Saturday, July 31, 2010

Today -100: July 31, 1910: Of women governors and race wars

The New Hampshire attorney general advises the secretary of state that Marilla Ricker, a, you know, woman, can’t run for governor.

Spain has recalled its ambassador to the Vatican over the latter’s insistence that Spain not allow non-Catholic churches to display the insignia for public worship. The Catholic Church seems to be trying to foment a Carlist coup against the liberal government.

Two black men who killed a white child are lynched in Boniface, Florida.

A “race war” in Slocum, Texas seems rather one-sided: the 18 dead bodies recovered so far are all black. A white farmer had guaranteed the note of a black man, who then skipped out of town. When he eventually returned, a less than amicable discussion ensued, the black people of the town armed themselves, the whites called for reinforcements from far and wide, and the fun was on. The 18 corpses were scattered in the woods, which suggests less a race war than a hunting party.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Hypocritical Alliterative Asshole of the Day: Mike Mullen

The chair of the Joint Chiefs, the alliterative Mike Mullen, says of WikiLeaks: “Mr Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.”

Whereas the alliterative Mike Mullen can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he is doing, but the truth is he definitely, absolutely already has on his hands the blood of many, many, many young soldiers and Afghan families.

Another edition of Who Needs a Real Newspaper When We Have the Daily Telegraph, pervy edition

Today’s headlines: “Naked Woman Falls Through Roof.” She and a... friend... were “rolling about” on the top of a four-story building in Aberdeen. Before the woman fell, they were reported by “two shocked joiners,” who you’d think would have just... joined. “A Grampian Police spokesman confirmed the woman ‘appeared to be okay’.” Not sure if that’s a medical or an aesthetic assessment. Sadly, there is no picture.

There is also no picture for the story of the Advertising Standards Agency banning an ad for Tricketts, a double-glazing company in Merthyr Tydfil, with a picture of women’s breasts covered by a pair of door knockers and the text “We sell big knockers.....Window Hinges, Door Handles, Window Handles ...” Well, there is a picture, but it’s just a picture of some random door knockers.

The Advertising Standards Agency noted that “the text ‘WE SELL BIG KNOCKERS’ was clearly a crude comparison between the woman’s breasts and the door knockers Tricketts sold, and that the image had clearly been chosen for that reason. We also noted the image bore no relevance to the products sold by Tricketts, a door and window installation company. We considered that the image and text were likely to be seen to objectify and degrade women by linking their physical attributes to the advertiser’s door and window products” and that the ad might be deemed offensive by women and/or door and window products.

There’s also no picture, no interesting picture anyway, for a story about Westminster Council taking a man to court for holding on his property – the former offices of the High Commission of Sierra Leone and Gambia – a “porn disco.” According to the judge, “The officers who attended the event confirmed the accuracy of the description.”

So what story does have a picture? One about ultra-Orthodox Jewish women in Israel who have taken to wearing burkas.

Some of their husbands have taken them to rabbinical courts to try to stop them, although in one case the court ordered the couple to divorce. The Eida Charedis, an ultra-Orthodox rabbinical authority, will soon issue an edict “declaring burka wearing a sexual fetish that is as promiscuous as wearing too little.”

As it ever was

I’m currently reading Christopher Andrew’s history of MI5, which recounts (pp. 694-5) an IRA attempt to blow up Queen Elizabeth and the King of Norway, who were inaugurating an oil terminal in May 1981 because that’s what royal types do with their lives. A bomb blew up 500 yards away but did no serious damage (a second bomb had been sent to the bombers from Ireland for use that day, but was delayed in the mail). So it was basically pure dumb luck that prevented a disaster. The company owning the oil terminal had “balked at the cost” of implementing suggested security measures, and you know where I’m going with this, don’t you? It was BP, of course.

Today -100: July 30, 1910: Of faithful Protestants and rheumatic justices

The British Parliament re-writes the coronation oath for the new king. He doesn’t have to say that he’s the enemy of all things popish, just that he’s “a faithful Protestant.” Anti-Catholics take to the streets to oppose the change.

Supreme Court Justice William Moody finally announces his retirement.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

And a two-drink minimum

When the pope visits Britain in September, tickets will be sold to papal events for the first time. The church is blaming health and safety regs for the extra costs. 70,000 tickets are available at up to £25 each for the beatification of John Henry Newman – that’s a lot of beatifying! – and 130,000 for a prayer vigil at Hyde Park (where the religious nutters usually just pass around a hat).

As ever, if a priest offers you a ticket for a free “ride,” run away very quickly.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pay up

Remember Emily Henochowicz, the American art student whose eye the Israeli army shot out in May during a protest of the Flotillacide? They’re refusing to pay her medical bills because she put herself at risk by participating in a breach of the peace and anyway, the tear cannister that hit her in the head, also breaking her jaw, wasn’t fired directly at her (the IDF claims), but ricocheted. So that’s okay then.

(Read the comments on that Ha’aretz article if you want to feel crappy about human nature all day.)

Today -100: July 28, 1910: Of Harding

The Ohio Republican convention nominates former Lt. Gov. Warren Harding to be governor (Spoiler Alert: he will lose).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Asshole of the Day

Israeli police arrested, and then released, the head of a yeshiva in an illegal West Bank settlement, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, for writing a book on when it’s okay with God if you kill children, for example if they’re the child of someone you want to put pressure on, or if they’re standing in the way – “children are often doing this” – or if they are the children of enemies in time of war and “it is clear that they will grow up to harm us” and “it is assumed that they will grow up to be evil like their parents.” “Anywhere where the presence of a gentile poses a threat to Israel, it is permissible to kill him, even if it is a righteous gentile who is not responsible for the threatening situation.”

Shapira was arrested in January for an arson attack on a mosque in the West Bank, but was released.

A Knesset member says the arrest is just like “the days of Czarist Russia” and a spokesman for Shapira said: “Once more we are seeing rabbis being gagged and serious damage inflicted to their honor...”

Today -100: July 27, 1910: Of Bryan and the liquor Democrats

Like Teddy Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan continues to exercise a fascination over the public imagination, but his influence just gets smaller and smaller. Now, he has failed to get the Democrats of his own state of Nebraska to support him on the county option for prohibition. He claims there is an organized attempt by the liquor interests to obtain control of the state, and attacks the “liquor Democrats.” The new plank opposes making any plan to regulate the liquor trade a party question, saying any such plans should be decided by a popular vote, “and that the cause of good government and public morals will be better served in that way than by dividing the people into hostile factions on purely moral issues.”

Geologists calculate the age of the earth as somewhere between 55 million and 70 million years old. So wrong.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Metaphor alert metaphor alert metaphor alert metaphor alert metaphor alert

Pentagon spokesmodel Dave Lapan won’t comment on the WikiLeaks docs: “Just because they are posted on the Internet, doesn’t make them unclassified.” It’s that Pentagonal ability to deny reality that has brought us where we are today in Afghanistan.

Yup, that face is still as punchable as ever

George Bush attended a baseball game yesterday

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Who needs a real newspaper when we have the Daily Telegraph?

That said, anyone with a tunnel dug under the Times paywall should feel free to email or post in comments anything interesting in the Times.

Today we’ve got 18 dead in a stampede during the annual “Love Parade” in Duisburg, Germany. Even if you stick the word “love” in there, you just really don’t want Germans marching in a line; no good ever comes of it.

The Headline of the Day is not “Ed Balls Considers Quitting Labour Leadership Race after Union Snub,” it’s the one every newspaper editor in Britain in hoping and praying for: “Balls Out.”

Name of the Day: British Justice Minister Crispin Blunt, whose name is a mixed message if ever there was one.

A Methodist minister in... actually the article doesn’t say where, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter... will tweet holy communion. People are supposed to read the tweets out loud, tweet back “amen” or possibly #amen at the appropriate intervals, and eat their own bread – but not rye bread, that’s too Jew-y, and definitely not Cheetos unless you’re a Unitarian.

“Hollywood Fears the 3D Bubble Has Already Burst.” Which looked totally awesome in 3D, according to an excited 11-year-old boy.

Today -100: July 24, 1910: Of blockade-running, the magnetical pole for all the snobs and imbeciles of the world, and Taft’s ankle

The US is ignoring the Nicaraguan government’s order closing Bluefields as a port, and has announced that it will protect – against the Madriz government – “legitimate” US trade.

The Futurists announce their desire to destroy Venice, “magnetical pole for all the snobs and imbeciles of the world,” fill in its canals, and create a commercial and military Venice, with nice factories and stuff. Pamphlets to this effect were thrown from St. Mark’s. This has been called the beginning of performance art.

Front Page Headline of the Day -100: “Taft Bravely Limps on Strained Ankle.” A golf injury: so presidential.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Today -100: July 23, 1910: Of Korean colonization, Mormon missionaries, lynchers let loose, and other stuff I’m too lazy to find alliterations for

Korea is about to become fully a colony of Japan, with the Japanese-appointed Resident-General no longer reporting to the Korean emperor but to the Japanese prime minister. Japanese Prime Minister Katsura Taro says: “Our Government realizes the necessity of adopting the fundamental principles of the Japanese administration in Korea. Some people seem to fear that the annexation of Korea may give rise to insurrections, but the Government does not mind an insurrection.”

Prussia expels 21 Mormon missionaries.

In Cairo, Illinois, 12 people are acquitted of the attempted lynching (not an actual lynching, as the NYT says), in February.

A black man is lynched in Belton, Texas. He had tried to enter the room of a white woman, then killed the constable attempting to arrest him. A mob burned him at the stake.

A woman escaped from jail in New York, but seems to have committed no actual crime in doing so. The laws against escape refer to those convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, but she had been convicted of disorderly conduct, which is neither.

Headline of the Day -100: “Taft Speaks Out for Long Vacations.” In a speech at Bar Harbor during his, yes, vacation, he said that since his father’s time, we’ve learned that two or three months’ vacation are necessary to recover from the “hard and nervous strain” of working during autumn and spring.

Spoke too soon. Headline of the Day -100: “Girl Weds Pianist; Father Very Angry.”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fair question

Zachary Tomanelli of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) asks “How Many Breitbart Frauds Will Media Fall For?”

All of them.

This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

More news from the Daily Telegraph; screw the Times of London paywall

Call for 80 Per Cent of Men in Africa to Be Circumcised to Prevent Spread of Aids.” Or all men to be 80% circumcised. Whatever.

A German teacher with a paralyzing fear of rabbits has lost in her attempt to get an injunction against a 14-year-old girl who kept making drawings of bunnies.

Headline of the Day: “Catholic Church: Confessional Cannot Be Used as a Sauna.” A decommissioned church in Vienna put the confessional up on eBay, describing it as perfect for a one-person sauna, a children’s playhouse (must... resist... yet another... child abuse joke...) or a small bar. The bidding was up to, um, 666.66 euros before the archdiocese stepped in.

Cardiff borough councillor John Dixon (LibDem) may be suspended for failing to “show respect and consideration for others” for having tweeted “I didn’t know the Scientologists had a church on Tottenham Court Road. Just hurried past in case the stupid rubs off.” He has since posted “am I going to get into more trouble for saying that, right now, I’m bigger than Xenu, do you think?”

A whale crash lands on a yacht off South Africa.

The Telegraph also has a photo gallery from the 6th Annual Chap Olympiad, for chaps, bounders and cads. Cucumber sandwich discus, and the like.

Sophisticated, smooth-tongued criminals

In Israel, an Arab man is sentenced to 18 months in prison for “rape by deception,” that is, the sex was consensual, but he had told her he was Jewish. One of the judges said “the court is obliged to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth-tongued criminals who can deceive innocent victims at an unbearable price – the sanctity of their bodies and souls.”

Today -100: July 21, 1910: Of general colons and criminal libel

One of the Nicaraguan rebel leaders, Gen. Carmen Corea, whose nom de guerre was Gen. Colon, has died in battle. I’m guessing “Gen. Colon” sounds better in Spanish.

Gov. Beryl F. Carroll of Iowa is indicted for criminal libel for things he said about the chairman of the State Board of Control whilst demanding his resignation. “The Governor was permitted to remain at liberty without bond.”

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Let us not confuse the oil spill with the Libyan bomber

Obama met today with large-faced British Prime Minister David Cameron.

ESCELLENT, I MEAN ELKSELLENT: O: “We have just concluded some excellent discussions -- including whether the beers from our hometowns that we exchanged are best served warm or cold.” Cameron later admitted that he got so pissed drinking the beer Obama gave him – cold – while watching the World Cup that he actually cheered for Germany. And ordered an Argentine ship bombed.

IS THAT SPECIAL OR “SPECIAL”? “Mr. Prime Minister, we can never say it enough. The United States and the United Kingdom enjoy a truly special relationship.”

Cameron was most impressed: “I was most impressed by how tidy your children’s bedrooms were.” Seriously though, Barack, keep your kids’ bedrooms out of the White House tour.

Cameron called the international conference in Afghanistan a “real achievement” for the Karzai regime, neglecting to mention the rocket attack on the Kabul airport just as the plane carrying the UN secretary-general was on approach.

Cameron offered an important clarification: “And let us not confuse the oil spill with the Libyan bomber.”

Hillary’s balls

Hillary Clinton is in Kabul. Here she is at a traditional crafts bazaar selling traditional made-in-China products.

Here she is at a women’s empowerment event.


Today -100: July 20, 1910: The king has emigrated, long live the king

A new Gypsy King has been elected, Emil Mitchell. The gypsy chiefs had intended to make the formal proclamation at the US State Department building, but were not allowed to do so. The king is described as “a big, bewhiskered nomad about fifty years old”. The previous king is not dead, but emigrated to Canada, which is much the same thing considered to constitute abdication.

With a new cable between England and France making telephonic communication intelligible, or reasonably close to it, for the first time, the NYT speculates that it might soon be possible to lay a trans-Atlantic line, although obviously “It is not conceivable that ocean telephoning will ever be cheap”, or competitive with the telegraph or wireless. And it suggests that such communication, “overcoming the remoteness of nations” as it does, will prevent wars.

This is all predicated on a method, developed just a decade before, of reinforcing telephone wires at specific intervals with copper wire. Until that method was discovered (the telephone was invented in 1876), the electric waves dissipated so that phone conversation was only feasible up to 20 miles or so.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Today -100: July 19, 1910: Of inter-racial boxing

The Georgia state senate passes a bill to bar the exhibition of moving pictures of prizefights between people of different races.

A NYT editorial strongly supports the idea of the president of Princeton University, Dr. Woodrow Wilson, running for governor in New Jersey.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I’m not on Twitter, but for those playing along with #PalinAsShakespeare (caught making up words like refudiate, she compared herself to Shakespeare, who also made up words, except that he did it to communicate better), in which Shakespeare quotes are Palinated (To be or not to be? HEY, that’s a GOTCHA question! etc), I have an entry:

To be or not to be, too, also.

In interest of healing

Two Sarah Palin tweets today:

Silly Muslims, don’t you understand that your religion is an unnecessary, heart-stabbing provocation?

Today -100: July 18, 1910: Of funk and war dirigibles

Name/Headline of the Day -100: “Autos Bother Dr. Funk.” They harsh his mellow.

Huh, turns out to be the Funk in Funk & Wagnalls.

Count von Moltke forms a company to build war dirigibles for Germany. I know zeppelins were actually a fairly formidable weapon during World War I, in the bombing of London if not so much on the battlefield, but the phrase “war dirigible” just makes me giggle.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

High risk

The new high-risk insurance pools won’t have abortion coverage (except in cases of rape, incest or endangering the life of the mother). The Obama admin won’t permit states to have abortion coverage or even include a provision for women to buy it with their own money. This wasn’t in the health care bill: Obama decided on this one all by himself.

Except it was probably part of a secret deal with Bart Stupak (which still spells Kaputs backwards) and his ilk to get the bill passed.

Note that the exception is for endangering the life of the mother – nothing about endangering the health of the mother (and those were the words of the Dept of Health and Human Services).

Today -100: July 17, 1910: Of Crippen, black teachers, and suffering noses

The NYT’s London correspondent notes with surprise that Scotland Yard is actually talking to the press about the Crippen case, contrary to its usual tight-lipped policy. Why, “before long it is likely that even telephones may be installed.” Scotland Yard didn’t have telephones in 1910?

There is a bit of a fuss in Elizabeth, NJ over a black teacher who was just hired by the school district to teach a class of white students. Several members of the Board of Education said they didn’t know she was colored when they hired her.

An Association of Noses That Suffer is formed in Paris to work for the abolition of smelly things like tanneries, patchouli, automobiles and French people. I’m not proud of that joke, I’m really not, but some things in life and blogging are simply too powerful to be resisted.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Today -100: July 15, 1910: Of Crippen

At the request of Scotland Yard, the police of NYC and Hoboken are looking out for Dr. Hawley Crippen on arriving ships. The torso – just the torso – of what is assumed to be his wife was found in his basement.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Porsche is introducing a hybrid car. A hybrid of what, douchebag and guy-pretending-to-be-green-to-get-laid?

Today -100: July 14, 1910: Of fish dicks, naps, and royal funerals

Headline of the Day -100: “Fish-Dick Wedding.” That’s the wedding of Stuyvesant Fish, Jr. and Mildred Dick. I’m trying to decide whether Mildred Fish is a better or a worse name than Mildred Dick.

Confusing Sports Headline of the Day -100: “Yanks Show Poor Form Against Naps.” Evidently it has nothing to do with people preferring sleep to masturbation, but rather something to do with the baseball teams the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Naps, which was the actual name of a baseball team; it was picked by a newspaper contest.

Edward VII’s funeral cost Britain $202,500.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Today -100: July 13, 1910: Of Cuban conspiracies and women’s suffrage in Britain

In Cuba, Col. Jorge Valera, who is, the NYT insists on informing us, a mulatto, is arrested along with his associates for allegedly planning to blow up bridges, railways and property owned by foreigners in a fake uprising intended to get the US to intervene militarily, which would break the Cuban stock market and the conspirators would clean up. And they’d have gotten away with it if not for Bruce Willis. Or something.

The British House of Commons passed the second reading of a women’s suffrage bill 299-190. It’s a pretty conservative measure, extending the property-based municipal franchise to parliamentary elections. If this passed, women would make up a small percentage of the electorate. Not that it matters, since the government won’t give the bill parliamentary time to go any further. Prime Minister Asquith gave a strong speech opposing women’s suffrage (the majority of his cabinet supports it), raising the prospect that if women got the vote, next they’d demand to be MPs or even Cabinet positions, gasp horror.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Today -100: July 12, 1910: Of fight pictures and lynchings

In NY, a theater advertising “Pictures of the Jeffries-Johnson Fight” is wrecked after patrons discover that this meant not moving pictures but snapshots.

That theater was charging 25¢, but when the movies do finally arrive Monday, tickets may be as much as $1 or $2 (which has the perceived advantage of pricing most blacks out of the audience). For just the fight movies, no additional features.

Ohio Governor Judson Harmon removes the mayor and sheriff of Newark for failing to prevent the lynching of Carl Etherington. The new mayor then fires the police chief and a captain, for failing to enforce the county’s prohibition law. Two men are arrested in connection with the lynching. Rather suspiciously, both are black men, one of them a mute. I smell scapegoat.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I don’t remember falling over

More news you can use from the Daily Telegraph. Headline of the Day: “Tory MP ‘Too Drunk to Vote in Commons Debate.’” And the Name of the Day: that Tory MP is called Mark Reckless. Just elected in May. Quote of the Day: Mark Reckless, MP: “I normally have just one or two and know when to stop. I don’t know what happened. I don’t remember falling over.”

Today -100: July 11, 1910: Of lynchings, more lynchings, sending in the Marines, and presidential exercise

Ohio Governor Judson Harmon arrives in Newark, OH, the scene of the lynching Friday, examined the jail and cross-examined the sheriff and mayor, who claim not to have recognized any one in the mob, though no one was attempting to disguise their identity.

And in Rayville, Louisiana, a mob lynches a man who was appealing his conviction for murdering the town marshal. A note was pinned to his clothing: “This is the outcome of the appeal.”

For a nice change of pace, both the Newark and Rayville lynchings were of white men.

500 Marines from Alabama are reportedly being picked to be sent to Nicaragua. “It is not stated with which side the Americans will fight.”

79-year-old Porfirio Díaz is “re-elected” for a 7th term as president of Mexico (1876-80, 1884-).

Taft is trying to take off 25 pounds of his 285 pounds. He has a trainer and is... boxing. And wrestling.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Today -100: July 10, 1910: Please get that well into your head

Someone tried to pass off a fake movie of the Johnson-Jeffries fight.

NYC Mayor Gaynor is still refusing to ban the film, responding to a letter from a reverend, “will you be so good as to remember that ours is a government of laws and not of men? Will you please get that well into your head?” He describes other mayors who ordered the pictures not be exhibited as “autocrats.”

In Newark, Ohio, the scene of that lynching yesterday -100, the telephone pole from which Carl Etherington was hanged was “hacked half through by those who sought mementos” before the city encased it in sheet iron. Some are saying that the sheriff is to blame for the lynching, having failed to call out the local company of the Ohio National Guard during the two hours it took the mob to break into the jail. Under a recent Anti-Mob law, a sheriff who fails to protect prisoners in his custody may be immediately suspended.

Another airplane milestone, so to speak: Walter Brookins reaches 6,175 feet in altitude in a biplane, the first man to break one mile. He was in the air over an hour and ran out of gas on the descent and had to glide the rest of the way down. The NYT says he took the $5,000 prize offered by the Atlantic City Aero Club but in fact the Wright brothers, who owned the plane, took it; Brookins was paid $20 a week plus $50 danger money for flying. Pissed off, the famed aviator quit and went solo.

Okay, now you can make your mile-high club jokes, JustZisGuy.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Life after The Times

The London Times has vanished behind the Pay Wall of Doom, but we still have the Daily Telegraph. Headlines in Saturday’s paper include:
• “Police Investigate Underwear Thief” (ah, but if you click through from the news page, the headline on the story page is “Stolen Bra Owners Urged to Come Forward,” which sounds like it’s trying to be a double entendre and not quite succeeding)

• “Octopus Picks Spain” (headline on story page: “Paul the Psychic Octopus Predicts Spain Will Beat Holland”) (and yes, there is video)

• “Armour Made from Bullet-Proof Custard”

• “UK Company Invents New ‘Easy to Remove’ Chewing Gum”

• “Palin Biography to Be Published for Children”

• “Unicorn Protesters Make Their Point”

• “Dog Gets Head Stuck in Wall”

Headlines that sound dirty and are, but not in that way

WaPo: “BP Prepares to Change Well’s Cap, Then Start Plugging it.”

Today -100: July 9, 1910: Of new states and near-beer

The delegate to Congress from Hawaii, Prince Johan Kalanianaole, says Hawaii will ask for statehood shortly.

A private detective, Carl Etherington, employed by the Anti-Saloon League who accompanied a police raid on a near-beer saloon (well, that’s what it says in the Times) in Newark, Ohio, shot the owner (a former police chief) dead. A mob then beat up the detective; he was saved by the cops, only to be broken out of the jail (8 other prisoners took the opportunity to make their escape) and lynched from a telephone pole. Just before they hung him, he was asked to make a little speech: “I want to warn all young fellows not to try to make a living the way I have done – by strikebreaking – and taking jobs like this. I might better have worked and I would not be here now.”

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Not just occupying a space

As part of this week’s goal of sucking up to AIPAC (they will never love you, Barack, never), Obama was interviewed by Israeli TV.

He adopted Israeli rhetoric about Palestinians wholesale (as I typed wholesale I spotted the joke I think you all spotted too, but we’re better than that, people). For example: “There’s a constant contest between moderates and rejectionists within the Arab world.” And: “then there’s the demographic challenges that Israel is going to be facing if it wants to remain not only a Jewish state but a democratic state.” Yes, they’re not Palestinian babies but little bundles of demographic challenge. Because their whole significance as human beings is in relation to the Israeli Jews.

He said that Netanyahu might be the perfect leader to make peace because only Nixon etc etc.

Now here’s an unfortunate turn of phrase: “And in our conversations yesterday, I had the impression that Prime Minister Netanyahu isn’t interested in just occupying a space, a position, but he’s interested in being a statesman and putting his country on a more secure track.”

Obama again insisted that reports of tension between Netanyahu and himself have been “greatly overstated. I mean, the last time that the Prime Minister came here, we had a terrific meeting.” You could tell by their happy smiling faces in the photographs that Obama refused to let be taken.

Asked if he had asked Bibi to extend the settlement “freeze,” he ignored the question and responded, “You know, what I want is for us to get into direct talks. I think that if you have direct talks between Abu Mazen, Netanyahu, their teams, that builds trust. And trust then allows for both sides to not be so jumpy or paranoid about every single move that’s being made”. Hate for Palestinians to get all paranoid about the seizure of their land and the illegal implantation of still more violent settlers and the flotillacide.

He thinks Israelis are suspicious of him because his middle name is Hussein. And because of his outreach to Muslims (remember when he was supposed to be reaching out to Muslims? What did that consist of, giving one speech?). But “the truth of the matter is, is that my outreach to the Muslim community is designed precisely to reduce the antagonism and the dangers posed by a hostile Muslim world to Israel and to the West.” Again, the only significance of Muslims as human beings is as threats. If they just stopped being so gosh-darned hostile, we could go back to ignoring them.

He said, “One of my favorite phrases is from Martin Luther King, who said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ And I believe that. And I think that that’s consummate with Jewish traditions”. A Bushian malapropism if I ever heard one. Maybe there’s something in the White House drinking water that makes people get stupider the longer they live there. Arsenic, or Lincoln’s gold, or Jenna’s old stash.

A question about the BART verdict

The involuntary manslaughter verdict in the BART shooting suggests that the jury bought the BART cop’s defense that he thought he pulled out a taser rather than his gun.

I would guess that the service revolver weighs significantly more than a taser, but does anyone out there in the WIIIAI-o-sphere know?

Hairstyles that confront Western cultural invasion

Iranian Quote of the Day: Jaleh Khodayar, director of the Veil and Chastity Day festival (Motto: Good luck eating cotton candy in a burka!), talking about Iran’s ban on mullets: “We want to preserve our culture and respect Iranian tradition and come up with hairstyles that confront Western cultural invasion.”

Today -100: July 8, 1910: Flying high

A new air record: a plane reaches 5,000 feet.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Today -100: July 7, 1910: Of peace, vacations, and boxing movies

There is a proposal for a major celebration of 100 years of peace, to be held in 1914. Okay, 100 years of peace between the US and Britain, but still, 1914!

Taft, on vacation, is not allowed (by whose order is not disclosed) even to see his official mail.

The movement to ban movies of the Johnson-Jeffries fight spreads. Georgia and Texas will pass new laws. Atlanta and other cities have already passed ordinances. The chairman of the Atlanta Police Commission went further and said that Johnson himself is not welcome. Other bans include Boston,
, St. Louis, and Milwaukee, whose socialist mayor thinks the movies detrimental to public morals. Some bans are ostensibly on moral grounds, some more explicitly aim at preventing further race riots. Maine already has a law against photographs or movies of prize-fights. There is also a demand in South Africa for a ban.

Roanoke, Virginia sees no need to ban the pictures: none of their movie theaters allow black people in.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Barack and Bibi: The bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable

Today Obama held long-postponed talks with Netanyahu. Then they talked to the press. The Gaza flotillacide never came up.

LIKE HIS WIFE’S KNISHES. HEY OH! “As Prime Minister Netanyahu indicated in his speech, the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable.”

SCREWING OVER MUSLIMS? “It encompasses our national security interests, our strategic interests, but most importantly, the bond of two democracies who share a common set of values”.

PROGRESS: “I commended Prime Minister Netanyahu on the progress that’s been made in allowing more goods into Gaza.” The word progress implies that there is some sort of process that has to be arduously worked through, when in fact Netanyahu could just lift the blockade right now. Also, is no one going to mention that exports from Gaza remain completely embargoed?

TRUER WORDS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN SPOKEN: “I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu wants peace. I think he’s willing to take risks for peace.”

OUR GRASP: “Israel’s security needs met, the Palestinians having a sovereign state that they call their own -- those are goals that have obviously escaped our grasp for decades now.” I must have missed that we were actually trying to grasp for Palestinians having a sovereign state that they call their own for decades now.

BUILDING: “There are going to need to be a whole set of confidence-building measures”. As long as that building doesn’t involve cement in Gaza. Although speaking of building...

TELLING FREUDIAN SLIP IN 5..4..3... “We strongly believe that, given its size, its history, the region that it’s in, and the threats that are leveled against us -- against it, that Israel has unique security requirements.”

Netanyahu said the greatest threat to everyone was Iran. “Iran is brutally terrorizing its people,” he said, adding, “I mean, they banned mullets, for Christ sake.”

Obama praised Israel’s “restraint” in settlement-building.

WHAT IT’S VERY IMPORTANT THE PALESTINIANS NOT DO: “I think it’s very important that the Palestinians not look for excuses for incitement, that they are not engaging in provocative language; that at the international level, they are maintaining a constructive tone, as opposed to looking for opportunities to embarrass Israel.” I’m pretty sure Israel is incapable of embarrassment.

So Palestinians have no real grievances, just “excuses for incitement.” Good to know.

An Israeli reporter asks if Obama now trusts Netanyahu. Obama says he’s always trusted Netanyahu.

“We are going to continually work with the Prime Minister and the entire Israeli government, as well as the Israeli people, so that we can achieve what I think has to be everybody’s goal, which is that people feel secure. They don’t feel like a rocket is going to be landing on their head sometime. They don’t feel as if there’s a growing population that wants to direct violence against Israel.” Well, the IDF is working on that “growing population” thing.

QE2 at UN

The Queen addressed the United Nations today. Some highlights of her speech:

“We used to own all your asses!”

“Yes, We had Diana killed. Whaddaya gonna do about it?”

“Nations of the world, hear me now: it’s all about the hat, bitches!”

“We are so sorry for whatever Prince Philip said or will say to the Asian delegates.”

Caption contest

Posted by John McCain, this is him, Huckleberry, Holy Joe and Colonel Combover in Afghanistan.

See also his pics inspecting Afghan troops, and at a shura with locals in Kandahar, in which the Three Amigos are dressed like they’re on a fishing trip in Boca. At least take off the baseball cap when sitting – indoors – around a table with Afghan leaders.

Today -100: July 6, 1910: Of fight fights, unhung murderers, and canals on Mars

Fatalities resulting from Fight of the Century fights: 1 in NY, 3 in Uvaldia, GA, 2 in Little Rock, 1 Houston, 1 Omaha, 1 Mounds, Ill, 1 Tyler, TX. Several cities have banned movies of the fight. NYC Mayor Gaynor, however, says he has no right to do that. 236 people, mostly black, were arrested in Washington, D.C.

Judge George Holt says that of 300,000 people who participated in lynchings in the previous 40 years, 100,000 “unhung murderers” are still alive. Plus 165,000 who committed felonies or murder during violent labor struggles. Add to that night riders and the Black Hand, none of whom have ever been convicted, deaths caused by reckless automobile drivers, who are rarely punished and if so by a trifling fine or short imprisonment, and America is a pretty darned lawless place.

Giovanni Schiaparelli, the astronomer who first claimed to have found canals on Mars, has died. I hope the authorities checked his body for ray-gun marks.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Today -100: July 5, 1910: Of a safe and sane Fourth

Incongruous Headline of the Day -100: “Safe and Sane Day the Country Over.” Meaning that there were relatively few deaths from fireworks, which were banned in many places, including New York City. However, the United States was anything but safe and sane on July 4, 1910.

The cause: boxer Jack Johnson, who was black, beat James Jeffries, who was white, in the 15th round of the “Fight of the Century.” This did not go over so well with some people. Among many other racial incidents, fights broke out in Omaho, with one black man killed; two black men were killed by white men in Little Rock in separate incidents; on a trolley car in Houston a white man slashed the throat of a black man who had “jeeringly proclaimed Johnson’s victory”; and in Macon, Georgia, “The negroes have become so boisterous in celebrating the victory of Johnson over Jeffries that the authorities doubled the police force to prevent a clash of the races. Several negroes have been beaten and scores of them arrested, but there has been no serious disturbance.” Define “serious,” New York Times. “The negroes have angered the whites by insolent remarks about Jeffries.” Three other “insolent” negroes were killed in a shoot-out with a mob at a construction camp in Uvaldia, Georgia, and others fled “into the woods, where they are being hunted by the whites.” In Wilmington, Delaware, a white man was slashed by a mob of black men, who were then chased into an apartment house by a mob of several thousand whites, who bombarded it with stones. When the cops showed up, the mob tried to lynch the black man they arrested. In Roanoke, VA, a black man who heard of Johnson’s victory said, “‘Now I guess the white folks will let the negroes alone.’ A white man replied, ‘No,’ and the two clashed.” And there were running racial fights all over New York, with gangs of white men and youths looking for blacks to beat up; the Times described one fight as “a direct outcome of an argument over the respective merits of the white and negro races.” But in a touching act of racial reconciliation in St Joseph, Missouri, a white man defended a black man who had been hit by a white man – so a white crowd beat him up instead. Eight dead nation-wide (so far), all black (one of them a black cop in Mounds, Illinois, who was killed by black rioters), although one white man will probably die of his wounds.

Headline of the Day -100: “Americans in Berlin Sad.” Yes, that’s also white guys mourning Johnson’s victory.

In other holiday news, an errant firecracker burned down half of Benton, Pennsylvania.

Chief Justice Melville Weston Fuller, the 8th chief justice of the US, died on the 4th of July. Since one seat is already vacant and one functionally vacant, pending cases will be decided by just six justices. Fuller was appointed by Cleveland in 1888. His death leaves only two Democrats on the bench.

Taft spoke to the convention of the National Education Association on the 4th, explaining how American colonial policy in the Philippines was actually in complete conformity with the language of the Declaration of Independence (deriving just powers from the consent of the governed, etc), “when that language is properly understood by the same sort of construction as Lincoln gave to the language ‘All men are created equal.’ ... When the time shall arrive in which the Filipinos can be safely trusted to organize and maintain permanently their own Government, and this Government shall withdraw from the islands or offer to do so, the proposition of the Declaration of Independence will then have been fulfilled and the Government will be a just one, for it will rest on the consent of the governed.” But we can’t do that “in the absence of the full effects of education”. So it’s “a purely altruistic policy”. Ditto for Cuba.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

In case you were wondering why we are in Afghanistan...

...according to David Petraeus, “we are in this to win.”

He added, “We must demonstrate to the Afghan people — and to the world — that al-Qaida and its network of extremist allies will not be allowed to once again establish sanctuaries in Afghanistan from which they can launch attacks on the Afghan people and on freedom-loving nations around the world.”

But attacks on freedom-hating nations would be okay? How about freedom-just-friends nations? Maybe we need a list of just which nations Colonel Combover considers to be freedom-loving and which ones are not.

Today -100: July 4, 1910: Of lynch mobs

Celebrating the 4th of July weekend, mobs lynch black men in Columbia, Alabama and Charleston, Missouri, the latter by a large mob in broad daylight.

Taft uses a new law to withdraw 8,495,731 acres of Alaskan lands from public use.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

News you can’t, or shouldn’t, use

Paris Hilton was arrested at the World Cup. If that story could work in Twilight, it would be a perfect trifecta of Crap I Don’t Care About.

Today -100: July 3, 1910: Of Democrats, tetanus, gloves, and ho’s

The Democratic Congressional Committee issues a statement that the issues in the 1910 elections will be “the tariff and its consequences, the extravagant expenditures, wrongdoings of officials, graft that is shown to exist in nearly every Government branch, and the autocratic ruling of the majority party.”

Someone in the New York Medical Journal blames the increase in deaths from tetanus in Britain on the automobile (by stirring up contaminated dust).

Headline of the Day -100: “Knox Must Pay for Gloves.” The Treasury refuses to reimburse Secretary of State Philander Knox for the $4 driving gloves worn by his coachman.

Another example of unfortunate typos in the NYT index: “Johnson Feels Ho Anxiety Now.” That would be boxer Jack Johnson, actually feeling “no anxiety now” about the upcoming “Fight of the Century,” shortly to be held in Reno after the match was run out of California by the governor.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Today -100: July 2, 1910: Of pansy stakes and rioting Ruthenians

Utterly Incomprehensible Headline of the Day -100: “Imprint Home First in Pansy Stakes.” Turns out, it has something to do with horses.

Headline (just a headline, not a headline of the day -100): “Race Riot in University.” Ruthenian and Polish students at the University of Lemberg.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Today -100: July 1, 1910: Of aerial bombing and getting bombed in Milwaukee

Glenn Curtiss, the aviator who flew the record-breaking NY-Albany flight in May which I may or may not have mentioned (winning a $10,000 prize from Joseph Pulitzer), demonstrated in front of some naval officers the fun you could have with a plane, dropping 20 bombs and hitting his mark 18 times. “Admiral Kimball expressed himself as greatly impressed with the possibilities of the aeroplane in warfare.”

Milwaukee City Council closes 104 “disorderly” saloons and 2 burlesque theaters. Damn killjoy socialists.