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The Posies, Super Furry Animals, the World's Ugliest Dog and Singing Seals   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, July 05, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


[NOTE: If you're checking in for the first time this week, keep scrolling past today's entry for Fourth of July pics and notes of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement.]

THE POSIES ARE NOT THE SERVICE from Chicago, but the first few tracks o­n Every Kind of Light have a minor-key funkiness that the men from Pravda could easily embrace. And "Could He Treat You Better?" sounds like it might have been written for the Artist Currently Known as Prince. It's all nice, but for the Posies' first album of new stuff in seven years, I kept waiting for the patented Auer-Stringfellow harmonies and power pop. Fortunately, the aptly-named "Second Time Around" serves up the frosting o­n the beater and will certainly get your moptop shaking, as will the Who-and-Move inspired "I Finally Found A Jungle I Like!!!" There's also some Posie balladry with "Last Crawl" and "That Won't Fly" and the strong closer, "Sweethearts of Rodeo Drive" which tries o­n some alt.country folkadelica and Wilco ambience to good effect. You can stream clips at the Amazon link above and keep up with Posie news at the band's official site.

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS wouldn't mind being a stadium band, but turned down a seven-figure payday from Coca-Cola.

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS are envious of Broken Social Scene.

PAN FOR PUNKS: Because you've always secretly yearned to hear Ramones tunes played o­n steel drums.

SUFJAN STEVENS' ILLINOIS album has been recalled from its scheduled release today, defeated by the Man of Steel. Well, the Man of Steel's lawyers, really.

TWIN CITIES INDIE STORES fight for survival between downloaders and the Big Box stores. Some are collectivising, some are getting themselves o­n the web, some are realizing that what they have to offer is personality. The Music Works' Paul Miller use to live by the credo: "This isn't a record store, it's a hangout." I think that's probably more important for indies today.

SON VOLT: The New York Daily News covers the new album and the new version of the band.

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB announces its upcoming tour dates, many in cities harboring Pate fans.

ALTERNATIVE PRESS editor-in-chief Jason Pettigrew talks about 20 years of breaking bands. Here's o­ne to make you feel your age: "A lot of the young kids who read AP now and are going to the Warped Tour -- they're young enough where, to them, Green Day invented punk."

LEVI STUBBS' TEARS: Renaldo "Obie" Benson, a member of the legendary Motown singing group the Four Tops, has died of lung cancer at 69. Stubbs and Abdul "Duke" Fakir are the remaing Tops.

LUTHER VANDROSS died Friday at age 54. The hospital did not release the cause of death but said in a statement that Vandross "never really recovered from" a stroke two years ago.

LIVE 8: Madonna sought a dressing room near McCartney, but wanted to be as far away as possible from Mariah Carey. Can't say I blame her. The poverty-fighting celebs made off with goodie bags containing thousands in swag. Many skipped TV to watch the Live 8 concerts o­nline, thereby avoiding having the music interrupted so that some D-List reality TV celeb could interview drunks in the crowd. Album sales for Live 8 artists skyrocketed in the UK, with a Pink Floyd collection increasing 13-fold. The exception was the Libertines, who apparently suffered from former singer Pete Doherty's shamobolic cameo with Elton John. Doherty arrived late and apparently high o­n drugs. And if you're a regular reader of this space, you knew exactly what to expect from Doherty.

THE G8 SUMMIT: Bloggers of varying politics are going with Bono, U2 and others to the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. John Avarosis does a little photoblogging of the group's arrival in Edinburgh, as well as the protest in which he got detained. Charmaine Yoest questions Virgin mogul Richard Branson, finding that he and others with the o­nE campaign think the issue of corruption in African governments to be peripheral. Bob Geldof talked a good game o­n the issue in his open letter to the G8 leaders: "Let it be equally clear – at the same time, African governments must be free from corruption and thuggery and put in place recognised practices of good governance, accountability and transparency towards their own people and to the world." But if it's just talk, criticism like that of Simon Jenkins in the Sunday Times or the much funnier Mark Steyn in the Telegraph (starting with the late Linda McCartney and ending with Pete Townshend) will cut much deeper with people who aren't keen to have their tax dollars wind up in the pockets of tinhorn dictators.

THE G8, PART II: o­ne of the great things about the internet is the ease with which media coverage of a story can be compared. For example, U.S. policy at the G8 and toward Africa in general. London's Guardian runs a story headlined, "Bush says: I put US interests first," with the lede: "George Bush sounds a warning today to those hoping for a significant deal o­n Africa and climate change at Wednesday's G8 summit, making clear that when he arrives at Gleneagles he will dedicate his efforts to putting America's interests first." London's Times runs with the headline "I'll drop farming subsidies if EU does the same, says Bush." A senior source close to the British G8 negotiating team last night welcomed Mr Bush’s comments, saying he had delivered a "major challenge to the European Union." And the Associated Press headlines that, "On Africa, Bush Is Very Much the Activist," though the writer can't help but note that it's a "surprise" to "many." The AP adds that, "Generosity toward the less fortunate in Africa appears to play well among some important domestic constituencies; it is particularly welcomed by some conservative Christian allies of the president." I'm sure that's also a "surprise" to "many." And while President Bush heads for Scotland with the lowest approval numbers of his presidency, he will not be ribbed by French President Jacques Chirac, whose approval number has sunk to 21 percent.

IDENTITY THEFT strikes Deborah Platt Majoras, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, which is responsible for policing it.

CISCO, sadly, seems to be supplying Chinese law enforcement with censorship and surveillance technology.

TOM CRUISE/WAR OF THE WORLDS UPDATE: Brooke Shields fired back at Cruise after the actor criticized her for having revealed she had taken an antidepressant to cope with post-natal depression, calling his comments "a disservice to mothers everywhere" in an opinion column for The New York Times. Singer Rob Thomas has reportedly denied a rumor linking him to Cruise, adding that he was more offended by them saying "he's a Scientologist." War of the Worlds made an estimated 113.3 million for the six days since its Wednesday release, but don't let Reuters sell you spin about it erasing speculation that Cruise's antics could hurt the movie at the box office. WotW did score the second-higest July 4th weekend opening ever but it drops to fifth among all four-day numbers and to thirteenth o­n the six-day opening list.

WORSE FOR REUTERS than being taken in by some spin from Camp Cruise, a story o­n prospective candidates for the 2008 presidential race reports that "Chief among (Governors thinking about running) is actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, which will come as some surprise to anyone who can read the U.S. Constitution, which currently bars him and others not born here from the office.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS: States spend nearly a quarter of a billion dollars a year o­n remedial writing instruction for their employees, according to a new report that says the indirect costs of sloppy writing probably hurt taxpayers even more.

SCHOOL DRESS CODES are being considered... for teachers.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: A UK tabloid reports a rumor that Jolie is three months pregnant. And that Jennifer Aniston -- the current Mrs. Pitt -- is devastated over it. When Pitt and Jolie showed up for Live 8, Jolie took a moment to deny the rumor. Pitt's brother, OTOH, has reportedly confirmed it to an Aussie mag.

GARFLECK UPDATE: Us Weekly reports that last Friday Affleck had what passed for a "bachelor party." How wild was it? At o­ne point, his Chasing Amy co-star Jason Mewes went out to Starbucks for five iced coffee Ventis! But if anyone can make iced coffee exciting, it would be Mewes.

JESSICA ALBA punched a shark o­n the nose when it got too close while filming Into The Blue. Unfortunately, no one took a picture of that, so we have to make do with a picture of Ms. Alba just standing around in her bikini.

IRAQ: Iraqi deaths from insurgent attacks fell sharply in June, though this story is apparently under a press blackout in the United States. American troops o­n the Syrian border enjoyed a "red o­n red" battle between foreign al Qaeda fighters and Iraqi insurgents. Sunnis in Husaybah apparently did not take well to al Qaeda taking over main buildings in the city: "We thought they were patriotic. Now we discovered that they are sick and crazy. They interfered in everything, even how we raise our children. They turned the city into hell, and we cannot live in it anymore."

IRAQ AND PUBLIC OPINION: A CNN/USA Today/Gallup instant-reaction poll showed that President Bush apparently persuaded many viewers of his speech last Tuesday night to be more optimistic about the war in Iraq. However, this appears to be primarily a shoring up of GOP support, as the viewership of the speech skewed Republican. Democratic pollster Mark Blumenthal links to two papers by academic experts o­n public opinion during wartime that are now helping Bush craft his message. Also, it would appear that the Administration retains support among the "NASCAR Dads" that were much-discussed during the 2004 campaign; Defense Secretary Rumsfeld got a standing ovation at the Pepsi 400. Former Florida football coach Steve Spurrier elicited o­nly polite applause from the same crowd.

THE TOP 25 UNANSWERED SCIENCE QUESTIONS have been compiled for the special 125th-anniversary issue of the academic journal Science.

NANOTECH: The Foresight Nanotech Institute is publishing a weekly news digest. And coming off I-Day weekend, Howard Lovy posts some quotes from Richard Feynman o­n freedom.

A NEW LEONARDO da VINCI DRAWING has been discovered under the surface of the "Virgin of the Rocks" painting which hangs at the National Gallery in London.

CULT OF THE iPod: Apple has announced that iTunes customers have subscribed to more than o­ne million podcasts in just two days. KCRW podcast subscriptions exploded from 3,500 a day to 100,000. KCRW-FM General Manager Ruth Seymour anticipates the station may raise an additional million a year from podcasting, a big potential shot in the arm for its ten million dollar annual budget. The New York Times notes in its Business section that Big Media and Big Business are looking to jump o­n the podcasting bandwagon. ITunes' podcasting directory is also carrying videoblogs. And two New York teenagers were charged yesterday with murdering a 15-year-old boy for an iPod, the first fatality in a rising tide of similar attacks.

DOWNLOADING: British record labels and o­nline music services are the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society and the Performing Right Society to a copyright tribunal because they think composers, songwriters and publishers are demanding too much in royalties. As the world moves more to the o­nline model, there will be less and less need for record labels, so this seems very misguided o­n their part (the o­nline stores are a different matter). U.S. labels are also fumbling around for a decent approach to downloading issues.

MYSPACE: The Seattle Times notes that more than 2,500 bands within 10 miles of downtown Seattle are o­n the music-oriented networking site, ranging from signed bands the Blood Brothers, Postal Service, the Shins and Vendetta Red, to local club stars Crystal Skulls, Blue Scholars, the Lights and Gatsby's American Dream, to total unknowns. So why couldn't they provide some direct links in the story?

TERRORISM AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: The Associated Press is running a series o­n the many pipelines in Central and South America, Mexico and Canada that have illegally channeled thousands of people into the United States from countries identified by the U.S. government as sponsors or supporters of terrorism. Part two of the series covers the U.S. "catch and release" policy for such illegal immigrants.

OUTREACH TO MUSLIM GROUPS A MESS: A national FBI project to improve ties between the Islamic and law-enforcement communities is approaching organizations that have issued incendiary statements against the U.S. Among the groups participating is the Muslim Public Affairs Council — an organization whose members have claimed Israel was to blame for 9/11, have opposed freezing the assets of Islamic charities linked to terrorism and have denounced several FBI arrests of suspected terrorists. Michael Rollins, the FBI's point man o­n the project, admitted that some groups involved are potentially objectionable, but added that if the program gets off the ground, "the FBI will have veto power over who participates."

FRANCE: On o­ne hand, it's nice to know that despite differences over Iraq, France is working closely with the CIA im watching the transnational movement of terrorist suspects and developing operations to catch or spy o­n them. On the other hand, we probably shouldn't know about it.

NBC ANCHOR BRIAN WILLIAMS seems to have learned that it's probably not a good idea to compare George Washington to a terrorist, especially for the Independence Day weekend.

A TOP AL QAEDA FIGURE was offed by the Saudis in a dawn raid o­n Sunday, but experts warn the kingdom still faces a surge in attacks. Perhaps Saudis will stop funding terror groups if this continues.

KOSOVO: At least three blasts rocked the center of Kosovo's capital o­n Saturday, and o­ne targeted the U.N. mission headquarters. So where's our timetable for withdrawal?

PRISON DEATHS: A federal judge said last Thursday that he will appoint an independent authority to oversee the health care system in California's prisons, so plagued with problems that inmates die of neglect or maltreatment at the rate of o­ne a week.

DEMOCRATIC DIAGNOSIS: Armed Liberal begins with a takedown of law professor Brian Leiter, but also has some provocative analysis of Democratic fortunes, culminating with a picture worth a thousand words. The Washington Post runs a lengthy profile of DNC Chairman Howard Dean, written by Sally Jenkins, who normally covers sports.

SURF'S UP INLAND, thanks to artificial reefs that can produce breaking waves with different characteristics.

DOGS: Sam, a 14-year-old pedigreed Chinese crested, recently won the Sonoma-Marin Fair's World's Ugliest Dog Contest for the third consecutive year.

FIRE ANTS have learned to clone themselves.

KILLER COW UPDATE: Nigerian police have released a cow which they had arrested after it trampled a bus driver to death, but have charged the animal's owner with criminal negligence.

ALLIGATOR ATTACKS NORTH CAROLINA MAN while the man was swimming in a lake Sunday afternoon. I don't really care what the Five Man Electrical Band has to say about it, if there's a sign saying there are alligators in the lake, don't swim.

GREAT WHITE BUFFALO: Native Americans celebrate the birth of a white buffalo calf, which is to many what the coming of the Messiah would be to Christians. There's a picture of the calf with its non-white mother, who got an upgrade from "cow No. 9" to "Spirit Mother." Unless you're a Beatlemaniac, in which case being number nine would carry its own cache.

SINGING SEALS: An Australian researcher claims that males of two seal species in Antarctica woo potential mates by singing complex melodies. Lone leopard seals are like opera singers; Weddell seals prefer jazz.

A RUN-IN WITH A RAT has political fallout for a French Mayor.

SNAKES prefer the indoors when summer hits Amsterdam. That whole "Royale with Cheese" thing is looking less palatable at the moment.

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July Fourth in Photos   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, July 04, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



Here are fireworks looking out over Lake Michigan toward Navy Pier...

...and a view from the ground. A lot of cities have fireworks, but...

How many can give you Jim Peterik performing his "Vehicle" unplugged, with the crowd singing the horn part?

And how many can give you Off Broadway (USA)?

They got a good, good band with a U.S. beat... what else could you want for July 4th?

If you answered, "a respite for some of our troops at Camp Victory in Baghdad," you got that too. And they will soon be joined by Lena Haddix, a 73-year-old great-grandmother who recently finished a six-month deployment to Kuwait and then signed up for a six-month deployment to Baghdad.

I will be celebrating the fact that people with the highest standard of living and the lowest taxes in the Western World fought a sometimes unpopular war for our freedom. For some reason, the fact that this nation was started by "the colonial American elite" does not make me want to join Flag-burning Day activities. I'll be back to the usual o­n Tuesday. In the meantime, if you missed it, scroll down for a little bit o­n Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement posted Sunday.

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Sunday Sandy Special   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Sunday, July 03, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade


SO LONG TO SANDRA D: By now, I'm sure most have heard that Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is retiring. Those interested in the story will want to monitor the SCOTUS blog's nomination sub-blog. There already are posts o­n "Which Important Precedents are Likely to Be in Jeopardy," with more details for non-lawyers, as well as cases in which Justice O'Connor's vote was not decisive, notably Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which declined to overrule Roe v. Wade.

The SCOTUS nomination sub-blog also has a post listing some issues coming before the Court in the upcoming Term, which might be in the minds of those considering the nomination. There are links to interest group reactions. There are profiles of some of the possible nominees there, with a longer list and and shorter analysis at Slate.

William Kristol, who correctly speculated that Justice O'Connor, not Chief Justice Rehnquist, would be resigning, also speculated that Alfredo Gonzales will be the nominee to replace her (though he now has his backpedal in motion). Kristol notes that conservatives would not be overjoyed with that choice, which seems right.What Gonzales has going for him is ethnicity (he would be the 1st Hispanic Justice), his long relationship with President Bush, the fact that he was interviewing some of the other possible nominees (as Dick Cheney did for the Veep job) and the apparent conventional wisdom that he would be more palatable to Democrats than some of the other possibilities (whih I'm not sure is true). OTOH, he was involved in advising the President o­n issues like torture (while it might not be entirely fair to hold legal opinions taken in the position as White House Counsel against someone as a judicial nominee, it would certainly happen) and would probably have to recuse himself from cases involving issues o­n which he advised the President (which should be a big negative to the White House).

As for the advice and consent of the Senate, there are views o­n the example of President Clinton's nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg from the left and the right. If I was a betting man, I would bet that neither suggested lesson will be followed.

If you are the gambling type, Oddjack posted odds for Chief Justice Rehnquist's replacement, so I would think the site may post odds for O'Connor's replacement, too. The old odds favored Luttig, Wilkinson and Alito. If I had to guess, I would say that while Wilkinson might be the easiest of the three to confirm, the WH will conclude that 60 is too old. Luttig seems (or seemed) to be the consensus conservative favorite, but that may change as a replacement for O'Connor instead of Rehnquist. Alito is conservative and Hispanic, so he may move to the top of the list, unless the WH concludes that O'Connor should be replaced by a woman. In that case, Judge Priscilla Owen, Judge Edith Hollan Jones, Judge Edith Brown Clement and (as a longshot) Judge Janice Rogers Brown are possibilities.

Regardless, with people House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi comparing the Supreme Court to the voice of God, it seems like some sort of fight will be inevitable. It would be nice if the debate is as elevated as the one between professors Larry Barnett and Cass Sunstein, but I suspect that won't happen.

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I-Day, Live 8, Garfleck, Carnival Season, a Panther and a Donkey   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, July 01, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



WHAT WOULD INDEPENDENCE DAY BE without the Declaration of Independence? And movies about alien attacks? Plus, Snopes reviews the fates of the signers of the Declaration.

JACK WHITE is Michael Jackson -- Buddyhead makes the case.

BEATLES REUNION: Ringo Starr says the band came thisclose to a reunion when offered a spot following a man fighting a shark.

LIVE 8 AND THE G8: Although Live 8 has come in for some criticism in the UK for being "too white," the AP notes that white rockers leapt to action fastest and loudest o­n African issues that failed to galvanize the rap or R&B community to start a major movement o­n its own. President Bush proposed o­n Thursday to spend .2 billion through 2008 to help fight malaria, which claims an estimated 1.2 million people a year worldwide, 95 percent of them in sub-Saharan Africa. He said this was part of an effort to double U.S. assistance to Africa by 2010. Live 8 organizer Bob Geldof heaped praise o­n Bush: "This is the first time we have heard this sort of language," Geldof said. "This is very, very positive indeed." Bono took o­n critics who have charged that he and Geldof are being used by the powerful G8 leaders: "Is there some degree of being used here? Yes. But I am not a cheap date, and neither is Bob Geldof." Meanwhile, Daniel Drezner notes that the IMF has released two extensive research papers that suggest aid to poor countries have not led to higher growth rates, the main driver of poverty reduction. Even requiring good governance is not a magic bullet, according to a co-author of the papers.

FILESHARING IS KILLING MUSIC: In this case, it's killing "The 100 Greatest Pop Songs Since 1963," as determined by nimrods at MTV and Rolling Stone.

SUMMER MIXES: All sorts of downoads are linked at Yewknee. But just look, don't download. Remember, filesharing is killing music.

CBGBs announces a month-long series of benefit concerts to help renew the club's lease. The Dead Boys, Circle Jerks, Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Anti-Nowhere League, Sham 69 and Conflict are among those scheduled to play.

PINK proposed to her boyfriend, motocross racer Carey Hart, by popping the question o­n a pit board during the third lap of Pro 250 class finals last Sunday.

BENNIFER GARFLECK: It's official; Jennifer Garner married Ben Affleck and will be giving birth in November. The National Enquirer has pics of Jen arriving with Alias co-star Victor Garber.

LI-LO UPDATE: The Hohan diet goes from extreme to healthy in just six short weeks!

SHARON STONE is using a body double for the Basic Instinct sequel.

CINDERELLA MAN now comes with a money-back guarantee at AMC Theatres.

DOMINO HARVEY, the teen model turned bounty hunter and subject of an upcoming biopic starring Kiera Knightley, is dead after being found unconscious in her bath at her home in West Hollywood. She was 35.

ROD STEWART: The man who stole Rod the Mod's car is sentenced to 11 years in prison.

CYNDI LAUPER lost her bid to have the rent o­n her Manhattan apartment cut nearly in half. I guess money doesn't change everything.

JESSICA SIMPSON is asked to apologize for her "slutty" video of "These Boots are Made for Walking" and re-shoot a clean version by a Christian group calling itself "The Resistance." I have to wonder whether it's a hoax, given that the group's representative gave the name "John Conner." My suggestion would be to keep the video and dub in Nancy Sinatra. Or compromise by editing out Willie Nelson, who spends the video looking about as comfortable as I imagine he looks in a tax audit.

"I'M ELLEN DeGENERES... and this is Nightline?

YOUR MOMENT OF SITH, courtesy of the British Parliament.

EVA LONGORIA: The desperate housewife denies getting engaged to NBA star Tony Parker, but wouldn't explain why she was wearing a ring o­n her wedding finger.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Scientologist Kelly Preston thinks it's great that Cruise is spreading Hubbard's beliefs. We all remember Preston's best scene playing Avery Bishop opposite (but not opposite) Cruise in Jerry Maguire. Meanwhile, Kevin Drum thinks the press should emulate the movies and just cut to the chase.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: People magazine scores exclusive rights to photos of Pitt and Jolie looking domestic (though some surfaced in UK tabloids as noted here previously). The (in)famous Pitt-Jolie photos from W magazine are going o­n sale to raise funds for charity. A publicity-addicted o­nline casino buys a quart-sized jar of air allegedly captured as Pitt and Jolie walked by at the premiere of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

A WEST VIRGINIA FATHER confessed to killing his daughter because he was fearful she would disclose information that he might have gotten her pregnant.

WELCOME TO THE O.C.: A 29-year-old Orange County woman has been charged with falsely accusing six men of kidnapping her at gunpoint and raping her. Police said one of the men she had accused provided a tape showing she had orchestrated the sexual encounter.

IRAQ: Gunner Palace, a documentary following the soldiers of the U.S. Army's 2/3 Field Artillery in Uday Hussein's garish, bombed-out palace, came out o­n video this week. The reviews make me want to see it. And while some of the reviews wish there was less of director Michael Tucker's narration, the fact that he's donating some profits to the Fisher House Foundation, a group that offers affordable lodging to families when soldiers are being treated at major military and Veterans Affairs medical centers, deserves kudos.

IRAN: The White House is taking seriously allegations by former hostages that Iran's hardline president-elect was o­ne of their captors at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran a quarter century ago. Abbas Abdi and Mohsen Mirdamadi, two leaders of the radical Islamic student group that carried out the 1979 takeover of the embassy, but who now are leading proponents of democratic reform, said the president was not among the hostage-takers. Given that both men have been imprisoned or beaten by the theocracy for their efforts, we may not know whether to consider them as view them as credible or coerced.

IT'S CARNIVAL SEASON; Indeed, Independence Day weekend may well be the peak of the season, so enjoy this NewCity article about Windy City Amusements: "But o­n this hot Saturday night the rides are going full force. The smell of cotton candy fills the air and Bruce Springsteen's 'Glory Days' blasts over the loudspeaker, blending in with the rolling wheels of the Tilt-A-Whirl and screaming teenagers." And if you can't get to carnival this weekend, you can check out the copious galleries at CoasterImage, which has more than rollercoaster pics.

WARD CHURCHILL UPDATE: The professor who suggested that the 9/11 attack o­n the WTC was justified, calling some of the people working in the twin towers "little Eichmanns," is at it again. According to a tape made at an anti-military forum, Churchill, while speaking about being a conscientious objector, asked his audience: "Would you render the same support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?" When someone said that the impact such a fragging might have o­n the officer's family should be considered, Churchill replied, "How do you feel about Adolf Eichmann's family?"


NORMAN MAILER has run afoul of the Asian American Journalists Association for calling New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani a "two-fer" and a "token" because she's "Asiatic, feminist." Kakutani won the 1998 Pulitzer for criticism.

DEMOCRATIC DIAGNOSIS: Poll numbers o­n Republicans are declining, but the Democrats' numbers are weakening more, according to Democracy Corps, run by James Carville and Stanley Greenberg, who served as President Clinton's pollster. Greenberg attributes the decline to voters' perceptions that Democrats have "no core set of convictions or point of view." Carville sees voters in a "foul mood" that could lead to third-party bid in 2008.

TAIWAN now boasts its first toilet-themed restaurant. Anyone for heaping bowl of chocolate ice cream?

AN AUSTRIAN ZOO says it has been flooded with requests for paintings created by Nonja the orangutan.

PRAYING PANTHER draws crowds to the zoo in Tobe, Japan. The zoo's dragon, however, remains hidden.

A DONKEY ON THE EDGE has been banished to a deserted island after harassing female donkeys at a Croatian national park. Aga badgered his favourite females for sex as much as 16 times a day.

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The Posies, The Greenhornes, Flaming Possum and Spiny Norman   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 08:10 AM
Posted by: kbade


WAR OF THE WORLDS: Given my daily chronicling of the foibles of Tom Cruise, it's o­nly fair that I report that I thought the movie was a fairly solid popcorn movie. The AP reviewer may think it shortchanges character, but I think that's inherent in the original story, let alone Spielberg's version. After the war starts, things move a bit fast for further character development. The AP complains that in the broad sweep of humanity, Cruise and his two kids are the o­nly characters that matter in the movie; Ebert's two-star review says, "The movie adopts the prudent formula of viewing a catastrophe through the eyes of a few foreground characters." Rock, hard place. The AP finds the alien ships "refreshing," then derivative; Ebert dislikes them entirely. The AP suggests that some of the f/x shots seem unfinished, but later prefers that we don't see the aliens full-on (as does Ebert). I think Spielberg learned from Jaws that your mind is often better than a special effect and chose not to show certain things. Ebert wonders, "What happened to the sense of wonder Spielberg celebrated in Close Encounters of the Third Kind," but I would argue that sense would be entirely misplaced in a movie about the mass extermination of humanity. Ebert is upset that we do not know why the aliens invade -- as if there's some greater explanation in the book or in similarly themed flicks like Independence Day or even Alien. Indeed, Ebert's review, when not filled with spoilers, is filled with questions I think he believes are rhetorical instead of merely pointless. The other day, I quoted a review saying the first 100 minutes were great and the last 17 were terrible. I would say the last two or three minutes bugged me a bit, but the other 15 will not disappoint anyone familiar with the Wells book or the George Pal production. It's not Spielberg's finest hour, but I would give it more than two stars, probably three.

THE POSIES talk to Aversion about their reunion and new album, which was released Tuesday. The short version: "Just when I thought that I was out... they pull me back in."

LIVE 8: Stereogum has the nine-city lineup, with corrections in the comments. The New York Times has an article skeptical of celebrity politics.

SHINE ON, YOU CRAZY DIAMOND: o­n the cusp of a Pink Floyd reunion, Syd Barrett (a/k/a Roger) remains a recluse.

THE GREENHORNES is a wonderful garage band I have dug since their Dual Mono album -- when Craig O'Neill, Ken King and I drove to the Pate reunion, I put a track o­n the road trip discs and Craig asked who it was. Since then, the band has recorded with Loretta Lynn and Jack White o­n Van Lear Rose, as well as with Brendan Benson, Karen O and Kim Deal. Now you can call them the opening act o­n The White Stripes' tour. The band is streaming a new song and an old o­ne at the official site and you can strem clips from Dual Mono at Tower Records (I'd try "Satisfy My Mind" and "There Is An End," which features guest vox from Holly Golighty).

BLOC PARTY: PopMatters makes the most of 15 minutes with the band.

BRIGHT EYES: Conor Oberst apologizes for making disparaging remarks about John Peel and the Make Poverty History campaign at the Glastonbury music festival, though New Musical Express won't say what they were.

WE LOVE THE '90s: Prof. Althouse's son asks: If you could go back in time either to the 50s or the 60s, what songs would you bring to convince people that the 90s was a great decade musically? Althouse readers answer.

HARRY SHEARER reacts to the news that Oasis' Liam Gallagher o­nce thought the 1980s spoof rockers were a real band.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise is angering the Incredible Hulk. Paramount Pictures reportedly pressed NBC to edit 20 minutes out of Cruise's wacky interview with Matt Lauer. Heather B. says "He can't handle the truth. FemaleFirst headlines a story "Tom Cruise's 'confusing' sex." The Superficial again baits Cruise's attorneys, all the while stressing that "the story is based o­n conjecture and hearsay." Page Six adds a twist with the claim that elite Scientologists are not allowed to breed. Which doesn't make this any less funny or creepy. And don't miss The Borowitz Report.

LI-LO LOWDOWN: Lindsay Lohan -- who has lost a great deal of weight in a short period of time because she's learned how to be healthy -- reportedly collapsed at her LA gym and was unconscious until revived by friend and gym partner Kimberly Stewart. The folks behind "FreeKatie.net" launch FeedLindsay.com.

BOBBY BROWN: Video vixen Karrine Steffans' tell-more-than-you-wanted-to-know book says she never saw Whitney Houston's husband take drugs. But he did claim he was a member of Al Qaeda and that President Bush was looking for him.

EDU-BLOGGING: The latest Carnival of Education is o­nline.

FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC BOOKKEEPER takes the blame for the state party's failure to pay its Social Security and payroll taxes. Debbie Griffin-Bruton also said she never informed her boss, gubernatorial candidate Scott Maddox.

DEMOCRATIC DIAGNOSIS: Political scientist Henry Farrell analyzes an essay comparing the Democratic Party to Boeing to examine the difference between long-term and short-term strategies. Matt Yglesias responds that it's more like Starbucks. Megan MacArdle (whose day job is with The Economist)argues that even as a discussion of business strategy, the original essay is naive.

VANITY FAIR: International and national buzz has had little or no effect o­n the mag's slumping newsstand sales. The exception is pictured here.

GOT BOTULISM? The National Academy of Sciences is proceeding with publication of a study outlining how terrorists could contaminate the U.S. milk supply with botulism -- despite complaints that the article is a "road map for terrorists."

IRAN: An Iranian lawmaker reveals why US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is so tough o­n his country -- she had her heart broken by a young man from Qazvin while they were students.

IRAQ: The Washington Post marks a year of sovereignty with "Another Year of Living Misery in Baghdad." In contrast, The New York Times finds "Some Iraqis Optimistic About Sovereignty." Jeff Jarvis points out that the story leads with an unhappy butcher and you have read eight more grafs to find this: "But perhaps more striking, considering the huge gap between the hopes stirred when American troops captured Baghdad in April 2003 and the grim realities now, were the number of Iraqis who expressed a more patient view. Among those people, the disappointments and privations have been offset by an appreciation of both the progress toward supplanting the dictatorship of Mr. Hussein with a nascent democratic system and the need for American troops to remain here in sufficient numbers to allow the system to mature." But that's still an improvement over Ed Wong's version of the same story in the International Herald Tribune, which ran without the contributions of John Burns. The AP noted a split in Iraqi opinion over the issue of a timetable for U.S. withdrawal.

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN accidentally gets a SuperBowl ring.

IN SEARCH OF PRO-AMERICANISM: Although the title suggests narration by Leonard Nimoy, author and WaPo Anne Applebaum breaks down the Pew Global Attitudes Project and gets interesting results. There's a shorter version at the WaPo, but the longer o­ne doesn't require registration.

NORTH KOREA has cut most of its international phone lines since late March over concerns that sensitive information about its society will flow out of the isolated country, South Korea’s spy agency reportedly said Tuesday.

CULT OF THE iPod: The new product line-up is analyzed at the iPodlounge.

MINNESOTA MADNESS: The state Commerce Department is accusing Midwest Oil of Minnesota of undercharging for gas. A state law apparently requires stations to charge at least 8 cents more per gallon than they pay.

DEMOCRACY IN EAST ST. LOUIS: A federal jury o­n Wednesday found five East St. Louis Democrats guilty of vote fraud. o­ne defendant, Kelvin Ellis, a top city administrator, will also be tried for the attempted murder of a government witness who had threatened to expose a prosititution ring Ellis was running out of East St. Louis City Hall. Gateway Pundit rounds up the coverage.

THAT OL' BLACK MAGIC had a girls soccer coach in its spell. At least that's his defense to eleven counts of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child and o­ne count of continuous sexual abuse of a child.


GIANT CATFISH: It weighs 646 pounds and is the size of a grizzly bear... but you shoulda seen the o­ne that got away. That joke is normally like shooting a fish in a barrel, but not this time.

250 STARVING GOATS get aid from a towing company in Ohio.

IOWA TEENS videotaped themselves setting live possums o­n fire.

SHRINKAGE: Apparently, there are men who don't know about it, either. Better to get the info from a doctor than a book by Austin Powers.

SHRUBBERY STOLEN from a Norwegian family's yard. Børre Botnmark, has a few theories: "Someone clearly is trying to profit o­n this." Clearly, he has not considered that the thieves may be o­n a quest for the Holy Grail.

LUTON: The English town uses a story about aliens choosing Luton as an ideal landing spot to improve its image after it was voted "crap town" of the year last year. Why do they need aliens when they have Spiny Norman out at the airport?

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