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Undernews For April 23, 2008

Undernews For April 23, 2008

Washington's Most Unofficial Source

611 Pennsylvania Ave SE #381
Washington DC 20003
Editor: Sam Smith

23 APRIL 2008


Politics is for the present, but an equation is something for eternity. -- Albert Einstein

Sam Smith

Barack Obama has one overwhelming advantage in the race for the Democratic nomination: he's not Hillary Clinton. Which means that in some ways - most uncertain - things will be different than they have been under two decades of the Bush-Clinton duopoly.

The Pennsylvania results, however, show that Obama still has a long way before he translates his advantage into a win in November. The exuberant adoration of his core support has obscured a problem: Obama is a bit like a good opera singer trying to make it in rock n roll. He's fine behind a podium or on a pulpit, but give him a Philly cheese steak sandwich and he looks like he's just been handed a turd.

Fact is, Obama is mostly pictured in the media up on a platform, mostly above his audience, visually and metaphorically. This is not all his fault but it does reflect a certain disinterest by his manipulators in risking encounters of a more personal sort. Obama has on a number of occasions even shown his discomfort just hanging with the press, let alone ordinary voters. The other day, he complained because they were asking too many questions while he was eating a photo op waffle. After all, to do something like that natural like, a guy's got to concentrate.

A black politician who has done well with white voters recently explained that his secret was talking with them. Nothing changes views on anything quicker than personal experience.

What might have happened in Pennsylvania if there had been fewer crowd scenes and more film clips from conversations with a small group of white voters in ordinary homes?

But that isn't in the Obama play book. You can't be a prophet and humble at the same time.

Further, sensitivity to the concerns of the unconverted is not one of the Obama camp's virtues. Take the word change for example. Liberals at least think they know what it means. But if you're an upstate Pennsylvanian about to lose your house or your job, you may have seen more than enough change. The abstraction that brings in the big bucks may not do as well with the votes.

The alternative would be a campaign that revived the sort of populist economic and social issues that once made the Democratic Party something to be proud of. The sort of issues that once made Pennsylvania a comfortably Democratic state. But neither Obama nor Clinton wish to offend their funders and so they stick to the vague cliches. And in such situations, the most culturally familiar usually wins.

That's not racism. It's not the job of white rural Pennsylvanians to respond positively to Obama; it's his job to give them some reason to. And it starts with being more concerned with what happens in their valleys than to what happens to his tallies.

The secret of good minority politics in this country has always been: lead the majority. That's what the Irish and the Jews did. And it is why we are building a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on the National Mall.

But it's got to be a cause greater than your own election. You have to show people who are not like you how you can make their lives better. You have to, in essence, join their cause just as King did with the anti-war movement and with the Poor People's Campaign.

The problem with Obama's campaign is that once he had gathered his fan club and worked them into a frenzy he was still left with the rest of the electorate. And this leaves the door open for blowhards like McCain or corrupt liars like Clinton. The problem with Obama is that it's only April and he's already peaked.

Pennsylvania was a place to prove otherwise, but he blew it. After all, given the limited choices Democrats had, the only reasonable decision was to vote for Obama or enter rehab. But Obama couldn't take the next step - from liberal and black idol to broad-based leader. In part this is because he seems to have forgotten one of the key rules of the community organizing he used to practice: keeping the cause and the people you are serving always more important than you are. The issue should not be Obama but what Obama is going to do. And that remains the great mystery.



NBC 11 - The price of rice has increased dramatically in recent weeks due to crop failure overseas and resulting hoarding, NBC11 reported. And at least one Bay Area store is asking customers to hold back on their rice purchases. Costco has posted signs asking customers to follow their regular rice-buying habits.
The rice price increase is a result of a domino effect, NBC11's Noelle Walker reported. Drought in Australia led to a severe decline in rice production that in turn led the world's largest rice exporters to restrict exports. That spurred higher rice prices and hoarding in Asian countries..

Now in the United States, rice prices have skyrocketed. Son Tran owns Le Cheval Vietnamese Restaurant in Oakland. He said he's seen the price of rice go from $20 to $40 in a matter of weeks.

And Le Cheval's stockpiles are dwindling. Add to that, the price of vegetables has gone up 50 percent, and some of Tran's regular customers aren't so regular anymore.

Rice isn't the only food in short supply. The unleavened bread snack matzo, popular with Jewish families during Passover, is also hard to find. Grocers underestimated demand for the product and one of the main producers of matzo crackers had a problem with one of its ovens on the East Coast, which also shortened supplies.

TIMES UK Experts told The Times yesterday that prices of rice, wheat and vegetable oil would rise further. They also forecast that high prices and shortages - which have caused riots in developing countries such as Bangladesh and Haiti - were here to stay, and that the days of cheap produce would not return. Food-price inflation has already pushed up a typical family's weekly shopping bill by 15 per cent in a year.


BADLANDS BLUE - The following is transcribed from Sen. McGovern's speech Saturday night at the McGovern Day dinner in Sioux Falls: Some years ago, I was on one of the networks with former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, one of the chief architects of the war in Vietnam. But the reason I was on television that night is he had just come out with a new book saying that the war was not only it was a mistake, in his words it was a tragic mistake. Well, in the course of that three-way discussion, which included in addition to Secretary McNamara and myself, Sen. John McCain. And in McCain's first opening remarks, he said, well we all know that George McGovern knows little about national defense.

Let me tell you what I would say to John McCain: neither of us is an expert on national defense. It's true that you went to one of the service academies but you were in the bottom of the class. It's true that you were a pilot in Vietnam, that you were shot down and spent most of the war in prison and we all sympathize with that and honor you for your courage. But you and I both had these battle experiences, you as a Navy fighter plane, I as an army bomber. I am not going to criticize your war record and your knowledge of national security but I don't want you criticizing mine either.

If I'd be allowed just one little dig at Senator McCain, since he gave me. I would say, 'John, you were shot down early in the war and spent most of the time in prison. I flew 35 combat missions with a 10-man crew and brought them home safely every time.'


ABC NEWS Bill Clinton accused Barack Obama's campaign of "playing the race card on me" and told a Philadelphia radio station that the Obama campaign took his Jesse Jackson comment and "twisted it for political purposes." And as the interview concluded, Clinton turned to an associate and said, "I don't think I should take any s--t from anybody on that, do you?". . . And at President Clinton's first polling stop in Pittsburgh, he too appeared unwilling to discuss the incident. "No, no, no, that's not what I said," Clinton told a reporter who asked about the radio comments, "You always follow me around and play these little games. And I am not going to play your games today. This is a day about election day, go back and see what the question was and what my answer was. You have mischaracterized it just to get a another cheap story to divert the American people from the real urgent issues before us, and I choose not to play your game today."

Clinton was talking to station WHYY about the fallout over his comparison of Obama's South Carolina primary victory with the support of black Democrats to Jesse Jackson's primary wins. Those comments were portrayed by critics as an attempt to highlight Obama's race.

The former president fumed on Monday that it was Obama's campaign that injected the race issue.

"I think that they played the race card on me. And we now know, from memos from the campaign and everything that they planned to do it all along," Bill Clinton said in a telephone interview with WHYY's Susan Phillips. "I was stating a fact, and it's still a fact."

The former president says the comment was "used out of context and twisted for political purposes by the Obama camapign."

Clinton goes on to say that "you have to really go some place to play the race card on me." He lists a number of his accomplishments on behalf of African Americans, inexplicably putting the fact that he has "an office in Harlem" at the top of the list.


LA TIMES The number of California homes lost to foreclosure in the first quarter surged 327% from year-ago levels -- reaching an average of more than 500 foreclosures per day -- DataQuick said in a report warning that the widening foreclosure problem could "spread beyond the current categories of dicey mortgages, and into mainstream home loans."

From DataQuick's report on California foreclosures in the first three months of 2008: "Trustees Deeds recorded, or the actual loss of a home to foreclosure, totaled 47,171 during the first quarter."

DataQuick president Marshall Prentice: "The main factor behind this foreclosure surge remains the decline in home values. Additionally, a lot of the 'loans-gone-wild' activity happened in late 2005 and 2006 and that's working its way through the system. The big 'if' right now is whether or not the economy is in recession. If it is, the foreclosure problem could spread beyond the current categories of dicey mortgages, and into mainstream home loans."


CNN World Vision, one of the world's largest humanitarian organizations, announced that it cannot feed 1.5 million of the 7.5 million people it fed last year and made an urgent appeal for international donors to step in. The price of wheat flour went up an average of 60 percent across Afghanistan last year. The cutback could affect donations to 35 of the 100 countries in which the agency works, said Rachel Wolff, media relations manager for disaster response.

The cutbacks are occurring across the developing world. Some of World Vision's food aid programs have been cut altogether, such as those in East Timor and Sri Lanka, while others have been reduced, such as those in Burundi, Niger, Cambodia, North and South Sudan. The cuts affect people in nearly every region of the world.

In Haiti, where food riots forced a change in government last week, the next major food shipment is not expected before June, and that will not meet the need, Wolff said. . .

Wolff said the magnitude of the shortfall is unprecedented and predicted that the situation "probably will get worse as the year progresses."


CARRIE JOHNSON WASHINGTON POST For more than two decades after he allegedly furnished an Israeli operative with secrets about U.S. nuclear initiatives and sensitive weapons programs, Ben-Ami Kadish lived unnoticed by law enforcement authorities in suburban New Jersey. Until yesterday, that is, when Kadish, 84, was arrested at his home, taken to a federal courthouse in Manhattan and charged with four counts of conspiracy allegedly for serving as an foreign agent and allegedly for lying to the FBI about a recent telephone conversation he had with his alleged Israeli handler.

Kadish, a mechanical engineer, worked at the U.S. Army's research arsenal in Dover, N.J., in the early 1980s. He routinely checked classified documents out of a library there and passed them to an unnamed Israeli official who had provided a list of what he wanted, according to a four-count criminal complaint the FBI filed yesterday. The official photographed pages related to nuclear weaponry, the F-15 fighter jet program and the U.S. Patriot missile defense system, according to an FBI affidavit on which the complaint is based.

Kadish's actions appear to have escaped detection for years even though his handler allegedly also collected classified information from Jonathan Pollard, a former Navy intelligence analyst. Pollard is serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Butner, N.C., after pleading guilty to an espionage-related crime in 1986.


PETER CALAMAI, TORONTO STAR New Arctic sea ice is now so perilously thin on average that it melts under the sunshine of clear summer skies it once could survive, American researchers conclude in a study . . . "When we had similar weather patterns in the past, they didn't appear to have as strong an effect on sea ice," said Jennifer Kay, an atmospheric scientist who led the U.S. research team. "Now because the ice is thinner you can have a chain reaction of runaway melting with a reduction in cloud cover," she said.

Research has linked the thinning of Arctic ice to warmer average temperatures caused by rising levels of greenhouse gases from human activities. Readings from U.S. submarines indicate a widespread reduction in sea ice thickness of 40 per cent since 1960.

The melting is also increased because the darker surface of open water absorbs the sun's rays as heat rather than reflecting them back into space like ice and snow.

The discovery of this additional vulnerability significantly ratchets up the prospects of international shipping within a decade through the fragile Canadian Arctic archipelago for months every year. . .

First-year ice makes up the bulk of the floating Arctic sea ice. But last summer only 13 per cent of this first-year ice survived the summer melt, instead of the customary 30 per cent. The 4.1 million kilometres of old ice remaining by September was the lowest since accurate satellite measurements began in 1979.


BETTY PLEASANT, BLACK AGENDA REPORT Owners and operators of African-American media outlets throughout the country have just about had it with the Barack Obama campaign.

Yes, they acknowledge the Illinois senator to be the darling of the race - the exalted Great Black Hope, the charismatic champion of change who is making history for the ages as he mounts a formidable bid to become the nation's first black president. But they chafe at his campaign officials' insensitivity to, and total disregard of, the folks who brought him this far and whom he needs to take him through the White House door: Black people.

Publishers and editors of African-American newspapers - the beacons who live and breathe the blackness of their communities and who regulate the pulse of black America - are fighting mad at what has now become blatantly clear to them: The Democratic Party doesn't give a damn about them. The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign doesn't give a damn about them and, alack and alas, neither does the Barack Obama campaign.

Harboring decades of discontent about being ignored by Democratic presidential candidates (going back to Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry), the National Newspaper Publishers Assn. met on March 13 with the alleged shot-callers of the Obama, Clinton and even John McCain campaigns to vent their frustration at being constantly denied advertising revenue from and editorial access to the candidates. Speaking virtually in unison, the black publishers argued before Michael Strautmanis of Obama's campaign and Tracey Blunt of the Clinton campaign that the white media gets the campaign ads but the black doesn't; the white media gets interviews with the candidates, but the black doesn't.

"During the meeting, both Democratic camps acknowledged that their spending in the black community was anemic," said Pluria Marshall Jr., publisher of Los Angeles' Wave newspapers. "They admitted the need to spend money toward the African American market and that we were a good way to reach that market. Both camps agreed that they needed to start ads with us as soon as possible to reach the audiences that the black papers serve. I asked for the names of the people who are in charge of making decisions on advertising in our papers, and they assured us that we were looking at them; that they - Strautmanis and Blunt [both of whom are African Americans] - had the authority to make decisions about advertising in our papers," Marshall said.

"But they lied to us," said Dorothy Leavell, publisher of the Chicago Crusader and the Gary Crusader in Indiana. Leavell, who chairs the NNPA Foundation, said the meeting of which Marshall spoke was followed up with a smaller conference with Obama's guy, Strautmanis, who made a vow to hurry up and spend money on black papers in crucial states facing primaries in Pennsylvania on April 22 and North Carolina and Indiana, such as hers, on May 6.

"He promised he would get in touch with me in a couple of days to map out an advertising campaign and I haven't heard from him yet," Leavell said. "He gave us his cell number and I've called it repeatedly and gotten no response from him. I've even called the Fuse agency in St. Louis which is supposed to be handling Obama's advertising, but I have gotten no response from them either.

"They are the worst liars," Leavell continued. "Our papers are supportive of the Democratic Party but they have always taken us and our readers for granted. They spend millions on the white media and won't even spend petty cash on us."

Leavell said this present snub is the second time during this year's primary season that her newspapers have been rebuffed by Obama's campaign: "For the Illinois primary, they didn't spend a dime in my Chicago Crusader and here they're not doing it again - after promising they would - in my Gary Crusader. Gary is 90 percent African-American and we could be the margin of victory for Obama in this state, but his people believe we black publishers should be promoting Obama's candidacy for free."

"They spend millions on the white media and won't even spend petty cash on us."


The following was written by a 17-year-old columnist for the Naperville Sun. Shortly after it appeared, Sagha was fired as a columnist.

MOHAMMA SAGHA, NAPERVILLE SUN, IL - My generation is a unique one, raised amid fears of terrorism and the solidarity of nationalism, ordered to think by media outlets, and refused basic First Amendment rights under the constitution which have been violated by the ironically named Patriot Act. The most important issue facing the future generation, however, is the abnormal patriotism and undue feeling of superiority that we Americans have both internationally and nationally.

The concept of patriotism itself was attacked on September 11th. Sitting in my sixth grade science class, I listened in horror as the school's principal explained the attack on the twin towers. But my horrors would not stop there; as a nation we saw the individuals most responsible for the safety of American citizens hailed as heroes. The President's approval rating rose to 70% and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani became a patriotic model.

It is baffling that instead of being punished, Bush and Giuliani were rewarded. At this critical point Bush had the opportunity to defend the liberty of Americans, pursue those responsible for the attacks and exemplify the founding principles of this nation by promoting power through peace and diplomacy as a means of solving conflicts. Now, though, those who want the troops home are "unpatriotic," the President continues his genocide in Iraq, and our freedoms at home are threatened more than ever.

The 9/11 generation is being raised somewhat similarly to how the youth of the red scare were raised which included confusion, misinformation, fear, nationalism, and undue support of our elite rulers. But we have traitors on our hands. We have war hawks, instigators, oppressors and conquering emperors who have brought nothing but death and anguish to the Iraqis. My generation has seen nothing but an almost continuous "war on terror" which seeks to destroy an ideological backlash, and not a concrete enemy.

Neo Conservatives put up a facade of Americanism; they wore pins of the American flag on their suits, put bumper stickers of the American flag on their cars and forced us to believe we had to spread "freedom." However, a true patriot is an intelligent citizen - someone who can investigate the truth and immediately recognize the facts, someone who instead of falsely taking advantage of national pride as a propaganda tool, fights for the liberty and freedom of America - fights to keep us out of entangling alliances and reckless wars.

These patriots, especially among the youth, are hard to find. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." Indeed, we have lost both and gained nothing. Fear has been used by all brutal regimes as a way of control. Whether it is a fear that we will be attacked by a faceless enemy, or a fear that we will be branded as unpatriotic, we are always under pressure to accept what our leaders tell us. But blowing a lot of steam won't solve anything either; we have democratically controlled congress to thank for that which refuses to challenge the president and instead expands the unconstitutional powers of the Presidency in order to spy on (everything after this was cut off due to going over the word limit and a poor editing job) American citizens.

It is time to speak up. Let us stop being fearful and start defending our wealth, liberty and freedom-all of them are risk and it is incumbent upon us, as a generation, to fight for our freedom.



BALLOT ACCESS The Maine Green Party is the strongest state Green Party in the nation for of doing well in state legislative elections. In 2002 and 2004, the Maine Greens elected a state legislator. Although it didn't elect any in 2006, its nominees outpolled the Republican nominee in three districts. In 2006 the party had 2 State Senate candidates (out of 35 seats), and 8 State House candidates (out of 151 seats). This year, it has 3 State Senate candidates, and 10 State House candidates.


CBS NEWS BLOG The April 27th Democratic presidential debate proposed jointly by the North Carolina Democratic Party and CBS News has been called off. A statement released by the state party today cites the "time constraints and logistical issues associated with such a large, national event" as the reason. From the release: "While there was great interest in the debate, there were also growing concerns about what another debate would do to party unity. … Both campaigns have offered North Carolinians additional opportunities to be seen and heard across the state in the coming weeks and months."

CBS News also released a statement regarding the debate: "CBS News aggressively pursued a debate prior to the North Carolina primary and offered an excellent time slot, following 60 Minutes. We regret the cancellation, but will continue to look for opportunities to present another debate, should it occur, between now and November."

Hillary Clinton had accepted the invitation to Sunday's proposed debate but Barack Obama's campaign had not. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer earlier this month, Obama voiced skepticism about participating in too many debates. "I will tell you, after the 21st debate," Obama told the paper (in advance of last week's 21st debate), "all of which have been nationally televised ... North Carolinians have had ample opportunity to watch these debates. . . I don't know that they are ending up being more informative than the kinds of town hall meetings that we've scheduled." An earlier North Carolina debate proposed by CBS News was initially accepted by Obama but not Clinton.


Nostalgic moments from the Clinton years

PROGRESSIVE REVIEW 1999 David Shuster of Fox News interviewed psychiatrist Alan Hirsch concerning visual clues to Clinton's mendacity. Signs found on the grand jury video tape, reported Shuster, included "a significant increase in the rate per minute that Mr. Clinton crossed his arms, looked away from prosecutors or touched his nose. Psychiatrists say higher blood pressure swells some tissues there, causing most people, without realizing it, to scratch. Hirsch compared the first ten minutes when the President was sworn in and asked simple things like his name with a twenty minute segment when prosecutors were trying to nail down the details of Mr. Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky." Hirsch: "During the truthful period, for instance, he touched his nose none and during the lying period he touched his nose 26 times a minute .... In his truthful periods he leaned forward not at all and during the lying period he leaned forward .86 times a minute. Schuster: "Hirsch also focused on verbal signals, such as stuttering. Listen as the President tries to explain a comment his lawyer made about no sex of any kind." Clinton: "I don't, I think what Mr. Bennett was concerned about if I, maybe it would be helpful." Shuster: "According to Hirsch, Mr. Clinton's stuttering rate increased by 1400 percent, errors in speech 1700 percent."




Stringer: Yo', Rock.
Shamrock: Huh?
Stringer: Be subtle with it, man. You know what subtle means?
Shamrock: Laid back and shit.

D'Angelo on Great Gatsby

D'Angelo Barksdale at a prison book club: He's saying that the past is always with us. Where we come from, what we go through, how we go through it all - this shit matters. Like at the end of the book, ya know, boats and tides and all. It's like you can change up, right, you can say you're somebody new, you can give yourself a whole new story. But, what came first is who you really are and what happened before is what really happened. It don't matter that some fool say he different cuz the things that make you different is what you really do, what u really go through. Like, ya know, all those books in his library. He frontin' with all them books, but if you pull one down off the shelf, none of the pages have ever been opened. He got all them books, and he hasn't read nearly one of them. Gatsby, he was who he was, and he did what he did. And cuz he wasn't willing to get real with the story, that shit caught up to him. That's what I think, anyway

Lawyers and drug dealers

Attorney Maurice 'Maury' Levy in court: You are feeding off the violence and the despair of the drug trade. You are stealing from those who themselves are stealing the lifeblood from our city. You are a parasite who leeches off the culture of drugs...

Omar Little in the witness box: Just like you, man.

Maurice 'Maury' Levy: Excuse me? What?

Omar Little: I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. It's all in the game though, right?

How to play chess

[Young drug dealer D'Angelo Barksdale comes across two of his lieutenants apparently playing chess]

D'ANGELO BARKSDALE - Yo, what was that?


D'ANGELO - Yo, a castle can't move like that . . . a castle move up or down or sideways like

WALLACE: Nah, we aint' playin' that. Yo, look at the board, we playin' checkers

D'ANGELO - [laughs] checkers?

WALLACE: Yeah, checkers.

D'ANGELO - Yo, why you playing checkers on a chess set?

BODIE - Yo, why you give a shit?

D'ANGELO - But yo, chess is a better game, yo. . . Now hold up, hold up, you don't know how to play chess, do you?


D'ANGELO - So nothing. . .So I'll teach you all you all want to learn. . .

It's simple, it's simple. See this? This the king pin. Aw right? Now he de man. You get the other dude's king, you've got the game. He's tryin' get your king, too, so you gotta protect him. Now the king he move one space any direction he damn choose 'cause he de king. . . but he aint' got no hustle. But the rest of these mother fuckers on his team, they got his back and they run so deep he ain't really got to do shit.

Now you see this? Dis the queen. She smart, she fast. She move anyway she want as far as she want. and she is the go get shit done piece.

And this over here's the castle. Like the stash. Move like this and like this.

WALLACE: Dog, stash don't move, man

D'ANGELO: Come on y'all, think. How many time we move the stash house this week. Right? And anytime we move the stash we got to move a little muscle with it, right? To protect it.

BODIE: True. You right. What about the little ball headed bitches there?

D'ANGELO: These right here, these are the pawns. They like the soldiers. They move like this. One space forward, only. Except when they fight and it's like this. They's like the front line. They be's out in the field.

WALLACE: So how you get to be the king?

D'ANGELO: It ain't like that. See the king stay the king. Everyone stay who he is 'cept the pawns. Now the pawn made it all the way down to the other dude's side he get to be queen and like I said the queen ain't no bitch. She got all the moves.

BODIE: So all right, if I make it to the other end, I win.

D'ANGELO: If you catch the other dude's king and trap it, then you win.

BODIE: But if I make to the end, then I'm top dog.

D'ANGELO: Na, yo, it ain't like that. Look. The pawns, man, in the game, they be capped quick. They be out early

BODIE: Unless they some smart ass pawns.

[D'Angelo nods]


How Chicken McNuggets were invented

D'Angelo, Poot and Wallace are sitting on the red sofa in the yard outside the low rises, which is their drug territory

WALLACE: Want some nuggets?

POOT: Nah, go on

WALLACE: (Chewing on a nugget). Mother fucker got the bone all the way out the damn chicken. . Til somebody come along they been chewing on drum sticks and shit, getting' their fingers all greasy. Man said leave the bone [out], snug up that meat and make some real money. . .

POOT: You think the man got paid?. . .

WALLACE: Shit, he richer than a mother fucker

D'ANGELO: You think he got a percentage?

WALLACE: Why not?

D'ANGELO: Nigger, please. The man that invented that just some sad ass down in the basement at McDonalds. . .

POOT: Nah man, that ain't right. . .

D'ANGELO: Fuck right. It ain't about right, it about money. Now you think Ronald McDonald going to go down that basement and say, "Hey Mr Nugget. You the bomb. We're sellin' chicken faster you can tear the bone out. . So I'm going to write my clowny ass name on this fat ass check for you?

WALLACE: Shit. . .

D'ANGELO: And the nigger that make them things still working in the basement for a regular wage thinking of a way to make the fries taste better and things like that. Believe.

WALLACE: He still have the idea, though.





PHIL MATTERA, DIRT DIGGERS DIGEST I was intrigued by a post that just appeared in about some companies whose recent proxy statements disclose they are reimbursing top officers for the cost of having their cars washed. We have all heard about the expensive perks large corporations shower on their executives: country club memberships, use of corporate jets, personal financial advisors, etc.-all in addition to munificent salaries and bonuses. Yet are companies also taking care of mundane everyday expenses as well?. . .

I decided to follow Footnoted's lead and search the database of recent proxy statement to look for other kinds of personal services being provided to executives. Here's an assortment of what I found.

SLM Corp.-the student loan company also known as Sallie Mae-reports that it not only provided a townhouse for president C.E. Andrews but also paid for "real estate taxes, homeowner's insurance, neighborhood association fees, repairs and improvements, utilities, lawn and housekeeping services, and pest control."

Harris Group-a business development company focusing on nanotechnology-pays for both a health-club membership and a personal trainer for chief executive Charles E. Harris.

BioLase Technology-a producer of dental lasers-paid the laundry expenses of Keith Bateman while he was executive vice president of the company.

Military contractor Raytheon and numerous other companies pay for security systems at the homes of their top executives.

Home Depot pays for the home internet services used by their top executives and picks up the tab when they send funeral flowers.

Beermaker Anheuser-Busch has a company barber shop for top executives and provides free beer "for personal use and entertaining."


THE VISITOR - "In a sense, "The Visitor" is about the global econ professor bonding with the illegals, but the movie's not a tract. It's really about how people can come into our lives, change them, and leave. This is a film of our times - paranoid, heartbroken, disillusioned - and the rare recent American movie whose characters react the way actual people might." - Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

CATHERINE RUSSELL - "After listening to a continuous stream of releases by purported rising jazz singers - who couldn't have lasted through a chorus in a contest with Ella Fitzgerald or Betty Carter - it's a delight to hear the real thing in Catherine Russell... at the center of gravity that has always kept the music alive is 'the groove' that Cat Russell embodies." - Nat Hentoff


NOTE: You can post your comments on any of the above stories by going to our Undernews site and searching for the headline. Once posted, a copy is immediately mailed to the Review and we pick some of the most interesting to publish here.


Our national dialog has been hijacked by psychopaths.


Maybe the gun owners who would have responded "very unhappy" have gone off and killed themselves. My understanding is that suicide is more prevalent than murder, and no method is as certain as using a firearm. - werouious


How good to see the mention of Esperanto here. In fact Esperanto is a steadily growing language, spoken by people interested in life beyond their own frontiers. It's still worth learning and using. - Bill Chapman

Esperanto does not intend to supplant ethnic languages to be a "single" language for the world, but to be everyone's "second" language. - Brian


This is terrible! I hope this WASL test is dismantled.

I applaud your conviction, determination, and strength in coming forward and standing your ground. Standardized testing is a highly contestable issue; from mandatory state assessment testing through the GREs; they fail to adequately represent the scholastic capabilities of the student.

As a Masters student at Villanova, I can relate a short anecdote: Throughout my entire academic career, I have always maintained a 3.7 GPA. I graduated Cum Laude from Rosemont College and decided to pursue law school. After much studying, loss of sleep, copious amounts of stress, a weekend Kaplan study seminar, and endless hours of practice-testing, I tested for the GRE's which resulted in a respectable, though average score.

I called Drexel Law to ask what their requirements for admittance were. I was told that unless I had a score of 160, the difference of four questions on my score, they would not even consider me as a candidate, despite my academic achievements. In fact, I was told that they decided their candidates primarily on the numbers, not the achievements.

This was not the only law school that had such requirements. After feeling remarkably dejected, I took the GREs instead to try my hand at graduate school. I again scored lower in the standardized testing, but Villanova decided to admit me based on my academic achievements, not on the GRE score alone.

The moral is this: standardized testing does indeed [cause] a severe amount of stress and tension in every student; whether a child of eight or twelve, taking mandatory state assessment tests, or an adult taking LSATs and GREs, the feeling of dread and misery never leave. One is always faced with pressures to succeed, and the fear of failing is overwhelming.

As Carl Chew pointed out, there are better methods to test the aptitude of students, as we are individuals and do not all perform in the same manner of one another. They just require more thought, creativity and time to develop theses measures.

I am proud to see a teacher stand up for his own moral conviction and to take a stand in what he believes in: the abilities of his students, his colleagues and his school district to perform their job and be successful at it--and that is to teach. - Dawn Marie

I applaud Mr. Chew. I am surprised that the tests are being "graded" by private corporations. Standardized testing has turned American schools, which should be training students to be citizens of this great nation and giving them enough knowledge to do well or prosper in the Information age, into factories that churn out students who don't know how to do anything but fill in bubbles on an answer sheet.- Mr. Congo Jack


The two eighteen bar sections that comprise the 'melody' of Ravel's Bolero constitute a thematic ostinato of which the two bar snare pattern is only a part. The combined thirty-six bars are repeated over and over for seventeen minutes (assuming one conducts using the recommended tempos of the composer). There is no other variation of the theme until the final coda, some sixteen plus minutes on into the piece. The 'dramatic variation' consists of changes dynamics and orchestration---revoicing the same 'melody' using different combinations of instrumentation.


Without Prohibition there would be no trafficking in hard drugs. Trafficking comes with prohibition. All drugs should be made available at the pharmacy at competitive prices, and people be asked to read each time what we know about the substance they plan to take into their bodies. The rest should be up to them. The information given should be accurate, not propagandistic, so people know exactly what they are consuming and make their own choices.

If Nader avoids the issue this time around, I'll be very disappointed. Maybe he knows it could cost him his life. How come Cynthia is not backing up? Is she braver? Less likely to be attacked? Isn't it a scandal that one of the two or three most important issues for the fate of the nation is totally being skirted?

War has become a way of life for politicians on both sides of the aisle. The Republicans tend to go for shooting wars to bolster their image. The Democrats "get their macho on" by waging war on pot smokers. And soon, they will both fall back on the war on drugs to mollify their failure to win anything in Iraq. - Walter F. Wouk


Slices of orange placed in something like a suet block feeder are great for attracting woodpeckers and migrating orioles. The orioles should be arriving soon, so now's a good time to give it a try.

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