Monday, December 21, 2009

The Great Game, Cont'd.

Arming & training dirty fuggin' hippies.Here, Afghans are portrayed as "crazy" rather than "lazy."

If It Says Nihilism, We're For It

An easily digestible (other than length) item in TNR summing up reactionary resistance to reform & the rigidity of what passes for conservative thought.

If, like us, serious discussion of thorny issues makes your hair hurt, be warned: Reference is made to serious thinkers Doughy Pantload & Charles "Heal Thyself!" Krauthammer.
In the graphic below, some of The New Republic’s staff have compiled a brief history of conservative opposition to social reform over the last century. It puts on display conservatism’s miserable record of predicting the outcome of various liberal reforms, in the social and political as well as economic spheres.

One of those items is a diatribe against the passage of Medicare delivered by Ronald Reagan in 1961. Earlier this year, National Review Online editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg called Reagan’s address “still fresh today.” This is a strange description for even as committed a right-winger as Goldberg. In his speech, Reagan predicted that Medicare would lead to the government dictating how doctors might practice and where they’d live, and that, if it came into law, “[Y]ou and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

Almost certainly, Goldberg did not mean to praise this as a prescient warning of how Medicare would unfold. The title he chose, “The Gipper on Socialized Medicine,” suggests that he viewed the speech as a prescient warning about the next step in health care reform. But this is how conservatism tends to operate: In the right-wing mind, the world we live in at any given moment can be described as the free market, the American way of life, perhaps not a perfect world but a cherished and fundamentally free one. The next advance of liberalism will always bring socialism, tyranny, a crushing burden on industry, and other horrors. The previous liberal advances that they or their predecessors greeted with such hysteria are eventually incorporated into the landscape of the free American way of life.

Everything that the 1960s right said about Medicare, the contemporary right no longer believes, while fervently believing it will all hold true of health care reform. Similarly, the hysteria of the 1970s right about clean-air regulation no longer plagues the contemporary right, but it grips conservatives when it comes to greenhouse-gas regulation. (Charles Krauthammer: Cap-and-trade “will destroy what’s left of the industrial Midwest.”) And so it goes.

Yes, mostly the same old crap (though clearly expressed, look at the "graphic" too) about the same old crap, although Chait's observation that the right's economic determinism & fetishization of "economic" (if not social) freedom makes them faith-based fools is new to us, even if he's been recycling it for a while.
Several years ago, I wrote in these pages that the fundamental difference between economic conservatism and economic liberalism is that the former is driven by abstract philosophical beliefs in a way that the latter is not. Conservatives believe that small-government policies maximize human welfare. But they also believe that they increase human freedom. Liberals, by contrast, believe in government intervention only to the extent that it increases human welfare.

If liberals could be persuaded that tax cuts would actually increase living standards for all Americans, they would embrace them. (This is why nearly all liberals believe that some level of tax rate, be it 50 or 70 or 90 percent, becomes counterproductive.) If conservatives came to believe that tax cuts failed to increase economic growth, most would still support them anyway, because they enhance freedom. As Milton Friedman once put it, “[E]conomic freedom is an end in itself.”
The end.

21 December: WINTER TO ARRIVE AT 0947 PST; Patton Passes; DeGaulle Elected; Pilgrims land in Plymouth, Massachusetts; Pan Am flight 747 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland; Apollo 8 lifts off on first manned mission to the Moon; Jane Fonda is born.

Today is Monday, Dec. 21, the 355th day of 2009. There are 10 days left in the year. Winter arrives at 12:47 p.m. EST. See also: UPI Almanac.Today's Highlight in History:
On December 21st, 1620, Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower went ashore for the first time at present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts.

On this date:
In 1804, British statesman Benjamin Disraeli was born in London. Disraeli once defined a bore as "one who has the power of speech but not the capacity for conversation."
In 1879, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin was born Josef Dzhugashvili in Gori, Georgia. [Or not, depending on the calendar. — Ed.]
In 1891, the first basketball game, invented at Springfield College in Massachusetts by James E. Naismith, was played.
In 1898, Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radium.
In 1913, the first crossword puzzle was printed, in the New York World.
In 1945, General George S. Patton died in Heidelberg, Germany, of injuries from a car accident.
In 1948, the state of Eire, or Ireland (formerly the Irish Free State), passed an act declaring itself a republic.
In 1958, three months after the most recent French constitution was approved, Charles de Gaulle was elected to a seven-year term as the first president of the Fifth Republic of France.
In 1968, Apollo 8 was launched on a mission to orbit the moon.
In 1969, Vince Lombardi coached his last football game as his team, the Washington Redskins, lost to the Dallas Cowboys 20-10.
In 1971, the U.N. Security Council chose Kurt Waldheim to succeed U Thant as Secretary-General.
In 1975, the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal led a raid on a meeting of OPEC oil ministers in Vienna. German and Arab terrorists stormed in with machine guns, killed three people and took 63 others hostage, including 11 oil ministers.
In 1976, the Liberian-registered tanker Argo Merchant broke apart near Nantucket Island almost a week after running aground, spilling 7 1/2 millions of gallons of oil into the North Atlantic.
In 1978, police in Des Plaines, Ill., arrested John W. Gacy Jr. and began unearthing the remains of 33 men and boys whom Gacy was later convicted of murdering.
In 1987, in New York, three white teen-agers from the Howard Beach section of Queens were convicted of manslaughter in the death of a black man who was chased onto a highway, where he was struck by a car; a fourth defendant was acquitted.
In 1988, 270 people were killed when a terrorist bomb exploded aboard a Pam Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, sending wreckage crashing to the ground.

In 1990, a boat carrying about 100 U.S. sailors involved in Operation Desert Shield capsized off the Israeli coast. Twenty-one people died.
In 1991, eleven of the 12 former Soviet republics proclaimed the birth of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
In 1992, 54 people were killed when a chartered jetliner carrying 340 people on a holiday to southern Portugal crashed in bad weather.
In 1994, more than 40 people were injured when an incendiary device exploded on a crowded subway in New York's lower Manhattan. Police later arrested one of the burn victims who reportedly was carrying a firebomb that went off.
In 1995, a commuter train rammed the rear of a passenger train in heavy fog near Cairo, Egypt, killing 75 people. The city of Bethlehem passed from Israeli to Palestinian control.

In 1996, after two years of denials, House Speaker Newt Gingrich admitted violating House ethics rules.
In 1997, President Clinton, accompanied by his wife and daughter, left for Bosnia to spread holiday cheer and to carry the news that he wanted U.S. troops to remain there indefinitely as the region recovered from its devastating war. A fire swept through Tokyo's Tsukji wholesale fish market, destroying more than 100 shops and stores.
In 1998, Israel's parliament voted overwhelmingly for early elections, signaling the demise of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ailing hard-line government. A Chinese court sentenced two dissidents (Xu Wenli, Wang Youcai) to long prison terms for trying to organize an opposition party. (Xu was released in December 2002; Wang, in March 2004.)
In 1999, amid heightened concerns about the possibility of a holiday terrorist attack, security was ordered tightened at American airports and the Pentagon said it was taking "appropriate action" to protect U.S. forces overseas.
In 2002, a military helicopter crash in Afghanistan killed seven German peacekeepers who were on board and two children on the ground; a US soldier was killed in combat. President Bush received a smallpox vaccination, fulfilling a promise he'd made when he ordered inoculations for about a-half million US troops.
In 2003, the government raised the national threat level to orange, indicating a high risk of terrorist attack. (It was lowered back to yellow on Jan. 9, 2004.) More than 150 people were killed in mudslides in the Philippines. Soviet diplomat Oleg Troyanovsky died at age 84.
In 2004, a suicide bombing at a mess hall tent near Mosul, Iraq, killed 22 people, including 14 U.S. service members and three American contractors. Two French reporters held hostage for four months in Iraq were released. The Associated Press told the Bowl Championship Series to stop using its college football poll to determine which teams would play for the national title and in the most prestigious bowl games. The NFL fined Jacksonville safety Donovin Darius $75,000 for a hit across the neck of Green Bay's Robert Ferguson that left the wide receiver temporarily paralyzed. U.S. President George W. Bush's approval rating slipped 6 percentage points to 49 percent, a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll said, making Bush the first incumbent president to have an approval rating less than 50 percent one month after winning re-election.
In 2006, at Camp Pendleton, California, four Marines were charged with murder in the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha; four Marine officers were accused of failures in investigating and reporting the deaths. (Charges were later dropped against two of the Marines accused of murder. Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich has pleaded not guilty to voluntary manslaughter; one of the officers was acquitted and charges against the others were dropped.) Final results showed opponents of Iran's ultra-conservative president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, winning nationwide elections for local councils.
In 2007, a suicide attacker detonated a bomb at a mosque outside the home of Pakistan's former interior minister, killing at least 50 people.
In 2008, a multi-faith ceremony was held to mark the reopening of the Oberoi hotel in Mumbai, India, three weeks after it was targeted in a militant rampage. Detroit became the first 0-15 team when it was routed 42-7 by the New Orleans Saints.
Today's Birthdays December 21: Country singer Freddie Hart & College Football Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno are 83. Actor Ed Nelson is 81. Talk show host Phil Donahue is 74. Movie director John Avildsen is 74. Actress Jane Fonda is 72. Actor Larry Bryggman is 71. Singer Carla Thomas is 67. Musician Albert Lee is 66. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas is 65. Actor Josh Mostel is 63. Actor Samuel L. Jackson is 61. Movie producer Jeffrey Katzenberg is 59. Singer Betty Wright is 56. Tennis Hall-of-Famer Chris Evert is 55. Actress Jane Kaczmarek is 54. Country singer Lee Roy Parnell is 53. Entertainer Jim Rose is 53. Actor-comedian Ray Romano is 52. Country singer Christy Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 47. Rock musician Murph (The Lemonheads; Dinosaur Jr.) is 45. Actor-comedian Andy Dick is 44. Rock musician Gabrielle Glaser is 44. Actor Kiefer Sutherland is 43. Actress Karri Turner is 43. Actress Khrystyne Haje is 41. Country singer Brad Warren (The Warren Brothers) is 41. Actress Julie Delpy is 40. Country singer-musician Rhean Boyer (Carolina Rain) is 39. Contemporary Christian singer Natalie Grant is 38. Actor Glenn Fitzgerald is 38. Singer-musician Brett Scallions is 38. Rock singer Lukas Rossi (Rock Star Supernova) is 33.
Not Just Disraeli: Austrian President Kurt Waldheim (1918); composer-performer, smart-ass potty-mouth Frank Zappa
(1940); Beach Boys guitarist Carl Wilson (1946); athlete Florence Griffith-Joyner (1959).
In 1933, five-year-old Shirley Temple signed a movie contract with Fox. Her age was later changed to make her appear a year younger.
In 1937, the first feature-length animated cartoon in Technicolor, Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," had its world premiere in Los Angeles.
In 1940, author F. Scott Fitzgerald died in Hollywood, Calif., at age 44.
In 1964, the book "Ode to a High-Flying Bird" by Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts was published. It was a tribute to jazz great Charlie (Bird) Parker.
In 1967, the comedy-drama "The Graduate," starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, was released.
In 1968, Janis Joplin made her first appearance after leaving Big Brother and the Holding Company. She performed in Memphis at the second annual "Yuletide Thing" event sponsored by Stax-Volt Records. Also in 1968, Crosby, Stills and Nash performed together for the first time. [P. U. — Ed.]
In 1970, Elvis Presley paid a visit to President Nixon at the White House.

In 1979, Chicago, The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt played the first of two concerts to raise campaign money for California governor Jerry Brown, Ronstadt's then-boyfriend.
In 1991, actress Jane Fonda married broadcasting executive Ted Turner on his ranch in Florida. It was her 54th birthday. They've since split up.
In 1992, bluesman Albert King died at a Tennessee hospital at the age of 69. He had fallen into a coma after suffering a heart attack.
In 1996, singer Tony Bennett was rushed to a hospital in Washington after his hernia erupted while visiting the White House for a holiday dinner. He had to have emergency surgery but recovered without problems; singer Lionel Richie married former dancer and fashion designer Diane Alexander in New York.
In 2005, Elton John and his longtime partner, David Furnish, held a civil union ceremony in Windsor, England, the first day that same-sex partnerships became legal in Britain. Also in 2005, singer Howie Day was arrested for rowdy behavior on a flight from Dallas to Boston. He was sentenced to probation and rehab and was ordered to write letters of apology to the crew and passengers. [Who the fuck is Howie Day? — Ed.]
In 2008, playwright Dale Wasserman, who'd written the book for the Tony-winning musical "Man of La Mancha," died in Paradise Valley, Ariz., at age 94.
Thought for Today: "Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it." — Richard Adams, English author. And: "The time will come when winter will ask us: 'What were you doing all the summer?'" — Bohemian proverb.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dark Ages To Return?

The Philippines' most active volcano could have a huge eruption within days, officials warned on Sunday. Thousands have been evacuated, and red-hot lava has already started to flow down the mountainside. (Dec. 20)

A Look Back: Eleven Months Ago

Former President George W. Bush looks out over the U.S. Capitol as his helicopter departs Washington for Andrews Air Force Base following the inauguration ceremonies for President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009. UPI/Eric Draper/The White House

20 December: They Drop Like Flies

Today is Sunday, Dec. 20, the 354th day of 2009. There are 11 days left in the year. UPI Almanac.Today's Highlight in History:
On December 20th, 1803, the Louisiana Purchase was completed as ownership of the territory was formally transferred from France to the United States during ceremonies in New Orleans. [Have something a couple hundred yrs., & you just don't care as much as you used to. — Ed.]
On this date:
In 1790, the first successful cotton mill in the United States began operating at Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
In 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union.
In 1864, Confederate forces evacuated Savannah, Georgia, as Union General William T. Sherman continued his "March to the Sea."
In 1879, Thomas Edison privately demonstrated his incandescent light at Menlo Park, N.J. [A mere 130 yrs. later, they're so old school they're about to be outlawed. — Ed.]
In 1945, the Office of Price Administration announced the end of tire rationing, effective January 1st, 1946.
In 1963, the Berlin Wall was opened for the first time to West Berliners, who were allowed one-day visits to relatives in the Eastern sector for the holidays.
In 1968, author John Steinbeck died in New York at age 66.
In 1976, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley died at age 74.
In 1978, former White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman was released from prison after serving 18 months for his role in the Watergate cover-up.
In 1987, more than 4,300 people were killed when the Dona Paz, a Philippine passenger ship, collided with the tanker Vector off Mindoro island. [That's a lot of people. Typo? Perhaps. UPI claims differently. — Ed.] In 1987, nearly 1,600 people died in the Philippines when a passenger ferry was struck by an oil tanker and sank. It was the century's worst peacetime maritime disaster.
In 1989, the United States launched Operation Just Cause, sending troops into Panama to topple the government of General Manuel Noriega.
In 1994, former Secretary of State Dean Rusk died at age 85.
In 1996, astronomer Carl Sagan died at age 62.
In 1997, President Nelson Mandela stepped down as leader of South Africa's governing African National Congress. Pope John Paul II sent Christmas greetings to the Cuban people in advance of his visit to the island.
In 1998, Nkem Chukwu gave birth in Houston to five girls and two boys, 12 days after giving birth to another child, a girl. (However, the tiniest of the octuplets died a week later.)
In 1999, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that homosexual couples were entitled to the same benefits and protections as wedded couples. Ten years ago: The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that homosexual couples were entitled to the same benefits and protections as wedded couples of the opposite sex. Country music legend Hank Snow died in Nashville, Tenn., at age 85.
In 2002, Trent Lott resigned as Senate Republican leader two weeks after igniting a political firestorm with racially charged remarks. The nation's ten biggest brokerages agreed to pay 1.44 billion dollars and fundamentally change the way they did business to settle allegations they'd misled investors by hyping certain companies' stocks. Ted Williams' eldest daughter, Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell, dropped her objections to her siblings' decision to have the Hall of Famer's body frozen at a cryonics lab in Arizona.
In 2003, Spain's prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, paid a surprise visit to Spanish soldiers in Iraq. Friends and relatives of Michael Jackson descended on his Neverland Ranch to show their support for the entertainer as he fought child molestation charges (Jackson was later acquitted).
In 2004, in a sobering assessment of the Iraq war, President George W. Bush acknowledged during a news conference that Americans' resolve had been shaken by grisly scenes of death and destruction, and he pointedly criticized the performance of U.S.-trained Iraqi troops. Attorneys presented opening statements in the Robert Blake murder trial in Los Angeles.
In 2005, a federal judge ruled that "intelligent design" could not be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district. New York City transit workers began a three-day strike.
In 2006, acknowledging deepening frustration over Iraq, President Bush told a news conference he was considering an increase in American forces and warned that the next year would bring more painful U.S. losses. Recently sworn-in Defense Secretary Robert Gates made an unannounced visit to Iraq.
In 2007, police used chemical spray and stun guns on protesters outside a New Orleans City Council meeting where members unanimously supported demolition of 4,500 public housing units for redevelopment. Thieves broke into the Sao Paulo Museum of Art in Brazil and made off with paintings by Pablo Picasso and Candido Portinari. A British judge acquitted the only man charged with murder in Northern Ireland's deadliest terror attack: the 1998 car bombing that killed 29 people in the town of Omagh. Utah opened the bowl season with a wild 35-32 victory over the Navy Midshipmen in the Poinsettia Bowl.
In 2008, a Continental Airlines Boeing 737-500 taking off from Denver veered off the runway into a ravine, injuring 37 people. Olga Lepeshinskaya, the Bolshoi Ballet's prima ballerina for three decades during Soviet times, died in Moscow at age 92.
Today's Birthdays December 20: Actress Audrey Totter is 92. Comedian Charlie Callas is 82. Actor John Hillerman is 77. Actress Kathryn Joosten is 70. Rock musician-music producer Bobby Colomby is 65. Rock musician Peter Criss is 64. Psychic/illusionist Uri Geller is 63. Producer Dick Wolf ("Law & Order") is 63. Rock musician Alan Parsons is 61. Actress Jenny Agutter is 57. Actor Michael Badalucco is 55. Actress Blanche Baker is 53. Rock singer Billy Bragg is 52. Rock singer-musician Mike Watt (The Secondmen, Minutemen, fIREHOSE) is 52. Actor Joel Gretsch is 46. Country singer Kris Tyler is 45. Rock singer Chris Robinson is 43. Actress Nicole deBoer is 39. Movie director Todd Phillips is 39.
Born On This Date & Later Died:
Harvey Samuel Firestone, industrialist (1868); Branch Rickey, baseball executive; integrated the major leagues by signing (1945) Jackie Robinson to a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. (1881); Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, athlete (1886); Susanne K. Langer, philosopher (1895); Sidney Hook, philosopher (1902).
Show Bidness History:
In 1946, the Frank Capra film "It's A Wonderful Life" had a preview showing for charity at New York City's Globe Theatre, a day before its official premiere.

In 1958, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon performed as The Quarrymen at the wedding reception of Harrison's brother, Harry.
In 1967, singer Ian Anderson and bassist Glenn Cornick formed Jethro Tull. Also in 1967, singer Jimmy Rodgers was beaten during a roadside attack in Los Angeles. He had to have three brain operations and had a steel plate put into his skull.
In 1973, singer Bobby Darin died during open heart surgery. He was 37.
In 1975, former James Gang member Joe Walsh joined The Eagles. He replaced Bernie Leadon, who left The Eagles for a solo career.
In 1981, the musical "Dreamgirls," which was loosely based on the career of Diana Ross and the Supremes, premiered on Broadway.
In 1986, Randy Travis joined the Grand Ole Opry.
In 1995, the members of The Drifters were forbidden to leave Guyana after a series of concerts. They owed about $4,000 in entertainment taxes.
In 1999, country music legend Hank Snow died in Nashville, Tenn., at age 85.
In 2006, Eminem and Kim Mathers were divorced for a second time. They had first married in 1999 and divorced in 2001. They remarried in January 2006 and he field [sic] for divorce again that April.
In 2007, Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli settled their divorce.
In 2008, filmmaker Robert Mulligan ("To Kill a Mockingbird") died in Lyme, Conn., at age 83.
Thought for Today: "There are two days in the week about which and upon which I never worry. Two carefree days, kept sacredly free from fear and apprehension. One of these days is Yesterday. ... And the other ... is Tomorrow." — Robert Jones Burdette, American clergyman and author (1844-1914).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Filler

That Should Hold The Little Bastards

Dick Cavett eases us all into Sat. morning, w/ memories & a little sucking up to the dead & near-dead, perhaps in anticipation of getting a better table on his arrival wherever post-existence happens.
When the doors opened, the civilians all rushed out to astonish their friends with reports of whom they had met and actually spoken with.

Jack put his arm around my shoulder and in that soft voice, said, “Ya know, kid, sometimes ya jes’ wanna tell ‘em to go . . . ” And yes, he uttered them. Those two words.

Oh, the wonder of it! And the innocence of it. It’s a sweet story and only a misfit would find it dirty.

Hearing that voice, famous from childhood, that issued from our old two-minutes-to-warm-up Majestic radio, employ one of George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV” (now you can, thanks to cable) was a rare experience. More so from him, because Benny, as comedians say, “worked clean.” Cleaner, maybe, than any other giant comic. And he was smart enough to realize the shock value of a naughty word from the mouth of the former little Benny Kubelsky from Illinois.

As we sit here in our sun-filled breakfast nook, inhaling the delicious aroma from the steaming cup of coffee in our hands, looking into middle space, perhaps smiling toward the dog at our feet while we turn the pages of the paper (as if our life were an advertiser's fantasy) we are reminded of the time when we, like Mr. Cavett, had employment, & said employer, on (get this, kids, a pay 'phone, actually bolted to a wall) had no sooner spoken the phrase "10%" into the 'phone when an eavesdropping Shirley MacLaine advised him: "If that's an agent, tell him to go fuck himself." Not that Ms. MacLaine could be thought of as a paragon of innocence, but still ...

Note: We are so old (wretched, also) that we were simply amused by Jack Benny being foul-mouthed, & it wasn't until we'd copied & pasted the thing & re-read it that we remembered our own brush w/ celebrity & took the opportunity to name drop.

Happy Kwanznukkah, And To All A Good Night

19 December: Franklin, Paine, Publish; G. W. Moves To Valley Forge; Ho Chi Minh Sets Out On Righteous Path To Eventual Victory Over Western Imperialist Powers; Rockefeller Sworn In As 41st Veep; Total Mining Deaths This Date: 266; Clinton Impeached

Today is Saturday, Dec. 19, the 353rd day of 2009. There are 12 days left in the year. UPI version.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 19, 1843, "A Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens, was first published in England.
On this date:
In 1732, Benjamin Franklin began publishing Poor Richard's Almanac.
In 1776, Thomas Paine published his first American Crisis essay, in which he wrote, "These are the times that try men's souls." [What times aren't? — Ed.]
In 1777, Gen. George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pa., to camp for the winter.
In 1813, British forces captured Fort Niagara in upstate New York during the War of 1812.
In 1907, 239 workers died in a coal mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pa.
In 1932, the BBC began transmitting overseas with its Empire Service to Australia.
In 1946, war broke out in Indochina as troops under Ho Chi Minh launched widespread attacks against the French.
In 1958, the U.S. satellite Atlas transmitted the first radio voice broadcast from space, a 58-word recorded Christmas greeting from U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower.
In 1972, Apollo 17 splashed down in the Pacific, winding up the Apollo program of manned lunar landings.
In 1974, Nelson A. Rockefeller was sworn in as the 41st vice president of the United States.
[Note well: Two of the last Republicans who were at least sane, if not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier. — Ed.]
In 1984, a fire at the Wilberg Mine near Orangeville, Utah, killed 27 people. Britain and China signed an accord returning Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997. Also, the United States formally withdrew from UNESCO in a effort to force reform of the U.N. cultural organization's budget and alleged Third World bias. [Bogus outrage about racial stuff: It's nothing new. — Ed.]
In 1986, the Soviet Union announced it had freed dissident Andrei Sakharov from internal exile and pardoned his wife, Yelena Bonner. U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese said U.S. President Ronald Reagan didn't know that money Iran paid for U.S. arms was going to Nicaraguan rebels.
In 1996, the school board of Oakland, Calif., voted to recognize Black English, also known as "ebonics." [See 1984. Outrageous! — Ed.]
In 1997, a SilkAir Boeing 737-300 plunged from the sky, crashing into an Indonesian river and killing all 104 people aboard. In Milwaukee, postal clerk Anthony Deculit killed a co-worker he'd feuded with, wounded a supervisor and injured another worker before taking his own life.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican-controlled House for perjury and obstruction of justice (he was later acquitted by the Senate).
Two days after his confession of marital infidelity, Rep. Bob Livingston, R-La., told the House he wouldn't serve as its next speaker. [A-hem. — Ed.]
In 1999, space shuttle Discovery and seven astronauts roared into the night toward the crippled Hubble Space Telescope. Macau spent its last day under Portuguese control before being handed back to China, ending 442 years of colonial rule. Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Orlando Brown was ejected for pushing referee Jeff Triplette to the ground during a game against Jacksonville after accidentally being hit in the eye with Triplette's weighted penalty flag.
In 2000, the U.N. Security Council voted to impose broad sanctions on Afghanistan's Taliban rulers unless they closed terrorist training camps and surrendered U.S. embassy bombing suspect Osama bin Laden.
In 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell declared Iraq in "material breach" of a U.N. disarmament resolution. After a prosecutor cited new DNA evidence, a judge in New York threw out the convictions of five young men in a 1989 attack on a Central Park jogger who had been raped and left for dead. Roh Moo-hyun won South Korea's presidential election.
In 2003, Muammar al-Qaddafi of Libya announced that his country would discontinue development of weapons of mass destruction.
In 2004, in Iraq, car bombs tore through a Najaf funeral procession and Karbala's main bus station, killing at least 60 people and wounding more than 120 in the two Shiite holy cities. In Baghdad, three Iraqi election officials were killed execution-style by insurgents. Time magazine named President George W. Bush its Person of the Year for the second time. Opera singer Renata Tebaldi died in San Marino at age 82.
In 2005, Afghanistan's first democratically elected parliament in more than three decades convened.
In 2006, a Libyan court convicted five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor of deliberately infecting 400 children with HIV and sentenced them to death. (The six later had their death sentences commuted, and were transferred to Bulgaria, where they were pardoned and set free.) U.S. President George W. Bush said he would increase the number of Americans in the military to deal with terrorism worldwide. Bush acknowledged that U.S. military forces were stretched too thin.
In 2007, conservative Lee Myung-bak won the South Korean presidential election.
In 2008, citing imminent danger to the national economy, President George W. Bush ordered an emergency bailout of the U.S. auto industry. An unwavering Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich served notice he had no intention of quitting over his corruption arrest, declaring: "I have done nothing wrong." Militants in Gaza fired rockets into Israel as Hamas ended a six-month truce. Also in 2008, a landmark $200 billion program intended to support consumer credit will allow hedge funds to borrow from the Federal Reserve for the first time. And, Mark Felt, an FBI official who became known as the Washington Post journalists' shadowy source "Deep Throat" in the Watergate scandal, died at the age of 95.
Today's Birthdays: Country singer Little Jimmy Dickens (left) is 89. Composer-lyricist Robert Sherman ("Mary Poppins") is 84. Actress Cicely Tyson is 76. R&B singer-musician Maurice White (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 68. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is 68. Actress Elaine Joyce is 66. Actor Tim Reid is 65. Paleontologist Richard E. Leakey is 65. Rock singer Alvin Lee (Ten Years After) is 65. Musician John McEuen is 64.Singer Janie Fricke is 62. Jazz musician Lenny White is 60. Actor Mike Lookinland is 49. Actress Jennifer Beals is 46. Actor Scott Cohen is 45. Actor Robert MacNaughton is 43. Magician Criss Angel is 42. Rock musician Kevin Shepard is 41. Actress Kristy Swanson is 40. Model Tyson Beckford is 39. Actress Amy Locane is 38. Actress Rosa Blasi is 37. Actress Alyssa Milano is 37.  Football player Warren Sapp is 37. Football player Jake Plummer is 35.  Actor Jake Gyllenhaal is 29. Actress Marla Sokoloff is 29. Rapper Lady Sovereign is 24. [Whatever happened to her? — Ed.]
Others, Now Dead, Born this Date: Mary Livermore, women's suffrage leader (1820); "Pollyanna" author Eleanor Porter (1868); Ford Frick, NL president, commissioner of baseball (1894); Sir Ralph Richardson, actor (1902); Leonid Brezhnev, political leader (1906); Jean Genet, a pioneer in the theater of the absurd (1910); Edith ["The Little Sparrow"] Piaf, cabaret singer (1915).
Today In Entertainment History December 19
In 1955, Carl Perkins recorded "Blue Suede Shoes" at Sun Records in Memphis.
In 1957,Meredith Willson's musical play "The Music Man," starring Robert Preston, opened on Broadway.
In 1975, the C.W. McCall single "Convoy" went gold in the US.
In 1980, Dolly Parton's first movie, "9 to 5," opened nationwide.
In 1985, country singer Johnny Paycheck was arrested for shooting a man during a fight in Hillsboro, Ohio. He was released from jail in 1991.
In 1991, Oliver Stone's controversial film "JFK" premiered in Dallas, where President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
In 1995, one person was killed and several others injured on the set of the Disney movie "Gone Fishin'." A boat used in a stunt went out of control and landed on a group of people.
In 1997, the movie "Titanic" opened. It was the most expensive movie ever made.
In 1999, Actor Desmond Llewelyn, who'd starred as the eccentric gadget expert Q in a string of James Bond films, was killed in a car crash in East Sussex, England; he was 85.
In 2000, musician Pops Staples of The Staple Singers died at his home outside Chicago at the age of 84. He had been recovering from a concussion suffered four weeks earlier. That same day, guitarist Rob Buck of 10,000 Maniacs died of complications from liver failure. He was 42.
Thought for Today: "I never could see why people were so happy about Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' because I never had any confidence that Scrooge was going to be different the next day." — Dr. Karl Menninger, American psychiatrist (1893-1990).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Poke Poke
Poke Your Eyes Out!

From the Just Another Blog™ in-box.

Conservative Christian groups also took offense at a recent Gap ad that made a point of giving equal time to various holidays. "As a Christian, I don't put Christmas on the same plane as winter solstice," said Carrie Gordon Earll, a spokeswoman for Focus on the Family. "It kind of felt like a poke in the eye."
Oddly enough, as someone who's as in tune w/ the planet & local star as it is humanly possible to be (while spending at least 90% of our time inside a monastic cell watching tee vee, that is) our eye feels kind of poked too: We don't put the Winter Solstice on the same level as X-mess because, among other things, your "Christmas" is a watered-down co-optation of the Winter Solstice. How's that for a poke in your damn eye, arrogant bee-yotch?

Some poor saps are old enough to remember when there was talk about "Putting the Christ back in Christmas," by which the religio-scolds of the day really meant less commercialism, more "thinkin' 'bout Jeeee-suhsss!" How did they get from that to "Put more Christmas in the commercialism, or we'll blacklist your co." w/in our lifetime? The Prosperity Gospel?

Still some old schoolers at it, though the Slate typist thinks it's something new & rising.
Then there's the rise of third-way groups like the Advent Conspiracy, which embraces the religious aspects of Christmas but rejects the consumerism surrounding it. (Watch their promo video here.) Rather than a war on Christmas, they're fighting a war for Christmas.
Either way, let's have a war!

Choose Your Poison! The Market Works! There's One Born Every Minute!

If you dared to click.

Don't Expect Shit Around Here, It's Fucking Christmas!

Ahhh, screw this noise. Must go places, buy ammodo things, & get medication to prevent our acting on certain desires involving the deaths of millionsas many morons as we can get to before the forces of repression stop us. Cold dead hands, baby!

And Further: Psychiatrists Are Nuts

Also from yesterday's newspaper reading:

L.A. psychiatrist accused of improper relations with two patients

December 10, 2009 | 10:01 am
A Los Angeles psychiatrist has agreed to have his medical license placed on probation after a state agency accused him of having controlling and improper relationships with two adult patients, a brother and sister.

We suppose this may be another reason the dead-tree media are following the trees to oblivion: Note the date above, as stolen from the Times website. Yet it wasn't printed in the paper version until 17 December.

More juicy:

Dr. Norman J. Lachman, 68, of Los Angeles, was alleged to have struck and humiliated the brother -- including forcing the man to buy dog food, which the doctor threatened to make him eat.

In addition, the board alleged that Lachman had “very discomforting” sessions with the sister, telling her she was a “hot tamale” and instructing her to stop attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings even though she had a drinking problem.


The agency alleged that in sessions at Lachman’s home between 2000 and 2004, Lachman struck the brother in the stomach, chest and legs with a cane, used his hand to strike the man in his testicles and called him stupid and crazy.

The accusation also detailed Lachman’s alleged efforts to insult and humiliate his patient: referring to him by a girl’s name, asking him to send photos of his girlfriends nude for Lachman to keep and making sexual innuendoes about his sister, among others.

18 December: Woodrow W. Goes Galt; Barbarossa Planned; Big Days For Keef, "Star Dreck"; Bouffant Runs Out Of Clever (Well, For Once He Admits To It. This May Not Be The First Time It's Happened.)

Today is Friday, Dec. 18, the 352nd day of 2009. There are 13 days left in the year. [There's some bad luck. — Ed.] More bad luck from Moon's UPI.Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 18, 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, was declared in effect by Secretary of State William H. Seward.
On this date:
In 1737, Violin maker Antonio Stradivari died in Cremona, Italy. [Ciao, Tonio! — Ed.]
In 1787, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
In 1886, Baseball Hall of Famer Ty Cobb was born in Narrows, Ga.
In 1892, Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker" publicly premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson, widowed the year before, married Edith Bolling Galt at her Washington home.
In 1940, Adolf Hitler ordered secret preparations for Nazi Germany to invade the Soviet Union. (Operation Barbarossa was launched in June 1941.)
In 1944, in a pair of rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the wartime relocation of Japanese-Americans, but also said undeniably loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry could not continue to be detained.
In 1956, Japan was admitted to the United Nations.
In 1957, the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first public, full-scale commercial nuclear facility to generate electricity in the United States, went on line. (It was taken out of service in 1982.)
In 1958, the world's first communications satellite, SCORE, or Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment, nicknamed "Chatterbox," was launched by the United States aboard an Atlas rocket.
In 1969, Britain's House of Lords joined the House of Commons in making permanent a 1965 ban on the death penalty for cases of murder.
In 1972, the United States began heavy bombing of North Vietnamese targets during the Vietnam War. (The bombardment ended 11 days later.)
In 1980, former Soviet Premier Alexei N. Kosygin died at age 76.
In 1985, the U.S. Congress approved the biggest overhaul of farm legislation since the Depression, trimming price supports.
In 1987, Ivan F. Boesky was sentenced to three years in prison for plotting Wall Street's biggest insider-trading scandal.
In 1989, a pipe bomb killed Savannah, Ga., City Councilman Robert Robinson, hours after a bomb was discovered at the Atlanta federal courthouse. A racial motive was cited in a rash of bomb incidents. Also in 1989, the Romanian government sealed the borders amid reports of a deadly crackdown on dissidents.
In 1990, Moldavia became the sixth Soviet republic to refuse to participate in a 10-day meeting in a mounting affront to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
In 1991, General Motors announced it would close 21 plants and eliminate 74,000 jobs in four years to offset record losses.
In 1997, President Clinton extended indefinitely the deadline for withdrawal of U.S. troops helping with the U.N. peacekeeping effort in Bosnia. Onetime dissident Kim Dae-jung of South Korea was elected the country's president. Fired California highway employee Arturo Reyes Torres shot and killed four people at a maintenance yard before being killed by police. Also in 1997, the 6-mile-long Tokyo Bay tunnel connecting the cities of Kawasaki and Kisarazu opened. The project took 8 1/2 years to complete and cost $17 billion.
In 1998, The House of Representatives began debate on four articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton.
In 1999, in St. Martinville, La., the last of the federal immigration detainees who'd taken a jail warden and three others hostage for almost a week surrendered. After living atop an ancient redwood in Humboldt County, Calif., for two years, environmental activist Julia "Butterfly" Hill came down to earth, ending her anti-logging protest.
In 2002, embattled Senate Republican leader Trent Lott sustained a double-barreled setback as Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee broke ranks to call for a change in party leadership and Secretary of State Colin Powell forcefully criticized Lott's controversial remarks on race. Robert Johnson, the billionaire founder of Black Entertainment Television, was chosen as owner of the NBA's new Charlotte expansion franchise.
In 2003, a judge in Seattle sentenced confessed Green River killer Gary Ridgeway to 48 consecutive life terms. A jury in Chesapeake, Va., convicted teenager Lee Boyd Malvo of two counts of murder in the Washington-area sniper shootings. (He was later sentenced to life in prison without parole.)
In 2004, The former Iraqi general known as "Chemical Ali," Ali Hassan al-Majid, went before a judge in the first investigative hearings of former members of his regime. Former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet was hospitalized after suffering a stroke. Also in 2004, Britain's Prince Charles was reported leading efforts to end the death penalty imposed in some cases under Islamic law for Muslims who convert to other religions.
In 2006, Robert Gates was sworn in as defense secretary. President Bush signed legislation to let America share its nuclear know-how and fuel with India. [In exchange for cheaper mangoes, if we're not mistaken. Good deal! — Ed.] The NBA suspended seven players for their roles in a brawl between Denver and New York; each team was fined $500,000.
In 2008, a U.N. court in Tanzania convicted former Rwandan army Col. Theoneste Bagosora of genocide and crimes against humanity for masterminding the killings of more than half a million people in a 100-day slaughter in 1994. W. Mark Felt, the former FBI second-in-command who'd revealed himself as "Deep Throat" three decades after the Watergate scandal, died in Santa Rosa, Calif., at age 95.
Today's Birthdays: Television writer-producer Hal Kanter is 91. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark is 82. Actor Roger Smith is 77. Blues musician Lonnie Brooks is 76. Actor Roger Mosley is 71. Rock "singer"-musician Keith Richards is 66.
Writer-director Alan Rudolph is 66. Movie producer-director Steven Spielberg is 63. Blues artist Ron Piazza is 62. [As we mentioned two yrs. ago, that's "Rod" Piazza, not "Ron." AP = Dumb as a post. — Ed.] Movie director Gillian Armstrong is 59. Movie "reviewer" Leonard Maltin is 59. Rock musician Elliot Easton is 56. Actor Ray Liotta is 54. Comedian Ron White is 53. Actor Brad Pitt is 46. "Actor" and professional wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is 45. Actor Shawn Christian is 44. Actress Rachel Griffiths is 41. Singer Alejandro Sanz is 41. Country/rap singer Cowboy Troy is 39. Rapper DMX is 39. Tennis player Arantxa Sanchez Vicario is 38. DJ Lethal (Limp Bizkit) is 37. Actress Katie Holmes is 31. Singer Christina Aguilera is 29.
Those Less Mobile Born on this Date: Joseph Grimaldi, known as the "greatest clown in history," (1778); English physicist Joseph Thompson, discoverer of the electron, (1856); British short story writer Saki (H.H. Munro) (1870); Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (1879? Plenty of debate on this one, doesn't help that the stupid Russkies were still on the Julian calrndar.); Paul Klee, artist (1879); Edwin Armstrong, engineer, inventor of FM radio (1890); Fletcher Henderson, jazz composer and pianist (1897); Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Tuskeegee Airman, first African-American to make general in the AF (1912); Willy Brandt, political leader (1913); Betty Grable (left) actress (1916); Ossie Davis, actor, director, screenwriter (1917).
Today In Entertainment History December 18
In 1957, the film "Bridge On The River Kwai" premiered in New York.
In 1964, funeral services were held in Chicago for singer Sam Cooke, who had been shot and killed in Los Angeles. Fans broke glass and caused other damage to the funeral home where Cooke's body was displayed in a glass-covered coffin.
In 1971, Jerry Lee Lewis divorced his cousin, Myra Gale Brown. They had married in 1957 when she was 13.
In 1983, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards married model Patti Hansen in Mexico, on his 40th birthday. Mick Jagger was his best man.
In 1984, actress Jamie Lee Curtis married comedian Christopher Guest of "Saturday Night Live" in Rob Reiner's home in Los Angeles.
In 1991, actor Deforest Kelley, known for his role as Dr. McCoy on "Star Trek," got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 1995, Kenny G and his family escaped a fire that caused $275,000 dollars damage to their home in suburban Los Angeles.
In 1997, comedian Chris Farley was found dead in his apartment in Chicago of a cocaine and morphine overdose. He was 33. [Lesson from this? Don't be the fat guy on SNL & mix blow & smack. — Ed.]
In 1999, French film director Robert Bresson died in Paris at age 98.
In 2003, Michael Jackson was formally charged with seven counts of lewd or lascivious acts upon a child and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent. He was acquitted of the charges.
In 2006, animator Joe Barbera died in Los Angeles at age 95.
In 2008, "Star Trek" actress Majel Barrett Roddenberry, widow of series creator Gene Roddenberry, died in Los Angeles at age 76.
Thought for Today: "No one worth possessing can be quite possessed." — Sara Teasdale, American author and poet (1884-1933).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In Case These Were Missed

And this dose of madness.
We're stockpiling nails & lumber for when we get a chance to crucify every last one of these humanoids. If it was good enough for Jesus, it's too good for them.


Forced to make an interminable bus ride to the very edge of the continent today. Not absolutely interminable, but over an hour each way. Having read the 75¢ fish-wrapper from first page to last (twice) on the way to the edge, in order to keep ourself distracted enough that we didn't murder any of the other bus-bound dregs of humanity, we grabbed the free weekly "alternative" dog-trainer, wherein we found this gem:
Harlequin, the oldest of the romance houses, won’t commit to gay romances on paper, but just last month it welcomed LGBT submissions to its digital-publishing line. From a house that doesn’t allow its writers to use the words "buttocks" or "panties" because it might offend Christian readers, this is nothing short of revolutionary.
Interesting note: In the print edition, the words BUTTOCKS & PANTIES are italicized. But the "to" that should be before "use" is omitted in print as well.

Anyway, we found it rather amusing, especially in light of this quote from "Going Rogue":
“In our teen years, if we stayed awake long enough, we’d sneak upstairs and watch Saturday Night Live. Having grown up in a house where ‘butt’ was a bad word and we had to say ‘bottom,’ we assumed we had to sneak. It wasn’t until years later that we learned our parents got a kick out of SNL’s political humor, too.”
There is no hope. Anywhere.

Starbursts Fade Away

Ex-Alaska Gov. Palin loses large percentage of male vote. By the way, Igno-Americans, if she's "Just like you," why aren't you in Hawai'i this X-mess, losers?

17 December: Manned, Powered Flight Happens; Bolivar Dies; Billy Mitchell Screwed For Telling Truth; Graf Spee Scuttled; AF Sez: UFOs Not Aliens; Pigs Murder Miami Motorcyclist; Stupidity As Rampant As Ever

Today is Thursday, Dec. 17, the 351st day of 2009. There are 14 days left in the year. (Two wks., bitchezz!) The UPI has history too!Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, conducted the first successful manned, powered airplane flights, near Kitty Hawk, N.C., using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer.
On this date:
In 1777, France recognized American independence.
In 1790, the Aztec Calendar or Solar Stone was uncovered by workmen repairing Mexico City's Central Plaza. [Is this the one that runs out soon? — Ed.]
In 1830, South American revolutionary Simon Bolivar died in Colombia. [The North Carolina tee vee station web site whence we steal this used the word "patriot" instead of "revolutionary." As a commie, & as it's hard to be a "patriot" to all of South America, we changed it even before seeing that the AP's site also uses "revolutionary." More damn media bias. — Ed.]
In 1925, Col. William "Billy" Mitchell was convicted at his court-martial in Washington, D.C., of insubordination for accusing senior military officials of incompetence and criminal negligence; he was suspended from active duty. He was awarded the Medal of Honor 20 years after his death.
In 1933, in the first NFL championship game, the Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants 23-21 at Wrigley Field.
In 1939, the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee was scuttled by its crew, ending the Battle of the River Plate off Uruguay. See the movie. It's fun! — Ed.]
In 1944, the U.S. Army announced the end of its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast.
In 1957, the United States successfully test-fired the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.
In 1967, the Clean Air Act was passed by the U.S. Congress.
In 1969, the U.S. Air Force closed its Project "Blue Book" by concluding there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.
In 1975, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was sentenced in Sacramento, Calif., to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Gerald R. Ford. (She was paroled in August 2009.)
In 1979, in a case that aggravated racial tensions, Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance executive, was fatally injured after leading police on a chase with his motorcycle in Miami. (Four white police officers accused of beating McDuffie were later acquitted, sparking riots.)
In 1981, members of the Red Brigades kidnapped Brigadier General James L. Dozier, the highest-ranking US Army official in southern Europe, from his home in Verona, Italy. (Dozier was rescued 42 days later.) [We still think he should have been executed, then drawn & quartered. — Ed.]
In 1986, Eugene Hasenfus, an American convicted by Nicaragua for his part in running guns to the Contras, was pardoned and released.
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in separate ceremonies.
In 1996, Kofi Annan of Ghana became United Nations secretary-general.

Peruvian guerrillas took hundreds of people hostage at the Japanese embassy in Lima.
In 1997, the United States and 33 other countries signed a convention in Paris aimed at eradicating bribery in international business. President Clinton's panel on race relations met at Annandale High School in Virginia.
In 1999, President Bill Clinton signed a law letting millions of disabled Americans retain their government-funded health coverage when they take a job. The U.N. Security Council ended a yearlong deadlock and voted to send weapons inspectors back to Iraq and consider suspending sanctions if Baghdad cooperated.
In 2001, U.S. officials said they believed they had destroyed Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network in Afghanistan but it became evident in a few days that hundreds of bin Laden's men were escaping through the mountains into Pakistan.
In 2002, insurance and finance company Conseco Incorporated filed for Chapter 11 protection. Congo's government, rebels and opposition parties signed a peace agreement to end four years of civil war.
In 2004, President George W. Bush signed into law the largest overhaul of U.S. intelligence-gathering in 50 years. Pfizer Inc. said it had found an increased risk of heart problems with patients taking Celebrex.
In 2005, President George W. Bush acknowledged he'd personally authorized a secret eavesdropping program in the U.S. following Sept. 11, calling it "crucial to our national security."
In 2006, gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms kidnapped two dozen employees at the Red Crescent offices in downtown Baghdad. Searchers on Mount Hood in Oregon found the body of missing climber Kelly James; two other climbers remain missing. Dodgers reliever Larry Sherry, the most valuable player of the 1959 World Series, died in Mission Viejo, California, at age 71.
In 2007, Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed a measure making New Jersey the first state to abolish the death penalty in more than 40 years.
In 2008, President-elect Barack Obama named former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado to head the Interior Department. OPEC agreed to slash 2.2 million barrels from daily production — its single largest cut ever. Pro Football Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh died in Rotan, Texas, at age 94.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Armin Mueller-Stahl is 79. [Smut] Magazine publisher Bob Guccione is 79. Actor George Lindsey is 74. Singer-actor Tommy Steele is 73. Rock singer-musician Art Neville is 72. Actor Christopher Cazenove is 66. Actor Bernard Hill is 65. Actor Ernie Hudson is 64. MSNBC political commentator Chris Matthews is 64. [Can we hope the awful bastard will retire at this time next yr.? Please? — Ed.] Comedian-actor Eugene Levy is 63. Actress Marilyn Hassett is 62. Actor Wes Studi is 62. Pop musician Jim Bonfanti (The Raspberries) is 61. Actor Joel Brooks is 60. Rock singer Paul Rodgers is 60. R&B singer Wanda Hutchinson (The Emotions) is 58. Actor Bill Pullman is 56. Actor Barry Livingston is 56. Country singer Sharon White is 56. Producer-director-writer Peter Farrelly is 53. Rock musician Mike Mills (R.E.M.) is 51. Pop singer Sara Dallin (Bananarama) is 48.
Country musician Tim Chewning is 47. Country singer Tracy Byrd is 43. Country musician Duane Propes is 43. DJ Homicide (Sugar Ray) is 39. Actor Sean Patrick Thomas is 39. Pop-rock musician Eddie Fisher (OneRepublic) is 36. [We thought Liz Taylor killed Eddie Fisher. Huhn. — Ed.] Actress Sarah Paulson is 35. Actress Marissa Ribisi is 35. Actor Giovanni Ribisi is 35. Actress Milla Jovovich is 34. Singer Bree Sharp is 34. Actress Jennifer Carpenter is 30. Actress Shannon Marie Woodward is 25. Actress Vanessa Zima is 23. [Do you think using the name of some crappy sweet malt liquor as a stage name is a wise move? We're not sure. — Ed.]
People Born on This Date Who Have Since Died: Sir Humphry Davy, chemist, physicist (1778): "He investigated the properties of nitrous oxide (laughing gas)." [Does that mean he was the first person to discover that it gives one a buzz, or that he kept messing w/ it once it was discovered? — Ed.]; American Revolutionary War soldier Deborah Sampson, who fought as a man under the alias Robert Shurtleff, (1760); John Greenleaf Whittier, poet (1807); W.L. Mackenzie King, political leader (1874) [Canadian P. M. during WWII, later sold the Canucks out to the U. S. — Ed.]; Arthur Fiedler, conductor (1894); Erskine Caldwell, author of "Tobacco Road" (1903); composer/bandleader Ray Noble (1903); Sylvia Ashton-Warner, novelist and educator (1905); Western swing bandleader/violinist Spade Cooley, who also killed his wife, & did time in Vacaville (1910);  William Safire, newspaper columnist (1929).
Today In Entertainment History December 17
In 1959, Stanley Kramer's anti-nuclear war drama "On the Beach," starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner, premiered on all seven continents (including Antarctica).
In 1969, an estimated 50 million TV viewers watched as singer Tiny Tim married Miss Vicki on NBC's "Tonight Show." The event earned the show its highest ratings to that date. Also in 1969, Chicago's first album, "Chicago Transit Authority," was certified gold.
In 1970, the Beach Boys played a command performance for Princess Margaret in London.
In 1977, Elvis Costello and the Attractions performed on "Saturday Night Live" as a last-minute replacement for the Sex Pistols, who were denied U. S. visas. Costello was told not to play his song "Radio, Radio" because of its criticisms of the broadcasting industry, but he interrupted another song to play it.
In 1982, The Who played the last show of its farewell tour at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. By the end of the decade, they had reunited for another tour. Also in 1982, bluesman Big Joe Williams died of natural causes in Macon, Miss., at the age of 79. His best known songs include "Baby Please Don't Go" and "Big Fat Mama."
In 1986, a jury in Las Vegas found NBC guilty of defaming singer Wayne Newton by linking him to organized crime.
In 1989, the animated TV series "The Simpsons" premiered on Fox with a Christmas-themed episode.
In 1992, Barbra Streisand signed a movie and music deal with Sony. Terms weren't revealed, but sources estimated the deal was worth $60 million.
In 1997, The Presidents of the United States of America announced their breakup. They have since gotten back together.
In 2001, comedian Tom Green filed for divorce from actress Drew Barrymore after less than six months of marriage.
In 2002, playwright Frederick Knott, who wrote "Dial M For Murder" and "Wait Until Dark," died in New York City at age 86.
Thought for Today: "A fool and his money are soon parted, but you never call him a fool 'til the money is gone." — Anonymous. [Shorter Anonymous: That's capitalism!]

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From The Paper Of Record: Walt's "Cousin" Roy Dead

Roy E. Disney, Who Became a Power at His Uncle Walt's Studio, Dies at 79 
Roy E. Disney, Walt's cousin, dies in Los Angeles at age 79, had been a longtime power-broker at Disney Studios. 

And while we're busily bitching, it is one of our fondest wishes that the next person who types or speaks the phrase "following [Or "after."] a year-long battle with [any kind of] cancer" will be struck down in their prime by ass-cancer that eats their body away before their eyes. (Before it eats their fucking un-critical eyes as well.) Perhaps we should wish that it happen to a close & beloved relative; that will give the hack typist a better idea of how we feel when they apply their cancer to our beloved (Joke, ha ha.) English language. The "battle" is between CANCER & the medical personnel involved, w/ the patient/sufferer/victim's body merely the uninvolved but wrecked field of battle.

P. S.: Can anyone who follows any non-English media advise us if this unfortunate expression has currency in other tongues?

P. P. S.: Proof.
Granted, not from the paper or online edition, but from the email they send us. Nonetheless (especially as the item in the online ed. was updated) we'll assume that's how it originally appeared. Morans.

New Planet Noticed

Per Wired (Why don't they just call it "Tweaking!"?) it's a mere 42 lt. yrs. away.
It’s not exactly Earth’s twin: It’s about six times bigger, a whole lot hotter and made mostly of water. But compared to the giant gas balls that account for nearly every other extrasolar planet ever found, it’s pretty darn close.
Give us a couple of hundred yrs. & we'll have "our" planet just as hot & wet, if not as massive.

16 December: Cromwell In Charge; Beethoven Born In Bonn; Original Tea Party; Nappy Dumps Josie; Grim News: Grimm Bro. Dies; Great White Fleet Sets "Sail;" Battle Of Bulge Begins (Not A Stupid X-Mess Over-Eating Reference); Permanent State Of Emergency Over Something Or Another Declared By National Security State

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 16, the 350th day of 2009. There are 15 days left in the year. The UPI Almanac.Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 16, 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place as American colonists boarded a British ship and dumped more than 300 chests of tea overboard to protest tea taxes.

On this date:
In 1653, Oliver Cromwell became lord protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.
In 1770, composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany.

Two hundred years ago, in 1809, the French Senate granted a divorce decree to Emperor Napoleon I and Empress Josephine (the dissolution was made final the following month).
In 1859, Wilhelm Grimm, the younger of the story-writing Brothers Grimm, died in Berlin at age 73.
In 1907, 16 U.S. Navy battleships, which came to be known as the "Great White Fleet," set sail on a 14-month round-the-world voyage to demonstrate American sea power.

[What color was that again? — Ed.]
In 1909, Nicaraguan President Jose Santos Zelaya resigned in the face of a U.S.-backed revolution. {See "1907," above. — Ed.]
In 1916, Gregory Rasputin, the monk who had wielded powerful influence over the Russian court, was murdered by a group of noblemen.
In 1917, science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke was born in Minehead, England.
In 1944, the Battle of the Bulge began as German forces launched a surprise attack against Allied forces in Belgium (the Allies were eventually able to beat the Germans back).
In 1950, President Harry S. Truman proclaimed a national state of emergency in order to fight "world conquest by Communist imperialism."
In 1960, a United Air Lines DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation collided over New York City, killing 134 people.
In 1976, the government halted its swine flu vaccination program following reports of paralysis apparently linked to the vaccine.
In 1985, reputed organized-crime chief Paul Castellano was shot to death outside a New York City restaurant.

[Yeah, he was shot dead, gangland style, because he was a "reputed" capo. "Reputed," w/ bodyguards. The AP are such wimps. — Ed.]
In 1990, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president of Haiti in the country's first democratic elections.
In 1991, the U.N. General Assembly rescinded its 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism by a vote of 111-25.
In 1997, U.N. weapons monitor Richard Butler left Iraq after failing to persuade President Saddam Hussein to open his palaces to inspections. A Pentagon-appointed panel concluded that the Army, Navy and Air Force should segregate male and female recruits in their earliest phases of basic training. In Japan, at least 700 mostly young TV viewers reportedly suffered nausea and other symptoms after watching an animated "Pokemon" cartoon featuring bright, flashing colors.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered a sustained series of airstrikes against Iraq by American and British forces in response to Saddam Hussein's continued defiance of U.N. weapons inspectors.
In 1999, Israel and Syria ended two days of inconclusive peace talks in Washington and agreed to resume early in the new year. A second day of torrential rains and mudslides plagued Venezuela's Caribbean coast; the disaster left thousands dead.
In 2000, President-elect George W. Bush selected Colin Powell to become the first African-American secretary of state.
In 2002, President Bush named former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean to replace Henry Kissinger as head of the panel investigating the September 11th terror attacks. [Because Kissinger was unwilling to reveal for whom he "consults." — Ed.] Senate Republican leader Trent Lott, in an interview on Black Entertainment Television, asked black Americans to forgive his seeming [Seeming? Seeming? — Ed.] nostalgia for segregation. Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A jury in Baltimore acquitted former altar boy Dontee Stokes of attempted murder in the shooting of a Roman Catholic priest he'd claimed molested him a decade earlier.
In 2004, Bobby Jo Stinnett, 23, of Skidmore, Mo., was found dying in her home, her unborn baby cut from her womb (Lisa Montgomery was later convicted of kidnapping resulting in death, and was sentenced to death). Britain's highest court dealt a huge blow to the government's anti-terrorism policy by ruling that it could not detain foreign suspects indefinitely without trial. Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein met with a lawyer for the first time since his capture a year earlier. Agnes Martin, one of the world's foremost abstract artists, died in Taos, N.M, at age 92.
In 2006, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for elections to end his violent standoff with Hamas. Ten players, including NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony, were ejected for fighting during a wild brawl near the end of a game between Denver and New York. Terrell Owens spat in the face of Atlanta cornerback DeAngelo Hall during a Cowboys-Falcons game. (Owens was fined $35,000 by the NFL.)
In 2008, President-elect Barack Obama announced his choice of Arne Duncan to be his education secretary. The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to authorize nations to conduct land and air attacks on pirate bases on the coast of Somalia. The Cleveland Clinic announced its surgeons had performed the nation's first near-total face transplant on a severely disfigured woman. (The woman, Connie Culp, went public with her identity in May 2009.) Police in Hollywood, Fla., closed their investigation into the 1981 abduction-slaying of 6-year-old Adam Walsh, saying a serial killer who'd died more than a decade earlier in prison was responsible.
Today's Birthdays: Civil rights attorney Morris Dees is 73. Actress Joyce Bulifant is 72. Actress Liv Ullmann is 71. CBS news correspondent Lesley Stahl is 68. TV producer Steven Bochco is 66. Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons is 65. Pop musician Tony Hicks (The Hollies) is 64. Pop singer Benny Andersson (ABBA) is 63. Actor Ben Cross is 62. Rock singer-musician Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) is 60. Rock musician Bill Bateman (The Blasters) is 58. Actress Alison LaPlaca is 50. Actor Sam Robards is 48. Actor Jon Tenney is 48. Actor Benjamin Bratt is 46. Country singer-songwriter Jeff Carson is 46. Actor Daniel Cosgrove is 39. R&B singer Michael McCary is 38. Country musician Chris Scruggs is 27.
Really Historical Birthdays: Ludwig van Beethoven, composer (1770); Jane Austen, novelist (1775); George Santayana, philosopher and poet (1863); Zoltán Kodály, composer (1882); Noel Coward, playwright, composer (1899); Margaret Mead, anthropologist (1901); Philip K. Dick, writer (1928).
Today In Entertainment History December 16
In 1899, playwright Noel Coward was born in London.
In 1966, "Hey Joe," the first single by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was released in Britain. The song was not released as a single in the US.
In 1970, five singles and five albums by Creedence Clearwater Revival were certified gold. The songs were "Travelin' Band," "Up Around the Bend," "Lookin' Out My Back Door," "Down on the Corner" and "Bad Moon Rising."
In 1973, singer Jermaine Jackson married Hazel Gordy, the daughter of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.
In 1974, Mott the Hoople split up.
In 1975, the Bay City Rollers got their first US gold record for the song "Saturday Night."
In 1977, the Bee Gees were awarded a gold record for "How Deep is Your Love."
In 1997, singer Nicolette Larson died in Los Angeles of complications from cerebral edema. She was 45.
In 2005, actress Teri Hatcher won her libel suit against a British tabloid that printed a fake story claiming she neglected her daughter while having sex with men in a van outside her home. Also in 2005, actor John Spencer died of a heart attack in a Los Angeles hospital, a day after checking in with a bad cold. He was 58.
Thought for Today: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." — British science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke (born this date in 1917, died in 2008).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Mark Of Distinction

Note well (Damn well!) that there is no robot-snow cascading down this web page.
Which leads us to asking what this thing is w/ X-mess & snow & the whole bit? How many damn movies have that scene where someone (not always a silly child who knows no better) wakes up X-mess morning & is ecstatic because it snowed over night? ("It's magic!") May be a metaphor for covering up the dysfunctional horror of the family who were at each other's throats X-me$$ Eve, fueled by a couple or ten shots of "Christmas Cheer" & the sheer unmitigated ugliness that lurks in the heart of most Americans.

Why you fucking sheep insist on returning to your spawning grounds like salmon (or the sheep you are) every holiday season just kills us.

Alternate theory: Transplanted, Hollywood-bound screen writers, missing the snow of their youth?

☠Morbid Thoughts☠

Currently compiling a list of politicians & other national & local figures whom we'd be willing to murder (preferably w/ our bare hands) even if we had to spend the remainder of our life in prison. (Thirty yrs., max, & it'd be worth it!)

It's a long list.

(Per the telebision, we can cross Oral Roberts off it.)