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09/17/03: Japanese Baseball Sign vs. George Bush

On August 29, Randolph Sill headed to a Mariners game with a homemade sign decked out with slogans written in Japanese kanji, along with the number of Sill's favorite player, Ichiro Suzuki. Whenever Ichiro came up to bat, Sill would hold his sign high. Sill, who's spent time in Japan, knows Japanese television regularly broadcasts Mariners games and spotlights signs for its native son Ichiro.

Here's what Sill's sign said: On one side, the kanji read, "President Bush is a monkey's butt." On the other: "Americans are ashamed of our corrupt president." Sill, who hoped his sign would be broadcast on TV here and in Japan, says many Japanese fans at Safeco Field smiled and winked when they read his sign.

Mariners security staff, however, were not amused. When they caught on during the seventh inning, a cop escorted Sill and his sign to the security office, and seized the sign. "I haven't heard, yet, if the sign was broadcast to all of Japan," Sill says.
AMY JENNIGES - from The Strager

09/16/03: Lawmaker Wants to Put 'French' Back in Fries

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - To get international help to rebuild Iraq, Congress may have to eat some French fries and French toast, according to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

Saying it is time to put aside differences with France, the Texas Democrat circulated a letter on Monday urging the U.S. House of Representatives to put back the word "French" in fries and toast on House cafeteria and dining hall menus.

Lawmakers ordered them renamed "Freedom" fries and "Freedom" toast last spring, reflecting anger at France for its opposition to the U.S.-led war to topple Saddam Hussein as Iraq's president.

But times have changed, Jackson Lee said, and now the Washington is trying to get France and other members of the United Nations to contribute money and troops to help stabilize Iraq and rebuild its devastated infrastructure.

"President Bush is now urging that all parties put aside 'past bickering,'" she said in her letter. "A symbolic start to that effort" would be reinstating foods on the House menus "with their traditional 'American' names -- French toast and French fries."

Rep. Bob Ney, head of the House Administration Committee, ordered the changes in March. The Ohio Republican took the action at the suggestion of Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican.

08/26/03: ** Updated Memorial Service For Wesley Willis Announced

There will be a viewing on Wednesday, August 27th from 4-9pm at the John Rago & Sons Memorial Chapel in Chicago, IL.

John Rago & Sons Memorial Chapel
721 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL
tel. (773) 276 6056

The memorial service will be at 6:30 pm.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to "John Rago & Sons Memorial Chapel" (check or money order) mailed to above address to help defray memorial & burial costs. Thank You.

Please check back on our website to see if any of this information has changed.

For more information see

08/22/03: Rock Star Wesley Willis Dead at 40

Dear Friends and fellow Wesleynauts,
We are deeply saddened to report that one of our artists, Wesley Willis passed away yesterday, Thursday, August 21st. Wesley will be greatly missed by all that had the privilege to know him, as well as the fans who have been fortunate enough to experience his genius.

Wesley was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) at the end of 2002, and had to undergo emergency surgery on June 2nd to identify the source of, and to suppress internal bleeding. It is not clear if this bleeding was related to his leukemia or not, and the exact cause of death is still unknown. Wesley had been recovering at a Hospice in Illinois, and since the surgery his health had deteriorated rapidly.

His songs were simultaneously disturbing, hilarious, blunt, and intoxicating. Wesley's sheer excitement and unaffected honesty about every cultural phenomenon, defined his music as truly individual, and truly punk rock.

Wesley released well over 50 albums - 3 of which are on Alternative Tentacles, and a 4th, entitled, Wesley Willis Greatest Hits Vol. 3 (CD) had already been scheduled for release in October of this year.

For more information on Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, please visit .

Currently there are no plans for any funeral service but we will inform you if there will be.

For more information on Wesley Willis, please see:

08/19/03: Independent Record Stores Sue Best Buy

Indie Retailers Sue Best Buy

By Ed Christman

NEW YORK (Billboard) - A group of independent music retailers has filed a class-action lawsuit against Best Buy Co. Inc., alleging that the chain violates U.S. antitrust laws, as well as California state laws, that govern loss-leader selling, the strategy of pricing product below cost.  

In the lawsuit -- filed Aug. 6 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division -- the plaintiffs charge that Best Buy uses its clout to receive benefits from the major labels that are not generally available to the chain's competitors. The plaintiffs in the case are Mad Rhino, Boo Boo Records, Lou's Records, Dimple Records and Rand Foster of Fingerprints.

The lawsuit says Best Buy is "able to extract from the major record companies an additional 10% discount vis-a-vis other purchasers" and receives advertising and other allowances not generally granted to other merchants. According to the complaint, these favorable prices, terms and conditions allow Best Buy to sell new albums as loss leaders, diverting massive amounts of business away from its competitors.

The complaint alleges that Best Buy has knowingly received favorable and discriminatory prices on new albums, a practice that violates the Robinson-Patman Act. Also, the complaint says that Best Buy's below-cost pricing is a way of injuring competitors or destroying competition, in violation of the California Business and Professions Code. California has a state law that merchants must price product at least 6% above cost.

The lawsuit asks for treble damages and legal fees.

Best Buy executives were unavailable for comment.


08/15/03: Power Outage Traced to Dim Bulb in White House

The Tale of The Brits Who Swiped 800 Jobs From New York, Carted Off $90 Million, Then Tonight, Turned Off Our Lights

Friday, 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
LONDON (Reuters) -
An advertisement for budget airline EasyJet featuring a picture of a woman's breasts in a bikini top with a headline "Discover weapons of mass distraction" was not offensive, Britain's advertising watchdog said Wednesday.

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)
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (AP) -
Jamaican rapper Sean Paul has been charged with using profanity during a performance at Montego Bay's Reggae Sumfest last week. Paul's performance Thursday night was laced with expletives, police commander Newton Amos said Monday. Authorities served him with a summons under a law prohibiting people from using profanity in public.
He's scheduled to appear in court Wednesday in Montego Bay, police said. Paul was not immediately available for comment. The rapper, whose hits "Get Busy" and "Like Glue" are in the top 20 of the Billboard singles chart, was served with the summons shortly after he left the stage, police said. The maximum fine is $20 or community service.
At last year's music festival, rappers Ja Rule and Snoop Dogg were summoned to appear in court for similar offenses, but they ignored the orders and left the island shortly after their performances.
In 2001, eight Jamaican musicians, including Grammy winner Beenie Man, were summoned to court for using profanity during their performances.

07/17/03: Wesley Willis Still Ill

Dear Friends and fellow Wesleynauts -

Wesley Willis is still in the hospital and will be there for some time. He was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) in December 2002. If you are into it, now might be a good time to send him some love and encouragement. It can be a card, letter, poem, drawing or whatever. If you are in a band, he always likes checking out your CDs. Get well goodies can be sent to :
Wesley Willis P.O. Box 7449 Prospect Heights, IL 60070-7449

07/16/03: Oakland settles Bari, Cherney case for $2 million
from Associated Press:

OAKLAND, Calif. -
The city of Oakland has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a case arising from the disputed arrest of two environmental activists, who jurors ruled were wrongly accused by police as "eco-terrorists" when their car exploded in 1990.

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:

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 -

A number of stars including Madonna, Eddie Vedder, Dixie Chicks and Fred Durst have been singled out as "traitors" by right-wing website

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, 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.

Famous brand

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."

Award-winning products

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.

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