Charlotte Sometimes

There's some rants.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

More Tales of Amoebic Dyssentery

Okay so many years ago I took this wonderful protracted road trip through Mexico and one of the first stops was in the Pacific resort town of Mazatlan -- sort of a poor Gringo's Acapulco. We found a private "campground," with all the niceties and spaciousness and hygiene of a Balkan refugee camp. There were hundreds of Budget Gringos like us there. (But don't get the wrong idea, I had a great time there and everywhere in Mexico, and those Pacific beaches are spectacular, the equal of any on Earth. And I had the four-wheel drive so we hit lots of them that we had all to ourselves.)

Anyway, a few spots away from us at the "campground" were some California bikers (that's "bikees" in Ozian). One of them, straight from Hollywood Central Casting, was a nasty-looking monster of a guy, easily a 300-pounder -- Santa Claus with prison tattoos and a 12-year methamphetamine habit. He radiated Big Appetites, Healthy Life Drives, and Poor Impulse Control. I hadn't had much prior experience with bikers, and sort of cringed when he wandered around and struck up idle Yank-to-Yank conversation.

The next day as I passed his site, there he was flat on his back on the concrete slab, moaning and whining and thrashing and begging to die -- "las Turistas" had reduced this menacing powerhouse of a pirate to a pathetic hulk -- he must have dropped to 285 overnight. He was now at the stage where he didn't have enough strength to crawl to the loo anymore.

I went back to my campsite and fished around for the bottle of tiny Lomotil pills I'd had the Boy Scout foresight to bring along. I went back and told Biff or Rip or Scum or whatever his name was to take one.

That night I was fixing dinner when I was suddenly swept off my feet into the bear-hug embrace of the giant biker, now vertical again, and restored to color and life, and grinning. "THANK YOU LITTLE BUDDY!" he screamed in my ear as he attempted to French kiss me. "THANK YOU! YA SAVED MY LIFE! I LOVE YOU!"

He offered to kill my enemies for me and a few other special biker gifts unavailable in most catalogs. He was out of control with gratitude; I think he really wanted to marry me and take me home. I told him just seeing him recovered was All The Thanks I Needed. But for the next couple of days, he waved at me as if I were a Major Deity in his life.

How can such a tiny pill fix King Kong's diarrhea so quickly? Huh? Answer me that.

Monday, May 13, 2002

The Death of Nelson

It's the 30th anniversary of the ghastly, racist Rockefeller Laws, passed at the psychotic urging of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Despite an overwhelming community, human-rights, religious, public-health and judicial outcry, in and out of New York State, to end the Rockefeller Laws, the New York Statehouse is in political gridlock over the issue and can't pass anything. Every elected politician is terrified that if they vote for reform, their next opponents will say: "My opponent is soft on drugs!" and "This sends the wrong message to our kids!"

So, incredibly, Nelson Rockefeller's vile, cruel, savage legacy of racist, gulag-packing, decades-long mandatory-minimum drug felonies — the model for nearly every state's and the federal response to non-violent drug addiction and use -- is still alive and well 30 years later.

Nelson himself isn't.

Here is how Nelson Rockefeller died.

Nelson Rockefeller was married to Happy Rockefeller, they had kids, the whole Family Values bit.

Nelson Rockefeller had a bunch of very high-class, expensive art. So much so that he needed a full-time curator. He found one, Megan Marshak. She was 27. Nelson was 71. 71 - 27 = 44.

Anyway, Megan Marshak was such a good curator that Nelson bought her a brownstone apartment in a real nice Manhattan neighborhood. He used to go over there all the time, usually in the evenings, and they would talk about art.

One night — 26 January 1979 (a Friday) to be precise — they were talking about art and Nelson vapor-locked. He wasn't wearing many or any clothes, maybe just his socks and those weird rich-guy sock garters, and he fell on the floor and started sunfishing and turning blue.

Now if this had happened to me, my art curator would immediately have leapt for the phone and called 911, and a few minutes later I'd probably be sitting up, and a paramedic would ask me my name and where I thought I was, and I would be thinking about getting dressed and moving on.

But this was Nelson Rockefeller. This guy was rich and powerful on a level we can't even enumerate. He'd also been Vice President of the USA for a while, and he'd run for The Big Job once or twice on the Republican ticket. The media loved to publicize all his activities, with visual aids if possible.

And this was the most un-boring, entertaining and highly surprising thing Nelson Rockefeller had ever done. This was The Mother of All Photo Opportunities.

So his art curator picks up the phone.

But she doesn't call 911.

She calls a girl pal, a TV news person, and the pal comes over to the brownstone, and they chat about what's The Right Thing to do in a tricky situation like this.

It's more complicated than just a naked old guy sunfishing and turning blue on the carpet. First, he's married to Someone Else, and she's as famous and rich and powerful as the naked old guy is.

Second, Ms. Marshak is a complete unknown to the media and the public, and to Mrs. Rockefeller and the kids -- so far. If she plays this one wrong, by tomorrow morning she is going to be the most famous art curator on Earth.

So there's a lot to chat about. The girls chat for about an hour, going over all the options.

Even after analyzing the Blue Man Problem for an hour, there just aren't a lot of these. Eventually somebody, not Megan Marshak, calls 911, and the paramedics hit the siren and haul ass to 13 West 54th Street.

Nelson was still twitching a little, and they got him into the ambulance. They pound on him and blow air into his lungs and shoot him up with all sorts of thrilling things, maybe zap him a few times, but he's not sitting up for anybody. He codes in the ambulance. He is an ex-Nelson.

Within hours, the media puts all the big noisy messy pieces together, splash them all over Page 1, and that's why it only cost me 35 cents on 27 January 1979 (a Saturday) to read all about Megan Marshak's last art consultation with Nelson Rockefeller.

Megan Marshak got to keep the brownstone, but the neighborhood wasn't quite as nice as it used to be because there were always 15 news photographers camped on the front stoop waiting for her to try to sneak out to get groceries.

Isn't that an attractive story? Tell me you still don't believe in Karma.

Thursday, March 28, 2002

Every wonder why pot is classified in the same federal category as heroin? Why Congress and state legislators still think kids should be arrested for possessing it, and their education and career futures should be destroyed? (A three-year-old federal law permanently denies federal college financial aid to any kid with a misdemeanor pot possession bust on his/her record.)

Now I always thought pot was illegal because Negroes, Mexicans and Chinese were using it to lower the moral fiber of white Protestant virgins. That's what the Hearst newspapers told us back in the 1930s, and that campaign was quickly followed by the federal ban on "marihuana."

Well — they've just released some old White House tapes of conversations by President Richard Nixon. Now it turns out it's because of the Jews! And the homosexuals! And the Communists!

Oh, Nixon and Jews ... I can't help but add this. I grew up in Washington DC, a few miles from a lovely, affluent neighborhood called Spring Valley. When Nixon was vice-president (under Eisenhower), he lived in Spring Valley. Well, he saw this lovely house that was just perfect for his family — it was the American Dream. Is it his fault that to get his piece of the American Dream, he had to sign a restrictive covenant with the Spring Valley Homeowners Association swearing never to re-sell the house to blacks, Asians or Jews?

How Federal Drug Policy Is Made

This just came in from ReconsiDer, a New York State bunch of psycho anarchist whackos (disguised in suits and ties and uncomfortable shoes) who are trying to reform the Rockefeller mandatory-minimum drug sentencing Laws.

The federal laws which originally outlawed "marihuana" were inspired by a campaign by the Hearst newspapers telling Americans that fiendish Mexicans were using marihuana to loosen the moral fibre of white Protestant virgins.

Please read this nearly all the way down to find out which other Ethnic/Religious Group were the dope-crazed fiends responsible for Nixon's ratcheting-up of the War on Drugs and the quarter-century federal scheduling of pot in the same category as heroin.

That's how drug law and policy in this country are made!

(I love the Nixon tapes. Not a year goes by without some new piece of grand entertainment.)

What ever happened to the "blue-ribbon commission" that investigated marijuana at the request of Nixon? What were Nixon's feelings about marijuana? Recently de-classified White House tapes reveal some fascinating insights on the making of US drug policy.

Once-Secret "Nixon Tapes" Show Why the U.S. Outlawed Pot

Thirty years ago the United States came to a critical juncture in the drug war. A Nixon-appointed presidential commission had recommended that marijuana use not be a criminal offense under state or federal law. But Nixon himself, based on his zealous personal preferences, overruled the commission's research and doomed marijuana to its current illegal status.

This newly revealed information comes from declassified tapes of Oval Office conversations from 1971 and 1972, which show Nixon's aggressive anti-drug stance putting him directly at odds against many of his close advisors.

Congress, when it passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, temporarily labeled marijuana a "Schedule I substance" -- a flatly illegal drug with no approved medical purposes. But Congress acknowledged that it did not know enough about marijuana to permanently relegate it to Schedule I, and so they created a presidential commission to review the research and recommend a long-term strategy. President Nixon got to appoint the bulk of the commissioners. Not surprisingly, he loaded it with drug warriors. Nixon appointed Raymond Shafer, former Republican Governor of Pennsylvania, as Chairman. As a former prosecutor, Shafer had a "law and order," drug warrior reputation. Nixon also appointed nine Commissioners, including the dean of a law school, the head of a mental health hospital, and a retired Chicago police captain. Along with the Nixon appointees, two senators and two congressmen from each party served on the Commission.

The Shafer Commission -- officially known as the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse -- took its job seriously. They launched fifty research projects, polled the public and members of the criminal justice community, and took thousands of pages of testimony. Their work is still the most comprehensive review of marijuana ever conducted by the federal government.

After reviewing all the evidence, these drug warriors were forced to come to a different conclusion than they had at first expected. Rather than harshly condemning marijuana, they started talking about legalization. When Nixon heard such talk, he quickly denounced the Commission -- months before it issued its report.

As a result of Nixon's public rebuke, Shafer met with the President. The Commission was upset, and the purpose of the meeting was to reassure them. But Nixon didn't budge. Instead, he warned Shafer to get control of his commission and avoid looking like a "bunch of do-gooders" who are "soft on marijuana." He warned Shafer that the Commission would "look bad as hell" if it came out with recommendations different from the direction of Congress and the President.

During their meeting, Shafer reassured the President that he would not support "legalization," even though there were some on the Commission who did. He told Nixon they were looking for a unanimous recommendation. Nixon warned Shafer that he "had very strong feelings" on marijuana. Nixon and Shafer also discussed Shafer's potential appointment to a federal judgeship.

But in the end, the Shafer Commission issued a report that tried to correct the "extensive degree of misinformation," to "demythologize" and "desymbolize" marijuana. They reported finding that marijuana did not cause crime or aggression, lead to harder drug use or create significant biochemical, mental or physical abnormalities. They concluded: "Marihuana's relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it."

The most important recommendation of the Commission was the decriminalization of possession or non-profit transfer of marijuana. Decriminalization meant there would be no punishment -- criminal or civil -- under state or federal law.

Nixon reacted strongly to the report. In a recorded conversation on March 21, the day before the Commission released its report, Nixon said, "We need, and I use the word 'all out war,' on all fronts ... we have to attack on all fronts." Nixon and his advisors went on to plan a speech about why he opposed marijuana legalization, and proposed that he do "a drug thing every week" during the 1972 presidential election year. Nixon wanted a "Goddamn strong statement about marijuana ... that just tears the ass out of them."

Shafer was never appointed to the federal court.

Nixon's private comments about marijuana showed he was the epitome of misinformation and prejudice. He believed marijuana led to hard drugs, despite the evidence to the contrary. He saw marijuana as tied to "radical demonstrators." He believed that "the Jews," especially "Jewish psychiatrists" were behind advocacy for legalization, asking advisor Bob Haldeman, "What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob?" He made a bizarre distinction between marijuana and alcohol, saying people use marijuana "to get high" while "a person drinks to have fun."

He also saw marijuana as part of the culture war that was destroying the United States, and claimed that Communists were using it as a weapon. "Homosexuality, dope, immorality in general," Nixon fumed. "These are the enemies of strong societies. That's why the Communists and the left-wingers are pushing the stuff, they're trying to destroy us." His approach drug education was just a simplistic: "Enforce the law. You've got to scare them."

Unfortunately, Nixon did more than just "scare them," whoever they were. His marijuana war rhetoric led to a dramatic increase in arrests. One year after his "all out war" comments, marijuana arrests jumped to 420,700 a year -- a full 128,000 more than the year before. Since then, nearly 15 million people have been arrested for marijuana offenses.

For thirty years, the United States has taken the path of Nixon's prejudice and ignored the experts. We now have the largest prison population in world history, and drug problems are no closer to solved. Indeed, plenty of evidence indicates that drug-related problems are worse than ever.

It did not have to be this way. At the same time that the Shafer Commission issued its report, the Bain Commission in Holland issued a report that made similar findings and recommendations. In Holland, they followed the advice of their experts. Thirty years later Holland has half the per-capita marijuana use as the U.S., far fewer drug-related problems and spends much less on drug enforcement. With statistics like that, it's no wonder that most of Europe is going Dutch. Just last week a British Commission issued a Shafer-like report, indicating that the U.K. is moving in the Dutch direction.

It is not too late for the U.S. to move to a more sensible path. We are approaching three quarters of a million marijuana arrests annually. Every year that the U.S. fails to adopt a policy based on research, science and facts we destroy millions of lives and tear apart millions of families.

Where will we be in another thirty years if we don't change course and make peace in the marijuana war? Now that we know the war's roots are rotten -- and after we've lived through the decades of damage and failure it has produced -- we should face the facts. The thirty-year- old recommendations of the Shafer Commission are a good place to start.

Kevin Zeese is the president of Common Sense for Drug Policy (

Associated links:
Kevin Zeese, AlterNet March 21, 2002
Transcripts of the tape, and a report based on them, are available at

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Thursday, January 31, 2002

Letters to the Editor
The Miami Herald

To the Editor:
Governor Jeb Bush's request that the family's privacy be respected during Noelle Bush's alleged difficulties with drugs is understandable and deserving of our sympathy.

Nevertheless, Noelle Bush's arrest for allegedly forging a Xanax prescription comes two days after The Herald's comprehensive story about Governor Bush's budget, "Florida Slashing Care for Drug Addicts" (27 January).

Clearly Ms. Bush will receive the finest professional care for her health and legal difficulties that money can buy and prestige can arrange. As a first-time alleged offender, she deserves them.

But the family's request for privacy should not be respected so scrupulously that it permits a bizarre, Emperor's-New-Clothes disconnect between Ms. Bush's difficulties and the substance-abuse difficulties of tens of thousands of Floridians who have neither money nor prestige and are at the mercy of the whims of state government. Many of these first-time offenders will spend time in jail and prison. And now, far fewer of them will have the slightest hope, behind bars or in the community, of receiving competent treatment for their substance-abuse difficulties.

Jeb Bush is a concerned father, and also the Governor of Florida. After submitting his substance-abuse treatment budget slashes, he cannot fairly expect the media to treat his daughter's difficulties as if they happened on another planet in a different millennium. That was now. This is now.

Can we not realistically hope that, challenged by this family tragedy, Governor Bush will realize he has clear obligations to every Florida family with a similar tragedy?

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Sunday, January 13, 2002

boy i hate popup ads. don't you? well, this page promises that you'll be able to stop them at the source:

i'm giving it a shot. i hope it works. although.. it will take away my little cntrl-w game where i have to try to time it just right to get the popunder windows to turn off before they go under.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

this is all i want for christmas. i swear.

Monday, November 05, 2001

some correspondence about Anthrax (the heavy metal band)

Throughout the 1980s, one of the musical staples of adolescent boys who locked themselves in their bedrooms and turned the volume up to 11 was the heavy metal band Anthrax. I myself am entirely innocent of the details of their musical ouevre, but I think they were a band you could appreciate as much in total ignorance as by actually going to the Hyperdome and experiencing them.

Here's some recent e-mails between me and my old newspaper buddy John DiP.

Dear John,

Happy Halloween! I can't imagine we'll get more than two trick-or-treaters, and each of them will be surrounded by some sort of Vigilante Committee. I sincerely hope the kids aren't dressed as American flags. Amazingly since Phase 2 of the terror scare, I haven't heard word one about the old heavy metal band Anthrax. You'd think this would be their big call back from retirement.


Happy Halloween. I guess this is not the year for an updated "War of the Worlds" broadcast, eh?

I did spot a thing about Anthrax, the band. It was in a recent Sunday Times, I think. The band actually issued a statement apologizing for their unfortunate name, explaining that they named their band in a Different Time, Before Everything Had Changed.

This is what the terrorists have done to America: They have made metal bands apologize for their metal-band names.

Cheers, John
Dear John,

That's absolutely the most depressing thing I heard all day.

I mean, what is a Heavy Metal Band, anyway? It's a bunch of guys who deflower virgins, trash hotel rooms, worship Satan, frighten the citizenry, outrage the clergy, give parasites to supermodels, do tons of hard liquor and illegal drugs, get pulled over with cocaine and smack and loaded revolvers, leave a huge mess behind, and most of all -- never apologize for anything.

I mean, what are they saying? That "anthrax" had a much more innocent, soft, gentle, comforting, warm-and-fuzzy meaning in the '80s?

"Anthrax Says They're Sorry" is so depressing, so depressing. I don't count on Bush to be smart in this crisis. I don't count on the Marines or the Air Force or the Green Berets or the Navy to win the war against terrorism.

I counted on Heavy Metal Bands to continue to be vulgar and offensive and disgusting forever.


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Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Now, in a move that defies all rules of logic, a doctored photo showing Bert with the world's most-wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden, seems to have made its way into an anti-American Islamic protest in Bangladesh.Osama Has a New Friend

"Do the pacifists wish to live in a United States that has been defeated by Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein? Do they wish to live in a United States that has been defeated by any foreign force? Do they wish to live under an occupying power? Do they wish to live under, say, the laws of the Taliban or the Ba'ath Party of Iraq?"Phony Pacifists (

Monday, October 08, 2001

"When we're actually at peace, nobody ever says "give peace a chance." But once somebody else breaks the peace, it becomes a catchphrase. Well, we gave peace a chance, and they blew up the World Trade Center. Now it's time to give war a chance, and over 90% of Americans agree." Jonah Goldberg's Goldberg File on National Review Online

Thursday, October 04, 2001

"Bliss" or "Love, Requieted".

O joy, O rapture...


After a long, HOT, dry summer which was first too uneventful (in the beginning) and then somewhat TOO eventful (come September 11), my love has returned. Don't get me wrong -- all the political unrest in the world is far more prevalent in my mind than I like to let on. However, we all need some idle distraction sometimes, and hockey, my undeniably favorite sport, has returned, just in time to distract me from scaring the heck out of myself by pricing gas masks on the Internet. When I'm watching a game, I really zone out about everything else. All that matters is the puck, the nets, and the battles going on between players on both sides trying to get said puck into said nets.

Last night, the 2001-2002 hockey season got underway. I watched two games between four teams, including the intriguing Pittsburgh Penguins and my beloved Edmonton Oilers. For the first time in weeks, I was really HAPPY. Content. Excited, but not agitated. And relieved(!) that the world continues to go on. That they haven't taken away those things which I hold most dear -- Not yet. Hockey is still here, and all my favorite players are actually playing for the first time in two seasons. Last season, Yzerman spent time out early with that knee injury; LeClair had to sit almost the whole season recovering from extensive back surgery; Berard was thought to be permanently retired from a horrid eye injury suffered the previous season. They're all back and playing now. Guess I have to start watching the Rangers now that Berard plays for them.

In the midst of all the pain I imagine people in NYC are going through, I find joy in the return of my heroes. Here's to their continued health, and to ours. Let's all persevere, best we can, and enjoy the little things that make us blissful. For me, it's the awesome game of hockey. I can't tell ya how glad I am to have it back.

Tuesday, October 02, 2001

Hey buddy, where's your damn flag, huh?

My pal Dave/Bear called today. He said that two days ago, some Male Stranger came up to him on the street and asked him why he didn't have an American flag on his car.

Should I put a flag on my truck? Or should I rehearse an answer for the guy when he asks me why I don't have one?

How about:

* "I'm from Afghanistan."

* "I'm undercover, looking for unpatriotic people."

* "I used to have a flag, but I wasn't patriotic enough, so they took it away from me."

As I look back on a long and varied life, it very much seems to me that every time there's been a sudden mushroom-like public eruption of American flags all over the place, Something Very Bad has just happened, or is about to happen.

I've never burned one, does that count for anything?

Since the end of the Vietnam War around 1973, it's estimated that about three or four American flags get burned in the USA in public every year.

So about every three years, the Republicans in Congress blow a whistle, and all public business stops for three months while they try to pass an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to prohibit flag burning. It hasn't passed yet.

About 25 years ago, some cop arrested a flag burner, and the guy took the case all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which said that burning a flag, tasteless as it may seem, is Protected Political Speech under the First Amendment. So the only way to get around that and execute flag burners is to pass a new special flag-burning amendment.

It doesn't take Einstein to figure out what's really going on here. It's a chance for the Republicans to say, "We're Very Patriotic!" And when it finally comes down to some sort of committee vote, it forces everybody who thinks the proposed amendment sucks (mostly Democrats) to have to stand up and say, "Burning the American flag is okay with me."

Actually, there's a big-ass high-quality Free Flag in my future, if I'm patient. I'm a U.S. Army veteran, and a military honor guard will bring one to my funeral if I request it. I probably will. I could never resist Free Stuph.

Cynthia is slightly more Symbolically Small-Town Patriotic than I, and about four months ago began hitting me up for my consent to buy a flag and display it on the house.

First I tried to stall her, pretend I was going deaf, etc., but eventually I lost heart and grudgingly told her she could begin hunting one up.

However, I told her I wanted a Distinctive one. As you know, any historical flag -- there've been about a dozen -- is legal and proper to display. So I asked her to check out that "Don't Tread on Me" serpent flag, I've always thought that one's quite spiffy.

She began one of her Internet investigations and typed in "Don't Tread on Me." I heard a little scream from the next room.

It turns out that "Don't Tread on Me" is the Flag of Choice for backyard survivalist militias, Idaho skinheads, white powerists, etc. So DToM was out. So much for my unerring Fashion Sense.

Now she tells me that since 11 September, that's all changed -- DToM is back in style in the Bigtime Mainstream, every gas station and tavern in America is flying that one.

Nevertheless, my second choice -- when the sudden ten-month backorder delay from flag vendors loosens up -- is the Bennington Flag, a lovely, gentle Revolutionary War-era semicircle of 13 stars.

Meanwhile, I broke down and paid $1 for a temporary emergency cardboard flag at the Cumberland Farms convenience store, all proceeds to the American Red Cross, and Cynthia has taped it to the living room window, facing Out, so our house now passes the test. Cynthia wants me to buy two more for each car.

Someone on the TV news mentioned that the American flag factories in the Peoples Republic of China have been running three shifts like crazy to meet our domestic demand. That's great. My new American flag will have been made by slave laborers in Chinese prisons.

Is this a great country, or what? Well, it is. So there. But what does that have to do with suddenly running around waving a flag?

Here's another bit of Patriotic Advice from Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary. For youse overseasers, "Politically Incorrect" is a late-night TV talk show that has (mostly) very smart and funny guests talking about all sorts of controversial things. Its network, ABC, is very seriously considering pulling the plug on it after its host's remarks. When it's gone, the most controversial program on TV will be the Home Shopping Network.

This Associated Press story ran about 26 September:


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House press secretary scolded the host of "Politically Incorrect" Wednesday for calling some past U.S. military actions cowardly.

The host, Bill Maher, said on his show last week: "We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly," Bill Maher said on the show last week.

Then, referring to terrorists who hijacked four jetliners and crashed them Sept. 11, Maher said: "Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly."

Maher later apologized "to anyone who took it wrong," and said his comments were aimed at political leaders.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said he remained troubled by the remark.

"It's a terrible thing to say, and it's unfortunate," Fleischer said. "There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is."

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Thursday, September 27, 2001

What a bunch of wingdings

Sunday, September 23, 2001

We don't know why. These things just happen. I guess.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

"The Americans" by Gordon Sinclair

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Abandon hope, all ye who enter the theater.

It looked like another above-par heist movie. When I saw previews for "The Score," I thought for sure the combination of Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton were going to be a strong pairing for the experienced-thief-out-for-his-last-take-and-the-new-guy-looking-to-stab-everyone-in-the-back schtick that's been done a couple times before.

But the stellar acting of DeNiro and Norton just couldn't polish this turd.

This is where I'd run down a brief synopsis of the movie, letting you know the basics of the plot and try not to blow the ending for you in case you want to see it. That's impossible. This movie is blown for you. If this movie were any more predictable, I would have already seen it. Oh, wait. I have...

Adept to the highest degree, Norton yet again pulls off another dual-personality role. But we've already seen that in "Primal Fear" and "Fight Club." DeNiro uses his acting prowess to deliver another brilliant-tough-and-wise crime mentor, but we saw "Goodfellas," "Casino" and pretty much any other movie he's ever made. Marlon Brando even made a few appearances, bringing a lively performance and a little comic relief.

The movie had all the pacing of a three-toed sloth making its way to a dead beetle on a branch. Long before this movie ever knew where it was going, I knew what was going to happen. The obnoxious jerks in front of me eating nachos knew where it was going. The lady three rows back who wouldn't shut up knew where it was going. Crying babies knew where it was going.

Additionally, this sad little movie wanted so bad to have plot twists, but just couldn't produce. It just floundered up there on the screen, letting so much good acting go to waste.

The team of four unproven writers need to be dispatched to holes in the desert, Frank Oz needs to wake up in a dumpster for attempting to direct a crime movie and even though DeNiro isn't stepping up for credit for his hand in co-directing this mess, someone needs to take him around back and alley-whip him for doing this to us. They all owe me for the tickets, drinks and snacks.

I make ugly threats, but they can't get away with this.

(posted by charlotte) - Missouri sues company behind TV psychic Miss Cleo - July 25, 2001

Monday, July 02, 2001

"A.I." Movie Review: a warning note to all sucky and sad Hollywood Blockbusters

I thought I'd be the sweet wife and surprise Dave with a couple tickets to "A.I.," since he wanted to see it, and as Jon Stewart said of it on "The Daily Show," "I'm excited about this movie because the commercials tell me to be."

You all know that I'm a sucker for movies, and I know I don't mind suspending some disbelief every now and, I can deal with the idea that there is a passageway that can slide you into the mind of John Malkovich. And sure...I'll buy for a minute or two that someone who looks like Julia Roberts may actually have a hard time finding the perfect relationship, but one can only be given so much for so long before finally screaming on the inside, "Gimme a freakin' break!" And close to three hours of being expected to believe that anything that's happening in this movie is even entirely possible or remotely logical is just a little too much to ask of a person.

There are moments that made this epic-with-a-cast-of-three tolerable. For your money, you get a couple laughs, an interesting, albeit not entirely original, take on the future and excellent special effects. And the story isn't really so bad itself. There were moments that I was thinking, "Hooray for movies! Movies are great! Look what they did!" I may actually want a spooky intelligent, mobile teddy bear. I can't decide. And then there were moments that made me want to shake Stephen Spielberg very hard and slap him around and ask him what the hell he was thinking.

This movie, based on a short story, proved that there's a reason stories are short. But if you're willing to put aside the poorly-developed characters, blunt-force social commentary and plot holes to equal the size of the budget, it's a very pretty movie to look at, and should be seen in the theater. The dollar theater. When someone offers to take you and maybe throws in a large Dr Pepper. Actually getting in your car and going out to rent it and watching it in your house would be a waste of your time.

The moral to this story. Buy a robot. Buy a child. But don't buy a robot child.

(posted by charlotte)

Thursday, June 21, 2001

forwarded email that i will never respond to again because the answers are here

inside the house.

the cryptonomicon and this other book who's title escapes me about the history of western civilization.

My mouse. although there is also a pen and a brush.

uh.. i dunno, twister? i don't play a lot of board games.

digifoto, CA?

do people really sit down and think about what they like to smell?

i dunno. i suppose the usual... anything in the area of defecation, rotting or decaying i suppose.

unzipping of pants? i dunno. i don't give this sort of thing a lot of thought, honestly.

the worst? i dunno... i guess dehydration and famine while having to watch your children die? i've had a pretty sheltered life, i'm not sure what the *worst* feeling in the world would be. ask someone who's suffered more.

still alive? ok then.

i don't want to be unfair to the other colors by picking a favorite.

i don't usually answer the phone, the machine catches it.

i'm not breeding.

To crush your enemies, drive them before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

depends on who's asking.

83 mazda glc, fuel burning.

i would be lonely.

i am not an alcoholic. i resent that. martini's are clear, like water. there's nothing wrong with drinking alone. leave me alone!


yes, why, are they bad for you? are they poisonous? what an odd question to ask...

being god. even if you do nothing, people still praise your name!

clear. any other color i wanted i'd just do...

my husband assures me that i have.

i don't see any glass? what glass? where?

braincandy, midnight in the garden of good and evil, silence of the lambs. this is not a fair question. i can't possibly remember all of the movies that i love.

uhh.. damn. i dunno. love spirals downwards, radiohead, depeche mode, massive attack, delerium and countless others

wouldn't i have to? if i were typing with my fingers on the wrong keys, no one would be able to tell what i was typing, right?

the stuffed bodies of my ex's

you know, they've all been so good to me.

mud wrestling

you paint a mean ass.

i only sent this back to the people that it came from. i suppose one of them might tell me to shut up.

myself. i'm no longer talking to me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2001

even when he's good, he's bad

The New York Times reported today that President Bush insists on compelling California to include ethanol in all gasoline in preference to MTBE or other oxygenate substances designed to reduce air pollution.

There are several potential problems with this, including the facts that this move will increase prices by 5 cents a gallon and that environmentalists state that there are now cheaper and better ways to reduce exhaust emissions than ethanol. Most analysts today conclude that the whole gasahol movement is driven by the need to support corn prices and keep up the demand for corn, with very little benefit to either the environment or to the public. Remember, if farmers divert corn supplies to expensive ethanol production, they will increase the price of food corn that is used not just for human consumption but also as feed for farm animals. This increases the price of all food. Interestingly, some of the supporters of the president's latest pronouncement include Democratic Senators Tom Daschle and Tom Harkin. Now why would these guys promote the same agenda as the Prez? Hint: they harken from South Dakota and Iowa, where the corn is grown from which the ethanol is made...

But probably the biggest and most troubling problem is that this will benefit, big time, one of the largest ethanol producers, the infamous Archer Daniels Midland corporation, which, purely by coincidence of course, is one of the largest Republican and Bush campaign contributors.

You all remember ADM, the "Supermarket to the World", which in 1996 or so was convicted of price fixing and subject to the largest penalty ever (at the time). The price fixing of lysine and citric acid drove up the cost of all food and lined the pockets of their stockholders at our expense. At the time of that $100 million fine, it left ADM with a mere BILLION dollars in cash and a 30% increase in the stock price. Tough penalty. If my fading memory serves me correctly, the very next year they were convicted of an identical crime in Europe.

You can read about the US price fixing conviction...

They finally caught up with the executives themselves and convicted them of their criminal conduct...

They've also been slammed by the usual OSHA violations and the like...

Let's face it. These guys are crooks. Convicted felons. BAD corporate citizens. They don't give a crap about fair markets, consumers, their employees... all they care about is stockholder profits. So why do we keep tossing bones in their direction? President Bush appears to have an agenda that he does not even attempt to conceal: to punish California for not supporting him and his policies, to benefit rich corporations at the expense of the consumer and the environment (and in this case it is fair to state that these are EVIL corporations), and to promote the old fashioned Washington tradition of corporate welfare in exchange for campaign contributions. The sad part is the Daschle and Harkin have joined his ranks.

Guess they really are all cut out of the same cloth.

(posted by charlotte)

Friday, June 01, 2001

Sometimes I get really annoyed when the blog goes down. But it's back up now, so I'll stop complainin'

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

what's the rush?

Everybody's outraged at McVeigh. Everybody wants him dead. I just watched a bit of a debate between Phil Donahue and Pat Buchanan, and Buchanan's emotional pitch was as heightened as if someone had just cooked and eaten his cocker spaniel.

I think we have to look at a lot of the built-in structure of criminal justice (when it's working the way it's supposed to).

When you do jury duty, they ask you things like

* Have you or any member of your family been a victim of a violent crime?

* Is any member of your family a police officer?

* Are you personally acquainted with anyone associated with this case?

And if any of the answers are Yes, you can't serve on that jury.

The idea is that a violent crime very naturally outrages its victims.

But doing justice is purposely set up so that decisions of guilt and innocence and punishment will be made by strangers who aren't boiling over with personal outrage and intense feelings of revenge.

That's why the Sheriff tells the lynch mob that in his town, theyre going to wait for the circuit judge and have a fair trial before they hang anybody.

When decisions about crime and punishment are made in the Buchanan Environment, everybody's encouraged to want blood fast. The first thing that does is blur questions about a fair trial and fundamental guilt and innocence. Beheading first! Trial and verdict later!

This week, even CNN news readers are whispering assurances that the Justice Department's failure to turn over exculpatory evidence before McVeigh's trial wasn't really a substantive matter, nobody expects it to result in a commutation or a new trial, or even a very long delay. Everyone REALLY is geared up for, wants, and fully expects a slightly delayed (that restores Fairness) execution.

In a murder trial, the defense often objects to the prosecution's introduction of grisly photos of the victims, claiming it to be inflammatory. What they mean is -- how hacked up the body is doesn't have anything to do with whether or not the defendant is the guy who did the hacking. But it inflames the jury to scream for blood, and the defendant's is the nearest and most obvious blood to scream for.

Everybody's screaming for McVeigh's blood so loudly that nobody wants to look at the withheld evidence very carefully.

What could it show?

It could show that the FBI threatened McVeigh's family and friends to give false testimony. (It's legal for cops to lie to witnesses and suspects.) If they didn't provide the evidence the FBI wanted, the FBI would threaten to include them in murder conspiracy charges. (The FBI told the Chinese-American physicist at Los Alamos that they were going to do to him what they did to the Rosenbergs.)

Is it possible McVeigh didn't do this bombing, or that his role in the bombing wasn't the central role? I remember in the week after the bombing, FBI spokesmen publicly promising the American people that they would catch the Arab terrorists responsible. And in fact all over the Midwest, the FBI started hauling in Arab-Americans and grilling and threatening them mercilessly. It was living hell to be an Arab-American in the Midwest that month, your American citizenship didn't count for shit.

There's a problem with rushing to snuff McVeigh. The sooner he's dead, the more likely it is that doubt and urban legends and conspiracy rumors about who else was responsible will spread — and McVeigh will never be able to address these theories, either to law enforcement, journalists or some eventual independent government commission, like the Warren Commission.

If he lived, would he lie and make up stories about a shadowy guy with government connections named Raul or Abdul?

Maybe. But the truth has ways of being verified.

But dead men tell no tales, false or true.

Already the Internet is full of rumors that the CIA knows the identity of a European guy at the center of the bombing, but had employed him before in counterterrorism operations and is now desperate to conceal their association and involvement with him.

Whacky maybe — but ten years from now, how satisfied will everyone be that McVeigh did it and did it pretty much alone? Especially with the rush to snuff him without a thorough look at the withheld evidence. There are, possibly, larger issues involved — our credibility and trust in the government that's helping us kill him as quickly as possible.


Saturday, May 12, 2001

One of the few sci-fi authors that I really enjoyed. And a wicked sense of humor. I'm sad for all of the books he'll never write! British Author Douglas Adams Dies

Monday, May 07, 2001

> without the intention of creating a huge gun/antigun flame war, i feel
> the need to limit myself to a simple statement.
> the US would be a safer place if there were less guns.

While I have to agree that guns can be used to do unsafe things to people, I am not completely sure that the issue is so much about the actual number of *guns* in the country as much as the number of *people* willing to use them in unsafe ways.

Excerpts from two articles are below, which I found incredibly *surprising* and thought-provoking.

"If an armed society is a polite society, then what happened in America? We are one of the last countries that still allows its citizens to own personal weapons, yet our crime rate is above every other industrialized nation. Homicides are particularly above average for a first world country. By comparison, England sees just one murder for every 10 in the United States, and we can all agree that no one over there has any guns. Surely there must be a connection.

As a matter of fact, a view of gun ownership from an international perspective can be very enlightening about the efficacy of firearms as a crime-fighting tool when left in the hands of private citizens.

In Switzerland every adult male is required, by law, to keep in his home a fully automatic assault rifle for militia service. Shooting is practically a national pastime, and a permit to carry a handgun is easily obtained. Far from attacking those it views as "stockpiling" weapons, surplus military rifles are made available by the Swiss government for around $50 each.

Far from having blood running in the streets, crime in Switzerland is virtually non-existent -- putting even England's peaceful reputation to shame. And this in a country of gun-owners!"


According to the U.N. International Study on Firearm Regulation, England's 1994 homicide rate was 1.4 (9% involving firearms), and the robbery rate 116, per 100,000 population. In the United States, the homicide rate was 9.0 (70% involving firearms), and the robbery rate 234, per 100,000.

[But] Switzerland, which is awash in guns...has substantially lower murder and robbery rates than England, where most guns are banned.

Here are the figures: The Swiss Federal Police Office reports that in 1997 there were 87 intentional homicides and 102 attempted homicides in the entire country. Some 91 of these 189 murders and attempts involved firearms. With its population of seven million (including 1.2 million foreigners), Switzerland had a homicide rate of 1.2 per 100,000. There were 2,498 robberies (and attempted robberies), of which 546 involved firearms, resulting in a robbery rate of 36 per 100,000. Almost half of these crimes were committed by non-resident foreigners, whom locals call "criminal tourists."

-- Stephen P. Halbrook, The Wall Street Journal
(Europe), June 4, 1999


Now, regarding personal defense (the basic start of this thread), I have somewhere in my stack of stuff a study (that I found while researching concealed carry laws) that says you have something like a 10 to 20 times greater likelihood of being shot by an attacker whenever you're carrying a gun. In most cases of "stranger attacks", your chances of harm actually escalate greatly if you're carrying a weapon, such as a gun or knife. However, communities with concealed carry laws have seen a statistically measurable drop in violent "stranger" crimes such as muggings, etc., particularly against women, since the laws were passed. The study concluded that having the law in place is a psychological deterrent to criminals, though women carrying weapons on their persons were statistically more likely to be harmed by a weapon if actually attacked.

Strange double-edged (hell, multi-edged) conundrum, but it makes me think, very very hard, about all these issues. Because of my family history, I do a lot of thinking about these things (self-defense and related accidental deaths), and I am always looking out for articles with statistically valid numbers that I can add to my database of information on the subject.


Tuesday, May 01, 2001

I wonder why it is when Rob Blake gets his elbow up on Yzerman, I get annoyed and consider Blake a thug, but when Kasparaitis does the same thing on Donald Audette, I think it's really funny and Kaspar starts becoming one of my favorite players...

Monday, April 23, 2001

I shot this photo for Divinity Designs. I'd make a bigger deal, except this is the only photo I did. But really, this place has some really nice gothy stuff and is modeled by Summer Bowman of the Machine in the Garden. How much more gothy can it be? Still not sold? It comes in a wide variety of sizes for a resonable price. Go! Buy it! You know you want it!Panne Velvet and Vinyl Bodice

Thursday, April 19, 2001

banner blues

this was a decision that i wrestled with for... sheesh, i dunno how long. being laid off 20 days ago seemed to sort of answer it for me. to banner or not to banner? well, obviously i've made that decision and now i have to sit in my nest of pop-up banner hell for the next year.

my husband told me today that he read an article about the state of advertising on the web today and that the new york times was interested in making their banners larger. that seems like the answer of an ignorant and not very creative mind.

i've been in the marketing game over 10 years now. more importantly, though, since the internet was becoming more commonplace during that time i think i have a pretty good feel for what goes down on the web.

i have to tell you, i actually hit the monkey... i know they refreshed their campaign to electrocute the monkey now, but at one point i actually said "oh fuck it... let's see what the deal is with the monkey." theoretically, the ad worked. i clicked to check it out. a year or so ago. i still see that same dumb monkey on every other site i go to. will i click on it again? of course not. so why are they still paying money to keep showing me the same ad that i won't respond to?

because it's cheaper for them to do so... and with the abysmal click-thru rates on banner ads these days, no one really seems to know what to do to get the word out about their products and services.

i find it interesting that the new york times would spout such a dumb idea for getting people to click through. i suppose that being a print-based medium at it's root, it still doesn't understand what the average web user is looking for. in my own humble opinion the web user is looking for 1. information and 2. to be entertained.

sure, there's people who shop and bank, etc. but by and large people are still wary of this new technology. so how do you reach them? seems obvious... turn your ad content into articles and place them on news sites as an ad, like magazines do with advertisement-marked articles.

the monkey people are close with their banner-game, but for the love of god, please refresh your creative more than once a year. three months is a good rule of thumb for a web year. if you have the exact same creative running for over three months on that high of an exposure rate, you're just wasting your money. make a monkey puzzle. make a tetris monkey. please, just do something else!

Tuesday, April 17, 2001

The scar on the back of his neck is the most glorious thing I've ever seen. I see him at work, sitting application server room, separated from the rest of us by a pane of glass. With his back to me, I always get a perfect view of his scar, but never get the guts to speak to him.

The scar is straight, slightly raised, and very smooth. It must be surgical. It reaches from the top of his shoulders up several inches into his hairline. No hair grows on it. I'm entranced by it. I can't help but think about touching it, but I can't imagine a more awkward thing to say to a total stranger..."Hi...can I touch your scar?"

Thursday, April 12, 2001

take action and fax your senators and representative! ACLU Action Alert: Protect Your Vote!

Tuesday, April 10, 2001

blah: (2:18 AM) you wanna meet girls?
wAyNeR: (2:19 AM) I don't think I should have said anything to only know freaky people. Plus, it's a big effort......bleah...I'm too lazy....
blah: (2:20 AM) you wouldn't do well with a normal person anyway
blah: (2:20 AM) she's be all clingy and begging you to buy her expensive gifts
blah: (2:20 AM) you never know what's going to happen with a freak. do they love you? are they on their meds? is that an axe?
wAyNeR: (2:21 AM) uhhmmmm....great
blah: (2:21 AM) i'm going to put that on my rants page
wAyNeR: (2:22 AM) I'm glad I could inspire you....although it was probably just the druggs
blah: (2:23 AM) probably, but these are the last days of the drugs. i'm going off the paxil AND the ambien.
wAyNeR: (2:23 AM) do they have a paxil patch???
blah: (2:24 AM) no i'm going to have to cut the pill up with a big sharp knife
wAyNeR: (2:25 AM) put it on a plate with ketchup and mac and cheeze and it's a special meal.
blah: (2:25 AM) posty posty posty
blah: (2:25 AM) no matter what it's just a seriously dangerous psychotropic drug
blah: (2:25 AM) no condiment that god or man puts on it will change that.

Tuesday, March 27, 2001

New NARAL Website Tracks Bush

We want to let you know about a terrific new website that is being launched by NARAL to track President Bush's anti-choice activities.

Please visit the site at:

For the first time since Roe v. Wade, an anti-choice President controls the White House and anti-choice majorities control both chambers of Congress. Soon, with George W. Bush likely to appoint two Supreme Court justices, the judiciary branch could also be in the hands of anti-choice majorities, creating a free-for-all environment for anti-choice forces to further limit or completely eliminate a woman's right to reproductive choice.

This website will be monitoring actions by Bush and his administration daily. It includes options for sending letters to the White House and petitions on Bush's betrayal of voters who believed him when we said he wouldn't work to overturn reproductive rights.

Please bookmark this new website and share it with friends and family!

posted by charlotte for TARAL

Monday, March 12, 2001

...gee... and the Taleban's actions like denying women's right to hold a job were so warm and fuzzy... who could've possibly seen this coming? - Giant Afghan Buddhas destroyed, Taleban says - March 11, 2001

Tuesday, February 13, 2001

What bothers me the most, of course, is that their pizza is nasty, but the politics suck too! Down with Dominoes! Their cheap, greasy pizza can rot! Viva Papa John's!

Tuesday, January 09, 2001

The Burning Bush

or why shaving your pussy for the president is silly

The thing is, post-Cold war politics is all about embarassment. Why? Because in a time of relative prosperity where there exists no supreme adversary to draw our fire, getting elected has practically nothing to do with qualifications and everything to do with celebrity.

Arguably there has never been a firm, objective way to judge the qualifications of someone running for President, but this is especially the case now. Our President has to be some kind of a silly clown-angel, always with one wing dipped in blood; don't forget that for the past ten years while Clinton played sax on Arsenio Hall, conducted "listening tours" because he thought "campaign fundraisers" sounds too gauche, and claimed to "feel our pain" while he got blown by someone his daughter's age he was sitting atop a nuclear arsenal capable of killing everyone on this planet. And stewarding ICBM's is only one of his lesser jobs. What qualifies anybody to do that?

Nobody is truly qualified to be President. The only practical qualification is the ability to convince enough people that you won't screw things up beyond repair. Which is exactly where celebrity comes in. Come on! Is Hillary Clinton qualified to be Senator? Maybe. But is that why she got elected? Probably not. What about Jesse Ventura? Or the Bonos. Or Ronald Reagan. For Heaven's sake, we tried to convince Warren Beatty to run for President because we liked his Bulworth movie and we give him props for tagging Madonna.

I'm sorry. I hate to type "tagging" but sometimes it fits. Really the whole thing gets more ridiculous by the day. Let me say briefly that I like George Bush and that I'm relatively glad that he got elected, but I don't kid myself about his qualifications. How did he get elected? Some blame the elderly population of Florida. Others argue "Clinton fatigue." Lately I've come to theorize that his ascension has something to do with the


Really. Anyone who comes into or out of this woman automatically becomes 500,000 times more likely to be elected to high office. Her loins have had two Presidents and a Governor as tenants. What does she always wear? A pearl necklace? Hmmm.... On election night I thought of her while I was in the shower and I was elected county commissioner. Gave up the office though; I didn't feel I deserved it.

Okay, so it's a ghastly joke at the expense of a lovely woman who teaches people to read. But it doesn't change the overall messages of this thing:

1. Comparatively, it's tough for anyone to be a true embarassment in international politics. Those with dissenting opinions should at a minimum consider Boris Yeltsin, the British Parliament and politics in Italy. (I realize that we don't hear much about Italian politics but that's largely because the Italians hog all the laughs for themselves.)

2. In the absence of true crisis, America cares little for leadership and is content to choose between paperweights. Hopefully these guys grow into the job to face the Big Crisis of Their Administration (for Clinton it was getting blown) and I have some faith that Bush will probably manage. Anyone looking forward to choosing a real leader will probably get their chance soon, since we have several unavoidable big problems simmering that will probably bloom into full-blown crises soon. This fits under the old adage: "The tree of decadence must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of innocents." Or something like that.

3. It's tough to chunk hair in general, no matter what part of the body it comes from. But if it makes you feel better, okay, whatever.

by Jeremy Valdez
posted with permission by charlottesometimes

Wednesday, December 20, 2000

Droog4's Whacky Goofy Loony Idea: Forgiveness

There's a movement to ask Bill Clinton to release a lot of non-violent drug-bust federal prisoners before he leaves office, as part of Jubilee. E-mail the dewd. I'm now convinced that the War on Drugs is just Newspeak for Ethnic Cleansing.

Bush, the compassionate conservative who snuffs retarded and mentally ill people, certainly won't do it.

So it's these last few weeks of Clinton's term, or it won't happen at all.

Jubilee, Amnesty, Forgiveness -- whatever you want to call it -- it's an idea we need to bring back to society before we slide into the Black Hole of Vengeance bigtime. 600 USA clergypeople (including Bill's own Methodist minister) just wrote Clinton asking him to Do It.

You know I'm always squawking that the USA is now the world's leader in prisoners, with more than 2,000,000 men, women and children behind bars. (Ask me for my bitchin awesome 2,000,000 Prisoners t-shirt design! Free!) How the fuck did The Land of the Free ever get this way?

When I went to the Philadelphia Shadow Convention, my buddy and I rode a charter bus full of the family members -- wives, little kids, grandmas -- of people in New York prisons for decades under the Rockefeller mandatory-minimum drug laws. Rapists and murderers routinely get released before Rockefeller Law prisoners. To say it was heartbreaking doesn't even come close to what this bus ride was like.

Just once I wish a president would make THIS kind of terrible mistake and give a lot of junkies and single mothers with lousy romantic judgment a break. I'd really feel proud of America if Bill left office declaring a big amnesty. (The reason We're Number One! is that the sneaky Russians declared an amnesty and let 200,000 people out of their gulags in 1999.)

If you like the idea, PLEASE take a little time and e-mail the dewd, not much time left. Don't let it Not Happy just 'cause we forgot to express our opinions.

We thank you for your support. Droog4 Elmer Elevator's Discount Prep: posted by charlotte for Droog4

Saturday, December 02, 2000

Presidential Election Law

Friday, December 01, 2000

Seattle Indymedia -
The war of the WTO marches on... and look... the Miranda is being violated in Washington as well! What happened to the Bill of Rights? What happened to the 5th Amendment?

Monday, November 27, 2000

Welcome to
I mean, why not just keep Bill?

Tuesday, November 14, 2000

miranda in texas

people, this is scary... i found out this morning that in Texas, you don't have to be read your rights upon arrest and that the things you say can and will be held against you.

the magistrate reads you your rights AFTER you've spent the night in jail. read the following that i pulled from this web site ( about williamson county:

Your Miranda Rights

The most important rights guaranteed to a person accused of crime are:

The right to remain silent;
The right not to be compelled to give evidence against oneself;
The right to an attorney prior to and during any questioning by police or attorneys for the State;
The right to terminate any interview with law enforcement personnel at any time.

The most important aspect of your Miranda rights, as you can see from the above, is that you don't have to tell the police anything at all. Regardless of what the police officer says -- that you will be helping yourself if you "tell the truth," that you will make it easier on yourself if you confess, etc. -- your best defense at this point is to REMAIN SILENT!

If you simply must tell your story to the police, wait until you have had an opportunity to tell it to an attorney, and get counsel's advice before handing your head to the prosecutor on a platter. It may take several days for you to get an attorney, but the advice of counsel is worth more than a couple of days in jail. "Telling the truth" to the police will not get you out of jail any sooner. In fact, if the truth is that you are not guilty, you go to jail anyway; if the truth is that you are guilty, you go to jail for a longer period of time!"

now, riddle me this, batman... if the supreme court ruling in 1966 arizona v. miranda ruled that the police are to advise you of your rights *upon arrest* how is it that texas is getting away with not reading them until after you've been in jail overnight?

even worse, in june of this year, a challenge to miranda (stemming from a 1968 ruling that seemed to conflict) was shot down 7-2 (

from the lawyer who argued the case:
"'The ACLU has always believed, and the court today agreed, that effective law enforcement does not and should not depend on keeping people ignorant of their rights," said Steven R. Shapiro, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a friend- of-the-court brief in the case."

and yet, in consulting with a laywer this morning, this is still not true in Austin, Texas year 2000 and i can't seem to find out why that is. does anyone know?

Saturday, November 11, 2000

the tragic, sad, brave life of Martin Niemoller

He is an object of fierce controversy on the Web. Everyone wants to make Niemöller "their Niemöller," spun their own way. (For example, he is a hero of anti-abortionists. One of his champions is born-again evangelist Charles Colson, a senior official of the Nixon White House who was a central mover in the worst crimes of Watergate, and who did a nice chunk of prison time for it.) Few of the sites about Niemöller are what you might call "objective" or "non-partisan."

But through the fog of the wrestling match for your mind, some interesting and uncontested facts emerge about what was clearly a most remarkable and courageous man. This seems to be the most authoritative version of his famous quote, which some post as a poem. Of course a part of the "fuzz" about the quote is that it was undoubtedly first spoken in German and then translated. (The Italians say: Traditore, Tradutore -- Translator, Traitor):

According to Harry W. Mazal, the exact text of what Martin Niemöller said, and which appears in the Congressional Record, 14 October 1968, page 31636, is:

When Hitler attacked the Jews, I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and there was nobody left to be concerned.

Niemöller's great tragedy seems to be chiefly that the Nazis were clearer and faster in doing what they wanted to do than Niemöller and his fellow young Protestant ministers were in responding to the Nazi programs. His tragedy and failure to resist Nazism early and in time, with the finest elements of Christianity at his disposal, is disturbingly like Yeats' "The Second Coming":

Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction; the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

Niemöller was a decorated U-boat commander during World War I; it seems that he embraced pacifism itself only after his liberation from Dachau and the end of World War II. (I don't know how you say "Oops!" in German.)

In 1924 he became a Lutheran minister and served as pastor of a well-to-do Berlin suburb. He was an early supporter of Hitler, and the Nazi press pointed to him as a model for his patriotic military service in World War I [Newsweek 10 July 1937, or so one webpage cites].

In 1933, the Nazi Nuremburg laws authorizing (among other things) enforced sterilization for many classes of people convinced him that Nazism was anti-Christ and anti-Christian, and that in fact the Nazis were trying to turn Germany into a revival of ancient Teutonic paganism, with ritual human sacrifice as its centerpiece.

It apparently became clear to him at this time that Christianity, as he understood it, and Nazism could not survive together in Germany; no matter how the Nazis tried to put a Christian label or costume on their ideas and programs, Niemöller realized that what was being sold to the German people was a faith that was profoundly opposed to Christianity and was intent on destroying it.

Very promptly, Protestant pastors expressing sentiments along these lines started to be arrested and imprisoned, and Niemöller founded an organization of about 3,000 pastors, The Pastors' Emergency League, to defend pastors from these government attacks. He also helped found the anti-Nazi groups The Barmen Synod and The Confessional Church. These organizations were among the roots that eventually evolved into the domestic resistance to the Nazis during World War II.

He continued to preach his ideas publicly, knowing that soon nothing could protect him from arrest. In one of his most famous last sermons, he said he "would rather burn his church to the ground than to preach the Nazi trinity of 'race, blood and soil.'"

In 1937 he was charged with treason and spent the war in two concentration camps, Sachsenhausen and Dachau. His more famous Lutheran pastor friend and active resistance member, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was executed. Niemöller miraculously survived and lived to be 92. After the war he authored a famous doctrine attesting to the responsibility of the German Protestant clergy for the rise of the Nazis, toured the world to speak about his experiences, and served in the highest positions of international Protestant organizations. Among many awards was the Lenin Peace Prize, the Soviet Union's version of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Far less classy than Niemöller or Yeats, nevertheless I think Niemöller's sad and yet great life can best be described by this Pennsylvania Dutch saying:

We get too soon old, and too late smart.

He seems to have been a very ordinary man, initially not prone to over-thinking, forced by the most bizarre and ghastly circumstances to become extraordinary. It is not a crime or a sin to be ordinary; most of us are, and the rest of us often wish desperately and bitterly that we could be. It is certainly the sweetest of all the gifts of fate to be allowed to live an ordinary life in ordinary times, and it wasn't Niemoller's fault that his times were so horrifyingly far from ordinary.

Niemöller was one of the few people in these circumstances to become extraordinary, but a little too slowly to help Germany or himself. His famous quote is the best possible assessment of his life, no detractor could possibly say anything more candidly damning about him.

So I think we have to look at Niemöller's life and wonder if we in America in 2000 are encountering something parallel and similar to the early rise of the Nazi programs.

Of course we're Americans and it's a disgusting question. We ought immediately and totally to reject it. It could not possibly be true.

But Niemöller's experience suggests that, if we're wrong, we don't and won't have much time to do anything about a Very Ghastly and Huge National Mistake; very soon, if not already, it will be much too late to turn it around.

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

-- Oliver Cromwell, letter to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 1650

In my post about our 2,000,000 prisoners a week or so ago, the one you wondered about and about which I referred you to the Angela Davis essay, there is the very troubling question of how The Land of the Free now leads the world -- beyond China, beyond Russia -- in prisoners, of how this happened. You very insightfully wondered if America really has 2,000,000 serial killers.

The desire to live safely, to be largely if not entirely free from fear of violence or predation or intimidation, is a perfectly valid, ancient, even moral desire. I would not trade any of my Utopian notions of justice or morality for a truly dangerous and threatening community.

The question is, how have our politicians and policymakers treated our normal, healthy, natural desires to feel and be safe? Have they responded to it rationally and sincerely and in the highest traditions of public service?

Or have they pandered to it in the lowest and most insincere ways for cheap votes and perpetual re-election? I think, since the END of the Nixon administration, this is the conscious (but backroom and secret) choice our public officials have made. (Nixon, astonishingly, championed an emphasis on medical treatment and scientific research for addiction, and specifically did not use imprisonment as "our response of first choice," as Angela Davis describes our policies since Nixon.)

Elmer Elevator's Discount Prep:

posted by charlotte for Droog4

By segregating people labeled as criminals, prison simultaneously fortifies and conceals the structural racism of the U.S. economy. Claims of low unemployment rates -- even in black communities -- make sense only if one assumes that the vast numbers of people in prison have really disappeared and thus have no legitimate claims to jobs. The numbers of black and Latino men currently incarcerated amount to 2 percent of the male labor force. According to criminologist David Downes, "Treating incarceration as a type of hidden unemployment may raise the jobless rate for men by about one-third, to 8 percent. The effect on the black labor force is greater still, raising the [black] male unemployment rate from 11 percent to 19 percent."
US CT: OPED: Reflections On The Prison Industrial Complex Politics | Everything you need to know about the Florida recount

Friday, November 10, 2000

And Now for Something Not Entirely Different

... inspired by this piece from Salon.

As you probably know, my personal vacuum cleaner is the War on Drugs and its ghastly racist, ethnic-cleansing consequences.

Both Bush and Gore took the identical robotic line of once again ratcheting up the War on Drugs -- more cops, more prosecutors, more prisons — THIS time they promised to REALLY get tough on drugs!

At this writing, the election has come down to Gore shrieking and having a cataleptic fit over a difference of 370 Florida votes.

The Salon guy very nicely points out that one third of adult African-American men in Florida are permanently disenfranchised, they can never vote again, because of felony convictions, most of them drug-related.

I voted Nader/Green; I think both Bush and Gore are equally corrupt, clueless and dangerous for the USA and the world.

But if Gore — whose Democratic birthright is African-American votes — loses, I hope he chokes on his party's contribution to the resurrection of Jim Crow in the Sunbelt. (And everywhere else except, thanks to California's voters, Prop 36!!!)

Gore — our thoughtful, caring, liberal candidate — had the chance to gently and cautiously call for a new direction in drug policy, but his white soccer mom suburban focus groups kept telling him that what the folks want is to keep locking up those scary icky black and Hispanic people. So that's what he and his predecessors of both parties have done for the last 20 years, and that's why he's screaming and freaking out over 370 ballots.

Your Noted Expert on Constitutional Law,

Elmer Elevator's Discount Prep:

posted by charlotte for Droog4

Thursday, October 26, 2000

One Person, One Traded Vote

How ingenious. How pragmatic. How sad. The fact that this sort of vote-trading scheme is getting some traction and being advertised in some pretty mainstream media outlets makes me wonder what kind of democracy we have. The moral responsibility of citizens in a free society ought to be to vote their consciences. By encouraging people to trade their votes, some of us are telling others "Hey, it's okay to vote someone else's conscience because she's gonna vote yours." Despite the net result, it's nowhere near the same thing.

Now for the partisan part of the e-mail: notice when this sort of thing gets suggested. In the '92 and '96 elections there was nowhere near this sort of contrived plan to prevent Perot from siphoning votes that would have gone to Big Bush or Dole. This isn't because Republicans couldn't see what Perot was going to do, or because Republicans are too stupid to use the Internet. It's because--ignoring what sort of Liddyesque tricks all candidates and their campaign generals might be disposed towards--the rank and file Republican would find it very distasteful to "trade" a vote.

So now a whole bunch of us are supposed to play the political system like currency brokers. Why? So that a liberal with substance and credibility can get his 5% without preventing a borderline-socialist with no substance and no credibility from winning the tattered and torn White House? Bullshit.

Oh, I know... if Bush wins we're all going to buy guns and strip mine our back yards. Women won't be able to get abortions, it will be legal to stomp minorities and gay people will have to stop being gay.

C'mon, who are we kidding besides ourselves. We elect Presidents, not emperors and certainly not gods. And I know they appoint justices, but just ask Robert Bork how easy it is to stack the Court with ultra-conservatives. Bush knows he can't turn the Supreme Court, much less the world, on its ear, and any of his supporters who think he can will soon find themselves mistaken.

Vote for whoever you want. And if you trade your vote, you should at least call for an end to the archaic Electoral College. That way we could really be a country where one person equals one person equals one vote.

Posted on behalf of Jeremy Valdez

Thursday, October 19, 2000

Vote Nader!

Wait a second, before I start speaking, I need to tack up a 25 x 40-foot American flag behind my podium.


Okay. Ahem.

Bob Dole ... well ... I never had anything much against him. I think he was the finest candidate in the 1924 presidential race.

Just before Elizabeth Dole vanished from the campaign race, she promised to ratchet up the War on Drugs bigtime -- this time she was REALLY going to get tough on drugs! What a gal. I'm really glad she vanished. Is "boza" the feminine form of "bozo"?

The "manwoman" you are describing, the one you wish were running for president, IS running for president. His name is Ralph Nader. You can vote for him on 7 November.

You just can't see him on the debates. In fact, the night of the first Bush-Gore debate, someone slipped Nader an ordinary audience seat ticket. But the guards refused to let him in to sit in the audience.

I'm not a lifelong rabid Nader fan, and I'm not a card-carrying Green.


* We know from 30 years experience that Nader is scrupulously honest

* We know he's smart as a whip

* We know he doesn't spend every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday playing golf with big corporation executives

* We know his efforts have saved a lot of lives and changed, for the safer and the better, an enormous amount of the way the USA conducts its marketplace

* We know he doesn't chase hot young babes around much, and we know this because General Motors hired private detectives to snoop into his private life, and they didn't find anything

Ah. Now we get to The Spoiler Thing. Yes, you say, Nader is Nice, but a vote for Nader can never make him the President, so you're wasting your vote in the opposite direction from the best chance for a reasonably decent president.

First of all, by that logic, if I go into the voting booth and see

[ ] Milosivec

[ ] Hitler

[ ] Jerry Brown

I have to vote for either Milosivec or Hitler. Otherwise I'm not being Realistic. My guess is, that's how Milosivec and Hitler got their jobs in the first place.

Who sets these rules for being realistic? Clearly, if you look at who's excluded from the debates, and the rules for distributing the public $millions for candidates, the Republican and Democratic Parties are working overtime to set the rules for being realistic.

(Buchanan is excluded from the debates too. Eight years ago, the presidential candidate of the party he represents, weird old jug-ears, got 14 percent of the vote.) The Federal Elections Commission is just a bunch of old Democrat and Republican golf buddies whose sole mission is to make sure there'll never be a successful third party or candidate.

So screw that. I'm voting for Nader. And if it sucks votes away from Gore, that's just dandy. Guess what Gore just promised to do? Keep cannabis, recreational and medicinal, outlawed forever, AND ratchet up the War on Drugs again! This time he's REALLY going to get tough on drugs! (Ditto Bush. And both of them koff koff are EXPERTS on illegal drugs, with extensive personal experiences.)

ASIDE TO PHYSICIANS ON THIS LIST: For me, the problem isn't the medical science behind medicinal or recreational cannabis. It's why we throw so many non-violent, young, off-white people into prison over this stuff and then make sure they can never vote again or get college financial aid. It's why we use pot to maintain a society DESIGNED on imprisonment. It's why we had Alcohol Prohibition, got smart enough to get rid of it, but are doing it ALL OVER AGAIN!

So quit your whining and vote for Nader. If he gets 10 percent of the vote and screws up the election for Gore, that guarantees that a terrified Democratic Party will start talking about Green issues -- justice, a rational, sane drugs policy, racial justice, an end to throwing all our non-white, mentally ill, addicted, poor, illiterate people into prison -- four years from now.

Also, both Bush and Gore support the upcoming war in Colombia. (The USA has exempted Colombia from human-rights standards so we can jump into this war. Your tax dollars will go straight to right-wing paramilitary death squads.) To this US Army Vietnam-era veteran, that means that if either Bush or Gore win, it's time to start making sketches for the Colombia War Memorial in Washington DC.

Of course we've promised to send only military advisers, no combat troops. Was anybody here around in 1962? They haven't even bothered to change the wording of this Lie. (Since Reagan, the press has been excluded from Dover Delaware Air Force Base, where the military ships back its body bags. The press can't even count them anymore.)

Nader has promised to decriminalize cannabis (joint appearance with New Mexico Republican Gov. Gary Johnson, sorry about the entendre of "joint"), and I don't theeeeeeenk he is going to bumble into a war in Colombia. Bush is certainly that stupid, Gore has been making all the right noises to prove he's that stupid; Nader is not that stupid.

Also -- I don't think the Firestone / Ford Exploder mess would have played itself out the way it has under a Nader administration. Like I said -- Nader doesn't play golf with corporation CEOs, or sleep with them in the Lincoln Bedroom.

Vote Nader. We thank you for your support.

Elmer Elevator's Discount Prep:

posted by charlotte for Droog4

Tuesday, October 17, 2000

Okay, I've felt this way about sports celebrities for a long time, but I'm finally going to rant about it...

So it's a sad-but-true fact that the media and our society idolize sports figures based on their prowess in the sport, regardless of who they are as human beings. Although I've known this for a long time, I saw it pervasively this weekend when I attended two NHL games. Though I know I have to respect some players for their innate talent and years of skill development, I can't stomach when people idolize players who are scum off the ice, and I saw it over and over again this weekend, and it ticked me off! I keep wondering if the fans wearing these players' sweaters have ANY IDEA what those guys have done with their time when they weren't on the ice making great saves, killing off penalties, or scoring goals. Yes, these guys deserve All-Star accolades and praise for their hockey playing, but geez...don't you have any conscience whatsoever about idolizing someone who's scum??

What makes a person scum? Well I'm not EVEN going to get into the debate about players who are arrested for drugs or prostitution or anything like that. Both of the players I'm annoyed about have been arrested for violence against women. This is the deal. While a lot of fans at this arena were wearing sweaters displaying the names and numbers of players I don't have any dirt on, a fairly large number of sweaters displayed the names and numbers of two players in particular who've physically victimized women. First case in point, earlier this year, one of the biggest names on the team had a run-in at a hotel, during which his female companion (who was not his wife, I must add) called the front desk of the hotel because she wanted to leave his room, but the player was refusing to let her leave. She was scared, and asked that someone come up and escort her out. When the escort arrived, a scuffle ensued. The evening ended with the player putting a security guard in a headlock at one point, begging the cops not to take him to jail (and even offering them a sum of ONE BILLION DOLLARS if they wouldn't -- as if even HE makes that kind of money), and finally, in his most dignified move, puking in the squad car. But despite the fact that he physically frightened his companion, attacked a security officer, and attempted to bribe the police, the fans LOVE him and will defend him to the end because of his showing on the ice. It makes me sick that they give no credence to who he is off the ice. I don't really yearn for the morally conservative days of the past, but whatever happened to a community shunning someone who hurts one of their own? But evidently it's not about the fact that he hurt someone and has no problem trying to buy his way out of trouble -- as long as this guy keeps the team winning, they're all behind him! Ick.

Case two: Another player on this team (who, I might add, is featured prominently in the team's merchandise catalog) was arrested a few years ago for assaulting his wife the night after his team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Although the case was never prosecuted because his wife eventually changed her mind and decided not to press charges, it doesn't change the facts of her statement to the police, which said that he hit her several times and cut her leg with a kitchen knife. (Sidebar: It happens far too often that women are scared enough to call the cops when they're being abused, but given time to think it over, recant and refuse to press charges later. I'd love to see society encourage and support abused spouses -- either men OR women -- to follow through with their charges and to get serious help immediately, rather than letting the abuse continue. However, we obviously don't live in such a society, as was evident to me at the games this weekend.)

So here's this guy who's arrested for attacking his wife during an argument. I'll give you that people do crazy things during arguments, but punching and cutting your spouse with a knife shouldn't be part of the behavior, no matter how heated the argument is, no? Well, evidently not many people think that's a big deal, as I saw MANY female fans wearing this guy's name and number on their team sweaters at the game. At one of the games, the guy sitting next to me asked why I wasn't a fan of the home team. I answered honestly that I couldn't rally behind men who abuse women (as in this case, the victims were women). The guy and his buddy shrugged me off. They didn't offer back anything like "well yeah, but he's gotten help since then" or "yeah, it's too bad about that, he's a great player aside from that..." They didn't seem to think it was a big deal at all. He's a great player, and that's all that matters as far as I could tell. argh.

So anyway. I hate these players for who they are off the ice, and I hate the fans who seem to think it's totally okay, so long as their team keeps winning. I sometimes long for the days of community justice, where a group of people who knew the facts of the matter doled out their own brand of justice to the offender, keeping the offender in line and setting an example for anyone else who wanted to break the same community rule. Oddly enough, that's a lot of what hockey's "enforcers" are about, but evidently society itself isn't ready to enforce any codes of conduct on its sports celebrities. Instead, we're happy to spend $200 on a jersey that proudly displays the player's name and number, and implies the wearer looks up to him, admires him, and aspires to be like him.

It just makes me sad and pissy...

Sunday, October 15, 2000

There is no God

see... more permanent fatal errors!
what kind of world are we living in where heaven exists, but has a gift shop and god is not in it?

>X-From_: MAILER-DAEMON Fri Oct 13 23:21:17 2000
>Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 23:21:17 -0400 (EDT)
>From: Mail Delivery Subsystem
>Subject: Returned mail: see transcript for details
>Auto-Submitted: auto-generated (failure)
> ----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
> (reason: 550 5.1.1 ... User unknown)
>Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 22:31:47 -0700
>From: Charlotte Sometimes
>Subject: Returned mail: see transcript for details
>this bounced from your other account. is this one still working?
>>Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 23:01:07 -0400 (EDT)
>>From: Mail Delivery Subsystem
>>To: postmaster
>>Subject: Returned mail: see transcript for details
>>Auto-Submitted: auto-generated (failure)
>> ----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
>> (reason: system config error)
>>Final-Recipient: RFC822;
>>Action: failed
>>Last-Attempt-Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 23:01:07 -0400 (EDT)
>>Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 22:11:35 -0700
>>From: Charlotte Sometimes
>>Subject: fish
>>dear god,
>>we need more tasty fish like salmon.