Thursday, July 30, 2009

Widespread Domestic Surveillance Continues Under Obama: Restore My Goddam 4th Amendment rights!!!

AUDIO: Peter B. Collins speaks to the whistleblowers and experts still sounding the alarm as Bush-era big government intrusion continues unabated...

Guest Blogged by Peter B. Collins

Since I signed off the syndicated Peter B. Collins radio show in March, I've been able to zoom out from the close-up view of day-to-day political combat.

On a daily basis, I reflect on the "change we can believe in" that candidate Obama promised us just a year ago. Certainly, the new administration is better than the Bush/Cheney gang on many fronts; and Bush left Obama an economic meltdown and other serious problems that need attention.

But consider:

  • we still have 135,000 troops and even more contractors in Iraq, with no clear plan or timeline for our exit, just vague promises and the hope that the Iraqis will kick us out next year. Most of the US troops that have left Iraq went to Afghanistan;
  • the escalation of our presence in Afghanistan is very dangerous, and contradicts some of Obama's own statements about the prospects for "success" there. He had the chance to reverse direction after the election, but chose to double down on the "good war";
  • the massive interception of domestic electronic communications continues, and the Obama Justice Department has reinforced and expanded on the bad legal precedents set under Bush/Cheney. Most Democrats are silent on this issue, and I see no effort to restore our privacy rights.

Remember how they dubbed Ronnie Reagan the "Teflon president"? Obama seems to have a new and improved coating, I call it "Leftlon", protecting him from challenges from the progressives who helped him beat Hillary for the nomination.

He keeps reaching out to GOP nuts who want to scuttle his tepid health care "reform", refuses to allow investigations while Cheney spits at him regularly, and expects us to trust the Goldman Sachs Alumni Association to fix the economy that they continue to plunder.

When will Obama deliver for the progressives who got him elected?

That's the central question I'm exploring in my new podcast series. Drop in to or you can subscribe (free, FREE!) at iTunes.

Here are two fresh programs I'd like you to check out. You can download each and/or listen online below. One is co-hosted with me by FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, featuring NSA expert James Bamford as guest. The other is my exclusive interview with Mark Klein, former AT&T technician turned NSA surveillance program whistleblower...

• Episode #18 is the first episode of The Boiling Frogs, an interview series co-hosted by Sibel Edmonds. Sibel, who was famously "gagged" by the Bush Justice Department, is now speaking quite freely, and our first show features NSA expert James Bamford. He describes the massive scale of domestic surveillance, the complicity of Democrats in legalizing Bush's violations of our 4th Amendment rights, and the bungling of pre-9/11 intel by the spook community, especially the NSA.

Download MP3, or listen online here (appx. 1 hour)...

• Episode #19 is an exclusive 90-minute conversation with Mark Klein, a former technician at AT&T who exposed the NSA's secret room in San Francisco where they installed a splitter that routes all traffic to the NSA. Klein tells what he discovered, and how big media outlets like 60 Minutes, NY Times and the LA Times spiked or buried his story. The LA Times took his confidential information directly to Intel Czar Negroponte and NSA chief Hayden, then screwed Klein by not running a story and leaving him exposed. Klein also explains how leading Democrats like Sen. Feinstein knew about his revelations, refused to meet with him or allow him to testify, and worked to protect the phone giants and the NSA.

Download MP3, or listen online here (appx. 90 mins)...

Give them a listen

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Arab leaders forced Palestinians to become refugees

A Palestinian blames Arab leaders for causing his parents to become refugees. Ibrahim Sarsur, head of Islamic Movement in Israel, affirms and condems.
[PATV (Fatah), April 30, 1999]

Phone caller from Gaza:
"Mr. Ibrahim, I address you as a Muslim. My father and grandfather told me that during the "Catastrophe" [establishment of Israel - 1948] our district officer issued an order that whoever stays in Palestine and in Majdel [near Ashkelon, southern Israel] is a traitor, he is a traitor... "
Ibrahim Sarsur, head of Islamic Movement in Israel, responds:
"I don't want to blame the one who caused this situation, but we are forced to cope with this situation. The one who gave the order forbidding them to stay there bears guilt for this, in this life and the Afterlife, throughout history until Resurrection Day."

SHAKESPEARE- A biblical allegory

Arab leaders are responsible for refugee problem

PMW Bulletins
Arab leaders are responsible for refugee problem

"The radio stations of the Arab regimes kept repeating to us: 'Get away from the battle lines. It's a matter of ten days or two weeks at the most, and we'll bring you back to Ein-Kerem [near Jerusalem].' And we said to ourselves, 'That's a very long time. What is this? Two weeks? That's a lot!' That's what we thought [then]. And now 50 years have gone by." [PATV, July 7, 2009]

With these words an Arab resident of a refugee camp recounts the reason why his family left Israel in 1948, in an interview broadcast on PA TV this month.

In recent years, Palestinian leaders, writers and refugees have spoken out in the Palestinian media, blaming the Arab leadership for the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. According to these accounts, and contrary to the Palestinian myth that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were deported by Israel in 1948, the vast majority of the Arab exodus from Israel was voluntary, and the result of orders by the Arab leadership.

Furthermore, the fact that this information has been openly discussed by public figures and refugees in the Palestinian Authority media itself suggests that awareness of this responsibility may be widespread - even though Palestinian leaders continue to blame Israel for "the expulsion" for propaganda purposes.

The following statements in the PA media shed significant light on the events of 1948 and counter the attempts by the Palestinian Authority to hide this part of history.

Click here to view the Palestinian testimonies

1. Arab resident of refugee camp:
"This picture was taken a week before we left Ein-Kerem [near Jerusalem] in June 1948, in front of our house. The radio stations of the Arab regimes kept repeating to us: 'Get away from the battle lines. It's a matter of ten days or two weeks at the most, and we'll bring you back to Ein-Kerem.' And we said to ourselves, 'That's a very long time. What is this? Two weeks? That's a lot!' That's what we thought [then]. And now 50 years have gone by."
[PATV, July 7, 2009]

2. Jawad Al-Bashiti, Palestinian journalist in Jordan:
"Remind me of one real cause from all the factors that have caused the 'Palestinian Catastrophe' [the establishment of Israel and the creation of the refugee problem], and I will remind you that it still exists... The reasons for the Palestinian Catastrophe are the same reasons that have produced and are still producing our Catastrophes today.
During the Little Catastrophe, meaning the Palestinian Catastrophe, the following happened: the first war between Arabs and Israel had started and the 'Arab Salvation Army' came and told the Palestinians: 'We have come to you in order to liquidate the Zionists and their state. Leave your houses and villages, you will return to them in a few days safely. Leave them so we can fulfill our mission (destroy Israel) in the best way and so you won't be hurt.' It became clear already then, when it was too late, that the support of the Arab states (against Israel) was a big illusion. The Arabs fought as if intending to cause the 'Palestinian Catastrophe'."
[Al-Ayyam, May 13, 2008]

3. Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Palestinian journalist in PA official daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida:
"The leaders and the elites promised us at the beginning of the 'Catastrophe' in 1948 that the duration of the exile would not be long, and that it would not last more than a few days or months, and afterwards the refugees would return to their homes, which most of them did not leave only until they put their trust in those "Orkubian" promises made by the leaders and the political elites. Afterwards, days passed, months, years and decades, and the promises were lost with the strain of the succession of events..."
[The term "Orkubian" invokes Orkub, a figure from Arab tradition who was known for breaking his promises and for his lies.]
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 13, 2006]

4. Asmaa Jabir Balasimah, woman who fled Israel in 1948:
"We heard sounds of explosions and of gunfire at the beginning of the summer in the year of the 'Catastrophe' [1948]. They [Arab leaders] told us: The Jews attacked our region and it is better to evacuate the village and return after the battle is over. And indeed there were among us [those who fled Israel] those who left a fire burning under the pot, those who left their flock [of sheep] and those who left their money and gold behind, based on the assumption that we would return after a few hours."
[Al-Ayyam, May 16, 2006]

5. Ibrahim Sarsur, Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel:
An Arab viewer called Palestinian Authority TV and quoted his father, saying that in 1948 the Arab District Officer ordered all Arabs to leave Palestine or be labeled traitors. In response, Ibrahim Sarsur, now Arab Member of Israeli Parliament Knesset, then Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, cursed those Arab leaders, thus acknowledging Israel's historical record.

Viewer: "Mr. Ibrahim [Sarsur]: I address you as a Muslim. My father and grandfather told me that during the 'Catastrophe' [in 1948], our District Officer issued an order that whoever stays in Palestine and in Majdel [near Ashkelon - southern Israel] is a traitor, he is a traitor."
Ibrahim Sarsur, now MK, then Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel: "The one who gave the order forbidding them to stay there bears guilt for this, in this life and the Afterlife throughout history until Resurrection Day."
[PA TV April 30, 1999]

6. Fuad Abu Hajla, senior Palestinian journalist:
Fuad Abu Hajla, then a regular columnist in the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, wrote an article before an Arab Summit, criticizing Arab leaders. One of the failures he cited, in the name of a prisoner, was that an earlier generation of Arab leaders had "forced" them to leave Israel in 1948.
"I have received a letter from a prisoner in Acre prison, to the Arab summit:
To the [Arab and Muslim] Kings and Presidents: Poverty is killing us, the symptoms are exhausting us and the souls are leaving our body, yet you are still searching for the way to provide aid, like one who is looking for a needle in a haystack or like the armies of your predecessors in the year of 1948, who forced us to leave [Israel], on the pretext of clearing the battlefields of civilians... So what will your summit do now?"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 19, 2001]

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Free Events in NYC

Dessert Walking Tour

FreeNYC Event Flyer

Date: Sunday, July 26th
Time: 11:00am
Location: Meet at Madeleine Patisserie, (132 West 23rd St, b/n 6th & 7th)
Cost: Free

This may take the cake for NYC walking tours. This is the 9th consecutive monthly tour of the city's neighborhood sweet spots. This walk will explore Union Square which has 5 delicious dessert makers. For starters a small Parisian bakery offers the freshest macaroons, followed by a dense Belgian brownie, our third stop has a totally original
pretzel croissant, next up are gourmet chocolates, and our last course is home-made gelato. Tour lasts approximately 2 hours and the walking distance is about 1 mile. The desserts are free to drool over, but affordably priced for consumption. For more info on the Walking Tours site and be on the look-out for a tour guide in a red ball cap.

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Posted by Lindsay at 11:00 AM | View This Article | Email to a friend

The New Museum Block Party

FreeNYC Event Flyer

Date: Sunday, July 26th
Time: 12:00pm - 7:00pm
Location: Sara D. Roosevelt Park
Cost: Free

"A day of art activities and performances in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. First, enjoy a range of artist- and educator-led interactive projects and programs related to the neighborhood and the New Museum. Then join the Block Party Parade in a raucous processional marching from the park to the New Museum. Explore the current exhibitions with a free docent-led highlights tour, culminating in a special performance at the New Museum. The New Museum Block Party is free and open to the public. Participants receive a complementary guest pass to visit the New Museum on the day of the event."

Cine Brunch - Yojimbo

FreeNYC Event Flyer

Date: Sunday, July 26th
Time: 12:30pm
Location: (Le) Poisson Rouge (158 Bleeker St.)
Cost: Free

"Cine-Brunch at (Le) Poisson Rouge is a new take on the summer movie season - a free afternoon screening of art-house cinema classics... Cine-Brunch offers an alternative to the summer blockbuster: refined entertainment in a cool, comfortable environment where viewers can enjoy brunch or LPR's regular menu of tapas while taking in classic cinema and sipping a cocktail. And best of all, it's free!" Today's film is the Akira Kurosawa samauri classic Yojimbo. The screening is free but you're brunch ($7) and cocktails ($3 specials, $7 bloodies) are not.

Ain't Nothin' But a Beach Party

FreeNYC Event Flyer

Date: Sunday, July 26th
Time: 1:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: Water Taxi Beach (2 Bordon Ave, LIC)
Cost: Free

NYC House music legend Jellybean Benitez brings his feel vibes (a la their Ain't Nothin' But a House Party events) to the Water Taxi Beach today. This is a great, rare chance to catch a classic house spinner on the waterfront. 21+

Pool Parties on the Waterfront: And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

FreeNYC Event Flyer

Date: Sundays through August 30th
Time: gates at 2pm
Location: Kent St btw. N 8th and N 9th Sts on the East River, W'burg)
Cost: Free

With the McCarren Pool under renovations, the Williamsburg Pool Parties move to the waterfront this summer with seven weeks of free shows. In edition to the free music there will be "DODGEBALL, basketball, DJ’s, bands, burgers the works!" for you to enjoy. Afterparties at Public Assembly. This week features And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, The Black Lips, Health, and Grupo Fantasmo. Full line-up below. All ages!

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Judy Collins on Governor's Island

FreeNYC Event Flyer

Date: Sunday, July 26th
Time: 2:00pm
Location: Governor's Island (Travel Directions)
Cost: Free

"For forty years, folk music legend Judy Collins has created music of hope and healing that speaks to the heart and inspires the world." (River to River) Today Judy Collins sings the day away on Governor's Island. Whether you are a fan or not the island is always worth the free ferry ride. Part of Folks on the Island.

Ginuwine, Joe and Chico DeBarge at Summerstage

FreeNYC Event Flyer

Date: Sunday, July 26th
Time: 3:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Summerstage (Rumsey Playfield, Central Park)
Cost: Free

"After a four-year hiatus from making records, Ginuwine is back in the saddle with the release of his new album A Man’s Thoughts. Ginuwine first emerged on the music scene in 1996 with the multi-platinum release of The Bachelor which paired his silky smooth vocals with Timbaland’s jagged, hyperkinetic beats, creating a fresh new R&B sound... R&B singer Joe has had a remarkable career, having sold over eleven million albums worldwide. The son of two preachers, Joe grew up in the church playing guitar and eventually directing the choir... In 2000 Joe released his break-out, multi-platinum album My Name is Joe forever securing his place among the finest in R&B history. Sultry soul crooner Chico DeBarge will make a return to music with the forthcoming release of his new album Addiction. Earning his musical chops as a member of the famed Motown group, Switch and DeBarge, the singer broke out on his own in 1986, with the release of his debut solo album." More info here.

3rd Ward Pig Roast and Dance Party

FreeNYC Event Flyer

Date: Sunday, July 26th
Time: 4:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: 3rd Ward (195 Morgan Ave., BK)
Cost: Free with RSVP

"3rd Ward & Brooklyn Based present the 2nd Annual Pig Roast & Dance Party... Stand by as Pig Roasting Extraordinaire Tom Mylan (from Marlow and Sons, Diner and Bonita) and Chef Eric Sherman turn 200 lbs. of hog into finger-licking good & nicely priced pork tacos. We'll also have sides-a rice, beans and mexi-slaw and Brooklyn Based will top you off with some ice cream. The Colt 45 will be free from 4 to 5pm and the cold drinks will all be under $6. Featuring live music from Stumblebum Brass Band, Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers, In Cadeo and DJ Tanner all afternoon long. Plus bring your own t-shirts for $1 pig inspired screen-printing and bring your sweetest smile for a carnival style photobooth."

A Shadow in the Dark

FreeNYC Event Flyer

Date: Sunday, July 26th
Time: 8:00pm
Location: The Living Theatre (21 Clinton Street)
Cost: Free

Tonight, The Living Theatre continues it Readings Above Realism Series with a free staged reading of A Shadow in the Dark by Jared Latore. "The subject of Latore’s stunning play is simple enough: a man who spreads disease to his partners. The characters are like us, dealing as best they can with the realities of life. What’s extraordinary is that they meet their fates among characters who are perhaps not personalities at all. They may be ideas… demons? The world of the play is like ours – actual and imagined, with spirits walking among us." All Ages

Friday, July 17, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Drug rescues memory lost to Alzheimer's disease

Irvine, Calif., July 14, 2009 A drug similar to one used in clinical trials for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis has been found to rescue memory in mice exhibiting Alzheimer's symptoms.

The discovery by UC Irvine scientists offers hope that a new treatment may be on the horizon for people in the early stages of Alzheimer's, the leading cause of elderly dementia afflicting more than 5 million people in the U.S. and for which no cure exists.

The drug, called PMX205, prevented inflamed immune cells from gathering in brain regions with Alzheimer's lesions called amyloid plaques. Cell inflammation in these areas accelerates neuron damage, exacerbating the disease.

"We used a multidisciplinary approach combining an understanding of immunology and neurobiology to uncover a completely different target than other therapies," said Andrea Tenner, lead author of the study that led to the findings and a molecular biology & biochemistry professor at UCI.

Study results are reported in the July 15 edition of the Journal of Immunology.

For 12 weeks, Tenner and colleagues added PMX205 to the drinking water of mice genetically altered to develop age-related Alzheimer's-like symptoms. The treatment occurred at an age when plaques were accumulating in their brains.

Scientists gave the treated mice learning and memory tests and then examined their brains for evidence of the disease. Alzheimer's mice that were not given the drug performed significantly worse on the test than normal mice. But in all but one case the treated Alzheimer's mice performed almost as well as the normal mice. Those with the rescued cognitive ability had more than 50 percent fewer Alzheimer's lesions and inflammatory immune cells than the untreated diseased mice.

PMX53, a similar drug that can be taken orally, passed Phase 1 human clinical trials for safety with no major problems reported. Possible side effects include

NAACP refuses to take a position on gay marriage; discounts connection between black civil rights and gay civil rights

NAACP refuses to take a position on gay marriage; discounts connection between black civil rights and gay civil rights

It's pretty sickening to watch the head of the NAACP, Benjamin Todd Jealous, squirm when asked about the civil rights of gays and lesbians, as he does throughout this interview. I suspect the NAACP leadership is afraid of its own membership on this issue.

You simply do not get to be a real civil rights organization by taking polls on whether or not you're going to get criticized for recognizing the civil rights of other human beings. Would the NAACP have us take polls on whether its membership's civil rights should be recognized and accepted as equal to other civil rights struggles? Just as bad, the NAACP head seems to suggest in this interview that it may take the NAACP decades before they endorse gay marriage. He then goes on to disagree with those who equate gay civil rights with the African-American civil rights struggle (good thing that the head of the NAACP agrees with John McCain about the civil rights of gays and lesbians). Though, while agreeing with John McCain, Mr. Jealous disagrees with Coretta Scott King, who says the civil rights battles are all the same.

Definitely not your daddy's civil rights leaders.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jesus, the World's Most Popular Literary Character

Heretic’s Foundation VII: Jesus, the World’s Most Popular Literary Character

Friday, July 10, 2009
Heretic’s Foundation

Jesus Christ

By John Hudson
Special to the Clyde Fitch Report

The Heretic’s Foundation is now ready to address one of our most pressing literary and cultural problems: the figure of Jesus. Atheists are getting more attention nowadays, with an atheist campaign in London to put ads on the sides of buses, while in the U.S., according to the New York Times, atheists are linking up and “liken their strategy to that of the gay-rights movement, which lifted off when closeted members of a scorned minority decided to go public.” It has been a long time in coming.

For the last 2,000 years, expressing disbelief in Jesus has been a heresy that led directly to the torture chamber or the bonfire. Yet, the view that the Gospels are literary texts, and Jesus no more than a literary character, goes back to the philosopher Porphyry in the 3rd century, whose works were suppressed and burnt by the church. In Elizabethan London, the most prominent nonbeliever in Jesus was Christopher Marlowe, one of the most expert literary figures of his age, a man who certainly knew how to distinguish a work of clever, imaginative, Menippean literature from a historical, factual account. Marlowe knew the difference between fact and fiction.

He claimed, for example, that the sacred Gospels were “all of one man’s making”; that, as Thomas Beard recorded, the figure of Jesus was merely a “deceiver” in “vain and idle stories.” Marlowe makes Barabas in The Jew of Malta state that “swine-eating Christians…were never thought upon” until after Titus and Vespasian conquered Jerusalem — in other words, that Christianity itself did not exist before. It is becoming clear in my research that Marlowe was right: the Gospels are not accounts of the life of a historical, Jewish Jesus compiled by his followers 60 years after his death, but Roman literary creations. As one of the most radical strands of New Testament scholarship is showing, the Gospels were devised as war propaganda to trick Messianic Jews into worshipping the Roman Flavian emperors “in disguise.” They were written by the Romans as literary satires of the battles in the Roman-Jewish war (66-73 C.E.) in which the Jews were defeated.

The evidence shows that most of the key events in the “life” of Jesus were satirical; many are elegant literary satires of a military battle in which the Jewish armies had been defeated by the Romans. The Jewish War, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem temple in 70 C.E., devastated the Mediterranean economy and the Romans were anxious to prevent another outbreak of messianiac fervor. To make any economic and civil reconstruction lasting, the Romans needed to offer the Jews alternative stories to distract them from the messianic messages inherent in the Torah, and to persuade them to accept Roman values and worship Caesar.

The Romans’ solution was to create a special kind of postwar propaganda. They called it, in Greek, evangelion, a technical term meaning “good news of military victory,” which is translated into English as “gospel.” The word is, in fact, ironic humor: the Romans were amusing themselves with the notion of making the Jews accept, as the actions of the messiah Jesus, what were literary echoes of the very battles in which they had defeated Jewish armies. A further joke was buried in unmistakable parallels between the life of Jesus and that of Titus: In worshiping Jesus, those Jews who adopted Christianity, as it came to be called, were in proxy hailing the emperor of their conquerors as god, the key strategic Roman objective.

To replace the Torah, this view maintains that the Romans created a literary parody in the Gospel of Matthew and shortly thereafter rewrote it as the versions known as Luke and Mark, modeled respectively on the Aeneid and on Homer. The central literary character of the Gospels, called Jesus (or Joshua), inhabits a plot with various peculiar features. He begins his efforts by the Lake of Galilee. He sends a legion of devils out of a demon-possessed man and into pigs. He offers his flesh to be eaten. He mentions signs of the destruction of Jerusalem. In Gethsemane, a naked man escapes. Jesus is captured at Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. Simon denies knowing him. He is crucified with two other men and only he survives. He is taken down from the cross by a man called Joseph of Arimathea. His disciple, John, survives, but his disciple Simon is sent off to die in Rome. After his death, his disciple Judas dies by eviscerating himself.

Each of these peculiar events has a parallel in the writings of Josephus, our sole record of the military encounters between the Jews and their Roman conquerors — even to the unusual crucifixion in which three men are crucified and a man named Joseph takes one, who survives, down.

There are a dozen such examples which appear in both sets of texts — in the same order — providing statistical evidence that both works were created together as a single literary endeavor in the 80s C.E., thus demonstrating the anti-historicity of the Gospel accounts. Individual parallels have also been detected by half a dozen well known New Testament scholars, but the entire set of them, with all their implications, is summarized in Atwill’s book Caesar’s Messiah, long out of print but now available inexpensively online.

The evidence shows that Marlowe was right: the Gospels are, indeed, vain and idle stories; the figure of Jesus is, indeed, a “deceiver” because the stories in the Gospels are not historical accounts of events that happened in the 30s C.E. On the contrary, they are literary satires of battles and other events fought by Titus and Vespasian in the aforementioned Roman-Jewish war. And so, Jesus was not a historical figure but simply, as Harold Bloom suggested, the world’s best known literary character – a sort of allegorical disguise for Titus, the man who destroyed Jerusalem and became the second Flavian Caesar. Anyone who succumbed and worshipped Jesus would merely be worshipping Caesar in disguise.

Because Marlowe alludes to all this in the allegories in his plays, this was almost certainly the knowledge in the lecture on atheism he gave to the School of the Night, and which provided “more sound reasons” for his non belief than any clergyman had for divinity. Presumably this was also the specific knowledge that got Marlowe killed, and led the author of the Shakespearean plays to conceal aspects of the same knowledge as the deepest allegorical level of the plays, such as in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the comic, scathing parodies of the Virgin Mary.

Today, thankfully, this knowledge can be posted to the Internet and even on the sides of buses. Perhaps one day it will even stimulate a new interest in understanding the deepest allegorical meanings of Elizabethan plays.

John Hudson is a strategic consultant who specializes in new industry models and has helped create several telecoms and Internet companies. He has recently been consulting to a leading think tank on the future of the theater industry and is pioneering an innovative Shakespeare theory, as dramaturge to the Dark Lady Players. This Fall he will be Artist in Residence at Eastern Connecticut State University. He has degrees in Theater and Shakespeare, in Management, and in Social Science.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

AIDS activists shut down US Capitol rotunda

AIDS activists shut down US Capitol rotunda over Obama reversal on AIDS policy

UPDATE: That White House Web site pledge to support repeal of the federal ban on needle exchange? It appears to be gone.

Woah. Joe and I got wind of this last night. (Great picture on the home page of Roll Call.)
A group of 26 AIDS activists chained themselves to each other in the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday morning, startling visitors, shutting down the landmark area and prompting their arrest by Capitol Police.

The group, which was protesting President Barack Obama’s failure to get rid of a ban on funding needle exchange programs, arrived at the Rotunda around 10 a.m.
Candidate Obama said he would help overturn the ban on needle exchange. President Obama reversed himself and banned federal funding for needle exchanges in his budget this year.

The quote from Obama's spokesman is priceless:
Obama, during the primary campaign, pledged his support of needle exchange programs to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS. When he took over the White House, the administration website affirmed: "The President also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users."

Yet Obama's budget includes language that bans spending federal money on needle-exchange programs.

White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said the administration isn't yet ready to lift the ban - but Obama still supports needle exchange.

"We have not removed the ban in our budget proposal because we want to work with Congress and the American public to build support for this change," he said.
Let's see...

1. The candidate promised to lift the ban.
2. The White House Web site reaffirmed the president's commitment to lifting the ban.
3. The White House Web site no longer reaffirms his commitment to lifting the ban.
4. The president now refuses to lift the ban.
5. The president actually affirmatively makes things worse by administratively supporting defending the ban.
6. The spokesman reiterates the president's support for lifting the ban, some day, once Congress gets around to it.

Sound familiar?