Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pope Announces Final Solution: "Quote, unquote, the Holocaust"

Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI (né Hitleryouth) has decided to continue w/ the hating, by de-excommunicating four bishops who had their mitres handed to them, along w/ an invitation to get the hell out of the church, for having been consecrated some 20 yrs. ago by extra-right archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
The Vatican said Saturday that Benedict rehabilitated the four as part of his efforts to bring Lefebvre's Society of St. Pius X back into the Vatican's fold.

But the move came just days after one of the four, British Bishop Richard Williamson, was shown in a Swedish state TV interview saying that historical evidence "is hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed."

Christ on a crutch, so to speak. Have yet to watch this, but is it one of those "It was really only four and a half million, not six, so none of it counts" deals? As we watch: Oh no, it's much more than that! More on this dude, & political machinations w/in the church at the Times of London.
We find this sort of thing both stupid & very irksome. It really bothers other types. Jewish people, for example. And Andrew Sullivan: 
I am truly, deeply ashamed of my church for this action and hope this provokes such an outcry it is reversed. These are not the words of Christ. They are the words of evil.
Nyah nyah, Mr. Pope!!

We don't pull this one out every time the German Pope does something, but he's begging for it this time.

Obama Wimps Out: Neither Justice Nor Peace

Ted Rall gets righteous.

Donald Rumsfeld, the beast who promoted, botched and joked about a war that has killed more than a million innocent Iraqis, spent the last year as a "distinguished visiting fellow" at Stanford, cogitating about "issues pertaining to ideology and terror."

John Yoo, the Justice Department hack who wrote the memos that authorized U.S. military and intelligence personnel to torture prisoners of war, is enjoying the cozy ambiance of academe as a UC Berkeley law professor.

Colin Powell, whose 2003 lie to the U.N. ("there can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more") convinced Americans who were still on the fence to support the invasion of Iraq--a misbegotten project that drove the last nail in the coffin of the U.S. economy--whiles away his days attending the meetings of various corporate boards.

If you were expecting Barack Obama to deliver justice, forget it. "I don't believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards," Obama said recently. "Look forward" is Beltwayese for "no accountability."

[...]
If we fail to hold the elites who seized the presidency in a 2000 judicial coup d'état to account, if we say torture is no big deal, if we don't imprison men who lied and conspired to murder more than one million Iraqis and Afghans and Americans and countless others, if we let these individuals golf and fish and deliver lectures to young people as if they have done nothing wrong, then such horrors will happen again and again. I want would-be torturers to "look over their shoulders." I want them to second-guess themselves.
As these sons of bitches don't appear to have given a second thought to anything they've done, that doesn't seem too likely.

Royal Saudi Rats Leave
Sinking U. S. S. Bush

Loyalty rewarded: No sooner does Bushie leave office than his "friends" turn on him.
"America is not innocent in this calamity," said Turki, who is the chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh. "Not only has the Bush administration left a sickening legacy in the region, but it has also, through an arrogant attitude about the butchery in Gaza, contributed to the slaughter of innocents."

The impassioned comments are a departure from the oil-rich kingdom's normally diplomatic rhetoric toward the U.S., its longtime ally. The Bush family has had strong ties with the Saudi royal family, and Turki's harsh public comments about Bush were rare.
Poor little George. Once people are free to speak their minds, tiny as they may be, W. will be recorded as the worst "leader" of a democracy ever. And of most authori-totalitarian regimes as well.

Our Globalized World

Once in a while a visit from afar is too good not to share. IP Address [MYOB, jerks! — Ed.] (Warsaw Agricultural University - SGGW) ISP NASK Research and Academic Networks in PolandLocation
Continent : Europe
Country : Poland (Facts)
State/Region : Warszawa
City : Warsaw
Lat/Long : 52.25, 21 (Map)
Distance : 5,985 miles
Language Turkish So. Someone whose devil-box speaks Turkish & is connected to Warsaw A & M's IP address searched for:
indian party in warsaw 17 january 2009 bollywood
It's almost inspirational, this world wide web.

Bottom Dropping From Bottom At Increased Rate

What's the question?
"The question now is not how bad will 2009 be, but will we recover in 2010 and if we recover, will it only be anemic?" said Andrew Scott, professor of economics at the London Business School, adding that the housing bubble is bigger, consumer debt is higher and the speed of the slowdown faster than in previous recessions. [...] That is diminishing hopes for China as Asia's economic white knight, with its growth potentially propping up economies in the region. And as China grows at a far slower rate, it is importing fewer goods from neighbors, giving export-dependent nations in the region no way to pick up the slack from plummeting demand in the United States and Europe. Particularly hard hit is South Korea, which saw trade with China soar in recent years. But as China slows, and the United States, Europe and Japan sink into deep recessions, unsold goods are piling up at South Korea docks. This week, the government said the economy in the fourth quarter staged its sharpest drop since the Asian economic crisis swept across the country in 1998.
There is no answer. We'll be fighting each other for tins of pet food before we know it.

In Entertainment, Nothing Notable On This Date From 1971 Through 1989? Really?

January 24th, 1952, Carl Perkins married Valda Crider in Corinth, Mississippi. In 1957, Elvis Presley recorded the song "Teddy Bear." In 1969, Jethro Tull played its first US concert, in New York City. They were the opening act for Led Zeppelin. In 1970, James "Shep" Sheppard, the lead singer for The Heartbeats and Shep and the Limelites, was found murdered in his car on the Long Island Expressway in New York. [A do-wop fact we did not know, & a sad one, even 39 yrs. after the fact. — Ed.] In 1990, actress Kim Basinger signed papers giving her title to most of Braselton, Georgia. The price was about $20 million. Also, actor John Hurt got married for the third time. He married Jo Dalton in England. In 1992, the producer of the New Kids On The Block album "Hangin' Tough" claimed that the group members sang only about 20 percent of the lyrics. He sued for millions of dollars for creative contributions and royalties. The allegations were denied by the New Kids, and the suit eventually was dropped. Associated Press

Today's Birthdays

Actor Ernest ("Mermaid Man") Borgnine is 92.Evangelist Oral Roberts is 91. Actor Jerry Maren ("The Wizard of Oz") is 90. Actor Marvin Kaplan ("Top Cat") is 82. Cajun musician Doug Kershaw is 73. Singer-songwriter Ray Stevens is 70. Singer-songwriter Neil Diamond is 68. Singer Aaron Neville is 68. Actor Michael Ontkean is 63. Actor Daniel Auteuil is 59. Country singer-songwriter Becky Hobbs is 59. Comedian Yakov Smirnoff is 58. Bandleader-musician Jools Holland is 51. Actress Nastassja Kinski is 50.Rhythm-and-blues singer Theo Peoples is 48. Country musician Keech Rainwater (Lonestar) is 46. Comedian Phil LaMarr is 42. Olympic gold-medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Sleepy Brown (Society of Soul) is 39. Actor Matthew Lillard is 39.
Associated Press

Jan. 24 In History

By The Associated Press 1 hr 30 mins ago
Today is Saturday, Jan. 24, the 24th day of 2009. There are 341 days left in the year.
Today in Sound & Vision
Today's Highlight in History:
Jan. 24, 1908,
is considered the starting date of the Boy Scouts movement in England, under the aegis of Robert Baden-Powell.
On this date:
In 1742,
Charles VII was elected Holy Roman Emperor during the War of the Austrian Succession.
In 1848, James W. Marshall discovered a gold nugget at Sutter's Mill in northern California, a discovery that led to the gold rush of '49. [And, of course, the ruin of California. — Ed.]
In 1924, the Russian city of Petrograd (formerly St. Petersburg) was renamed Leningrad in honor of the late revolutionary leader. (However, it has since been renamed St. Petersburg.)
In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill concluded a wartime conference in Casablanca, Morocco.
In 1965, Winston Churchill died in London at age 90.
In 1978, a nuclear-powered Soviet satellite, Cosmos 954, plunged through Earth's atmosphere and disintegrated, scattering radioactive debris over parts of northern Canada.
In 1984, Apple Computer began selling its Macintosh PC.
In 1987, gunmen in Lebanon kidnapped educators Alann Steen, Jesse Turner and Robert Polhill and Mitheleshwar Singh (All were eventually released.)
In 1989, confessed serial killer Theodore Bundy was executed in Florida's electric chair, for the 1978 kidnap-murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach.
In 2003, Tom Ridge was sworn in as the first head of the new Department of Homeland Security.
Ten years ago: House prosecutors interviewed Monica Lewinsky, a move that triggered fresh partisan convulsions in President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial. Olympic leaders recommended the expulsions of six International Olympic Committee members in an unprecedented response to the biggest corruption scandal in the history of the games.
Five years ago: Howard Dean sharply questioned John Kerry's judgment on Iraq as Democratic presidential rivals raced through a final weekend of campaigning before the New Hampshire primary. NASA's Opportunity rover landed on Mars, arriving at the Red Planet exactly three weeks after its identical twin's landing.
One year ago: Congressional leaders announced a deal with the White House on an economic stimulus package that would give most tax filers refunds of $600 to $1,200. [Har-de-har-har. How'd that work out, idiots? — Ed.] French bank Societe Generale announced it had uncovered a 4.9 billion euro ($7.14 billion) fraud by a single futures trader whose scheme of fictitious transactions was discovered as stock markets began to stumble in recent days. Italian Premier Romano Prodi resigned after losing a Senate confidence motion.
Thought for Today: "All men wish to have truth on their side; but few to be on the side of truth." — Richard Whately, British theologian (1787-1863).

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Extra History From Elsewhere:
In 1972, the Supreme Court struck down laws that denied welfare benefits to people who had resided in a state for less than a year.
In 1986, the Voyager 2 space probe swept past Uranus, coming within 50,679 miles of the seventh planet from the sun.
In 1993, retired Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall died at age 84.
In 1995, the prosecution gave its opening statement in the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Future, Is There One?

It was noted earlier
"I don't think we will live the same way for 10 years,"
that we (technically, just you, palefaces) face ten yrs. before a return to the previous levels of conspicuously pointless consumption & waste. That assumes "we" come back at all. There's no assurance that pulling the belt a notch tighter & hunkering down for a few yrs. while the attempt at ginning up a believable enough scam to get imaginary money moving again will work. This could be it. You may never get up & go another round. If you do get back on your feet, the ring may well be filled w/ new, young & vital economies, fueled by their billion+ populations & a log-awaited chance to indulge themselves in greed. Do not, however, give up hope, or spare any change. Suze Orman, the well known Ph.D. in economics, Nobel recipient & White House economic adviser to every administration since Reagan's, said on the Chicken Noodle Network that things may not improve until 2015. Four yrs. less already! We're going w/ Suze.

Did You Feel It? UPDATE!!

Could've been drunks in the next room falling down, but we think there was a just a palpable earthquake on the West Side of Los Angeles County. UPDATED: 23 January 2009 @ 1955: A magnitude-3.3 quake struck one mile west-northwest of Marina Del Rey at 7:42 p.m.

That's "B. J." For Short

Below: Nothing, personified.
On one level, of course, Billy Joel is an absolute nothing, obviously un-worthy of consideration as a serious creative anything. (The concept of the Billy Joel/Elton John tour, for example, is a bit short of IDF activities in Gaza, but close enough to take to the International Court of Crimes Against Human Aesthetics.)
So, on a different level, why not rake the fucker over the coals? He's done as much to our ears. Here are well over 800 wds. on the subject.

You've Been Scammed, Losers!!

MSNBC.com has a new section: "Cracked Nest Egg." All about trusting Americans screwed by their corporate betters.
Ha fucking ha. If you were stupid enough to believe that your money, future or anything else was safe or assured under the rapacious bastards who run your empty lives, while they're stealing anything not nailed down, & most of what's nailed down as well, you got just what you deserved. Nothing. What did you really expect, suckers?

Mad Speak

Who knew? Hugh Hewitt has a "favorite" ad exec, a poor blighter whose command of the English language has been weakened by yrs. in the ad game.
The GOP, by and large, hires communications people and "marketers" from within the political marketing vertical. This is a recipe for bad creative.
Careful; it might be a recipe for bad clams or worse mayonnaise. The pathetic, almost human mewling you are about to hear is the English language being taught a lesson:
Working completely in a vertical -- any vertical -- takes those who are making the communication too close to the product. When that happens, they create things that talk only about the product, in the language of the product. They forget the audience completely. It happens in b2b, it happens in healthcare, and it happens to the GOP. Preaching to the choir.
We have a vague idea of what he meant there. But HHFAE is forgetting one thing. Their product itself is rancid. Far beyond its sell-by date. And it's not a one-off, that can be bailed out of. The product (or its moldy, fungal descendants) will be living in the consumer's refrigerator for some time, probably warning the consumer that there's a terrorist right underneath the refrigerator, right now! every time Joe Six-Pack opens the door to see if that little light will come on again.
Truth is, Hollywood and Madison Ave are just two sides of the same coin -- we in advertising are just more overt about using creativity to sell products. Hollywood does the same, really, although it's intentionally and craftily presented as entertainment for entertainment's sake.
Yep, there's: A) No creativity in Hollywood; B) A Vast & Hidden Conspiracy to sell us something by Hollywood; C) Entertainment for entertainment's sake? I think that is central to my point. It couldn't possibly be that simple. It's certainly not very entertaining. What are they selling us? It's awfully hard to tell, as everyone at Breitbart's Big Ho can give you a list of film, telebision & music product that is obviously, undeniably conservative, damn it! You can then find a less doctrinaire reviewer w/ a vastly different take on the product. And often the creators of the product deny any conservative intent. Hollywood, believe it or shove it, just wants to sell admissions or recordings or downloads. The World wants an hour or three to itself, amusement & escape from assholes telling them how to live & behave. That's why the obvious & heavy handed are avoided in the real-world of profit & loss. (The Hollywood definition of profit & loss can be flexible, but there is a larger corporate bottom line to meet.) And that's probably why so few of these creative conservatives will succeed in the Big Ho of Reality. That yes/no, good/evil thing doesn't work too well in that global marketplace. And there are plenty of preachers on the tube for those who want to be preached at. Hey, maybe TBN is hiring?

McDonna Report

Pictures of a tired & haggard McDonna, posing in her ... yes, underwear. But first, ask yourself why you're such a jerk, & why you're reading crap like this, let alone clicking to wallow in the sad decrepitude of an icon. Well? Got that sanctimonious bullshit out of the way? Good.

A Decade Of Nothing

On January 23rd, 1958, Brunswick Records released "Maybe Baby" backed with "Tell Me How" by The Crickets.
[Are you going to tell us that not one thing of interest happened on 23 January from 1959 until 1970? — Ed.]
In 1970, singer Judy Collins was denied permission to sing her testimony at the Chicago Seven trial.
In 1976, "Donny and Marie" premiered on ABC. It was the first variety show hosted by a brother and sister team, Donny and Marie Osmond.
In 1977, the TV mini-series "Roots," based on the Alex Haley novel, began on ABC.
In 1978, Terry Kath, a vocalist and guitarist with the band Chicago, accidentally shot himself to death. He was 32.
In 1982, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley recorded their first demos as Wham! at Ridgeley's parents' house. They used a portable studio that cost them $32.
In 1986, the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were honored. They included Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Elvis Presley.
Also in 1989, James Brown was sentenced in Georgia to another six years in jail in connection with a police chase through two states. At the time, Brown was serving a sentence in South Carolina.
In 1990, former Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Allen Collins died in Florida of complications from pneumonia. He was 37.
In 1996, the city council in Johnson City, Tennessee, withdrew permission for White Zombie to hold a show there. Several town residents had complained that the band advocated Satan worship.
In 1997, "Louie, Louie" composer Richard Berry died in his sleep at his home in South Central Los Angeles.
In 2002, Virgin Records and Mariah Carey terminated their record deal after barely nine months. Virgin paid Carey $28 million to break the contract, on top of the $21 million Carey got for signing with Virgin. [Probably their best contract move ever. We know we'd pay a lot to get rid of her. — Ed.]
In 2005, Johnny Carson died from complications of emphysema in Los Angeles. He was 79.
Associated Press

Tee Vee Fatalities Throughout History

Today in History - Jan. 23

Today is Friday, Jan. 23, the 23rd day of 2009. There are 342 days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: On Jan. 23, 1968, North Korea seized the Navy intelligence ship USS Pueblo, charging its crew with being on a spying mission. (The crew was released 11 months later.) On this date: In 1789, Georgetown University was established in present-day Washington, D.C. In 1845, Congress decided all national elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In 1932, New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. In 1943, critic Alexander Woollcott suffered a fatal heart attack during a live broadcast of the CBS radio program "People's Platform." In 1950, the Israeli Knesset approved a resolution affirming Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In 1964, the 24th amendment to the Constitution, eliminating the poll tax in federal elections, was ratified. In 1973, President Richard M. Nixon announced an accord had been reached to end the Vietnam War. In 1989, surrealist artist Salvador Dali died in his native Figueres, Spain, at age 84. In 2002, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was abducted in Karachi, Pakistan, by a group demanding the return of prisoners from the Afghan campaign; he was later slain. In 2005, former "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson died in Malibu, Calif., at age 79. Ten years ago: A federal judge ordered Monica Lewinsky to submit to an interview sought by House prosecutors in President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial. During his visit to Mexico, Pope John Paul II urged his flock in the Americas to make the region a "continent of life." Five years ago: The Illinois Supreme Court upheld former Gov. George Ryan's powers to commute sentences, keeping 32 spared inmates off death row. The enduring situation comedy "Friends" filmed its final episode in front of an invitation-only audience. Bob Keeshan, TV's "Captain Kangaroo," died in Windsor, Vt., at age 76. One year ago: Tens of thousands of Palestinians poured into Egypt from Gaza after Palestinian militants used land mines to breach a barrier dividing the border town of Rafah. French Open winner Michael Chang was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and IMG creator Mark McCormack and Tennis Week magazine founder Eugene Scott were selected posthumously. Today's Birthdays: Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., is 85. Actress Jeanne Moreau is 81. Actress Chita Rivera is 76. Actor-director Lou Antonio is 75. Actor Gil Gerard is 66. Actor Rutger Hauer is 65. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jerry Lawson (The Persuasions) is 65. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., is 62. Singer Anita Pointer is 61. Actor Richard Dean Anderson is 59. Rock musician Bill Cunningham is 59. Rock singer Robin Zander (Cheap Trick) is 56. Princess Caroline of Monaco is 52. Singer Anita Baker is 51. Reggae musician Earl Falconer (UB40) is 50. Actress Gail O'Grady is 46. Actress Mariska Hargitay is 45. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marc Nelson is 38. Actress Tiffani Thiessen is 35. Rock musician Nick Harmer (Death Cab for Cutie) is 34. Copyright ©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Sound & Picture

From other AP sources, the stories Yahoo! News doesn't want you to remember. In 1849, English-born Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in America to receive a medical degree, from the Medical Institution of Geneva, N.Y. In 1937, Seventeen people went on trial in Moscow during Soviet leader Josef Stalin's Great Purge. In 1985, Debate in Britain's House of Lords was carried live on TV for the first time. In 1997, a judge in Fairfax, Va., sentenced Mir Aimal Kasi to death for an assault rifle attack outside CIA headquarters in 1993 that killed two people and wounded three.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dead Chain Walking

Potential big losers in the rest of the yr. include Sears Holdings.
One-third of U.S. women recently surveyed by America's Research Group said they plan no clothing purchases--none--in 2009. Normally, it's just 4%. [...] "I don't think we will live the same way for 10 years," says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of New York-based retail consultant and investment bank Davidowitz & Associates. "People are so scared they're starting to save." [...]

Another possible casualty: Sears Holdings, operator of Sears and Kmart stores. A key to hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert's 2005 merger of the two chains was in the underlying real estate. But with those values down 30% or so since then, slumping sales hit even worse. "I'd be surprised if Sears-Kmart makes it through the year," says Britt Beemer, who runs retail market-research firm America's Research Group.

Ten yrs., sheep. Greatest Country in the World, huh?

That About Which We Could Not Possibly Care Any Fucking Less

Oscar™ nominations.

Angry Old White Bastards Unite To Re-Take "White" House

President Obama signed executive orders Thursday directing the Central Intelligence Agency to shut what remains of its network of secret prisons and ordering the closing of the Guantánamo detention camp within a year. Photo: Doug Mills/The NYT

Peace In The Holy Land

Sumner Redstone & the other Jew-haters at CBS have, through their Simon & Schuster imprint, brought out another book by well-known anti-Semite & house-bulder Jimmy Carter.Our little contribution toward a solution? Stop calling the area the "Holy Land." Call it "The Shit Pile," or "Hell," or "Phoenix, AZ." Then see how many people want to die over it. It's all branding.

Oh, Crap! Mac Geeks Invade White House.

The "surprises" never stop. Certainly none of the unknown billions of $ wasted by the Bush Admin. were diverted to infrastructure at the (No longer!) White House.
One member of the White House new-media team came to work on Tuesday, right after the swearing-in ceremony, only to discover that it was impossible to know which programs could be updated, or even which computers could be used for which purposes. The team members, accustomed to working on Macintoshes, found computers outfitted with six-year-old versions of Microsoft software. Laptops were scarce, assigned to only a few people in the West Wing. The team was left struggling to put closed captions on online videos. Senior advisers chafed at the new arrangements, which severely limit mobility -- partly by tradition but also for security reasons and to ensure that all official work is preserved under the Presidential Records Act. [...] But there were no missing letters from the computer keyboards, as Bush officials had complained of during their transition in 2001.
Could you show some of that "liberal elite media bias" & tell the absolute truth about that claim, WaPo? Reducing it to "Bush officials had complained" is a start, but can't we have both sides? You know, the claim & then the truth?

Updating The "New Majority"

Right wing fighting! In response to a "lay off the 'mos" plea from James Kirchick, mentioned here earlier, one of the alleged 'mo attackers defends himself.
I’d bet that I made the obvious point that judicial imposition of same-sex marriage is an ongoing threat, and I’m sure that we cited the widespread popular support for traditional marriage and the need to continue to defend traditional marriage. But I don’t think that any of us believes that the best way to defend traditional marriage is to frame the matter as a “gay issue”, and I don’t recall any mention of any other “gay issue”.
While we're here strictly to hope for the collapse, & enjoy the contraction of the right, we will note that the effort to have, say, adulterers stoned to death "in the public square" (we think they mean "on telebision" when they use this quaint phrase) has not yet reached the level of "having more people married & treated like human beings is bad for marriage" hysteria that's currently on display in certain quarters. But just enjoy the fight; it doesn't matter who wins, neither of these contestants are going on to any championship bouts. And while we're revisiting NewMajority.com, let's compare Hoobert Heever's great grand-daughter w/ FDR's grand-son.

"Little" JD Leaves Hospital

Nashville, TN -- Grand Ole Opry star "Little" Jimmy Dickens has been moved from a Nashville-area hospital to a rehabilitation center to recuperate from surgery.

The 88-year-old Dickens underwent surgery Jan. 13 to repair a subdural hematoma, a form of brain injury.

Opry publicist Jessie Schmidt says Dickens anticipates a short stay in the rehab center.

The 4-foot-11 entertainer has been a member of the Opry since 1948. His hits include "Country Boy," "A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed" and "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose."

Associated Press
From the days when pop stars were known as "Little," rather than the contemporary & ill-apostrophied "Lil'." Our favorite Little Jimmy Dickens tune? "Take An Old, Cold 'Tater And Wait."

Pretensions Of Culture From The Past

On January 22nd, 1938, Thornton Wilder's play "Our Town" was performed publicly for the first time, in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1953, "The Crucible," Arthur Miller's drama about the Salem witch trials of the 17th century, opened on Broadway. In 1959, Buddy Holly made his last recordings in New York. He died in a plane crash the next month. In 1960, singer Sam Cooke signed with RCA Records. In 1963, Gerry and the Pacemakers held their first recording sessions. In 1967, the Rolling Stones refused to go on the revolving stage during the finale of the British TV show "Sunday Night At The London Palladium." The press saw it as a snub against tradition. In 1968, "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In," hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, premiered on NBC. In 1971, the Joe Cocker film "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" premiered in London. The movie was a documentary of Cocker's tour of the same name and featured performances by Cocker, Leon Russell and Rita Coolidge. In 1990, Slash, the guitarist for Guns N' Roses, used a profanity while accepting American Music Awards for his band. Viewers complained to ABC, which had broadcast the show live. The network apologized. Fifteen years ago, in 1994, actor Telly Savalas died, a day after his 70th birthday.In 1998, singer Toni Braxton filed for bankruptcy, listing liabilities of more than one million dollars. Five years ago, in 2004, Jennifer Lopez called off her engagement to Ben Affleck. [Luckiest guy in the world? — Ed.] Associated Press

Jan. 22: A Day Like Every Other That Will Live In Infamy

By The Associated Press – 2 hrs 9 mins ago
Today is Thursday, Jan. 22, the 22nd day of 2009. There are 343 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
In 1973,
the U.S. Supreme Court, in its Roe v. Wade decision, legalized abortions using a trimester approach.
On this date:
In 1901, Britain's Queen Victoria died at age 81.
In 1905 (New Style calendar), [They mean Gregorian. — Ed.] thousands of demonstrating Russian workers were fired on by Imperial army troops in St. Petersburg on what became known as "Bloody Sunday."
In 1909, actress Ann Sothern was born in Valley City, N.D.; U.N. Secretary-General U Thant was born in Pantanaw, Burma.
In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson pleaded for an end to war in Europe, calling for "peace without victory." (By April, however, America also was at war.)
In 1922, Pope Benedict XV died; he was succeeded by Pius XI.
In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces began landing at Anzio, Italy.
In 1959, 12 workers were killed in the Knox Mine Disaster in Port Griffith, Pa., when a mine became flooded with water from the Susquehanna River.
In 1973, former President Lyndon B. Johnson died at age 64.
In 1984, the Los Angeles Raiders defeated the Washington Redskins 38-9 to win Super Bowl XVIII, played at Tampa Stadium in Florida. (The game broadcast on CBS-TV featured Apple Computer's famous "1984" ad introducing the Macintosh PC.)
In 1995, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy died at the Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port, Mass., at age 104.
Ten years ago: Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., abruptly called for dismissal of charges against President Bill Clinton to "end this sad and sorry time for our country." Clinton called for spending $2.8 billion to protect the nation from cyber terrorism and chemical and germ warfare. [Yeah, that Clinton, he just let the terrorists run wild, didn't he? — Ed.] Pope John Paul II arrived in Mexico on his first visit in 20 years.
Five years ago: South Dakota politician Bill Janklow was sentenced to 100 days in jail for an auto accident that killed a motorcyclist. Enron Corp.'s former top accountant, Richard Causey, surrendered to federal authorities; he pleaded innocent to conspiracy and fraud charges. (Causey later pleaded guilty to securities fraud and was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison.) Actress-dancer Ann Miller died in Los Angeles at age 81.
One year ago: Actor Heath Ledger was found dead of an accidental prescription overdose in New York City; he was 28. Jose Padilla, once accused of plotting with al-Qaida to blow up a radioactive "dirty bomb," was sentenced by a U.S. federal judge in Miami to 17 years and four months on terrorism conspiracy charges. Republican Fred Thompson quit the race for the White House after a string of poor finishes in early primary and caucus states.
Today's Birthdays: Former Sen. Birch Bayh, D-Ind., is 81. Actress Piper Laurie is 77. Actor Seymour Cassel is 74. Author Joseph Wambaugh is 72. Actor John Hurt is 69. Singer Steve Perry is 60. Country singer-musician Teddy Gentry (Alabama) is 57. Movie director Jim Jarmusch is 56. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Mike Bossy is 52. Actress Linda Blair is 50. Actress Diane Lane is 44. Actor-rap DJ Jazzy Jeff is 44. Country singer Regina Nicks (Regina Regina) is 44.
Thought for Today: "Advertising has done more to cause the social unrest of the 20th century than any other single factor." — Clare Boothe Luce, American author, politician and diplomat (1903-1987).

Sound & Picture

Additional History:
In 1970,
the Boeing 747 went on its first regularly scheduled commercial flight, from New York to London.
In 1997, the Senate confirmed Madeleine Albright as the nation's first female secretary of state.
In 1998, Theodore Kaczynski pleaded guilty in Sacramento, Calif., to being the Unabomber in return for a sentence of life in prison without parole.
In 2001, President George W. Bush signed a memorandum reinstating full abortion restrictions on U.S. overseas aid.
In 2006, Evo Morales, Bolivia's first Indian president, took office.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let's Have A Civil War (Between The Counties This Time)

TBogg has rooted some especially florid fruit from the compost pile of rightist inaugural typing. Drool City, to put it mildly. Especially the "next civil war" part. We await President Obama accomplishing something significant (beyond executive orders) that doesn't meet w/ the absolute approval of the seriously disturbed. Hands will wave in the air, fainting couches will be employed, heads will explode. And the concept of "Bush Derangement Syndrome" will be dwarfed by whatever the reaction of the deluded is called. Hussein Derangement?

Single-Handedly

Breaking News Alert The New York Times Wednesday, January 21, 2009 -- 7:07 PM ET ----- Kennedy Is Said to Withdraw Senate Bid Caroline Kennedy has decided to withdraw from consideration for Hillary Rodham Clinton's vacant Senate seat in New York, according to a person told of her decision. More recent info indicates she wasn't going to be chosen, & so struck pre-emptively. We know what really stopped her.

Not Totally Bat-Shit Insane, But Still Quite Dense

Bushie David Frum has floated some money from a relative, or maybe just an old boss for whom he was employed as a sycophant, leased himself some broadband, & started a website for himself. What a wonderful country, when even in a time of financial fear & wide-spread economic suffering, all you need is initiative, enterprise, & a few connections to wealth & privilege to get you going w/ a tribute to your own ego. Must be why Frum decided to come south from the Frozen North.  While the very name is ridiculous  The New Majority: Building a conservatism that can win again.
(And highly un-likely: when was the last time, if ever, that Republicans were a national majority?) we will give Frum points for not allowing the usual gang of idiots to screech repeatedly that the election was stolen because the liberal bias elite media didn't focus on the ephemera that rightists were sure would defeat President Obama. 
Although some of them don't seem to think the election has quite happened. I believe that the perception of betrayal by Bush administration leaders has done a lot to weaken their support from the military, and by extension this weakened support has rolled to John McCain. We don't want to start parsing how "weakened support" can "roll to" someone. And we have to wonder how much of NewMajority was written five months ago. Some of it probably is more recent, but w/ a serious turn to the past, & yes, an accusation of media bias, although the subject in question is better suited for a discussion of historical bias. And what is the subject at hand? Why, it's the best way possible to appeal to the new generation & re-build your imaginary majority: A PIECE BY HERBERT HOOVER'S GREAT-GRANDDAUGHTER ABOUT THE RAW DEAL HOOVER GOT!! YES!! Ahistorical but angry young Americans will be burning down the History Dep'ts. once they get wind of this!
Michael Powell pens a reasonable noteThe Republican Party is on the precipice of irrelevance... and is raked over the coals for perceiving reality. And admitted homosexual James Kirchick looks at statistics & decides maybe fag-bashing is not the way to go. This, of course, brings the fag-bashers out, typing of morality.

The Decline & Fall Of The White Man

OMFG, as the kidz say. The coloreds & the wimmin-folks are a-takin' over. Breaking News Alert The New York Times Wednesday, January 21, 2009 -- 4:32 PM ET ----- Parsons of Time Warner Named Citi Chairman Responding to pressure from federal bank regulators, Citigroup on Wednesday named Richard D. Parsons, the former chairman of Time Warner, as its next chairman. Breaking News Alert The New York Times Wednesday, January 21, 2009 -- 4:42 PM ET ----- Senate Confirms Clinton as Secretary of State In a 94-2 vote, Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday won Senate confirmation as the new secretary of state. Read More

Not Looking Good, Even This Soon

After eleven clicks & two searches, we gave up on finding the text of B. O.'s inaugural address on WhiteHouse.gov. We were looking for the "bitter swill" line. We are not encouraged. No, wait, it was posted, at 1327 ET. CPT? Better late than never, but ... And now we hear via the glass teat that none of the gummint e-mail acc'ts., tee vee sets & blah blah at the White House were activated until very recently. What ever.

Only In America

Holy Crap, there's a colored guy on telebision, talking about the government, &, & ... He's. The. President. (And left-handed, we noted, as he signed a proclamation or something.) My gawd, there's a leftist Negro in the White House!! Well, left-handed Dem, anyway.

B. O. A Better Man Than My Candidate, Big Mac

On the non-Gabriel Schoenfeld tip (below) some real Americans may have wised up as far as their votes. President Barack Hussein Obama seems to have some sort of popularity going; we hear mumbling from telebision weasels in the corners of our ears that his approval rating is the highest ever ... for someone who wasn't yet in office.
[M]any people here said a tolerant spirit toward his presidency has been hastened, paradoxically, by some of the same groups that voted mostly Republican in the election. Those include active or former military personnel, and people who identify themselves as evangelical Christians, two groups with traditions of respecting hierarchical order and strong leadership.
Go on, say the word: Authoritarian. There. Better, isn't it? (You may also whisper: "totalitarian theo-fascistic," if you like.)
But some people have, in fact, changed their minds. Leonard Nelson, 63, a 23-year veteran of both the Army and the Navy, said he had voted for Mr. McCain mainly through military fealty, believing that Mr. McCain’s own military record would make him a better commander in chief. “But I’ve come to think the better man won,” said Mr. Nelson, owner of the Humidor Cigar Shop, an aromatic haven of pipes, blended tobaccos and customers on a first-name basis. Mr. Nelson said that Mr. Obama, through his cabinet selections, sent a signal of centrist government intention that feels all right to him. Mr. Nelson’s customers like Cliff A. Stark, a lawyer and pipe smoker, were more representative of the spirit of pained resignation that is common here. “It’s just something you can’t do anything about,” Mr. Stark said.
Pained resignation. Ooooh, poor victims. Gawd forbid they should take their heads out their asses, look around, & wise up.

From the Bug-O-Sphere

Cap'n. Ed sez:
I’ll be doing my best to avoid any more of the fawning and flatulence of today’s events.  Maybe by next week, people will have gotten a king-sized grip on themselves and all of this nonsense will have disappeared.
And maybe by then you'll have released the queen-sized grip you've got on yourself, Cappy.
From The Weasel Street Journal, inane but fevered dreams of neo-cons & B. O. gettin' together to do neo-con things in
this inherently conservative country.
We still don't know where that idea comes from. Perhaps the inherent stupidity of the Republican party:
On the other hand, if he extends an olive branch to the neoconservatives -- as he has done with the social conservatives by inviting the pastor Rick Warren, a supporter of California's gay-marriage ban, to deliver his inaugural invocation, or by breaking bread with leading conservative intellectuals last week -- he might pick up some surprising allies. He might also fracture the opposition's idea machine and help turn the Republicans back into the stupid party for years to come.
Central to George F. Will's point
The Senate voted the extension to 2031 unanimously, which is evidence that genuflection had replaced reflection.
A shorter George? "It's not too early to think about bringing back the poll tax."

Alternate Birthdays

No actual difference from birthdays found elsewhere; just pictures, it's much harder to read, & Princess Mathilde (below) of The Belgian Royal Family. Is that a band or something?
Today's Birthdays:
Opera singer Placido Domingo turns 68 years old today.
AP Photo/Gus Ruelas
NameProfessionAge
Ann WedgeworthActress75
Snooks EaglinBlues singer-musician73
Jack NicklausGolfer69
Mac DavisSinger67
Jill EikenberryActress ("L.A. Law")62
Jim IbbotsonCountry musician (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)62
Billy OceanR&B singer59
Robby BensonActor, director53
Geena DavisActress53
Hakeem OlajuwonBasketball player46
Charlotte RossActress41
John DuceyActor40
Karina LombardActress40
LevirtRapper (B-Rock and the Bizz)39
Mark TrojanowskiRock musician (Sister Hazel)39
Cat PowerRock singer37
Chris KilmoreDJ (Incubus)36
Princess MathildeMember of the Belgian royal family36
Vincent LarescaActor35
Emma BuntonSinger (Spice Girls)33
Phil StaceyCountry singer ("American Idol")31
NokioR&B singer (Dru Hill)30
Izabella MikoActress28
Folk singer-musician Richie Havens turns 68 years old today.
AP Photo/Joe Giblin

F**k Censorship!!

The additional historical events which Yahoo! didn't want you to see: In 1950, author George Orwell died in London. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders. Fifteen years ago, in 1994, a jury in Manassas, Va., acquitted Lorena Bobbitt by reason of temporary insanity of maliciously wounding her husband, John, whom she'd accused of sexually assaulting her. In 1997, Speaker Newt Gingrich was fined as the House voted for first time in history to discipline its leader for ethical misconduct. In 1998, Pope John Paul II began his first visit to Cuba. In 2003, the Census Bureau announced that Hispanics had surpassed blacks as America's largest minority group.

Pointlesss Distractions Over The Decades

On January 21st, 1942, Count Basie and His Orchestra recorded "One O'Clock Jump" in New York. In 1965, The Animals canceled a show in New York after US immigration officials forced the band to leave the theater. [Get those "Animals" out of here! — Ed.] In 1966, George Harrison married model Patti Boyd. They met during the filming of The Beatles' film "A Hard Day's Night." In 1982, bluesman B.B. King donated his entire record collection -- 7,000 records -- to the University of Mississippi. The collection included rare records he played as a DJ in the 1940s.In 1984, singer Jackie Wilson died at the age of 49. He had been in a coma since his 1975 heart attack during a concert in New Jersey. His funeral was held in Detroit. In 1990, the first MTV "Unplugged" special was aired, with Squeeze as the first performers. In 1996, singer Francisco Garcia of Cannibal and the Headhunters died after a long illness. He was 49. The group was best known for the song "Land of 1,000 Dances." In 1997, Elvis' manager, Colonel Tom Parker, died of complications from a stroke in Las Vegas. He was 87. ["Elvis" no longer requires a sur-name? — Ed.] In 1998, actor Jack Lord died of congestive heart failure at his home in Honolulu. He was 77. He's probably best known for starring on "Hawaii Five-O." ["Probably?" — Ed.] Associated Press

Party's Over, Reality Resumes: Off W/ His Head!!

Today in History - Jan. 21

Today is Wednesday, Jan. 21, the 21st day of 2009. There are 344 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Jan. 21, 1793, during the French RevolutionKing Louis XVI, condemned for treason, was executed on the guillotine.

On this date:

In 1858, Felix Marma Zuloaga became president of Mexico upon the ouster of Ignacio Comonfort.

In 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and four other Southerners resigned from the U.S. Senate.

In 1915, the first Kiwanis Club was founded, in Detroit.

In 1924, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin died at age 53.

In 1950, former State Department official Alger Hiss, accused of being part of a Communist spy ring, was found guilty in New York of lying to a grand jury. (Hiss, who always proclaimed his innocence, served less than four years in prison.)

In 1954, the first atomic submarine, the USS Nautilus, was launched at Groton, Conn. (However, the Nautilus did not make its first nuclear-powered run until nearly a year later.)

In 1958, Charles Starkweather, 19, killed three relatives of his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, at her family's home in Lincoln, Neb. (Starkweather and Fugate went on a road trip which resulted in seven more slayings.)

In 1959, Ohio saw widespread flooding caused by heavy rain and melted snow. Movie producer-director Cecil B. DeMille died in Hollywood at age 77. Former child actor Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer was shot and killed during an argument in Mission Hills, Calif.; he was 31.

In 1968, the Battle of Khe Sanh began during the Vietnam War as North Vietnamese forces attacked a U.S. Marine base; the Americans were able to hold their position until the siege was lifted 2 1/2 months later. In Greenland, an American B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs crashed, killing one crew member and scattering radioactive material.

In 1976, the supersonic Concorde jet was put into service by Britain and France.

Ten years ago: Former Sen. Dale Bumpers told the Senate impeachment trial of Bill Clinton that the president was guilty of a "terrible moral lapse" but not of conduct warranting or even permitting his removal from office. Raul Salinas de Gortari, the brother of a former Mexican president, was convicted of masterminding the murder of rival Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu. (The conviction was later overturned.) Actress Susan Strasberg died in New York at age 61.

Five years ago: President George W. Bush visited community colleges in Ohio and Arizona, where he highlighted the economy and several new job-training initiatives he'd proposed a day earlier in his State of the Union speech. The recording industry sued 532 computer users it said were illegally distributing songs over the Internet.

One year ago: Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama accused each other of repeatedly and deliberately distorting the truth for political gain in a highly personal debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Ann Wedgeworth is 75. Blues singer-musician Snooks Eaglin is 73. Golfer Jack Nicklaus is 69. Opera singer Placido Domingo is 68.Singer Richie Havens is 68. Singer Mac Davis is 67. Actress Jill Eikenberry is 62. Country musician Jim Ibbotson (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 62. Singer-songwriterBilly Ocean is 59. Actor-director Robby Benson is 53. Actress Geena Davis is 53. Basketball player Hakeem Olajuwon is 46. Actress Charlotte Ross is 41. Actor John Ducey is 40. Actress Karina Lombard is 40. Rapper Levirt (B-Rock and the Bizz) is 39. Rock musician Mark Trojanowski (Sister Hazel) is 39. Rock singer-songwriter Cat Power is 37. Rock DJ Chris Kilmore (Incubus) is 36. Actor Vincent Laresca is 35. Singer Emma Bunton (Spice Girls) is 33. Country singer Phil Stacey is 31. Rhythm-and-blues singer Nokio (Dru Hill) is 30. Actress Izabella Miko is 28.

Thought for Today: "It is the nature of all greatness not to be exact." — Edmund Burke, British statesman (1729-1797).

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sayonara, Suckwad!

Is It Over Yet?

"Now hear this! Now hear this! All hands relax their sphincters & resume breathing. The smoking lamp is lit!"Breaking News Alert The New York Times Tuesday, January 20, 2009 -- 12:06 PM ET ----- Obama Is Sworn In as the 44th President Barack Obama took the oath of office on Tuesday at the National Mall in Washington before what may be the largest inaugural crowd ever. Read More

Visions of Exploding Sugarplums

Now we lay us down to sleep, & when we awake tomorrow, the most recent of our long national nightmares will at last be over. Unless something untoward happens & we awaken to chaos & ...

Morbid Bidness

On January 20th, 1965, disc jockey Alan Freed died in Palm Spings, California, of kidney and liver disease. He was 42. He's credited with coining the phrase "rock and roll." [Or stealing it from colored people. — Ed.] In 1973, Jerry Lee Lewis made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry. Opry officials allowed him to perform as long as he didn't use profanities and played only country music. By the end of the set, Lewis broke both agreements. [Good for The Killer! — Ed.] In 1982, singer Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a live bat during a concert in Des Moines, Iowa. He claimed he thought it was a toy thrown to him by an audience member. In 1984, Johnny Weissmuller, an Olympic champion who went on to movie stardom as "Tarzan," died in Acapulco, Mexico, at age 79. In 1988, Beach Boy Mike Love hurled insults at Paul McCartney, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger while the Beach Boys were being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [Best thing a Beach Boy has ever done? Just might be. — Ed.] In 1990, actress Barbara Stanwyck, known for her role on "The Big Valley," died of heart failure. She was 82. Also, comedians Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold got married. They have since split up. In 1993, actress Audrey Hepburn died of cancer in Switzerland at the age of 63. In 1998, singer Alice Nutter [That can't be her real name, can it? — Ed.] of Chumbawamba said on "Politically Incorrect" that the band advocated fans stealing copies of their album. Virgin Megastores reacted by pulling their albums from the shelves and putting them behind the counters. Associated Press

The (Non) Miracle Of Birth

Today's Birthdays: Country singer Slim Whitman is 85. Actress Patricia Neal is 83. Comedian Arte Johnson is 80. Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin is 79. Actress Dorothy Provine is 72.Singer Eric Stewart is 64. Movie director David Lynch is 63. Actor Daniel Benzali is 59. Rock musician Paul Stanley (KISS) is 57. Rock musician Ian Hill (Judas Priest) is 57. Comedian Bill Maher is 53. Actor Lorenzo Lamas is 51. Actor James Denton ("Desperate Housewives") is 46. Rock musician Greg K. (The Offspring) is 44. Country singer John Michael Montgomery is 44. Actor Rainn Wilson ("The Office) is 43. Actress Stacey Dash is 42. TV personality Melissa Rivers is 41. Singer Xavier is 41. Singer Edwin McCain is 39. Actor Skeet Ulrich is 39. Rap musician ?uestlove (The Roots) is 38. Rock musician Rob Bourdon (Linkin Park) is 30. Associated Press

Inauguration Day (For The Last 70 Odd Yrs.)

By The Associated Press Tuesday 20 January, 12:01 am ET Pictures & sound here. Today is Tuesday, Jan. 20, the 20th day of 2009. There are 345 days left in the year. Today's Highlight in History: In 1981, Iran released 52 Americans it had held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan. On this date: In 1801, Secretary of State John Marshall was nominated by President John Adams to be chief justice of the United States. (He was sworn in on Feb. 4, 1801.) In 1841, the island of Hong Kong was ceded by China to Great Britain. (It returned to Chinese control in July 1997.) In 1887, the U.S. Senate approved an agreement to lease Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as a naval base. In 1936, Britain's King George V died (his demise having been hastened by his physician) [What? — Ed.]; he was succeeded by Edward VIII. In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first chief executive to be inaugurated on Jan. 20 instead of March 4.In 1942, Nazi officials held the notorious Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their "final solution" that called for exterminating Jews. In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn into office for an unprecedented fourth term. In 1949, President Harry S. Truman was sworn in for a second term of office. In his inaugural address, Truman branded communism a "false philosophy" as he outlined his program for U.S. world leadership. In 1969, Richard M. Nixon was sworn in as the 37th president of the United States; Spiro Agnew took the oath of vice president. In 1989, George H.W. Bush was sworn in as the 41st president of the United States; Dan Quayle took the oath of vice president. Ten years ago: For a second day, President Bill Clinton's legal team argued its case before the Senate, saying that House-passed articles of impeachment were "flawed and unfair." Five years ago: President George W. Bush, in his State of the Union address, asserted that America was strengthening its economy and successfully combatting terrorism. Dick Gephardt quit the Democratic presidential race. Martha Stewart's stock-trading trial formally began in New York. (Stewart ended up serving a five-month prison sentence for lying about a stock sale.) The Salvation Army announced a donation likely to exceed $1.5 billion from the estate of Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald's founder. One year ago: The Los Angeles Times announced its top editor, James O'Shea, had been fired after he rejected a management order to cut $4 million from the newsroom budget, 14 months after his predecessor was also ousted in a budget dispute. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili was sworn in for a second term. The New England Patriots defeated the San Diego Chargers in the AFC championship game, pulling out a 21-12 victory that sent them back to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in seven seasons. The New York Giants won a 23-20 overtime victory over Green Bay in the NFC championship. Thought for Today: "America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." — Alexis de Tocqueville, French author (1805-1859). Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press Leftovers & extras, from a different AP: In 1896, Comedian George Burns was born Nathan Birnbaum in New York City. In 1920, Movie director Federico Fellini was born in Rimini, Italy. In 1961, John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th president of the United States. Audio LinkKennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you ...." In 1981, Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th president of the United States. In 1986, The United States observed the first federal holiday in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., & Britain and France announced plans to build the Channel Tunnel. In 1987, Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite disappeared in Beirut, Lebanon, while attempting to negotiate the release of Western hostages. In 1993, Bill Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd president of the United States. In 2001, George W. Bush took the oath of office as the 43rd president of the United States. In 2001, Hundreds of thousands of protesting Filipinos forced President Joseph Estrada to step down; Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was sworn in as the new president.