.

The Entertainment Industry Throughout History

On December 29th, 1955, 13-year-old Barbra Streisand made her first recording, "You'll Never Know." In 1957, singers Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme were married in Las Vegas. In 1967, musician Dave Mason left the band Traffic to pursue a solo career. In 1975, Paul Kantner and Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane divorced. In 1980, singer-songwriter Tim Hardin died of a heroin overdose in Los Angeles at the age of 40. He's best known for composing the song "If I Were A Carpenter." In 1989, Jane Pauley marked her last day as co-host of the "Today" show after 13 years. Her successor was Deborah Norville. In 1992, actor Todd Bridges was arrested in Burbank, California. Police say they found speed and a loaded gun in his car, but Bridges claimed he had been framed. At the time, Bridges had been doing public service announcements telling kids to stay away from drugs. In 2006, burlesque artist Dita Von Teese filed for divorce from singer Marilyn Manson, citing irreconcilable differences. They had been married barely a year. Today's Birthdays: Actor Clarence Swensen ("The Wizard of Oz") is 91. Actress Inga Swenson is 76. Actress Mary Tyler Moore is 71. Actor Jon Voight is 70. Country singer Ed Bruce is 69. Rock musician Ray Thomas (Moody Blues) is 67. Singer Marianne Faithfull is 62. Jockey Laffit Pincay Junior is 62. Actor Ted Danson is 61. Actor Jon Polito is 58. Singer-actress Yvonne Elliman is 57. Actress Patricia Clarkson is 49. Comedian Paula Poundstone is 49. Rock singer-musician Jim Reid (The Jesus and Mary Chain) is 47. Rock singer Dexter Holland (The Offspring) is 43. Actor-comedian Mystro Clark is 42. Actor Jason Gould is 42. Movie director Andy Wachowski is 41. Actress Jennifer Ehle is 39. Rock singer-musician Glen Phillips is 38. Actor Kevin Weisman is 38. Actor Jude Law is 36. Actor Mekhi Phifer is 34. — Associated Press

The End Is Nigh

Today is Monday, Dec. 29, the 364th day of 2008. There are 2 days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: Two hundred years ago, on Dec. 29, 1808, the 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson, was born in Raleigh, N.C. On this date: In 1170, Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by knights loyal to King Henry II. In 1845, Texas was admitted as the 28th state. In 1851, the first American Young Men's Christian Association was organized, in Boston. In 1890, the Wounded Knee massacre took place in South Dakota as an estimated 300 Sioux Indians were killed by US troops sent to disarm them. In 1916, Grigory Rasputin, the so-called "Mad Monk" who'd wielded great influence with Czar Nicholas II, was murdered by a group of Russian noblemen in St. Petersburg. In 1934, Japan formally denounced the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. In 1940, during World War II, Germany dropped incendiary bombs on London, setting off what came to be known as "The Second Great Fire of London." In 1957, singers Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme were married in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1975, a bomb exploded in the main terminal of New York's LaGuardia Airport, killing 11 people. In 1978, during the Gator Bowl, Ohio State University coach Woody Hayes punched Clemson player Charlie Bauman, who'd intercepted an Ohio pass. (Hayes was fired by Ohio State the next day.) Ten years ago: Two top Khmer Rouge leaders apologized for the deaths of as many as two million people during their regime in the 1970s, and asked Cambodians to forget the past. Five years ago: Monsignor Michael Courtney, Pope John Paul II's ambassador in Burundi, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen. Actor Earl Hindman, who'd played the mostly unseen neighbor Wilson on "Home Improvement," died in Stamford, Conn., at age 61. One year ago: Australian David Hicks, the first person convicted at an American war crimes trial since World War II, was freed from prison in Adelaide after completing a US-imposed sentence. The New England Patriots ended their regular season with a remarkable 16-0 record following a thrilling 38-35 comeback victory over the New York Giants. (New England became the first NFL team since the 1972 Dolphins to win every game on the schedule.) Today's Birthdays: ABC newscaster Tom Jarriel is 74. Jockey Laffit Pincay Junior is 62. Thought for Today: "Ours is the age of substitutes: Instead of language we have jargon; instead of principles, slogans; and instead of genuine ideas, bright suggestions." -- Eric Bentley, British-born American author and educator. [No fucking shit. But what are we to do about it? — Ed.] — The Associated Press

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Death, Assault, Divorce & Birthdays Are "Entertaining?"

— 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

363 Down, Three to Go

Today is Sunday, Dec. 28, the 363rd day of 2008. There are three days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: One hundred years ago, on Dec. 28, 1908, a major earthquake followed by a tsunami devastated the Italian city of Messina, killing about 70,000 people, although some estimates are much higher. On this date: In 1694, Queen Mary II of England died after more than five years of joint rule with her husband, King William III. In 1832, John C. Calhoun became the first vice president of the United States to resign, stepping down over differences with President Andrew Jackson. In 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union. In 1856, the 28th president of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, was born in Staunton, Va. In 1897, the play "Cyrano de Bergerac," by Edmond Rostand, premiered in Paris. In 1917, the New York Evening Mail published "A Neglected Anniversary," a facetious, as well as fictitious, essay by H.L. Mencken recounting the history of bathtubs in America. In 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance. In 1958, the Baltimore Colts won the NFL championship, defeating the New York Giants 23-17 in overtime at Yankee Stadium. In 1973, Alexander Solzhenitsyn published "Gulag Archipelago," an expose of the Soviet prison system. In 1987, the bodies of 14 relatives of Ronald Gene Simmons were found at his home near Dover, Ark., following a shooting rampage by Simmons in Russellville that claimed two other lives. (Simmons was later executed.) Ten years ago: American warplanes exchanged missile fire with Iraqi air defenses; President Bill Clinton said there would be no letup in American and British pressure on Saddam Hussein. Four people were killed when fierce gales struck during an Australian yacht race. Two other people disappeared and are presumed to have drowned. Five years ago: Libya for the first time allowed U.N. nuclear officials to inspect four sites related to its nuclear weapons program. One year ago: President George W. Bush used a "pocket veto" to reject a sweeping defense bill because he objected to a provision that would have exposed the Iraqi government to expensive lawsuits seeking damages from the Saddam Hussein era. Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was laid to rest as the country's army tried to quell a frenzy of rioting in the wake of her assassination. Six French charity workers who had been sentenced to eight years' forced labor in Chad for allegedly trying to kidnap 103 children were transferred to French custody. (The workers were later pardoned by Chad's president and set free.) Today's Birthday: Former United Auto Workers union president Owen Bieber is 79. Thought for Today: "The masses gladly take revenge for the honors they render us." — Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821). — The Associated Press