Yes, it’s come to this.
A cat video. (But a funny one.)
Here’s an afternoon art break, with a short sci-fi film by Artfx titled “The Archiver.”
(I’m also testing the “private” feature for this thread, so comments are not visible to unregistered viewers.)
(I’m now turning off the Private flag for this thread, since I’ve verified it works properly.)
After a campaign of incitement and harassment by French Christian extremists (including an archbishop), four people invaded a gallery in Avignon yesterday and attacked Andres Serrano’s controversial photograph, “Piss Christ.”
Civitas, a lobby group that says it aims to re-Christianize France, launched an online petition and mobilised other fundamentalist groups. The staunchly conservative archbishop of Vaucluse, Jean-Pierre Cattenoz, called Piss Christ “odious” and said he wanted this “trash” taken off the gallery walls. Last week the gallery complained of “extremist harassment” by fundamentalist Christian groups who wanted the work banned in France.
Lambert, one of France’s best known art dealers, complained he was being “persecuted” by extremists who had sent him tens of thousands of complaint emails and bombarded the museum with spam. He likened the atmosphere to “a return to the middle ages”.
On Saturday, around 1,000 Christian protesters marched through Avignon to the gallery. The protest group included a regional councillor for the extreme-right Front National, which recently scored well in the Vaucluse area in local elections. The gallery immediately stepped up security, putting plexiglass in front of the photograph and assigning two gallery guards to stand in front of it.
But on Palm Sunday morning, four people in sunglasses aged between 18 and 25 entered the exhibition just after it opened at 11am. One took a hammer out of his sock and threatened the guards with it. A guard grabbed another man around the waist but within seconds the group managed to take a hammer to the plexiglass screen and slash the photograph with another sharp object, thought to be a screwdriver or ice-pick. They also smashed another work, which showed the hands of a meditating nun.
Here’s popular right wing blogger (and writer for Newsmax, World Net Daily, and Andrew Breitbart’s websites) Pamela “Shrieking Harpy” Geller, expressing her unqualified support for antisemites, Holocaust deniers, and extreme right wing European fascist groups again — because they hate Muslims as much as she does: Hundreds attend Paris sausage, Wine fest Despite the Ban for Fear of Offending Muslims.
Although the numbers are considerably less than what was hoped for, perhaps some of those patriotic French who would have turned up may have put historical animosities aside for the evening in the hope of seeing Algeria trounced by England in the World Cup. Alas, this was not to be, with England managing a dull and lacklustre 0-0 draw.
This apero geant saucisson et pinard event passed off peacefully. Although Sylvie François was the woman who originated the idea and generated a significant following on Facebook, it was also supported by a considerable range of French patriotic and secular groups and bloggers listed below (information taken from Bloc Identitaire website)
They hate Muslims, and that’s really the only thing Geller cares about, but if she had bothered to investigate the “Bloc Identitaire” she would have discovered that it’s composed of members of the neo-Nazi National Front and other extreme right wing French groups.
The Bloc Identitaire is a French far right political group. It was founded in 2003 by some former members of Unité Radicale and several other far right sympathizers, including Fabrice Robert, former Unité Radicale member, former elected representative of the National Front (FN) and also former member of the National Republican Movement (MNR), and Guillaume Luyt, former member of the monarchist Action française, former Unité Radicale member, former director of the youth organization of the FN (FNJ). Luyt claims inspiration by Guillaume Faye’s works in the Nouvelle Droite movement.
Bloc Identitaire is an ethnic nationalist French version of the KKK; they’re opposed to race-mixing, they hate Americans as much as they hate Jews and Muslims, and they’re allied with another one of Geller’s fascist associates, the Belgian Vlaams Belang.
The Bloc Identitaire aims to be a “rally for young French and Europeans who are proud of their roots and of their heritage”. It opposes miscegenation and “imperialism, whether it be American or islamic”.
The Bloc identitaire has been accused of intentionally distributing several popular soups containing pork in order to exclude religious Jews or Muslims; in Strasbourg, Nice, Paris, and in Antwerp with the association Antwerpse Solidariteit close to the Vlaams Belang.
Pamela Geller has never met a fascist hate group she wouldn’t support.
These “pork parties” are a long tradition on the French far right; back in the day they were targeted against Jews by the very same groups and people. And they’re still targeted against Jews as well as Muslims, but some of the fascists have learned that there are useful idiots like Geller out there who will believe their denials and help promote their hatred.
It’s old-style European racial/ethnic nastiness. Deliberate mean-spirited provocation. That’s what Pamela Geller is working hard to bring to America.
(Hat tip: Killgore Trout.)
If you’ve been watching the Tour de France, I don’t think it will be a spoiler to let you know that at today’s finish the three men standing on the podium were the ones who’ve been leading for the past week — Contador, Schleck, and Armstrong, in that order: Contador crowned Tour champion.
Although the disagreements never really surfaced in public (unlike Greg LeMond’s legendary feud with Bernard Hinault), there isn’t much camaraderie between Lance Armstrong and teammate Alberto Contador; Armstrong skipped Contador’s victory party on Saturday night.
British sprinter Mark Cavendish won the final stage on the Champs Elysees, his sixth stage win of the Tour. I know Lance says it’s not about the bike, but it doesn’t hurt when your bike looks really fast.
Alberto Contador collected the final yellow jersey of the 2009 Tour de France on Sunday as Mark Cavendish won the 21st and final stage on the Champs-Élysées.
“The Tour is the hardest race in the world, but this year it was particularly difficult. That’s why I am so happy,” said the Astana captain after finishing the 96th Tour with 4:11 over Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and 5:24 over teammate Lance Armstrong.
The runner-up credited his brother for his success. “I owe part of this achievement to my brother Fränk, who for three weeks sacrificed himself trying to help me,” said the younger Schleck.
As for Armstrong, the seven-time Tour champ said he had no regrets about finishing third. “I came here to do my best and I came across some guys who were clearly better than me,” he said. “I don’t have any regrets. I got put out a couple of times, but considering my age and recent racing, it’s not a bad performance overall.”
Here’s the official Tour de France Summary of the Day video, complete with French accent:
The Tour de France is heading into the final stretch, and Lance Armstrong is still within striking distance of the win — but he’ll have to really dig deep to surpass Astana teammate Alberto Contador, who is looking incredibly strong this year, rocketing away from the pack on difficult climbs: Lance Armstrong drops to fourth as Alberto Contador moves closer to Tour de France title.
LE GRAND BORNAND, France — Alberto Contador tightened his grip on the Tour de France when he survived attacks by the Schleck brothers in the 105.3-mile 17th Stage on Wednesday.
The Spaniard was the only rider strong enough to stay with Luxembourg’s Frank and Andy Schleck in the last two of five climbs and the three finished together, Frank winning the stage ahead of the Tour leader and his younger sibling.
If the brothers’ repeated strikes could not wear down the 2007 Tour champion, the did hurt Lance Armstrong and Briton Bradley Wiggins, who lost touch in the hardest climb of the day, the Col de Romme.
Armstrong finished 2 minutes, 18 seconds adrift, which was not enough for him to keep his place on the podium.
Contador now leads Andy Schleck by 2:26 with Frank Schleck third, 3:25 behind.
Seven-time Tour champion Armstrong slipped to fourth, 3:55 behind. Wiggins, who was third at the start, sixth, 4:53 adrift.
ESPN has a cool Flash-based Tour de France Tracker with lots of info on the race.
Today’s stage of the Tour de France started in Barcelona on a beautiful route that finished with one of the first real climbs, and this is where the eventual leaders started to take charge. Fabian Cancellara couldn’t hang with the climbers, and lost the yellow jersey: Feillu wins stage 7, Nocentini grabs yellow and Contador asserts supremacy.
We may be in for an epic battle between Astana team members Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong. Contador attacked in the final climb today, gaining 20 seconds on Armstrong; after the race, Armstrong said that wasn’t the plan, but he wasn’t surprised.
UPDATE at 7/10/09 1:42:57 pm:
Here’s today’s official TdF video of the stage:
Velonews has a good account of today’s team time trial at the Tour de France, in which Lance Armstrong and his Astana team won the stage and came within a fraction of a second of taking the yellow jersey. If anyone still doubted Lance could make a comeback, he ended all the speculation today.
Team Astana blazed through the team time trial to win stage 4. Astana came across the line 40 seconds ahead of the Saxo Bank squad of race leader Fabian Cancellara — the exact margin by which Cancellara led Lance Armstrong on general classification. After some careful math by race officials, Cancellara now holds the yellow jersey by a fraction of a second over Armstrong.
Garmin-Slipstream finished second on the day, 18 seconds down.
Astana came into the stage with four riders in the top 10 thanks to their time trialing ability, and that strength showed again on the 39km stage around Montpellier. Held largely on narrow roads, the technical course featured more than a few dicey corners that put riders from several teams on the ground.