Saturday, March 31, 2007

Culture War Continues

"It's intended as a meditation on the Holy Week," is how the artistic director at the Roger Smith Lab Gallery in Midtown Manhattan described the artwork they intended to display in a street-level window. Days ahead of Good Friday. It is a 6-foot tall, naked Jesus sculpted in chocolate.

How devout do you have to be to loving sculpt the genitals of Jesus in chocolate? How stupid do you have to be to consider exhibiting something like that? At any time, let alone from Good Friday until Easter Sunday? How stupid to even considering anything at the artist's site worthy? Or anything at the Roger Smith Hotel gallery.

They were just that stupid and dumb enough to miscalculate the reaction. The Roger Smith Hotel canceled the "tribute" after a public outcry. The Smith Hotel president issued a statement. Matt Semler, creative director of the Lab Gallery, resigned in protest. He spoke to the New York Daily News: "I've got a lot of people saying it was beautiful," he said. "A lot of people said the image of Christ was put back to something holy with this piece."

From UPI: "It's an all-out war on Christianity," said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. "They wouldn't show a depiction of Martin Luther King, Jr. with genitals exposed on Martin Luther King Day, and they wouldn't show Muhammed depicted this way during Ramadan. It's always Christians, and the timing is deliberate."

I suspect they would show a naked Martin Luther King, Jr. or Muhammed. Because the celebrity that comes from anti-Americanism, anti-Christianity and anti-establishment is something the modern artist craves. Not recognition of their art. They haven't got any talent. The next best thing is celebrity. Which is why Hollywood stars are the first to voice opinions.

Roger Smith Hotel website

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Semi-annual French News Roundup

It is semi-annual because that's all I can tolerate.

Headline: "Mitterrand's son may face trial in arms to Angola affair" is more hope than possibility. The son was detained for three weeks in December 2000 and January 2001 as an accessory to arms trafficking, but the charge has been dropped. Judiciary wants to try Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, who was an adviser on African affairs at the Elysee presidential palace from 1986 to 1992, along with 42 others suspected of -- GASP -- taking bribes from businessman Pierre Falcone, who organised $500 million arms deliveries from eastern Europe to Angola to help fund another African war. Dubbed "Angolagate" by the press.

Falcone is married to -or divorced from, depending on the story - a former Miss Bolivia. She was charged in 2006 with immigration fraud and perjury and accused of hiring illegal immigrants to work as servants in her $10.5 million Paradise Valley mansion - in Arizona. Her bio at her website says she was "raised in Argentina in a family of seven children. Sonia Falcone developed an early love for animals, the environment, and the people around her." (Which makes you wonder why people ranked last in all that early love.)

In any case, as reported Mar 22nd, the Feds are kicking her out of the U.S. She has until August 15 to leave the country. "We believe it serves the interests of the United States that Ms. Falcone has agreed to remove herself from the country and terminate her citizenship," said Wyn Hornbuckle, spokesman for interim U.S. Attorney Daniel Knauss. (Knauss was appointed in Feb 2007, dodging recommendations of Republican Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl.)

Just in passing - Daniel Knauss is the interim replacement for Paul Charlton who was one of eight U.S. Attorneys who were abruptly replaced. Whether it was for reasons claimed by the Senate oversight committee or they were fired for non-performance or non-compliance with Administrative wishes, isn't clear yet. Clinton fired every U.S. Attorney - all 93 - when he took office, an act unprecedented.

One of the complaints appears to be that the fired U.S. Attorneys were not taking voter fraud seriously. Sonia Falcone's web site is a latino voter activism site. Her philanthropy, it seems, was limited to registering latino voters.

Headline: "Mitterrand's daughter slams 'mad dog' Sarkozy" is 33-year-old writer whose relationship to her father was kept secret until she was in her late teens who plans to vote socialist. Pingeot's mother, Anne, was Mitterrand's mistress. (The French love scandal even more than America-bashing. It's better for the ego and self-absorption disguises a lot of faults.)
Not even headline material: The usual street protests against work conditions and bad pay. This time in Marseilles and they are policemen. Protest coincided (if you believe in coincidence) with Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to the southern city of Marseilles. Full denials that no one believes.
A Saudi prince will be tried in absentia for using diplomatic immunity to smuggle two tons of cocaine into France in his private jet. Neither he or the three Columbian drug-traffickers will be in court. The three Columbians are in U.S. custody since their conviction in 2005.

Prince Nayef is a grandson of Saudi Arabia's founding monarch Abdulaziz. Prince Nayef's lawyer Jacques Verges is expected to argue that his client is the victim of a conspiracy hatched in the US. Times (London) has more. As does The Scotsman.

No one has claimed it was for his personal household use. In fact, a former official at the French interior ministry claims that Nayef turned to coke-smuggling to provide secret funding for Wahabi Muslim fundamentalist militants.

Spare Us

Michael Massing, a contributing edtor to the Columbia Journalism Review, ponders "Missing Middle." (For the uninformed, that's the middle of the country most often referred to as "fly over" America.)

What he finds missing are the stories that originate from middle America. He wonders if major media was located in the Midwest, would there be more stories about religion? Or the unemployment in the automotive industry. Would reporters who lived there have knowledge of how Ohio came to be a swing state in Presidential elections? All very interesting, but what he unintentionally admits is why those stories wouldn't be there anyway.

Most editors and newpapers are, in his words, fixated on Ivy League school. Not just for "how to get into them" but because that's where they find the journalists they hire. "Even an in-state paper like the Toledo Blade, I was told, often seemed to prefer Ivy League grads."

Of course they do. The Ivy League schools regularly produce the same kind of prats that can be found in most newsrooms.

prat - n. English term, primarily used in United Kingdom. The literal meaning is "bottom" or "rump"; aka backside, buttocks, sacrum, tail end. This lends itself to the slang meaning of "ass," or "clueless person of arrogant stupidity." It is not always directly translatable to American slang. For example, if you used the term "prat hat" in the U.K., you would likely be laughed out of town by the locals.

I can't believe what an overbearing idiot he is. What a prat!

Sending reporters to Iowa for a full year before an election to find out how they're thinking sounds a tad like an anthropological expedition to observe native culture in some distant land. I have visions of a reporter copiously taking notes while trying to fathom the language and unsophistication of locals with their own bizarre belief systems.

It's a belief system visiting journalists are unfamiliar with. One that includes God and religion, family values, a love of country, corn-fed philosophy and down-home friendliness, backyard barbeques and middle class decency. Worse, the natives have an indifference to journalists and newspapers and manufactured social issues.

A journalist wouldn't survive a week there. Not without extra pay one deserves for trekking through thoroughly despised territory, and a promotion. So they don't have to go back again.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Absurd theatre from theLeft

From the Bill Roggio's "We no longer question their patriotism" file.

Portland, Oregon protesters.

Poster at the website: 'I grew up in Portland and just recently moved to the Seattle area. Portland is a great town...the anarchists are probably from Eugene (University of Oregon), the same group of losers as those that rioted at the WTO meeting in Seattle in the 90s. "
I kept expecting someone in the crowd to step forward and stop the hooded thugs, but then the crowd wasn't attending a peace rally but a theatre of protest. I was never that bored in my life.

Friday, March 16, 2007


I don't read the Washington Post anymore. It's surreal and gives me a fuzzy head that comes from a conviction that reality is distant and elusive. For some. Mostly, the people at the Washington Post.

First, there's the story of one the top contributors to Hillary Clinton , the firm of International Profits Associates, (ranked 12th) that is facing new allegations of racketeering from former clients. The firm has given her $100,000 in her career. They apparently liked Bill better because paid him $125,000 in speaking fees. The story doesn't even warrant a page of it's own, it's sharing the page with a story about a Republican contributor who isn't suspected of racketeering, but the implication is that he's just as bad because he does support Republicans. And -- evil alert -- he gave money to the Swift Boat Veterans. GASP

However, Hillary's story is below the scroll. And it's apparently not new, even if you are hearing about it for the first time..
Issues facing the firm and its owner have been well documented. Last year, the New York Times reported that IPA's founder had been disbarred in New York and had a record for attempted larceny and patronizing a 16-year-old prostitute; the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission opened one of its largest sexual harassment cases against the firm; and the Illinois attorney general has examined the firm's marketing tactics. At that time, Clinton's office said she was considering whether to return the money. She's still considering it.
The story, you just know, will die on that page. Never to be referred to again.

And to add to the bizareness, there's a link to a story headlined, "Nagin Suspects a Plot To Keep Blacks Away" that will die equally quickly. [The slow recovery and rebuilding is a sinister plot to to change the racial makeup and political leadership of his and other cities. And this explains why blacks haven't returned to New Orleans.]

Most of us suspect that the population figures of New Orleans - like many crime-ravaged cities with predominate black populations - have been faked for years. It's a time-honored tradition in St. Louis, and started out as a way to disguise the flight from urban decay and ending up a political necessity. We suspect that, but we are absolutely convinced that Nagin is ceritifably nuts. Which, really, makes reading the Washington Post painful. They seem convinced he is normal.

You can't make this up

Is this a romance made in hell or what? The governor of New Jersey broke up with his girlfriend and forgave a half-million-dollar mortgage loan he had given her. He also may have paid her kids' tuition and helped her with other expenses.

He's Gov. Jon S. Corzine and Carla is Carla Katz, president of New Jersey's biggest state employee union -- Communications Workers of America local.

The arrangments were an issue in 2005. But the conflict-of-interest questions became stronger recently when it was learned that three months ago Katz bought a luxury condominium for $1.1 million in the same waterfront Hoboken building where Corzine lives.

At the same time, she was completing more than $500,000 in renovations to the country home he helped her buy. All that on her $104,000 salary?

New Jersey newspapers don't ask near enough questions. But compared to the last governor, Corzine might be less complicated. And the whole story sounds like a whisper in the ear from some disaffected unions who aren't getting along nearly so intimately with the governor.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Identity Politics Pt II

You can put this down as another definition of chutzpah, once defined by a physicist I knew as "killing your mother and father and throwing yourself on the mercy of the court because you're an orphan."

That ceased to be funny when the Menendez brothers nearly got away with murder. And there's nothing funny about Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center.
A medical school that trains minority students plans to sue Los Angeles County, saying the government betrayed the school and its patients when it downsized a troubled inner-city hospital.
Los Angeles County -- finally and at long last -- voted to turn over control of Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center to another hospital after reports of mismanagement and sloppy care. [Read; multiple deaths and sub-human care.]

Now Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science is planning to sue for breach of contract. The suit alleges the downsizing of King/Drew — now renamed Harbor-MLK Community Hospital — forced the medical school to withdraw the accreditation for its residency programs, leading to the elimination of 15 training programs.

And a good thing too. Not even the notoriously uninvolved [when it comes to non-political racial baiting events] Los Angeles Times could contain their disgust at the Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center.

See Medical Tragedies - identity politics in medicine, posted February 2006 on this blog

I will confidently predict, however, that Los Angeles County government will turn over millions to buy off the lawsuit because it is, after all, just taxpayer money. There's more where that came from and a lot more silence to be had from the Los Angeles Times.