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03/17/03: Oscars Blacklist Stars
Oscars blacklist stars in bid to prevent peace protest speeches

ANNETTE WITHERIDGE IN NEW YORK
THE backlash against prominent stars opposing any attack on Iraq has impacted on this year's Oscars, with organisers drawing up a blacklist of people who will not be allowed a platform to air anti-war views.

Meryl Streep, Sean Penn, Vanessa Redgrave, George Clooney, Dustin Hoffman and Spike Lee are among those who will not be speaking, amid fears they could turn the ceremony into an anti-war rally.

In a move denounced by some as a return to McCarthyism, star presenters have been ordered to stick to scripts, while winners, who the producers have no control over, could find their acceptance speeches cut if they say anything much more than a brief thank you.

Officially, executives say that politics is a turn-off for the show's television audience. But in the wake of a public backlash against actors such as Martin Sheen, from the West Wing, who have voiced opposition to war, producers do not want to upset advertisers who have paid more than 50 million for adverts. In previous years, high-profile presenters have grabbed the spotlight to promote their political causes. Richard Gere urged China to end its occupation of Tibet and Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins appealed for HIV-positive Haitians to be allowed into the United States.

Sarandon and Robbins are also among those on this year's unofficial blacklist, along with Ed Norton and Dennis Hopper. The only anti-war campaigner on the presenters' list so far is Salma Hayek, the star of Frida and a best actress nominee.

Gil Cates, one of the ceremony's producers, wants the ceremony, which takes place on 23 March, to celebrate the Oscars' 75th anniversary rather than the anti-Bush/Blair movement. And he admitted he thought it "inappropriate" for stars to use their slots to spotlight world problems.

But Tom O'Neil, an Oscar historian, said: "Political tantrums are inevitable. You're dealing with a class of people who have unchecked egos and who are invited on talk shows to be experts on everything from high art to pop culture."

Top of the loose-cannon list this year is the Bowling for Columbine director, Michael Moore, a favourite to win the documentary feature award.

Last month, Moore thanked the French for not supporting the proposed Iraqi invasion while accepting an award in Paris. And on Saturday, he used the Writers Guild of America awards in Los Angeles to voice his opinions of George Bush, the US president.

Worryingly, for the Oscar producers, Moore won loud applause after telling the audience: "What I see is a country that does not like what's going on. Let's all commit ourselves to Bush removal in 2004."

If Moore does not win an Oscar, insiders claim Hollywood will be reverting back to the witch-hunting 1950s, when Senator Joseph McCarthy and his cohorts destroyed the careers of supposed Communist sympathies. The "Red scare" stories saw off Charlie Chaplin, who left Hollywood for Switzerland, and a host of other high-profile celebrities.

McCarthy-supporting actors included the former US president, Ronald Reagan, and the director Elia Kazan.




03/10/03: Sheep Head Breaks Music Fan's Skull

OSLO, Norway - A flying sheep's head hit a concertgoer and fractured his skull at a concert of metal band Mayhem.

The band, part of Norway's death metal music scene, was carving up a dead sheep as part of its stage act when the animal's head flew off lead singer Maniac's knife and struck Per Kristian Hagen, 25.

The show was Thursday in Bergen, 487 kilometers (302 miles) west of the capital, Oslo.

"My relationship to sheep is a bit ambivalent now. I like them, but not when they come flying through the air," Hagen told The Associated Press Monday from his hospital room. "I have a headache now." He is expected to recover.

Hagen, a Mayhem fan, filed involuntary assault and battery charges against the band. The charges carry a maximum sentence of six months in prison.

Mayhem member Rune Eriksen, whose stage name is Blasphemer, said the incident was unfortunate.

"The whole thing was an accident, but maybe it would be an idea for another show," he said.

Eriksen promised Hagen a free ticket to the group's next performance.

Police detective Carl-Petter Leganger told the AP an investigation has started, but "nothing suggests this was a conscious act."




03/07/03: Area Man Arrested For "Peace on Earth" Shirt

Associated Press story:

ALBANY, N.Y. - A man was charged with trespassing in a mall after he refused to take off a T-shirt that said "Peace on Earth" and "Give peace a chance."

Mall security approached Stephen Downs, 61, and his 31-year-old son, Roger, on Monday night after they were spotted wearing the T-shirts at Crossgates Mall in a suburb of Albany, the men said.

The two said they were asked to remove the shirts made at a store there, or leave the mall. They refused.

The guards returned with a police officer who repeated the ultimatum. The son took his T-shirt off, but the father refused.

"'I said, `All right then, arrest me if you have to,'" Downs said. "So that's what they did. They put the handcuffs on and took me away."

Downs pleaded innocent to the charges Monday night. The New York Civil Liberties Union said it would help with his case if asked.

Police Chief James Murley said his officers were just responding to a complaint by mall security.

"We don't care what they have on their shirts, but they were asked to leave the property, and it's private property," Murley said.

A mall spokeswoman did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment.

Monday's arrest came less than three months after about 20 peace activists wearing similar T-shirts were told to leave by mall security and police. There were no arrests.




03/07/03: Man Walks Into A Bar, Kills Computer

LAFAYETTE, Colo. ( Court TV ) George Doughty won't have any more problems with his computer. But the computer will never work again either.

Doughty was accused Sunday of shooting his Dell laptop four times with a Smith & Wesson revolver in the middle of his Sportsman's Inn Bar and Restaurant.

He then allegedly hung the destroyed laptop on the wall "like a hunting trophy," said Lt. Rick Bashor of the Lafayette Police Department.

Doughty, 48, who owns the establishment, entered the bar from his office on Sunday morning. He told the two patrons and bartender that he was going to shoot his computer before returning to his office. Some 30 minutes later, police said, Doughty set his laptop on the floor, warned the customers to cover their ears and fired away. No one was injured.

Police learned of the shooting when an employee of the bar called the bartender to ask if there was anything going on. The bartender then told her about the incident and she notified authorities, Bashor said.

Doughty never explained what prompted his actions, but told police that it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

Because Doughty is accused of putting the customers and bartender in danger, he was arrested on suspicion of felony menacing, reckless endangerment and the prohibited use of weapons.




03/06/03: Pentagon Orders More Body Bags Than Last Time

FEARS that Iraq will inflict heavy casualties on British and American troops intensified yesterday when it emerged the Pentagon had ordered almost five times the number of body bags it requested before the last Gulf War.

Within weeks it will have more than 77,000 bags at the ready, compared with 16,000 in 1991.

In the last conflict, 148 US soldiers were killed in combat, including 35 by "friendly fire", while Iraqi forces suffered some 30,000 casualties.

The increased order will reinforce concern that Saddam might be preparing to use chemical or biological weapons.

It will also fuel speculation that planners are expecting to suffer high casualties in street fighting as the troops try to take major cities such as Basra and Baghdad.

"We hope no one dies, but you just don't know what will happen," said Frank Johnson, director of public affairs for the Defence Supply Centre in Philadelphia.

US military sources say that if soldiers are killed as a result of an Iraqi attack with chemical or biological weapons, the bodies will most probably be cremated on the battlefield to avoid the spread of contamination.

The Pentagon yesterday denied a claim by a senior Vatican official that the US was secretly shipping 100,000 body bags and 6000 coffins to a military base in Sicily.

But it admitted that it has 34,000 of the bags stored at military bases around the world and available to be sent to the Gulf at short notice.

It has ordered another 8890 for delivery this week and is about to sign a contract for another 30,000 to be delivered next month.

That will bring the total to 72,890 of the black vinyl bags. Each bag has a full-length zip and six handles and costs $70. The Pentagon is also buying 3500 heavier duty olive-green bags at a cost of $150 each.

These bags are coated with rubber and are used to lift bodies by helicopter from rugged terrain. Hundreds of coffins have also been ordered for those soldiers flown back to the US for burial.
This report appears on news.com.au.




03/06/03: Woman Offers Bush Crucifixion-For-Peace Deal

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A New Zealand woman said on Wednesday she was willing to be crucified by President Bush if he pledges not to attack Iraq.

Mary Grierson said she had emailed the challenge to the White House and as an open letter to leading U.S. newspapers.

"Send your troops home and take me instead, on behalf of everyone in the world who does not want war and oppression," she wrote.

But the deal has a catch -- Bush would have to personally hammer in the nails.

"I don't think he would have the courage to do it quite frankly, but that is the measure of a man," she told Radio New Zealand.

"Can he follow through with this aim of creating more chaos in the world if he had to do it just to one person himself?"

It is not the first novel expression of protest in New Zealand against a looming U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Another woman spent NZ$2,500 ($1,409) last month on an anti-war newspaper advertisement directed at Bush in the hope it would be seen by the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and passed on to Washington.

New Zealand, which refuses entry to its ports for foreign warships that are nuclear powered or carry nuclear weapons, opposes military action against Iraq unless it is backed by the United Nations.




02/27/03: U.S. loyalty via pizza service to Germans, French

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Aage Bjerre has three rules for dining at his pizzeria on the Danish island of Fanoe: No dogs. No Germans. No French.

According to the Canadian Press, the owner of Aage's Pizza is tired of French and German attitudes toward the United States, calling them "disloyal" and "anti-American" in their bid to thwart a possible U.S.-led attack against Iraq.

As a result, Bjerre has refused to serve German and French tourists coming to the town of Nordby, where he runs his shop.

"Hadn't the United States helped Europe in defeating Germany, there would have been photos of Adolf Hitler hanging on the walls around here," he said, referring to Nazi Germany's occupation of Europe in World War II.

The island, 320 kilometers (200 miles) southwest of the capital, Copenhagen, is a popular spot for visitors from neighboring Germany. Of the approximately 100,000 tourists arriving each year, some 60 percent are German, said Birthe Elstroem, head of the island's tourism office. Only a few French tourists visit there.

On the door of Bjerre's restaurant are two homemade pictograms that let French and Germans know they're not welcome. One features the silhouette of a man colored red, yellow and black (the colors of the German flag) and the second is painted blue, white and red (the colors of the French flag). Both silhouettes have a bar across each man.

"I do what my conscience tells me to do," Bjerre said.

Should Germany decide to participate in U.S.-led military action against Iraq, Bjerre, 44, said he would lift his ban. The French, however, have "a lifetime ban here," Bjerre said.




02/27/03: RIP Mr. Rogers - The War / Terrorism side

There was a long article on the passing of legendary childrens' show host, Fred "Mr." Rogers. You can read all of it via the link below, we just thought it was interesting that he too had something to say about life after September 11th :

>

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Fred Rogers , who gently invited millions of children to be his neighbor as host of the public television show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" for more than 30 years, died of cancer early Thursday. He was 74.[snip]

Rogers taught children how to share, deal with anger and even why they shouldn't fear the bathtub by assuring them they'll never go down the drain.

During the Persian Gulf War, Rogers told youngsters that "all children shall be well taken care of in this neighborhood and beyond in times of war and in times of peace," and he asked parents to promise their children they would always be safe.

"We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility," he said in 1994. "It's easy to say 'It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.'

"Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes."

Rogers came out of broadcasting retirement last year to record public service announcements for the Public Broadcasting Service telling parents how to help their children deal with the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"If they see the tragedy replayed on television, they might think it's happening at that moment," he said.
Read it all at :
http://entertainment.msn.com/Celebs/Celeb.aspx?movieperson=254614&c=254614




02/26/03: "I have stolen mail. This is my punishment."
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -
A man convicted of stealing U.S. mail will have to wear his own unique scarlet letter telling the world he was a thief. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker sentenced Shawn Gementera to two months in prison and 100 hours of unusual community service for stealing mail from homes in San Francisco.

As his community service, Judge Walker on Tuesday ordered Gementera to spend 100 hours in front of a United States Postal Service office in San Francisco wearing a sandwich board bearing the words: "I have stolen mail. This is my punishment," the U.S. Attorney for Northern California said in a statement.

"A two month period of incarceration followed by the stigma of standing in front of a public post office wearing a sandwich board, Judge Walker stated, would emphasise to Mr Gementera and others the seriousness of mail theft offences," the statement said.




02/25/03: Clever Octopus Caught with Tentacle in Shrimp Jar
Mon Feb 24,10:41 AM ET

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) -
A common octopus in a German zoo has learned to open jars of shrimp by watching zoo attendants perform the act underwater.

Frida, a 5-month-old female octopus, opens the jars by pressing her body on the lid and grasping the sides with the suckers on her eight tentacles. With a succession of body twists she unscrews the lid.

"Depending on how tight the lid is, it takes her anything from 10 seconds to an hour to get it off," said Frank Mueller, head of the aquarium at the Hellabrunn Zoo. Frida opens shrimp jars before the public at feeding time twice a week.

Mueller said he taught Frida the trick after he remembered seeing octopuses showing remarkable dexterity off the coast of Morocco, where he went diving when he was younger. Frida was imported from Morocco.

"We just did it in the tank a few times and eventually she cottoned on," he said. "You won't see any other marine creatures do this. She's been at it about a month now."




02/21/03: Anti-Bush T-Shirt Banned at Mich. School
White House - AP
Wed Feb 19,11:52 AM ET

DEARBORN, Mich. - School officials ordered a 16-year-old student to either take off a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "International Terrorist" and a picture of President Bush or go home, saying they worried it would inflame passions at the school where a majority of students are Arab-American.

The student, Bretton Barber, chose to go home. He said he wore the shirt Monday to express his anti-war position and for a class assignment in which he wrote a compare-contrast essay on Bush and Iraq President Saddam Hussein.

Schools spokesman Dave Mustonen said students have the right to freedom of expression, but educators are sensitive to tensions caused by the conflict with Iraq.

"It was felt that emotions are running very high," Mustonen said.

Dearborn is the center of an Arab-American community of about 300,000 in southeastern Michigan. About 55 percent of the district's 17,600 students are Arab-American.




02/21/03: Alternative Tentacles Release Schedule

Just came out this week :

Virus 294 JFA We Know You Suck CD

March 10, 2003:

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

March 24, 2003 :

Virus 297 FLESHIES The Sicilian LP/CD

April 7th,, 2003:

Virus 298 WARD CHURCHILL Pacifism as Pathology CD

May 12, 2003:

Virus 299 VIC BONDI / ARTICLES OF FAITH Fortunate Son CD EP

June 09, 2003 :

Virus 301 COMETS ON FIRE s/t CD

Recent Releases :

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



02/20/03: Legislator Wants PA stores to Ban French Wine
A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to ban state-owned liquor stores from selling imported French wine and spirits, saying he's fed up with France's opposition to a possible U.S.-led war on Iraq. The full article will be available on the Web for a limited time:
http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/5195357.htm




02/20/03: The Largest Single Day of Protest in World History
Wednesday February 19th, 2003
By Tom Lash

This past weekend an estimated 11 million people took to the streets in over 600 cities around the globe. This was the largest single day of protest in world history. Give yourself a hand. We are making history. We are winning. Bush is on the defensive and has actually said he wants Peace. We can thank Bush for one thing. He has united the world against the American military machine. The people are speaking with one voice. They have a single message. No more war. Do not start the killing again. Give Peace a Chance. The world is saying no to America's endless war against terrorism. The world recognizes this American made enemy as illegitimate. Terrorism as an American enemy is illegitimate because as Dr. Martin Luther King said, "The greatest purveyor of violence on earth today is my own government." Before we can address the terrorism committed by others, we must first address the state sanctioned terrorism we support with our tax dollars. It is this terror that our government inflicts with its military, with the WTO, NAFTA, World Bank and other corporate institutions and policies that fuel the anti-American terrorists. We must look in our own hearts before we look outside ourselves for the terrorists. A quick history review of the past year or so will help us focus our energies.
For the rest of the story:
http://www.voice4change.org/stories/showstory.asp?file=030220~ccs.asp




02/20/03: Monty Python Excited By George W. Bush
letter from Terry Jones (of Monty Python fame) in "The Observer" (UK) 26.01.2003

I'm really excited by George Bush's latest reason for bombing Iraq: he's running out of patience. And so am I! For some time now I've been really pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street. Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me queer looks, and I'm sure Mr Johnson is planning something nasty for me, but so far I haven't been able to discover what.

I've been round to his place a few times to see what he's up to, but he's got everything well hidden. That's how devious he is. As for Mr Patel, don't ask me how I know, I just know - from very good sources - that he is, in reality, a Mass Murderer. I have leafleted the street telling them that if we don't act first, he'll pick us off one by one. Some of my neighbours say, if I've got proof, why don't I go to the police? But that's simply ridiculous. The police will say that they need evidence of a crime with which to charge my neighbours. They'll come up with endless red tape and quibbling about the rights and wrongs of a pre-emptive strike and all the while Mr Johnson will be finalising his plans to do terrible things to me, while Mr Patel will be secretly murdering people. Since I'm the only one in the street with a decent range of automatic firearms, I reckon it's up to me to keep the peace. But until recently that's been a little difficult.

Now, however, George W. Bush has made it clear that all I need to do is run out of patience, and then I can wade in and do whatever I want! That's why I want to blow up Mr Johnson's garage and kill his wife and children. Strike first! That'll teach him a lesson. Then he'll leave us in peace and stop peering at me in that totally unacceptable way. Mr Bush makes it clear that all he needs to know before bombing Iraq is that Saddam is a really nasty man and that he has weapons of mass destruction - even if no one can find them. I'm certain I've just as much justification for killing Mr Johnson's wife and children as Mr Bush has for bombing Iraq.

Mr Johnson and Mr Patel are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of other people in the street who I don't like and who - quite frankly - look at me in odd ways. No one will be really safe until I've wiped them all out.

My wife says I might be going too far but I tell her I'm simply using the same logic as the President of the United States. That shuts her up. Like Mr Bush, I've run out of patience, and if that's a good enough reason for the President, it's good enough for me.

I'm going to give the whole street two weeks - no, 10 days - to come out in the open and hand over all aliens and interplanetary hijackers, galactic outlaws and interstellar terrorist masterminds, and if they don't hand them over nicely and say 'Thank you', I'm going to bomb the entire street to kingdom come. It's just as sane as what George W. Bush is proposing - and, in contrast to what he's intending, my policy will destroy only one street.




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