Fireworks and fog, a perfect combination for me. July 4 obscured the patriotic jingoistic pyrotechnical ritual in favor of a cool chilly evening of bursts and flares.
Oh, and pig bigot Gollum lookalike Jess Helms died.
Here's a Guardian UK obit, which gets a bit snide, but exposes Helms posthumously as the devious and monotonously obdurate bigot he truly was.
In domestic politics he denounced the 1964 Civil Rights Act as "the single most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced in the Congress", voted against a supreme court justice because she was "likely to uphold the homosexual agenda", acted for years as spokesman for the large tobacco companies, was reprimanded by the justice department and the federal election commission for electoral malpractice, and compiled a dismal personal record as a slum landlord.
But this obit didn't mention his bilious hatred towards gays, and how it effected artists and AIDS activism.
Unlike US media, rightwing and "mainstream" (i.e. more rightwing) media took a brief part of the day to lionize the pig. Thankfully, it wasn't the obscene orgiastic martyrdom of Tim Russert (WTF was up with that?).
Here's a nice comment:
The Jesse Helms that I gave money to see defeated in 1984 was an all powerful titan of Washington who could single handedly defeat gay rights. By the time I got here he was out of office and his state had several areas with gay rights laws and others where gays were protected by other means. The state that when he gave his commentaries in the 1960's had segregated schools, offices, lunch counters, hotels, and voting booths has integrated schools, offices, and every other public accomodation. His state has openly gay teachers working at integrated schools with integrated administrations. Jesse Helms' ideas died way before he did.
The Senate seat he held for 3 decades is up again this year. One of the candidates in the primary on the Democratic side was an openly gay man. Sadly, he didn't make it to the general. But the very fact an openly gay man could and did run for his seat is testimony that Jesse Helms' ideas are dead. The Democratic nominee for President is an African American who won our primary going away, that is testimony to the fact taht Jesse Helms' ideas are dead.
The AP "official" obit used by hundreds of papers and websites worldwide, soft-pedals Helms' homophobia: "And he softened his views on AIDS after years of clashes with gay activists, advocating greater federal funding to fight the disease in Africa and elsewhere overseas."
What it fails to mention is that a group of ACT UPers covered his house with a gargantuan condom.
This little website collects a few of Helms' best quotes:
"The New York Times and The Washington Post are both infested
with homosexuals themselves."
The Post, he charged, "caters to homosexual groups.
Just about every person down there is homosexual or lesbian,"
"There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that
cannot be traced in origin to sodomy."
"If homosexuals would only stop doing what they're doing,
There wouldn't be any more AIDS."