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06/06/04: What do you want, Ronald Reagan?
In the spirit of Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live, "This just in: Ronald Reagan is still dead."

In other news, Eugene Ruggles, a poet and post-Beat North Beach activist died yesterday at the age of 68. Gene was known for his "deep image" verse and for organizing San Francisco poetry readings and benefits.

Born in Pontiac, Michigan, he came to San Francisco in the early 1960s and became a regular in North Beach bars and cafes. His work appeared in numerous literary journals, and his book (Lifeguard in the Snow) published in 1977 by the University of Pittsburg Press, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

06/03/04: The Clash still threatening after 20 years!
A Special Branch officer questioned a punk rock musician as a terror suspect after he sent a text message containing lyrics from a Clash song to the wrong person, it was reported today. Band member Mike Devine, from Bristol, said he had been approached by the officer and shown a copy of a text he had sent in April, which contained the words "gun" and "jet airliner".

The 35-year-old, who plays bass in a Clash tribute group called London Calling, had intended to text the lyrics - from the Clash song Tommy Gun - to singer Reg Shaw. Instead, he sent the message to the wrong number.... [Devine] said the officer had then produced a printout of the text message, which read: "How about this for Tommy Gun? OK - so let's agree about the price and make it one jet airliner for 10 prisoners."

He said he had then been asked to explain what the message meant, and described how the detective had looked "puzzled" when told the words were by the Clash. The officer seemed "a little embarrassed" when he left, Mr Devine added.

From The Guardian. This is either funny or distressing, depending on your outlook on life...

05/27/04: Frisco art gallery may close, defend free expression!
A North Beach art gallery owner has been attacked and threatened for showing a controversial painting of American soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners. After having her life repeatedly threatened, her business egged and her face spat upon, Lori Haigh papered up the windows of her Powell Street gallery, Capobianco, on Tuesday May 25th.

The painting, titled "The Abuse" by East Bay artist Guy Colwell, shows Pfc. Lynndie England and another soldier smiling gleefully as they look upon a trio of naked, hooded Iraqi prisoners who are hooked up to electrical wires. In the background, a third American soldier is escorting a Muslim woman in a dress into the torture chamber. The painting is black and white, except for American flag patches on the soldiers' uniforms, which appear to be splattered with blood.

A week ago, Haigh realized the nerve the painting had struck when she arrived at work to find the place egged and heaps of trash dumped at the gallery entrance. On her computer and voice mail were stinging messages calling her anti-American for showing the artwork. Even after she took the painting out of the front window, she received six threats against her life. The last straw was when a man spat at her.

"He came walking in with a fisherman's cap and a fatigue jacket on and slowly made his way along the wall, looking at the pictures," she said. "Then he put his fists on my desk, put his face close to mine and spat. It was a real big loogie spit -- it was not a tiny spit." As Haigh ran to the back of the gallery for some napkins, the man fled. Haigh has filed a police report on the incident.

All upcoming exhibitions, including a Winston Smith exhibit, have been cancelled, and unless there's significant community support this Saturday, Haigh will close her gallery permanently.

On Saturday May 29th, artist Colwell will bring a U-haul to the gallery to retrieve his artwork, and a number of the artist's supporters are expected to turn out. Please show up at 10AM to show support for dissident art and freedom of expression. Capobianco Gallery is at 1841 Powell in the heart of North Beach, San Francisco.

Portions of this AT news item are from the S.F. Examiner.

05/19/04: Arundhati Roy on the election in India
Check out this fascinating 'Democracy Now' interview with author and AT spoken word artist Arundhati Roy. 'Democracy Now' host Amy Goodman is the interviewer. India is the world's most populous democracy, and an often overlooked world power in the US. Dig in!

05/13/04: Today's the 19th Anniversary of the MOVE bombing
May 13, 1985 marked the day that the Philadelphia Police Department, with the assistance of the FBI, bombed a West Philly neighborhood in order to evict members of the radical back-to-the-earth group MOVE. A day-long seige of the group, which was holed up in its rowhouse, ended after a Police helicopter dropped high explosive on the house's roof. The ensuing inferno burned down 61 houses and killed 11 of the 13 MOVE members in the building, including 6 children. Police sharpshooters across the alley from the home's back door shot at people attempting to escape the flames, and the Philadelphia Fire Department was ordered to hold off on extinguishing the flames. Officially, the reason was in fear of a gun battle erupting while the Fire Department battled the fire. However, the long-running feud between Philadelphia city officials- especially the notoriously brutal police force- and MOVE indicate deeper reasons. The 2 had tangled in 1978, when Philadelphia Police officer James Ramp was killed in a siege of MOVE's first house elsewhere in West Philly. Controversy over whether or not he was killed by police in a crossfire continued for years.

Journalist Mumia Abu Jamal was connected with MOVE in 1981 when he was arrested by the Philadelphia Police. One decent book to check out on this issue is "Attention MOVE! This is America!", by Margot Harry. Unfortunately, it is out of print, but is available on ABE.COM

05/10/04: Sign this anti-FCC petition and fight censorship!
Check out Stop The F.C.C. and sign their anti-censorship petition. There's also links to more information about US government censorship. Arm yourself with information and fight the right!

From the petition language:

"While we realize that the government has an obligation to protect our children, surely there needs to be a limit to what is regulated. Adults and parents are capable of making decisions about what to watch, read or listen to and are certainly capable of turning off or putting down anything that may offend them or their children."

05/05/04: Disney buckles to the Bushes over Michael Moore!
From Michael Moore:

"Yesterday I was told that Disney, the studio that owns Miramax, has officially decided to prohibit our producer, Miramax, from distributing my new film, "Fahrenheit 911." The reason? According to today's (May 5) New York Times, it might "endanger" millions of dollars of tax breaks Disney receives from the state of Florida because the film will "anger" the Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush."

Catch "Farenheit 911" at the Cannes Film Festival this summer or at your local art house soon. You can let Disney know what you think about this via Working Assets. They have this page where you can send an e-mail to Disney.

04/23/04: FBI finally pays Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney!
After months of negotiation, the Federal Government has settled with Darryl Cherney and the estate of Judi Bari for $2 million total. The City of Oakland had already settled for the same amount and was just waiting for the FBI to settle before paying out $500,000 annually for the next 4 years.

The $2 million settlement from the FBI is one of the largest ever. According to the San Francisco Chronicle article, "In 1995, the FBI paid $3.1 million to the family of Vicki Weaver, who was killed three years earlier at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. The family of Black Panther Fred Hampton, killed during a FBI raid in 1969, received $1.85 million..."

"The settlement stems from a civil suit Bari and Cherney filed over their arrest after a pipe bomb exploded in Bari's Subaru station wagon on Park Boulevard in Oakland on May 24, 1990. Bari, who was driving, suffered a crushed pelvis, and Cherney received cuts from the blast. The two, who were headed to a rally to mark the beginning of a campaign of protests called Redwood Summer, were arrested within hours, and their homes and vehicles were searched. Authorities then said they believed that Bari and Cherney had been carrying the bomb in her car and that it had detonated accidentally. Prosecutors later declined to file charges against the pair, citing insufficient evidence, and no other arrests have ever been made. Cherney and Bari later sued the FBI and Oakland police investigators, alleging false arrest, illegal search, slanderous statements and conspiracy. The suit said investigators focused on Bari and Cherney only as suspects and refused to consider the possibility they were victims chosen for their confrontational environmental activism. "

Alternative Tentacles is proud to have released a spoken word release from Judi Bari and a music release from Darryl Cherney.

Congratulations, we only wish Judi was alive to enjoy the settlement. Perhaps the FBI can now try to find out who actually bombed the pair of Earth First activists instead of trying to blame the victims...

04/21/04: Arundhati Roy a national favorite!
Posting was removed.

04/16/04: Yummy Bake Sales for Democracy tomorrow!
Those nutty activists from are organizing a delicious deed dedicated to democracy! Tomorrow MoveOn members will holding over 1,000 bake sales to help raise some dough (ba-dump-bump!) and take our country back. It's a great way to demonstrate the contrast between Bush's millionaire-backed campaign and our grassroots movement. All the money raised will help MoveOn PAC run ads and get out the vote this November to support John Kerry.

If you need a piece of pie or a cookie or two tomorrow -- and who doesn't -- you can find a bake sale in your area here!

04/16/04: Greedy Bastards = funny fundraisers!
Our buddies at Astropitch have a new line of shirts out called Greedy Bastards, immortalizing the Bush/Cheney administration, among other things. We're proud to offer three of their beautiful US-Made American Apparel designs just in time for the run-up to the 2004 US National Elections. Some of the proceeds are donated by GB to and to help those fine organizations mobilize the public to vote Dubya and his gang out of office this November.

Here are the three shirts: Bush=Clown, Cheney=Evil Dead, and Bush=Giant Pussy. Check 'em out!

03/26/04: Mia Zapata's killer convicted- finally!
Thursday morning a jury in a Seattle court convicted Jesus Mezquia of first degree murder in the 1993 death of punk singer Mia Zapata. Zapata was 27 at the time and fronting up and coming Seattle punk band The Gits. On July 7th 1993, after returning from a successful tour of the US west coast Zapata was beaten, raped and strangled, with her body was dumped in an alley in Seattle's Central Area.

Police arrested Mezquia, 48, in Florida in 2002. DNA evidence linked him to the killing. No sentencing date has been set at this time. The killing spurred the creation of the Home Alive anti-violence/pro-self-defense organization, as well as the band Evil Stig, which was the surviving members of The Gits fronted by Joan Jett.

Alternative Tentacles artists like Jello Biafra and Zen Guerilla donated tracks to various Home Alive compilations over the years. We're all very happy that the person responsible for this murder has been convicted and hope that similar violent, hateful crimes happen less and less in the future.

03/17/04: Rumsfeld trips on own words- Censure Dubya!
Local heroes Move On dot Org forwarded this video of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld being called on his pre-Iraq invasion lies. It's part of Move On dot Org's push to censure President Bush- check it out!

03/15/04: Computer nerds and Cunning Linguist Draft Alert!
From this Saturday's S.F. Chronicle:

"The government is taking the first steps toward a targeted military draft of Americans with special skills in computers and foreign languages.

The Selective Service System has begun the process of creating the procedures and policies to conduct such a targeted draft in case military officials ask Congress to authorize it and the lawmakers agree to such a request...

The issue of a renewed draft has gained attention because of concerns that U.S. military forces are over-extended. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strikes, U.S. forces have fought two wars, established a major military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq and are now taking on peacekeeping duties in Haiti. But Congress, which would have to authorize a draft, has so far shown no interest in renewing the draft..."

03/08/04: Anti-Bush shirts benefit Move On dot Org!
Our buddies @ Astropitch have put up a scathing anti-Dubya store called Greedy Bastard! This site, which donates some of the profits to Moveon.Org and, so far has 4 different delightful designs. Check it here!

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