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Dungen, Robert Smith, Hoboken Rock City, Penguins, a Bear and a Giraffe   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, July 07, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

DUNGEN, everyone's favorite Swedish prog-psych-metal band, is profiled in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

CURE FRONTMAN ROBERT SMITH has seen the future and it ain't pretty! (Link via Sylvia Hauser)

ON THE PITCHFORK: Sufjan Stevens' Illinoise album is back o­n sale for now, while quantities last. Yep Roc is giving the deluxe treatment to Billy Bragg's early stuff, separately or as a box set.

HOBOKEN ROCK CITY has what looks to be fairly righteous podcasts produced with the cooperation of the artists and record labels whose recordings appear o­n the show. Of course, you don't have to have an iPod to download, either, so it might be a nice way to stay up o­n things.

THE TOP 20 GREATEST AMERICAN ROCK BANDS, as voted by readers of USA Today. Subtitle: "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly."

TEGAN AND SARA: Sara tells Flagpole about the joy of MySpace.

PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The troubled singer has slammed accusations his poor performance was caused by drugs, insisting Bob Geldof's 16-year-old daughter, Peaches put him off, by fondling him and whispering obscenities in his ear. Keep digging!

LIVE 8 TRIVIA, some courtesy of The Scotsman. For example, we learn that The Edge was teased for years about his record collection, which included nothing recorded before 1976. Page Six has more, including Kimberly Stewart comparing Sting to a bodily orifice. And MTV is blaming others for its lousy coverage of the event.

LIVE8/G8: John Avarosis has more photoblogging. Josh Trevino blogs the depths of anti-Americanism at the G8: "My hard-left journalistic companion related with disgust the things that were said by our American volunteers: They're here because we've done so much to screw up the world. They're here because we are uniquely guilty of afflicting Africa. They're here because they have to make up for the crimes of the Administration. They're here because the Cold War was a fraud used to oppress Africans with debt. They're here because governments incur debt, not nations, and America is immoral to demand repayment. This man is no stranger to acid critiques of his nation, and his fellow-countrymen of Live 8 made him recoil into patriotism." And President Bush collided with a local police officer and fell during a bike ride on the grounds of the Gleneagles golf resort.

COLDPLAY frontman Chris Martin compares o­ne of his songs to vomit: "In the middle of the night I thought I was either going to be sick or go write that song. So the song just came up, then I went back to bed."

TOP TEN THINGS THAT MADE ME WANT TO BE A ROCK STAR, courtesy of Tiny Mix Tapes. A pretty good list, too, despite omitting the obvious Byrds reference.

TOMMY LEE turned down an offer from Ron Jeremy to become a porn star, believing it would be too much work. Besides, everyone should have a hobby.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Jolie is adopting a newborn Ethiopian girl orphaned by AIDS, People magazine reported o­n Tuesday. But don't read too much into it: "Angelina's adopting as a single mother and she wants that emphasized," the source told People. Pitt just purchased a pad around the corner from Jolie's English country house, but don't read too much into that either, as Pitt may have bought the place to watch his favorite British soap opera. Vince Vaughn denies he is having an affair with Jennifer Aniston.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Former Giant magazine editor Mark Remy makes an open plea to his fellow journalists to stop using "Cruise Control" in headlines about Cruise, Holmes, War of the Worlds, and Cruise's outspoken campaign against psychiatry. He also offers alternative choices. Weebls has unkind words for Katie if you scroll down.

IS ANYBODY MAKING MOVIES WE'LL ACTUALLY WATCH IN 50 YEARS? Newsweek wants to know. In contrast, Hollywood wants to know if anybody is making movies we'll actually watch this weekend.

HERBIE is fully loaded with product placement. And I have to think the The New York Times knew exactly what it was doing with this sentence: "The o­nly time Ms. Lohan/Peyton touches food or drink is when she pulls a prominently displayed bottle of Tropicana orange juice from a kitchen refrigerator."

YOUR MOMENT OF SITH: Gary Kurtz, the producer of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, is auctioning a few items from his collection to help fund future acquisitions and for the restoration/preservation of his archive.

PENGUINS RULE THE BOX OFFICE: On a per-screen basis, ticket sales for "March of the Penguins" were far more than for any other movie, $26,269, compared with $19,719 for the overall box-office champ, War of the Worlds.

BASEBALL: In Washington DC, everything is political, even the Washington Nationals' baseball caps.

IRAQ: The U.S. military is holding five U.S. citizens suspected of insurgent activities in Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday. They were captured separately and don’t appear to have ties to o­ne another. o­ne is already represented by the ACLU.

100 YEAR-OLD WOMAN celebrates by riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I wonder what she wore.

BIOFUELS use much more energy in their creation than the resulting ethanol or biodiesel generates, according to a new joint study from Cornell University and University of California-Berkeley.

MEAT could soon be grown in a laboratory.

EVA LONGORIA loves her body. And judging from gossip columns, she's hardly alone in that department.

BRITNEY SPEARS plans to get a tattoo of her child's name after she gives birth. A publicity-seeking Manhattan physician issued a press release commenting o­n the pop tart's pregnancy: "Britney may need to be put o­n 'pelvic rest,' which may include full-time bed rest and no sex." Spears' PR rep was not amused: "This doctor should mind her own business, shut her trap and get a life." Besides, Spears is rumored to have called her label about cutting a new album due to a cash flow problem. It's hard to believe a pop singer would have money management issues.

DASHTON: Demi Moore pregnancy rumors are circulating again. Plus, Ashton Kutcher's sister-in-law claims that Ashton has done little to help his disabled twin brother, particularly since hooking up with Moore. From what I've seen of Kutcher's work, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the concept that his twin brother is the disabled o­ne.

THE PLAME CASE: I haven't posted anything about l'affaire Plame and the reporters who unsuccessfully fought subpoenas in the leak investigation. But I couldn't resist the Jonathan Richman-inspired title of a blurb about Matt Cooper's decision to testify and Judith Miller's decision to go to jail, even though it's not completely accurate.

CULT OF THE iPod: Steve Jobs personally called the family of a 15-year-old New Yorker to offer his condolences after the teenager was killed last week during a fight over an iPod.

DOWNLOADING: Target is close to a rollout of a digital music subscription service. Neither Virgin Megastore nor Wal-Mart has made a significant splash with similar services, but Target hopes to do so by explaining to mothers exactly how a subscription service works. Good luck with that.

A HUNK OF BURNIN' LOVE: A 38-year-old man set himself o­n fire before asking his girlfriend to marry him. She said yes, proving they both have bad judgment. Kids, don't try this at home.

THE ICE CREAM SANDWICH is being killed by gentrification.

WOMEN SUFFER MORE than men. I blame the patriarchy.

ASPIRIN HELPS MEN, NOT WOMEN in two separate cancer studies. I blame the patriarchy. Actually, while the writer seems baffled, I would say that as o­ne of the studies involved prostate cancer, women were unlikely to be helped.

ANTI-AGING BEER hits the market in Germany. In this country, drinking beer just makes others seem younger.

WHICH IS SCARIER? That in New Zealand, a Muslim Labour MP refused in an interview to condemn the stoning to death of homosexuals and people who had extra-marital affairs, or that the response from the Prime Minister was to clarify that the Labour Party does not support capital punishment?

IDENTICAL TWINS are not as identical as scientists o­nce thought. The study gibes with what we already knew about identical cousins.

DINOSAUR TRACK DISCOVERED in the interior of Alaska. It does not appear to be of recent origin.

AND WHERE ARE THEY NOW, THE LITTLE PEOPLE OF STONEHENGE? At the smaller, wooden version discovered in Russia? Of course, it's a story in Pravda which means truth.

THE BACKSTREET BOYS are opening for Puppet Show.

JAMES STOCKDALE, The retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral who led a prisoner-of-war underground in North Vietnam and later ran for vice president o­n H. Ross Perot's third-party ticket, died at age 81. The "what did he say in the afterlife" joke writes itself.

EDU-BLOGGING: This week's Carnival of Education is o­nline.

SUPREME COURT: Former U.S. Senator and veteran character actor Fred Thompson has been hired to help shepherd the yet-to-be-named nominee through the Senate. Law Prof. Ann Althouse thinks President Bush will pick AG Alberto Gonzales due to the "Laura factor." And fwiw, Matt Drudge claims to have overheard Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) war-planning o­n a cellphone.

FIREWORKS TIP: Don't light them all at o­nce.

THE GIRLFRIEND FIGHT SIMULATOR, courtesy of SuperMasterpiece.

WIND FARMS are opposed by environmentalists in California.

CANDLESTICK MURDER CASE in Massachussetts seniors' complex. Police have charged Joshua J. Goyette, but I hope they have not ruled out Col. Mustard.

LOST BEAR climbs a 90-foot telephone pole to get her bearings, and the whole incident was caught o­n tape, which is avaialble at the link.

JET CRASHES INTO STRAY COW in Nigeria, which is also the home of the "killer cow" story noted here previously. Don't mess with Nigerian cows.

LANKY NEWBORN GIRAFFE debuts at the Phoenix Zoo. And there aren't many better adjectives for a giraffe than "lanky," really.

DOGS: Just say "No" to drugs. Seriously.

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The Redwalls, Trained Squirrels, Robot Sharks and the Dogs of War   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, July 06, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

BIG STAR, SQUEEZE, ECHO, CHEAP TRICK and more have been covered live by the Decemberists. My Old Kentucky Blog has the downloads, though I know you won't indulge because home downloading is killing music.

ON THE PITCHFORK: Sufjan Stevens nails a 9.2 -- the highest score so far this year -- for Illinoise, though it's largely unavailable due to Superman's lawyers. There's also a piece o­n Art Brut, in which Eddie Argos confesses he really doesn't hate the Velvet Underground, but that Jonathan Richman is his "absolute hero."

THE REDWALLS, a band from my neck of the woods, gets profiled by the Associated Press. And while the writer calls their first disc "a straight-up blues rock album that riffed o­n the Beatles/Dylan folk sound," I would have said late Beatles and CCR.

BAND REUNIONS: We love to see 'em live, but Chicago Tribune critic Mark Caro argues that when it comes to creating new works, reunited bands never approach the level of their prime. SEMI-RELATED: Big Star's upcoming album now has a title -- In Space -- and at Chromewaves, Frank thinks the track he heard is alright.

THE ANTI-HIT LIST is a site and a podcast with commentary, music clips and selected full songs.

THE JOHN LENNON MILITARY TUNIC which inspired the cover for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is set to go up for auction later this month.

THE BEST OF 2005 (SO FAR): More preemptive listmaking, courtesy of Chromewaves and Coolfer.

THE NEW YORK DOLLS are the subject of a documentary scheduled for October release. There's some interesting stuff about the Dolls' recently departed bassist, Art Kane, in the article.

BONO is getting his hat back.

ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: With a dearth of Jordan-magnitude athletes, rappers are picking up the shoe money. Snoop Dogg had a sit-down with other gangstas to relay the message that "bangin' in the business ain't making us no money." But a 50 Cent watch may actually sell for up to $3,500.

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN: Gene Kelly is remixed with CGI for a British Volkswagen commercial. (QuickTime)

LATE INDEPENDENCE DAY NEWS: iTunes is celebrated July 4th by posting a list of its 100 best-selling indie albums. Stereogum lists the top 21. Scott also nicely captioned some Live 8 photos for your amusement. RELATED: AOL is offering song-specific streamed replays of tons of Live 8 stuff. And The Mudville Gazette milblog has I-Day carnival photos (how could I pass that up) and links to more 7/04 photoblogging.

LIVE 8 AND THE G8: Yesterday, I pointed you to blogging from John Avarosis. Today, from the other side of the aisle, we have two posts by Josh Trevino. In The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof notes that "Mr. Bush has done much more for Africa than Bill Clinton ever did." It's also worth noting an exception to the corruption and grinding poverty characteristic of many African nations... but you will have to click to find out which African country has had the fastest growth in per capita income in the world since it declared independence from Britain in 1966.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Two self-described computer geeks court legal action by launching TomCruiseIsNuts.com Tom-Kat jumps the couch at The View; Gawker has photos. And the couple kept an artist barred for an hour from the suite he rents by the month at the Essex House in NYC, while they prepared for the premiere of War of the Worlds. The artist was nearly an hour late to his own show opening due to the holdup.

JUST ASKING: o­n an entirely unrelated note, Page Six asks: "WHICH leading man landed his fiancée by giving her a five-year contract for $10 million? Now, she's giving an Oscar-worthy performance acting as if she's really in love with him..." fishbowl NY asks whether it's ten million, or o­nly five. Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself.

BISEXUALITY MAY NOT EXIST in males according to a new study. But what I really liked about this NYT story is its later mention of the fact that by the 1990s, television series like Sex and the City had begun exploring bisexual themes, without mentioning that the lead character called bisexuality a stopover o­n the way to gaytown. Nttawwt.

BRITNEY SPEARS denies prior reports that she will pose nude for Vanity Fair, a la Demi Moore. Whew.

MARTHA STEWART: Just call her "M. Diddy."

KATE HUDSON believes she is psychic. So she did all those money-losers on purpose. (And I love Almost Famous, but it lost money at the theater, too).

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY: In The New Yorker, Margaret Talbot looks at why children love Roald Dahl’s stories—and many adults don’t. Page Six notes not o­nly the bizzare trained squirrel story noted here previously, but also that the chocolate river running through the factory consists of more than 206,563 gallons of fake chocolate.

IRAQ: Several senior clerics of Iraq's disaffected Sunni Muslim minority will soon issue a decree calling o­n followers of the faith to vote in forthcoming elections and help write the new constitution, a prominent Sunni leader said Monday. Fifteen Iraqi Sunni-Muslim members are preparing to join a Shi'ite-dominated parliamentary committee drafting the new constitution. It is hoped that including more Sunnis in the political process will weaken the insurgency.

BIRD-WATCHING AFFECTED BY WAR: Bird-watchers are shocked to learn that their sneaking about in the woods around military bases, wastewater management plants and dams, carrying binoculars, telescopes and cameras, makes government-types nervous. Who'da thunkit?

SUPREME COURT NOMINEES FOR SALE at TradeSports.Currently Alberto Gonzales has the lead, followed by Judge Emilio Garza. But Judge Samuel A. Alito is younger than Garza; maybe people don't know he's Hispanic also. If the pre-nomination news interests you, I did a little bit o­n Sunday, or you can start with this post at the SCOTUSblog. And we should not forget that Chief Justice Rehnquist could yet resign. People quoted in the linked article think it's less likely now because they see it as too messy. These people seem to forget that Rehnquist was nominated Chief when Burger retired and Democrats (unwisely) focused o­n the already-seated Rehnquist, giving almost no scrutiny to the nomination of Antonin Scalia. So there's an argument (though not entirely persuasive) that the White House might like two vacancies at o­nce.

SET PHASERS o­n STUN: The Departments of Energy and Defense are working o­n directed energy weapons to protect federal nuclear sites.

THE I.D. SNIPER RIFLE, used to implant a GPS-microchip in the body of a human being, is a hoax o­n international arms dealers created by Jacob Boeskov. However, Illinois soon will launch a pilot program that will enable parole officers to track dangerous sex offenders using global positioning system technology. And UK motorists face having their cars fitted with a satellite-based system that stops speeding.

ROBOT SHARKS: To detect submarines and mines, the U.S. Navy would like gadgets that duplicate what sharks do naturally: find prey from the electric fields they emit. And to have frickin' laser beams attached to their heads.

ROBOT BREAST EXAMS: Life-saving breast examinations could soon be performed by a robotic hand that combines ultrasound with an artificial sense of touch, enabling a medical specialist to examine women from a remote location. I would be with the Luddites o­n that o­ne, if not for the obvious off-label uses to which it could be put.

EXCESSIVE SUNSCREEN may actually contribute to far more cancer deaths than it prevents, some researchers think. Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich and director Baz Luhrmann were not reached for comment.

WARD CHURCHILL UPDATE: The University of Colorado professor who has compared victims of the 9/11 WTC attack and U.S. soldiers to Adolf Eichmann -- and is currently under innvestigation for plagarism -- just got a pay raise.

BAD HUMOR MEN: Mr. Ding-a-Ling ice cream vendors have been ticketed for violating local noise ordinances, after people have complained about music blaring from loudspeakers.

THE DOGS OF WAR: Military war dogs in Iraq help save lives by detecting bombs and traps and finding injured civilians, but their noses are getting chapped from the desert heat. The Happy Tails Dog Spa is collecting lip balm, flying discs, knotted ropes and treats to send to the hundreds of dogs serving in Iraq.

DOGS may be forced into seat belts in Pennsylvania.

A ROTTWEILER AND A HUSKY were shot in the head with a shotgun in Aurora, IL (Wayne's World). Alcohol apparently was a factor in the shootings, police said.

DOBERMANS, MASTIFFS AND GERMAN SHEPHERDS are disguising themselves as poodles.

RODEO HORSES PLUNGE TO THEIR DEATHS during the Calgary Stampede.

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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

Karl

[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

Karl

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY FROM THE CITY OF BIG SHOULDERS!

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

Karl

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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