New Biography on Hendrix

In Charles Crosse's new Biography Room Full of Mirrors he claims that Jimi Hendrix declared being a homosexual in order to get out of the paratroopers.


Dating Sites Rekindle the Flame


Facing slumping growth and heavy competition, online-dating sites are adopting a new strategy in their quest for the lovelorn: They're becoming user-friendly. Want to banish forever the face of that guy who's totally wrong for you? For the first time, is letting members permanently block other people's ads. Seeking someone who's a "giver," a "rebel" or an "observer"? Yahoo Personals now lets you search for them. Dying to know if Ms. Right is a philanderer or a felon? True will run a background check.



Some Parents Worry About Daylight Change

Don’t worry we really aren’t in an energy crisis. Have some Kool-Aid.

As Congress voted to extend daylight-saving time, some parents and school administrators worried about the children who would end up waiting for school buses in the morning darkness. Mark Sanders, superintendent of the Valley Springs School District in northern Arkansas, said some school bus routes in his rural area are more than an hour long. "These younger kids are the ones I'm concerned about," Sanders said. "We've got parents going to work, and we've got those kids standing out waiting for the bus. I hate to see it. I think they're making a mistake." Congress on Friday gave final approval to a bill that includes a four-week expansion of daylight-saving time in an effort to save energy. If President Bush signs it, most Americans would see their clocks "spring forward" the second Sunday of March and "fall back" the first Sunday of November, beginning in 2007. Daylight-saving time now starts on the first Sunday of April and ends the last Sunday of October.


Children Stranded in Ark. Immigration Raid

When immigration authorities raided a poultry plant and took away more than 100 employees to face deportation, some workers were able to call home and arrange care for their children. But about 30 children, some as young as 3 months old, were left behind with no parents after the arrests, officials said. "A lot of those families had kids in day care in different places, and they didn't know why Mommy and Daddy didn't come pick them up," Arkadelphia Mayor Charles Hollingshead said. A local church ground was helping make arrangements for them. Temple Black, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in New Orleans, said Friday that each person arrested was asked whether they had children and they all said they did not. "We interviewed every person and asked that specific question, and we were told that there were none," he said. Black later said that some of those arrested told agents that their children were with relatives. Children are normally placed with relatives until their parents are either returned to the community or deported. Federal agents arrested 119 people Tuesday in a raid that was triggered after a former worker at Petit Jean Poultry said she supplied others with fake identification cards. Authorities said 115 were from Mexico, two were from Honduras and the others were from El Salvador and Guatemala.


Cuba, Venezuela dominate Caribbean unity summit despite leaders' absence

Choosing sides.

PANAMA CITY, Panama - Cuba and Venezuela led opposition to free market policies Friday, but Mexican President Vicente Fox called for a "strategic alliance" based on free trade in an ideological clash at the Summit of Caribbean States. Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage also lashed out at the U.S. war on terror, which he called "a campaign of pillage," and said "the recent terror attacks in Madrid and London prove that you can't defeat terrorism with terrorism." Venezuela won praise with offers of oil on easy terms or in exchange for local products, while Cuba offered free medical care as part of efforts to broaden President Hugo Chavez's leftist "Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas."

Chavez, an outspoken critic of President Bush and friend of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, has used the name of 19th century South American independence hero Simon Bolivar to describe the vaguely socialist, stridently anti-Washington program he has championed in Venezuela. "Venezuela has given the world, and especially the Caribbean, an example of solidarity and brotherhood," Lage told the 25-member Association of Caribbean States, or ACS. "Venezuela and Cuba have taken the first steps toward the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas."


Split could create work-site trouble

An angry rift between union leaders filled the spotlight when big labor gathered this week in Chicago. But to figure out what labor's divide might actually mean for workers and employers, look beyond the dueling press conferences and listen to the union talk at Grandma's House, a child-care center Angenita Tanner runs from her basement apartment on the city's South Side. Tanner is one of Illinois' 49,000 home child-care workers, many self-employed, who voted overwhelmingly this spring to be represented by the Service Employees International Union. The vote capped a nine-year campaign by the SEIU, and a bitter fight with a rival union for the low-paid service workers. The workers, nearly all women and most minorities, once would have been far outside the muscle and manufacturing mainstream of organized labor. "There's power in numbers," said Tanner, trying to keep her voice in check as the seven children in her charge nap. "You cannot go to (the state Capitol in) Springfield by yourself and talk to senators and representatives and get heard ... but if you go as part of a group, being represented as part of the masses, they're going to listen." The unions' drive to sign up the child-care providers and another recent campaign in Illinois for home-health aides turned on winning higher pay and health insurance. But they also reflect the split in organized labor, one experts say could fuel increased competition by unions for workers, particularly in service industries that are becoming the economy's mainstay.



Molly Ivins on Judge Roberts

By Molly Ivins

The White House is shielding Roberts' public record, and now he's conveniently 'forgotten' his involvement with the ultra-right-wing Federalist Society.

My first reaction to Roberts was: "Sounds like that's about as good as we can get. Quick, affirm him before they nominate Bork, Bolton or Pinochet." A conservative with good manners and no known nutball decisions or statements on his record? Hey, take him. At least he's not (whew!) a member of the Federalist Society. No such luck. Cornyn, who I would have sworn is not this stupid, apparently signed off on having the nominee "forget" he was a member of the Federalist Society, and Roberts obliged, which is strange considering his reputation for brilliance and a spectacular memory. Turns out the guy is listed in the society's 1997-98 "Leadership Directory" as a member of its steering committee in Washington. How many steering committees have you been on that you've forgotten about?

The reason that matters is that the Federalist Society is the alpha-primo ultraconservative legal group in the whole country. Since we have only two years worth of Roberts' decisions on the bench (in itself unheard of for nominations to the Supremes), the information about how this society plans to steer the country can be very revealing of his positions.


The theory behind Payola

Agenda Setting:

Agenda Setting as defined in “ Mass Media, Mass Culture” is the process whereby the mass media determine what we think and worry about. Walter Lippmann, a journalist first observed this function, in the 1920’s. Lippmann then pointed out that the media dominates over the creation of pictures in our head, he believed that the public reacts not to actual events but to the pictures in our head. Therefore the agenda setting process is used to remodel all the events occurring in our environment, into a simpler model before we deal with it. Researchers Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw have then followed this concept.

This impact of the mass media- the ability to effect cognitive change among among individuals, to structure their thinking- has been labeled the agenda-setting function of mass communication. Here may lie the most important effect of mass communication, its ability to mentally order and organize our world for us. In short, the mass media may not be successful in telling us what to think, but they are stunningly successful in telling us what to think about.”


More on agenda setting:



Sony gets busted in payola settlement

Sony BMG faces the music in payola settlement

By Chris Morris and Alexander Woodson

Calling illegal payola to radio stations "pervasive" and "a major problem throughout the music industry," New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer on Monday announced a settlement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment relating to the music giant's radio promotion practices. Sony BMG -- whose promotion practices are damningly depicted in documents released by Spitzer's office -- agreed to tighten its promotion guidelines and will pay a $10 million fine. The money will be distributed by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to New York nonprofit organizations. The company, home to such acts as Kelly Clarkson, System of a Down and Bruce Springsteen, also agreed to pay $100,000 toward the cost of Spitzer's investigation. In compliance with an "assurance of discontinuance" signed Friday by Sony BMG executive vp/global general counsel Daniel Mandil, the label acknowledged it had engaged in payola activities. Full

Sony BMG Called Close to Settlement With Spitzer

Sony Agrees to Halt Gifts for Airtime

Radio Payoffs Are Described as Sony Settles

A Quick History of Payola

Agenda Setting


Struggle Over Access to Roberts' Memos Intensifies

By Maura Reynolds
Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The White House and Senate Democrats parried Wednesday over the Senate's right to review documents from Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.'s service in the first Bush administration, with the White House continuing to take a hard line on release of executive branch materials.

Democrats stepped up their demands for access to memos Roberts wrote while working as deputy solicitor general from 1989 to 1993, which they thought would help them determine whether he was a conservative ideologue. Roberts at the time was a political appointee working as principal deputy to Solicitor General Kenneth W. Starr.

"The president alluded to this work in his statements as contributing to his basis for selecting Judge Roberts as his nominee," said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.). "It clearly is appropriate that the Senate also be entitled to vital information the White House weighed in making its decision about this nomination."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said not even officials in the White House had reviewed documents from that period of Roberts' career because they were covered by attorney-client privilege. "We haven't seen or reviewed any of those documents," McClellan said. "It wouldn't be appropriate for us to do so. That's privileged information that is related to the confidential deliberative process between attorney and client." Senate Democrats said they found that assertion unusual, arguing that attorney-client privilege was a legal doctrine covering courts, not Congress.


CAFTA: The Race to the Bottom

CAFTA, like NAFTA, would require its signatory countries to conform their domestic policies and practices to a broad array of non-trade dictates, for example regarding the regulation of service sector companies and foreign investors’ operations in other economic sectors operating within a signatory nation’s territory. It would require signatories to provide certain patent medicine and seed protections that have been criticized by health and consumer groups worldwide as undermining consumers’ access to these essential ‘goods.’ It even sets constraints on how countries and other political entities may spend their own tax revenues. In addition, CAFTA contains the same model of interconnected trade rules and foreign investor protections that together create incentives that motivate business operations seek out the most profitable sites and processes for production, even if these are often contrary to the public interest. An analysis of CAFTA’s provisions reveals that it replicated NAFTA’s provisions to a high degree – often with identical language. Thus, there is much that we can learn from the 11-year record of NAFTA, which CAFTA would expand to additional nations.


NAFTA Failure

NAFTA was a radical experiment - never before had a merger of three nations with such radically different levels of development been attempted. Plus, until NAFTA “trade” agreements only dealt with cutting tariffs and lifting quotas to set the terms of trade in goods between countries. But NAFTA contained 900 pages of one-size-fits-all rules to which each nation was required to conform all of its domestic laws - regardless of whether voters and their democratically-elected representatives had previously rejected the very same policies in Congress, state legislatures or city councils. NAFTA required limits on the safety and inspection of meat sold in our grocery stores; new patent rules that raised medicine prices; constraints on your local government’s ability to zone against sprawl or toxic industries; and elimination of preferences for spending your tax dollars on U.S.-made products or locally-grown food. In fact, calling NAFTA a “trade” agreement is misleading, NAFTA is really an investment agreement. Its core provisions grant foreign investors a remarkable set of new rights and privileges that promote relocation abroad of factories and jobs and the privatization and deregulation of essential services, such as water, energy and health care.


NAFTA: A Decade of Failure

Most of the debate about NAFTA has focused on the movement of plants to Mexico and the direct loss of American jobs as Mexican laborers earning less than $2 an hour are used to replace American workers making six or eight times as much, plus health and pension benefits. Though there are trade disputes with Canada regarding specific industries, America's partnership to the north does not spark the same kind of fundamental concern. Income, living conditions and the rule of law are similar in Canada to U.S. standards, which puts trade on a more level playing field.


Law students sacrifice to repay debt

Allegations that a Stanford Law School graduate worked as a prostitute partly in order to repay her loans have raised questions among students and administrators about the difficulties law school students face in paying back their educational debt. According to the Oakland Tribune, federal prosecutors are alleging that Cristina Schultz, Law School Class of 2001, worked as a call girl in part to pay off close to $300,000 in student loans. No charges have been filed against Schultz at this point.


CAFTA passes in House

Mary Dalrymple
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - President Bush insisted that the small trade agreement with six Latin American nations would pay big dividends for security, stability and freedom in the Western Hemisphere. After persistent lobbying by the White House, Congress finally agreed. It took personal visits from the president and vice president, along with strenuous arm-twisting from Republican leaders, before the House passed the Central American Free Trade Agreement early today by a two-vote margin, 217-215. The Senate approved CAFTA last month 54-45, and it now goes to the president for his signature.



Dolphins Rookie Cries During Practice

A Generation of Wussies? (What Planet is This?)

Manuel Wright is having difficulty adjusting to the NFL, his coach yelled at him.

If the young man has psychological problems or a severe chemical imbalance – ok.

Barring that – toughen up butter cup – its football! This is the last bastion of testosterone filled male aggression; respect the game; respect yourself. I think this all started back in the 80-‘s when the suburbanite precursor to the soccer mom decided that everybody should get a trophy. The idea that you get a reward just for being on the team is absolutely ridiculous. What the hell ever happened to winning, best man wins, “to the victor go the spoils,” “the agony of defeat,” “take no prisoners,” “there is no tomorrow,” “pain does not exist in this Dojo,” “game time,” “kill or be killed,” “ride or die;” hell the other team’s cheerleaders?

I hate dilettante gym rats who spend more time selecting a workout outfit than they do working out, who think running on a machine is “cardio.” Back in the day that was shit you did when you were injured and couldn’t workout for real. Padded weights? 2 ½ pound dumbbells??? Just give me a good old fashioned animal house, with two axe metal and rap blasting from an old stereo with real wood speakers and an eight track. Benches taped and re-stuffed with foam, chipped mirrors, string tank T’s, and a metal bar across a door frame in front of a mirror where everybody can see your ass as you go from none to gun. A beast factory with rusty metal plates, a nautilus machine in the corner for old time’s sake, and a jump rope (now that’s cardio). Just give me a place where people are committed to the task at hand, have a love of the game and an appreciation and respect for their chosen endeavor that only comes from perseverance, reflection, suffering, honesty and an inner strength that distinguishes the great from the also ran. God damn it!

There is no crying in Football.


Solidarity Later?

By Molly Ivins, AlterNet

Solidarity Forev ... ooops, make that Solidarity Later.

Organized labor is weak, but unorganized labor is a hell of a lot weaker. That's what's splitting the AFL-CIO. You may think this is none of your beeswax, but if you work in this country, you owe labor, big time. And I'm talking to you, white-collar worker.

This is not about the old stuff -- 40-hour workweek, unemployment insurance, health benefits, safety regs, etc. This is about right now, today. The money that controls this administration is out to screw you -- it's your pension on the line, your salary on the line and your job on the line. If your company can replace you cheaper, you are gone, buddy. And this administration is pushing jobs overseas just as fast as it can.

The split is not a case of good guys versus bad guys -- it's good guys versus (we hope) some better guys.

John Sweeney, current head of the AFL-CIO, is not only one of the world's nicest people, he's also pretty damn tough. Sweeney and his team have been fighting like pit bulls, but the deck is increasingly stacked against them. (How's that for mixing metaphors?) Since the Republicans have taken over the executive branch, myriad executive orders, administrative changes and the stacking the National Labor Relations Board have quietly been implemented. The result is that organized labor is now hemorrhaging.


Hiroshima bomb may have carried hidden agenda

Shock and Awe: Take 1

New Scientist: Rob Edwards

The US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was meant to kick-start the Cold War rather than end the Second World War, according to two nuclear historians who say they have new evidence backing the controversial theory.

Causing a fission reaction in several kilograms of uranium and plutonium and killing over 200,000 people 60 years ago was done more to impress the Soviet Union than to cow Japan, they say. And the US President who took the decision, Harry Truman, was culpable, they add. "He knew he was beginning the process of annihilation of the species," says Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University in Washington DC, US. "It was not just a war crime; it was a crime against humanity." According to the official US version of history, an A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, and another on Nagasaki three days later, to force Japan to surrender. The destruction was necessary to bring a rapid end to the war without the need for a costly US invasion. But this is disputed by Kuznick and Mark Selden, a historian from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, US. They are presenting their evidence at a meeting in London on Thursday organised by Greenpeace and others to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the bombings. Looking for peace New studies of the US, Japanese and Soviet diplomatic archives suggest that Truman's main motive was to limit Soviet expansion in Asia, Kuznick claims. Japan surrendered because the Soviet Union began an invasion a few days after the Hiroshima bombing, not because of the atomic bombs themselves, he says. According to an account by Walter Brown, assistant to then-US secretary of state James Byrnes, Truman agreed at a meeting three days before the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima that Japan was "looking for peace". Truman was told by his army generals, Douglas Macarthur and Dwight Eisenhower, and his naval chief of staff, William Leahy, that there was no military need to use the bomb. "Impressing Russia was more important than ending the war in Japan," says Selden. Truman was also worried that he would be accused of wasting money on the Manhattan Project to build the first nuclear bombs, if the bomb was not used, he adds. Kuznick and Selden's arguments, however, were dismissed as "discredited" by Lawrence Freedman, a war expert from King's College London, UK. He says that Truman's decision to bomb Hiroshima was "understandable in the circumstances". Truman's main aim had been to end the war with Japan, Freedman says, but adds that, with the wisdom of hindsight, the bombing may not have been militarily justified. Some people assumed that the US always had "a malicious and nasty motive", he says, "but it ain't necessarily so."


Details of US microwave-weapon tests revealed

OK so this Microwave project is about ten years old. Can you say cancer?

VOLUNTEERS taking part in tests of the Pentagon's "less-lethal" microwave weapon were banned from wearing glasses or contact lenses due to safety fears. The precautions raise concerns about how safe the Active Denial System (ADS) weapon would be if used in real crowd-control situations. The ADS fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam, which is supposed to heat skin and to cause pain but no physical damage (New Scientist, 27 October 2001, p 26). Little information about its effects has been released, but details of tests in 2003 and 2004 were revealed after Edward Hammond, director of the US Sunshine Project - an organisation campaigning against the use of biological and non-lethal weapons - requested them under the Freedom of Information Act. The tests were carried out at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Two experiments tested pain tolerance levels, while in a third, a "limited military utility assessment", volunteers played the part of rioters or intruders and the ADS was used to drive them away. The experimenters banned glasses and contact lenses to prevent possible eye damage to the subjects, and in the second and third tests removed any metallic objects such as coins and keys to stop hot spots being created on the skin. They also checked the volunteers' clothes for certain seams, buttons and zips which might also cause hot spots. The ADS weapon's beam causes pain within 2 to 3 seconds and it becomes intolerable after less than 5 seconds. People's reflex responses to the pain is expected to force them to move out of the beam before their skin can be burnt. But Neil Davison, co-ordinator of the non-lethal weapons research project at the University of Bradford in the UK, says controlling the amount of radiation received may not be that simple. "How do you ensure that the dose doesn't cross the threshold for permanent damage?" he asks. "What happens if someone in a crowd is unable, for whatever reason, to move away from the beam? Does the weapon cut out to prevent overexposure?"


What's the Matter with Indymedia?

By Jennifer Whitney, LiP Magazine

In the last week of November 1999, a news website run entirely by volunteers was launched. "Don't hate the media; be the media" was the battle cry of hundreds of people who converged in Seattle to bring about the birth of the Independent Media Center (IMC, or Indymedia). The project promised the democratization of the media, and more: "Imperfect, insurgent, sleepless and beautiful, we directly experienced the success of the first IMC in Seattle and saw that the common dream of 'a world in which many worlds fit' is possible," wrote media activist and Seven Stories Press editor Greg Ruggiero. The idea was contagious. Almost 6 years on, there are 149 Indymedia websites in about 45 countries on 6 continents.


HIV epidemic sweeps along the heroin highways news service

Anna Gosline

An epidemic of HIV infections is sweeping along the infamous heroin-trafficking highways from Afghanistan to Eastern Europe, says a US researcher. The surge in cases among intravenous drug users is fuelled by inadequate access to drug-addiction treatment, needle-sharing and users’ proximity to the routes. “This HIV/AIDS epidemic is just beginning and the virus is, again, ahead of our responses,” says Chris Beyrer at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Drug treatment and HIV prevention must be implemented now, everywhere the heroin is flowing.” Eastern Europe and Central Asia are home to 1.4 million HIV-positive people, Beyrer reported at the International Aids Society Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Most acquired the virus from sharing intravenous drug injection equipment. Though adult prevalence is still low in Eastern Europe – in most countries under 2% of the adult population – the stage is set for an “explosive” boom, Beyrer warns. In Estonia, for example, the number of cases went from 0 to 450 in under a year between 1999 and 2000. Most of the drug users are young, male and sexually active, making the possibility of wider spread more likely.



The Road to Serfdom

One Dimensionality

A comfortable, smooth, reasonable, democratic unfreedom prevails in advanced industrial civilization, a token of technical progress. Indeed, what could be more rational than the suppression of individuality in the mechanization of socially necessary but painful performances; the concentration of individual enterprises in more effective, more productive corporations; the regulation of free competition among unequally equipped economic subjects; the curtailment of prerogatives and national sovereignties which impede the international organization of resources. That this technological order also involves a political and intellectual coordination may be regrettable and yet promising development.

The highest productivity of labor can be used for the perpetuation of labor, and the most efficient industrialization can serve the restriction and manipulation of needs. When this point is reached, domination – in the guise of affluence and liberty – extends to all spheres of private and public existence, integrates all authentic opposition, absorbs all alternatives. Technological rationality reveals its political character as it becomes the great vehicle of better domination, creating a truly totalitarian universe in which society and nature, mind and body are kept in a state of permanent mobilization for the defense of this universe.

Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man, 1964.


Big-Time Trouble, but Why Worry?

By Molly Ivins, AlterNet

If you had done a poll in November 2000, or in November 2004, I don't think you would have gotten out of single digits with this proposition: "George W. Bush wants to radically revise American law, including complete repeal of the New Deal, and take us back to the economic legal system that prevailed at the turn of the 19th century -- Robber Barons Redux."

During the past five years, both media and political circles have devoted an enormous amount of attention to social issues and culture wars -- rise of the Christian Right, anti-abortion groups, our debates over moral decline and moral relativism, prayer in the schools, school vouchers, displaying the Ten Commandments, sex and violence in entertainment, bias in the news media, gay marriage and all the rest of it. I sometimes think all of it amounts to a bunch of people saying, "The world would be a much better place if everybody else thought exactly the same way I do." Reminds me of Dr. Henry Higgins in his famous philosophical disquisition, "Why Can't A Woman Be More Like A Man?" Higgins finally discovers the ultimate problem: "Why can't a woman be more like ME?"

Then, of necessity, we have spent huge amounts of time on Sept. 11, terrorism, Iraq, and related and ancillary problems. It is not necessary to review the bidding here, but Iraq is becoming as divisive and unpopular as the Vietnam War.

While we have been absorbed in the silly circus of cultural issues and the riveting questions of the war, we've also been getting our pockets picked. Big time. I am impressed that cartoonist Lloyd Dangle in the strip "Troubletown" managed to get the whole problem into 12 panels, each announcing some piece of economic news accompanied by an American saying, essentially, "What, me worry?" The U.S. is over $7 trillion in debt (no problem); China buys $1 billion worth of U.S. treasury bills a day (thanks for floating us); Americans love the prices at Wal-Mart (made in China, cute!); the Chinese save 50 percent of their domestic product; the average American has $9,000 on his credit cards; our economy is fueled by a fragile housing bubble; the minimum wage is $5.15 per hour ... ; taxpayers who earn over $1 million saved $30K under Bush tax cuts; the war in Iraq costs $9 billion a month; by 2040, our kids will be unable to do more than pay the interest on the national debt ... ; bankruptcy reform makes it impossible to escape your debts; in Darfur [Sudan], people earn $1.25 a day.


Chavez, Venezuela and the New Cold War

Caracas , Venezuela -- After the rumble of tanks died down and the last soldier high- stepped past the pavilion, President Hugo Chavez told the thousands of people attending Venezuela's Independence Day parade July 5 that no invading army could match the fighting force that had just marched by, "armed to the teeth." The hypothetical invasion he invoked was patently clear: Two days before, Chavez had announced the discovery of evidence that the United States had drawn up blueprints to invade Venezuela, a plan he said was code-named "Operation Balboa." American officials dismissed the claim as fiction, just as they have denied Chavez's repeated assertions that the CIA is trying to assassinate him, or that the Bush administration was behind a military coup that briefly toppled his government in April 2002. There is little doubt, however, that relations between Venezuela and the United States, strained for years, are plunging to new lows. Chavez has always been outspoken in condemning what he calls "U.S. imperialism," mocking President Bush as "Mr. Danger" and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as "Mr. War." Nevertheless, Venezuelan officials insist his recent threats to sever ties with Washington -- thereby suspending the export of 1.5 million barrels of oil per day -- are more than the rhetoric of a populist rallying domestic support.



Hustle and Flow


The Island:

Gross: $12,100,000.00

Production: $122 million

Theatres: 3,122

Hustle and Flow:

Gross: $8,100,000.00

Production: 2.8 million

Theatres: 1,013

Bad news:

It was sold to Paramount for $9 million. WTF. What is the point of creating independent shit if you just sell it off? Paramount is going to be making money on this one for years!!

Oh well, Fuck it.

BTW: Stop calling everything about Rap and Black folk inner-city.



China Revaluation

John Rutledge

China Revaluation Will Lower Chinese Wages, Prices.
You may have noticed by now that there is a sharp difference in opinion among economists about the impact of yesterday's yuan revaluation on the US and China. My point is that by forcing China to stop buying Treasuries we are also likely tightening Chinese monetary policy, which will ultimately push Chinese wages and prices even lower. Not an American dream scenario. A lot of economists will see this differently. They will see a drop in the dollar against the yuan as reducing US export prices in China and increasing Chinese import prices here which, over time, would reduce imports and increase exports, raising GDP. What's the difference in the thinking?


Qwest Seeks Yet More Subsidies

Dana Blankenhorn

The Bells promised to serve us broadband if we let them run over Wireless ISPs. Done. No broadband. So they promised us broadband if we would give them absolute control over their lines, ending any requirement for wholesaling. Done. No broadband. Then they promised us broadband if we'd stop cities from buildig out wireless networks that might compete with them. Nearly done. Still no broadband. Now, Qwest is pushing a plan in Congress to tax your broadband access and hand it the money, promising broadband in rural areas.


The Internets

I don't know how much deep thought was involved when George Bush called the Internet "the internets" but this reflects a real risk that we face today. If you look at the traffic of many large countries with non-English languages, you will find that the overwhelming majority of the traffic stays inside the country. In countries like China and Japan where there is sufficient content in the local language and most people can't or don't like to read English this is even more so. I would say that the average individual probably doesn't really notice the Internet outside of their country or really care about content not in their native language.


Fight for One Internet

Moore's Lore by Dana Blankenhorn

The Internet split has already begun, and it is based on language. Chinese and Japanese people don't care for English. People want URLs in their own language. And these URLs are unreachable by those whose keyboards only write what the Japanese call "Romaji," Roman letters. The peculiarities of language provide an excellent source of control for tyranny. Most Chinese don't leave the Chinese Internet, leaving them at the mercy of the authorities. Many Japanese choose not to leave their own language, leaving them ignorant of how others feel. Language can also provide cover for terrorists. We can't translate all the Arabic-language e-mail or Web sites out there. We can't even find the URLs, unless we know how to look for them. So many of our problems in the War on Terror are exacerbated by a shortage of translators, or mis-translations. This problem continues to get worse.


Lynching in London

Pereira said that the most upsetting part of identifying his cousin was 'to see bullet wounds in his back and his neck when I went to the mortuary in Greenwich.'

His death will cause controversy over the way Britain confronts suicide bombers, and has prompted calls for a public inquiry. In its first statement yesterday, the Metropolitan Police Service expressed 'regret' over his death. We are now satisfied that he was not connected with the incidents of Thursday, 21 July 2005,' it said. 'For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police service regrets.'



Said the Child to the Lion

We have art in order not to die of truth

The devil has the broadest perspectives for God; therefore he keeps so far away from God--the devil being the most ancient friend of wisdom.

What a time experiences as evil is usually an untimely echo of what was formerly experienced as good--the atavism of a more ancient ideal

In parting – Not how one soul comes close to another but how it moves away shows me their kinship and how much they belong together.


Advocati Diabolus: On Justice

All advocates are casuists and take as their paradigm the suppression of wisdom by order. The tradition of this principle paradigm is maintained in calling the daughter of Time’s youngest son Justice. For she does not seek balance but the profit of the Aegis and spoils for Victory. The advocates are the harbingers of Tyranny.


Have You Seen Her?


China Severs Its Currency's Link to Dollar

China dropped its politically volatile policy of linking its currency to the U.S. dollar on Thursday, adopting a more flexible system based on a basket of foreign currencies that could push up the price of Chinese exports to the United States and Europe. The government also strengthened the state-set exchange rate to 8.11 yuan to the dollar — from 8.277 yuan, where it had been fixed for more than a decade — in a surprise announcement on state television's evening news. That raised the value of one yuan by about one-quarter of one U.S. cent to 12.33 cents. China had been under pressure for years from its trading partners to let the value of the yuan float or at least trade at a stronger rate and some U.S. lawmakers had threatened to impose retaliatory tariffs if China didn't adjust its currency scheme. The United States and others had said the communist nation undervalued the yuan by up to 40 percent, giving Chinese exporters an unfair price advantage. The Bush administration on Thursday praised China's decision but said it planned to monitor the country's implementation of the new arrangement.


Mobile Service Tans and Whitens Your Skin

How sad is this?

In Korea SK Telecom is offering their subscribers a new service which enables them to doctor their camera phone shots, by altering the color of facial and body skin.

The 1st Annual Chicago House Music Festival

The 1st Annual Chicago House Music Festival Saturday, August 20th @ 63rd
Street Beach House 2pm-10pm

JAMIE 3:26

For ticket info email: sponsored by, The Way We Were, and Music Plant

Thanks Cher.

The Blues

Don't put no headstone on my grave,
All my life I've been a slave,
Want the whole wide world to know,
That I'm the man that loved you so

Mama, mama, don't you cry,
I'm gonna meet you in the by and by, in the sweet by and by
Tell papa I'm comin' home, comin' on home,
God, it can't be very long

Don't put no headstone on my grave,
All my life I've been a slave,
Want the whole wide world to know,
That I'm the stud that loved you so

M,m,m,m,m,m mama don't you cry,
Lord, I'm gonna meet you in the by and by, in the sweet by and by
Tell papa I'm coming home,
Oh God, it can't be very long

Don't put no headstone on my grave,
Whoooh! All my life I've been a slave, motherhumpin' slave
And you know something? I want the world to know,
That I'm the stud that loved that woman so

Mama, mama don't you cry, mama, don't cry,
I'm gonna meet you in the by and by, in the sweet by and by
Tell papa, I'm coming home, Oh Lord,
You know, it can't be very long

(One more time now)
Don't put a headstone on my grave
All my liiiife I've been a slave,
Want the whooooole wide world to know,
That I'm the man,
That loved,
That loooved,

Don't put no headstone on my grave,
All my life I've been a slave, whoooh!
I want the whole wide world to know,
That I'm the stud that loved you so

Ma-ma-ma-ma mama, don't you cry, whooh! Don't cry!
I'm-a-gonna meet you in the by and by, in the sweet by and by,
Tell papa I'm coming home, coming on home...
...And you know something ladies?
Oh, God, it can't be very loooong

When I lost my baby, I almost lost my mind
When I lost my baby, I almost lost my mind
My eyes was full of tears since she left me behind
I pass a million people; I can't tell who I meet
I pass a million people; I can't tell who I meet
My eyes are full of tears, where can my baby be?
I went to see a gypsy to get my fortune read
I went to see a gypsy to have my fortune read
My head hung in sorrow when she said what she said
When I lost my baby, I almost lost my mind
When I lost my baby, I almost lost my mind
When I lost my baby, I almost lost my mind

Woman, when you get rid of me
Who will the next fool be?
I know, I know, I know, I know
There's things I gotta know 'bout the woman I love
And after all is said and done
Girl, you wouldn't be satisfied with anyone
So when you get rid of me
Who will the next fool be?
Will he believe all those lies?
End up like me, with tears in his eyes?
I know, I know, I know, I know
There's things I gotta know 'bout the woman I love so
After all is said and done
Hey, girl, you wouldn't be satisfied with anyone
So when you get through playin' with me
Who will the next stud be?
Will he believe all those lies?
End up like me, with tears in his eyes?
I know, I know, I know, I know
There's things I gotta know 'bout the woman I love so
You know, after all is said and done
Girl, you wouldn't be satisfied with anyone
When you get rid of me
Who will the next stud be?

Set me free, little girl.
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl.
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,

Set me free, little girl.
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl.
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,
Free, free.

I don't want no one,
If I can't have you to myself.
I don't need nobody else.
So if I can't have you to myself,

Set me free.
Set me free.

Oh set me free, little girl.
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl.
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,
Free, free.

I don't want no one,
If I can't have you to myself.
I don't need nobody else.
So if I can't have you to myself,

Set me free.
Set me free.

Oh set me free, little girl.
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl.
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,

Set me free,
Oh, set me free.


Lord I feel like going home

I tried and I failed and I'm tired and weary

Everything I ever done was wrong

And I feel like going home

Lord I tried to see it through

But it was too much for me

And now I'm coming home to you

And I feel like going home

Cloudy skies are rolling in

And not a friend around to help me

From all the places I have been

And I feel like going home

Lord I feel like going home

I tried and I failed and I'm tired and weary

Everything I ever done was wrong

And I feel like going home

Peace Be Still

When winds of doubt are wailing
and storms on my head fall,
it's on my knees that I get down
and on my Master call.

For Jesus slept through the fierce storm
and He could calm the sea...
the winds that stopped at His command
will also stop for me.

For it is in my Jesus' name
I call when in distress,
and Jesus comes and whispers soft,
"Peace, Be Still, Rest!

400 years and the shit still works.

Paris Hilton Hack Chalked Up to Social Engineering

Say what you will, true hacks are all in wet-ware.

According to one of the teens that claims to have been involved in the infamous hack, the whole job was made possible by a phone call to a T-Mobile employee, in which one of the hackers posed as another T-Mobile employee based at T-Mobile's headquarters in Washington. This underscores the assertion of many security consultants that employees (not technology) often pose the greatest data security vulnerability.


Church-State Tensions Increasing in Venezuela

Earlier this week, Venezuela's retired Catholic Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara accused President Hugo Chavez of trying to turn Venezuela into a dictatorship, along the lines of communist Cuba. Cardinal Castillo Lara noted that he is retired and does not speak officially for the Roman Catholic Church, but as a cardinal he remains the highest-ranking Catholic clergyman in Venezuela.

Pattern of Deception, Revealed

By Molly Ivins, AlterNet

The entire Republican Party is shocked (!) anyone would think that Karl Rove (!!) would leak a story to damage a political opponent. Oh, the horror. And Karl has always been such a sweet guy. Just to give you an idea, one time Rove was displeased with the job done by a political advance man and said, "We will f--- him. Do you hear me? We will f--- him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever f---ed him!" (From an article by Ron Suskind). And that was a guy who was on his side. Attacking an opponent's wife is standard operating procedure for Rove. Have Republicans actually convinced themselves that he wouldn't do such a thing? People, sometimes party loyalty asks too much. Actually, we are missing the point here. The point being that Joseph Wilson is merely one of the many people who provided one of the by now innumerable pieces of evidence that this administration lied about why we went to war in Iraq. When former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill wrote that Bush planned to invade Iraq from the day he took office, the administration went after O'Neill. When Richard Clarke disclosed that the Bushies wanted to use Sept. 11 to go after Saddam Hussein from Sept. 12 on, they went after Clarke. They went after Gen. Zinni, they went after Gen. Shinseki and everyone else who opposed the folly or told the truth about it. After they got done lying about weapons of mass destruction and about connections to Al Qaeda, they switched to the stomach-churning pretense that we had done it all for democracy. Urp.



When Mortgage is more than Rent

I see bubbles

John G. Roberts


The Quest

From Steve Vaught’s Journal:

Steve actually is not a success yet. He has taken steps to change his life for the better, but internally, he has not yet been able to make changes on the inside. He needs time, reflection, and duress to force himself into making the long term changes that will keep him around for his family in the long term. We have already been able to visit with him probably 7 or 8 times in the almost two months he has been away. We stayed with him a hotel once and had to bring him back to the house twice. While he was in San Diego County and Temecula, we had lunch with him nearly every day. I plan to visit him on Father's Day, he will be in Arizona by then and again, when he gets to Albuquerque where my brother lives. We will probably meet up with him in Ohio, (if we can swing it) him and his relatives. This will be a great adventure for the kids and when he has finished, my daughter will be very proud of him on many levels. It is difficult sometimes, but this is a necessary departure. If he were in the military again, we would go just as long sometimes without seeing him. At least, this is for our future. I am not worried about money. Like he said, "We can get more stuff". My daughter and son cannot get another father. He has my 100% support in this. I have known him since I was 14. We have been a couple for 10 years. I know what will happen if he comes home now. He hasn't found the answers yet and for those people that haven't suffered through the kinds of things that he has probably just wouldn't understand. It is because he has a responsibility to us that he is putting himself through this. We don't have a complete family. The kids miss out on having their dad involved in their lives more. Steve and I both grew up without our fathers and neither one of us want that for our children. What if he decided not to go after all. What if he decided to wait six months, and died of a heart attack in the meantime. There is no time like the present. We will do the best that we can and there are many people that succeed with less than what we have. We are strong and determined and that is what we have on our side. I don't mean to convince you. Some people just aren't going to get it. Alcoholics get it. People who have serious addictions understand the difficulty and the necessity for a mental "journey". The path is different for everyone, and for Steve, this is it. This is the thing that will work. I would rather say goodbye for 6 months than have him half here for the next 5 and have to say goodbye forever. I know he will work it out on the road. We don't have insurance or the money for surgery, besides that wouldn't fix his internal problems. He would be left with a mess of a body and a mess in his head. There are many people that climb mountains, hike, or bike dangerous territory with children at home. What Steve is doing isn't even really dangerous. It's just scary. He is smart enough not to do himself in and we are lucky enough to have plenty of support here at home. It is the hard part, the adversity that makes us stronger as a family. Thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate where you are coming from. This isn't my ideal life, but we don't get to choose. It is what it is, and we have to make the best of it. This is making the best of it. –April

Fat Man Walking

Coast to coast


My Name is Steve Vaught, (born Stephen James Liller in Youngstown, Ohio). I am a 39 year old, happily married father of two great kids and I have a pretty good life here in Southern California. You would think that I would be happy because of these things, but I am not. I am not happy because I am fat and being fat makes every day unhappy.

I did not make this website to complain about it however, instead I am doing something about it and this site was made to chronicle my story.

I am going to walk across the United states from San Diego to NYC to lose weight and regain my life!

Go Steve!

Follow Steve at his web site.

The Federalist Society: If you blink you'll miss it or Towards Civic Literacy

The Federalist Society

mission statement

Important concepts for watching the Supreme Court coup:




States Rights



Ontology is destiny.

Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu wrote:

When Sylla thought of restoring Rome to her liberty, this unhappy city was incapable of receiving that blessing. She had only the feeble remains of virtue, which were continually diminishing. Instead of being roused from her lethargy by Cæsar, Tiberius, Caius Claudius, Nero, and Domitian, she riveted every day her chains; if she struck some blows, her aim was at the tyrant, not at the tyranny.

The politic Greeks, who lived under a popular government, knew no other support than virtue. The modern inhabitants of that country are entirely taken up with manufacture, commerce, finances, opulence, and luxury.

When virtue is banished, ambition invades the minds of those who are disposed to receive it, and avarice possesses the whole community. The objects of their desires are changed; what they were fond of before has become indifferent; they were free while under the restraint of laws, but they would fain now be free to act against law; and as each citizen is like a slave who has run away from his master, that which was a maxim of equity he calls rigour; that which was a rule of action he styles constraint; and to precaution he gives the name of fear. Frugality, and not the thirst of gain, now passes for avarice. Formerly the wealth of individuals constituted the public treasure; but now this has become the patrimony of private persons. The members of the commonwealth riot on the public spoils, and its strength is only the power of a few, and the license of many.

Athens was possessed of the same number of forces when she triumphed so gloriously as when with such infamy she was enslaved. She had twenty thousand citizens3 when she defended the Greeks against the Persians, when she contended for empire with Sparta, and invaded Sicily. She had twenty thousand when Demetrius Phalereus numbered them4 as slaves are told by the head in a market-place. When Philip attempted to lord it over Greece, and appeared at the gates of Athens5 she had even then lost nothing but time. We may see in Demosthenes how difficult it was to awaken her; she dreaded Philip, not as the enemy of her liberty, but of her pleasures.6 This famous city, which had withstood so many defeats, and having been so often destroyed had as often risen out of her ashes, was overthrown at Chæronea, and at one blow deprived of all hopes of resource. What does it avail her that Philip sends back her prisoners, if he does not return her men? It was ever after as easy to triumph over the forces of Athens as it had been difficult to subdue her virtue.

How was it possible for Carthage to maintain her ground? When Hannibal, upon his being made prætor, endeavoured to hinder the magistrates from plundering the republic, did not they complain of him to the Romans? Wretches, who would fain be citizens without a city, and be beholden for their riches to their very destroyers! Rome soon insisted upon having three hundred of their principal citizens as hostages; she obliged them next to surrender their arms and ships; and then she declared war.7 From the desperate efforts of this defenceless city, one may judge of what she might have performed in her full vigour, and assisted by virtue.


Ruling lets U.S. restart military tribunals for detainees

Appeals court says plan passes constitutional test

WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Bush administration's plan to convene military tribunals to try terrorist detainees at the U.S. Naval Base on Guantanamo Bay is constitutional, a decision that promises to jump-start a controversial and historic process that has been waylaid for eight months by legal challenges.

The unanimous decision by a three-court panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a lower court's ruling that the tribunals violated the Geneva Convention. The Circuit Court concluded instead that the Bush administration has the authority to bring Salim Ahmed Hamdan and three other detainees before tribunals, or military commissions, on war crimes charges.

The commissions would mark the first time since the close of World War II that prisoners of war and enemy combatants would be tried in a quasi-military court-martial setting.

The three judges also determined that the Geneva Convention does not apply in prosecuting such captives in the war on terror because they belonged to organizations such as the Taliban army and the Qaida terror network, which are not government entities or signatories to the Convention, which provides guidelines on how prisoners are to be treated.

Mate in Three


China ready to use nuclear weapons against US over Taiwan

Somehow I don’t think they are bluffing.

China could use nuclear weapons to retaliate against the United States if it attacked in any conflict over Taiwan, reports said, citing a Chinese general. "If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons," said General Zhu Chenghu. His comments were reported by the Financial Times and the Asian Wall Street Journal, which attended a briefing with the general organised by a private Hong Kong organisation, the Better Hong Kong Foundation. "If the Americans are determined to interfere (then) we will be determined to respond," said Zhu, a professor at China's National Defence University. "We ... will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds ... of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese."


Voters approve citywide fiber project

Marguerite Reardon cnet

Voters in Lafayette, La., on Saturday approved a bond offering to fund a citywide fiber-optic project, an issue that was the source of considerable friction during the past year. Voters approved the measure 12,290 to 7,507, or 62 percent to 38 percent, according to the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. The city of 116,000 residents known for its vibrant Cajun culture has been planning to build its own fiber-optic network for more than a year. But local phone company BellSouth and cable operator Cox Communications challenged the city-owned utility, which plans to build and operate the network. After a legal tussle earlier this year, a special election was called to decide whether the city could issue $125 million worth of bonds to fund the project. Fiber 411, the citizens group that opposed the project, characterized the loss as a victory. "I think we won," Tim Supple of Fiber 411 told the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. "We started off wanting to get people the right to vote. We accomplished that. We tried to get people to understand the issue. We accomplished that, I hope. We won." Lafayette's approval of the project could help rally citizens in the 14 states where municipal networks have already been banned or limited, said Joey Durel, president of Lafayette Parish. "What the cable and phone companies do a lot better than provide service to customers is work politicians," he said. "Unless towns like Lafayette get moving, I'm afraid that more states could pass laws limiting these kinds of networks. If this referendum passes here in Lafayette, I think we'll start to see some states undoing those laws." Lafayette isn't the only city that has faced resistance from incumbent phone and cable providers when it wanted to build its own communications network. City officials across the country including some in Provo, Utah; Palo Alto, Calif.; and Philadelphia also have faced strong opposition from local phone and cable companies when they proposed building their own networks.


Texas TV franchise bill not dead

Marguerite Reardon cnet

A bill in Texas that would allow phone companies to offer television service without negotiating contracts with local governments isn't dead after all. Earlier this week, the Texas state Senate passed a bill during an emergency legislative session that will grant new entrants, namely phone companies, statewide franchises to offer TV service. If SB 21 becomes law, it will allow phone companies to enter the television market without having to negotiate separate contracts with each municipality in the state, as cable companies have long been required to do. A similar bill, which passed the Texas House of Representatives earlier this spring, died during a regular legislative session in May in the state Senate. It was revived in an emergency session, which was called by the state governor. Unlike the original House bill, the new Senate bill creates a statewide franchise, while requiring new entrants such as Verizon Communications and SBC Communications to adhere to many of the same terms that cable companies already have in their contracts with cities. The Senate bill also includes a provision that prohibits service providers from discriminating which neighborhoods or communities they serve based on income. The new measure keeps much of the control over the rights of way in the hands of the cities, whereas the previous House bill did not.


Intel-AMD antitrust case

Michael Singer cnet news

Lawyers with Intel and Advanced Micro Devices will sit down next month to discuss for the first time their latest antitrust tussle, representatives for the two companies said on Friday. The meeting has been scheduled for the first week of August 2005. Attorneys are expected to swap names and addresses of people and documents they are likely to use at trial to defend their side of the story. AMD filed a 48-page suit in a Delaware federal court last month, alleging that Intel uses scare tactics and coercion to prompt computer makers and other companies to use more Intel chips than ones sold by its rivals. Two days later, AMD extended its antitrust claims to include Intel's Japanese subsidiary, Intel Kabushiki Kaisha (Intel KK) by filing similar briefs with two Japanese courts.



Interview with Hiroshi Yoshii

Really. Just go to the site.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am an illustrator who lives in Tokyo. I work mainly for a publishing/media company, creating advertisements and company mascots. I also often do overseas jobs; especially in France. As a child, I loved clay and crayons. My parents forbade me from watching TV cartoons or reading comic books until I was 12 years old, and when they lifted that restriction I rebelliously immersed myself in them. Star Wars also helped lead to my interest in visual art. I wanted to become a comic artist, but realized that I was not a good storyteller. Therefore, I shifted my goals to become an illustrator. I worked for a design company in Nagoya as a graphic designer for seven years, after which I moved to Tokyo in 1990 to begin work as an illustrator. I purchased a Macintosh IIci, WACOM graphics tablet and Painter in 1992, after which I came to do a great deal of work. Starting in 1995 I wrote a lot of magazine articles and 5 books about Painter, and then in 1998 received the Grand Prix award in MetaCreations' "Beyond the Canvas" digital art competition.


Now I am Become Death - The Destroyer of Worlds

John Donne



Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Remix Culture and Hip Hop

Hip Hop

Hip hop is this and hip hop is that. Hip hop is not a remix culture. Granted remixes have been issued as part of products that have been associated with hip hop but I’m not such a huge fan of Hip Hop either. Hip Hop is what they called Dance, Rap, Graffiti, DJing and all the other shit little urban dwellers were doing when there were no recreational programs or instruments or art classes or shit else to do but hang out all day or kill time in the lunch room till the next class when they didn’t want to call it art. Not art – because that would imply culture. How could hoodlums cultivate themselves.

Now that Lawrence Lessig has decided to weaken the stance on property through the Creative Commons (CC) paradigm (hey Larry, you either believe in fair use or you don’t), you have the resurgence of the “remix.” Hip Hop is a gestalt term used to relativise three things: 1. a culture that originated in a marginalized environment 2. the social conditions and paradigms that gave rise to the environment in the first place 3. the people who managed to express the beautiful despite being denied access to societies resources for the production of aesthetic value.

Let me see if I can make it plain. People say Hip Hop because they didn’t want to call DJing “Music.” They didn’t want to consider Graffiti “Art, “ they didn’t want to consider Breakin’ “Dance,” and they had no idea what to call Rap. In the evolution of semiotic chains the battle for the signified (Art in its hegemonic sense) was negotiated away from the sign (ART, MUSIC, DANCE) by the signifier (HIP HOP). Hip Hop now serves as a sign to indicate this negotiated settlement, it serves as the signifying appendage to all artistic expressions and signals (Not quite or les than). It is the cultural way of saying well its not really music, when what you mean is it will never be Mozart.

This same relativization is now happening under the concept of “remix culture” and its Frankenstein rationale of CC. Because certain companies have been granted monopoly of PUBLIC airwaves and means of transmitting communication there are certain things that now form a ubiquitous part of our every day sensorial environment. Just as chirping or wind blowing forms part of the common human experience (granted that all five senses are operable and the subject conscious) so now has snippets of (INSERT POP CULTURE PRODUCT HERE) become background noise to our daily lives. Standing at the bus stop (sorry no lollipop) I hear the Bass from one song mixed with the Chorus from another over the Hook of another with the Lyrics of yet another. That whole sound is the background of an urban environment. My expression of this perceptual mélange may find different media. If the medium is visual it may be Graffiti , one of the plastic or graphic arts or Video; if audio, DJing, Lyric Poetry (Rap for those of you who are wondering), or Music. Just because the elements have a certain degree of coherent identification doesn’t mean that the whole is identifiable under the same logic of identification. A collection of samples is not a sample. It is, instead, a separate and distinct whole that represents the vision of its producers. While the CC paradigm is good for a particular mode of production, one in which a confined community of participants agree to use elements of a limited universe of options to create products relative to that system, a gilded cage is still a cage; no matter how creative or how common. Just like the universal resources of man – land and water – have been stolen and monopolized by the tyranny of corporations and their minions (read Government), so to has air (Broadcast Spectrum) been monopolized: next stop – THOUGHT.



Amnesty International

The issue is national in scope and reaches people all across this country. For too many people, especially in minority communities, the trust that is so essential to effective policing does not exist because residents believe that police have used excessive force, that law enforcement is too aggressive, that law enforcement is biased, disrespectful, and unfair."
Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States, speaking on police brutality at a National Press Club luncheon, Washington, DC, 15 April 1999.

Police brutality and use of excessive force has been one of the central themes of Amnesty International's campaign on human rights violations in the USA, launched in October 1998. In United States of America: Rights for All (AI Index: AMR 51/35/98), the organization documented patterns of ill-treatment across the USA, including police beatings, unjustified shootings and the use of dangerous restraint techniques to subdue suspects. While only a minority of the many thousands of law enforcement officers in the USA engage in deliberate and wanton brutality, Amnesty International found that too little was being done to monitor or check persistent abusers, or to ensure that police tactics in certain common situations minimized the risk of unnecessary force and injury. The report also noted that widespread, systematic abuses had been found in some jurisdictions or police precincts. It highlighted evidence that racial and ethnic minorities were disproportionately the victims of police misconduct, including false arrest and harassment as well as verbal and physical abuse.


Officer charged in hired killing

By Jeff Coen, Tribune staff reporter. Tribune reporter Brendan McCarthy contributed to this report

July 15, 2005

A police officer and member of Chicago's prominent Leak family has been charged with murder for allegedly arranging a 2004 homicide for insurance money, investigators said.
Edward Leak Jr., a 14-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department assigned to the Central District, is expected to appear for a bail hearing at the Criminal Courts Building as early as Friday on charges of first-degree murder, authorities said. Police spokesman David Bayless confirmed that Leak is charged with murder. "This is a case that, while it's unfortunate, was investigated by the Police Department, and we did not shy away from the fact that a police officer allegedly was involved," Bayless said. Investigators said Leak, 42, is the nephew of Spencer Leak, a former executive director of the Cook County Jail and president of the Leak funeral homes. Leak was arrested early Thursday, Bayless said. Leak was allegedly involved in the murder of Fred Hamilton, 35, of the 1300 block of East Hyde Park Boulevard, said state's attorney spokesman Tom Stanton. Hamilton was a limousine driver for the Leak & Sons Funeral Home on South Cottage Grove Avenue before he was gunned down in February 2004. Two men already have been charged in the case. Alfred Marley, 44, of 7700 block of South Aberdeen Street, and John Brown, 33, of the 1200 block of West 76th Street were charged last year, according to court records. Investigators now contend the pair killed Hamilton as part of a scheme to collect on a $500,000 life insurance policy allegedly taken out by Leak.