UNDERNEWS AUG 1
Aug 1, 2003
From the Progressive Review
Edited by Sam Smith
Since 1964, Washington's most unofficial source
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WMDS - Even if so-called weapons of mass destruction (which in the age
before hyper-spin were called nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons) are
found (or planted), this does not alter that fact that it is now clear that
the Bush regime did not know this before going to war. Thus the search for
WMDs has become somewhat irrelevant. Bush lied about what he knew.
Further, Bush and his capos not only claimed knowledge of WMDs, they argued
or implied that attack by them was imminent and proximate. A few examples:
"The threats were real and the lethality was multiples of what we had
"According to the British government, the Iraqi regime could launch a
biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order
"While there were many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stood
alone - because it gathered the most serious dangers of our age in one place."
"[Hussein] posed the same kind of threat to the United States that Hitler
posed in Germany in the mid 1930s. Hitler's ideology, to have the
thousand-year Reich and to dominate Europe as a fascist, essentially, was
almost exactly parallel to the rationale of the Ba'athist parties in Iraq
and Syria, especially Iraq. This made for the most dangerous situation the
United States had faced in 50 years."
GAY MARRIAGES - You can't ban abortion without violating the constitutional
provision against the establishment of religion. 99.9% of the opposition to
abortion is religious and to adopt one group of religions' view on the
matter clearly discriminates against those sects that accept abortion. The
same goes for gay marriages. Our views on marriage come almost entirely from
religious principles; thus to discriminate between various religions on the
subject is patently unconstitutional.
STANDING TALL IN IOWA
6' 5" KEVIN SCHMIDT is going around Iowa getting his photo taken with the
politicians he calls the nine dwarfs. All have obliged save John Kerry who,
according to Slate's Chris Suellentrop, is not playing:
"When I arrive at John Kerry's campaign headquarters Saturday afternoon for
a 'Kerry Country BBQ,' the candidate's staff is buzzing about a tall young
blond man who has arrived for the event. They want to prevent him from
getting anywhere close to the candidate. . . . What's all the fuss about the
blond guy? I ask Kerry's Iowa press secretary, Laura Capps. 'He takes
pictures of himself with the candidates and posts nasty comments about
them,' she says. I'm not sure, but this may be a historic moment for the
Iowa caucuses: The Kerry campaign is terrified of how their candidate will
be portrayed by a blogger."
Howard Dean http://www.ninedwarfs.com/image.cfm?imgname=dean.jpg
John Edwards http://www.ninedwarfs.com/image.cfm?imgname=edwardsme.jpg Dick
Gephardt http://www.ninedwarfs.com/image.cfm?imgname=gephardt.jpg Dennis
Kucinich ttp://www.ninedwarfs.com/image.cfm?imgname=kucinich.jpg Joe
Lieberman http://www.ninedwarfs.com/image.cfm?imgname=lieberman.jpg Al
CREATION SCIENCE FAIR
1st Place: "Life Doesn't Come From Non-Life" Patricia Lewis (grade 8) did an
experiment to see if life can evolve from non-life. Patricia placed all the
non-living ingredients of life - carbon (a charcoal briquet), purified
water, and assorted minerals (a multi-vitamin) - into a sealed glass jar.
The jar was left undisturbed, being exposed only to sunlight, for three
weeks. (Patricia also prayed to God not to do anything miraculous during the
course of the experiment, so as not to disqualify the findings.) No life
evolved. This shows that life cannot come from non-life through natural
1st Place: "My Uncle Is A Man Named Steve (Not A Monkey)" Cassidy Turnbull
(grade 5) presented her uncle, Steve. She also showed photographs of monkeys
and invited fairgoers to note the differences between her uncle and the
monkeys. She tried to feed her uncle bananas, but he declined to eat them.
Cassidy has conclusively shown that her uncle is no monkey.
TEENS LIKE INTERNET BETTER THAN TV
BOING BOING - Teens and young adults ages 13 to 24 now spend more time per
week on the web (16.7 hours) than they do watching TV (13.6 hours),
according to a new Harris Interactive and Teenage Research Unlimited poll.
Web numbers don't include e-mail, which makes the numbers even more impressive.
INTERNET SERVER SUES RECORDING INDUSTRY GROUP
AP - A California-based Internet service provider jumped into the
contentious music-downloading fray late Wednesday, filing a lawsuit against
the recording industry and questioning the constitutionality of the
industry's effort to track down online music sharers. . . In the complaint,
PBIS maintains it only acts as a "passive conduit" for the activity of its
subscribers and "does not initiate or direct the transmission of those files
and has no control over their content or destination."
MORE ON RIAA
GLOBE AND MAIL, CANADA - The recording industry wants to protect its
copyrights and outlaw file-sharing. But file-sharing is a slippery
technology that evolves quickly and beats circumvention. "The only solution,
some say, is to legitimize the new technology, just as old record-copying
technologies have been legalized, and to license file sharing itself, while
also offering pay services that are far superior to peer-to-peer networks
such as Kazaa. The trouble right now is that technology companies like Kazaa
have been trying to get licences for this music. They want to do it
legitimately. They want to pay artists. The trouble is that the five
multibillion-dollar record companies have refused to give them licenses for
the past five years..."
SEARCH ENGINE to determine whether particular artists, albums, o r record
labels are connected with RIAA
TOP 100 NON-RIAA DISCS ON AMAZON
CLINTON AND GAY MARRIAGES
NICK GILLESPIE, HIT AND RUN - As liberals gear up to bash Bush for his
reactionary thinking on this point, they ought to remember the actions of
the only twice-elected Democrat president since FDR. When Bill Clinton
signed The Defense of Marriage Act in September 1996 - an act specifically
intended to foreclose state recognition of same-sex marriages - he noted
that he had "long opposed governmental recognition of same-gender marriages."
CONFESSIONS OF A RECOVERING ECONOMIST
JIM STANFORD - Good evening. My name is Jim. And I am an economist. It is
seventeen days since I last uttered the phrase "supply and demand." But the
demon still lurks, untamed, within me.
I know it's wrong that my particular profession hogs so much attention, and
is granted so much undeserved credibility. I know it's wrong to pretend you
can forecast complex economic outcomes with three-decimal accuracy. I know
it's wrong to reduce the whole of the human endeavor to the endless pursuit
of material prosperity. Yet still I yearn for economics. I hunger for the
prestige that comes with being the only social science to regularly make The
National. I savor the smug power of belonging to that exclusive sect of
financial mystics who understand the magical circuits of money and
commodities. . .
Every other addiction has a Twelve Step program, laced with tough love and
blunt self-honesty. Why not a Twelve Step program for economists? God knows,
they've done enough damage with their arrogant, drunken prescriptions.
Here's how each and every economist can face up to their inner demons, and
make their own small contribution to setting things right.
Step 1: Admit you have a problem. . .
Step 2: Accept that all your efforts to explain the world have failed. . .
Step 3: Turn to your friends in other disciplines for help. . .
Step 4: Make a list of the situations where you are most likely to act like
an economist, and avoid those situations. . .
Step 5: Acknowledge that an expanding GDP will only feed your habit. . .
Step 6: Stop putting price tags on everything you see. . .
Step 7: Avoid the temptation to run regressions - even "just one." . . .
Step 8: Get off your pedestal. . .
Step 9: Learn from those who went before you. . .
Step 10: Make a list of the countries and people you have harmed. . .
Step 11: Make amends to those countries and people. . .
Step 12: Help other economists who come your way. . .
STUPID CORPORATE LAWYER TRICKS
IF YOU are of a certain age you probably found Wacky Packages with your
bubble gum, including playing cards that parodied various commercial items
such as "Moron Salt."
"A member of our Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Program [Morton Salt Division
of Morton International, Inc.] notified us, under penalty of perjury, that
your item infringes their copyright, trademark, or other rights." And they
followed up with the threat "If you relist this or any other similar items
on eBay, your account could be suspended."
BUSH'S NEW LIE: THE ECONOMY IS THE MEDIA'S FAULT
Q: Thank you, sir. Since taking office you signed into law three major tax
cuts -- two of which have had plenty of time to take effect, the third of
which, as you pointed out earlier, is taking effect now. Yet, the
unemployment rate has continued rising. We now have more evidence of a
massive budget deficit that taxpayers are going to be paying off for years
or decades to come; the economy continues to shed jobs. What evidence can
you point to that tax cuts, at least of the variety that you have supported,
are really working to help this economy? And do you need to be thinking
about some other approach?
PRESIDENT BUSH : Yes. No, to answer the last part of your question. First of
all, let me -- just a quick history, recent history. The stock market
started to decline in March of 2000. Then the first quarter of 2001 was a
recession. And then we got attacked in 9/11. And then corporate scandals
started to bubble up to the surface, which created a -- a lack of confidence
in the system. And then we had the drumbeat to war. Remember on our TV
screens -- I'm not suggesting which network did this -- but it said, "March
to War," every day from last summer until the spring -- "March to War, March
to War." That's not a very conducive environment for people to take risk,
when they hear, "March to War" all the time.
NO MORE GREEN BASHING
SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN - If the leaders of the California Democratic
Party are wondering why their governor is in so much trouble, they can
simply look at what the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee,
the party's local operating arm, did July 23. The DCCC considered two
resolutions, both aimed directly at the Green Party and both symbolizing
how the Democrats are putting their core constituency, and thus the future
of the party, at risk.
The first resolution ~ would have "condemned" the Greens for "supporting the
recall of Gov. Gray Davis." Actually, the California Green Party is neutral
on the recall, and the resolution was eventually softened to simply urge the
Greens to oppose it and not to run a candidate. The second resolution would
have directed local Democratic Party clubs not to endorse Green Party
candidates; again, that was softened to exempt local, nonpartisan races.
This is just a local outcropping of a battle that's been going on for many
years, ever since the Greens qualified for party status in California
despite a blistering assault by the Democratic Party. Top national and
California Democrats still try to blame the Greens and Ralph Nader for the
fact that George W. Bush is president. But as Democrats scramble to use all
sorts of political tactics to attack the Greens, they're forgetting a
crucial point: the Green Party exists, and is growing, precisely because the
Democrats have abandoned such a key part of their political base. And that's
also a major reason that Davis is in such trouble. . .
What the Democrats, here in San Francisco and across the state, ought to be
doing is working with the Greens pushing, for example, for a statewide
ranked-choice voting system (which would eliminate the "spoiler" role of
third parties and ultimately help the Democrats in major races). . . The
Democratic Party has plenty of work to do solving its own problems.
Continuing to go after the Greens is entirely the wrong direction.
PRINCE CHARLES SAYS BRITAIN SHOULD BE GM-FREE
VALERIE ELLIOTT, TIMES, LONDON - The Prince of Wales has said that he wants
a ban on genetically modified crops. During a visit to Cardiff he said: "We
need a GM-free Wales - and a GM-free Britain, for that matter." He also
revealed irritation with remarks by Franz Fischler, the European Union's
Agriculture Commissioner, who said last week that any attempts for areas to
declare themselves GM-free were illegal. The Prince's reaction was blunt:
ANTI-SPAM DEVICES CREATE NEW PROBLEMS
WIRED - Electronic Frontier Foundation's head counsel Cindy Cohn argues that
anti-spam crusaders are forgetting the Internet's first principle --
information flows freely from end to end. Cohn fears that the Internet's
openness will be collateral damage in the war against unwanted e-mail.
Cohn says her organization's position on spam blocking can be boiled down to
a simple proposition: "All non-spam e-mail should be delivered." It's an
information age take on the Hippocratic oath, which requires doctors to
first do no harm.
"It's not the job of an ISP to block e-mail," added Cohn. "E-mail isn't a
toy anymore. If I don't get an e-mailed notice from the federal district
court mailing list, it's malpractice."
Even some who sell anti-spam software to companies say that ISPs shouldn't
be blocking mail. "Blocking e-mails is folly," said Brian Gillette, whose
company sells an enterprise-level, anti-spam appliance called Trim-Mail
Inbox. "If I'm an ISP and I stop a $150,000 equipment sale because I decided
it was spam, I'm in for a lawsuit."
Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union,
worries that the ability to speak anonymously on the Internet is being put
at risk by federal anti-spam legislation. . .
EFF already has been a victim of overbroad spam filters. Its newsletter,
which has more than 30,000 subscribers, has been bounced by aggressive
keyword filters. In one case, its message was blocked because it contained
the word "rape," used when talking about EFF's advocacy on behalf of an
online group, Stop Prisoner Rape.
When the EFF asked around, it found that other noncommercial bulk mailers,
such as listservs, were running into problems, too.
COD IS DEAD
ELIZABETH GROSSMAN, GRIST MAGAZINE 0 "It's a fire alarm," says Richard Ellis
about his new book, The Empty Ocean (Island Press), which joins a chorus of
recent publications documenting the precipitous decline of world fisheries
and the dire state of the marine environment. That alarm should make you
think long and hard about your lunchtime tuna sandwich or the sashimi you
order at your favorite Japanese restaurant. . .
According to Ellis, fish-farming tripled in volume between 1990 and 2000,
with the result that aquaculture currently accounts for over 25 percent of
all fish eaten by humans. Among the problems with aquaculture is that most
carnivorous farmed fish are fed fish meal, which is made from wild ocean
species. Other industries are gobbling up vast quantities of wild fish as
well. The poultry, pork, cattle, sheep, and pet food industries consume
enormous amounts of fish meal. Ellis notes that the chicken industry is the
largest industrial user of meal made from menhaden, an Atlantic coastal fish
that is also used to produce cooking and food-processing oils. Menhaden
numbers have dropped 60 percent in the past four decades.
Among the other species whose fate Ellis describes are cod, salmon, sea
turtles, sharks, whales, sea lions, seals, rockfish, and tuna. Since 1980,
stocks of bluefin tuna have fallen by 80 percent in the European Atlantic
and by 50 percent on the U.S. side.
ISRAELI WALL IMPRISONS 12,000 PALESTINIANS
ARNON REGULAR, HAARETZ - Israel has finished building 147 kilometers of the
section of the separation fence in the northern West Bank and the Jerusalem
area during the first phase of construction, according to a report compiled
by follow-up teams comprised of representatives from the European Union,
United States, Norway, United Nations and World Bank. . . The primary focus
of the report is the initial Palestinian reaction to the fence. About 12,000
Palestinians in 15 villages will be imprisoned between the fence and the
Green Line, and many of them will be cut off from social services, schools
and their own agricultural lands - in addition to the lands confiscated from
them so that the fence could be built in the first place, the report found.
LA COSA DUBYA
BUSH SEEKING PERUVIAN PIPELINE FOR BUDDIES
INDEPENDENT President George Bush is seeking funds for a controversial
project to drive gas pipelines from pristine rainforests in the Peruvian
Amazon to the coast. The plan will enrich some of Mr Bush's closest
corporate campaign contributors while risking the destruction of rainforest,
threatening its indigenous peoples and endangering rare species on the
coast. Among the beneficiaries would be two Texas energy companies with
close ties to the White House, Hunt Oil and Kellogg Brown & Root, a
subsidiary of Vice-President Dick Cheney's old company, Haliburton, which is
rebuilding Iraq's oil infrastructure.
ROBERT JOHNSON, NY POST - Man Ray was forced to close early Tuesday night
when its kitchen staff walked out - and the restaurant will not reopen. We
reported on Sunday that the West 15th Street eatery, principally owned by
Bruce Colley, was set to close Aug. 9. But our story may have accelerated
"The cooks and waiters read your story and got worried. They realized the
end was near," said an insider. "Some people hadn't been paid in weeks, and
the entire staff walked out.". . .
Business had been falling off since Mauro Manfre left as manager in October.
"I wasn't fired from Man Ray. I quit," he told us. Manfre was upset because
he'd been hospitalized for a perforated ulcer. "They promised they would pay
the hospital bill; they never did."
Manfre was also fed up with what he considered mismanagement of the
business. "The chef was changing suppliers all the time because they
wouldn't deliver anymore unless they were paid in cash," Manfre said. "We
were getting phone calls every day from creditors."
There were unusual payroll arrangements as well, Manfre said. "At one point,
they cut my paycheck down to $200 net a week and paid the rest in cash. At
that point, I thought this was fishy. They were doing this with other people
as well.". . .
Colley, whose father owns over 100 McDonald's franchises, has been keeping a
low profile since he was identified as the "other man" in the Andrew
Cuomo-Kerry Kennedy divorce scandal.
LEAVE NO HETEROSEXUAL COUPLE WHO'LL GET DIVORCED IN A FEW YEARS BEHIND
PORTLAND PRESS HERALD - Rejecting the legalization of same-sex marriages,
President Bush said Wednesday that government attorneys are seeking to write
a law that defines marriage solely as the union of a man and a woman. During
a Rose Garden news conference, the president picked his way carefully on the
politically divisive issue, stressing that "it is very important for our
society to respect every individual." But "that does not mean that somebody
like me needs to compromise on an issue such as marriage," Bush said. "I
believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe a marriage is between a man
and a woman. And I think we ought to codify that one way or the other."
VATICAN JOINS THE FEUD
BUSH DOESN'T LIKE AMTRAK EITHER
LESLIE MILLER - Congressional critics say President Bush's six-year plan to
force the states to pick up more of Amtrak's costs ignores short-term
problems that could shut down the railroad. Bush sent a bill to Congress on
Monday that would end Amtrak's monopoly on intercity passenger rail service,
minimize federal subsidies and promote competition among railroad operators.
It carries no price tag and has no details about what money-losing lines
would be eliminated or what new rail corridors would be promoted.
"If the Bush White House gets its way, all the reform proposals in the world
won't matter because there won't be any operating railroad to reform," said
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking Democrat on the Appropriations
BRUCE GAGNON'S TRIP HOME
[Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear
Power in Space]
On July 28 I was returning home after two days of speaking in Louisville,
KY. While in the Louisville airport, after having just received my boarding
pass, I got a call on my cell phone from a reporter with the Columbus
Post-Dispatch (Ohio) who wanted my comments about the Global Network's
position on NASA's "Project Prometheus" - the nuclear rocket to Mars. The
interview lasted 10 minutes at the most and in it I outlined these three key
1) The exponential escalation of launches of nuclear power into space
dramatically escalates the chance of an accident
2) DoE has a long and sad track record of local contamination of workers and
communities building bombs. Can we expect anything else as they now ramp up
the labs to produce more plutonium for nuclear space missions?
3) NASA has announced that from now on all space missions will be "dual
use", meaning that each NASA mission will be both military and civilian.
Thus the development of nuclear reactor technology for space missions will
also become a military technology.
Immediately after finishing the interview I bought a newspaper and headed
for the airport security screening line and my boarding gate. Just as I
entered the line two policemen asked if I was Bruce Gagnon. They then
directed me to follow them to the other end of the airport and would only
say that I had been overhead making dangerous statements. Amazingly they
knew my name and had a copy of my boarding pass. All of this within 12
minutes after checking in at the airport. As we walked to their office I
racked my brain to understand what I might have said and to whom!
Once inside the police inner sanctum I was questioned by three cops who
wanted my name, my ID, my reason for being in Louisville, where I had
spoken, to whom I had spoken. Then they informed me that I had been
overheard talking about bombs and contamination. They then searched my bag
and one officer found my copy of the constitution and asked if I always
carried it with me. I told him "Yes, you never know when you might need it."
It took me a moment to realize that someone must have heard my statements to
the reporter about the nuclear rocket. So I explained the situation to
them. Luckily I had remembered the name of the reporter and I gave that to
them as well. One of the cops then called information for the number at the
Columbus newspaper and called the reporter. He verified that I had just
spoken to him about bombs and contamination and suggested they let me go.
But the cops first ran a national ID check on me to make sure I was not on
some terrorist wanted list.
Then they let me go and I headed for my gate. I still made my plane but as
I was boarding, one of the cops stood by the door to the gate to make sure I
got on the plane. (Must have thought I'd slip out the back way or something.)
The remarkable thing to me is just how paranoid everyone has become that
people are now reporting anyone that says any "key" word in airports, or
probably anywhere else. I told the cops that I thought potential terrorists
were not likely to stand in the middle of an airport and talk on the phone
about bombs and contamination.
TEXAS DEMOCRATS IN EXILE
ABC NEWS NOTE
The 11 Democrats say they'll stay in New Mexico for at least 28 more days -
until the session ends - or until they secure a promise from Lt. Gov. David
Dewhurst that the two-thirds rule for bringing up legislation would be
followed. . . "They went on the lam without toothbrushes or extra underwear.
Some said they feared bounty hunters," the Ft. Worth Star Telegram says:
"But far from living the outlaw life, the so-called Texas 11 - the
Democratic state senators who fled from Austin on Monday to protest a
congressional redistricting plan - have found sanctuary in the Marriott
Pyramid North, one of Albuquerque's finest hotels. Here, the lawmakers can
share cocktails at the foot of a 2-story indoor waterfall. Graceful glass
elevators seem to keep time to wafting classical music."
SHEA ANDERSEN, ALBUQUERQUE TRIBUNE
New Mexico Democratic leaders were delighted to have them in Albuquerque.
"If they end up staying here for a length of time, we'll be happy to treat
them to some good New Mexican food," said Lt. Gov. Denish, who appeared with
the 11 in front of a Texas flag hastily stapled to the wall of the Marriott.
In a prepared statement, Gov. Bill Richardson said he also was happy to have
the wayward Democrats in town.
"New Mexico has a long history of helping people on the run," Richardson
said. . . Richardson also offered several State Police officers to offer
security for the 11 Democrats. One of the 11 said that was, in part, because
of the possibility that bounty hunters might be employed to bring them back
BREMER INTRODUCES AN AMERICAN IDEA TO IRAQ: TALK FREE MARKET BUT DON'T
INDEPENDENT - America's desire to rebuild Iraq in its own image even extends
to setting up a mobile phone network that only works for US phones. A
Bahraini company that established a network accessible to those without
American phones has been forced to scrap its plans after a week.
THE FOLKS WHO MADE BOB HOPE FUNNY
PAUL BROWNFIELD. LOS ANGELES TIMES - They were Bob Hope's joke doctors, his
gag men. And sometimes it meant being on call at all times of the day or
night. Hope was liable to phone suddenly from some city, wanting jokes to
play off the day's headlines. When he called back, half an hour later, he
didn't even say hello. You picked up the phone, and there was his voice.
"OK, thrill me," he would say.
Sherwood Schwartz, who would later become well-known for creating the
situation comedies Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch, wrote for Hope's
Pepsodent Show on radio beginning in 1936, a job that paid him $50 a week -
not bad for a Depression-era salary. The key ingredient in writing a joke
for Hope, says Schwartz, was brevity. . .
To Schwartz, Hope's gift as a comedian was his timing, his rhythm - the way
he could signal to the audience when to laugh. And, unlike other comedians,
Hope wasn't interested in building to the laugh. He just wanted to get
there, and fast. "[Jack] Benny had small jokes leading up to the big one.
Bob never learned that," said Mel Shavelson, one of Hope's early comedy
writers. "He wanted big, big, big jokes, always.". . .
When writer Fred Fox left on his honeymoon, Hope asked him to send back 20
jokes a day. Fox was incensed, but he sent the jokes anyway, and Hope
returned the favor by offering a week in his Palm Springs house to Fox and
his new bride. "He was not only good to work with, but when you got to know
him, he became a friend," Fox said.
Not that his writers were always enamored of him. Hope's well-known
stinginess is encapsulated in the story that on payday, he would stand on a
landing above his writers and float their checks down to them as paper
airplanes, in effect making them scramble for their money.
DRUG PUSHERS GOT SENATORS TO SIGN LETTER
PR WATCH - When the House voted last week to let Americans import less
expensive medicines from Canada and Europe, 53 senators signed a letter
opposing the legislation, a letter that the industry trade group, which
vigorously opposed the measure, hailed as proof of its argument that the
bill would jeopardize patient safety," the New York Times' Sheryl Gay
Stolberg reports. "What the trade group, the Pharmaceutical Research and
Manufacturers Association, did not say, at the time, was that it helped
coordinate the signature campaign. . . PhRMA, one of Washington's most
influential lobbying groups, has a record of hiding its lobbying activities,
often by paying other organizations to promote its interests. With nearly
100 lobbyists registered to represent its interests last year, PhRMA is
angering many lawmakers. "This is a multi-armed octopus we're dealing with,"
said Representative Gil Gutknecht, the Minnesota Republican who is the chief
sponsor of the measure.
HOMESICKNESS GOES HIGH TECH
NY TIMES - Homesickness has been around longer than summer camp itself, and
the traditional tools for assuaging it - letters and packages from home -
can now be supplemented by e-mail, faxes, even instant messaging. Many camps
enforce an initial communications blackout so that campers will tough it out
through early bouts of homesickness. Others allow no outside communication
beyond the occasional handwritten letter.
In these nervous times, when children travel to play dates with cellphones
in their backpacks, it comes as little surprise that such technology can
both salve and heighten summer camp anxiety. (Older children, perhaps
embarrassed to admit they are homesick, are less likely to complain about
being away from home.) Counter to the notion of a camp sojourn in which
children go for weeks without speaking to their parents as they master a
sense of independence, parents and offspring alike have come to expect a
constant connection. And more and more camps are posting photos at Web sites
each day so that parents can see their children in the camp context.
Yet the shift toward staying in touch is a double-edged sword. "Every time
you reopen that connection, it intensifies the feelings of homesickness,"
said Marla Coleman, president of the American Camping Association and
co-owner of Camp Echo in the Catskills.
Camp Echo allows limited phone calls and a weekly e-mail session. If parents
reply to the e-mail, it is printed out and delivered as regular mail.
Campers are also required to write two conventional letters a week.
SCHOOLS SHED STUDENTS TO BOOST SCORES
NY TIMES - Growing numbers of academically weak students are being pushed
out of New York City's school system so that their failure to graduate won't
tarnish schools' statistics
BIG SELLERS AREN'T HELPING BOOKSTORES
AP - There have been some very big-selling books this summer, and you'd
think the publishing industry would be happy about it. Not exactly. They're
cutting staff and complaining of a slump. Big "sales don't necessarily mean
big profits, especially if everyone is expecting a hit. With Hillary Clinton
receiving an $8 million advance, Simon & Schuster needed hundreds of
thousands of sales to make money on the book. And Amazon.com, anticipating
tremendous competition for the Potter book, offered a 40 percent discount on
the $29.99 suggested price. The result: Despite more than 1 million sales
worldwide, the online retailer announced it essentially broke even with
Order of the Phoenix.
CLINTON HELPED GET PATRIOT ACT GOING
JAMES RIDGEWAY, VILLAGE VOICE - Political observers often have wondered why
Democrats, especially liberals, didn't put up more of a fight against the
Patriot Act, which passed the Senate with only one dissenting vote. Many
thought it was because Dems didn't have the guts to stand up, and were
afraid both to look unpatriotic and to risk defeat at the hands of the
mighty Bush. But there may be another reason: The Patriot Act enhances major
incursions into civil liberties that were sponsored by Bill Clinton in 1994
and 1996, including the setting up of secret courts and the launch of mass
The 1996 Antiterrorism Act gave the secretary of state the authority to
decide which organizations are terrorist. Anyone supporting such an
organization for humanitarian reasons is liable to criminal prosecution.
And, of course, under Clinton the FBI was allowed to continue building files
on people and organizations based not on the likelihood of their committing
a crime, but on grounds that an FBI agent thought they should be
investigated. This act, directed at international terrorism, was pushed
through Congress in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, which the
government had no reason to believe was caused by foreign terrorists. These
measures were opposed not by rank-and-file Democrats, but by the ACLU, per
usual, and conservatives who feared they might be the targets of the next
investigation. . .
Anti-terrorism laws are being used to prosecute those with no interest in
taking down the American republic. As part of North Carolina's own little
war on terror, Watauga County DA Jerry Wilson focused on the state's
antiterrorism laws to hammer people accused of producing methamphetamines.
Ordinarily a meth producer might get six months, but under the new code,
Wilson can send a convicted producer to jail for anywhere from 12 years to
life. In the first case of this sort, Wilson is charging Martin Dwayne
Miller, 24, on two counts of making a nuclear or chemical weapon in
connection with the manufacture of methamphetamines. To get a connection
between a nuke and meth, Wilson refers to the toxic nature of the chemicals
involved in making the drug, noting that firemen and police officers
responding to cases involving meth risk lung damage and other serious injury.
CONSTITUTIONAL SUIT LAUNCHED AGAINST PATRIOT ACT
The American Civil Liberties Union joined several Islamic and Arab American
groups yesterday in filing a legal challenge to a key provision of the USA
Patriot Act, which allows the government to seize business, library and
computer records in terrorism investigations without publicly disclosing
that it has done so.
123 PLAN TO RUN FOR CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT
HOWARD DEAN ON HEALTHCARE
HOWARD DEAN - My plan is not reform - if you want to totally change the
healthcare system, I'm not your guy.
SURVEY FINDS BRITS ARE FOREPLAY FLOPS
ANANOVA - Brits are a flop when it comes to foreplay, according to the
biggest ever survey of its kind. The research found 80% of British men
didn't even know what foreplay was, mistaking it for a sport, a computer
game or an item of clothing.
HEADLINES OF THE DAY
[Found by James Taranto of Opinion Journal]
The Noose Is Tightening - Sky News, July 26
U.S.: 'Noose Is Tightening' Around Saddam - Associated Press, July 28
U.S. Forces Tightening the Noose - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 28
'Noose' Tightens Around Saddam - USA Today, July 30
MAKING ANTI-TERRORISM PROFITABLE CONT'D
A graphic on PAM's website on Monday displayed several hypothetical futures
contracts. Investors could bet on the likelihood that Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat would be assassinated or Jordan's King Abdullah II overthrown.
One less violent investment apparently was suggested -- the U.S. recognizing
Palestine as a political entity. Those hypothetical investments were
promptly taken off the website, but were captured by Reclaim Democracy.
MILITARY ADMITS SOME OF ITS IRAQI DEATHS ARE SUICIDES
SUNDAY TIMES, AUSTRALIA - US army admits Iraq suicides From correspondents
in Baghdad 23jul03 US forces in Iraq have suffered cases of probable
suicide, a senior military official said today, amid slumping morale among
troops faced with daily and deadly attacks. The senior officer, who asked
not to be named, said that among 53 US military non-combat deaths since May
1, when the war was declared effectively over, were "probable" suicides as
well as a large number of road accidents.
CHILDREN JUST WANT TO CHILL OUT
BBC - Children say they would rather be at a friend's house or on the
streets or just at home than taking part in organized activities during the
summer holiday. They look forward to "being with friends" and "just hanging
around". The least popular haunts would be youth clubs - but they are all in
favor of "chill out rooms".
These are among the findings of a survey of more than 2,000 seven to 15 year
olds across the UK carried out last month by Save the Children and British
BEST PLACES TO BE: Friend's house: 51% At home: 38% The street: 38%
Leisure/sports centers: 20% Youth clubs: 10% . . .
DISLIKES: Nothing to do: 36% Gangs: 34% Too many drugs/drunks: 34% Too much
traffic: 24% No money: 23% . . .
They mentioned a range of things they would like to see in their local
areas. Some of the most common requests were for football pitches, swimming
pools closer to where they lived, skateboarding parks and bike tracks, and
safe places to hang out without being hassled by adults.
DIARY OF THE DAY
TONY BENN, 29 JULY 1981 - Sat and watched the royal wedding on TV. There
were perhaps two million people out in London, and this tremendous
ceremonial display was watched throughout the world by 70 million people -
without doubt the biggest television audience that had ever seen anything.
The image presented to the rest of the world was of a Britain about as
socially advanced as France before the French Revolution! We are slipping
back to eighteenth-century politics. We've got to fight like anything to
recover the position that we had even in 1945. I had that feeling most
strongly. It was feudal propaganda, turning citizens into subjects.
FURTHERMORE. . .
HOW CALIFORNIA COULD GET A GREEN GOVERNOR
VERMONT FIREFIGHTERS SMOLDER OVER DEAN
COST OF LIVING BY STATES AND CATEGORY
In general, the most expensive areas to live are New England, Alaska,
Hawaii, and the West Coast. The least expensive areas continue to be the
Midwest and Southern States.
FORTY LIES ABOUT THE WAR AND TERRORISM
||| TOMASKY AND THE GREENS
A READER - Tomasky wants the Democratic candidate to downplay any serious
disagreement with Bush on foreign policy, while stressing abortion and other
lifestyle issues. So what he has in mind, apparently, is appealing to a
power base of bobos and yuppies who don't give a rat's ass about issues of
corporate power and neoliberal foreign policy, so long as the corporate
state caters to their NPR liberal cultural sensibilities. Brings to mind
Chomsky's quip that journalists were "liberal," in the sense of hating guns
and favoring "a woman's right to choose," but not at all left-wing in the
sense of seriously critiquing the present system of power. For sheer
contemptibility, Tomasky's recommendations fall in the same class as
Katerina Vandenheuvel's exultation after 9-11 that the war on terror would
restore Americans' faith in big government.
||| SOUTHERNERS MORE POLITE THAN NORTHERNERS
LARRY CRENSHAW BIRMINGHAM, AL - Paul Robinson makes a good point about the
South in his piece "Sword of Honour." But as any Southerner can tell you, it
isn't the whole story. In the North, the word "asshole" is used much more
readily; in the North people would consider an apology to a stranger a sign
of weakness; calling someone an asshole is a way of saying, "Watch it, Bub."
In the South when people bump into each other, they more often say, "Excuse
me" or "I'm sorry." Calling someone an asshole in the South is a much more
aggressive act than it is in the North and therefore more likely to provoke
Before drawing conclusions, the University of Michigan (with its Northern
bias) should try several other experiments. First they should bump into
people in both the South and North and compare their responses to the bump.
Second, they should measure the effect words such as "asshole" have on
residents of each of the two regions.
While the sense of honor which helped betray the South in the 19th Century
is still alive, so is a basic friendliness and courtesy. It is, ironically,
this very courtesy that takes offense at a word which is not taken as
seriously in the North.
RECENT ADDITIONS AT OUR WEB SITE
SECURING THE HOMELAND - Finding Free America
A SHORT HISTORY OF PRESIDENTIAL LYING ABOUT WAR
HOW BUSH GOT BOUNCED FROM CARLYLE BOARD
WHY DO WE HAVE A WAR ON DRUGS, ANYWAY?
FOOTBALL & THE RISE OF AMERICAN IMPERIALISM Long before George Bush, and in
the comfort of his den on Sunday afternoon, the author saw the American
WATER: THE GREAT HIDDEN ISSUE OF THE MIDEAST
THE COALITION OF THE SHILLING
Iraqis will have to learn democracy someplace else
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