Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Truth Behind The Evergreen Uprising



A few weeks back there was a "riot" at Evergreen State College after a hip hop show. It turns out the Olympia police started it.

Check out the video documentary released today by Hip Hop Congress:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_74VEfgsXA

Thanks to Ben Livingston, hemp.net

For Immediate Release

2/28/2008

Julie Chang Schulman
Northwest Regional Director
Hip Hop Congress
juliec@hiphopcongress.com
www.hiphopcongress.com

*It's Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Truth Behind the Evergreen Uprising*

In a prior release on February 22, 2008, Hip Hop Congress stated that the organization was in the process of preparing the results of our own independent investigation on the uprising that occurred after the Valentine's Day Dead Prez show at Evergreen State College. The results of this independent investigation have now been released in the form of a short video and accompanying script. The video, entitled "It's Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Truth Behind the Evergreen Uprising," narrates the sequence of events that led up to the violent uprising, and contains footage of the performance, the protest, and the uprising, as well as commentary from exclusive interviews and statements from community forums that followed later in the week.

View "It's Bigger that Hip Hop: The Truth Behind the Evergreen Uprising" Here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_74VEfgsXA

"We have spent well over 150 hours, interviewing various eyewitnesses, faculty, administration, and students, as well as collecting and editing over 20 hours of footage," said Andrew Rutherford, who directed and edited the video for Hip Hop Congress, "We are confident in the quality, content, and accuracy of this film, and hope that it clears up misconceptions and misinformation about what happened that night."

Video released on YouTube by the Geoduck Student Union at Evergreen on February 21, 2008 was the first substantial footage to surface of the incident itself. While the YouTube video revealed serious discrepancies between what was reported by authorities, and what was caught on film, it still left questions as to which law enforcement agencies were involved at what time, and which agencies may have actually contributed to escalating the protest to a violent confrontation.

"We offer the results of our inquiry not only as community media producers and advocates of Hip Hop culture, but also as supporters of the movement towards universal restorative justice and proactive restitution," says Julie Chang Schulman, Northwest Regional Director for Hip Hop Congress, and author of the video's script, "we were concerned with what seemed to be the omission of the Olympia Police Department's role in this incident. If the objective is accountability and preserving the safety of this community, this should be just as important a part of the investigative process as finding those responsible for damages, especially given the preexisting tension between OPD and the Evergreen community."

The National President and Executive Director, Shamako Noble, will be speaking at an event aimed at the Evergreen student community this Friday, February 29th, at 3:00pm, in Lecture Hall 1 at Evergreen State College. Hip Hop Congress will also be screening "It's Bigger than Hip Hop: The Truth Behind the Evergreen Uprising" for the student body at that time.

To reach Evergreen State College's Hip Hop Congress, contact Founder Noah Theeman-Lindberg by emailing teschhc@gmail.com or by phone at (303) 618-6703.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bangin' On Hellman Street


When I first moved to the Hellman Street ghetto of Long Beach in 2002, I didn't think I was really going to be powerfully influenced by my surroundings, but I was wrong. Before that particular crazy adventure was over, I'd witnessed murders, tricks, drug deals, pimps, hustlers, prostitutes, crackheads, misfits, meth freaks, junkies, thieves and con men and had my life threatened more than a few times. And ended up pissing off the Long Beach Insanes, the local branch of the Crips, who had something of a headquarters just across the street. And, oh yeah, I inadvertently, and almost single-handedly, re-ignited a turf war between the Insanes and the Longos, the Hispanic Crips who competed with the Insanes for drug territory in my neighborhood.

I don't think the Crips were any more ready for an Alabama straight-tawkin' hillbilly than I was for a bunch of trigger happy thugs willing to kill you if you dissed Westside Connection. The Gangsta, the Killa and the Dope Dealer!

Hellman Street gangstas ain't playin'.



My takeaway lesson from the whole thang is purty much "Don't go seven days without any sleep unless you wanna be actin' a fool"...

But I could definitely also say that I made some interesting new friends. ;-)

A shout out to my Long Beach homies: Leah and Tony, Frank, KJ, Tre, Keith and Justina, Javier, Fernando, DeeDee, Steve and Bernadette, Cowboy, Potion, and all the rest of you crazies.

Steve Elliott ~ "November 6, 2003" [10.10.07]

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bush Lobbies Again For Surveillance Law


Feb 25, 4:24 PM (ET)

By BEN FELLER


WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush on Monday lobbied again for an intelligence law allowing government eavesdropping on phone calls and e-mails, as the tone of the dispute between the White House and Congress over terrorist surveillance grew increasingly sharp.

"To put it bluntly, if the enemy is calling into America, we really need to know what they're saying, and we need to know what they're thinking, and we need to know who they're talking to," Bush said at the start of his annual meeting with the nation's governors at the White House.

"This is a different kind of struggle than we've ever faced before. It's essential that we understand the mentality of these killers," Bush said.

The law in question targets foreign terrorist threats and allows eavesdropping on communications involving people in the U.S., so long as those people are not the intended focus or target of the surveillance. The latest version of the legislation expired on Feb. 16, and the rules reverted to those outlined in the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Bush and Congress are at odds over whether to give legal immunity to companies that in the past helped the government spy on customers without court warrants.

Bush wants the House to act on legislation the Senate has passed. That bill provides retroactive protection for telecommunications companies that wiretapped U.S. phone and computer lines at the government's request after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, without court permission.

The House version does not provide such immunity.

"Our government told them that their participation was necessary," Bush said. "And it was, and it still is, and that what we had asked them to do was legal. And now they're getting sued for billions of dollars. And it's not fair."

The president's pitch was the latest installment in a long and increasingly sharply-worded debate between Bush and congressional Democrats.

Democrats, in an op-ed piece Monday in The Washington Post, accused Bush of resorting to "scare tactics and political games."

"It is clear that he and his Republican allies, desperate to distract attention from the economy and other policy failures, are trying to use this issue to scare the American people into believing that congressional Democrats have left America vulnerable to terrorist attack," said the article.

The piece was signed by Democratic Sens. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee; Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Democratic Reps. Silvestre Reyes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee; and John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

White House press secretary Dana Perino responded to their op-ed with her own statement. Perino said that Bush is not using scare tactics, but rather repeating the concerns of the intelligence community about the risks to the nation. "Unless this threat is taken more seriously in Congress, the ability to obtain the intelligence we need will be at risk, and with it our national security," Perino said.

Later, speaking to reporters, Perino said the Democrats' use of the phrase "scare tactics" must "be like one of their favorite words - it must poll very well, because they use it almost every time. What we have done is state facts."

The Justice Department and Office of National Intelligence said Saturday that telecommunication companies are now complying with existing surveillance warrants. The agencies also said that new surveillance activities under existing warrants will resume "for now," but that the delay "impaired our ability to cover foreign intelligence targets, which resulted in missed intelligence information."

Bush says flatly that telecommunications companies won't help the government if they don't have protection from lawsuits, and that he will not compromise with Democrats on that point.

Bush Lobbies Again for Surveillance Law

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mitch Hedberg Would Have Been 40 Today




Mitch Hedberg (February 24, 1968 – March 29, 2005) was an American stand-up comedian known for his surreal humor and unconventional comedic delivery. His routines featured elocutive but often short, sometimes one-line, observational comedy, mixed with absurd and paraprosdokian elements as well as non sequiturs. Hedberg's comedy and on-stage persona gained him a cult following.

Quotes From Mitch Hedberg

I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.

You know, I'm sick of following my dreams, man. I'm just going to ask where they're going and hook up with 'em later.

Is a hippopotomus really a hippopotomus or just a really cool opotomus?

See, this CD is in stores. The only way I could get my last CD into a store was to take one in there and leave it. "Sir, you forgot this!" "No, I did not. That is for sale. Please alphabetize it."

I order the club sandwich all the time, but I'm not even a member, man. I don't know how I get away with it.

I sit at my hotel at night, I think of something that's funny, then I go get a pen and I write it down. Or if the pen's too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of ain't funny.

I had a neighbor, and whenever he would knock on my wall I knew he wanted me to turn my music down, and that made me angry because I like loud music, so when he knocked on the wall I'd mess with his head. I'd say: "Go around! I cannot open the wall. I don't know if you have a doorknob on the other side, but over here there's nothing. It's just flat."

I don't have a girlfriend. I just know a girl who would get really mad if she heard me say that.

Because of acid, I now know that butter is way better than margarine. I saw through the bullshit.

I went camping once, and got into an argument with a girlfriend in the tent. This is a really bad place to get in an argument, because I walked out and attempted to "slam the flap." How are you supposed to express your anger in this type of situation? Zipper it up really quick? *Zipper Noise* ! Fuck you

People used to think I was high on stage, because people associate long hair with drug use. I wish long hair was associated with something other than drug use. Like an extreme longing for cake. Then strangers would see a long haired guy and say, "That guy eats cake. He is on bunt cake." Mothers would say to their daughters, "Don't bring the cake eater over here anymore! He smells like flour. Did you see how excited he got when he heard your birthday was fast approaching?"

Last time I called shot gun we had rented a limo, so I fucked up...

I like baked potatoes, man. I don’t have a microwave oven. It takes forever to cook a baked potato in a conventional oven. Sometimes I’ll just throw one in there, even if I don’t want one. By the time it’s done, who knows.

Mitch Hedberg on Wikipedia

Mitch Hedberg on Wikiquotes

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Evergreen Statement: Medical Marijuana In Washington, 2008

A New Law

In 2007 a deep rift divided the medical marijuana community in Washington concerning legislative revisions of The Medical Use of Marijuana Act of 1998. Marijuana patients and providers who favored an open market system found their hopes dashed as specific protections for medical marijuana dispensaries were removed from the first draft of Senate Bill 6032.

While some reacted to that first edit and other limits with heated antipathy, many mmj patients and patient representatives heralded SB 6032 as a small but positive step towards more complete legal protections for Washington’s vulnerable population of severely ill marijuana patients. However, approximately one year after SB 6032 split the Puget Sound patient population in two, it has become clear that both sides underestimated the rancor of opposition. Recent history shows minor gains in the treatment of marijuana patients remain more elusive than either faction had predicted.

Ignoring The Law

While the WA State Legislature and Executive Offices have enacted clear legal protections for qualified marijuana patients, many prosecutors’ offices around the state have shown no more regard for the 2007 legislative update than they had for the citizen’s initiative of 1998. Ten years after Seattle’s first medical necessity trial, the treatment of medical marijuana users has softened slightly in some communities, but unjust seizures of medicine and unwarranted prosecutions of qualified patients have definitely not abated. Authors of SB 6032 intended to close legal loopholes used in overzealous prosecution of qualified marijuana patients. State prosecutors did formally approve the new law before it was signed by the governor. Yet there has been no visible shift in the prosecution of marijuana cases since that time. Marijuana patients still face a monumental challenge in most jurisdictions. Minor technicalities remain major stumbling blocks for qualified patients who face dire legal consequences.

One particular prosecution of a 66 year-old grandmother seemed so unjust the prosecutor’s office earned a public rebuke by Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, sponsor of SB 6032. In another example, a father’s legal medical marijuana garden was summarily destroyed by the stone-faced Highway Patrol. The man’s father-in-law had been killed in a car crash, but a granddaughter, the son-in-law’s 8 year old daughter, survived and was questioned by police investigators who then used the child’s innocent remarks to obtain a search warrant. Those are two cases of blind mis-justice from 2007.

Yet the bigger picture is no less grim. Washington’s leading medical marijuana defense attorney, Douglas Hiatt, cites more than 25 medical marijuana cases now pending.

Enforcing Ignorance

Even while losing, Douglas Hiatt has scored a few small successes. Armed with the public outcry of many sympathetic citizens, Hiatt did convince certain Department of Corrections officers that a medical marijuana recommendation served as a “functional equivalent” to a medical prescription in the case of CA patient and WA defendant Sharon Tracy. Tracy was quietly allowed to use medical marijuana while serving her probation sentence after losing a State Supreme Court bid to validate out-of-state marijuana recommendations. However, even that small success has been repudiated in the intervening months.

One example of technical non-compliance is the case of Harvey Maki, a man who definitely qualifies under state law, even though he failed to get his medical recommendation prior to his arrest. This case has already been argued before the Court of Appeals. A State Supreme Court ruling should be forthcoming by the fall of 2008. At stake here are rights of medical necessity, the statutes used to defend marijuana patients before the Medical Use of Marijuana Act of 1998. If this case fails, there may be no stopping the legal assault on many poor or unpapered marijuana patients—those who have not followed the exact letter of the law.

In every case known in this report, including those patients who were in full compliance with state laws, there is not one example where police officers complied with the protocol outlined in the 2007 legislative update, SB 6032. Our new state law directs that “. . . officers may document the amount in question, but not seize the marijuana." Yet in every case known, every bit of medical marijuana was taken by police immediately, without hesitation, and in no case has that marijuana been returned to the patient.

In most of those cases, the amount in question has been assumed to be more than allowed under the 60 day supply provision. In fact, there are no cases known where an amount possessed was deemed allowable. In virtually all cases involving live cannabis plants, unscientific limits remain the central focus of continued prosecution. While it is true that a few medical marijuana patients have been discovered to possess amounts far beyond the typical range, it is also true that many police departments lacking medical credentials have nonetheless set unreasonable standards for medical dosing.

Legal determination of an allowable amount under our 60 day supply rule has not yet been completed by the WA Department of Health. It is likely that DOH determination, to be released by July of this year, will make or break many affirmative defenses currently on the books. Until DOH determination of the 60 day supply limit is made public, WA marijuana patients have no legal guidelines to follow. Even a modest grower might be convicted in the future for surpassing those as-yet unknown figures.

Practicing Medicine at the Department of Corrections

Another heated debate within the Evergreen State marijuana community has centered on the treatment of qualified marijuana patients who have become involved with the legal system due to some separate legal issue. While defense attorneys hold the statute protects qualified patients regardless of other legal issues, the office of the Attorney General of Washington State disagrees. The AG sent a memo to state prosecutors in 2007, three months after 6032 was signed into law by Gov. Gregoire. The Attorney General declared the medical marijuana statute not applicable to violations of supervision. In other words, if one is convicted of any crime involving probation or other forms of supervision, one’s medicinal status will certainly be compromised by corrections officers under orders to report medical use as a violation of probation, regardless of a medical recommendation.

Sharon Tracy was allowed to use medical marijuana while she was under supervision by the Department of Corrections. That quiet decision was made several months prior to the AG memo. Since that time, no one known in this report has found such favorable treatment. We do know of 4 qualified medical marijuana patients who are currently denied the use of cannabis.

Tragic is the case of one reckless driver who spent two years in prison for killing his passenger in a car crash. The convict apparently earned early release largely because he was completely paralyzed in the crash and the expense of his personal care is exorbitant. Although many doctors agree that cannabis is known to be of immense relief for this man, the homegrown herbal remedy is strictly verboten for that sorry fellow in Thurston County. Another medical marijuana patient has a March hearing in Clallam County because he has tested positive of marijuana in a probationary urine analysis. The man is not allowed an attorney at the probation hearing, so there is little hope of salvation, despite his medical authorization.

A marijuana patient in Snohomish County was shocked to hear that his deferred prosecution would be revoked. After more than a year of supervised abstinence from alcohol, following a DUI arrest for alcohol intoxication, the marijuana patient may soon have an additional sentence imposed. He has always tested positive for cannabinoids, but his doctor’s recommendation was suddenly rejected by a newly presiding judge. If this March 17th Hearing unfolds as promised, this case will move to the State Court of Appeals where it may help set a favorable precedent for other marijuana patients in similar straits.

NOTE: Some of these cases listed here may be won with a judicial ruling that the standard medical marijuana recommendation is “functionally equivalent” to any other physician recommendation. If such were to occur, every medical marijuana recommendation now current would need to be renewed annually just as all other medicinal prescriptions are only valid for one year.

Ten years after the first Medical Use Act, prosecution of medical marijuana users continues to be a primary effort of most jurisdictions. Resultant fallout in other legal arenas creates situations such as that of the Island County father who lost custody of his daughter. A bitter wife told the divorce court that her estranged husband was a pot user. The father was quick to admit he used marijuana legally under the medical statute, and the judge refused to allow him custody of his daughter for that exact reason.

The More Things Change . . .

The US Supreme Court has ruled that The Controlled Substances Act signed by Richard Nixon in 1970 is legally superior to Constitutional guarantees of individual state rights. Federal law trumps state law. California, known as the leader in the national medical marijuana movement, set a negative precedent in the Ross vs. Raging Wire case—employers were vindicated for firing a marijuana patient solely on that discriminatory basis. Both Oregon & Washington marijuana statutes acquiesce to the rights of employers to abide by federal laws prohibiting marijuana for any purpose. Allowing corporate enforcement of federal laws, however, pits the rights of a corporation against the rights of sick and disabled people to live and work as productive members of society. The situation becomes more alarming in the management and administration of health care. For example, some doctors are prohibited from recommending medical marijuana by their federally-funded hospital administrations. This legal conflict becomes a serious life and death issue for some. There are three cases known where a prospective kidney or liver recipient was denied a life-saving transplant after testing positive for cannabis.

It is not the role of this report to question decisions made by physicians in the name of modern medical science. However, it is also not the role of police and attorneys to countermand the recommendations of our medical practitioners. With the wealth of research now available, there is no question that marijuana has remarkable medical value. We have heard many politicians say that 2008 is time for change in America. We believe it is time for justice to be done in the courtroom, leaving medicine to be practiced by physicians.

~ Martin Martinez
www.cannabismd.org

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy 50th Birthday, Peace Symbol! Here Are Its True Origins.



In 2008, the year our beloved Peace Symbol turns 50 years old (on February 21!), some of our MySpace and Net brethren have been circulating false and inaccurate information about its origins. This is to set the record straight.

It actually comes down to whether you lend more credence to Christian fundamentalists and their associated right-wing revisionists with a religious axe to grind -- or to actual scholars.

The intolerance and hatred with which some superstitious folks view the Peace Symbol is breathtaking in its majestic ignorance. Having lived the first 38 years of my life in Alabama, it's sadly no surprise to me to learn the Konservative Khristian Kooks think peace is a problem.

But what's really disappointing is that even some supposedly "enlightened" people harbor some really strange views on the symbol. One marijuana advocate calling himself "Enjoy Cannabis" and also one new-age philosopher calling himself "Reality" on MySpace each told me that the peace symbol, as used for 50 years, stands for death! And they were serious. They think we need to turn it upside down, so it'll stand for life. That's the way they send it out in all their bulletins. (Never mind that their actual knowledge of rune symbology is, well, a little lacking... see below.)

When I attempted to acquaint "Reality" with reality, including the actual scholarship which shows the symbol's origins, he had this intelligent reply (his syntax, grammar and spelling, not mine):

"if you still believe then your allowing them to control you still...the proof is all there to minds that are open...just look at the Anarchy symbol...looks alot like a upside down peace symbol...it's about reading the matrix"

Umm... Reality? Meet reality. Second thought, never mind; you guys don't have much in common. Cool tinfoil hat you have there.

A friend in Tennessee tells me, "I even know of a 'Christian tattoo' parlor in Nashville that says in its adverts that it won't tattoo certain symbols that are considered to be against God....including the peace symbol." Hmmm... guess it's too late for me; I already got the "wrong" tattoos. I could always have my left arm and right leg cut off, I suppose. Double amputee for the Lord!

But that's not even the worst of it, my Tennessee friend tells me. "Some groups, especially here in the 'buckle of the Bible Belt' believe Christ taught a lesson, not of peace but of conquering. There is a Christian book store in Murfreesboro called 'The Sword of the Lord.' They preach that talk of peace was some kind of plot from the devil and Christ wants you to take up a sword and make you believe in 'the Word.' It's really scary shit."

Indeed! There you have it, folks... God Hates Peace! Oh, dear...

Peace! :-) ~ Steve Reality Catcher


True Origins of the Peace Symbol


The CND or Peace symbol

This forked symbol was designed for the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and was adopted as its badge by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in Britain, and originally was used by the British nuclear disarmament movement.

It was later generalised to become an international icon for the 1960s anti-war movement, and was also adopted by the counterculture of the time.

It was designed and completed February 21, 1958 by Gerald Holtom, a professional designer and artist in Britain for the Easter march planned by DAC from Trafalgar Square, London, to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston in England.

The symbol itself is a combination of the semaphoric signals for the letters "N" and "D," standing for Nuclear Disarmament. In semaphore the letter "N" is formed by a person holding two flags in an upside-down "V," and the letter "D" is formed by holding one flag pointed straight up and the other pointed straight down. These two signals imposed over each other form the shape of the peace symbol. In the original design the lines widened at the edge of the circle.[3]



Semaphore 'N' and Semaphore 'D'

A conscientious objector who had worked on a farm in Norfolk during the Second World War, Holtom later wrote to Hugh Brock, editor of Peace News, explaining the genesis of his idea in greater depth: "I was in despair. Deep despair. I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad. I formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it."[1]

The peace symbol flag first became known in the United States in 1958 when Albert Bigelow, a pacifist protester, sailed his small boat outfitted with the CND banner into the vicinity of a nuclear test.

The peace symbol button was imported into the United States in 1960 by Philip Altbach, a freshman at the University of Chicago, who traveled to England to meet with British peace groups as a delegate from the Student Peace Union (SPU). Altbach purchased a bag of the "chickentrack" buttons while he was in England, and brought them back to Chicago, where he convinced SPU to reprint the button and adopt it as its symbol. Over the next four years, SPU reproduced and sold thousands of the buttons on college campuses.

In Unicode, the peace symbol is U+262E: ☮, and can thus be generated in HTML by typing ☮ or ☮. However, many browsers will not have a font that can display it.

Antagonism to the Peace Symbol

The fact that the symbol resembles a bird foot in a circle gave rise to spurious alternative interpretations, ranging from plain mockery of "crow's foot" or "The footprint of the American Chicken" (suggesting that peace activists were cowards) to a number of occult meanings, such as an upside down crucifix with the arms broken downward, suggesting the way that St. Peter was martyred (see Cross of St. Peter).

Others have claimed that the symbol resembles a medieval sign known as "Nero's Cross" that represents Satanism.



The Elhaz rune

Alternatively, some [including some who should know better on MySpace] have suggested that the symbol is an inverted Elhaz rune, which would reverse the rune's meaning, according to these critics, from 'life' to 'death' (although the Elhaz rune is actually thought to mean 'elk'[2]). Upside down elk, anyone?

As well, a commonly repeated conjecture during the 1960s was that it was an antichrist symbol: a representation of Jesus on the cross upside-down. Gerald Holtom's explanation of the genesis of the symbol and his first drawings of it, however, do not support those interpretations.[3][4][5][6]

1^ a b The CND logo. Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Retrieved on 2007-07-17.

2^ Plowright, Sweyn (2006). The Rune Primer. LuLu, pp.18,33,123. ISBN 1847282466.

3^ The Origin of the Peace Symbol

4^ Christian Resource Centre: Peace Sign

5^ Subdivision bans peace sign Christmas wreath

6^ Pro-Peace Symbol Forces Win Battle in Colorado Town


A Tribute to the Peace Symbol and the Peace Sign

Peace Symbols

The Straight Dope: What Is The Origin Of The Peace Symbol?

International Human Peace Sign

Happy Birthday, Peace! 50 Years of the Peace Symbol

Wikipedia: Peace Symbol

Get Your Roxy On


Ahhh, Roxy Music. Their very name reminds me of my youth. Long, carefree afternoons spent drivin' around in the car with my pot-smoking buddies Jeff and Lane, sunroof open, wind blowing through our hair, stereo pumping those wonderful sounds that were so exotic and liberating to us -- three young men in rural Alabama surrounded by the deadening conformity of hordes of Hank Jr. fans.

But there's more to it than nostalgic remembrance; way more. Roxy Music pushed the envelope of what a rock band could do, could be, could sound like, could look like.

From singer Bryan Ferry's over-the-top lounge-lizard-on-acid persona, to (for their first two albums) Brian Eno's spacy synthesizer textures, to Phil Manzanera's masterful psychedelic guitar, to Andy Mackay's bleating, squawking saxophone, Roxy Music sounded like nobody else.

They were considered part of the glam-rock scene when they came along in 1972, but they evolved so fast and furiously, any label you tried to pin on them was soon left in the dust. One part art rock, one part experimental prog, one part psychedelia, all with a healthy dash of Ferry's angst, emotion and ennui, Roxy Music blazed a trail that influenced countless bands that came after.

One of my latest discoveries in exploring a pile of VHS Hi-Fi videotapes I made in the late 1980s is a special marking the 25th anniversary of Chris Blackwell's Island Records label. Included in the special is a three-minute(!) summary of Roxy Music's remarkable career (I know, I know... there is no way to do Roxy justice in three minutes.)

And yet, and yet... It must be granted that the three minutes they were given is three minutes of musical heaven.

Grace Jones hosted the special and introduces the segment; her comments don't properly acknowledge the breadth of Roxy's musical genius. (The "he" to which she refers is Island honcho Blackwell.)

Featured are short clips of "Virginia Plain," "Let's Stick Together" (with a notable cameo by model/rock star girlfriend Jerry Hall, then involved with Ferry and later with Mick Jagger), and "Love Is The Drug."



To rate or comment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fzEvl8kGQ8

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bob Marley Time Capsule



To rate or comment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=138T2EAXoxY

From time to time in my continuing explorations of a big stack of 20-year-old VHS Hi-Fi tapes I made back in the late 1980s, I find such a priceless gem that I have to share it online.

Today was such a day. While going through a tape I recorded in Birmingham, Alabama, in December 1987, I happened upon an Island Records 25th Anniversary special that included a five-minute career overview of Bob Marley, including concert clips, interview excerpts with Island founder and producer Chris Blackwell, and Eric Clapton covering Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff."

The narrator is Grace Jones. The special originally aired on MTV.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Here's What's Wrong With The Government Reading Email


Every time Bush or his cronies talk about the warrantless and unconstitutional email spying and telephone surveillance which they conduct on ordinary Americans, they claim that it has carefully controlled targets. That is bullshit, as this news story from the New York Times demonstrates.

Once that door is opened, Big Brother is always watching YOU. Did you ever really believe otherwise?

Keep in mind that the Senate voted 67-31, just this week, to extend retroactive immunity to the big telecoms for spying on their own customers at the request of the Bush Administration.

F.B.I. Received Unauthorized E-Mail Access

By ERIC LICHTBLAU
The New York Times
Published: February 17, 2008


WASHINGTON — A technical glitch gave the F.B.I. access to the e-mail messages from an entire computer network — perhaps hundreds of accounts or more — instead of simply the lone e-mail address that was approved by a secret intelligence court as part of a national security investigation, according to an internal report of the 2006 episode.

F.B.I. officials blamed an “apparent miscommunication” with the unnamed Internet provider, which mistakenly turned over all the e-mail from a small e-mail domain for which it served as host. The records were ultimately destroyed, officials said.

Bureau officials noticed a “surge” in the e-mail activity they were monitoring and realized that the provider had mistakenly set its filtering equipment to trap far more data than a judge had actually authorized.

The episode is an unusual example of what has become a regular if little-noticed occurrence, as American officials have expanded their technological tools: government officials, or the private companies they rely on for surveillance operations, sometimes foul up their instructions about what they can and cannot collect.

The problem has received no discussion as part of the fierce debate in Congress about whether to expand the government’s wiretapping authorities and give legal immunity to private telecommunications companies that have helped in those operations.

But an intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because surveillance operations are classified, said: “It’s inevitable that these things will happen. It’s not weekly, but it’s common.”

A report in 2006 by the Justice Department inspector general found more than 100 violations of federal wiretap law in the two prior years by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, many of them considered technical and inadvertent.

Bureau officials said they did not have updated public figures but were preparing them as part of a wider-ranging review by the inspector general into misuses of the bureau’s authority to use so-called national security letters in gathering phone records and financial documents in intelligence investigations.

In the warrantless wiretapping program approved by President Bush after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, technical errors led officials at the National Security Agency on some occasions to monitor communications entirely within the United States — in apparent violation of the program’s protocols — because communications problems made it difficult to tell initially whether the targets were in the country or not.

Past violations by the government have also included continuing a wiretap for days or weeks beyond what was authorized by a court, or seeking records beyond what were authorized. The 2006 case appears to be a particularly egregious example of what intelligence officials refer to as “overproduction” — in which a telecommunications provider gives the government more data than it was ordered to provide.

The problem of overproduction is particularly common, F.B.I. officials said. In testimony before Congress in March 2007 regarding abuses of national security letters, Valerie E. Caproni, the bureau’s general counsel, said that in one small sample, 10 out of 20 violations were a result of “third-party error,” in which a private company “provided the F.B.I. information we did not seek.”

The 2006 episode was disclosed as part of a new batch of internal documents that the F.B.I. turned over to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group in San Francisco that advocates for greater digital privacy protections, as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit the group has brought. The group provided the documents on the 2006 episode to The New York Times.

Marcia Hofmann, a lawyer for the privacy foundation, said the episode raised troubling questions about the technical and policy controls that the F.B.I. had in place to guard against civil liberties abuses.

“How do we know what the F.B.I. does with all these documents when a problem like this comes up?” Ms. Hofmann asked.

In the cyber era, the incident is the equivalent of law enforcement officials getting a subpoena to search a single apartment, but instead having the landlord give them the keys to every apartment in the building. In February 2006, an F.B.I. technical unit noticed “a surge in data being collected” as part of a national security investigation, according to an internal bureau report. An Internet provider was supposed to be providing access to the e-mail of a single target of that investigation, but the F.B.I. soon realized that the filtering controls used by the company “were improperly set and appeared to be collecting data on the entire e-mail domain” used by the individual, according to the report.

The bureau had first gotten authorization from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor the e-mail of the individual target 10 months earlier, in April 2005, according to the internal F.B.I. document. But Michael Kortan, an F.B.I. spokesman, said in an interview that the problem with the unfiltered e-mail went on for just a few days before it was discovered and fixed. “It was unintentional on their part,” he said.

Mr. Kortan would not disclose the name of the Internet provider or the network domain because the national security investigation, which is classified, is continuing. The improperly collected e-mail was first segregated from the court-authorized data and later was destroyed through unspecified means. The individuals whose e-mail was collected apparently were never informed of the problem. Mr. Kortan said he could not say how much e-mail was mistakenly collected as a result of the error, but he said the volume “was enough to get our attention.” Peter Eckersley, a staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation who reviewed the documents, said it would most likely have taken hundreds or perhaps thousands of extra messages to produce the type of “surge” described in the F.B.I.’s internal reports.

The Story In The New York Times

Deputy Finally Arrested For Dumping Man From Wheelchair

It's about time!

Deputy Arrested in Wheelchair Dump Video

Feb 16, 10:41 AM (ET)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A deputy who was videotaped dumping a paralyzed man out of his wheelchair onto a Tampa jailhouse floor turned herself in.

Jail records show Charlette Marshall-Jones was booked into the Orient Road Jail early Saturday morning.

It is the same jail where Marshall-Jones worked. She is accused of tipping 32-year-old Brian Sterner out of his wheelchair. A videotape of the incident has been widely circulated.

The Hillsborough County deputy was charged with one count of felony abuse of a disabled person and released after posting $3,500 bail. An attorney for Marshall-Jones listed in jail records did not immediately return a phone message.

http://apnews.excite.com/article/20080216/D8URG9Q80.html








http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9nrFoUFsO8

Reality Catcher

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How To Lose Friends and Piss Off People


Ever been in a room where there’s a bunch of people all talking loudly and nobody’s listening? Not much fun, is it? And it’s really hard to exchange any useful information that way.

If the bulletins on MySpace seem that way to you, you’re not the only one.

Some complain because their bulletins aren’t recognized as the obvious works of genius that they are, but there are reasons for that. Communication styles matter, people. Some ways of coming across to other people alienate them, turn them off, and make them stop listening before you have the chance to impart any information.

No matter how important, how vital, how crucial your message, if you make these basic mistakes of communication, pretty damn soon you end up only talking to yourself.

Anyway, here’s the list.

How To Get People To Ignore Your Bulletins

1. Don’t ever read, digest or comment on the bulletins of others. Automatically assume that YOUR message is so important and YOUR genius is so obvious, that you really don’t have anything to learn from what others have to say. And if they'd just read YOUR stuff, they'd realize that you are directly channeling the Ascended Masters!

2. Post the same bulletin over and over without bothering to go back and delete the previous times you’ve sent it. Who cares if you fill up everyone’s bulletin space with your own stuff? Isn’t the objective to shout down other points of view and monopolize the conversation? And your bulletins are so much more intelligent and meaningful than everyone else’s! Obviously.

3. Use “cute,” dismissive little pet names for politicians, public figures, or groups of people who don’t agree with everything you say. That way, if someone is teetering on the edge of agreeing with you, you'll tilt them over to your side of the fence with your clever, junior high school offensiveness. Examples: Call Hillary Clinton Hitlery or Killary. Call Barack Obama Obomb-ya or Obomb-em. Use the term Paultards or Ron-Bots to describe the followers of Ron Paul. I'm sure you can come up with even more clever insults if you apply yourself.

4. Become such a single-issue zealot that peoples’ eyes glaze over when they see your name on a bulletin. No matter what issue someone tries to bring to your attention, make it about YOUR issue. “Well, if you’d just vote for MY candidate, or follow MY spiritual path, none of these things would be a problem!”

5. If you ever do bother to respond to the thoughtful (but obviously inferior) posts of others, do so with a condescending and oh-so-superior attitude. Start off with a real winner of an opening like: “What you’re confused about is…” or maybe “I’m sorry that you can’t see the obvious fact that…” Yeah, that’ll get them on your side.

6. If you ever do actually get around to reading someone else’s bulletin and then re-post it, don’t bother to thank them or acknowledge them in any way. You’ll look so much smarter if everybody thinks it was YOUR idea. Plus, it’s a great way to “get even” with them for some imagined slight in the past, when they chose not to include your brilliant comment on their profile page. You know, the one with a picture of you buggering Bush, or the one where you have so many huge pictures that it becomes the only readily visible comment on the page.

7. After doing all of the above, post additional bulletins whining that nobody reads your bulletins. THAT will make those benighted philistines see it your way!

Follow these seven easy steps, and soon you’ll rule MySpace! Go ye forth and change the world.

People will fall at your feet to receive your pearls of wisdom. You’ll have lots of sex offered to you, and donations will pour in so fast that you can quit your day job at McDonalds.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Our Heroic Law Enforcement Officials

Deputy Dumps Man From Wheelchair



Deputy suspended after dumping man from wheelchair

By: Mike Deeson

Tampa, Florida - The Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office held a press conference at 10:30am regarding the deputy who can be seen on video dumping a man in a wheelchair onto the ground.

They've announced that Deputy Charlette Jones has been relieved of her duties without pay pending the outcome of an investigation. She has not officially been terminated.

Jones has been employed by the Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office since 1996.

Chief Deputy Joe Docobo watched the video for the first time last night and said he found himself in "disgust" and was "appalled at every level."

Docobo also announced that two corporals and a sergeant involved are now on administrative leave with pay, and the jail supervisor on duty did not have knowledge of the incident.

Brian Sterner broke his neck almost 14 years ago and is a quadriplegic.

Sterner, who can drive, was arrested on a traffic violation. When he was booked into the Orient Road Jail last month, Sterner couldn't believe what happened.

He says a deputy looked at him and didn't believe he was a quadriplegic. She walked behind him, took the handles on the back of the hospital-grade wheel chair and dumped it forward.

Sterner says he tried to roll as he was going down, but hit so hard he thought he had broken two ribs. Then, while he was on the floor, deputies frisked him and tried to get him back into the chair.

Sterner says he told them how to pick him up and put him back into the chair, but because he can't feel anything from his breastbone down, he says he was injured and didn't know it. Sterner thought he had broken two ribs, but jail x-rays showed that wasn't true.

The Hillsborough Sheriff's Office didn't know anything about the incident until we showed them their own tape. Now an investigation is underway.

J.D. Calloway, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office, says this has all come to light today, so this review is very active.

While we tried to get a written report about the incident, the major who runs the Orient Road Jail told us there is no incident report, because as far as they are concerned, they didn't have a problem with, or cause a problem to, an inmate in a wheelchair.

But don't tell that to Brian Sterner.

Sterner says it's incredibly degrading and it's an example of how poorly trained the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office is. He adds, if they're trying to figure out if somebody needs to be in a wheelchair or not, there are many other ways to do it than to dump somebody on their face.

Chief Deputy Joe Docobo added at the press conference this morning, the sheriff's office will now try to "make things right for this gentleman."

http://www.tampabays10.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=73747

Monday, February 11, 2008

Yeah, It's Been Pretty Fucking Glorious...


A document called The New Declaration of Independence being circulated in MySpace bulletins under the title "If Ron Paul Is Not Elected" contains a statement which really gets my goat (surprise, surprise):

"The result was a glorious 200+ years which witnessed the greatest achievements, the highest standard of living, and the greatest levels of individual freedom in human history."

Hmm... Good things have happened in the history of the United States, but it's been a mixed bag at best.

If by "a glorious 200+ years" you mean

• the subjugation and near-extermination of Native Americans,

• the exploitation of the working class to fatten the coffers of a few fat cats,

• the long nightmare of racial oppression against blacks and other minorities,

• the ascendancy of religious superstition, prejudice and fear over reason and logic,

• the denial of basic rights and dignity to women,

• venal and cynical "leaders" who capitalize upon what divides us rather than what unites us,

• the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s,

• the all-out Drug War starting in the 1960s, intensifying in the '70s and continuing to the present,

• the despoilation of the environment for the sake of greedy profits to the point where the continued existence of life on the planet is iffy,

• the rise of a military-industrial complex shot through with cronyism, greed and corruption,

• the production of doomsday weapons resulting in a world wired for death,

• the establishment of a colonial empire in Iraq and elsewhere,

• the corporatization of America through the rise of a ruling class emboldened by wealth, privilege, and owning politicians who are for sale to the highest bidder,

• the fetishization of wealth and identity-through-consumerism, and

• the demonization of any sexual orientation outside that which is necessary for biological reproduction...

Then, yeah. It's been pretty fucking glorious, all right.

Otherwise, we must not be reading the same history books.

Idealizing a fictional golden age by looking backwards through a myopic, revisionist history lens is a great way to go -- if you want to make all the same mistakes again.

Otherwise, I prefer to take off the rose-colored glasses and look in the other direction, because that's the only place where we can finally get things right.

"Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed — and no republic can survive.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Battle For America





Great, great stuff.

Thank you to those responsible for this video, for the inspiration. Thank you for caring about the freedom this country is supposed to stand for.

Thank you for defending what is worth defending, and calling bullshit on the pretenders and the usurpers who would twist our country into something hateful and cruel, and who would weaken our Constitution into an instrument of tyranny.

Thank. You.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Ignorance Comes In All Colors



P.C. walked into the room. "Well, Steve, who are you mad at today? When I see you keystroking like that, it can only mean one thing."

Meet my good friend P.C. Uptight. He means well, I think, and we have some pretty interesting discussions sometimes. Almost everything I post is against his better judgment. He's at least a good bellwether of where I might stand if I still gave a fuck about who I piss off.

"Well, P.C., until yesterday I was a fan of this Chicago hip-hop band called The Individuals. They seemed to be pretty cool. They played the Seattle Hempfest last year. They advocated freeing the Prince of Pot, Marc Emery. So we agree on that.

"Then I'm guessing they checked on MySpace to see all the friends of the Hempfest, and sent them all friend invites. I got one a few weeks ago, and accepted it," I told him.

"I found their songs at least mildly engaging. They write lots of stuff about smoking pot, and how tough they are, and how you'd better not try to stop them from smoking pot because they're so tough. Let A Thug Smoke, that kind of thing."

"Oh yeah? They sound culturally interesting," P.C. said. "Of course, you have to take into account their urban backgrounds when it comes to the 'tough' thing. You know, the male role models they had growing up probably didn't teach them any other male way of being in the world."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. If they wanna front tough, then let 'em front tough. That's occasionally amusing, even if it gets old pretty quick. I don't have a big problem with it."

P.C.'s brow furrowed. "Well, then, what's the problem? I know you don't take issue with their weed obsession."

"You know me well," I said to my friend. "It's something a lot more harmful than weed."

"You mean they've started doing the hard stuff? Once again, it's probably their neighborhood to blame..."

"No. I'm not talking about smoking crack. I'm talking about being obnoxious, prejudiced assholes."

"Whatever do you mean?" P.C. looked earnestly into my eyes. "You know, their life experiences have probably led them..."

"P.C., I think we agree that in our still somewhat democratic society, people get to support whomever they wish for political office." "Yes, of course!" P.C. quickly agreed. "That's a fundamental right, upon which almost everything else depends."

"Well, yesterday afternoon, I started getting bulletin after bulletin from these Individuals," I said. "At first, I determined that I'd ignore them. I told myself, 'Well, they're understandably excited about the success of Obama's candidacy -- an excitement which you know I share -- and if they've perhaps gone a little overboard, then you have to cut the young fellows some slack. Maybe they're not yet overly familiar with how the political process works."

"Admirable restraint on your part," P.C. praised. "But something tells me there's more."

"Yeah, they kept on sending them past my tolerance point," I said. "Here's about the tenth MySpace bulletin I got from The Individuals yesterday. They all had almost identical information." P.C. flinched when he saw the subject line.

_______

Get these coons out of office!
From: THE INDIVIDUALS
Date: Feb 6, 2008 3:51 PM

These people do NOT represent Black People at all! PERIOD!

Among those endorsing Clinton are Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas; Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio; Kendrick Meek, Corrine Brown and Alcee Hastings of Florida; Yvette Clarke, Charles Rangel, Gregory Meeks and Edolphus Towns of New York; Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri; Dianne Watson and Laura Richardson of California; David Scott and John Lewis of Georgia and Donna Christian-Christensen (V.I.).

Add Bob Johnson!

More toms and sellouts to come!

_______

P.C. looked slightly shaken. "OK, I'll grant that the language is rather offensive, but aren't they allowed to call each other..."

"Oh, that's not my real problem with it," I replied. "Here's my reply to their bulletin."

_______

From: Steve ~~alapoet~~
Date: Feb 6, 2008 5:53 PM

Just like anybody else, black or white, these folks have the right to endorse anybody they want.

So they have an opinion different than yours? So what!

It is a FREE COUNTRY.

They get to think and say whatever the fuck they want.

_______

"I see your usual diplomacy is showing." P.C. had that perpetual look of mild disapproval which I seem to elicit on a regular basis. "You do have a valid point, but..."

"Here's their reply to THAT," I told him.

_______

RE: Get these coons out of office!
From: THE INDIVIDUALS
Date: Feb 6, 2008 3:54 PM

Mind your business!

_______

"Uh oh," P.C. said. Like I said, he knows me pretty well.

_______

From: Steve ~~alapoet~~
Date: Feb 6, 2008 5:56 PM

When you fill my bulletins up with stupid-ass bullshit, it BECOMES my business.

_______

"Oh, dear." P.C. was looking a little, well, pale.

"And here's what THEY said," I told him.

_______

RE: Get these coons out of office!
From: THE INDIVIDUALS
Date: Feb 6, 2008 3:58 PM

Fuck you bitch!

_______

"Well, maybe they shouldn't have said that," P.C. told me, "but, you know, you can't really do anything about that, can you?"

"Actually, I can," I said. "You know, having done time, I really, really don't like being called a 'bitch' or a 'punk.' Someone does that, they are calling you out. They are saying, "Show me what you got.'"

"I KNOW you aren't talking about violence here," P.C. said, pasty-white in the face.

"Of COURSE not, you idiot. I'm going to BLOG those obnoxious motherfuckers."

"Oh, Steve, there is enough hatefulness and bile out there already."

"Oh yeah, I agree," I told P.C. "That's why I'm calling them on it. This shit has got to stop. And nobody can make me say it's OK to tell people they have to base their vote on the color of their skin."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I Don't Wanna Be Their Fool No More



CREEPIN'

Hey, everybody won't you lend me your ear
There's something to fear, it's here, and that's clear.
Men gettin' rich off rapin' the land
I can't understand why we don't take them in hand.

Oh Lord, I don't want to be their fool no more.
I don't want to be their fool no more.
Open eyes, but you're sleepin'
You best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes creepin' in.
'fore tomorrow comes creepin' in.

Feel that our lives are in the hands of fools
Losin' their cool, it's us that they rule.
Too many people sittin' dead on their ass
They ain't got no class, people this time must pass.

Oh Lord, I don't want to be their fool no more.
Hey ... I don't want to be their fool no more.
Open eyes, but you're sleepin'
You best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes creepin' in.
'fore tomorrow comes creepin' in.

Oh ... yeah, tomorrow comes creepin'.

Oh ... hear me cryin' 'cause the people like me
That long to be free are not actually.
Please everybody won't you hear this song
Help a country that's wrong to someday be strong.

Oh Lord, I don't want to be their fool no more.
No! Lord, I don't want to be their fool no more.
Open eyes, but you're sleepin'
You best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes creepin'.
Creepin' ...

Creepin' ...

Tomorrow comes creepin'.

~ Lyrics by Mark Farner
Album: Grand Funk Railroad "We're An American Band" [1973]

Monday, February 4, 2008

Yes, I'm A Medical Marijuana Patient.
No, I'm Not Sorry.


I doubt they'll print it, since I'm an out-of-stater, but an ignorantly inflammatory editorial in the Portland Oregonian galvanized me to send the following letter to the editor:

Dear Editor,

I was quite disappointed to learn that old-style "Reefer Madness" apparently lives on your editorial page ("Don't Make A Bad Marijuana Law Worse," Feb. 4).

The author of this misguided editorial obviously harbors some enormous moral judgments about marijuana and about those who legally use it as medicine, as if they should somehow feel guilty about the relief that is afforded them through using this herb.

As a legal medical marijuana patient myself, I take exception to the moralistic, judgmental, and willfully ignorant tone of the editorial.

The piece asserts that "statistics strongly suggest" that more Oregonians use marijuana as a result of Medical Marijuana Act which the voters passed 10 years ago, when in fact statistics suggest no such thing.

When the law passed in 1998, adult Oregonians ALREADY used marijuana at a rate 50 percent higher than the national rate. I don't think that would come as shocking or remarkable news to anyone, except perhaps the author of the editorial.

The difference is, now those who can show a medical need for cannabis -- and who have a physician's recommendation to use pot to alleviate their symptoms -- no longer have to fear being arrested and jailed for treating themselves with the medicine which they've learned works best.

Among the facts conveniently omitted from the editorial is that the urine testing of which the author is apparently so fond means nothing when it comes to measuring actual impairment. Marijuana can be detected in the urine for 30-45 days after last ingestion -- so the broad net of urine testing captures those who only use medically, never at the workplace, with the result that they are discriminated against even through they've not broken the law.

I can't understand why you'd look nostalgically back at the bad old days when those who need medical marijuana were jailed and deemed unemployable. Medical marijuana users deserve discrimination no more than those who use any other legal medicine.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Corporations Profit From Human Misery


Another participant in an online discussion forum in which I participate posted this today:

"I disagree that corporations profit from treating people badly."

Which got me started.

My response?

I'm sure that will be vastly comforting news to the underpaid millions who work in sweatshops. Nobody's profiting, no sir!

There are going to be so many happy faces among those who have offered years of hard work and dedicated service, and are then shown the door due to "downsizing" and "reductions in force." That's just IMAGINARY bad treatment, brothers and sisters! You're lucky you ever got paid at all!

I'm sure the miners who have black lung, and the oil workers who have emphysema, cancer, lupus, liver problems, and asthma will breathe easier. There, now, doesn't the air taste sweeter, knowing that in truth, you've been treated just GRANDLY by your beneficent bosses!

Those eight union leaders in Coca-Cola's Colombian bottling plants who were shot down by management lackeys? Probably just a bunch of whiners, anyway. They were bad for profits, but they weren't really treated BADLY, would you say? It was just a frank exchange of ideas!

Yeah, and in India, those thousands of children, working in plants owned by Monsanto and other chemical giants? I'm sure they're gonna rest easier in their comfortable boxes tonight. They'll be mightily cheered, knowing that the CEO back in the good ol' U.S.A. doesn't profit, no sir, not one whit, from their misery. Their wheezing and crying sounds like a celebration!

Those women and children pulling down a fat nickel a day in China and Indonesia for producing sneakers are going to have big smiles on their faces, knowing that, woo hoo!, no fat-cat corporation profits from treating them badly. Good news, folks!

And let's not forget the 109,000 child laborers in the Ivory Coast who are responsible for most of the world's chocolate, and who receive sub-sub-standard wages, no health benefits, and a foot in the ass if they ever get sick? Why, now that they know Nestle doesn't REALLY profit from treating them badly -- 'cause you said so! -- those little fellows will be dancing in the streets tonight!

And I can only imagine the joyous throngs of workers at Wal-Mart! What wonderful news, folks! Your company really doesn't profit at all by denying you benefits, keeping you just under the threshold of hours that would require them to pay you decently. Let's have a party!