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May 28, 2007

Beautiful anguish.


The WFMU blog points to these photos of visiting team fans at Vancouver BC Lions football games.

Like Jill Greenberg's End Times series, only way more real and far less loathsome.

Photographer unknown. Also a mystery: why they're posted on a Russian site. Anybody know more?



May 17, 2007

Special thoughts, delivered.

Oh, Someecards, why you gotta be so good?

Via the fine lady.



Holy vaginal spiderwebs!

Boing Boing points to this super-creepy old Lysol ad that encouraged women to douse their lady-parts with household cleanser, lest the inevitable, um, spider goo thwart all marital happiness.

Anyone who thinks American culture is in recent decline needs to open up some old magazines for a serious dose of the scary.



More necrophilia with the Gipper.

Last Sunday's Republican presidential debate was a challenge to candidates to prove their compassionate conservatism: Senator McCain, will you torture enough? Governor Romney, will you bash immigrants enough? Mayor Giuliani, will you hate gays enough?

Jon Stewart sums up the GOP hopefuls' mantra as "I bleed Christ and shit tax cuts" and observes, "I've just figured out the problem with the Republican party: the country they want to run is fictional."

Lacking any successful track record to run on, the GOP is falling back on their old cult of personality for Ronald Reagan, hoping that everyone who's old enough will forget how hip-deep in poop this country was during his presidency. Bill Maher described this pathetic nostalgia recently on Hardball:

You know, the Republican Party has this campy fixation with all things Ronald Reagan. I mean, it is almost gay, the way they love this man, and the way they can‘t stop talking about him and obsessing about him. And they are always looking for the next Ronald Reagan. Bush, they thought, might turn out to be that one. But, of course, that did not go too well. So, now they‘re looking for the next Ronald Reagan.

But the problem for them is that Ronald Reagan ran, of course, always on optimism and hope. And he was sunny and cheerful. But the only thing the Republicans can run on now is the opposite, fear. That is the only card they have in their deck. It is a false card, but that is the only card they can play.

They can‘t run on their record. They can‘t run on them being fiscally responsible people. They can‘t even really run on fighting terrorism, because the public doesn't think they are good at that now either. But they can run on the idea that there is a wolf at the door, and we‘re the only people who know how to kill it, even though that is wrong and crazy.



May 15, 2007

The end of a nasty piece of work.

The claw.

I like to believe that every human has some redeeming quality, and I hope that Jerry Falwell was at least a loving spouse or parent or keeper of animals. Because while one is not supposed to speak ill of the recently deceased, I'll make an exception for this hateful, bigoted purveyor of fear and intolerance. What boundless hypocrisy this creep showed in claiming to follow the teachings of Jesus.

If there is a god, I sincerely hope that the Rev is made to blow the entire 1987 San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus before starting a 10,000 year sentence as Betty Friedan's amanuensis.

Best of luck in facing the judgment you so often preached, Jer. You'll need it.



Hats off to one sharp poodle.

Mr. Colbert fondly reviews Tony Blair's role as the charming, articulate salesman for Our Big Dumb Disaster.

Via Crooks and Liars.



May 14, 2007

City, documented.

Porkfist alma mater UCLA has put a treasure trove of Los Angeles photographs from 1920-1990 online.

Shown above:

DISENCHANTED-Charlie Abboud, left [sic], a letter carrier from Omaha who spent eight terrifying hours as a captive on the freeway system, calls on Lt. C. A. Kirby to explain where he went wrong. Abboud, here to visit a relative, says he is going back home as soon as he can find his way-but not via a freeway.

Via Boing Boing.



May 3, 2007

Feeling the love.

Tom Tomorrow:

U.S. Army Special Forces veteran Stan Goff wrote about this last year on Truthdig, and it's still worth reading:

...a recent ESPN.com exposé by Mike Fish aired an interview with [Lt. Col. Ralph] Kauzlarich, who was the “cross commander” of the Rangers in Khoust, Afghanistan, in April 2004. Kauzlarich, in a stunning display of Christian empathy, blamed the family for continuing to ask questions about the circumstances of Pat’s death, and suggested that the reason they’d found no closure was that infidels such as themselves (the Tillmans did not belong to a church), when they die, are only “worm dirt"...

“His parents continue to ask for it to be looked at,” Kauzlarich told Fish petulantly. “And that is really their prerogative. And if they have the right backing, the right powerful people in our government to continue to let it happen, then that is the case.”

Playing the victim. A broadly effective tactic in the case of international military aggression, domestic battery (she made me do it) and politically motivated coverups.

In fact, powerful people in government have had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the case by the dogged persistence of Pat’s family. So far the government’s efforts have been to assign aides to do enough to get the family off its back, and submit queries to the military that are answered with the same contradictions and equivocations that provoked the family’s suspicion in the first place.

“But there [have] been numerous unfortunate cases of fratricide,” Kauzlarich told ESPN, “and the parents have basically said, ‘OK, it was an unfortunate accident.’ And they let it go. So this is—I don’t know, these people have a hard time letting it go. It may be because of their religious beliefs.”

Nothing to do with the fact that the Department of Defense lied to them until the impending redeployment of in-the-know Ranger batallion back to the U.S. made the revelation of fratricide inevitable … oh no.



Cuteness, thy name is rodent.

More specifically, a mara and her kid, snapped by Bob Harris in Barbados.

Watch out, she's poised to strike. That broad furry forehead is lethal.



Smooth move, LAPD.

Hold still while I beat some freedom of the press into you.

From today's LA Times:

Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton on Wednesday expressed "grave concern" about his officers' tactics in dispersing a crowd at an immigration rights rally, where police wielded batons and fired 240 "less-than-lethal" rounds at demonstrators and reporters.

Bratton promised an aggressive investigation as public outrage grew over the police actions Tuesday that left at least 10 people with minor injuries — including seven reporters — and raised serious questions about whether officers overreacted when they moved aggressively to disperse a largely peaceful crowd. Eight officers were treated for minor injuries at the scene...

In footage shot by Fox News and Telemundo reporters, police officers can be seen grabbing Fox reporter Christina Gonzalez and forcefully pushing her out of the way as she crouched to protect her camerawoman, who had fallen after being struck by a police baton...

Deeper into the park, other reporters were preparing to go live for 6:30 p.m. broadcasts, including Telemundo anchor Pedro Sevcec. He said he watched a confrontation develop between protesters and police, with about a dozen people whose faces were covered throwing water bottles at officers. Then he heard weapons being fired and saw people running and screaming.

But the area where he stood with about 40 others remained calm. He went on the air.

"The next thing I heard was the shotguns, and they were firing in our direction," he said. "Suddenly I started seeing people falling on the ground…. It was completely ridiculous."

Sevcec said a police officer took a camera and threw it about 15 or 20 feet. Then the police started hitting reporters and cameramen with their batons.

"Police ran us over," he said. "Lights were flying, monitors were on the floor."

At one point, a police officer pointed a weapon at his face. Sevcec said he was struck by a baton three times on his neck and back...

Maritza Alvarez, 36, a filmmaker, watched police from the northwest corner of the park.

"I can tell you they were just shooting indiscriminately," she said. "I saw them beat up an elderly man, they knocked his knees down, children were crying."

Alvarez said she and two others tried to help an old man get up as about five riot police officers kicked him after hitting his knees with a baton to knock him down.

"I'm telling you, it was military style, there was a commander there saying '1, 2, shoot,' and we were trying to duck behind trees, running," Alvarez said...

Some longtime LAPD observers said Tuesday's protest was reminiscent of clashes between protesters and police during the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in which some demonstrators and reporters were injured.

The city settled a lawsuit brought by seven reporters, in part, by agreeing to recognize journalists' right to cover public protests even if a declaration of unlawful assembly is made and an order to disperse is issued.

"This has echoes of the DNC," said attorney Constance Rice, who has studied LAPD management and policing issues for several years. "It suggests the old LAPD overreaction to things."

Looks like LAPD Chief William Bratton still has a good-sized bunch of cops who tend to lose their cool under pressure and become angry, bullying knuckleheads when they spot the press trying to document their actions.

Bratton's reaction so far is admirable, and a far cry from the kind of fuck-you-we're-the-cops line we always heard from former chief Daryl Gates.

Here's tape from the local Fox News affiliate:

Yesterday's AirTalk on KPCC has some good eyewitness interviews about what went on.