- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
By Kenn Thomas
Developments in the study of JFK's assassination occur in the media
right about at the same time cute animal stories and Loch Ness
monster sightings begin to appear as well. It signifies that not
much else is left to say about the war, since the sea change in the
US political landscape has ended all but the fighting now, and even
audience tolerance for the tiring tales of celebrity misbehavior has
So these developments get tossed in the media mix and many readers
never get a chance to actually see them pulled together in one spot.
To remedy this, following is list of recent JFK news:
Scientists at Texas A&M conducted a new forensic analysis of bullets
from the batch used by the sixth floor assassin. These new tests
established that the JFK assassination bullet fragments could have
come from more than three separate bullets. While critics scoff at
the "could have" nature of the news, it nevertheless ends the
certainty with which the notion that all the major damage was done
by bullets from the same gun. The paper reporting these results
appears online at imstat.org/aoas/next issue.html
Howard "St. John" Hunt surfaced a January 2004 taped confession from
his father E. Howard Hunt that presented an LBJ-did-it theory, with
Cord Meyer as point man for the overall operation. Cord Meyer was at
one time married to JFK's last mistress, Mary Pinchot Meyer, whose
exploits (possibly including dropping acid with JFK at the White
House) and strange murder once comprised a four-part series in
Steamshovel. As Hunt puts in on the tape, which aired on Coast to
Coast on April 28, 2007: "I think that LBJ settled on Meyer as an
opportunist (like himself) and a man who had very little left to him
in life ever since JFK had taken Cord's wife as one of his
mistresses. I would suggest that Cord Meyer welcomed the approach
from LBJ, who was after all only the Vice President at that time and
of course could not number Cord Meyer among JFK's admirersquite the
Two other JFK connected obituaries happened. Jack Valenti, the film
industry lobbyist responsible for the movie ratings system, also
happened to be riding in the Dallas motorcade that day. Most
recently he, the late president Gerald Ford and PBS commentator Bill
Moyers pressured the History channel into censoring one of its "Men
Who Killed Kennedy" programs. Interestingly, like Hunt's deathbed
confession, the program involved an LBJ-did-it-theory.
The other significant death was that of John K. Lattimer, a
urologist and lone nutter who also supposedly owned the remains of
Charles Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi has written a 1600 page
book that answers all questions about the assassinations and
resolves every doubt about the lone nut hypothesisnot. Also, Tink
Thomason summarized Bugliosi's book well in the June 3 edition of
the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"What is crystal clear, however, is that more than 43 years after
the event we don't know what happened. From the very beginning, the
event has been left to advocates of one view or another. The Warren
Commission put together a case for the prosecution against Oswald.
It failed when critics showed its conclusions were not justified by
the evidence it considered. The same could be said for the House
Select Committee, which reached a conclusion diametrically opposed
to that of the Warren Commission. What this case doesn't need is
more advocacy on the part of lawyers like Posner and Bugliosi. They
squeeze the evidence into one mold or another, offering opinions on
this or that, buttressed by whatever they choose to tell us,
ignoring the rest .What this case does need is some old-fashioned,
historical scholarship. It's a shame and a waste of great time and
effort that Bugliosi decided to contribute to the problem and not to
Of Bugliosi's book, Real History blogger Lisa Pease
notes: "Seriously, every page I've flipped to by searching or
randomly browsing so far is fraught with lies, errors, and
omissions -- the very things he accuses the research community of
doing. Is he just an anti-conspiracy zealot, out to defend a world
view he can't afford to have shaken? Or is something more sinister
at work? Maybe a look into his past would give us some answers."
( http://realhistoryarchives.blogspot.com )
Before all of this, actor Bruce Willis apparently got caught up with
the work of the conspiracy research community. According to
Richard Linklater, who had an animated Alex Jones in his 2001 movie
A Waking Life, passed around various "9/11 Truth" DVDs, including
Jones' Terror Storm, on the set of his 2006 movie, Fast Food Nation,
which had Willis in the cast. Whether that happened or not, Willis
wound up telling the New York Post that "They still haven't caught
the guy that killed Kennedy. I'll get killed for saying this, but
I'm pretty sure those guys are still in power, in some form. The
entire government of the United States was co-opted."
And with that, the JFK business got thrown back into the media mix.
USA: We're Number One!!!
Man Beats World Hot Dog Eating Record
Calif. Man Scarfs More Than 59 Hot Dogs in 12 Minutes, Shattering
By BOB CHRISTIE
The Associated Press
A California man smashed the world record for hot dog eating at a
contest Saturday, gobbling up more than 59 franks in 12 minutes.
Joey Chestnut, 23, of San Jose, shattered the record held by Takeru
Kobayashi of Japan by downing 59 1/2 "HDBs" hot dogs and buns during
the Southwest Regional Hot Dog Eating Championship at the Arizona
Mills Mall in suburban Tempe.
Kobayashi's old record of 53 3/4 was set last year at Nathan's
Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, held at Coney Island
in New York, said George Costos, who helps runs the regional
contests for Nathan's.
Chestnut placed second in last year's world championships, consuming
52 hot dogs.
"He's unbelievable he just keeps on going," said Ryan Nerz, who
works for Major League Eating, which he describes as "a world
governing board for all stomach-centric sports."
"These guys' numbers have just been going up at a tremendous clip,"
Nerz said. "I always thought there was a limit a limit to the human
stomach and a limit to human willpower but I guess not."
Chestnut won a free trip to New York, a year's supply of hot dogs
and a $250 gift card to the mall.
He flew to New York on Saturday night for a previously scheduled
trip to throw out the first pitch Sunday at a game between the New
York Mets and the Arizona Diamondbacks, Costos said.
Route 66, Iraqi sites among most at risk: heritage group
Published: Wednesday June 6, 2007
America's famed Route 66 and Iraq's archeological sites are among
the world's most threatened cultural treasures, according to a list
published Wednesday by a leading US-based heritage group.
The World Monuments Fund's 2008 watch list includes 100 sites from
around the world deemed at risk from man-made threats such as
climate change, conflict, urban development and unchecked tourism.
"Human activity has become the greatest threat of all to the world's
cultural heritage," the non-governmental group said in its report.
"But, just as we caused the damage in the first place, we have the
power to repair it," the group's president Bonnie Burnham added.
Among the best known sites on the list are Machu Picchu in Peru,
which the fund said was at risk from rampant and unmanaged tourism.
Similarly, the skyline of 18th century St Petersburg in Russia was
threatened by the proposed construction of a new skyscraper, it said.
Other cities facing similar threats were parts of Shanghai built in
the 1920s and 30s and Damascus, where historic buildings were being
torn down to make way for modern developments.
The watch list was compiled by an international panel of experts in
archaeology, architecture, art history and preservation.
The fund said that cultural sites of Iraq had suffered catastrophic
loss since the US-led invasion of 2003, while fragments of the
Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, largely destroyed by the Taliban in
2001, were also at risk.
Other sites threatened by conflict included Bethlehem's Church of
the Nativity, one of Christianity's oldest churches, which the fund
said was deteriorating as a result of the Palestinian-Israeli
Sites deemed at risk due to climate change included the Antarctic
hut from which Captain Scott led his fateful bid for the South Pole
in 1912. The hut was suffering from increased snowfall believed to
be caused by climate change.
Chinguetti Mosque in Mauritania, located in one of Islam's seven
holy cities, was threatened by shifting deserts, while Leh Old Town
in India, a rare medieval city in the Himalayas, was at risk from
changing weather patterns.
Historic areas of New Orleans, much of which were badly damaged or
destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, were also threatened, as
were sites along Route 66, once the only all-year road linking the
United States' east and west coasts and now popular with tourists
making road trips.
Perhaps surprisingly, the latest list also included some modern
sites, such as a 1940s university in Florida designed by pioneering
architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the Joan Miro Foundation in
Barcelona, from the 1970s.
The fund also identified the threat to Main Street Modern -- the
post war civic buildings that dot American towns but are considered
out of date and are being demolished across the country at an
Founded in 1965, the World Monument Fund provides millions of
dollars in grants to help preserve sites at risk, but also works to
help raise awareness -- something it says sparks local interest and
draws in far more funding.
"By recognizing the endangered heritage it becomes possible to do
something about it," said Marilyn Perry, the fund's chairman.
Previous watch lists have included landmarks such as the Taj Mahal,
the Great Wall of China, and the devastated city of Pompeii in
Italy, along with a host of lesser known heritage sites from more
than 70 countries.
"Battlestar" gets grounded by Sci Fi
By Nellie Andreeva
Fri Jun 1, 2007
The upcoming fourth season of Sci Fi Channel's "Battlestar
Galactica" will be its final one after all.
After months of speculation, the show's producers are set to make
the announcement at a press conference Friday.
Ending "Battlestar" with the upcoming 22-episode fourth season was a
creative decision made by the hit show's executive producers Ronald
Moore and David Eick.
"This show was always meant to have a beginning, a middle and,
finally, an end," Eick and Moore said in a statement Thursday. "Over
the course of the last year, the story and the characters have been
moving strongly toward that end, and we've decided to listen to
those internal voices and conclude the show on our own terms. And
while we know our fans will be saddened to know the end is coming,
they should brace themselves for a wild ride getting there -- we're
going out with a bang."
The fourth and final season of "Galactica" will kick off in November
with "Razor," an extended two-hour episode, with the rest of the
season slated to run beginning in early 2008.
Sci Fi executive vp original programming Mark Stern said the
channel's brass "respect the producers' decision to end the series."
For months, Sci Fi had dispelled rumors about "Battlestar" ending
its run after the fourth season.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the show's stars, Edward James Olmos,
was quoted as saying that the upcoming batch of episodes were
definitely the last ones. Sci Fi issued a statement denying such a
decision had been made.
Travolta Is 'Divine' in 'Hairspray' Film
Friday , June 01, 2007
By Roger Friedman
And now, "Hairspray," the John Waters musical film based on the
Broadway musical that was based on the original 1988 John Waters non-
musical film that launched Rikki Lake.
It's brought to us by the producers of the movie musical version
of "Chicago" and directed by Adam Shankman, a choreographer with
some pretty awful movies on his resume.
Into this mix comes John Travolta, looking a little like Barney the
dinosaur (except not purple) as Edna Turnblad, previously played on
Broadway by Harvey Fierstein and in the movie by Divine, Waters'
late transvestite of choice. Who can forget Divine in "Pink
Flamingos"? Did we ever think that Vinnie Barbarino would play
And yet, you really have to see Travolta to believe him, especially
toward the end of "Hairspray" when he finally lets loose dressed
in a fat suit as a woman in a red tutu and high heels and dances
up a storm in the film's finale. He's remarkable.
I don't know if it's an Oscar performance, but I do know that
when "Hairspray" is shown in big theaters (I saw it in a screening
room, still a little unfinished), audiences are going to go wild
with cheers and whistles.
Travolta even signals the audience with his now-trademark "cat eye"
from "Pulp Fiction" as he launches like a spinning top onto the
stage of the fictional Corny Collins Show. You can only love it.
Somehow he brings that old Travolta warmth and charisma to a crazy
costume (what a change from his last strange outfit, in "Battlefield
"Hairspray," if you don't know, has a very simply plot. Circa 1959,
17-year-old Tracy Turnblad of Baltimore wide as she is tall with a
huge beehive hairdo only wants to dance on the local "Corny
Collins Show." It's like Dick Clark's "American Bandstand."
Tracy is played by newcomer Nikki Blonsky with such infectious
ebullience, a whole new cult may quickly grow up around her.
Corny Collins, though, is the revelation: James Marsden, known
previously from a series of cardboard performances in "Superman"
and "X-Men," turns out to be a terrific song and dance man. He's an
absolute knockout. I wouldn't be surprised if Broadway producers
start contacting him to play leads in shows.
Anyway, Tracy's parents are played by Travolta and Christopher
Walken, who almost steals the movie as the proprietor of a joke
shop. Her best friend is Amanda Bynes, and Bynes' mom is "West Wing"
star Alison Janney returning to her comedy roots.
There isn't a lot more to "Hairspray" except for the subplot. Not
only does Tracy want to dance on the "Corny Collins Show," she wants
to integrate it. The show occasionally features "Negro Day," hosted
by Motormouth Maybelle (Queen Latifah) and showcasing R&B then known
as "race music."
It's Tracy's one desire "to make every day Negro Day" and bring the
black kids who dance on the satellite show onto the main stage. One
of the funnier bits is a running joke where all the really cool kids
(read: black) get detention on purpose. The detention room is really
a juke joint, where there's great music and cool dancing. It's very
Right now, New Line Cinema is downplaying "Hairspray," hoping to
avoid the hype machine that nearly killed "Dreamgirls" last year.
This may work. Enough fans of the Broadway show will want to see
this movie. As word spreads, others will come, too.
"Hairspray" is like a big colorful carnival, with loads of cotton
candy. It's never anything but happy, even when it's trying to be
More importantly, the performances are so well-defined that each one
of them is going to be noticed. My favorite was Queen Latifah, whose
voice is so amazing, and performance so mesmerizing, I wouldn't be
surprised if she wound up with a lot of awards and nominations. Once
again, as with "Chicago," she is the breakout star of the movie.
Travolta, Blonsky, Walken and Michelle Pfeiffer as the uptight
producer of "Corny Collins" are all excellent. Teenagers, I'm told,
will flock in to see Zac Effron of "High School Musical" as the
heartthrob of Corny's show. And Jerry Stiller reprises his role as
Mr. Pinky from the original movie.
"Hairspray" opens on July 20, on an open weekend with competition
only from Adam Sandler and TV's Kevin James in "I Now Pronounce You
Chuck and Larry." It's a tricky weekend, since NFL pre-season is
still three weeks away. Guys, John Travolta in a dress awaits you
like it or not.
Skateboarding could be Olympic discipline in 2012
June 8, 2007
LONDON -- Skateboarding could make its Olympic debut at the 2012
The International Olympic Committee said Friday it has held
discussions with cycling's world governing body about introducing
skateboarding as a discipline for the London program.
Skateboarding events are part of the X Games, and the IOC is eager
to modernize the Olympic program with sports and disciplines that
appeal to youth. It has already added snowboarding to the Winter
Games and BMX cycling for next year's Beijing Olympics.
"The IOC wants to make the program relevant for young people," IOC
spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said.
Moreau said officials of the International Cycling Union met with
the IOC sports department this week to discuss their proposal for
adding skateboarding to the London Games.
The IOC does not recognize an international skateboarding
federation, so the sport would first need to be adopted as a
discipline under the UCI umbrella. After that, the UCI could make a
formal proposal to the IOC for its inclusion in the Olympics.
The proposed venue for skateboarding in London is the velodrome in
the Olympic Park.
"We are doing our best to introduce skateboarding for 2012," UCI
sports director Olivier Quejuiner told the London Evening
Standard. "We have a clear strategy ... The venue could be
wonderful. All we need now is the green light from the IOC.
Technically, logistically and in terms of cost, it would not be a
problem to stage the event in 2012."
Twenty-six sports are on the London Olympic program. While it is too
late to add any sports, new disciplines can still be brought in.
The X Games feature skateboarding "vert," "street" and "big air"
Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class - And What We
Can Do about It (Paperback Edition)
By Thom Hartmann, With New Afterword by Greg Palast. Introduction by
Mark Crispin Miller.
From the Publisher:
The American middle class is on its deathbed. Ordinary folks who put
in a solid day's work can no longer afford to buy a house, send
their kids to college, or even get sick. If you're not a CEO, you're
America wasn't meant to be like this. Air America Radio host Thom
Hartmann shows that our Founding Fathers worked hard to ensure that
a small group of wealthy people would never dominate this country--
they'd had enough of aristocracy. They put policies in place to
ensure a thriving middle class. When the middle class took a hit,
beginning in the post-Civil War Gilded Age and culminating in the
Great Depression, democracy-loving leaders like Theodore and
Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower revitalized
it through initiatives like antitrust regulations, fair labor laws,
the minimum wage, Social Security, and Medicare.
So what happened? In the last twenty-five years, we've witnessed an
undeclared war against the middle class. The so-called conservatives
waging this war are only interested in conserving--and steadily
increasing--their own wealth and power. Hartmann shows how, under
the guise of "freeing" the market, they've systematically dismantled
the programs set up by Republicans and Democrats to protect the
middle class and have installed policies that favor the superrich
But it's not too late to return to the America our Founders
envisioned. Hartmann outlines a series of commonsense proposals that
will ensure that our public institutions are not turned into private
fiefdoms and that people's basic needs--education, health care, a
living wage--are met in a way that allows the middle class to
expand, not shrink.
America will be stronger with a growing, prospering middle class--
rule by the rich will only make it weaker. Democracy requires a fair
playing field, and it will survive only if We the People stand up,
speak out, and reclaim our democratic birthright.
By the bestselling author and Air America Radio host heard on more
than eighty radio stations coast to coast seven days a week
Reveals how the middle class, nurtured as the backbone of democracy
by our Founding Fathers, is being undermined by so-called
Shows how we can reverse the erosion of the middle class and restore
the egalitarian vision of the Founders
Expanded edition with a new chapter on immigration and a new
afterword by Greg Palast