29 May 2005

Rock bands with Integrity v.1

Nine Inch Nails
said on Friday it canceled plans to appear on next week's MTV Movie Awards after the network questioned the band's plans to perform in front of an image of President Bush.

The band was slated to perform "The Hand That Feeds," the first single from its latest album. A Los Angeles Times review called the song "a warning against blind acceptance of authority, including that of a president leading his nation to war."

"We were set to perform 'The Hand That Feeds' with an unmolested, straightforward image of George W. Bush as the backdrop. Apparently, the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me," Nine Inch Nails' leader Trent Reznor said in a statement posted on the band's Web site.

MTV said in a statement: "While we respect Nine Inch Nails' point of view, we were uncomfortable with their performance being built around a partisan political statement. When we discussed our discomfort with the band, their choice was to unfortunately pull out of the Movie Awards."

MTV is owned by Viacom Inc., the corporate parent of broadcast network CBS.

28 May 2005

Who said the organ store at the mall was dead?

Music Store Manager Arrested for Selling Alzheimer's Victim 11 Organs

PORT RICHEY, Fla. (AP) - An Alzheimer's disease victim bought 11 organs in 18 months from a music store manager who convinced the 79-year-old woman she would play better if she had a more expensive instrument, authorities said.

Scott Lewis Heyder, 36, was charged Thursday with felony exploitation of the elderly and held on $10,000 bail at the Pasco County Jail. Pasco County Sheriff's detectives said Heyder sold the woman expensive organs even after her family pleaded with him to stop.
The woman spent about $25,000 on organs and ended up with one worth only about half that, said sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll. She has not received any money back from the music store, he said.

"I think it's unconscionable, especially after the family confronted this sales person and said our mother has mental failings due to Alzheimer's, she doesn't know what she's doing," Doll said.

The Spring Hill woman began buying and trading organs at the Fletcher Music Center at Gulfview Square Mall in 2003 after taking lessons there. Detectives requested that she not be publicly identified, fearing she might become the victim of another financial scam.

Heyder encouraged her to buy an organ for about $1,650, detectives said, and within days he urged her to trade up for an organ costing nearly double. Weeks later, the woman had traded up organs twice more to one costing nearly $5,000 and her family confronted Heyder.

But less than a year later, Heyder sold the woman more organs, the sheriff's office said, including four on a single day in August.

When she was questioned, the woman told detectives she only remembered buying three or four organs over the years instead of the 11 transactions investigators documented.

A telephone message seeking comment was left at Heyder's home and not returned Thursday. Officials at Fletcher's Music also did not immediately return calls for comment.

Meanwhile, a 79-year-old Jacksonville woman suffering from memory loss paid more than $90,000 to a landscaper for yard work, authorities said Thursday.

David Brian Phillips, 26, of Jacksonville, was charged Wednesday with felony exploitation of the elderly, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's office. He was released from the Duval County jail on $50,000 bail.

The woman hired Phillips in 2002 to cut the lawn and trim hedges, along with other maintenance duties, on her Jacksonville property, police said.

Phillips was to be paid about $80 a month, but police said he charged the woman every few weeks for work he had not done.

"I just paid him," the woman told police. "At that time, I didn't have anyone else to do my work."
Phillips could not be reached for comment late Thursday by The Associated Press.

26 May 2005

Thursday Q and A (5.26)

Henry Wallace
"Mr. Wallace: having witnessed the violent European fascist uprising of the 1930's & 40's, are there any parallels to be made with America today?"

"The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With fascists, the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news [media] to deceive the public."
Henry Wallace, New York Times, April 9, 1944

20 May 2005

It's Official: My Sister is a Terrorist

from Dept. of Homeland Security
Case # 2005OK0536

Dear Ms. Brazieal:
During a screening process on Friday, April 22, 2005, at the Metropolitan Oakland Intl. Airport (OAK), a knife with a 3 1/4-inch folding blade was discovered. Items of this type are not allowed on-board an aircraft or in the sterile area of the airport without authorization.
Bringing prohibited items to the security screening checkpoint, even accidentally, lengthens the security screening process, violates federal regulations and may, in serious or repeat cases, result in monetary penalties and/or criminal prosecution. A list of permitted and prohibited items is available at www.tsatraveltips.us. Please check this list before your next trip.
If you have a question about whether a particular item is permitted, please check our website or contact our Consumer Response Center at 1.866.289.9673. We appreciate your future compliance with all security measures.
At this time, the Transportation Security Administration has determined that this Warning Notice adequately addresses this incident.
Sincerely yours,
Fred H. Lau
Federal Security Director
Metropolitan Oakland International Airport

Lisa says:
About a month ago, I was standing in an astronomically long security line at the Oakland airport, cutting it a bit close to make my flight in time. When I checked my bag through security, they found something suspicious and pulled me aside asking if I had brought a knife with me. I had completely forgotten to remove an expensive wine and cheese knife that had been brought back from France as a gift from a friend.
They quickly directed me to another stopping point where a security officer extracted and recorded all of my personal information. Afterwards they told me I had two options:

1. I could go to the airport gift shop, buy an envelope, stamps and mail it to myself.
2. Check it through at the ticket counter.

Of course, both "options" would mean I would have to que up in the 45 minute security line again. Much to my anger, frustration, and resolve, I had to relinquish the knife because I would not have enough time to make my flight if I had to go through security all over again. Thank goodness it wasn't a family heirloom.
One month later, I received the (above) letter in the mail with a return address from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

I think my friend Will said it best who suggested a three-word response to the letter:

Dear Sirs,
Was this ironic?
Lisa B.

Will went on to note that, "The irony is that THEY are the ones who stole property based on unsubstantiated claims of fear. So who's the terrorist here?"

I must say, I'm quite proud of the letter and plan to frame it. I know for certain that my dad would be REALLY proud of me for being on a government "list!"

19 May 2005

Thursday Night Excitement:

Okkervil River
in Portland

Last time here, they were amazing...should be good!

15 May 2005

Who will be?

Our Wat Tyler ?
Our John Brown ?

12 May 2005

Thursday Q and A

H.L. Mencken
Mr. Mencken, has our recent technological advancements in newsmedia--written press, TV, radio and blogs--produced a more educated and issue-connected electorate?

"When a candidate for public office faces the voters, he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental--he faces a mob of men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost...All the odds are on the man who is intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre--the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." Baltimore Sun, July 26, 1920.

10 May 2005


is a documentary about blogs from filmmaker / blogger Chuck Olsen. Heads-up to those of us here: The NW premiere will be this Friday in Seattle at U-Dub.

Blogumenary explores the many ways blogs are affecting our media and politics. Personal political writing is the foundation of our democracy, but mass media has made us into passive consumers instead of active citizens. Blogs return us to our roots and reengage us in democracy.

WHEN: Friday, May 13th, 6:00 - 8:00
WHERE: Parrington Hall, Rm 308 on the University of Washington Campus.
EATS: Light refreshments (probably pizza and soft drinks).
REVIEW: Mother Jones Jan/Feb 2005

09 May 2005

The Monday Quote

Republican President
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1952)

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

05 May 2005

Thursday Q and A

Saul Bellow
Mr. Bellow, in the end, was there any sense to be made of such concerted artistic approaches to life such as your own?

"As for types like my own, obscurely motivated by the conviction that our existence was worthless if we didn't make a turning point of it, we were assigned to the humanities: to poetry, philosophy, painting - the nursery games of humankind, which had to be left behind when the age of science began. The humanities would be called upon to choose a wallpaper for the crypt, as the end drew near."

04 May 2005

Pierre Moerlen 1952-2005

Avant Music News reports the May 2nd passing of
Pierre Moerlen
of Gong

Bio from Planet Gong
Pierre had a deep musical heritage. Both his parents were music teachers, his father thaught piano and organ at the Strasbourg Conservatory as well as being organist of Strasbourg Cathedral. So naturally was taught to play piano from the age of seven but soon declared a preference for drums. He started with a snare, progressing to a drum kit and then full percussion. In '67 he went to the Conservatory to study percussion under Jean Batigue, leader of the Percussion de Strasbourg group. He graduated in '72 with the Premier Prix du Percussion. It was there that he met Mireille Bauer who graduated in '74 having won the same honour. Benoit Pierre's younger brother also went to the Conservatory, specialising in the vibraphone. Before joining Gong in June '73 Pierre toured accompying the Company Claude Confortes of Grenoble and worked briefly with Gabriel Federow, who went on to Magma.

Mireille guested on 'Angel's Egg' and 'You', Benoit also guests on 'You', but neither of them become full time members till much later.

Recorded 'Expresso II' under the name Gong (to complete the Virgin contract) with Mick Taylor, Alan Holdsworth, Bon Lozaga and Francois Causse guesting. The album was released in N. America as by Pierre Moerlen's Gong. Toured Scandinavia and Germany.

Pierre and Benoit play on several Mike Oldfield sessions, including 'Ommadawn' (Virgin V2043), 'Incantations' (VDT1 01), 'Platinum' (V21 41), 'Crises' (V2262), 'Islands', and the live version of Tubular Bells. Pierre also appeared on 'Iskander' with Supersister (Polydor 2485134) in 1973, 'Desperate Straights' with Slapp Happy/Henry Cow (Virgin V2024), 'Mathematicians Air Display' with Pekka Pohojol a (V2084), 'Vibrarock' with Robert Wood (Polydor 23931 37), on which Mike Howlett also appeared, and Mick Taylor's eponymous solo album (CBS 35076)

Signed to Arista, recorded 'Downwind' in '78 (SPART1080) with Didier Lockwood, Mick Taylor, Terry Oldfield and Stevie Winwood guesting. 'Live' (SPART1130, 1980) was recorded during the Downwind Tour in early '79.

Recorded 'Time is the Key' in summer '79 (SPART 1105) with Peter Lemer (he didn't want to tour) and, guesting: Alan Holdsworth, D. Way, N. Ramsden, J. Kirby. Recorded 'Leave it Open' in March 80 (Lifetime 202 995 320 '81) with Charlie Mariano and Brian Holloway guesting. Toured America and Europe Summer to Winter 1980, then split.

Pierre Moerlen joined the Swedish Band Tribute from 1985 to 1986.

Records: Breaking Barriers '86 and Live '86 The reformed Pierre Moerlen's Gong and recorded Scientology-inspired 'Breakthrough' in Sept '86 with Tribute (Eulenspiegel EULP 1053) '86, and 'Second Wind' (LIDLP 50003) '88. Toured Europe '87 & '88.

02 May 2005

When Movie-Press Interviews Go Awry

Steven Spielberg
on "War of the Worlds" and the holocaust
Tom Cruise
on his 20 years in Scientology

SPIEGEL: We visited one of your locations near Los Angeles and were amazed to find a fully staffed tent of the Scientology organization right next to the food tents for the journalists and extras.

Cruise: What were you amazed about?

SPIEGEL: Why do you go so extremely public about your personal convictions?

Cruise: I believe in freedom of speech. I felt honored to have volunteer Scientology ministers on the set. They were helping the crew. When I'm working on a movie, I do anything I can to help the people I'm spending time with. I believe in communication.

SPIEGEL: The tent of a sect at someone's working place still seems somewhat strange to us. Mr. Spielberg, did that tent strike you as unusual?

Spielberg: I saw it as an information tent. No one was compelled to frequent it, but it was available for anybody who had an open mind and was curious about someone else's belief system.

Cruise: The volunteer Scientology ministers were there to help the sick and injured. People on the set appreciated that. I have absolutely nothing against talking about my beliefs. But I do so much more. We live in a world where people are on drugs forever. Where even children get drugged. Where crimes against humanity are so extreme that most people turn away in horror and dismay. Those are the things that I care about. I don't care what someone believes. I don't care what nationality they are. But if someone wants to get off drugs, I can help them. If someone wants to learn how to read, I can help them. If someone doesn't want to be a criminal anymore, I can give them tools that can better their life. You have no idea how many people want to know what Scientology is.

SPIEGEL: Do you see it as your job to recruit new followers for Scientology?

Cruise: I'm a helper. For instance, I myself have helped hundreds of people get off drugs. In Scientology, we have the only successful drug rehabilitation program in the world. It's called Narconon.

SPIEGEL: That's not correct. Yours is never mentioned among the recognized detox programs. Independent experts warn against it because it is rooted in pseudo science.

Cruise: You don't understand what I am saying. It's a statistically proven fact that there is only one successful drug rehabilitation program in the world. Period.

SPIEGEL: With all due respect, we doubt that. Mr. Cruise, you made studio executives, for example from Paramount, tour Scientology's "Celebrity Center" in Hollywood. Are you trying to extend Scientology's influence in Hollywood?

Cruise: I just want to help people. I want everyone to do well.

Spielberg: I often get asked similar questions about my Shoah Foundation. I get asked why I am trying to disseminate my deep belief in creating more tolerance through my foundation's teaching the history of the Holocaust in public schools. I believe that you shouldn't be allowed to attend college without having taken a course in tolerance education. That should be an important part of the social studies curriculum.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Spielberg, are you comparing the educational work of the Shoah Foundation with what Scientology does?

Spielberg: No, I'm not. Tom told you what he believes in, and after that I told you what I believe in. This is not a comparison between the Church of Scientology, the Shoah Foundation and the Holocaust. I was only showing you that some of us in Hollywood have set out to do more than just be actors or directors. Some of us have very personal missions. In Tom's case, it's his church, and in my case, it's the Shoah Foundation, where I'm trying to help other people learn about the mortal dangers of pure hatred.

SPIEGEL: How do you set about doing that?

Spielberg: I think that the only way we're going to teach young people not to kill each other is by showing them the reports by the survivors of the Holocaust -- so that they can tell them in their own words man's inhumanity to man. How they were hated. How they were displaced from their homes. How their families were wiped out and how by some miracle they themselves survived all that.

Cruise: How did the Holocaust start? People are not born to be intolerant of others. People are not born bigots and racists. It is educated into them.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Cruise, as you know, Scientology has been under federal surveillance in Germany. Scientology is not considered a religion there, but rather an exploitative cult with totalitarian tendencies.

Cruise: The surveillance is nothing like as strict anymore. Any you know why? Because the intelligence authorities never found anything. Because there was nothing to find. We've won over 50 court cases in Germany. And it's not true that everyone in Germany supports that line against us. Whenever I go to Germany, I have incredible experiences. I always meet very generous and extraordinary people. A minority wants to hate -- okay.

SPIEGEL: There is a difference between hate and having a critical perspective.

Cruise: For me, it's connected with intolerance.

SPIEGEL: In the past, for example when "Mission: Impossible" (1996) came out, German politicians called for a boycott of your movies. Are you worried that your support for Scientology could hurt your career?

Cruise: Not at all. I've always been very outspoken. I've been a Scientologist for 20 years. If someone is so intolerant that he doesn't want to see a Scientologist in a movie, then he shouldn't go to the movie theater. I don't care. Here in the United States, Scientology is a religion. If some of the politicians in your country don't agree with that, I couldn't care less.

SPIEGEL: Do you think "War of the Worlds" is a religious movie? H.G. Wells praised the wisdom of the creator for creating even bacteria, because in his story the microbes are the ones who finally finish off the aliens. The 1953 movie version even moved the final showdown inside a church.

Spielberg: I think people will either find their personal beliefs confirmed, or they won't. But in particular, they'll be scared and duck under their seat and say afterwards that it was a great experience. We both consciously decided not to end this movie inside a church, a synagogue or a mosque.

Cruise: It's simply not that kind of story.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Cruise, Mr. Spielberg, thank you very much for this interview.