Contents: Mr Moses- That’s a Lieeee, Elian held Hostage, Nightmare on Any Street, Tin Soldiers (Columbine), Rudy + Hill Slug it Out with Bags of Cash, Class + Breeding- Teamsters, The Never Ending Story, I Got the Power, Free Unlimited Long Distance- ( this is long: print it )
See website for audio greeting + 7 minutes of Mike Snow radio interview http://msnoh.tripod.com/talkspot.htlml
We've been busy + neglected the political stew. So to recap. The lasting contribution of the McCain campaign may be to have broken the mindless lock Pat Robertson and other new right "religious" leaders have on the Republican Party. Although he was dressed down- politically and electorally, it was a stunning and important precedent and may open the debate in the non-crackpot Repub party about why they operate in such slavish fear of the Christian demagogues. You got to love him, though it was obviously a desperate gamble: that the moderate masses were sick enough of Christian bullying that he would tap a groundswell of popular support. Not that we're attacking religion, mind you, it's just that smarmy Pat and smug Jerry Fallwell are religious men the way the Ayatollahs are holy men: they might not execute people wholesale, but prison would definitely be in the cards for the heretics, had they the power. Still, it was shocking how fast the McCain campaign fizzled, as stories of his anger, racist comments, and fits recirculated endlessly. We prefer a politician that isn't a real person: who lies to us and tells us what we want to hear (RR).
Lame to steal Politically Incorrect's material, but I see a 1-2 month lull before the Pres race takes center stage again. Al seems to be gaining speed, and GB2's ruthlessness, inexperience, and stupidity will become more and more apparent. Dubya has come under criticism for his bragging about huge improvements by Texas schoolkids taking the TAAS proficiency test- sort of a mini SAT, the results in his “reformer with results”. Turns out that they’ve achieved it by spending over half of the school day for months in test taking skills and intensive cramming, neglecting the actual curriculum. There are grave doubts that GB2 has the stamina to make it through the tortuous election schedule- he has shirked from anything in the past that wasn’t fun and is spending 4-5 days a month less on the campaign trail than Gore. Although Repubs have always raised much more cash from fewer big contributors + so have committed far more egregious campaign finance abuses, AND have opposed every camp finance bill ever proposed (with some Dems); that won’t stop them from hounding Big Al with Buddhist and other CF missteps. We asked NBC (+ form. CNN) reporter Claire Shipman how the press could let them get away with such raucous hypocrisy yet again in a recent lecture. Hopefully that seed will bear some fruit. She was funny, smart, charming, entertaining, and girly (never seen any female reporter who qualified for that) in her recitations of her close encounters with the candidates she’d spent months traveling with. She was also a contemporary of mine in Moscow, where we might have crossed paths- I spent a couple of evenings in the CNN office studying tapes of the 1 day Oct Revolt, where 200-300 were killed + the Communists almost retook power, for an article on the 5 reporters blown away in the battles. Meanwhile nouveau environmentalist GB2 took big contributions from Magnesium Corp of America, the nations TOP DUMPER of toxic chemicals in ’98, according to the EPA.
Dateline? just did a piece about Bush's idiotic assertion that no innocent person had ever been executed in Tehas, an absurdity since Texas has been frying people about as fast as the rest of the country combined. Talked to Barry Scheck after a Bruno lecture- he’s been the moving force behind the Innocence Project (since ‘92), which has exonerated 37 falsely convicted murderers and rapists by DNA evidence, some 2 days before their execution, a title of their new book. He along with partner Jim Neufeld discussed the incredible lengths prosecutors and police would go to to prevent overturning rotten convictions, from imaginary confessions to police (15-20% of time) to falsifying and destroying evidence. Almost to a case, prosecutors resist first the DNA tests, then the release when their victims are proven to be innocent. Told Scheck that he shouldn’t have gone after Mark Furman for being a racist, but for the fact that he’d responded to domestic abuse complaints there before, so when they found Nicole butchered, they decided that OJ would pay, no matter what. I don’t really know what the truth is- for a long time I thought he did it, but the almost impossible timing, his carefree behavior afterwards, and a myth-exploding PBS documentary convinced me that I might have found him not guilty too (not innocent). The presumption of guilt is so enormous in spouse murders that often no other possibility is considered, and there ARE maniacs out there. Ask Roman Polanski, who was weird enough he was lucky they didn’t put him in prison for his wife’s (et al) murder.
Big Al sent me a seemingly personal letter about an article I wrote on global warming, I should send him some of my spectacular shots from climbing Mt. Rainier, the hardest thing I've ever done- including climbing Devil's Tower. 5000 vertical feet straight up a 45 degree snowfield with a 70 lb pack. Mt. Rainier is the most impressive mt in the lower 48, a massive 14,400 ft volcano blasting out of the sea level fields 40 miles from Seattle. With 100 sq miles of glaciers, the heaviest snowfall on the planet, and violently changeable weather, it's in a different class than anything else below Alaska. It was early Sept, after + during a blistering heat wave, so endless 300 ft deep crevices tripled the trail length (you do 6 hours in the dark, when ice bridges are more stable). My moron new partner, an alleged Mt Rescue member from Mt Adams led us, against my advice OFF the trail and we spent 4 hours in the dark blundering around on broken blocks of ice that terminated in bottomless chasms. Then, at 12,200 ft, 6/7 up the mtn, he bailed out + went back. It was his 7th unsuccessful attempt, which should have been a tip off. After climbing the long rock rib of the Cleaver alone, the trail disappeared and one had to navigate across giant snow cups and then terrifying Disneyland ice lattice scaffolding, looking down 50 ft through your feet with the roar of blasting meltwater below you. One walks directly under house + apartment blg sized blocks of ice- 1 or 2 years later one of these let go and mashed 12 or so hapless hikers. I circled around to the shaded northern side to escape the sun and melted horror, and had a leisurely lunch, looking down from almost 3 miles above Seattle and contemplated my chances for return. Every way to the top ended in huge crevices, so I only reached about 13,200 ft. So when Big Al speaks proudly about climbing Mt Rainier, don't discount it. Especially the way guided people are driven up like mules: 2 vertical miles + 6 miles up + then DOWN in about 32-34 hours. I spent about 5 days (there is a cabin at 10,000 ft).
Under relentless pressure, the NRA has seemingly finally snapped and lost all contact with Earth, first accusing Billy Boy with promoting school shootings to further his political agenda, then dispatching fascist Doberman Charleton Heston (whom I used to like) to publicly attack and smear Clinton. Apparently concluding they could play off of Clinton’s other problems, they committed a huge miscalculation, as tens of millions saw the raw NRA viciousness and extremism unclothed and stampeded for the exits. Mind you I like guns- they are fun, and am distressed at NY State’s pathological anti-gun laws, but the truth is- there are far too many guns AND people who need shooting. In the drumbeat of obsessive school shooting stories, TV has convinced parents that it’s likely their kid will get blown away in C period- but only 19 kids were shot dead at school last year (12 at Columbine)- they’re actually more likely to die of the flu. This is as opposed to over 1000 killed outside school, overwhelmingly minority, inner city, and poor. Also I think the pile-on tendency of states to sue companies and industries for legal social ills like smoking is dangerous and could lead to unforeseen erosion of liberties and civil rights.
As Elian Held Hostage- day 151 ended, I still think Janet Reno handled this miserably, denying Elian the residency that he won at such a terrible cost. Her public internal debate only added fuel to the fire, stiffening the 'family' resolve to resist, and the graphic images of SWAT teams sticking machine guns in Elian's face will reverberate for months. That said, I'm sick to death of the fanatical extremism of the anti-Castro Cubans-they would rather every last countrymen starve to death, as long as they "permit" Castro to oppress them. As Michael Moore has said in his newsletters, the hard-core Cubans have been involved in a host of ills, from the Bay of Pigs to Watergate to maybe Kennedy's assassination. This country has granted them automatic citizenship, the only peoples to be so coddled, but nothing is enough. They might at least allow us the illusion that south Florida is still part of the United States. The numbers show a graphic disconnect: 83% of U.S. Cubans think Elian shouldn't have been returned to his father, whereas 76% of white and 92% of black Americans think he should. This will take months-my guess is after wandering through a Super Safeway and assessing the $2 million or so Juan's been offered as a bribe to become an American, he won't be returning to Fidel anytime soon. A symbol of everything good, pure, holy, and righteous to Cubans on both sides of the water, poor Elian has been violently whipsawed from one extreme to another to another... although his treatment has been starkly different (defending by the President’s lawyer, housed at an international peace treaty retreats) from that of other refugees, who are initially jailed even if granted asylum. For another take on the issue from a Cuban in the minority see http://salon.com/news/feature/2000/04/21/miami/index.html
In a chilling example of the dangers of centralized police data banks, privacy rights, and the ubiquitous universal identifier, MSNBC http://www.msnbc.com/news/397082.asp has the story of a man whose life was destroyed by a careless police clerk, who mistakenly entered his Social Security # for that of a man accused of drunken driving and murder (vehicular+ acquitted). For years he couldn't get a job, his wife left him, until an investigator did a background check for him, discovering the error. Even then, the sheriff's department had sold the information to other companies peddling information, which couldn't even say whom they had released the information to. For that reason one should never give their SSN to police when they ask to do their random global wants and warrants search, on someone whose tail light is out- because a mistake in how they enter it, or a mistake in any of thousands of police, court, or jail records could link you to some child molester. Even if you give your correct SSN, a criminal might have used yours. Likewise you should resist the use of your SSN as a password or verifier for any bank account or phone transaction. The idiots at Bank Of America and several other banks use SSN as the password- you can change it with B of A but then the automated touch-tone information doesn't work. Hawaii still uses the SSN as a driver's license number. My brother used to routinely give a dummy SSN to stymie busybodies when asked, but that's asking for this kind of a nightmare.
Coordinately, a NYC friend thinks the next major unjust police shooting could provoke riots among the tense + fed up black populace. In RI, a grand jury found no crime in the tragic accidental shooting of black patrolman Cornell Young- Rep Patrick Kennedy has stirred up a hornet’s nest of police hatred in calling for a federal investigation, after a public show of solidarity with black ministers. . Incredibly, Jonnie Cochran, Barry Scheck + Peter Neufeld are going to sue Providence for $20 mil for wrongful death on behalf of Young’s mother. Kennedy’s dust-up with an airport security guard was probably much ado about nothing, since the woman ran to unbiased + professional Nat. Inquirer to cash in on her scoop- Patrick, who admits behaving badly, has always been a low key and gentlemanly sort
As the statue of limitations ended, at least fifteen suits have been filed against the Littleton police and sheriff's department for their cowardice and inaction in the Columbine tragedy. Reportedly a SWAT sharpshooter had Klebold in his sights but was refused permission to fire; later he saw him + Harris commit suicide, but police still waited outside for 3 1/2 hours while a popular teacher and others died. The 911 operator told the teacher who called to keep the students in the library, when they could have escaped. More appalling, one suit accuses police of actually shooting an innocent student-which (if true) might explain their long inaction. Almost everything reported about the duo was inaccurate, from their links to the Trench Coat Mafia to their supposed racism, as rumor became fact in the reinforcing loop of television and witness testimony. They were both simply monsters who hated everybody, although the relentless bullying they endured couldn't have helped. Their hatred of jocks may partly explained by the fact that Columbine won the state football championship last year-if they were that good they must have had carte blanche. Always idolized in high school, jocks that skillful are deified. Now the Fire Dept. is peddling the tape of the Columbine aftermath, with an anti-gun country soundtrack.
RUDY + HILLARY SLUG IT OUT WITH BAGS OF CASH
On track to become the most expensive senate race forever in history, Giuliani has already raised $20 million while Hillary has raised $16 million, including an inexplicable $7,000 from Kenneth Starr's law firm (Do WHAT??). At this point their available cash beats even the presidential candidates, where Gore will soon have tremendous handicap because of Bush's lack of spending limits and chains of fat cat corporate donors. One Repub Nat. Committee Gala just on C-Span supposedly raised $20 million. Meanwhile Giuliani's wife, Donna Hanover is staring in the lead of the Vagina Monologues, which may provoke Hizoner to deny the theater zoning rights and funding for public obscenity. Their marriage has reportedly been strained.
Tasteful Teamsters president James Hoffa Jr. has been mulling endorsing pathological Pat Buchanan instead of Al Gore, ostensibly because of his opposition to trade with China, but more to put a finger in the Democrats eye. Pathological Pat has also made noises about appointing Hoffa, son of freeway father Jimmy Hoffa, U.S. trade representative. I'm sorry to say that I am a Teamster, who were goons back then- their leaders have become more polished but probably no more reputable. On the other hand, I think admitting China into the WTO will subvert that organization, not bring China's outlaw behavior under control. They still act like thugs and murderers in their dealings with Taiwan + esp. Tibet, where 50 years of genocide goes virtually unreported. This is one issue that Gore should decisively break with Clinton, which is his leaning anyway. Big Al still has a resounding 93% support among labor people. For a long article on his deep and abiding concern for civil rights (he twice requested black roommates in college), see
Like a Frankenstein Eveready bunny (even according to Time), the special prosecutor just goes on and on- Robert Ray is determined to prosecute Clinton when he leaves office, questing after the lasting respect and reputation Starr achieved. If Janet Reno had an ounce of smarts, she’d fire him and end the First Prosecutor position, then quit so she can’t be tortured by Repub Congressional Committee hacks. Meanwhile, the Repubs have been calling for an investigation of missing White House e-mails, Hater judge Royce Lambert, in a true stretch, ruled that Clinton criminally violated the Privacy Act by releasing letters from Kathleen Willey (the President- of course, is entitled to no privacy, ever), and the Arkansas Bar may revoke Bill’s law license for his misstatements. Repubs can’t stop their jihad against Clinton, I expect Leno to still be doing Clinton sex jokes (has he got cruder + cruder?) in 2010, though some think, like every other attack on Clinton- it’ll backfire and ensure the Dems’ reelection. (see Yahoo full coverage link on site) Also expect GB2 to pull some incredibly vicious attacks when the going gets tough- it’s an integral part of the Repub + Bush playbook.
After years of yearning, I finally broke down and bought a big Momma Athlon computer, a radical upgrade from my nest of 4 86's. The Stop The Madness web site was entirely written with raw HTML, an agonizing chore to anyone who has done it, but I had no decent computer in Hawaii. It's a dream- am writing this with voice recognition (which doesn't work very well yet- anyone have the best version of Dragon???) I dreamed about being able to talk to my computer when I was 5 years old. Until I turned on the voice recognition I was simultaneously downloading three songs from the magnificent pirate co-op community Napster, playing another list of digital songs, chatting to friends on AOL instant messenger, browsing Salon and Newsweek magazine, AND getting my email. Napster.com is under a frenzied assault from the Recording Industry and various artists, who're miffed that they can't charge $18 for a $0.50 CD, a profit margin that's only achieved in the drug trade. After going berserk at CompUSA's free software sales, I already have 12GB of stuff to put on the hard drive: flight simulators, Linux operating systems, voice recognition systems, language training programs, Riven, + Quake (so I can understand what happened at Columbine), encyclopedia, Office. But the first priority was to setup long hungered for…
UNLIMITED FREE LONG-DISTANCE
Like that cool ad for Phone Free, long-distance charges are thing of the past-not with PhoneFree, which is balky and limited, going only from computer to computer, but with
DIALPAD.com, a tremendous free system allows one to call any phone in the United States from ones computer for as long as one likes. After you sign up, you download a small 200 k program that installs instantly: then you simply connect to that website, logon, and a Java applet will appear in the form of a telephone keypad. The faster computer you have the better, l think it will work on as little as 200MHz. Some 40 numbers can be saved into memory for one-second simple click dialing. The phone call through voice-over packet modulation travels over the Internet to whatever city you are calling, where it breaks out into the local phone system. One would think they could only afford to have those switches in major cities, but I've called tiny towns of 200 people in West Virginia as well as Hawaii with no problem. At the moment it's limited to places in the U.S., so you can call 5,500 mi. to Hawaii but not 280 mi. to Montreal. However, friends in foreign countries can call you, since connecting to Dialpad just requires an Internet connection. The quality is amazingly good: about the same as a normal telephone, although one gets ten seconds fadeouts about once in an hour. I've probably spoken for 20 hours on it already- all blissfully, ecstatically, liberatingly free. In fact, I would like to do an article about all the free Internet phone systems, but I don't want to clog them with millions of additional unwashed. Sadly NetMeeting, the spastic but useful Internet phone system that's on all Windows 98 and 95 computers, ended the central directory service that listed thousands of people currently online in every country of the world. There are private directories, but all of limited utility. Microsoft took an investment stake in Net-to-fone- which is charging 3-5 cents a minute for the same Internet calls, so they don't want to facilitate the free stuff.
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