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The Tale of The Brits Who Swiped 800 Jobs From New York, Carted Off $90 Million, Then Tonight, Turned Off Our LightsFriday, August 15, 2003 by Greg Palast
I can tell you all about the ne're-do-wells that put out our lights tonight. I came up against these characters -- the Niagara Mohawk Power Company -- some years back. You see, before I was a journalist, I worked for a living, as an investigator of corporate racketeers. In the 1980s, "NiMo" built a nuclear plant, Nine Mile Point, a brutally costly piece of hot junk for which NiMo and its partner companies charged billions to New York State's electricity ratepayers.
To pull off this grand theft by kilowatt, the NiMo-led consortium fabricated cost and schedule reports, then performed a Harry Potter job on the account books. In 1988, I showed a jury a memo from an executive from one partner, Long Island Lighting, giving a lesson to a NiMo honcho on how to lie to government regulators. The jury ordered LILCO to pay $4.3 billion and, ultimately, put them out of business.
Read the entire story at the Voice4Change webiste.
08/01/03: TSOL Vocalist Running For Governor of CA
SANTA MONICA, California -
A singer perhaps best known for a song called "Abolish Government" is now hoping to join it.
Jack Grisham, frontman for the veteran punk group T.S.O.L., announced to MTV News on Wednesday (July 30) that he is running for governor of California in the controversial October 7 recall election to unseat incumbent Democrat Gray Davis.
"I can't afford heath insurance, so I figure if I'm governor, at least they have a good health insurance plan," Grisham joked. The charming singer made light of his first interview as a politician, but insisted his campaign is entirely serious.
"For years I was always, 'F--- the government. F--- the government. F--- the government.' I was always bitching and not doing a thing about it," he explained. "And the other day I said, 'Now I am.' I just got tired of seeing people hurt, that was the biggest thing. I got three sisters who are teachers, two brothers who are police officers, a bunch of friends who are labor workers, dock workers. I work with undocumented alien immigrants all the time and I got tired seeing what they go through and no one caring. And they put this new budget out and the first thing they slash is health care and the first thing they start screwing is the people."
Grisham, who works labor jobs when not touring, will make heath-care reform the center of his platform. Recently, the singer himself was denied health care because his income was just more than the qualifying limit. "I said to the lady, 'So if I quit my job and left my wife and kids, you could fix my back?' " Grisham said. "And she said, 'Yes.' "
As for the state's budget crisis, Grisham said he would hire top accountants to come up with solutions. "It's like being a producer, you get the best people around you to take care of business," he said.
On other issues, Grisham is for legalizing and taxing both marijuana and prostitution, and supports full amnesty for undocumented aliens.
"Another big part of my platform is volunteerism, getting the community involved," he said. "People are just taking and giving nothing in return."
Grisham believes California is ready for an everyday guy, "someone who wears sandals with his sport coat" (as he did Wednesday), to be governor.
"The average California citizen is not riding around in a limousine," he said. "A lot of these [other candidates] want to talk about drug abuse and alcohol abuse and all that, but they've never seen it. You have no idea what these people experience until you've experienced it. Since the end of 1988, I've lost 80-something friends to drugs and alcohol abuse. I've been arrested. When was the last time a politician spent the night in jail? All jails create are more animals."
Grisham, who will run as an independent ("No one will take me," he joked), decided to join the unprecedented gubernatorial race only a few days ago, after friends made the suggestion. "Someone called me and said, 'Have you ever been convicted of a felony?' And I said, 'Well, never convicted,' " Grisham recalled. "And they said, 'Well, we want you to run for governor.' So I said, 'I'm in.' "
T.S.O.L. (True Sounds of Liberty), who formed in Huntington Beach, California, in 1978, were an influence on many other California punk bands forming at the time, including Bad Religion, the Dead Kennedys and Social Distortion.
Grisham left the band in the mid-'80s, but rejoined in 1999 and recorded 2001's Disappear with the original lineup. T.S.O.L.'s next album, Divided We Stand, is due September 9, however Grisham refused to talk about the project.
"The fact that I play music has nothing to do with this," he said. "I'm willing to give that all up to take this job. This really matters, it's not a joke."
Another entertainer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has hinted he might run as well, but a Republican Party spokesperson said Wednesday that he will not.
Davis, who was re-elected governor a year ago, has been blamed for California's $38 billion deficit and accused of being indecisive during the energy crisis. Earlier this summer, Republicans gathered the required number of signatures ? 12 percent of the total number of voters in the previous gubernatorial election, in this case, 897,158 ? for a recall, the first in the U.S. since the governor of North Dakota was removed in 1921.
To get onto the recall ballot, a candidate needs only 65 signatures and a $3,500 filing fee. Because so many names will be on the ballot and the length of the campaign period is so short, less traditional candidates have a better chance in a recall than in a normal gubernatorial election.This report is provided by MTV News
07/30/03: 'Weapons of Mass Distraction' Ad Gets OK
Wed Jul 30,11:05 AM ET
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had received 186 complaints about the advert from some who said the it was demeaning to women and from others who said it trivialized the war in Iraq.
One of the reasons Britain used to justify taking military action was Iraq's development of weapons of mass destruction.
Easyjet denied the ad was sexist and said it was one of a series of "topical, humorous and irreverent" ads.
The ASA agreed that, although the headline was distasteful, the ad was light-hearted and unlikely to cause any serious or widespread offense.
07/29/03: Sean Paul Charged With Using Profanity
Jul 29, 1:38 PM (ET)
07/17/03: Wesley Willis Still Ill
Dear Friends and fellow Wesleynauts -
07/16/03: Oakland settles Bari, Cherney case for $2 million
from Associated Press:
OAKLAND, Calif. -
The City Council decided not to appeal the case and agreed Tuesday to settle as a business decision after its attorneys fees in the 12-year-old case topped $4 million.
"What we analyzed was looking at a settlement in hand versus an unknown future," said Karen Boyd, a spokeswoman for the Oakland city attorney's office.
Earth First! activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney were arrested in May 1990 after a bomb exploded in their Subaru while they were driving in Oakland. Both Bari and Cherney were hurt in the explosion. Bari, who was at the wheel, suffered a crushed pelvis.
Investigators contended that the pair, who were at the time organizing a series of protests against the logging of old-growth forests, were carrying the bomb for some act of environmental sabotage.
But the case fell apart weeks later when prosecutors said there wasn't sufficient evidence to bring charges.
Last year, jurors found that Oakland police and FBI agents wrongly blamed the pair for the explosion in an effort to silence their environmental activism. In the federal suit, Darryl and the estate of Bari, who died of cancer in 1997, won a total of $4.4 million - $2 million from the city of Oakland and $2.4 million from the federal government.
The settlement comes two months after the Oakland City Council declared May 24 "Judi Bari Day" to honor the late activist.
07/01/03: EFF Launches "Let the Music Play" Campaign
Electronic Frontier Foundation Launches "Let the Music Play" Campaign Urges 60 Million Music Lovers in U.S. to Demand Legal Rights
San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Monday, June 30, launched a "Let the Music Play" campaign urging the more than 60 million U.S. citizens who use file-sharing software to demand changes in copyright law to get artists paid and make file-sharing legal.
The EFF Let the Music Play campaign counters the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) announcement that it will file thousands of lawsuits against individuals who use file- sharing software like Kazaa, Grokster, and Morpheus.
"Copyright law is out of step with the views of the American public and the reality of music distribution online," said EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. "Rather than trying to sue people into submission, we need to find a better alternative that gets artists paid while making file sharing legal."
EFF's Let the Music Play campaign provides alternatives to the RIAA's litigation barrage, details EFF's efforts to defend peer- to-peer file sharing, and makes it easy for individuals to write members of Congress. EFF will also place advertisements about the Right to Share campaign in magazines such as Spin, Blender, Computer Gaming World, and PC Gamer.
"Today, more U.S. citizens use file-sharing software than voted for President Bush," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "Congress needs to spend less time listening to record industry lobbyists and more time listening to the more than 60 million Americans who use file-sharing software today."
According to online media analyst Big Champagne, more than 60 million Americans are using file-sharing software.
For this release: http://www.eff.org/IP/P2P/20030630_eff_pr.php
06/18/03: World Land Speed Record Broken in New Mexico
A rocket-powered sled that can reach speeds of approximately 10,300 km/h has broken the world land speed record.
The un-piloted monorail sled reached Mach 8.6 - about nine times the speed of sound - beating the previous record of Mach 8 (9,852 km/h) set in 1982.
Both records were broken at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.
Travelling down a 5 km straightway, the vehicle reached its target in around 6 seconds. Because of the sheer speed of the sled, observers heard only silence until a split second before it reached the end of the track.
"Psychologically, you think it's over", says Lt Col. Russ Kurtz, Director of Operations. "But then comes the sonic boom. I know it's coming. But I always jump a little".
"There were a lot of high-fives, hugs, handshakes all around," said Lt. Col. James Jolliffe, Commander of the 846th Test Squadron. "My hat's off to all the people that made it happen."
06/16/03: Musicians Labeled 'TRAITOR'
lifted from www.dotmusic.com/news/May2003/news29452.asp -
A number of stars including Madonna, Eddie Vedder, Dixie Chicks and Fred Durst have been singled out as "traitors" by right-wing website probush.com.
The site follows in the wake of widespread U.S. media coverage of a commercially available deck of cards depicting figures that have been outspoken in their criticism of the current American administration, called 'Deck of Weasels'.
The site also names Sheryl Crow, Barbara Streisand, Rage Against The Machine's Zack de la Rocha and Tom Morello, Mos Def, Ani Di Franco, Michael Franti and a host of other musicians, writers and public figures.
Both the probush website and the 'Deck of Weasels' use the legal disclaimer that they are satirical, though the website reads: "Parody. Not to be taken seriously. These "traitors" are not legal "traitors" of the United States. Though we wish they were."
Speaking to daveyd.com, Iriscience of the hip hop act Dilated Peoples and one of the artists named by the site said: "Things like this are ridiculous and irresponsible especially in today's political and social climate where a handful of powerful people are trying to squash dissent.
"Most of the people on this list had an anti-war stance not an anti-American stance. It's ridiculous to equate anti-war sentiments with being Anti-American.
"What's ironic is the fact that I'm out here trying to promote peace and end violence so you would think I and others would have a bigger platform to speak out. Unfortunately, we have people trying to silence and ridicule us for promoting peace."
06/04/03: Beer ice cream goes on sale
from the BBC
The distinctive taste of Newcastle Brown Ale has become the latest ice cream flavour from a family-run Northumberland dairy
Newcastle Brown Ale flavoured ice cream was launched on Tuesday by Doddington Dairies, and will only be available during the summer months.
The makers say the handmade ice cream reflects the region's identity, and was even handed out to the European Capital of Culture 2008 judges on their last visit.
Newcastle Brown Ale has already been used as an ingredient in locally produced products, such as bread.
Although the ice cream is made using the ale, under licence from brewers Scottish and Newcastle, the cooking process means it contains less than 1% alcohol.
Jackie Maxwell, director of Doddington Dairy said: "We were looking for an ice cream flavour that was distinctive, and had a strong identity with the region.
"Newcastle Brown Ale has all of that.
"It has been a fantastic challenge working on a product like this, with one of the world's most famous brands.
"Every part of the process has been great for us - from the design of the cartons, through to testing the ale syrup for just the right flavour.
"The ice cream highlights Newcastle Brown's unique flavour characteristics."
Mrs Maxwell said the product had a caramel flavour with a "subtle" taste of Newcastle Brown and said it had gone down well with the Capital of Culture judges.
She added: "I think they liked it, they thought it was great. We got some feedback from the organisers and they said they had tasted it and enjoyed it."
Sharon Annette, of Scottish Courage, who brew Newcastle Brown Ale, said: "Doddington Dairy are an award winning North Eastern company, Newcastle Brown is an award winning North Eastern beer. It's a perfect partnership."
The Newcastle Brown Ale ice cream goes on sale at supermarkets and speciality shops across Newcastle and Northumberland from next week.
Wesley Willis, Alternative Tentacle's Rock Star, had to undergo emergency surgery on June 2nd at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Illinois to identify the source of, and to suppress internal bleeding.
On Sunday, June 1st, Wesley was at a physical therapy appointment when he started bleeding. He was rushed back to the hospital where doctors tried to determine the source of his bleeding. Despite exhaustive attempts to locate the source of his bleeding via non-intrusive methods, doctors decided that they had to operate. So, on Monday, June 2nd, at around 1pm CST, Wesley was in surgery for 6 1/2 hours. They were able to locate the source of the bleeding and suppress it. Tissue has been sent off for tests to see if his leukemia has spread to other regions.
Wesley Willis, who has released over 50 albums - 3 of which on Alternative Tentacles - was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) at the end of 2002. It is not clear if this bleeding was related to his leukemia. This form of leukemia is treatable. Wesley has been undergoing care for his leukemia, and his doctors are very hopeful that the treatment will be successful. Prior to this incident, he has responded well to treatments. But this will be an ongoing battle. Wesley is clearly not out of the woods yet.
For more information on this type of leukemia, you can visit http://leukemia-lymphoma.org and we will have updates of his condition on our website.
All touring plans for the rest of the year have been cancelled.
Wesley celebrated his 40th Birthday on Saturday, May 31st.
Well-wishers are encouraged to send Get Well cards to Wesley care of the following address :
06/03/03: Alternative Tentacles Release Schedule - NEW!
June 09, 2003 :
July 07, 2003 :
August 4th, 2003 :
September 8th, 2003 :
Recent Releases :Virus 299 VIC BONDI / ARTICLES OF FAITH Fortunate Son CD EP
Virus 298 WARD CHURCHILL Pacifism as Pathology CD
Virus 297 FLESHIES The Sicilian LP/CD
Virus 295 CHRISTIAN PARENTI Taking Liberties: Prisons, Policing and Surveillance in an Age of Crisis CD
Virus 296 JIM HIGHTOWERThe People Are Revolting (in the very best sense of that word) CD
Virus 294 JFA We Know You Suck CD
Virus 290 JELLO BIAFRA Machine Gun In The Clown's Hand - Spoken Word Album #7 3xLP/3xCD
Virus 292 HOWARD ZINN Artists In A Time Of War CD
Virus 293 NOAM CHOMSKY The "New War On Terrorism" CD
Virus 291 RATOS DE PORAO onisciente coletivo LP/CD
Virus 284 ALEXANDER COCKBURN Beating The Devil: The Incendiary Rants Of Alexander Cockburn CD
Virus 287 ARTICLES OF FAITH Complete, Vol. 1 LP/CD
Virus 288 ARTICLES OF FAITH Complete, Vol 2 LP/CD
Virus 286 The FLAMING STARS Sunset & Void CD
Virus 289 DARRYL CHERNEY and the CHERNOBLES Bush It! / Send George Bush a Pretzel CDS
05/21/03: Oakland Declares Judi Bari day!
The city of Oakland has gone from proclaiming Judi Bari to be a terrorist to honoring her with her own official city day. This remarkable turnaround was proclaimed yesterday, May 20, in the chambers of the Oakland City Council nearly a year after a jury award Bari's estate along with fellow activist Darryl Cherney $4.4 million for violations of their civil rights committed by Oakland Police and FBI agents thirteen years ago. Bari and Cherney were falsely accused of car-bombing themselves while on a musical organizing tour for Redwood Summer 1990. The First Annual Judi Bari Day of Oakland will take place this Sat., May 24 at 11:30 am and consist of a quiet anniversary gathering at the site of the bombing at Park Blvd. nd MacArthur in Oakland, in front of Oakland High School. The public and media are inviated to attend. The resolution follows below this release.
Activist Darryl Cherney, who was riding with Judi Bari the day a car bomb almost killed her noted that in these days of the war on terror, "The government can not be trusted to decide who is a terrorist and who is not in many cases." Cherney said, "There is a political agenda that the federal government follows in declaring peaceful activists to be terrorists while anti-abortion groups and the Ku Klux Klan remain unscathed. Thankfully, the City of Oakland has righted a wrong. They should do this more often, like in the case of the activists who were shot by police at the port of Oakland during a peaceful anti-war rally. It's OK to admit you're wrong and make amends."
Cherney presented the Oakland City Council with a statue of "Gaia," the ancient Greek Goddess representation of the living, breathing Mother Earth. He said that she would be watching over them as they make their decisions about school closures and police brutality. The statue is the work of Oberon Ravenheart of Mythic Images in Sonoma County.
websites to check out: To hear "Bush It" CD single by Darryl Cherney and the Chernobles (lyrics included): http://indybay.org/news/2002/03/117811.php On the bombing and attempted frame up by FBI of Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney: http://www.judibari.org $50,000 Reward for info leading to incarceration of Charles Hurwitz: http://www.jailhurwitz.com/ Darryl Cherney's music homepage: http://www.darrylcherney.com/
05/16/03: U.S. Army video game to train soldiers
By Reed Stevenson
For the past year, the Army has been handing out free games as part of its recruiting efforts, but in the coming months it will also turn to a video game to train squad leaders in real-life combat tactics.
"If you enrol in the army of the future, you'll get your helmet, your gun and one of these discs," said Wil Stahl, a game designer at Pandemic Studios who led the three-year project to develop the game based on the Army's requirements.
"You have an Xbox -- they assume -- at home," he said.
The combat simulator, which Santa Monica, California-based Pandemic showed off for reporters at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles this week, puts players at the head of two light-infantry teams locked in a running firefight in a vaguely Middle Eastern city.
The "bad guys" pop out from behind walls and pull up in pickup trucks with automatic-weapons mounted on the beds. When shot, they fall with a burst of blood from the head.
In developing the game, which is now being spun off as a mass-market release titled "Full Spectrum Warrior, Pandemic said it was careful to fictionalise details of the game's setting and to make sure that the U.S. soldiers acted with discipline and professionalism.
As for the digital battleground, the look shifted from Bosnia-like terrain to a more Arab-looking street during the course of development, he said.
"We can't ignore the fact that we are in Afghanistan. We are in Iraq," said Stahl.
The commercial version of "Full Spectrum Warrior" will be published by Calabasas, California-based THQ in early 2004 for Microsoft's Xbox game console.
The project is not without its critics, especially among experts who question the relationship between video games and violence among children.
"It seems to me that they're using the Army's involvement to legitimise the violence," said Joanne Cantor, a professor who researches issues concerning violent games at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Separately, the U.S. Army said that more than 1.1 million people have gone through "basic training" in its "America's Army" personal computer game, which debuted at the Expo in Los Angeles last year.
05/07/03: Hearing on Media Consolidation With FCC Commissioner Michael Copps
Monday, May 12th, 1:00 - 3:00 PM. Shield Room, Caleruega Hall, Dominican University of California, San Rafael.
Congresswoman Woolsey and Commissioner Copps invite you to a discussion on proposed new FCC rules which would lift limits on media ownership and enable large conglomerates to own multiple broadcast outlets and newspapers in local markets. This important issue will affect how all of us receive news, information and entertainment.
Panelists: Orville Schell, Dean, Graduate School of Journalism, U.C. Berkeley; Peter Phillips, Ph.D., Project Censored, Sonoma State University; Kim Spencer, President, Worldlink TV; Roger Grossman, Publisher, Marin Independent Journal; John Burgess, General Manager, KFTY Channel 50. Public testimony will follow the panel.
Parking is available at Conlon Recreation Center on Grand Avenue with signs to the Caleruega Hall on Magnolia. For a campus map and directions, go to http://www.dominican.edu.